Celebration's Family (2)

Here’s a quick look at CELEBRATION’S FAMILY’S first scene (Q&A and contest follow): 

A bachelor auction?

Really?

Dr. Liam Thayer waited for Cullen Dunlevy, Celebration Memorial’s chief of staff, to crack a smile, or indicate he and the pretty blonde in the business suit at his side were delivering a bad joke to lighten up the impromptu staff meeting.

Please. He could use a little levity to jolt him out of his bad mood. It had been one of those mornings. The twins, Amanda and Calee, hadn’t wanted to get out of bed. Five minutes before they were supposed to walk out the door, Amanda remembered that she was supposed to bring cupcakes for an after-school club meeting.

To spur the girls along, he’d said, if they left on time, they could stop at the grocery store on the way. But then the dog got out, running several victory laps around the neighborhood, before Liam had been able to wrangle, harness and deliver him home.

They didn’t have time to stop for cupcakes, and by the time he’d deposited the girls at Celebration Middle School, they were all out of sorts. Well, he and Amanda were. Not Calee, who lived in her own little world of sugar-plum fairies and nutcracker princes. As long as Calee was dancing, the world was a beautiful place. She was so much like her mother, who had also been a ballerina, before she’d given it all up to marry Liam and start a family.

He and Amanda, on the other hand, seemed to be cast from the same mold. This morning he’d left her with a promise that their housekeeper, Rosalinda, would leave a dozen cupcakes at the school’s front desk in time for this afternoon’s club meeting—which Amanda would have to cut short because she and her sister couldn’t be late for their dance class.

Amanda had been dubious and a little surly. She hadn’t wanted to go to dance class today.
“Why can’t Rosie take Calee while I stay at the club meeting? Then Rosie can come back and get me. Or better yet, why can’t I skip dance altogether?”

“Because you have a commitment, and Rosie doesn’t need to be running herself ragged to accommodate you. She’s already going out of her way to make sure you get the cupcakes.”
It had only made matters worse when Liam had snapped, “Next time maybe you’ll remember to tell me these things before we’re walking out the door.”

He shouldn’t have said it. Not like that, dammit. Even if it was true and a lesson she needed to learn. Now, as he sat there in the conference room trying to change gears from dad mode to doctor, he couldn’t get the image of Amanda’s sad face out of his head.

At that moment he missed his wife, Joy, so much it almost leveled him. She’d always taken care of things like cupcakes, permission slips and new ballet shoes. She’d had an uncanny ability to almost read their daughters’ minds or, on the off chance when they did end up in a bind—like they had this morning—she’d always been able to pull a rabbit out of her hat and make things work.
Liam didn’t know how she’d managed it. She had been perfect like that. Tiny, intuitive and good-natured, Joy had always been all about her family.

A series of sickening flashbacks transported Liam to that night when the cop had stood on their front porch and asked, “Is this the residence of Joy Thayer?” He’d told Liam that there’d been an accident but wouldn’t give him much information, just asked if he would come to the hospital. When he’d identified his wife’s body, his life and the lives of their daughters had shattered into a million irreparable pieces.

Liam scrubbed a hand over his eyes, trying to erase the memory. It had been two years. When would life without Joy get easier? When would the numbness give way to the manageable ache that the grief counselor had promised would come in time? Maybe never. Because part of his soul had died right along with his wife that night. The part that lived and laughed and felt.

Now his daughters kept him going. Because life didn’t stop to mourn. Hell, it didn’t even slow down to regroup. It kept marching forward, and, if you didn’t get on your feet fast, it would drag you right along behind it.

He refocused, irritated that he had to waste time this morning listening to the chief and this woman rattle on about…bachelor auctions? For God’s sake.
This had to be a joke.

But a sinking feeling warned him not to bank on Dunlevy delivering the punch line. Especially when his boss glanced over at the blonde and uncharacteristic warmth drew up the edges of his mouth.

“This is Kate Macintyre of the Macintyre Family Foundation,” said Dunlevy. “She and her staff have been working tirelessly to raise money for the new pediatric surgical wing here at Celebration Memorial Hospital. I’ll turn the meeting over to her and let her tell you more.”

The new surgical wing—Joy had been excited about it. In fact she’d been one of the first volunteers to organize a kick-starter fund-raiser.

“Good morning,” said the blonde.

What was her name again?

“Thank you, Dr. Dunlevy. I appreciate you letting me attend your meeting today. Even more I am grateful that each of you has agreed to help raise money for the final leg of funding for this very special project. This pediatric wing is extremely near and dear to my family and me. I appreciate you all taking an active role in making it a reality.”

Near and dear to her family? Liam glanced at her left hand. She wasn’t wearing a wedding ring. Reflexively his thumb found the back of the band he still wore. It was the touchstone that kept him grounded, and reminded him of what was and always would be important in life. Family.
The blonde smiled at Liam’s colleague, Charlie Benton, an internist, who was seated to her left. She held out a stack of pamphlets. “Would you mind taking one of these and passing them around, please?”

Eagerly Charlie obeyed.

Great. Judging by the look on his coworker’s face, Liam would bet, if she’d asked Charlie to run out to fetch her a bagel and a cappuccino, he would’ve fallen all over himself to oblige. Liam glanced around at the other men in the room. They all seemed transfixed, too. Apparently Liam was the only one immune to a pretty face and a great pair of legs.

“For the past three years, the Macintyre Family Foundation has partnered with the hospital to raise money to build a much-needed pediatric surgical wing,” she said. “During this time we’ve been diligently working with the hospital’s Department of Charitable Giving. They’ve been amazing. We only need 5 percent more to reach our two-million-dollar goal.

“That’s why we were delighted when Dr. Dunlevy agreed to the idea of giving you all, the doctors of Celebration Memorial, the opportunity to play a key role in raising part of the remaining funds. When I learned that I’d be working with seven single male doctors, I thought, what was the chance of that?”

Her blue eyes sparkled as she looked from one face to the next, radiating enthusiasm and sincerity. She was doing a credible job.

“With seven eligible men, it only seemed natural to hold a bachelor auction. So, everyone, please save the date—one week from Saturday—for our first-ever In Celebration of Bachelors auction.”
Liam shifted in his seat, resisting the urge to excuse himself. This bachelor auction was not a joke, but there was no way in hell that he was going to subject himself to the humiliation of being sold off to the highest bidder. Even if the shenanigan would raise money for a good cause.

As a pediatric hospitalist and a single father to two teenagers, he didn’t have enough time to devote to his daughters on a good day. He certainly didn’t want to waste a night going out on a date with a woman who’d bid on him like a steer in a cattle sale. He might have been providing all the necessities, but he hadn’t been able to give his children as much of himself as he wished he could. Not like his wife, who had always been there for them emotionally.

And, he had to admit, at the root of everything, participating in something like this felt disrespectful to Joy. Even if she was gone, it didn’t mean he felt any less married. Certainly not single.

“Is something wrong, Dr. Thayer?” Cullen asked. “You look like you smell something.”

Liam clicked his ink pen. He wanted to say, There’s nothing like the stench of a bad idea first thing in the morning. But one glance at Kate Macintyre’s hopeful expression—Kate Macintyre, that was her name—and he was weighing his words. “Is this bachelor auction idea a done deal? Do we have any other options?”

 ***

Q: CELEBRATION’S FAMILY has been getting some nice reviews!

Nancy Robards Thompson: I’m so grateful that it has been well received!  RT Book Reviews Magazine gave it four stars and said, “Thompson’s broken, heartwarming couple are engrossing as they find love after tragedy in this terrific installment in the Celebrations miniseries. Supporting characters like the chocolatier/matchmaker will charm, and the doctor’s twin girls add the perfect “aww!” factor.” 

Q: That’s great news! Where did you get the idea for CELEBRATION’S FAMILY? 

NRT: Liam and Kate’s story is the fifth book in the Celebration’s, Inc. series. My heroine, Kate Macintyre, has been featured in a couple of other books in the series and it was high time she found her soulmate. I’ve always been intrigued by the thought of a bachelor auction. What could be more fun than an auction full of eligible doctor bachelors?    

Q: Tell us about the hero of the book? Why will we fall in love with him? 

NRT: Dr. Liam Thayer believes true love only happens once in a lifetime. He fell in love with and married his high school sweetheart. They had two perfect decades together before she died in a tragic accident. The loss turned life upside down for Liam and his thirteen-year-old twins.

Q: Tell us about the heroine. Why is she the absolute perfect woman for the hero?

NRT: Kate Macintyre would like to believe in true love and happily ever after, but she’s never experienced anything remotely like it. Well, until she falls in love with the grieving Dr. Thayer and his adorable daughters.

Q: What life-lesson do your Hero and Heroine have to learn before they can find their happily-ever-after?

NRT: Liam believes that true love happens only once in a lifetime and Kate has never been in love. To reach their happily ever after, Liam has to believe that looking to the future doesn’t mean he has to forget about or devalue his first marriage. Kate has to allow herself to be vulnerable and open to love. Together, as they become a family,  they heal each others’ wounds and become whole again.

Q: What was your favorite scene to write?

NRT: That’s a toss-up between two scenes: the bachelor auction, because, of course, Kate’s seemingly foolproof plan to get Liam off the hook by placing the winning bid for the date with Liam goes absolutely awry; and the Doctor’s Ball, which takes place in the ballroom of a swanky Dallas hotel. I love writing scenes like the Doctor’s Ball because they’re so glamorous and romantic.     

Q: Is there an underlying theme to the story?

NRT: CELEBRATION’S FAMILY is about the bond of family and second chances at love. Those are powerful themes to which so many of us can relate, and that’s why I believe readers will enjoy this book.

Now, I have a question for you: What themes do you like to read about? Family? Love at first sight? Friends to lovers? Reunion stories? In “celebration” of her new release, I’m giving away a $10 Amazon gift card to one lucky person who posts. Check back on Sunday when I post the winner’s name. 

****************************************************************************************

WritingThis is Nancy’s eighteenth book for Harlequin and the fifth book in her Celebrations, Inc. mini-series. For more information please check out her website NancyRobardsThompson.com or connect with her on Facebook (Nancy Robards Thompson Author) and Twitter @NRTWrites.


23 thoughts on “A Chance to win! Plus a Sneak Peek and a Q & A About Nancy’s New Book Celebration’s Family

  1. marypreston says:

    A bachelor Auction sounds like a hoot. I cracked up at the line “bid on him like a steer in a cattle sale”.

    I enjoy reading a lot of themes. Marriage of convenience stories are among my absolute favorites.

  2. Ada H says:

    My favorite storylines are the friends to lovers stories. Those ones always seem to get me. And Bachelor auctions are always fun to read – never been to one but I’d love to!

  3. amyc says:

    I like to read about two people who despise one another and then all of the sudden they have fallen for one another

  4. Kristan Higgins Kristan Higgins says:

    I’m crushing on your hero, Nancy! Love him! I also love marriage of convenience stories. Harder to pull off in contemporaries, but I love them.

  5. Shana Galen Shana Galen says:

    I like reunion and fish out of water stories. I’m writing a fish story right now!

  6. Karen Johnston says:

    I cant wait to read this!!!! I wanted to read it before but now…now I’m really anxious!!! :)
    I like to read anything to be honest. But my favorite is probably friends to lovers. I really enjoy those!

  7. Sue Gorman says:

    I like to read stories about families and stories with some mystery.

  8. anne says:

    I enjoy reading about families and their trials and tribulations.

  9. jcp says:

    hero has always secretly loved the heroine is one of my favorite themes

  10. MaureenE says:

    There are a lot of themes that I like. I enjoy stories that have families, especially a group of brothers or sisters. I enjoy marriage of convenience stories and enemies to lovers stories too.

  11. Sigh…Liam is such a delicious hero! Love the angsty type! My favorite theme, probably, is the reunion romance, but I sure do love these second-chance stories, too!

  12. Crystal Broyles says:

    I enjoy reading all the themes you mentioned. Your book sounds great. I love the cover.

  13. Mary Anne Landers says:

    Thank you, Nancy. I already answered your question on another blog; but if you don’t mind repeats, here goes.

    My favorite theme in romance fiction is love against the the odds, or love vs. fate. Two people who love each other must overcome daunting obstacles within and without in order to attain their fulfillment. To put it another way, such is the power of love.

    Good luck with the release of “Celebration’s Family”, and your current and upcoming projects!

  14. Vanessa Kelly Vanessa Kelly says:

    Nancy, what fun! I’d love to go to a Bachelor Auction one day – just for research purposes, you understand!

  15. Virginia says:

    I love friends to lovers stories and Cinderella stories. Yes a bachelor auction sounds fun.

  16. catslady says:

    I like variety and as long as I care for the authors, most themes will work for me. If I had to pick I would say marriage of convenience, Cinderella or Beauty and the Beast themes.

  17. Barbara E. says:

    My favorite theme is second chance at love. It’s always so much fun to see a couple work out whatever tore them apart and find love again.

  18. Glenda says:

    I can’t blame anyone for not wanting to participate in being auctioned off. :-)

    I honestly enjoy reading a variety of types of stories. I don’t have one favorite trope. I really liked the excerpt!

  19. Anita H. says:

    I’m a fan of a lot of different types of stories but I do love reunion stories. And series that revolve around large families in small towns. Just love those!! Nothing more interesting than Bachelor auctions too :)

  20. Laurie W G says:

    I like wounded hero or heroine the person has to make a come back after a devastating career ending injury. I like mail order marriages/marriage of convenience to gain an inheritance or to gain the custody of a child. Another favorite is hiding in plain sight. Finally I like stranded due to weather or car trouble.

    I’ve enjoyed several of your books especially CELEBRATIONS BRIDE!

    Bachelor auctions can spark some explosive chemical reactions!

  21. Nancy Robards Thompson Nancy Robards Thompson says:

    Thanks so much for commenting, everyone! Check back on Sunday and I’ll post the name of the winner.

  22. Vanessa says:

    Congratulations on the new book! Sounds like a great story. Always enjoy family sagas and series. Seems to provide a book with more depth to explore character dynamics.

  23. Marcy Shuler says:

    I would totally attend the bachelor auction with cash at the ready. LOL We just won’t mention it to my hubby. ;) I’ve really enjoyed this series and can’t wait to read this book.
    I really like big families, best friend’s brother and marriage of convenience themes.

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