la·gniappe (lnyp, ln-yp) n.
Chiefly Southern Louisiana & Mississippi
1. A small gift presented by a storeowner to a customer with the customer's purchase.
2. An extra or unexpected gift or benefit.
I hope these entries give you a little something extra with posts about this southern gal living in the north, about writing, author interviews, new releases, and occasional photos from my photography sojourns.
Thanks for reading!
Marian P. Merritt - Lagniappe
Where the Bayous Meet the Mountains
Monday, January 16, 2017
Second Chances Anthology - Win a FREE book bundle!
Good Monday Morning Readers!
visit Lagniappe to discuss their latest release, an anthology,
A Love Anthology
Five Sweet Romances
When a couple falls in love, sometimes
their relationship doesn’t work out and they part ways. One day they may meet
up again. The sparks fly. The hurtful memories rise to the surface. Is it
possible for them to heal the rift between them and start all over again? Can
they have a second chance at love? Or is it too late? Find out in this
feel-good anthology of five unique, sweet romances. All proceeds go to charity:
HIC Children's Home, Newcastle, South Africa.
The Second Chances Anthology
the Past by E.A. West
Felicia Coronado’s soon-to-be ex-husband kidnaps her daughter on a remote
mountain road, she must rely on the assistance of a group of soldiers in the
area for a training exercise. She’s stunned to discover the soldier in charge
is the high school sweetheart she never thought she would see again. Lieutenant
Mark Benson never stopped loving Felicia, even after she dumped him before
their senior prom. Now, six years later, he learns the truth behind why she
left him. Can he forgive her for the past and give her a chance for the future
once her divorce is final, or will he help find her missing daughter and leave
True love never dies, but can it overcome mistakes of the past?
of: Author of sweet and inspirational romance.
Christmas Bride by Pravina Maharaj
billionaire Giovanni Ferruccio had sworn never to forgive Brennan Shaw for
breaking off their engagement and marrying his cousin Anthony.
years later, when fate delivers a widowed Brennan and her young son Luca to
Giovanni's door, he is determined to discover the reason for Brennan's
betrayal. But after one too many kisses under the mistletoe, Giovanni realises
he can’t let go off Brennan and wants to make her his Christmas bride.
Magic. Two Passionate Hearts. A Christmas Wedding to Remember.
of: Passionate, contemporary romances.
for Maddy by Patricia Kiyono
Benning’s life has been full of missed opportunities. She’s had to settle for
commuting to local colleges rather than attending the school she and her high
school boyfriend had chosen, and spend all her time either working or taking
care of her mother. She’s resigned herself to a life void of excitement and
love. Meeting Jake again opens new hurts—but can it lead to new joys?
Warner gave up his teaching position to return to his Lake Michigan hometown
and care for his father. But it looks like the job is more than he can handle
on his own. While looking for appropriate care, he runs into a girl from his
past. Years ago, their parting had been painful. But was there more to the
story than he’d realized?
Sometimes the roadblocks in your life aren’t as high as they seem.
of: Patricia Kiyono writes both contemporary and historical sweet romance. She
likes to incorporate the lakeside setting of her West Michigan home in her
His Treasure by Kathy Bosman
is the new chairlady for the Treasure Hunter’s Club, a hobby she’s taken up to
fill the loneliness after breaking up with her boyfriend Dale. The magic has
left her life too, or so it seems, because the magic matchmaking photo album
told her Dale was the right man for her. So when her ex-boyfriend walks into
the club meeting, she’s barely able to make her speech. Dale can’t believe he’s
in the same room as the woman who broke his heart and made him lose interest in
dating. Being together for a night might be too painful to bear.
What Treasure from the past will Dale find?
of: Sweet contemporary and fantasy romances and occasionally other genres like
fantasy or women’s fiction.
Million’s a Crowd by Leenna Naidoo
Calliston needs to win a few million. Vivian Francis needs to win back Munro.
The TV reality show Treasure Seekers seems the perfect route to a win-win
situation...But can two so very wrongs ever make things right?
3 Million eyes, 2 desperate hearts, 1 second chance.
of: Leenna usually writes contemporary suspense with a dash of fantasy and
romance. She also dabbles in science-fiction & fantasy, and blogs at www.leennanaidoo.wordpress.com
Continue scrolling for story excerpts and the Rafflecopter to enter the drawing. Two books to be given away!
poured from the dark clouds, making the winding mountain road slick. Felicia
Coronado’s hands tightened on the steering wheel as she fought back panic. Ramon’s
truck hugged the rear bumper of her car. Speeding up didn’t increase the
distance between them; it only made the car harder to control. She glanced in
the rearview mirror, meeting her five-year-old daughter’s frightened brown
why is Papa chasing us?” Raquel’s quivering voice sent an arrow straight
through Felicia’s heart. Her daughter had already endured far too much fear in
her young life.
know,mi hija.”Yes, you do! He wants to kill you and
take your daughter to Venezuela for who knows what horrible reasons.She would never let that happen. No
matter what it took, she would protect her daughter from Ramon’s cruelty.
slowed to round a curve, and Ramon fell back. Her relief was short-lived as the
road straightened again. She glanced back in time to see his pickup truck shoot
barely had time to brace herself before the truck connected with the back of
her car. Raquel screamed as the car lurched forward, but Felicia couldn’t
reassure her. She had all she could do to keep the car on the road. Ramon
rammed the back of her car again, sending it sliding across the wet pavement. A
huge tree loomed ahead. She fought the wheel, but it was no use. The car
slammed into the tree, crushing the right front corner. A second impact from
behind smacked her head against the steering wheel, and blackness crept into
the edges of her vision.
Raquel’s shrill voice penetrated the fog in Felicia’s mind.
her sluggish thoughts could form into any kind of reassurance, Ramon had
wrenched open Raquel’s door and was pulling the girl out of her booster seat.
Felicia tried to protest, but Raquel’s screams drowned out anything she said.
Adrenaline rushed through her veins, and she forced her way out of the car as
Ramon carried her daughter away.
Let her go!” Felicia shouted into the storm. “You have no right to take her
his cold eyes on her. “This child is my daughter. I have every right to take
breaking the restraining order! Give Raquel back to me or you’ll face more
laughed, his expression full of hate. “Stupid woman. You think a piece of paper
and empty threats will stop me from taking my daughter with me? You are a
bigger fool than I thought.” He picked up his pace as he headed for the woods.
Felicia’s scream didn’t stop him, and she watched helplessly as he disappeared
into the forest with her daughter in his arms.
looked up, stunned to see the man she’d never thought to face again. Not after
five bitter years.
Ferruccio. Italian billionaire, philanthropist and jet-setting playboy.
thirty-five, Giovanni was one of the most eligible bachelors in New York.
Brennan had followed his life and career through the media. She knew he was
never short of female company—often seen with actresses, models, and wealthy heiresses.
Giovanni’s dark gaze locked with hers, Brennan forgot to breathe. Her mind flew
to ten years ago when they’d first met. She’d been a twenty-year-old waitress,
paying her way through college. Giovanni had been twenty-five with a steely
determination to succeed in the world of business. He’d just launched his first
Information Technology Company and was in the process of expanding his business
when they’d met.
life changed forever when Giovanni had stepped into the café where she worked.
It was five days before Christmas on a snowy Saturday afternoon. Giovanni had
insisted she sit with him while he had a coffee and pumpkin pie with fresh
whipped cream. Her boss at the café was shocked when Giovanni laid down a
bundle of notes.
more than your food and drink. I’m also buying the company of your pretty
waitress,” Giovanni had told the man, with an air of arrogance.
were any other customer, Brennan would have been incensed by such audacious
behaviour but immediately there was something about Giovanni that tugged at
her. It was more than his darkly handsome features or his Italian accent. She’d
served many handsome men at the upmarket Manhattan café, but none had made her
by the stranger, Brennan agreed to sit down with him, and thereafter Giovanni
began visiting the café often, always paying a small fortune for Brennan to sit
with him. Their encounters fed the gossip mill of the restaurant staff and had
the female staff mooning over Giovanni’s sex appeal.
Giovanni began seeing Brennan away from the café. Brennan suddenly in a
relationship with Giovanni discovered she was helplessly in love. She graduated
from college and Giovanni was blazing his way through the business world. Then
one Christmas Eve, Giovanni stunned her by proposing. It had been the happiest
moment of Brennan’s life. But her happiness was short-lived because ten months
later she broke off their engagement. Her world had come crashing down around
her ears. Giovanni was left gutted by their breakup and Brennan’s heart broke
into a million tiny pieces.
Shaw,” Giovanni said, the deep timbre of his voice sending a shiver down
Brennan’s spine and jerking her back to the present.
to my home,” he added, sounding anything but welcoming.
know you lived here.” Brennan dragged her gaze away from Giovanni’s face. Luca
stared at his mother with wide, dark eyes, sensing the tension in the room.
entered the room, his gaze never wavering from Brennan.
her lip self-consciously. She knew she looked a mess. Her usually lustrous
honey-blond hair hung limp and damp, her woollen dress smudged with mud was
molded to her thin frame, and her face lined with exhaustion.
breath, Brennan met Giovanni’s obsidian gaze. “Please, can I use your phone?
I’d like to call a taxi,” she said, grateful that her voice was steady.
you stay the night,” Giovanni said like the spider might have said to the fly.
gritted her teeth. “Thank you but I’d rather go home.”
a night to be out with a child,” Giovanni pointed out, glancing at Luca.
wanted to scream with frustration. How could fate be so cruel to deliver her on
the doorstep of the man who hated her most?
nearly stumbled. He’d just been thinking about needing someone who’d
understand, and now Maddy was here, going through the same struggles. Someone
had been listening.
turned her soft gaze to him. “What about you? I heard you and your choirs have
been winning all sorts of awards. I even saw you and your group perform on one
of the morning news shows.” She frowned. “Is your school on break now, or did
you retire already?”
resigned. Dad’s got health problems, and someone had to take care of him, now
that both Mom and Sarah are gone. In fact, he’s in Rest Haven, too.”
expressive eyes glistened. “I’m so sorry, Jake. That had to be so hard, losing
half your family in an instant.”
nodded. “Dad hasn’t been the same since then. I didn’t realize until I came
back how much it affected him. It’s like he has no will to live and sees no
reason to care for anyone, including himself.”
sorry. Your dad was always such a strong man.”
used to hate that about him. Now I miss that strength.”
opened her mouth, and Jake expected she would say something about her mother,
but she clamped her mouth shut and nodded. He decided to change the subject away
from parents. “How’s Jeff?”
frowned then, and he wondered why the question would bother her. “Jeff died
eighteen years ago,” she told him.
stopped in his tracks. “I-I’m so sorry. What happened?”
We were going through fertility tests when they found it. He was gone two
I’m so sorry.” She’d been a widow all this time?
nodded her acceptance of his sympathy, and they continued their walk. “Thanks.
It was rough, but he made me promise I’d get my degree. He knew how much I’d
wanted to go, and he made that possible.”
digested that. “I always thought you’d changed your mind and didn’t want to go
cried for days each time mom told me I hadn’t been accepted.”
time? How many schools did you apply to?”
“U of M,
Eastern, and MSU, as well as several private schools. Actually, I was accepted
at a few of them, but I couldn’t get any financial help, so I couldn’t afford
it. That’s why I went to Community College, and then commuted to Grand Valley.”
in silence for a few moments. What she said didn’t match with his memory of
events, but he wasn’t about to argue. “Why didn’t you tell me about any of
narrowed. “I did. I wrote to you.”
got any letters from you.”
wrote almost every day. Mom said we couldn’t afford that much postage, so I’d
put a week’s worth of letters in an envelope. I wrote for weeks before I
finally gave up. “
his free hand through his hair. “I swear I never got those letters. If I had, I
would have called you. I could have transferred or taken some time off until we
could find a place to go together.”
pursed her lips together. Did she doubt his sincerity? “I guess it doesn’t
matter now. We can’t change what happened, and eventually we both got what we
did. I settled, and my poor wife knew it.
Bridget had told him it was over, he’d turned into some kind of Cookie Monster
with women. He chewed them and spat them out within weeks of their first date.
Could it be something to do with the gnawing feeling of being not good enough?
If Bridget didn’t want him, there must be something intrinsically wrong with
him. They’d grown so close in a space of a few months, and then she’d told him
“enough.” Her reasons still didn’t make sense. He’d bared his soul to the
woman, but she didn’t seem to care.
a sudden lump in his throat, he closed his eyes for a moment, feeling the
tension release out of his clenched fists and jaw. He needed to forget her.
He’d always been outgoing, had plenty of friends, been rather popular. Some
quiet, studious, poetry-obsessed college student shouldn’t destroy his
self-esteem so easily. Nope, she wouldn’t. He’d forget about her. He wouldn’t
give her the joy of making him miserable.
you think I’d help you, though?” he couldn’t help asking Ebon. “You know I
don’t talk much nowadays.”
still a chick magnet despite often acting like a forty-year old with six kids
and no time for fun.”
his lips. He didn’t want to be a chick magnet anymore. Why did he have to be
born with such good genetics—broad shoulders, tall, good hair, flat abs, “sparkling
blue eyes” as the girls would say, and a charming, dimpled smile?
he wished he could be like Ebon, plain and ordinary, medium-height, skinny
arms, bit of a paunch, ash-brown hair. He looked at his friend and punched him
in the arm.
did you wear that stupid golf shirt again?”
picked up speed and glared at the traffic in his way. “You don’t look any
better in that stupid white T-shirt. What, you think you’re Adonis or
laughed and his mood picked up as Ebon joined him in cackling.
arrived outside a chapel which seemed to be teeming with life. Several women
had gathered by the entrance, all young and hip-looking with their skinny
jeans, sleeked hair, and shiny lipstick. He sighed inwardly. Maybe this wasn’t
such a good idea, after all.
chicks,” he muttered, but Ebon didn’t hear him. Instead, he headed for the
entrance with a confident stride. The guy had suddenly grown in boldness. He’d
hide behind Ebon, then.
desperately tried to spot some male company in the crowd, but nothing. Maybe
the guys were inside. How to weave through the crowd of girls? He saw a path
and headed straight for it, for once not caring about introducing Ebon to
everyone as he usually did. Once inside, he could breathe again and sucked in
several calming breaths while looking for a place to sit. He found seating near
the back. If Ebon complained, he’d say it was to get a good vantage point to
see all the women. The plastic seat wasn’t too comfortable and the buzz from
the doorway made his heart-rate climb again, especially seeing that buzz
heading inside. He tried to take in the traditional décor of the chapel and
imagine he lived in medieval times and had chosen to be a monk. A smile filled
his face at the thought. His thirst for adventure wouldn’t make him a good
monk, though. But the thought calmed him. Phew, he really had developed a
dislike for girls.
came down the aisle and hovered around, giggling over their seat choices. One
of the bees headed for the front and fiddled with the projector set-up. Fuzzy,
dark-brown curls at the back of her head caught his eye and his palms grew
sweaty. She looked a lot like Bridget. Great. Now the leader of the club was a
Bridget look-a-like. Turning around, she scanned the room with all seriousness.
the reunion of Team Academia was complete, another car hurried down the drive and
into the car park. Munro took a deep breath and steeled himself. This was
Vivian, he knew. The car door took almost a minute to open, Munro imagining
Vivian frantically searching for something she’d deemed vital and had
forgotten. Or was she losing her nerve and on the verge of thumping the
chauffeur on the back and screaming at him to, “Drive! Just drive!” He held his
breath. She’d done that before, and Vivian was nothing if not predictable
opened too fast, swung back alarmingly, and was pushed back again. She was
still curvy, her skin that natural olive, looking respectable in her glasses as
she stepped out in Capri cargoes, a cotton shirt, and hiking boots. Then she
stumbled as a familiar backpack tumbled out behind her. She stuck her head back
in the car, and emerged a few moments later with a shawl, closed the door,
opened it, then slammed it shut again. She looked nervously around as the car
pulled away, before hefting the backpack onto her shoulders, balancing
precariously as she did so.
breathed in, not realising he’d been holding his breath, then shook his head.
That Woman hadn’t changed a bit. His grin was pure wickedness. He wouldn’t have
to create any drama, it still followed her around like a dog on a leash. All he
would have to do was drag her along and make sure they were always in the Top
Three. He glanced at the other four teams and the sixth team’s lone member – a
dumpy man withveldskoeneboots who
looked liked a miner. He could do it, he had to.
just arrived and my nerves were shot. Where was Munro? Already breaking out in
a sweat, I walked along the burning beige walk towards the odd-shaped tower of
Maropeng’s entrance. I’d never visited this museum and discovery centre
celebrating palaeontology and astronomy. All the other contestants were
standing in the shade of the entrance, making their faces hard to distinguish.
I should have worn my sunglasses.
he stood, feet apart, arms crossed with his sun-bleached, tousled hair making
it appear like he’d just left the beach. He’d always made me feel safe and
protected before—my rock in a crazy, unpredictable world. He’d been the one
who’d always caught me when I fell, the one person in the world who’d thought
I’d been more than enough for him, who’d loved me just as I’d been, though I’d
known I was far from perfect ‘cos everyone else told me so.
couldn’t breathe. My stomach lurched and crashed like an alien trying to birth
itself. I gulped in air as I met his smile and brilliant eyes with their hostile
Who was I
kidding? I had absolutely zero chance of winning Munro back, not after what I’d
done. So why had he agreed to Audrey’s suggestion, even welcomed it?
it,” he said. “No change of mind?”
my dry throat and tried to unwind my hands from my shawl. “No, of course not.”
My voice was a croak. I cleared my throat again. “How are you?”
better.” His eyes were as feral as his grin though his voice was as smooth as
stomach heaved. I couldn’t figure out if it was fear, lust, or nerves. I
dropped my bag and ran off to the ladies, certain my breakfast wasn’t going to
make it to the starting line.