Reviewer's Choice Award NomineeConfessions of a Party Crasher



by Holly Jacobs

Originally published by
Harlequin Signature Select, 6/06
ISBN #0-373-83707-0

RERELEASED at an eBook 4/17

Mentioned in USA Today 12/9/2009~

Morgan Miller is out of work and out of luck. She’s moved back home to Pittsburgh to try and put her life back in order. When she agrees to attend wedding reception with her mom for she's appalled to learn her mother’s invitation is far from legitimate. Her mom has turned her into an inadvertent party crasher.

When her friends agree that party crashing is a great way to meet men, Morgan's life goes from crazy to completely crazy. Wedding photographer Conner Danning keeps shooting her swoon-worthy glances and Morgan's ex is trying to de-ex himself.

Coming home and falling in love might just be the one party Morgan doesn’t want to miss.

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"...a funny tale of falling in love when you least expect it, best friends, and off-beat mothers..." We Write Romance

"...a sweet, entertaining romance..." ~RT Bookclub

"Hilarious situations, deep emotions, and lots of love make this one party you won’t want to miss." ~Cat Cody, Romance Junkies

"Confession of a Party Crasher is an entertaining frolic. I know whenever I see Holly Jacobs name on a book I can be guarantee that I am are going to have one laugh after another..." Lydia Funneman, Writers Unlimited

"The sweet lead couple plays straight man and woman for a zany eccentric support cast starting with Annabelle, from the grave Auggie, and his Gilligan horde...Fans will enjoy the madcap romance between the photographer and the wedding crasher." ~Harriet Klausner

"Confessions of a Party Crasher is a book about relationships and life. As always, Holly Jacobs uses plenty of zany humor to enhance the story and make it dazzle." ~© Kelley A. Hartsell, May 2006. All rights reserved. 

"CONFESSIONS OF A PARTY CRASHER is a charming romantic story, where love is made even more special with laughter." Amelia Richard, cataromance.com

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by Holly Jacobs

E.J., home may be where the heart is...but that doesn't mean the rest of me needs to be there as well, does it?

MORGAN ELISABETH MILLER KNEW she should be in San Diego, the recipient of that big promotion, an adoring boyfriend and all her friends at her side. Yes, she should be there with her wonderful life laid out ahead of her.

And that's just where she'd been two weeks ago, on the cusp of seeing all her plans and aspirations come to fruition.

Which made the fact that she was back home in Pittsburgh again six months after UncleAuggie's funeral, tooling around town in her mother's snazzy-looking, red Mustang convertible, more than just a small detour in her plan...it was a pothole. More than that, it was a chasm.

Oh, hell, it was the whole freakin'Grand Canyon. On one side stood the life she'd wanted, worked and planned so hard for. On the other side was Pittsburgh and this.

She sighed. She didn't know how to bridge what she wanted and what she had.

And as much as Morgan loved her mother, she also missed having a whole country between them. Annabelle was...well, Annabelle.

"Hold on," her mother cried. "I want to show you just what this car can do."

"It can get us there in one piece," Morgan called out loudly. Loudly was the only level of speech that worked. With the top down and the radio blaring, even that was iffy.

Her mother punched the accelerator and the car sped down the highway.


There was nothing Morgan could do but hold on and pray that they arrived at their destination in one piece.

When she was in a generous mood, she described her mom as unique and one of a kind. When she wasn't feeling quite so complimentary, she described her mother as crazy and eccentric.

Which description she used didn't really matter. Either way, Annabelle marched to the beat of her own drum and encouraged others — especially Morgan — to join in and live to that offbeat rhythm as well.

Her mother never understood that Morgan preferred a more traditional — normal — cadence to her life.

Morgan Miller liked knowing what was coming around the next bend. She lived by plans and lists. Although recently all her planning and list making had been shot to hell by a corporate decision to cut costs by downsizing the company.

She wasn't prepared for Jeremiah, the Napoleon-complex tyrant-in-the-making, calling her into his office and instead of offering her the promotion she'd been anticipating, telling her she'd been downsized.

A severance package — no matter how sweet it was — wasn't on her career path list.

When she'd graduated from UCLA with her M.B.A. and taken the job at LM Co., Morgan had thought she had it made — that all those little initials represented her big and shining future.

Now she'd taken a step backward and landed squarely where she'd begun in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Ever since Uncle Auggie's funeral six months ago, her mother had been campaigning for Morgan to move home, which meant at least someone was happy about the current situation.

"Almost there," Annabelle said cheerfully over the music from her booming stereo.

They turned a corner and had no problem spotting which house the reception they were attending was at. Annabelle eased the Mustang in front of a huge brick home deep in the heart of Upper St. Clair. Cars lined the street; white tents could be seen in the back. And as soon as Annabelle turned off the stereo, tasteful music could be heard at a more comfortable decibel.

Squirrel Hill, where Morgan grew up, was a beautiful section of Pittsburgh. Upper St. Clair, just south of the city, was a newer, more moneyed sort of beautiful.

"Wow," she managed to gasp. "So this is how the other half lives."

She tried to smooth her light brown hair back into some semblance of a style as a valet approached and offered to park the car. She glanced at her mother's bleach-blond hair, which still looked perfect despite its slightly windblown state.

It just figured.Annabelle looked good no matter what. Morgan managed to slither out of the seat without exposing herself, but it was a near thing. The bright yellow dress her mom had insisted she borrow was shorter than anything she owned.

Her mother assured her she looked beautiful. Morgan didn't feel beautiful, she felt...drafty. "Whose wedding is this?" she asked her mom. "Penny and Sam's."

"And you're sure they won't mind my tagging along?"

"These society weddings are always so packed that I'm sure they won't even notice. Plus we're getting here late, so dinner's already been served. We're just in time for the dancing. One more guest on the dance floor won't make a difference."

Morgan had never been overly fond of dancing herself. It had to do with an awareness that she had no sense of rhythm. None at all. Not the slightest iota of timing.

So she didn't dance much if she could help it, and would have turned down her mother's offer if she hadn't spent the two weeks since she'd been home holed up in Uncle Auggie's house, trying to find a way to get her life back. When her mother had called today, she was so relieved to be out of the house that she wasn't going to mind if her mother tripped the light fantastic all night. She'd just sit back and enjoy watching her.

Her mom tugged on her attractive red dress. Morgan wished she could follow suit, but her loaner dress was strapless. She was afraid too much tugging wouldn't be such a good idea.

"Do I look okay?" Annabelle asked, patting her hair.

"You look great," she exclaimed, meaning it.

Her mother smiled and said, "So do you. I knew that yellow would suit your complexion. It makes you look even tanner, and really brings out the carmel highlights in your hair. It never looked quite right on me."

Morgan resisted snorting at the statement. She'd yet to see her mother in anything that didn't look more than right on her.

Annabelle was the type of woman who could wear a grungy sweatsuit and make it look good.

"So let's go," she said.

They followed a brick walkway to the back of the house. The huge white tent they'd seen from the front stood dead center in the spacious, well-manicured yard. The gauzy fabric was drawn back in graceful swags, revealing the sea of white within. Tables covered with snowy-white tableclothes. Lily centerpieces.

The bride and groom stood inside the entryway, and Annabelle steered Morgan right toward them.

"Penny, Sam, we just wanted to say congratulations. I hope you have many happy years together," she said, hugging them both. "And Penny, you look just as lovely as I knew you would."

She turned and nodded at Morgan. "You remember my daughter, Morgan."

"Congratulations to you both," Morgan said on cue as she shook their hands. The couple smiled, but she caught the questioning look they threw each other before she and Annabelle turned and moved into the crowd.

"You never said how you know them," Morgan commented.

Her mother's attention was suddenly riveted on something across the tent.

"Mom?" Morgan said, sensing something was hinky.

"How do you know Penny and Sam?"

"Well..." she drew out the word as far as she could, then admitted, "technically, I don't."


"I saw their invoice at the shop. It was Sunny's account, so normally I wouldn't have noticed it, but now that I'm boss —" her mother gave a not-so-happy sigh " — I have to go through everything, and this one happened to be in my hand when you called."

When August Banyon had passed away in the spring, he'd bequeathed his house to Morgan and his business to Annabelle. His wife had died years before, and they were really all the family he had left.

Annabelle had worked for him for more than thirty years at Oakland Chair and Dish Rental. Now she owned it.

She didn't sound as if making the adjustment from employee to owner was going very smoothly.

But at the moment Morgan wasn't particularly worried about the smoothness of the transition.

"And?" she prompted.

"Like I said, I was holding the invoice for this reception, getting ready to file it, when you called and said you'd finished your résumé and had mailed off a bunch of copies. You said you were bored, so I thought —"

"You thought I'd enjoy —" she leaned closer and dropped her voice to a stage whisper " — crashing a party?"

Annabelle looked nervous. Morgan knew that she'd known all along there was no way Morgan would have willingly gone to a reception uninvited.

"Mom, I don't do things like this. Let's go before someone catches on that we're party crashers."

Her mother gave a little wave of her hand. "Oh, get over yourself. I never could figure out how I ended up with such a stick-in-the-mud for a daughter."

"Annabelle," Morgan said in her best I-mean-business tone. She only called her by her first name when her mom was out of control. In Morgan's book, crashing a reception was way out of control. "Let's go."

"No. I want to dance and this is the place to do it."

"Mom, you can't just go crashing parties in order to dance."

"Sure I can. Why, where would you be if I hadn't crashed a party the night I met your father?"

"What?" Morgan hoped she'd heard wrong, or that she'd simply misunderstood.

She'd never given much thought to how her mother and father had met. Growing up, she wouldn't have asked, because she couldn't imagine her mother without her father, and vice versa. And once he was gone, talking about him seemed to cause her mother pain, so there had been very little reminiscing before Morgan moved to San Diego.

"Didn't I ever tell you that story?" Annabelle asked. She shook her head.

"Your father and I met here in Upper St. Clair just over thirty years ago. He was best man for your uncle Nelson, and I came with a group of friends —"

Morgan realized with a sinking heart that she could fill in the rest of this sentence herself, so she interrupted. "Because you worked at the Chair and Dish Rental and knew where all the best receptions were."

"Exactly." Her mother had a wistful, faraway look as she continued. "We crashed parties a couple times a month. It was cheaper than hitting the bars, and to be honest, the quality of men we met was much better at receptions."

Annabelle smiled. "That night, I walked into a tent very much like this one and spotted your dad. He looked so handsome in his tux. And before I knew it, I'd introduced myself and asked him to dance."

It figured her mother was the one to do the asking. Morgan had never worked up enough nerve to be the asker rather than the askee.

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