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Book, Reviews, Excerpt



EVERYTHING BUT A MOTHER

by Holly Jacobs
ISBN #9780803474574
Avalon Books, 2/12

REPRINTED by Montlake Romance as an eBook/paperback 10/16/12

EVERYTHING BUT A MOTHER

After attending TC and Eve's (Everything But a Christmas Eve) wedding, Nana Vancy and her cohorts, Isabel and Annabelle, are looking for two more unsuspecting victims--er friends--to play matchmaker for. It just so happens Isabel's nephew, Henry Hanson, is visiting Erie with his daughter. Her single nephew.

Heather Rayson runs a community-based daycare center at the local retirement center that Isabel and Annabelle now live in. Heather's unsure what to make of Nana Vancy when Annabelle and Isabel bring her around, but she soon decides that the three older ladies are up to something. It takes a little longer for her to realize that what they're up to is trying to fix her up with Professor Henry Hanson. Heather's not against the idea of dating, and she certainly loves the professor's daughter, Lissa...but whenever she and the professor are in the same room sparks fly as they spar.

But perhaps there's a chance that the sparks aren't really two people who can't get along, but rather are the sparks of two people that could learn to get along very well indeed with a little nudge from their three matchmaking cupids!

***

Each of the books stands on its own, but if you want to read the whole series, the order is:

Everything But a Groom
Everything But a Bride
Everything But a Wedding
Everything But a Christmas Eve
Everything But a Mother
Everything But a Dog

 

Book, Reviews, Excerpt

 

REVIEWS

"Part of Holly Jacob's Everything But …series, EVERYTHING BUT A MOTHER can be read alone without having read the previous books and readers won't feel too lost. The romance is sweet and the story focuses solely on the journey to a happily ever after. For a feel-good romantic tale, pick up EVERYTHING BUT A MOTHER." ~Patti Fischer, Romance Reviews Today

Book, Reviews, Excerpt

EXCERPT

Everything But a Mother
Holly Jacobs
copyright 2012

Prologue


“Well, that’s another wedding over,” Vancy Salo–known as Nana Vancy by almost everyone who knew her–proclaimed as she zipped through traffic in downtown Erie, Pennsylvania on a mid-February, Saturday.


There was a light dusting of snow on the yards, but the streets were clear and dry. The sun hung low in the sky, having made a rare appearance for the wedding.


She zipped around a small pothole that was a part of the Erie landscape at the end of winter. She knew she handled a car well, despite her age.


Not that she was willing to tell anyone her age.


When asked, she simply said that she’d been an AARP member for a number of years. She didn’t feel the least bit guilty about the less-than-revealing answer because honestly, asking a woman’s age was simply rude. She thought that her particular answer was probably more polite than anyone who asked the question deserved.


Thankful that Erie’s famous snowy winter was on hold at the moment, she zipped across the frequently busy, two-laned section of Thirty-eighth Street, her cute little, orange Vibe darted in and out of traffic as she drove her two best friends, Isabel and Annabelle, home.


She honked a wimpy beeeep at a silver convertible that was blocking the intersection even though the light was green. The only thing she didn’t like about her sporty little Vibe was the less than intimidating horn. She wished it had a meaty, make-you-move-in-a-hurry beep. The sort that meant business.


Life was filled with compromise, her husband Bela would remind her.


“If you can’t handle watching a traffic light, you should give up your keys,” she said to the driver, even though she knew he couldn’t hear her. It made her feel better about the car’s wimpy horn.


“It was a nice wedding,” Annabelle agreed. Out of the side of her eye, Nana Vancy caught Annabelle shooting a sympathetic glace at Isabel in the backseat.


“What did I miss?” She swerved around a blue pick-up that was moving at least five miles below the speed limit. “Men who can’t drive the speed limit shouldn’t drive.”
Annabelle shot Isabel another look.


“Okay, I saw that. What is going on?”


“I lost my license,” Isabel moaned miserably. “That’s why I didn’t drive to TC and Eve’s wedding today. I’m not allowed to.”


With Nana Vancy’s matchmaking help, TC and Eve fell in love over the Christmas holiday and had just got married today.


On Valentine’s Day.


The most romantic day of the year.


Nana Vancy sighed. Sometimes life was perfect, and today was one of those days.


Nana Vancy tried not to feel smug that not only was she a goddess of breaking curses, she was also on her way to becoming a world class matchmaker.


Well, she would be when she found two more people to match.


Since her debut matchmaking attempt at Christmas, it felt as if every single person her family knew was avoiding her. And now, her two best friends were keeping secrets.


“What happened, Isabel?”


“It’s not exactly a what. It’s whats. A number of whats. You see, I’ve had a few traffic violations recently. A ticket for unsafe driving due to inclement conditions–”


“She was doing ten miles an hour in a forty-five miles an hour zone,” Annabelle said helpfully.


“I was safe, it was everyone else speeding along in the rain-”


“Drizzle,” Annabelle corrected.


“–that was unsafe. And there was a ticket for running a red light. And then there was a totally unfair cop who pulled me over for driving too slow for conditions.”


“And the part that really hurt,” Annabelle interjected, “was the cop in question was on foot.”


“You mean, a cop who was walking could keep up with you in order to pull you over?” Vancy asked.


“He knocked on my window and said he’d been trailing me for a block.”


“Ow,” Vancy said sympathetically. And while she did feel bad for Isabel, she’d ridden with her friend and agreed that Isabel’s best driving days were over.


“It could be worse,” Isabel said bravely. “At least Annabelle and I moved to Bayfront last month. Everything I need is right there. Even work.”


The two friends had decided to move to the Bayfront Retirement Community when two adjoining rooms in the independent living section that had opened up in January. The twin rooms had private balconies that overlooked the bay. Erie was Pennsylvania’s only port city and its bayfront was the city’s jewel. Nana Vancy was already looking forward to summer when she could head over and watch the sun set over the peninsula from her friends’ balconies.


Isabel’s comment finally registered. “Work? You’re working now?”


“I’ve started volunteering with Community-Based Daycare. CBD. It’s a great program that uses residents in the retirement community to help with children. There’s a lovely man, Mr. Lorei, who was a farmer for years. He’s coming in this March to help the kids build a cold frame so they can start seedlings for the garden he’ll help them with on the grounds. And I’m the morning Story Lady.”

“It sounds wonderful, Isabel.”


“I’m the baking lady,” Annabelle added. “Each week the different age groups make a snack for everyone. The four year olds are making ants-on-a-log this week. Both of us help with other things too. We’re general volunteers.”


“It sounds like you’ll barely even miss driving, Isabel.” Vancy swerved around a pothole the size of a moon crater. Because of the dramatic temperature shifts this time of year, the roads were riddled with potholes. A lot of drivers complained, but Vancy liked to think that dodging them kept her driving skills honed.


“I’m learning to adjust to a life without driving,” Isabel said bravely. “But I do have one teeny tiny problem.”


“Is it something I can help you with? Do you need a ride somewhere? You know I don’t mind driving.”


“No. It has more to do with giving up my house than giving up my car. You see, my nephew, Henry Hanson–Professor Henry Hanson–is coming into town as a guest professor at Mercyhurst. He’s going to spend the last term teaching there. He contacted me in the fall about staying with me, and I said yes, but now...”


“Now, you live at Bayfront,” Vancy filled in. She didn’t hesitate, didn’t even think about calling Bela. Her husband never said no to her, and he felt strongly about modeling Hungarian hospitality whenever he could.


“Your nephew’s welcome to come stay with us. We have a whole house and just the two of us rambling around in it. I’ll feed him some good Hungarian cooking. And since Bela and I moved into the downstair’s bedroom, he’ll have the whole second floor to himself.”


“Ah, that’s part of it. It’s not just himself. It’s Lissa too.”


“And Lissa is his...dog? Hamster? Wife?”


“Daughter,” Isabel said. “My great-niece. She’s four.”


“A four-year-old is much better than a dog. They’re generally potty-trained, so they don’t have accidents on the carpets.” In case she hadn’t been clear, she added, “They’re both welcome. We can put Lissa in Dori’s old room. I never redecorated it. It’s bright.”


“Oh, Vancy, thank you. That’s such a huge relief.”


“It’s no problem. Will his wife be joining them?”


“That’s the thing. Henry and his wife divorced. He’s always been a weekend dad, but last fall, his ex remarried and the new husband didn’t want kids, so now Henry has full custody of Lissa.”


“And you need me to watch her while he teaches?”


“No. I talked to Heather, who runs the daycare program, and Lissa’s going to come to CBD when Henry’s at school.”


“So, Henry’s single?” Nana Vancy asked.


“Very,” Isabel assured her.


Nana Vancy Salo felt this strange tingle at the tip of her nose.


To be honest, she’d never felt a tingle on the tip of her nose, or any other part of her nose, before, but she was pretty sure she knew what the feeling meant. Excitement that had nothing to do with the delivery truck she’d just passed coursed through her veins.


“A single dad. That’s just not right. Maybe the universe has just sent me my second case for matchmaking.”


“Oh, Vancy, would you?” Isabel sounded excited. “I wanted to ask, but I didn’t want to make you feel obligated.”


“There’s not obligation about it.” Vancy slammed on her brakes as the car in front of her stopped at the yellow light instead of hurrying through it before it turned red. 
Didn’t drivers understand that yellow simply meant hurry-up?


She tried to tamp down her annoyance and allow her anticipation at the thought of having a new case take over. “I did so well with matchmaking TC and Eve that I’m anxious to try again. And who better than your nephew and his little motherless daughter.”


“Lissa does have a mother,” Annabelle who’d been quiet piped up and pointed out. “Isabel said she did.”


“Not a very good one if she gave up custody to keep a man.” Isabel was someone who was frequently aghast, but right now, she simply sounded indignant at the thought of any mother abandoning her child. “But maybe, if you play matchmaker for Henry, Lissa will get a new mom. One who would never just let her go like that.”


“That’s what we want. A woman who’s not only perfect for Henry, but will also be the perfect mom for Lissa,” Nana Vancy said the words out loud because she knew–better than most–that words had power. And just to add to the power behind them, she said again, “We need to find a perfect woman and a perfect mother. Someone who Henry will find easy to love. Someone who will love him back just as easily.”


She swerved into the other lane and passed a slow driver. She glanced at the driver and saw that this particular slow-driver was her husband Bela. She waved and, even though she whizzed by him, she couldn’t miss his scowl.


He might be annoyed she was driving fast, but he’d understand, she had a lot to do for her next assignment.


She was going to find Isabel’s Henry a wife, and Lissa a mother. If he was only here guest teaching for a term, she had best get busy.


“So, tell me everything about Henry and Lissa while I get you two home...”

 

Book, Reviews, Excerpt

From the book: EVERYTHING BUT A MOTHER
By: Holly Jacobs
Publication Date: 2/2012
ISBN: ISBN: 9780803474574
Copyright © 2012, Holly Jacobs
Published By:  Bouregy, Thomas & Company, Incorporated
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