A Simple Heart
A Cupid Falls' Novella
These Three Words
Words of the Heart #2
Carry Her Heart
Words of the Heart #1
Short Stories for the Overworked & Under-Read:
Maid in LA Series Bundle
includes the entire
four book series
Nominated for a 2000 RIO Dorothy Parker Award in Paranormal Romance
Second Place Winner of a 2000 Venus Award!
Is Grace MAD ABOUT MAX,
or just out of her mind?
As the author of seven successful Fairy Godmother romance novels, Grace MacGuire has it all. At least she has it all until those fictional fairies start to take an interest in her love life . . . or rather her lack of one. Grace decides she must be crazy. Characters she created couldn't really come to life. Could they?
She turns to Dr. Artemus Maxmillion Aaronson for the answer. Unfortunately, Max proves to be more than the solution to her sanity impairment. It seems he's the one Mrytle, Fern and Blossom, Grace's three fairies, have chosen as her Prince Charming.
In Mad About Max, Grace and Max discover that sanity is only a state of mind - but love is forever.
"...a perfect lighthearted romance with plenty of comedic elements. Reading this book makes me want to read the rest of the books in the series. I have a feeling Max’s siblings are in for some wild adventures of their own." ~Eye on Romance
"A Cinderella-like makeover, three charmingly zany fairy godmothers, a wicked step-mother and haughty step-sisters round off a timelessly delightful romance. Holly Fuhrmann's deliciously unconventional tale of a writer who thinks she's crazy and her sexy psychiatrist is guaranteed to endear readers." ~Cheryl St.John, author of ISABELLE
"MAD ABOUT MAX is absolutely enchanting. This romantic comedy has all the elements--engaging characters, an adorable tale, and scenes that make you laugh out loud. You won't be able to put down this fairy-tale romance where wishes come true....whether you want them to or not! Holly Fuhrmann has a flair for fun and romance." ~Laura Baker, author of BROKEN IN TWO
"Fans of Debbie Macomber’s “Shirley, Goodness, and Mercy” paranormal series will relish MAD ABOUT MAX, a humorous and lighthearted romp paranormal romp. The three well meaning but inept fairies are endearing characters that need future appearances to hone their “skills”. The story line is funny and endearing due to the inept but well meaning actions of the fairies. Holly Fuhrmann provides an entertaining read that leaves her audience satisfied yet wanting more tales from this talented author." ~Harriet Klausner, reviewer
Holly Fuhrmann delights as she pens the first of her fairy-tale trilogy. MAD ABOUT MAX is lighthearted, sexy, and fun to read. The fairies enchant as they bumble from one scrape into another in their attempts to bring these two together. They are trouble with a triple ‘T’. If Grace is sanity impaired, Dr. Max is the one who can ‘heal’ her. The fairies make a believer out of Max and Grace, and perhaps you will believe, too, after you finish this fairy tale. I highly recommend this laugh-out-loud, chuckle-filled story that will give you hours of entertainment and leave you smiling and feeling great. ~Carol Carter, reviewer
"This sweet contemporary Cinderella story is typical of Holly Fuhrmann’s style. Fans of her previous romances will recognize her fertile imagination and quirky sense of humor, with the added bonus of lighthearted fantasy."
~Leslie Tramposch, UReviewIt, Paranormal Reviews, Simegen Reviews
"This delightfully amusing book had me hysterically laughing one minute and tearing up the next. I highly recommend this marvelous book."
~Kathy Boswell, Member, Reviewers International Organization (RIO), E-book and Small Press Reviewer for Romantic Times Magazine
"MAD ABOUT MAX, a comic fantasy, makes fairy godmothers believable. It reminds us all that love is worth working for and change can be good. It's a thoroughly entertaining, comic romp." ~ B. Lynn Goodwin, Interviewer
Ms. Fuhrmann is an adept, and her writing style is concise and smooth. Fans of whimsical romance will not want to miss Mad About Max. Full of wit and charm, it’s a book that begs to be read quickly and won’t be put down until the last page. ~Sally G. Laturi, Ivy Quill Reviews
Mad About Max
by Holly Jacobs
Grace MacGuire’s Neon roared down Interstate 79. She was anxious to get home, though her trip to New York City had been a success. The publisher was pleased with the success of her last book, and her editor had offered a three book contract with a heavy promotional allowance.
Grace's heart was light and her foot was heavy as Garth crooned about Ireland on her CD player. She sang off key at the top of her lungs. The air conditioner was cranked on high, the sun was shining, and everything was right in her world.
"Gracey, maybe you should slow down just a little," a voice, rising above her caterwauling, said from the front passenger seat.
Grace’s singing turned into one very brief, very loud scream. Someone speaking from the passenger seat wasn't odd in and of itself, but it was pretty strange when you were alone in the car.
Except maybe she wasn’t.
As thoughts of kidnappers and hijackers danced through her head, she cast a frantic glance toward the passenger seat. There was no one there. A quick glance in the rearview mirror didn’t reveal anyone either. Maybe they were on the floor.
Trying to still her racing heart, Grace pressed her foot to the brake and forced herself to move the car to the side of the road.
As the car stopped, she cautiously peered in the back and found a vacant floor. Maybe she had just imagined the voice?
She turned the radio down and all she could hear was the hiss of traffic. There was no other sound in the car. She let out a relieved sigh and waited for the adrenaline rushing through her system to subside. She'd imagined the voice. Or, maybe it was some glitch on her CD? Whatever it was didn’t matter. What did matter was that NO ONE was in her car.
There were a few drawbacks to writing fiction for a living. The pay was sporadic; some days the words flowed and some days they didn't; and occasionally a good line of dialogue woke her up at three a.m., and she just had to get up and write it down. But hearing voices while cruising the highway was more than just a little problem—it was the type of problem that required professional help. Grace was pretty sure they had medications to control it.
"You know," the voice started up again, "just because they raised the speed limit in Pennsylvania to sixty-five, doesn't mean you have to go that fast." The voice paused a pregnant moment then added, "Or even faster."
Those words are just like my mother's! Only the voice was different. It almost sounded familiar. Grace knew she'd remember hearing a sing-songy voice like that, and she couldn’t recall ever having heard it.
"Yes, you do," the voice continued. "Remember that long talk we had when Augustus and Nettie were having all those problems?"
Grace clapped her hands over her ears and started humming an off-key rendition of the "Star-Spangled Banner."
"She doesn't want to believe we're here," the voice said.
"We?" Grace squeaked. She didn’t want to talk to her imaginary companion, but seemed unable to stop herself. Another sign of her mental decline.
"Of course we," a different voice said from directly behind the driver's seat.
"You know the three of us always travel together. Safety in numbers and all that," came a third voice from the general direction of the back seat passenger side.
She looked in the rearview mirror and stared at the vacant seats. "Oh, say can you see," she sang, hoping to drown out her delusions. Her good mood evaporated and was replaced with a pounding headache.
"Can't you see the poor child's frightened half out of her wits?" the first voice asked. "I told you two to be quiet until I explained things to her."
"I'd rather not have anything explained. I think I'd rather you all just disappeared. You know like poof, you're gone? This is just a small breakdown that I'll forget all about tomorrow. You can all go away now." For good measure Grace added, "Please?" It seemed prudent to be polite to imaginary beings.
"Oh, turn around and look at us, you silly girl. We're not going to hurt you," the first voice commanded. "You've written about moments like this—how many times now—six, seven?"
"Like what?" Grace asked, still staring out the front window.
"Oh, you know, dear," Voice Number Two gushed. "The moment that the heroine meets us."
"Let's see," the third voice said. "There was Nettie, Pauline, Susan, Alice—and then that Spring sister trilogy—April, May and June. There have been seven books so far." The third voice dropped to a stage whisper, "I liked those Spring sisters a lot."
"And the fact that there were three of them," said Voice Two.
"Just like there are three of us," interrupted Voice Three.
"Would you two stop your chatter? You're going to drive the poor girl insane." Voice Number One was in charge, Grace realized. Or at least she thought she was.
"I am insane," Grace murmured as she dropped her hands to her lap.
Insane. Such a harsh word. She'd read the term sanity impaired somewhere not too long ago. She liked that better. Even if she was crazy, she'd at least be politically correct.
But why now? Her life was just the way she wanted it. She could understand if she’d lost her marbles a few years ago, when she was just a struggling, unpublished writer. But now, things were all going her way. Her life was perfect.
"Not quite perfect, dear," said Voice Number One.
"Please go away?" she asked again.
The voice was soft and soothing. "Now Gracey, you're not crazy. And we're not figments of that ever fertile imagination of yours. If you'd just look at us, you'd know who we are and probably even guess why we're here."
Reluctantly, she turned towards the recently empty passenger seat. A short, red-haired woman wearing a bright red sweat suit materialized. It was almost impossible to look beyond the brilliant color to glimpse her face, but...but then Grace didn't need to see the face because she knew just who was sitting in that seat.
"Myrtle?" The vivid older woman nodded her head, smiling broadly, increasing the glare her scarlet suit created by at least a kilowatt. With quiet resignation, Grace turned around and smiled at her back seat passengers. Voice Number Two was wearing a green sweat suit and had deep chestnut colored hair. She was not nearly as brilliant as her sister. "Fern?" Grace knew she was right before the woman in question nodded.
The last woman, Voice Number Three, was wearing a neon yellow sweat suit that made her look like a banana. Her hair was yellow, too. Not blonde, but a vivid, brilliant yellow. It only added to the banana impression. "Blossom?" Grace sighed when the woman also nodded.
There it was—she was crazy. There was no other explanation for finding three fictional characters—characters that she’d created—sitting in her car.
This wasn't just hearing a spurt of dialogue in her mind. This wasn't just waking up at three o'clock in the morning because a character wouldn't let her sleep. This was three characters suddenly becoming flesh-and-blood and crawling into her car to keep her company.
This was crazy.
"No, it’s not," three voices chimed in at once.
Grace looked at them all. "It isn't polite to eavesdrop on someone's private thoughts. If you can't help it, the least you could do is pretend you didn't hear anything and wait until I actually got the words out my mouth."
"Like we just did?" Myrtle asked.
When Grace created her fairies for her fairy godmother books, she'd given them certain powers. They could appear people-height, although they could only manage about four feet on a good day, or they could appear fairy-height, around two feet. Right now, they were people-height. And, they could read their godchildren's minds. She was already beginning to regret that particular power.
"Yes. Like you just did." What exactly did they want?
"Well, we're here..." Fern began, answering Grace's unasked question.
"Not until I ask!" Grace yelled. She regretted it at once when she saw Fern wilt. "I'm sorry I yelled." She took a deep cleansing breath. "It’s just, I’m a little on edge here."
Fern looked up and smiled. "It's okay, honey. After all, it's not every day a woman has her wish come true."
"I didn't wish you. I invented you for my books, but I didn’t wish you into my car." But they were in her car. "I'm crazy," she moaned.
Crazy. Sanity Impaired. Nuts, flaky, bonkers, one brick short of a load, a little left of center—okay, a lot left of center.
"Now, you have to stop all that negative thinking," Myrtle warned. "It's not going to do anyone any good. We're not here to force you to wear that horrible white coat you’re envisioning."
"And why would anyone want to tie your hands with the sleeves like that?" Fern asked.
"They wouldn't want her to hurt herself," Blossom instructed her sister. "Sometimes you become violent when you're not quite right in the head. Though why they make everything white when you’re crackers, I don't understand. You'd think they'd go for a nice soothing blue or something."
"Will you two stop it?" Myrtle yelled.
Grace's head pounded harder. She never realized losing her mind could be such hard work or so very, very confusing.
"Okay," she said wearily. "Why don't the three of you tell me why you're here, and then you can be on your way again."
"Honey, you know why we're here," Blossom assured her.
"There's only one reason your fairy godmothers would visit," Fern said right over top of her sister.
"Quiet!" Myrtle yelled. This time it worked because the two sisters sat back in the seat and sealed their mouths. "Now, the two magpies in the back are right; you know why we're here. We're here to grant your wish."
"But I didn't wish anything," Grace said. "Oh, wait a minute. I did wish that royalty check would come in, so I could pay off my charge card. Did you bring it?" she asked hopefully.
Myrtle’s brows drew together with concern. "Now, you know that's not the way these things work. We're here to help you find Mr. Right."
"I didn't ask for a Mr. Right."
"Yes, you did. Every book you write is a plea for Mr. Right. That's why you write romance, because you long for a romance. But more than that, you long for an everlasting, until- death-do-us-part, for-better-or-worse kind of love. You believe it exists. Just like a part of you believes we exist, so—voila—we're here to help you. And believe me you need it."
"I don't need you."
"She does," Myrtle agreed with her sisters. "We’ve been worried about you for a long time." Two heads bobbed their agreement. "We waited for the right moment, and it’s finally here. Your job is stable, at least as stable as any writer’s job can be. You were just thinking your life is perfect, but we all know it’s not. You’re lonely, and that loneliness grows more each day. Our job is to make your life perfect, to see that you find Mr. Right and live happily ever after with him."
"Please don't," Grace pleaded. She'd written about these three ladies seven times, and she knew firsthand what a muck they'd make of things if they started meddling. In every one of her seven books the fairies goofed. And most of the time it was a very, very big goof.
"Ah, but it always ends up with a happily ever after, doesn't it?" Myrtle answered Grace's unvoiced complaint. "We just thought we'd come and introduce ourselves, right and proper, before things start hopping. Although we really didn't need the introduction, did we, dear? You know the three of us almost better than we know ourselves."
Myrtle reached across the front seat and patted Grace’s arm. "Everything will be okay, just go with the flow." The fact that Myrtle had touched her bothered Grace. She couldn't recall reading about illusions that had a physical presence. But then, she hadn't done all that much reading about mental problems, either.
"Go with the flow?" Grace moaned, putting her head in her hands and leaning against the steering wheel.
She was crazy. They'd lock her up and then throw away the key. Actually, Leila would probably take the key and wear it around her neck, telling everyone she met about her certifiable stepsister. Or maybe Doris would beat Leila to it. Neither liked her, that's for sure. And neither would mourn her loss.
Things couldn’t get any worse.
She yelped when there was a knock on the driver’s window. She swung around. As soon as she saw the police officer she knew that things could get worse.
Reluctantly, she rolled the window down. "Yes, Officer?"
"Is there a problem here, Ma'am?"
He was a stereotypical cop—big, broad, and giving her one of those icy cop stares he’d probably learned in the academy.
Talk about worse. He ma’amed me. First she was seeing and hearing things, and now some beefy boy with a gun, barely out of adolescence, was calling her Ma'am. This would go down in the books as the worst day in her life.
What would he think of the trio sitting in her car? Even though they were people-sized, they certainly weren’t normal- looking, not by any stretch of the imagination.
Grace quickly glanced at the other seats. The fairies waved.
"He can’t see us, remember?" Myrtle smiled encouragingly.
In addition to their ability to grow or shrink, or hear other’s thoughts, Grace had written that no one but the fairy-godchild could see the trio. That was one gift she might live to appreciate.
Hoping it was true, Grace looked the officer straight in the eyes. "I just got smacked with a blinding headache. I thought if I put my head down for a few minutes I might feel better." That much was the truth. Grace's head throbbed.
The officer didn't look like he believed her. He scanned the seats as if she might be harboring some fugitive—or something worse. Fairies would definitely be worse than fugitives, but the officer didn’t appear to see anything."
Copyright 2015 by Holly Jacobs. All rights reserved.