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Caramel and Magnolias by Tess Thompson
Age Group: Adult
Genre: Contemporary Women’s Fiction; Contemporary Romance
Release Date: February 1, 2013
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Crushed by a broken heart, ten years ago Cleo Tanner walked away from her acting dreams and now leads a quiet, secluded life in Seattle. Sylvia, her best friend from college, is trapped in a loveless marriage, distraught by her desire to have a child – until an adoption agency owner in relentless pursuit of Cleo offers to help.
Just as Sylvia begins to experience a love so profound that only a mother can feel, a detective approaches Cleo with disturbing questions about the adoption agency. Determined to protect her friend, Cleo jumps into a dangerous investigation that forces her to confront the ghosts of her past.
A toast to friendship, motherhood, mended hearts and new beginnings, Caramel and Magnolias reminds us it’s never too late to reawaken the heart.
It was Monday, later afternoon; Cleo sat at the nearly empty bar, celebrating the last day of school by munching on the only salad on the menu, a surprisingly good Caesar with grilled chicken, and sipping on a pint of Sierra Nevada Pale Ale. Nick was taking drink orders at a table near the back, from a group of young men dressed in button-down shirts and khakis – a group from the same office, she guessed. She glanced at the man at the end of the bar. He was here the other night, she remembered. He’d been reading a newspaper. This afternoon he sipped green tea, occasionally twisting the cup in a circle.
She stole glances at him in the mirror. He was handsome in a rakish kind of way. Did anyone use the word rakish anymore, she wondered? If not, they should.
Then, in a habit leftover from drama school, moving her salad around the plate, she began to concoct a story about him. He was the type who could have any woman in the bar if he wanted, with just a smile and a compliment, especially given the way his dark blond curls fell over his forehead. His lips were too full for a man. Indeed, they were the lips of a player, of a man aiming to get a woman into bed and leave before the sun rose in the sky. He was a charmer who lured innocent women into his bed only to play the I don’t want a commitment song in the morning. Or, perhaps he was a grifter, looking to bamboozle lonely, innocent women into a Ponzi scheme.
She jumped, startled. Had he just said her name? She shifted on her barstool to look over at him, somewhat frightened. “How did you know my name?”
He reached into his jacket pocket and pulled out a badge. “I’m a cop. You have a minute to answer some questions about Scott Moore?”
“What do you want to know?” She tried to sound more sure of herself than she was. “I don’t know him that well.” “You dating him?”
“No. He’s a friend. Sort of. His agency helped my best friend adopt a baby. Just two days ago, in fact.” She took a deep breath. Why was she rambling, like she was guilty of something?
“I’m investigating Moore for some possible illegal activity related to his adoption agency.”
Her stomach lurched. “I don’t understand.” What did he mean? It felt like she was turning pages of a book, trying to find the place where she’d left off. She took a deep breath, thinking only one thing. Sylvia.
Tess Thompson is a novelist and playwright with a BFA in Drama from the University of Southern California. In 2011, she released her first novel, Riversong, which subsequently became a bestseller.
Like her main character in Caramel and Magnolias, Tess is from a small town in Southern Oregon. She currently lives in Seattle, Washington with her two young daughters, Emerson and Ella, and their puppy Patches. She is inspired daily by the view of the Cascade Mountains from her home office window.
Giveaway: (1) eBook copy of Caramel and Magnolias. All ebook formats available (mobi, epub, pdf). Open International.