August 1st 2016 by Harlequin Heartwarming
She can’t afford to lose this…or him
There’s no way that struggling single mom Janie Young is going to lose Family Secrets. Not even to Dr. Burke Carter. The prize money and media exposure from the cooking-competition show will secure the future for her and her son, who has special needs. Sure, Burke is a talented chef with his own reasons to win, but he already has so much: wealth, a beautiful daughter, great looks…and definitely her attention. As their families become closer, Janie is beginning to care too much about him. But she can’t afford to get involved. Not when everything is riding on beating him.
This is an excerpt from a prequel to this series, THE MARRIAGE GIFT, which shows this book’s heroine, Janie Young, winning a chance to compete on the Family Secrets cooking show. The prequel was available for free last year and will go on sale this November in a Harlequin Heartwarming Thanksgiving anthology.
“Joe? It’s me, Janie. Oh, Joe, is Cor there, too? Put me on speaker phone….”
Corinne’s glance was curious. “It’s Janie,” he said, his thumb on the button that would bring their friend’s voice into the room. “She’s crying,” he warned softly. The show wasn’t due to air for another half hour. They were going to eat first, and then watch.
At Cor’s nod, he pushed the button and said, “We’re both here.” If the news were bad, Cor would handle it. She always did.
“Yeah? What’s wrong? Is it Dawson? Do you need us to come down?”
“No! Oh, you guys, I just can’t believe it…” Her voice trailed off on an obvious sob and Joe exchanged a glance with Corinne. “I just…I just have to get a hold of myself. But…I never thought…”
“Janie,” Cor’s voice was firm. And yet still sounding like sunshine. “Where are you?”
“I’m at the studio. They told us to be here two hours before the show aired. It’s a live show, but I didn’t know they actually tape it before it goes on. It’s over already. I won!”
The last words were so loud they’d have heard without the speaker magnification.
“I won, you guys! I’m going to be a contestant on the next season of Family Secrets! Can you believe it? And if I win that, Dawson and I are home free. My little guy will be able to have years of extra therapies if he needs them and…”
“You won?” Cor’s mouth hung open after the last word. “You really won? I mean, I know you’re the best when it comes to cooking, but…national TV, Janie? You made it! Oh my gosh, I’m so proud of you, sweetie! Are you on your way home, now? How’d Dawson do?”
The questions and answers flew back and forth while Joe listened. Dawson did great. He didn’t like the bright lights on stage, but when Janie picked him up and stepped back out of the lights, the little guy had grinned and waved non-stop and the audience loved him. They’d been invited to a private dinner with Natasha Stevens and some of her people, to discuss the upcoming season, and she’d call whenever they were through. She told them to be sure to watch the show.
They’d both assured her they would.
And then Janie was gone, leaving her good news floating around the room with only Joe and Corinne to corral it.