Welcome To Weston

Walking down Main street of the small Ohio town of Weston, you see the sign outside what looks like a 1940’s diner. There’s flowers in the window box and a sign inviting you in for “The Best Blue Plate Specials for 50 miles” painted on one of the plate glass windows. Suddenly a rotund woman with bright yellow hair opens the door. She’s dressed in a red and white stripped apron and has a smile that beams with friendliness.

Welcome to Weston! Come on in, the Peaches ‘N Cream cafe is open every day breakfast to dinner. I’m Lorna Doone, yep, spelled just like the cookie and I’m the owner of the Peaches ‘N Cream. Why don’t you take a seat here at the counter? I’ve got fresh pies going into the pie cabinet there. Apple and Pumpkin are the best this time of year. You can have a slice while I fill you in on what’s happening in town.

We have a new resident, been here for a few months. She’s kind of secretive, keeps watching people and writing stuff down on her big legal pads. At first we thought she was a lawyer or something, but turns out she’s a writer. That’s her over there in the corner, typing away on that laptop thingy, complete with earphones. Says she listens to music while she writes. Her name’s Suzanne Ferrell.

You see a dark haired woman typing away, stopping every so often to take a bite of the slice of apple pie by her elbow or sip her Diet Coke.

What does she write? Says she writes romance novels. Says she always likes Happy Endings. Good thing, because I like them, too.

Why is she writing in a little town like Weston? Well, I asked her the same thing a while back. Said she loves the people in town and romance can happen anywhere, not just in big cities or exotic places. You know what? She’s right. Take Weston. Seems like a peaceful little town with not much going on. But as my friend Harriett, nurse for the town doctor, says, “things aren’t always what they seem.”

 The door to the kitchen opens and a young woman with copper-red hair and burns-if-she’s-out-in-the-sun-more-than-one-hour complexion enters the dining room carrying two plates of what must be the day’s Blue-Plate special. She nods at you, but keeps moving to the two truckers seated in a booth near the windows.

That’s Emma Lewis. She’s the heroine of Ms. Ferrell’s latest book, Close To HomeEmma’s got a lot on her plate. The single mother of two precocious twin boys and an aging mother who is having trouble getting through each day, Emma thinks the last thing she needs is


 a man in her life, but I know better!

Emma smiles at you as she passes by on her way back into the kitchen.

See him?

Lorna points to the window. A tall, dark haired man strolls by, a rather serious expression on his handsome features.

That’s Clint Preston, nephew of our town doctor, Doc Ray. Clint came to Weston for the year to fill in as the town doc while Doc Ray takes a long needed vacation. Clint also needed a sense of peace and calm to try to find his passion for medicine, which was burned out by long shifts in an urban hospital’s ER. Now don’t you think they’d make the sweetest couple? Me and Ms. Ferrell had a long talk about the two of them. Seems the pair caught her eye too and she did some digging and decided they just needed a little push in the right direction.

So what happened? 

Well, all it took was two six-year olds and a huge tree…


Harriett tried to talk him out of it, but Clint was determined to investigate the situation at the twins’ home. It had been months since he’d really enjoyed taking care of patients. Holding the body of one dying child was enough for him. He wasn’t about to let anything happen to these boys now.

So, in the end, despite his nurse’s cryptic remarks that things were not always what they seemed, he and the boys headed across the street.

“Mommy is…” Brian said as he held Clint’s hand with his good one.

“…sleeping now,” Benjamin informed him from the other side.

“Who watches you when your mother is asleep?” Clint asked as they reached the old three-story colonial directly across from his clinic.

“Mama does,” the boys answered in unison.

Did this woman truly believe raising these boys in a small town protected them—that the safety of a small community negated the need for supervision? His blood started to boil again as his temper re-ignited.

The boys led him up to the front door. He followed them inside. The condition of the front parlor stopped him in his tracks. Either someone was attempting to knock out a wall, or the boys’ mother let them entertain themselves by hurling hammers into the drywall.

He took a step into the room, but two small hands stopped him, pulling him backward.

“We’re not allowed…” Brian began.

“…in the construction rooms,” Benjamin followed.

“I’m sorry boys.” Clint stepped back. At least the woman has some sense. “Why don’t you show me where your mother is.”

“Mommy’s upstairs,” Benjamin bounced up the steps, while his brother chose to hold Clint’s hand and walk up beside him.

Despite his bravado of doing things just like his brother, Clint sensed Brian probably needed a little more reassurance. He gave the younger boy’s hand a squeeze and smiled down at him.

Brian gave him a gap-toothed grin in return. “Mama will be surprised to see our…” He held up his arm. “What’d you call this?”

“A cast.” Clint couldn’t resist another smile. “And I’ll just bet she’ll be surprised.”

 “Mommy’s in here.” Benjamin stopped for a moment at the first door at the top of the stairs, then burst into the room. Brian dropped Clint’s hand and dashed in after his brother.

Laughter greeted Clint’s ears at the open doorway—rich, soft laughter, like the creamy center of a melted caramel. The kind of laughter that made you want to wrap yourself up in it and stay a while.

Clint stopped in the doorway, spellbound.

The boys sat on different sides of an antique four-poster bed, sunk knee-deep in patchwork quilts, sheets and what he would swear was an old fashioned feather-tick mattress. But it was the vision between the little boys that held Clint’s attention.

Emma Lewis had the same rich, dark, burnt-copper hair as her sons, and the burns-if-she’s-out-in-the-sun-longer-than-one-hour skin of most redheads. Beneath the wrinkled T-shirt and jeans she’d fallen asleep in, he could tell she was neither too thin nor too heavy, just the luscious type of figure Clint decided long ago he liked on women. She also possessed that wonderful laughter that had stirred more than his heart to life.

But when she raised the deepest cornflower-blue eyes to him, Clint nearly moaned. If he let himself, he could get lost in that open, clear gaze forever.

“Can I help you?” The remnants of sleep in her voice brought on visions of hearing her voice after a night of endless passion.

“I’m Clint Preston,” he started to explain.

“He’s Doc Ray’s nephew. And he’s a doc, too,” interrupted Benjamin.

“And he put this on my arm,” Brian added, not to be outdone by his brother.

“What?” Emma looked at her sons, finally taking in their casts and looking a bit confused. “What happened?”

“Apparently they decided to play skydivers while you were sleeping,” Clint informed her. Some of his anger was dispelled by the obvious motherly concern on her face.

“Where?” she asked, looking first at one cast then the other.

“Thompson’s tree,” the boys answered at the same time.

Emma sat straight up at this information. Her face changed from one of concern to one of maternal outrage. “The tall oak in front of Old Man Thompson’s barn? What were the two of you doing there? You know he doesn’t allow anyone on his property. That boar hog of his is dangerous!”

“But it’s the biggest tree, mommy,” Benjamin said, his head drooped with guilt.

“That’s no excuse, Benjamin Joseph Lewis!” Their mother gave the boys such an I’m-very-disappointed-in-you look that Clint wanted to grab them and leave.

His anger snapped back to life. “If you had someone watching them, this wouldn’t have happened,” he said, coming to loom over the bed. “Setting limits, then yelling at them after they forget those limits is no replacement for actual adult supervision. Cases of neglect have been made on less, lady!”

Emma surged up in the bed, coming almost nose-to-nose with him. “How dare you suggest I neglect my sons. Not that it’s any of your business, Doctor, but for your information, I do have someone watching them.” Emma glared at him, her arms securely around her sons. “Mama watches them.”

“You can’t possibly believe they are safe running loose in this Podunk town while you sleep. You don’t deserve two great kids like these. Your lack of concern over their care is tantamount to neglect.”

“I don’t know who you think you are, Doctor, but no one accuses me of neglecting my kids.” She crawled out of the bed, to stand inches from him, her face flushed with her temper.

Then he remembered Johnny Wilson.

“I’m giving you one week, lady. Either you find more responsible child care, or I’ll have the county Child Protection Services here so fast you won’t know what hit you.”

“Oh, dear. This is all my fault.” A soft voice sounded from behind him.

Clint turned to see a tiny, white-haired woman standing in the doorway, wringing her hands.


That’s Miss Isabelle, Emma’s mother, but both boys call her Mama. Poor thing has been a bit forgetful since her husband Sherm died back in the spring. So once Ms. Ferrell had Clint and Emma meet, sparks certainly started to fly around here! The pair kept bumping into each other and sparring, until Clint did some digging on his own and Emma dispels his belief that she’s a neglectful mother, but he can see her situation is more critical than she wishes to face and finds himself volunteering to help care for her sons and the remodeling of her home.



A dark sedan passes by the Peaches ‘N Cream and Lorna visibly shutters.

That car’s been coming by here quite a bit lately. Something about it gives me the willies. Anyways, as Emma and Clint forge a relationship among our slightly off-beat inhabitants of Weston a menace from Emma’s past threatens her and her sons. Clint and Emma join forces to protect her sons and the love the couple has discovered in each other’s’ arms.

I can’t tell you any more, wouldn’t want to spoil the story for you.

Lorna smiles at you, a two-dimple smile.

Now, how about a slice of pie? The lemon meringue is just about ready to cut.


Hey everyone, I see you’ve met Lorna Doone. Her cafe, the Peaches ‘N Cream is the gathering place for the folks in Weston, it also tends to be gossip central. I fell in love with this little town and it’s not quite centered inhabitants. Actually, it reminds me of the small town where my parents grew up, only this is in rural Ohio and not rural Tennessee. I always found small town gossip and politics very fascinating. Close To Home is the first book in the Weston series,  a small-town contemporary romance series where “Things aren’t always what they seem“. 

I hope you’ll enjoy Emma and Clint’s story as much as I enjoyed writing it.

BOOK LAUNCH PARTY!! Since this is a book launch, what are you bringing to eat or drink and who is you date??? I’m also giving away 2 Amazon gift cards in honor of Close To Home’s launch!!

I’m drinking Peach Belinis and bringing Clive Owen!


Amy Adams pic courtesy http://www.toptensthings.com

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  • Melody May says:

    Congrats on your new book. Well, I would bring cupcakes. 1) I have a major sweet tooth.
    2) I love cupcakes.
    That’s what I bring. 😀

  • Mary Preston says:

    You must be so excited about your book launch. Congratulations!!

    I’m bringing Hugh Jackman and champagne & strawberries to celebrate. I’ll share the latter.

    • Hey, Mary!!

      Thank you and yes, I’m very excited! Everytime a new book is released I bounce around like a kid at Christmas. 🙂

      Hugh, strawberries and champagne? You wouldn’t be looking for a private spot to do your own celebrating would you?

  • Minna says:

    Congrats on your new book! I’m bringing David Copperfield and peanut butter bars.

    David Copperfield Ring Finger

    • Hey, Minna!

      A little magic with David Copperfield, huh? Love it!!

      And watch the peanut butter bars around the Cabana boys, word is they love to make peanut butter anything disappear.

  • Helen says:

    Whoo Hoo Suz I got this one the other day and am really looking forward to reading it I love books set in small towns.

    Seeing as how Mary is bring Hugh Jackman I might bring Rod Stewart to do a bit of singing and I have just got home a from a BBQ and I have some pasta and strawberry cheescake to bring along.

    Congrats on the release Suz

    Have Fun

    • Hey, Helen!

      Thanks for getting your copy of Close To Home! I’ a little nervous because this one isn’t a big romantic suspense as the others, but I do so love the characters.

      Rod Stewart?!? How cool!! Can you get him to sing for us?

      Love pasta and cheesecake…be sure to ask Sven to find room in the fridge for it!

  • Suz, congrats on your new release! It sounds great.

  • CateS says:

    I have Chex Mix all ready to go… and will bring Colin Firth…

  • Hey Cate!!

    Two of my favorite things, Chex Mix and Colin Firth!! Never tried them together, but am willing to give it a go!

  • diane says:

    Congratulations on your novel. Wonderful. I am bringing Patrick Stewart and brownies.

  • Joan Kayse says:

    Chocolate Chip Cookies. They can dance circles around a Lorna Doone 😀 They will be presented by Colin Firth…from a pocket in his…..Coat people! Coat!

    Congrats on another great book Ms Suz!

  • ellie says:

    I am captivated with this book. Great excerpt and perfect story. I am Bringing Nanaimo bars and Wiliam Shatner.

    • Hey Ellie!

      So glad you were captivated by Close To Home and that you loved the excerpt. Hope you’ll love the book just as much.

      Now I have to ask…what is a Nanaimo bar? And William Shatner? Young and sexy version?

  • Susan Sey says:

    Good morning, Suz! Whoa, do I love the sound of Weston. You’re making me crave pie &it’s not even noon! (Or maybe a Lorna Doone cookie. Hard to say.)

    Your excerpt is wonderful & I can’t wait to dive it! Congrats.

    • Oh Susan, one of your pies for breakfast? Yes, please!!

      I’m planning to make a homemade applesauce tart when I get back to Texas next week!!

      You’ll have to tell me how well I captured the small town feel of Close To Home. Beware, there are some funny and sad parts to this book!

  • pearl says:

    Your excerpt captured my intense and complete attention. Best wishes. I hope to bring Nathan Filion and Shortbread cookies.

    • Hey Pearl!!

      So glad Close To Home has your attention. Be ware there’s at least one character in there who might need his or her own story!

      Nathan Fillion, yummo!! And shortbread cookies? Lorna Doones perhaps? 🙂

  • Sandyg265 says:

    I’m bringing rum cake. Not sure who my date’d be.

  • Anne says:

    What a fabulous excerpt! Congratulations! Bringing a good friend, Viggo Mortensen and lemon bars.

  • Dianna aka Hrdwrkdmom says:

    I think I will be coming solo today, unless I can bring my kitty Patches, she doesn’t take up much room.
    Well my oven is dead and though I tried to make sausage balls in the toaster oven that didn’t turn out well, think it might just be a vegetable tray with ranch dip.

    I love, love, love the sound of this book, I grew up in a small town and it has got to be the best place ever. Unless of course you are bent on mischief and I can guarantee that won’t fly long. Usually before mischief occurred you were told on and parents showed up.

    • Caren Crane says:

      Dianna, Patches is most welcome. She can hang out with my cat, Chaps, except he is a bit of a malcontent and may prove a bad influence on her. 😉

      So sorry to hear about your oven. That is the worst feeling – well, except knowing you have to pay for a repair or a new oven!

    • Hey, Dianna!

      Veggies and dip are always appreciated. Kinda helps negate all those calories from the sweets and alcohol, doesn’t it?

      of course if you are bent on mischief and I can guarantee that won’t fly long. Usually before mischief occurred you were told on and parents showed up

      That’s part of the story, how the town tries to help Emma keep her boys out of trouble. You’ll have to let me know if I managed to capture the small town feel.

    • Joan Kayse says:

      Of COURSE you may bring Patches!!! Cricket and Grayson T. Monkey Cat are hosting a pet soiree in their deluxe kitty tunnels.

      What happens in the tunnels, stays in the tunnels 😀

  • catslady says:

    Well Pearl took my Nathan and she better hold on tight or I may steal him away lol. I will bring Craig Ferguson with his Scottish accent and wonderful sense of humor and he’s a pretty good dancer too and some Margaritas!

    I enjoyed the story. I’ve never lived in a small town so it sounds intriguing to me.

  • gamistress66 says:

    Congrats on the new release. Need to go do some shopping but wanted to give a toast to wish you best of luck with the new book. 🙂

  • Connie Fischer says:

    Oh my gosh, I think I gained 10 (mental) pounds reading about all of those goodies. “Peaches ‘N Cream Cafe!” Seriously. How could anyone just walk by a place with that name? Yummy. Your novel sounds equally as delicious and I’m certainly looking forward to reading it, Suzanne.

    Congratulations and all the best!

    • LOL, Connie! Doesn’t the Peahes ‘N Cream just make you want to come in and sit a spell? Inoperable you enjoy the rest of the book as much as y’all have the excerpt.

  • Barbara Elness says:

    Congrats on the release of Close to Home! I’m bring Strawberry Margaritas and some finger foods and my date is Gerard Butler.

  • Suz, congrats on the new book! I love the name Peaches and Cream Cafe.

    I just ate some mild buffalo wings, so I’ll contribute a big virtual bucket of wings to the party. 🙂

  • Jane says:

    Congrats on the new release, Suzanne. I won’t bring any homemade dishes because we just got our power back and I don’t have any supplies. I’ll bring you some Magnolia cupcakes and some rose champagne. My date is Henry Cavill. Maybe we can get him drunk enough to spill some secrets about his Superman movie.

    • Caren Crane says:

      Jane, I’m so glad you’re power is back on! I was worried about you and my other NYC friends and relatives. No worries about the food, there is always too much at these things! 🙂

      Great choice in Henry Cavill. I adored him in The Tudors and think he’ll be a wonderful Superman. Even without his so-sexy British accent. 🙁

    • JANE!!! So glad you have your power back on!!! We’ve been worrying about all our East Coast Bandits and friends. I think Henry would bean excellent choice to cozy up with? 🙂

  • Caren Crane says:

    Suz, I’m so happy to meet Lorna and learn more about Emma and Clint! I can’t wait to read this book – and ALL the Weston books. I do love a small town series!

    I am bringing my Down South Pecan Pie and drinking coffee (cause it totally goes with pecan pie). My date is the pecan-pie loving (I’m SURE he is) Matt Damon! 🙂

    Oh, and the recipe for my Down South Pecan Pie is posted in the Members Only section, so check it out! Also be sure to check out Donna’s Fuzzy Navel Cake. I’ve eaten it and it is heavenly! If you don’t have access to the Members Only site, just sign up for our monthly newsletter and you will be IN! 🙂

  • Fedora says:

    Ooh… congrats, Suz!! I’m bringing the whole family, and some chocolate chip cookies, warm 🙂 Can’t wait to read this!

  • Na S. says:

    A party definitely needs sweets! I’ll bring cupcakes 🙂

  • Hey, Na!! Cupcakes are always welcome. Just hand them over to Sven. he’ll make sure they get to the desert table and not the Hockey hunks locker room!

  • Pat Cochran says:

    I’m so late! Got to find someone to join
    me in enjoying my Mimosas! Can’t drink
    them all myself, else I might end up dan-
    cing on the tables or swinging from the
    chandeliers !!!

    Pat C.

  • Pat Cochran says:

    Another reason why I shouldn’t drink all the
    mimosas: David Boreanaz won’t be here to
    catch me when I fall off the tables or
    the chandeliers!!

    Pat C.