At eighteen, Mara O’Banyon drove to New York, determined to become a chef. As the luck of the Irish would have it, she was discovered by world-renown Executive Chef and restaurant mogul, Jacques Bernaut. Under his tutelage, she soars to stardom in his restaurants, even surpassing the skill of her mentor/lover. But when her father dies, she returns home to attend his funeral and remembers what it was like to have family. On visiting the family pub, Shenanigans, ideas of how to create a fabulous menu swirl in her mind…if only she can get past the sexy but stubborn Jake O’Leary, the current cook/bartender. The man is trouble with a broad-shouldered, handsome-faced, hot capital T.
Jake has worked at Shenanigans since he was released from the county jail. A self-trained chef, he’s built the bar's menu into what it is today. The last thing he needs is some New York-trained chef to boss him around in his own kitchen—no matter how gorgeous she might be. However, it isn't his kitchen. It's hers. When attraction flares the first day they cross knives in the kitchen, he falls for her—hard. He just needs to make her see he’s better than her fancy French boyfriend in New York. Easy right?
When Mara returns to New York to settle her affairs, she finds Jacques isn't so willing to say good-bye. To her shock and dismay, he holds her hostage with not only his iron-clad contracts but with threats to her family as well. Mara wants to break free, but at what cost? When Jake learns of her desperate situation, he’ll do anything to save her. But will his interference lead to dangers neither of them could have foreseen?
In Mara's Passion, a Kindle new release in the Saving Shenanigans series, you witness the wits and determination of the third O’Banyon sister, Mara, as she tries to free herself from the demons of her past and tries to build a future including love and trust. Mara is one of three inspiring women in this series as she gains confidence and personal growth toward reconciling what it means to be loved. Mixing a secret past, the mob, and an insane chef is a recipe for mayhem.
Kelly Abell brings you romance new releases 2015 that will change the way you think of southern romance novels. Moving characters and a sprinkle of romantic thriller suspense make this trilogy romance series a keeper. Don't forget to check out Mabe's Burden, Book One, and Meg's Secret, Book Two, of the Saving Shenanigans Love and Loyalty Romance Novel series.
Chapter One Excerpt
Mara leaned against the bar to slip off her Jimmy Choos. Her sister Meg’s wedding had gone off without a hitch, with the couple departing for a quick honeymoon in Orlando. She was proud of herself. She along with her other sister, Mabe, had pulled together a wedding in three weeks in between Meg’s chemo treatments. The timing couldn’t have been better.
Tears sprang to her eyes when she remembered the undying love on both Meg and Rod’s faces as they’d pledged their lives to each other. Mara, not one to dwell on the negative, still accepted the fact Meg was fighting ovarian cancer. She still had a long way to go to recovery, but at least she had someone she’d adored all her life to support and love her through it.
Sipping her glass of champagne, she sat on a bar stool. The rest of the wedding guests had made their way to Shenanigans, her family’s pub, to have themselves a true céle, a rip roaring Irish celebration, with family and friends. Some reminisced about Shane, Mara’s father, telling stories past and present, others drank. Singing always accompanied a good céle. Shenanigans was not in short supply of good singers either. Several men stood together, their beer mugs in hand, regaling the crowd with a loud Irish drinking song. It warmed Mara’s heart to see the joy filling the bar, which was still under construction from the explosion earlier in the year. One which almost cost her youngest sister, Mabe, her life. What a year it had been. In a few weeks, they’d celebrate Christmas followed by the dawning of a new year.
Mara took another sip of her drink, reflecting on the last six months. What a whirlwind. She along with her sisters had lost their father; Mabe had fought the mob to win back the family pub—which had nearly been lost to their father’s gambling debt—Meg was successfully fighting, her battle with cancer, and they’d be planning another wedding in the coming year for Mabe. She huffed out a breath. Wow, who’d have thought one family could survive so much? But we’re O’Banyons. That’s what we do. We stick.
The oldest friend of her father, Gavin McCain, approached. His white hair, normally meticulous, was mussed, his cheeks pink from dancing. His blue eyes sparkling with mirth, he plopped on the stool next to her. “Ah, Mara, me darlin’.” His words came out a bit slurred, each syllable carrying a puff of alcohol. “It’s a fine thing you and Mabe did for your sister. A fine thing, indeed. I’ve never seen our Meg looking so happy.”
Mara smiled at the older man. He’d been a part of their family ever since she could remember. Through all the rough times of her own father’s drinking and after their mother’s death, Gavin had been a rock they could rely on. She reached for his hand, pulled it to her chest, squeezed. “She did look happy, didn’t she? Even if things go wrong for her, at least she and Emma aren’t alone.”
Gavin hugged her tight. “She was never truly alone. She had you, your sister. Didn’t she? But I know what you mean. There’s nothing like having a special someone to share it all with.” In all these years, he’d never lost the Irish lilt in his voice. Mara loved hearing it.
“It went well, didn’t it? The wedding, I mean?”
“Aye, it did that. I was so happy to have gotten home in time. What an honor it was to walk Meg and her angel of a daughter down the aisle. Shane missed out, I’ll tell ya.”
Mara made a rude noise. “He’d have been too drunk to do it if he’d been here.”
“Now, don’t speak ill of the dead, my darlin’. I know he wasn’t the finest father on the earth, but he loved you girls.”
“You’d have never guessed it by me. I knew in my heart of hearts he never thought I was his. He said so enough times.”
Gavin caught her gaze, held it. His eyes were the nicest shade of blue, but they held pain. “It was the drink that made him say it, Mara. He knew what was his. It broke his heart when you ran off to New York.”
“Ha.” Mara laughed. “He must have gotten over it pretty quick because he never came to look for me.”
“Ah, but there’s where you’re wrong. He had me hire an investigator to look for you.”
Mara’s jaw dropped. “You never told me.”
“You never asked.”Buy Link: Amazon