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Positively Pippa
     

Positively Pippa

by Sarah Hegger
 

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“Sarah Hegger's voice is rich and witty and in a word, addictive.” --Terri Osburn

From author Sarah Hegger comes an exciting new series set in small-town Utah, where secrets don’t keep for long—and love turns up in the most unexpected places.


For Pippa Turner there’s only one place to go when her life

Overview

“Sarah Hegger's voice is rich and witty and in a word, addictive.” --Terri Osburn

From author Sarah Hegger comes an exciting new series set in small-town Utah, where secrets don’t keep for long—and love turns up in the most unexpected places.


For Pippa Turner there’s only one place to go when her life self-destructs on national TV—home to Ghost Falls, and her heavily perfumed, overly dramatic, but supremely loving grandmother, Philomene. If anyone will understand how Pippa’s hit makeover show was sabotaged by her vengeful ex, it’s Phi. But she’s not the only one who’s happy to see her—and Pippa can’t help but wonder if Matt Evans, her gorgeous high-school crush turned Phi’s contractor, is game for a steamy close-up…

Matt owes his whole career to Phi and her constant demands to embellish the gothically ridiculous house he built for her. Getting to see red-headed, red-hot Pippa is a bonus, especially now that she’s no longer the troublesome teenager he remembers. He’s willing to stay behind the scenes while she gives her own life a much-needed makeover, but not forever. As far as he’s concerned, their connection is too electric to ignore. And the chance to build something lasting between them—before she can high-tail it back to Hollywood—is going to the top of his to-do list…

Praise for Sarah Hegger and her Willow Park Romance series

“Hegger offers a breath of fresh air in the romance genre.” --RT Book Reviews

“Hegger’s characters have real chemistry, especially in the bedroom.” --Publishers Weekly

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
★ 04/10/2017
Hegger (Nobody’s Princess) invites readers into the delightfully quirky small town of Ghost Falls, Utah, in the warmly sincere first book of a contemporary romance series. Pippa Turner was a media darling, thanks to her makeover show, until a vengeful ex sabotaged her career. Now she has run back home in disgrace, the most hated woman in America. Back in Ghost Falls are her very complicated family—including her diva grandmother, Phi—and Matt, her high school crush, who feels beholden to Phi. Matt’s family situation is as complex as Pippa’s, and their separate struggles hamper their sizzling and sensually fun fling. What begins as a simple second-chance romance quickly transforms into a beautiful, frank examination of love, family dynamics, and following one’s dreams. Hegger’s unflinching, candid portrayal of interpersonal and generational communication elevates the story to the sublime. Shunning clichés and contrived circumstances, she uses realistic, relatable situations to create a world that readers will want to visit time and again. Agent: Nalini Akolekar, Spencerhill Associates. (June)
Kirkus Reviews
★ 2017-04-04
When Pippa's career explodes on national television and she returns home, the last thing she expects is to fall in love…or to heal the rift between three generations of women in her family.After her ex, a producer for her makeover show, edits a clip of Pippa in a way that makes her one of the most reviled women in Hollywood, she goes back to the place she feels safest—her hometown of Ghost Falls. Her grandmother Phi (short for Philomene) was a great opera singer who packed houses and performed for royalty before returning home to care for her daughter, Emily. Phi's absence in Emily's childhood created an almost irreparable distance between them that carried over to Emily's oldest daughter, Laura. Phi tried to make up for lost time when Pippa was born, but instead of bringing the four women together, it divided them: artistic Phi and Pippa against sensible Emily and Laura. So, upon returning home, Pippa takes refuge in her grandmother's house, where her childhood friend and high school crush, Matt Evans, is doing contracting work. All the problems that keep cropping up at Phi's place seem to be the result of intentional, but luckily unskilled, sabotage. While Pippa is busy putting her life back together and Matt is trying to figure out what to do with his, some of Phi's mementos from her career go missing. Is it theft, or have they been misplaced? This first book in the Ghost Falls series has a bit of everything—mystery, sex, love, family drama—and it's all exceptionally well-done. The mystery is compelling. The heat factor for the sex is off the charts. The familial drama is bittersweet and poignant. Most important, the amount of love in this book doesn't stop with romance—maternal and familial love are given as much of a spotlight as the story between Pippa and Matt. This is the type of romance that makes readers fall in love not just with characters, but with authors as well.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781420142440
Publisher:
Kensington
Publication date:
05/30/2017
Series:
Ghost Falls Series , #1
Sold by:
Penguin Random House Publisher Services
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
352
Sales rank:
210,287

Read an Excerpt

Positively Pippa


By Sarah Hegger

KENSINGTON PUBLISHING CORP.

Copyright © 2017 Sarah Hegger
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-1-4201-4244-0


CHAPTER 1

"Aren't you —?"

"No." Not anymore she wasn't. Pippa snatched her boarding pass from the check-in attendant and tugged her baseball cap lower over her eyes. Couldn't Kim Kardashian help a girl out and release another sex tape or something? Anything to get Pippa away from the social media lynch mob. She kept her head down until she found her gate, and chose the seat farthest away from the other passengers waiting to board the flight to Salt Lake City. Latest copy of Vogue blocking her face, she flipped through the glossy pages.

Peeping over the top of her magazine she slammed straight into the narrowed gaze of a woman three rows over. Shit! Pippa dropped the woman's gaze and went back to Vivienne Westwood bucking the trend.

Across the airport lounge the woman's glare beamed into the top of her head like those laser tracking things you saw in spy movies. Pippa buckled under the burn and slouched lower into her seat.

Look at that, Fendi was doing fabulous separates this season. And really, Ralph Lauren, that's your idea of a plus-size model? Stuff like this made her job so much harder.

Her former job.

Losing her show still clawed at her. Losing? Like she'd left the damn thing at Starbucks as she picked up her morning latte. More like her jackass ex with zero conscience had knocked it out of her hand. Framed, stitched up, wrongfully accused — judged, found guilty, and sentenced to a plethora of public loathing wiping out all the years spent building her career. Burning sense of injustice aside, she was stuck in this thing until it went away.

Angry Woman lurked in her peripheral vision. As sweat slid down her sides, Pippa tucked her elbows in tight and risked another glance.

Under an iron-gray row of rigidly permed bangs, the woman's mouth puckered up.

Back to Vogue. The knot in her stomach twisted tighter, and she checked her cap. What the hell? A baseball cap and shades always worked for other celebrities. Why not her?

Angry Woman squared her shoulders and huffed.

This could go one of two ways. Either Angry Woman would come over and give her a piece of her mind on behalf of women everywhere, or she'd confine her anger to vicious staring and muttering. Maybe some head shaking. Please don't let her be a crusader for women. Please, please, please. After two weeks of glares, stares and condemnation, Pippa had gotten the message:

Pippa St. Amor, the woman America loves to hate.

Right now, all she wanted was to sneak home and stay there until someone else topped her scandal. God, didn't Vogue have anything fresh? She'd make a list. Lists were good. Soothing. Item one, run away from Angry Woman and hide in the bathroom. Item two, get your career back. She moved item two up to first place, where it had been since she left home at eighteen, and gauged the distance between her and the bathroom door. She'd never make it.

Angry Woman lifted her phone and snapped a shot of Pippa.

Damn, she'd forgotten that option; this one by far the worst. God, she hated Twitter. And Facebook. And Instagram, and Snapchat, and whatever-the-hell new social torment site some asshat was thinking up right this minute. The ongoing public derision chipped off bits of her until she felt like an open nerve ending.

A friend huddled next to Angry Woman, long hair that was totally the wrong shade of brown and aged her by ten years at least. If Pippa had her on the show, Long Hair would be wearing a cute, hip cut, a fresh new makeup look, and mile-wide smile with her new sense of self.

The reveals never got old. There was something about a woman finally seeing her own beauty that made all the other crap that went with a television career worth it. Ray had ripped that away from her too.

Pippa was getting it with double barrels now. Lips tight, matching twin spots of outraged color staining their cheeks as they whispered over Angry Woman's phone. They both wore mom jeans. Up until two weeks ago it had been her mission to deliver moms everywhere from jeans like that. Along with those nasty, out of shape T-shirts they sold in three-packs of meh colors that had no business existing on the color spectrum. Angry and Long Hair were so her demographic. They'd probably seen the original episode live and watched it over and over again on demand or something. Maybe even watching it right this minute on YouTube.

YouTube! She hated YouTube, too.

Why didn't they call her flight already and get her the hell out of here?

You didn't sleep with the boss, and especially not in television. For four years. Ray had always been a bit sneaky, but to annihilate her career to boost his own? She hadn't seen it coming. But you couldn't rely on a man. How did she not get this by now?

Three minutes until boarding.

"Excuse me?"

Ah, shit, shit, shit, double damned shit in a bucket. So close, two minutes and fifty-five seconds. Smile and look friendly. "Yes."

Try not to look like you.

"You're that woman, aren't you?" Angry Woman narrowed her eyes, and Pippa leaned back in her chair, out of striking range.

"Hmm?"

"It is you." Long Hair planted her legs akimbo like a prizefighter. "I watched every single one of your shows. I can't believe you said those things, and I —"

Two minutes, thirty seconds.

"— should be ashamed of yourself. What you said is a crime against women everywhere. You made that poor woman cry."

Of course they cried. They were supposed to cry. The shows were edited to make them cry even more, but not the time to point it out.

"Shocking. And cruel. You're just a ... a nasty bitch." Angry Woman got the last word in. She'd been called worse. Recently, too, and it still stung.

A man in the row opposite turned to watch the action. The three teens beside him openly stared and giggled.

I didn't say it, people. Okay, she'd said it, but not like that. Editing, people. Creative editing — the scourge and savior of television celebrities worldwide. She could shout it across LAX and it still wouldn't do any good. Until the next scandal broke and hers was forgotten.

"This is a boarding call ..."

Thank you, Jesus!

"I'm sorry, that's my flight." Pippa creaked a smile and gathered her things. Handbag, phone, iPad, and coat. Her hands shook under the combined weight of several sets of eyes and she nearly dropped her phone.

No cabin baggage, not on this flight. Nope, this flight she'd packed just about everything she owned into the two heaviest suitcases on the planet. Paid extra weight without an argument. Anything to get the hell out of LA and home to Philomene.

Phi would know what to do.

CHAPTER 2

"Shit, Isaac. If the plumber needs quarter-inch pipe, get him quarter-inch pipe." Matt threw open the door to his truck as he half listened to another lame excuse. He could recite them by heart at this point anyway.

"No, I can't get the pipe. I'm at Phi's house now." He sighed as Isaac went with the predictable. "Yes, again, and I can't come now. You're going to have to fix this yourself."

He slammed his door and keyed off his phone. Smartphones! He missed the days of being able to slam a receiver down. Jabbing your finger at those little icons didn't have the same release.

When God handed out brains to the Evans clan, he must have realized he was running low for the family allotment and been stingier with the youngest members. Between Isaac and their sister, Jo, there could only be a couple of functioning neurons left. And their performance, like a faulty electrical circuit, flickered in and out.

He grabbed his toolbox from the back of the truck. This had to be the ugliest house in history, as if Hogwarts and the Addams family mansion had a midair collision and vomited up Philomene's Folly.

His chest swelled with pride as he stared at it. He'd built every ugly, over-the-top, theatrical inch of this heap of stone. He'd bet he was the only man alive who could find real, honest to God, stone gargoyles for downspouts. Not the plaster molding kind. Not for Diva Philomene St. Amor. Nope, she wanted them carved out of stone and mounted across the eaves like the front row of a freak show.

"Hey, Matt," a kid called from the stables forming one side of the semicircular kitchen yard.

"Hey, yourself." He couldn't remember the name of Phi's latest rescue kid doing time in her kitchen yard. Kitchen yard! In this century. Diva Philomene wanted a kitchen yard, so a kitchen yard she got, along with her stables.

"I want a building to capture the nobility of their Arabian ancestors thundering across the desert." She'd got it. Heated floors, vaulted ceilings, and pure cedar stalls — now housing every ratty, mismatched, swaybacked nag the local humane society couldn't house and didn't want to waste a bullet on. A smile crept onto his face. You had to love the crazy old broad.

He skirted the circular herb garden eating up the center of the kitchen yard. A fountain in the shape of a stone horse trough trickled happily. He'd have to remind her to drain it and blow the pipes before winter. He didn't want to replace the piping again next spring.

The top half of the kitchen door stood open and he unlatched the bottom half before stepping into the kitchen. The AGA range gave off enough heat to have sweat sliding down his sides before he took two steps. He opened the baize door to the rest of the house and yelled, "Phi!"

He hadn't even known what a baize door was at nineteen, but the Diva had educated him because she wanted one and it became his headache to get her one.

"Mathieu!" The Frenchifying of his name was all the warning he got before Philomene appeared at the top of her grand, curving walnut staircase. Thirty-two rises, each six feet wide and two feet deep leading from the marble entrance hall to the gallery above.

The soft pink of the sun bled through the stained-glass windows and bathed the old broad in magic. Her purple muumuu made a swishing noise as she descended, hands outstretched, rings glittering in the bejeweled light. "Darling."

She made his teeth ache. "Hold on to the railing, Phi, before you break your neck." It had taken a crew of eight men to put that railing in, and nearly killed the carpenter to carve a dragon into every inch of it.

She pressed a kiss on both his cheeks with a waft of the same heavy, musky perfume she'd always worn. She smelled like home. "You came."

"Of course, I came." He bent and returned her embrace. "That's how this works. You call, I drop everything and come."

A wicked light danced in her grass green eyes, still bright and brilliant beneath the layers and layers of purple goo and glitter. She'd been a knockout in her youth, still had some of that beautiful woman voodoo clinging to her. If you doubted that for an instant, there were eight portraits and four times that many photos in this house to set you right. Or you could just take a look at Pippa — if you could catch a quick glance as she flew through town. He made it his business to grab an eyeful when he could.

"I am overset, Mathieu, darling." She pressed her hand to her gem-encrusted bosom.

"Of course you are." The Diva never had a bad day or a problem. Nope, she was overset, dismayed, perturbed, discomposed and on the occasion her dishwasher broke down, discombobulated.

"It is that thing in the kitchen." She narrowly missed taking his eye out with her talons as she threw her hand at the baize door.

Her kitchen might look like a medieval reenactment, but it was loaded for bear with every toy and time-saving device money could buy — all top of the line. "What thing, Phi?" "The water thingy."

"The faucet?"

She swept in front of him, leading the way into the kitchen like Caesar entering Rome in triumph. "See." He dodged her hand just in time. "It drips incessantly and disturbs my beauty rest."

He clenched his teeth together so hard his jaw ached. He ran a construction company big enough to put together four separate crews and she called him for a dripping faucet. "I could have sent one of my men around to fix that. A plumber."

"But I don't want one of your men, darling." She beamed her megawatt smile at him. "I want you."

There you had it. She wanted him and he came. Why? Because he owed this crazy, demanding, amazing woman everything, and the manipulative witch knew it. He shrugged out of his button-down shirt and pulled his undershirt out of his jeans. He was going to get wet and he'd be damned if he got faucet grunge all over his smart shirt.

Phi took the shirt from him and laid it tenderly over the back of one of her kitchen chairs. "This is a very beautiful shirt, Matt."

"I'm a busy and important man now, Phi. A man with lots of smart shirts."

She grinned at him, and stroked the shirt. "I am very proud of you, Matt."

Damn it all to hell, if that didn't make him want to stick out his chest like the barnyard rooster strutting across Phi's kitchen yard. He turned the faucet on and then off again. No drip. "Phi?"

"It's underneath." She wiggled her fingers at the cabinet.

He got to his knees and opened the doors. Sure enough, a small puddle of water gathered on the stone flags beneath the down pipe. Good thing Phi had insisted on no bottoms to her kitchen cabinets. It had made it a bitch to get the doors to close without jamming on the stone floor, but right now it meant he wouldn't be replacing cabinets in his spare time.

"You should be out on a date," Phi said from behind him.

"If I was out on a date, Phi, I wouldn't be here fixing your sink."

"Yes, you would."

Yeah, he would. He turned off the water to the sink. "Have you got some towels or something?"

She bustled into the attached laundry and reappeared with an armload of fluffy pink towels.

Wheels crunched on the gravel outside the kitchen and Phi dropped the towels on the floor next to him. She tottered over to the window to stare. A huge smile lit her face and she gave off one of those ear-splitting trills that had made her the world's greatest dramatic soprano. Everyone, from the mailman to a visiting conductor, got the same happy reception.

He leaned closer to get a better look at the pipes beneath the sink. Were those scratch marks on the elbow joint? Neat furrows all lined up like someone had done that on purpose. He crawled into the cabinet and wriggled onto his back. They didn't make these spaces for men his size.

"Mathieu?" Phi craned down until her face entered his field of vision. Her painted-on eyebrows arched across her parchment-pale face. "I have a visitor."

"Is that so?" What the hell, he always played along.

"Indeed." Her grin was evil enough to have him stop his tinkering with the wrench in midair. "I thought you might like to know about this visitor."

The kitchen door opened. A pair of black heels tapped into view. The sort of shoes a man wanted to see wrapped around his head, and at the end of a set of legs he hadn't seen since her last trip to Ghost Falls — Christmas for a flyby visit. His day bloomed into one of those eye-aching blue sky and bright sunlight trips into happy.

Welcome home, Pippa Turner.


* * *

Pippa wrapped her arms around her grandmother and held on for dear life. Thank you, God, she was home. She'd made it in one piece. Missing the bits taken off her by the women at the airport, the car rental lady, and a group glare from a bunch of tourists at the baggage carousel of Salt Lake City Airport.

Phi tightened her arms around Pippa, as if she knew. Of course she knew, Phi always knew. The ache inside her chest unraveled and unlocked the tears. Not once in this whole ghastly two weeks had Pippa cried. But the smell of patchouli oil wiggled underneath her defenses and opened the floodgates. Home. Safe.

"Ma petite." Phi stroked her back in long, soothing strokes. The jewels encrusting her bodice pressed into Pippa's chest, like they had all through her childhood. "My poor, sweet girl."

The tears came thicker and faster, gumming up her throat and blocking her nose until they roared out in great gasping sobs.

Phi absorbed it all, like Pippa knew she would. Quiet murmurs and calming pats that eventually calmed the storm enough for her to speak.

"Now." Phi cupped Pippa's face between her pampered palms. "You will tell me all the dreadful things that man did to you."

The relief almost got her crying again, but Pippa dragged in a deep breath. She could tell Phi everything, about Ray, the vapid blond thing he was boning, her meltdown, the lies — all of it. She had a list of every last one. And Phi would believe her. Not like those sharks surrounding her in LA. "Did you see it?"

Phi's eyes clouded and her mouth dropped. "I did, my love, and it did not look good."


(Continues...)

Excerpted from Positively Pippa by Sarah Hegger. Copyright © 2017 Sarah Hegger. Excerpted by permission of KENSINGTON PUBLISHING CORP..
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Meet the Author

Born British and raised in South Africa, Sarah Hegger suffers from an incurable case of wanderlust. Her match? A Canadian engineer, whose marriage proposal she accepted six short weeks after they first met. Together they’ve made homes in seven different cities across three different continents (and back again once or twice). If only it made her multilingual, but the best she can manage is idiosyncratic English, fluent Afrikaans, conversant Russian, pigeon Portuguese, even worse Zulu and enough French to get herself into trouble. Mimicking her globetrotting adventures, Sarah’s career path began as a gainfully employed actress, drifted into public relations, settled a moment in advertising, and eventually took root in the fertile soil of her first love, writing. She also moonlights as a wife and mother. She currently lives in Colorado with her teenage daughters, two Golden Retrievers and aforementioned husband. Part footloose buccaneer, part quixotic observer of life, Sarah’s restless heart is most content when reading or writing books. www.SarahHegger.com.