Ryan's Place (Devaney Series #1)

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781602857087
  • Publisher: Center Point Large Print
  • Publication date: 4/1/2010
  • Series: Silhouette Special Edition Series, #1489
  • Format: Library Binding
  • Edition description: Large Print
  • Pages: 286
  • Product dimensions: 5.70 (w) x 8.60 (h) x 1.10 (d)

Meet the Author

When Sherryl Woods's first novel was released in 1982, her former journalist colleagues spent a lot of time reading the sexy passages that were a far cry from the news reporting she had once done. One, shaking his head, turned to the newspaper's art director and said, "And you've been taking her bowling."

But those steamy love scenes aren't the heart of the romance novel, Sherryl replied. Romances are about so much more. "They're about deep and abiding relationships, about finding a soul mate, about family and commitment and, yes, of course, about joyous, passionate sex."

Well over 70 books later, however, this prolific author still believes that. It is why she continues to love the genre. In addition to her two popular mystery series and romances for other publishers, Sherryl has enjoyed phenomenal success with her books for Silhouette Special Edition, Silhouette Desire and MIRA Books.

Originally from Arlington, Virginia, Sherryl graduated from Ohio State University with a degree in journalism and worked for several newspapers covering everything from suburban government to entertainment. Eventually specializing in television, she became the television editor for papers in Ohio and Florida. In 1980 she quit her work in news to write books, but again found herself in the workforce coordinating an employee program for eight thousand people at a major Miami trauma center. Two years later, her first romance was in print and publishers were clamoring for more. By 1986, she was writing full-time.

Sherryl feels her natural talent for writing romance fiction stems in part from her previous work. "Journalism taught me to be concise and clear as a writer, but it also taught me to become a great observer of human nature."

Though romances are her first love, this author has also proven adept in the mystery genre. Each of her fictional sleuths, Molly DeWitt and Amanda Roberts, were optioned for television, which brought Sherryl full circle to the medium she once covered.

A member of Novelists, Inc., Sisters in Crime, and Mystery Writers of America, Sherryl also served as president of the guild for Miami City Ballet for three terms. She currently divides her time between her oceanfront home in Key Biscayne, Florida, and her childhood summer home on the river in Colonial Beach, Virginia, where she owns and operates her own bookstore "to keep in touch with the real people who matter in this business--the readers."
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Read an Excerpt

Ryan's Place

By Sherryl Woods

Harlequin Enterprises Limited

Copyright © 2002 Harlequin Enterprises Limited
All right reserved.

ISBN: 0373244894

Ryan Devaney hated holidays. Not only were they lousy for business, but the few people who did walk into his Boston pub were usually just about as depressed as he was. The jukebox tended to blast out its most soulful tunes, which might have reduced him to tears if he hadn't given up shedding them a long time ago. Thanksgiving, with its bittersweet memories, had always been worst of all. And this year promised to be no different.

Outside there was the scent of snow in the crisp air, and back in Ryan's kitchen, his cook was already baking the dozens of pumpkin pies Ryan would be taking to the homeless shelter and also serving to the handful of people who showed up at the pub for a lonely meal tomorrow. Ryan had a very dim recollection of a time when both aromas would have stirred happy memories, but those days were long gone. It had been more than twenty years since he'd had anything at all for which to be thankful.

Even as the thought crossed his mind, he brought himself up short. Father Francis - the priest who evidently considered saving Ryan's soul his personal mission - would blister him with a disapproving lecture if he ever heard him say such a thing aloud. The priest, whose church was just down the block and whose parish benefitted from Ryan's generosity, had a very low opinion of Ryan'stendency to wallow in self-pity around holidays.

"You have a roof over your head. You have money in your pocket and warm food in your belly," Father Francis had chided on more than one occasion, disappointment clouding his gaze. "You have a business that prospers and customers who rely on you. You have countless others who depend on you for food and shelter, though they don't know it. How can you say there are no blessings in your life? I'm ashamed of you, Ryan Devaney. Truly ashamed."

As if Ryan had conjured him up just then, Father Francis slid onto an empty stool at the busy bar and gave Ryan his usual perceptive once-over. "Indulging again, I see."

Ryan winced at the disapproving tone. "Haven't touched a drop," he said, knowing perfectly well that liquor was the last concern on the priest's mind.

"Ah, Ryan, my boy, do you honestly believe you can get away with trying that one on me?"

Ryan grinned at the white-haired man, who still had a hint of Ireland in his voice. "It was worth a try. What can I get you on this chilly night?"

"Would a cup of Irish coffee be too much trouble? The wind is whipping out there, and my old bones can't take it the way they once did."

"For you, Father, nothing is too much trouble," Ryan told him with total sincerity. As annoying as he sometimes found the priest, Ryan owed him his life. Father Francis had snatched him out of the depths of despair and trouble many years ago and set him on a path that had landed him here, operating his own business, rather than sitting in a jail cell. "Why aren't you home in front of a fire?"

"I've been to visit the shelter. We've a new family in there tonight. Can you imagine anything sadder than being forced to go to a homeless shelter for the first time on Thanksgiving eve, when everyone else is fixing turkey and baking pies and preparing to count their blessings?"

Ryan gave him a sharp look. It had been Thanksgiving eve, seventeen years ago, when Father Francis had taken him to the St. Mary's shelter, scared and hungry and totally alone. Just fifteen, Ryan had been angry at the world and had barely managed to escape being arrested for shoplifting, thanks to the priest's influence with the local police precinct and the outraged shop owner.

"No, I can't imagine anything sadder," he said tersely. "As you well know. What do you want?"

Father Francis smiled, a twinkle in his eye. "Not so very much. Will you talk to them tomorrow? Your own story is an inspiration to many in the neighborhood. Hearing what you've accomplished under difficult circumstances will give them a reason to hope."

"I imagine you think I can find work for at least one of them, as well," Ryan said with a note of resignation in his voice.

There had been a time when he'd had a formal business plan for his pub, complete with goals and bottom-line projections. Taking in Father Francis's strays had pretty much thrown that plan into chaos, but if the priest had asked him to cater a funeral in hell, he would have found some way to do it. Hopefully, this latest request would require less drastic action.

"Well?" he prodded. "One ... or both. The fact of the matter is, I understand the mother is a wonderful cook. Didn't you tell me that you're short-staffed in the kitchen?" Father Francis inquired innocently. Before Ryan could reply, he rushed on, "And with the holiday season coming on, you'll be busier than ever in here as folks gather to warm up a bit after their shopping. And some of the local businesses like to use your back room for their Christmas parties, isn't that right? Perhaps you could use another waiter, at least through New Year's."

Ryan cursed his loose tongue. He was going to have to remember that Father Francis was a sneaky, devious man, always looking to pair up his strays with people who casually remarked on some need or another. There had been one point when half his waitresses had been unwed mothers-to-be. For a brief time, he'd been certain his private dining room was going to wind up as a nursery, but even Father Francis had stopped short of making that request. The priest's grudging acknowledgment that a pub was no place for infant day care suggested, however, that the thought had crossed his mind.

"Hiring an extra waiter is no problem. As for the woman, can she fix corned beef and cabbage, Irish stew, soda bread?" Ryan asked.

The priest looked vaguely uncomfortable. "Isn't it time for a bit of a change?" He pulled the bright-green, laminated menu from its rack on the counter and pointed out the entrées that had been the same since the opening on St. Patrick's Day eight years ago. Even the daily specials had remained constant. "It's a bit boring, don't you think?"

"This is an Irish pub," Ryan reminded him dryly. "And my customers like knowing they can count on having fish and chips on Fridays and stew on Saturdays."

"But people eventually tire of eating the same old things. Perhaps a little spice would liven things up."

Spice? Ryan studied him warily. "What exactly can this woman cook?"

The priest's expression brightened. "I understand her enchiladas are outstanding," he reported enthusiastically.

Ryan frowned. "Let me get this straight. You're asking me to hire someone to cook Mexican food in my Irish pub?"

He shuddered when he considered how his born-in-Dublin cook was likely to take to that news. Rory O'Malley was going to be slamming pots and pans around for a month, assuming he didn't simply walk off the job. Rory, with his thick Irish brogue and a belly the size of Santa's thanks to his fondness for ale, had a kind heart, but he could throw a tantrum better than any temperamental French chef. Because his kitchen had never run more smoothly, Ryan tried his best to stay out of Rory's way and to do nothing to offend him.

The priest plastered an upbeat expression on his face. "Ryan's Place will become the most talked-about restaurant in the city, a fine example of our melting pot culture."

Excerpted from Ryan's Place by Sherryl Woods Copyright © 2002 by Harlequin Enterprises Limited
Excerpted by permission. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.

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