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Turn My World Upside Down: Jo's Story (Marconi Sisters Series)

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Overview

#1 bestselling author Maureen Child has won the hearts of readers and critics alike with her warm, witty tales of the Marconi sisters in AND THEN CAME YOU and A CRAZY KIND OF LOVE. Now, here is Jo's story...

Turn My World Upside Down

Jo Marconi has her hands full working hard at the family business and struggling to get her belated college degree. The last thing she needs is a ten-year-old boy to look after. But that's exactly what she gets ...

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Overview

#1 bestselling author Maureen Child has won the hearts of readers and critics alike with her warm, witty tales of the Marconi sisters in AND THEN CAME YOU and A CRAZY KIND OF LOVE. Now, here is Jo's story...

Turn My World Upside Down

Jo Marconi has her hands full working hard at the family business and struggling to get her belated college degree. The last thing she needs is a ten-year-old boy to look after. But that's exactly what she gets when her stepbrother comes to live with her. It's clear Jack needs a father figure. But why must he seek out Cash Hunter-the one man Jo can't stop thinking about! Cash has a reputation as being the sexiest man in town, and Jo refuses to become another notch in his belt. At least, that's what she tells herself...

Cash Hunter has risked his heart in the past, and he's not about to make the same mistake again. He vows to keep the irresistible Jo at arm's length-until the attraction between them gets too hot to handle. And when Jo reveals a secret from her past, Cash knows it's time to step up to the plate. Jo is the woman he wants, and he'll find a way to show her once and for all-even if it means losing her forever...Filled with Maureen Child's trademark wit, sassy heroines, devastatingly sexy heroes, and deep sensuality, TURN MY WORLD UPSDIDE DOWN will remain with you long after the last page is turned.

"Maureen Child is one of the stars in the ascendant...poised for the next big step."

Publishers Weekly

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
SOME KIND OF WONDERFUL

"The terrific Child introduces readers to some wonderful new characters and a very special town. Blending the power of love and forgiveness, Child will touch your heart." -Romantic Times

"Child deftly invokes the full range of human emotion...thoroughly satisfying." -Booklist

"A touching story of friendship, deep love and scorching passion...A very good read." -Old Book Barn Gazette

"A heartwarming read filled with a terrific cast of characters." -Rendezvous Review

"Romance and sexual tension...charming, emotional." -RoadToRomance.com

LOVING YOU

"The boisterous Candellanos are back...in this latest heartwarmer." -Romantic Times

"Packed with very strong characters and lots of emotion...an unforgettable story, and a romance to treasure." -A Romance Review

"Maureen Child always writes a guaranteed winner, and this is no exception. Heartwarming, sexy, and impossible to put down."-Susan Mallery, bestselling author of The Sparkling One

FINDING YOU/ KNOWING YOU

"An absolutely wonderful contemporary romance. A delightful blend of humor and emotion, this sexy love story will definitely keep readers turning the pages."-Kristin Hannah, author of Distant Shores

"The Candellano family is warm and wonderful...you'll get swept up in the lives and loves of these passionate and fascinating individuals."-Romantic Times

"Maureen Child infuses her writing with the perfect blend of laughter, tears, and romance. Her well-crafted characters, humor, and understanding of what it means to be part of a family makes each of her novels a treat to be savored." -Jill Marie Landis, author of Magnolia Creek

"Delightful romances involving colorful and yet realistic characters make these two stories by Maureen Child, a veritable feast for the eyes. The large Italian family of the Candellanos is very convincing and the characterizations are so mature and honest that the author is to be applauded for such skillful crafting and accurate portrayal...the heartfelt emotions leap from the pages, and the delicately blended humor and pathos render these stories memorable...after the exhilarating first story, readers will feel compelled to read the other one too, and neither disappoints. Maureen Child is an author to watch out for."

-The Road to Romance

"A fresh tale of family, conflict, and love...the characters are endearing."-Old Book Barn Gazette

"Both of these novels are engaging contemporary romances with a warm ensemble that feels like the kitchen of many readers. The story lines will hook readers because the characters seem genuine and friendly."-Harriet's Book Review

"Fall in love with this delightful family with these two tales, and prepare yourself for the next installment."—TheRomanceReader.com

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780312997540
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Press
  • Publication date: 8/2/2005
  • Series: Marconi Sisters Series
  • Format: Mass Market Paperback
  • Pages: 352
  • Product dimensions: 4.25 (w) x 6.72 (h) x 0.97 (d)

Meet the Author

MAUREEN CHILD writes love stories with humor and warmth and says it's because "Love and laughter go hand in hand. At least, in my world, they do."

Her award-winning novels have been called "simply wonderful," "captivating," and "beautiful love stories that will live in the heart forever." A three-time Romance Writers of America Rita-finalist, Maureen Child lives in Southern California with her family.

You can find her at: www.maureenchild.com

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Read an Excerpt

One

Cash Hunter made Hugh Hefner look like a blushing virgin.

He’d been in Chandler more than a year now and the talk still hadn’t died down. In fact, he’d earned a catchy little nickname. People called him “the Woman Whisperer.” A title not unearned.

Josefina “Jo” Marconi remained immune, though.

Well, mostly.

“Ignoring me won’t make me go away.” Cash, in all his male gorgeousness, leaned one shoulder against the wall and crossed his booted feet. He moved slowly, lazily, as if he had all the time in the world.

Oh, Jo so wished he was wrong about that. He’d just walked into the Barclay house, instead of staying outside, where he was supposed to be finishing up the trim work. As annoying as Cash might be on a personal level, when it came to woodworking, the man was as talented as he was gorgeous. And that was plenty talented. Still, Jo’d managed to go all morning without actually having to talk to him. Figured it wouldn’t last.

She never should have hired him to help repair and repaint the Barclay house. The man was determined to seduce her for some reason and saying no all the damn time was really tiring. But damn it, she was too shorthanded to ignore experienced help.

She reluctantly lifted her gaze to meet his. The man was just too good-looking for any woman’s self-control. Even hers. Of course, there was no way she’d let him know that.

Tall, with broad shoulders and long legs, Cash had black hair that was slightly too long, his dark eyes were too piercing, his wide grin too knowing, and to top it all off, he even smelled too good.

A serious irritation.

“What will make you go away, then?” Jo asked, her patient tone sugary sweet despite the annoyance pumping inside. Usually the soul of patience—despite what her sisters might think—Jo couldn’t seem to help the spurt of temper. There was just something about this man that made her want to tear at her own hair.

Never taking his gaze from hers, Cash shifted and dropped into a crouch beside her. Resting his forearm across his knee, he grinned at her, and tiny lines at the corners of his eyes fanned out. “You agreeing to have dinner with me.”

Jo’s fingers tightened around the handle of her favorite hammer. “Like that’s gonna happen.”

He’d been playing this game for months. Didn’t seem to bother him that she blew him off regularly. He didn’t care that she never encouraged him—in fact, went out of her way to avoid him.

For whatever reason, she had become Cash Hunter’s Mount Everest. Didn’t matter how many other women had fallen at his feet. He was bound and determined to conquer her.

Well, he was doomed to disappointment. Jo Marconi wasn’t about to be conquered. She wasn’t interested in a man at the moment—hell, at any moment. Especially one with Cash’s track record.

Cash was to women what kryptonite was to Superman. One night in the man’s bed was apparently enough to convince even the most sane, reasonable, intelligent woman to give up her ordinary life and go do good deeds. One had gone off to join Habitat for Humanity, one was now in Chechnya, working with foreign adoptions, and still another was off volunteering with the Literacy Foundation.

Of course the talk around town now was that Cash had become a monk. According to the truly excellent grapevine in Chandler, he hadn’t been out with any female in months.

Which, to Jo’s mind, just meant he was getting desperate enough to keep bothering her.

“You know,” she said tightly, “you’re just one more straw tossed onto a camel who’s already thinking about having a breakdown—when she can find a few extra minutes.”

He lifted one shoulder in a shrug. “I could help.”

“Is that right?” she asked, and slammed her hammer against a small finishing nail before she looked at him again. Just like a guy to think he could step right in and handle any situation better than a woman. “And just what kind of help would that be?” she asked, glaring at him with enough heat to sizzle his skin. “I’ve got one sister so pregnant she can’t stand up, let alone work. Another sister just pregnant enough to hurl every fifteen minutes. My father and his girlfriend are off on a cruise, and I’m playing temporary mommy to a ten-year-old brother who hates my guts.”

Cash laughed. “Jack doesn’t hate you.”

“I’m not so sure about that,” she muttered, and thought about how the kid had looked at her just that morning when he’d headed off to school. It was the look that she used to give her biology teacher.

“I am. He’s just a kid.”

“I know,” Jo muttered, shooting him a quick look, then shifting her gaze again. “And I wasn’t fishing for sympathy.”

Even though, God, saying it all out loud made her want to hop in her truck and hit the nearest freeway ramp. In three days, she could be anywhere. But almost as soon as the idle fantasy erupted in her brain, she shut it down again. She wasn’t leaving, despite how tempting the thought was at the moment. If she left, who the hell would hold everything together?

Nope. She was going to keep doing what she had been doing.

Being the oldest Marconi sister.

Being the responsible one.

Being in charge. Even if that meant working double shifts to pick up the slack on their construction jobs—or dealing with a brother she hadn’t even known existed this time last year.

Man, it really sucked being her.

And it really pissed her off to have Cash Hunter try to swoop in on a white charger and slay all of her dragons. For God’s sake. Hadn’t she made it plain enough that she just wasn’t interested in being the next bouncee on Cash’s bed? Hadn’t she insulted him? Baited him? Ignored him at every opportunity? What did it take to get through to a guy like this?

Her hand fisted around her hammer again, and briefly, she gave in to the indulgent daydream of giving him a good thump with the business end. But then he’d be unconscious and she’d have to drag his body to a clinic. And who had time for that?

“So, Mr. Wonderful,” she said tightly, when he only continued to stare at her through those dark, liquid chocolate eyes. “If you really want to help, how about you go finish up the trim work? You know . . . outside?”

He smiled at her. “Mr. Wonderful. I like that.”

“You would.” Wouldn’t you know that would be the only part of her statement that he paid attention to? Honestly, the man was a walking hormone.

“How’s Jack doing, anyway?”

Good question. Her little brother hardly spoke to her. But then, he hadn’t exactly had a great year, either. At ten years old, he’d lost his mother three months before in a car accident, then been uprooted from his home in San Francisco to live with his father in Chandler. Not to mention, he had three sisters who were still walking a little warily around him.

It wasn’t Jack’s fault that Papa had had an affair with the kid’s mother while Jo’s mother, Papa’s wife, lay dying. God. Just remembering it made Jo furious all over again. No one had ever guessed that Papa had been anything but a loving, faithful husband.

Until his minor heart attack a few months ago. For a few terrifying hours, they’d all felt the whisper of Death hovering close. So close that Grace Van Horn, Papa’s sixtyish ladyfriend, had shattered the Marconi sisters’ nice little world by insisting on calling the mother of Papa’s son. Jo was the first one to admit she hadn’t taken it well.

But then, finding out that the one man in the world you trusted above everyone else had actual feet of clay was a real eye-opener. She’d just recently been able to look into Papa’s eyes when she talked to him. And even now, the pain of betrayal was still there.

And so was Jack.

The unwitting reminder of her father’s fall from grace.

As if they needed a reminder. Things were still . . . uneasy in the Marconi family. Oh, Jo’s sisters, Sam and Mike, had made their peace with their father. But Jo . . . she hadn’t been able to let go of the pain yet. The numbing sense of betrayal.

But she so didn’t have time to think about all of this now. So didn’t have the luxury to indulge in a good old-fashioned pity party with hats and balloons.

“Jack’s fine,” she said grimly, determined to believe it.

“Yeah,” he said. “I’m convinced.”

She gritted her teeth and tried to swallow down another flash of irritation. “What do you care anyway?”

He shrugged and Jo determined to not notice the ripple of muscle beneath the black T-shirt he wore. He so didn’t need any more female fans.

“He’s a good kid.” Cash shifted position slightly as if he were suddenly uncomfortable. “A little lost, maybe. But good.”

“I know.” Jo sighed and hated to admit that the man had a point. Since moving to Chandler, Jack Marconi had wandered around the family home like . . . well, like a kid who’d had his world pulled out from under him. And she didn’t have a clue how to help him through it.

Frowning at Cash, because she couldn’t very well frown at herself, she asked, “Don’t you have an elsewhere to be?”

“Not at the moment.”

“Lucky me.” Okay, if he wouldn’t leave, then she’d just go back to ignoring him. Not so easy, though, when he was right beside her, and she could feel his gaze pinned on her. Besides, his scent kept wrapping itself around her like some damn unwanted blanket.

Leather, spice, male.

Damn it.

“You know what your problem is?” Cash asked, his voice a lazy drawl.

“At the moment?” she asked. “You.”

“Wrong.”

She blew out a breath, slammed the head of her hammer against the finishing nail jutting up from the baseboard she was trying to attach. The heavy smack of metal on wood zinged up her arm and Jo enjoyed it. No matter what the rest of her world was like, she could always at least find pleasure in the work.

And when all else failed, she could use her hammer to beat the crap out of something. Always cathartic.

“Don’t you want to know?” he prodded and inched back as she pressed ever onward.

“Do I get a choice?”

“Not really.”

“Oh, then please,” she said, looking up at him and fluttering her eyelashes until she was nearly blind. “Tell me so you can go about your merry way.”

He grinned again, and Jo swallowed hard. The man was as attractive as he was annoying and God knew that was damned attractive.

“You’re afraid of me.”

She snorted and sat back. “You’re a piece of work, you know that?”

“I like to think so.”

She shook her head so hard, her dark brown ponytail whipped around and slapped her in the eye. “You’re incredible. I didn’t mean that in a good way.”

Sunlight poured in through the windows behind her and spotlighted Cash as if he were the only player on a stage. His dark eyes, filled with secrets and promises and all kinds of tempting things, were locked on her and there was a knowing smile on his handsome face.

That was his problem, she thought. Too many women over the years had thrown themselves at him. He’d come to think of himself as God’s gift to womankind and every female he met had agreed with him. Until her.

Sure, she was attracted.

There was a nice little hum of electricity whenever he got near her.

But she was in construction. She knew damn well how much damage electricity could cause, so she wasn’t about to go sticking her fingers—or anything else—in Cash Hunter’s socket.

“So am I really that scary to you, Josefina?”

She winced. “I’ve told you like a million times I hate that name.”

“Yeah, but I told you a million times I really do,” he teased, that smile deepening. “So, how about it? You going to admit that I scare the crap out of you?”

“You really think you can dare me into your bed?” she asked and lifted the hammer. Not that she’d actually hit him with it or anything. Well . . . not unless he pushed her into it.

A damn dimple appeared in his left cheek. “Hey, you’re the one talking about beds. I said dinner.”

A shriek sounded in her head and it was only through sheer determination and stubbornness that she was able to keep it from exploding out her mouth. “I don’t have time for you,” she snapped instead.

“One of these days, Josefina,” he said, leaning forward until they were practically nose to nose. “You’re going to have to make time.”

Her teeth ground together as he pushed himself to his feet with a lazy motion. Then brushing his hands together, he hitched his tool belt a little higher on narrow hips. “Guess I’ll go and finish packing up. Finished the trim already.”

“Thanks for the news flash,” she muttered. God, that she had come to this. Actually hiring Cash Hunter. But with her sisters Mike and Sam both too pregnant to be any help whatsoever, she’d had to hire on extra hands. Even if they were attached to the one man in the world who pushed all her buttons the wrong way.

“I really think you’re starting to like me, Josefina,” he said, his boot heels thumping on the hardwood floor as he headed for the kitchen door.

“And I think you’re delusional,” she said. “Wonder which one of us is right.”

His laughter floated back to her as he stepped out of the room and it took Jo an extra minute or two to convince herself that she was not affected by that low, rich sound.

She wasn’t.

She was almost sure of it.

Michaela “Mike” Marconi Gallagher pushed herself into a sitting position, then scooted her heavily pregnant bulk to the edge of the sofa. Bracing her hands on the highly polished coffee table, she gave a mighty heave and . . . nothing.

She glared at her belly and muttered, “You know, before you guys settled in down there, I could actually get up off a couch anytime I wanted to.”

“What’re you doing?”

“Apparently,” she snapped, lifting her gaze to her husband, “not a damn thing.”

Lucas Gallagher scowled at her, set down the tray of cookies he was carrying on the table and then loomed over his wife. “The doctor said bed rest. I compromised with the damn couch. But you said you wouldn’t get up.”

Mike tried smiling at him, but her husband was no pushover these days. He watched her like a mother hen chasing its last chick. And while she appreciated the loving concern, the lack of mobility was making her nuts. Which, for her, translated into crabby.

“Damn it, Lucas,” she blurted, when his features remained stony, “I can’t just sit here.”

“You’re right,” he said, stepping around the table. Lifting her legs, he swung them back up onto the couch, then dropped a colorful crocheted afghan over her. “You’re going to just lie there.”

“Like a beached whale,” she muttered, looking down at her huge belly.

He dropped one long-fingered hand onto the mound of their children and gave her skin a slow stroke. “The mother of my kids is not a whale.” He paused, said, “A hippo, maybe.”

Her eyes narrowed.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 5
( 8 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 8 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 23, 2012

    Good REed

    I enjoyed this book a lot. Loved the way the story went.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted November 18, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    Jennifer Wardrip - Personal Read

    Ahhh...finally, Jo's story! I loved both AND THEN CAME YOU, Sam Marconi's story, and A CRAZY KIND OF LOVE, Mike's story--and TURN MY WORLD UPSIDE DOWN was a perfect ending to this trilogy! <BR/><BR/>Josephina "Jo" Marconi has had her world turned upside down. She's about to finally finish college, ten years after she first enrolled. She's still struggling to forgive her father, Hank, for his one time of infidelity during her mother's illness. She's attempting to bond with her ten-year-old brother, Jack, the result of that one-time mistake of her father's. And she's trying, without much luck, to avoid Cash Hunter, the Woman Whisperer of Chandler, California. <BR/><BR/>But then things get complicated. Jo finds out who the Money Fairy is, the person who has been leaving money anonymously for needy members of Chandler . She can't understand how her two both really pregnant sisters forgave their father for his sins so easily. And she most definitely cannot understand how to let go of the secret shame she's been harboring for years--that years ago, as a young college student, she was raped by a man she thought she was in love with. <BR/><BR/>TURN MY WORLD UPSIDE down is the perfect ending to the winning trilogy by Maureen Child. Ms. Child is known for her well-developed characters and all-too-human story lines, and this book doesn't dissapoint. As Jo comes to grip with her past, she and Cash must learn that trust and love is about more than taking a chance, about more than being worried about what other people might think, and about more than living in fear that the person you love could possibly wind up causing you pain. <BR/><BR/>I'm sorry to see this series end, but all three books are definitely winners, well worth the time to read!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 23, 2007

    The Last Marconi Sister's Story is Another Winner

    Ahhh...finally, Jo's story! I loved both AND THEN CAME YOU, Sam Marconi's story, and A CRAZY KIND OF LOVE, Mike's story--and TURN MY WORLD UPSIDE DOWN was a perfect ending to this trilogy! Josephina 'Jo' Marconi has had her world turned upside down. She's about to finally finish college, ten years after she first enrolled. She's still struggling to forgive her father, Hank, for his one time of infidelity during her mother's illness. She's attempting to bond with her ten-year-old brother, Jack, the result of that one-time mistake of her father's. And she's trying, without much luck, to avoid Cash Hunter, the Woman Whisperer of Chandler, California. But then things get complicated. Jo finds out who the Money Fairy is, the person who has been leaving money anonymously for needy members of Chandler . She can't understand how her two both really pregnant sisters forgave their father for his sins so easily. And she most definitely cannot understand how to let go of the secret shame she's been harboring for years--that years ago, as a young college student, she was raped by a man she thought she was in love with. TURN MY WORLD UPSIDE down is the perfect ending to the winning trilogy by Maureen Child. Ms. Child is known for her well-developed characters and all-too-human story lines, and this book doesn't dissapoint. As Jo comes to grip with her past, she and Cash must learn that trust and love is about more than taking a chance, about more than being worried about what other people might think, and about more than living in fear that the person you love could possibly wind up causing you pain. I'm sorry to see this series end, but all three books are definitely winners, well worth the time to read!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted December 9, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    fun third Marconi contemporary romance

    Josefina ¿Jo¿ Marconi wonders what happened to her world. Her two sisters, Mike (see A CRAZY KIND OF LOVE) and Sam (see AND THEN CAME YOU) are married, pregnant, and boffing or eating all the time. Her father confessed to an affair ten years ago that led to a stepbrother Jack, who now stays with Jo as his mother recently died and their dad is on a cruise. The worst change is hiring woodworker Cash Hunter to repair the Barclay House as he wants to seduce her, but she does not want to make love and then save the world as his previous females apparently have done. --- Jack struggles with the dramatic shifts in his life while Jo decides to fight fire with fire and go after Cash, expecting to scare him away. He backs off but it is too late as Jo and Cash are in love. As Jo struggles to prove to the two men in her life that they can become a family, the two males are not sure whether to flee towards or away from the female predator who wants to shower them with love. --- The third Marconi contemporary romance is a fun tale unless you are pregnant. Jo is a wonderful lead character unable to empathize with her siblings while ¿stuck¿ with Jack who she does not know or understand, Cash, and the family business. Cash is her ideal counterpart as he feels for her brother-in-laws, provides big brother understanding to Jack, and wants Jo in his bed permanently not globetrotting after a tryst. Maureen Child closes her Marconi siblings with a strong zanier finish. --- Harriet Klausner

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    Posted January 17, 2009

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    Posted May 16, 2010

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    Posted June 16, 2011

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    Posted July 30, 2011

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