Excerpt from “Feisty Family & Friends” the third book in the series.

The next morning Tillie woke with a start. “What time is it?” The clock read nine and she was impossibly late with deliveries to the café. “Oh, no. I’ve never been late before. This is so bad. Joe!” She jumped out of bed and looked down at her sleep shirt. It read: I can’t adult today.
“Bad omen.”
She dove into her slippers and dashed into the kitchen. “Joe!”
The room was clean, with lingering scents of cinnamon and butter.
Opening the door to the garage, Tillie poked her head out and found her SUV missing. She grabbed the wall extension and dialed Joe’s cell.
He picked up after two rings. “Good morning, sunshine. You finally woke up!”
“Oh, Joe, what have I done? What’s Peggy’s going to do without pastries today? Where are you, by the way?”
He chuckled. “I took care of this morning’s baking while you slept, delivered today’s goodies, ran an errand and I’m on the way home.”
“Thank, God. I never even heard the alarm this morning.” Tillie felt like crying. This was not a good way to start the day.
“That’s because I woke up before it sounded and flipped it off. You were snoring so nicely I didn’t have the heart to wake you up.”
“You did? But you didn’t have to. I love getting up with you and baking in the morning.” Tillie couldn’t believe she was complaining about getting to sleep in. “I’m sorry. I’m an ungrateful wretch.”
“Ungrateful, maybe, wretch – never! Go get a shower and I’ll see you in a couple of minutes. I have one more stop to make before I get home. Love you.”
“I love you, too. And, thanks.” Tillie hung up and shook her head. “I’m losing my mind. Maybe a little hot water will help to clear my brain.” She started the shower and dragged her silly tee off and into the laundry basket. “I’m saving you for day time, no more jinxed sleep.”
The water felt wonderful sluicing down her head and back. She squirted her scrub with lavender scented soap and rubbed everywhere. After washing her hair and rinsing all over she sighed. “I don’t remember the last time I took a shower and got dressed so late. It feels positively indecent.”
A tall silhouette approached the steamy shower door. “Want some help drying off? I have a nice fluffy towel all warmed up for you,” Joe said. “Come and get it!”
She slid the door open wearing nothing but a grin and walked into the towel he held out to her. He wrapped her tightly and slowly rubbed his hands all over her to banish the wet and to warm her skin.
“How’s that?” he asked.
Her eyes were closed, and she sighed. “Wonderful. You should pamper me more often.”
Joe laughed. “That’s my plan.” He ruffled her short white curls with the towel and kissed her nose. “Better?”
Tillie wiggled her arms free of the fabric and hugged his neck. “You smell good, like chocolate and cinnamon. Did you try a new recipe?”
“No. I’m not that brave, I’ll use your recipes a while if you don’t mind.” He scooped her up in his arms and carried her to the bedroom. “Want to mess around?”
“As tantalizing as that sounds, I think I need to eat. I’m getting dizzy from hunger.”
Reaching into her drawer Joe pulled out her long-sleeved Mighty Mouse tee shirt and handed it and some underthings to her. “How about some sweats and wooly socks?”
“Sure,” she said, donning the appropriated clothing as quickly as her chilled fingers would move. When the last sock was on, Joe picked her up again and carried her to the dining room.
“Put me down, you lovely dolt. I can walk.”
“I know, but let me play the gallant servant today, okay? Just one day.” His eyes pleaded with her.
“Okay.” Tillie laid her head on his shoulder, reached up and kissed his strong jaw and smiled when goose bumps flashed on his neck.
He cleared his throat and gently set her on one of the dining chairs. “I’ll get you something to eat, but coffee first?”
“Definitely, coffee first.” She grinned and pulled her stocking feet up onto the lip of the chair seat, hugging her knees.

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