I have one older sister and four older brothers. I lovingly refer to them as my mother’s other children. Who was her favorite? Me and I dare them to deny it. Case closed. In my family, it was all about competing for face and air time with my parents. Both are deceased and I still wonder who thought we should go on without some semblance of adult supervision.
As far as sibling rivalry goes, my parents outlawed it. They squabbled with their siblings and didn’t want it to continue in their household. When we fought, we had to be quiet about it or get a lecture from a parent. A favorite line was “Who’s your best friend?” implying we children all cherished our time together. Being asked this question after a scream fest with my brother, I responded to my mother, “Your idiot son.” I got back at him by marrying one of his friends. Or was that his revenge on me? After twenty-six years of wedded bliss, it has yet to be determined.
I believe my siblings molded my personality more than my parents. The glint in my eye and chip on my shoulder are remnants from years of teasing about being the baby of the family. My oldest brother, his birthday is this week so I won’t mention his faults, still introduces me to people as his baby sister. When bullying came up at school, I used my other brother’s penchant for picking on me. Next time we saw him, my daughter demanded he apologize for being mean to me. She’s currently my favorite child. My brother was stunned by the accusation and denied it. Luckily, my other four witnesses were there to remind him.
We are close and woe to anyone to upsets one of us. My father believed family was a fortress where you were safe and loved. As always, he was right.
I was his favorite too.
In Spicing Up Trouble, Alexia Hale’s career and love life are major discussions point for her older sisters.
What about your siblings: good or bad influence on your life?
Here’s an excerpt from Spicing Up Trouble:
A bold move required a first step.
“Good things come in threes,” I said.
“Yeah like musketeers and stooges,” Eleanor said.
“Don’t forget caballeros,” Irene added. “Wait, I thought death came in threes.”
“Only in Hollywood,” Eleanor replied.
The silent sister had let life pass her by—until now.
“I have a few announcements to make. First, I submitted my resume to Single Chicago and have an interview next week,” I said.
“You will be touting your favorite sister’s bar,” Irene said.
“And your beautiful sister’s boutique,” Eleanor chimed.
“No promises, but if I’m hired, I’ll steer someone to write an article or five for each of you. Second, the sommelier at the Bergen has agreed to work on the Thanksgiving menu at the newspaper’s blog with me.”
“What if you get the job at the magazine?” Irene asked.
“Then she can write a guest article. I’m going to mention it at my interview. I can deliver big names.”
“Sweetie, is the sommelier acquainted with Single Chicago’s more risqué serving dishes?” Eleanor asked, sipping her wine.
“Like the pasty chef’s quarterly column?” Irene asked with a giggle.
“You mean pastry chef,” I said.
“Honey, if you write for Single Chicago you better line up a few pasty experts too. There are some racy suggestions for weekend activities. Remember ‘Wrap it in Whipped Cream?’ I tried it on what’s his name,” Irene said.
“Charles. Whatever happened to him?” Eleanor asked.
“You have a fabulous memory. He married a stripper/dominatrix. I awakened a buried need in him to be humiliated,” Irene said as she picked her glass for a toast.
“The effect you have on most men,” Eleanor added as she tapped Irene’s glass to hers.
“Don’t sell yourself short, dear. Many of your exes have yet to recover,” Irene said.
“Excuse me again,” I said.
“Sorry, Sweetie, but you should know by now not to give us airtime,” Eleanor said.
“She’s right, honey. Now please continue,” Irene said as she filled the wineglasses.
I knew they were reptiles or amphibians; they inhaled through their noses, exhaled, and talked at the same time. It explained so much.
“Thank you. Shelley Carpenter, the art critic, left the newspaper and had been lined up to interview Benjamin Cobb,” I said.
“The reclusive, gorgeous, single, famous artist, Benjamin Nance Cobb?” Eleanor asked.
“He has been the modern art world for the last fifteen years. Tall, moody, and richer than all the Kardashians and Jenners,” Irene said.
“How do you get to see him? He doesn’t speak to the press or on the record to any other living soul,” Eleanor said as she leaned toward me.
“I’m going to model for him,” I said.
“What?” they yelled in unison.
The other patrons swiveled around and stared.
Spicing Up Trouble
Mary Jo Burke
Contemporary Romance/Romantic Comedy
Gemma Halliday Publishing, 332 pages
Alexia Hale works as a test kitchen writer for the Chicago News. But she gets her big break toward reporting “real” news when she’s given the opportunity to interview the world renowned artist, Benjamin Nance Cobb.
The catch: to get it, Alexia has to pose as a nude model for Ben. What begins as an awkward assignment quickly turns into a real friendship…and possibly more. But when a photograph of Alexia is leaked to the press, their private life suddenly becomes very public. Ben’s father isn’t pleased, Alexia’s sisters are shocked, and now she’s being hounded by the press.
Dating a celebrity has its challenges and rewards. The only question is, which one will outweigh the other?
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About the Author:
Long before DVDs, Mary Jo saw Gone with the Wind in the theater. She was ten. The story never left her. She read the book three times. She saw the movie every time it was re-released. GWTWwill be seventy-five years old this year and is her favorite movie. She would only make a minor change: Leave Ashley to Melanie and hold on tight to Rhett. Her writing sprung from reading, watching, and always wanting to edit. Mary Jo was born in Chicago and has never strayed far from home. She majored in Accounting and received her MBA in Finance. She worked in the investment and banking businesses.
Mary Jo is a member of the Romance Writers of America, Chicago North RWA, and Windy City RWA.
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