Exclusive Excerpt: The Wonder of Now by Jamie Beck… Peyton Prescott would give anything for the carefree life she knew before breast cancer changed everything. But instead of using her second chance to move forward, she’s stuck promoting the memoir her brother convinced her to write, thus reliving the very battle she wants to forget. If she hopes her European book tour will allow her to enjoy revisiting her favorite travel-writing destinations, she’s wrong: her PR whiz is too consumed with his own goals to consider her needs.
Title: The Wonder of Now
Author: Jamie Beck
Release Date: September 10, 2019
Peyton Prescott would give anything for the carefree life she knew before breast cancer changed everything. But instead of using her second chance to move forward, she’s stuck promoting the memoir her brother convinced her to write, thus reliving the very battle she wants to forget. If she hopes her European book tour will allow her to enjoy revisiting her favorite travel-writing destinations, she’s wrong: her PR whiz is too consumed with his own goals to consider her needs.
Mitch Mathis has relied on discipline to achieve his goals, and with his new firm’s success riding on Peyton’s book launch, he must keep her on task. They’re here for business, not pleasure. And Mitch won’t let unbridled desire harm his professional reputation—not again.
When frustrated expectations and attraction throw the tour into chaos, it challenges everything Mitch and Peyton believe about themselves, life, and love, forcing these opposites to consider whether they can embrace the change they need to grow.
The sight of Peyton caused Mitch’s lungs to expand. A bright spot of joy at the end of the short exploration that had brought about many mixed feelings.
His dad’s ghost had haunted him while Mitch strolled amid old ruins and buildings that had survived time and wars and so much more. With each step, he’d recalled the dreamer who’d gone to work for that tech start-up, hopes soaring, and who’d come to the dinner table each night to discuss all the places their family would visit once he struck it rich.
Sadly, before that start-up could take flight, brain cancer went to work, eating away all the hopes and dreams his dad had ever had. His father never saw the glory of the setting sun’s golden-peach light hitting centuries-old stucco. Never dodged scooters, or sampled fresh-baked cannoli, or listened to Italian, Spanish, German, Dutch, and Chinese being spoken all around him.
Nor did his dad stand outside a tiny restaurant that smelled like tomato and onion while waiting for a beautiful woman who looked like a classic movie star to emerge from the crowd.
“Good evening.” He bowed, trying not to fixate on the long line of her neck or the way the pale-plum dress swayed when she walked.
“One of these days I swear I’ll be waiting for you for a change.” She looped her arm through his and headed for the door as if she hadn’t lit his every nerve on fire with her touch. When she leaned so close that they were shoulder to shoulder, the sweet, clean scent of her hair gave sharp contrast to the savory aroma of pork coming from the front door. “But I’m curious. You looked a little sad all of a sudden. What were you thinking?”
“Did I?” He shrugged, avoiding the discussion. “Must’ve been the sun hitting my eyes.”
She cocked an eyebrow but didn’t push.
Once they were inside the restaurant, his gaze wandered. Whitewashed stucco walls met with ancient rough-hewn wood-beam ceilings. The layout was something of an underground labyrinth filled with farmhouse and tile tables and idle chatter in a musical language he wished he understood. Modern beams stuffed with thousands of wine corks framing the bar that sat several feet above the first set of dining tables left him wondering about all the celebrations that had taken place here.
They followed the maître d’ down a small flight of stairs to a table for two.
“Benvenuto.” An older gentleman stopped by the table. “Ti porterò alcuni menù.”
“Grazie,” Peyton replied.
Mitch waited for an explanation.
“He’s bringing us menus, but I don’t need one. I’m getting the amatriciana. If you like pasta, it’s to die for.”
In truth, pasta at the Mathis house had been served with jarred sauce. Nothing to brag about. His mother had never mastered much beyond basic meat-and-potatoes fare.
“Are you willing to trust my recommendation?” Peyton asked.
The waiter returned and set the menus in front of them, but Peyton continued staring at Mitch with a question in her eyes. He nodded, having no particular taste for something else at the moment anyway. Her responding smile was worth it, even if he didn’t end up loving the meal.
She pushed the menus toward the waiter, face filled with animation. Such a contrast to the way he’d left her earlier. “Due amatriciane, per favore. E una bottiglia di Quaranta Sessanta. Grazie.”
The waiter nodded, rather stone-faced, and took the menus when he left.
“This might not be a tourist hot spot, but the food is good, and I love the vibe in here. Cozy, real.” Peyton sat back, wearing a pleased smile. “It feels good to be back. There were days when I doubted I’d see this city again . . .”
He sidestepped the reference to her illness, sensing they’d both had enough of that topic today. “I didn’t know you speak Italian.”
“I don’t. Not really. I’ve picked up enough to read menus and order room service. Food was always my favorite part of traveling. I’d hire tour guides to help me when I went sightseeing and needed a history lesson. Then I’d peel away and lose myself for hours, wandering off the beaten path, looking for something unusual or undiscovered.”
Her face came alive—eyes twinkling, cheeks flushed with warmth, lips curved upward—when she spoke about her past, giving him a peek at the energy she must’ve had when she’d been healthier.
“Do you miss it?”
She unfolded her napkin and laid it across her lap, a slight smile lingering on her lips. “Not at the moment.”
The flirtatious grin—if that was what he was seeing—almost made him forget that this was a client dinner, not a date. Not. A. Date.
National bestselling author Jamie Beck’s realistic and heartwarming stories have sold more than two million copies. She’s a Booksellers’ Best Award and National Readers’ Choice Award finalist, and critics at Kirkus, Publishers Weekly, and Booklist have respectively called her work “smart,” “uplifting,” and “entertaining.” In addition to writing, the author of the Cabot novels, the Sterling Canyon novels, and the St. James series enjoys dancing around the kitchen while cooking and hitting the slopes in Vermont and Utah. Above all, she is a grateful wife and mother to a very patient, supportive family.
Fans can learn more about her on her website, www.jamiebeck.com, which includes a fun “Extras” page with photos, videos, and playlists. She also loves interacting with everyone on Facebook at www.facebook.com/JamieBeckBooks.
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