Thursday, June 27, 2013

Pump Up Your Book Virtual Tour - First Chapter Reveal of Can't Stop Loving You by Peggy Webb

Join Peggy Webb, author of the romantic comedies, Can't Stop Loving You, Only His Touch, Bringing Up Baxter, and Angels on Zebras, as she tours the blogosphere June 3 - June 28, 2013 on her first virtual book tour with Pump Up Your Book!

Can't Stop Loving You - Chapter One 

"Over my dead body!"

When Brick Sullivan got really mad, the furniture shook. The coffee table was doing a fandango across the wooden floor, the chandelier was rattling like an oak tree in a gale, and the stuffed pillows were cowering against the sofa like frightened rabbits.

Angelica Murphy tried to soothe her client.

"Now, Brick... this is not a firm commitment." He favored her with the lifted black brow and the curled lip that had earned him the adoration of fans around the world. "You know I would never make a commitment like that without consulting you. I did, however, give tentative approval to the plan, and I strongly urge you to consider it."

Brick paused in his thunderous stalking around her office, scooped the letter off her desk, and began to read aloud.

" 'This will surely be the event of the century: The reuniting of Sullivan and Sullivan in The Taming of the Shrew.' "

The voice that sent women swooning in the aisles of movie houses and theaters never failed to move Angelica to tears... of gratitude. If it weren't for Brick Sullivan, she would still be occupying a tiny little cubbyhole without a window instead of an office that commanded a view of Fifth Avenue.

Brick threw the letter back onto her desk.

"I've tamed that shrew once; I have no intention of ever doing it again. Onstage or off."

Knowing how Brick loved exits, she waited until he was at the door before having her say.

"Helen has already accepted."

He turned slowly, an actor from the top of his glorious mane of black hair to the tips of his polished number eleven boots. The brow went up once more.

"Obviously she doesn't know I'm part of the package."

"She knows."

"And she still accepted?"

"Of course. Your wife always did have great business sense."

"My ex."

"Sorry. I forgot."

"Like hell. You remember the make of socks I wore when I did my first Broadway show fifteen years ago. You never forget a damned thing, Angelica."


"Wipe that witchy smile off your face. Hell will freeze over before I'll ever occupy the same stage as Helen Sullivan."

"You know what the gossip columnists will say. 'Brick Sullivan deserted his pet charity in a fashion worthy of the cowardly lion merely to avoid seeing the woman he loved on and off stage for five years. What does Helen Sullivan have that turns the mighty Brick into a sniveling mass of putty?' "

"I'll tell you what she has; she has claws."

"And a fabulous career that she's not willing to jeopardize over a simple matter of spending a few days in New Hampshire with you."

"I don't know why I put up with you. You exaggerate everything."

"You put up with me because I'm gorgeous and sexy and I help you make more money than Ted Turner." Angelica's full-bodied chuckle caused her horn-rims to slide down her narrow nose and disturbed the starched front of her prim white blouse. "Ducking out of this small benefit performance will hardly jeopardize your career, Brick. But it will cast doubt on your commitment to the Children's Hospital."

Brick sank onto Angelica's plush sofa and crossed his long legs at the ankles.

"When do I start rehearsals?"

"How does tomorrow sound?"

"You didn't make a firm commitment, huh?"

"I knew you'd come around. Underneath all that rough-and-tumble bad boy posturing, you're a teddy bear."

"Don't tell my fans."

Angelica trotted off to fetch a bottle of champagne from her break room. They always celebrated a deal with a toast: It was tradition for them. As Brick waited for her return, he began to lay his plans.

He hadn't seen Helen since their breakup two years earlier, and he harbored no doubts whatsoever about their first encounter. It would be all-out war, and he had no intention of going into battle without his armor.


Helen stood in front of the mirror practicing what she was going to say.

"Hello, Brick. How are you?"

No, that was too personal. She didn't want him to think she still cared how he was. And she certainly didn't want to know.

What if he'd weathered the two years better than she? What if he were gloriously happy and perfectly content in addition to being the most devastatingly gorgeous man she'd ever met?

She tossed her long black hair in the way that used to make him call her a high-bred filly and licked her full lower lip in the manner that used to drive him wild.

"Fancy seeing you again... after all these years."

That was better, spoken with just the right combination of nonchalance and bravado. Except that he would see right through the lie. Obviously she would never commit to do a show without knowing the other actors.

Tossing her hair and licking her lips was out, too. She certainly didn't want him to think she was trying to seduce him. Even the Abominables were looking at her as if she had lost her mind.

She sank to the floor between her two Great Danes and wrapped her arms around their necks.

"What am I going to do, girls?"

Chelsea licked her face, and Sami licked her hand.

Helen giggled. "Well, yes, I suppose I could lick him all over, but he might get the wrong idea. Any other suggestions?"

"Talking to yourself again?" Marsha Jenkins, her personal secretary, marched into the bedroom and surveyed the damage like a general getting ready for war. A trail of silk lingerie led from the bureau to the open suitcase on the bed; shoes and handbags made a small lopsided mountain beside the chaise lounge, and jewelry glittered on the satin coverlet like fallen stars. "How many times have I told you to leave the packing to me?"

"At least a hundred."

"You're not even sorry for this mess." Pursing her lips, Marsha attacked the stack of lingerie as if it might fight back.

"I have not one speck of remorse. You'd be miserable if you didn't have a mess to straighten out."

"I'm miserable all the time anyhow." She favored Helen and the Danes with a mournful look, then proceeded to organize the shoes and handbags. "And I can't see how swapping this sweet Georgia winter for that drafty old barn Farnsworth calls a mansion is going to help my feelings one little bit. I've made up my mind; I'm not going."

"I'm taking everybody on this place, and that includes you, so you might as well unmake your mind."

"What in the devil do you need all of us for... as if I had to ask?"

"I don't intend for Brick Sullivan to be able to get within ten feet of me. He's lethal, and I'm taking no chances."

"Love." Marsha's loud, disdainful snort told exactly what she thought of that matter. She scooped jewelry off the bed and marched toward Helen's dressing table, dripping ropes of pearls and diamonds. "If you'd consulted me in the first place, we wouldn't all be fixing to freeze our buns off way up yonder at the backside of nowhere."

Helen began to laugh.

"What's so funny?"

"Here I was, worried about how to keep Brick Sullivan at a respectable distance when I had the perfect weapon all along."

"I'm not even going to ask what."

"Just keep scowling. That face is enough to quell even the indomitable Brick." Helen gave her secretary an affectionate hug. "Is there anything else I can do to keep your ire up for the duration of this trip?"

"You'll think up plenty without me having to tell you."

Helen relaxed for the first time since she'd agreed to do a benefit with her ex-husband.


Philanthropist Milton Farnsworth didn't merely own a vast estate and the surrounding village; he owned the whole island. Plunked in the middle of Lake Winnipesaukee and set back among towering trees, Farnsworth Manor was a place a man could get lost in, and that was exactly what Brick Sullivan intended to do... after his first performance.

With his feet planted wide apart in the familiar devil-may-care stance, he surveyed his home for the next few weeks. Farnsworth had spared no expenses. Nor had he bothered with understated elegance. Everything about the house and grounds screamed excess, from the ornate Corinthian porticos to the stone gargoyles that guarded the front door.

Clouds hovering over the lake carried a promise of rain, and the chill breezes carried more than a hint of the snows that would soon come. Good weather for cuddling beside Farnsworth's giant stone fireplace... if he had the right woman.

"Brick baby, are you out here?"

The sound of Barb Gladly's voice made Brick think of fingernails being scraped across a chalkboard. She was definitely not the right woman, but she'd have to do for the next few weeks.

"I'm here," he said.

Everything about her bounced as she walked toward him, and he wondered if perhaps he hadn't overdone it a bit. Helen's appeal lay in the air of mystery that surrounded her. There was nothing remotely mysterious about Barb. All her assets were on prominent display. He hoped Helen wouldn't be suspicious.

"The hell with her," he muttered as Barb slithered to his side and wrapped herself around him.

"With me, Brick?"

"Not you."



"When's she coming?"

"Any minute now. Are you ready?"

"I've been ready since I was born, baby."

"That's my girl." He pulled Barb close. "Let her come."

Helen Sullivan had never missed a cue. The long white limousine pulled into the driveway. It was as if Helen had been waiting offstage to make her entrance.

The chauffeur opened her door, and the first thing Brick saw was the long, glorious legs of Helen Sullivan. He was totally unprepared for the sight. He had expected to feel the rage that filled him, but not the desire, not the quick, hot passion that settled into him like live coals.

He tightened his hold on Barb.

"Ready?" His voice was rough and raw with emotion.

"Anytime, baby."

He waited until Helen was out of the car before he started kissing Barb. It was a stage kiss, designed so he never lost contact with the audience.

His audience was standing facing the portico now, the wind blowing her skirt against her legs and lifting her dark gypsy hair away from her face. He'd never been able to look at her and remain unmoved. That hadn't changed.

"Hmmm, good, baby," Barb murmured, pressing closer.

"Don't overdo it," he said.

"I can't help myself."

At least Barb was honest. At least she hadn't taken his ring and his name and his heart and then walked out the door.

Not one flicker of emotion crossed Helen's face as she watched them kiss.

Rage boiled in him, unexpected and unwelcome. How could he stay in control of the situation if he didn't control his anger?

She turned back to the limousine, and out barreled the Abominables. They'd been mere puppies when Brick had given them to her for her birthday three years earlier, but they were nearly as big as Shetland ponies now.

Brick loved her for keeping the dogs and hated her for depriving him of seeing them grow up. Chelsea and Sami. Named for his grandmother and hers in much the same way ordinary people named their children.

Next came the cat. Gwenella used to hide behind the curtains and pounce on their bed right in the midst of their most amorous moments. Helen always laughed when Brick threatened to banish the Persian from the bedroom.

"Look at that self-satisfied smirk of hers," Helen would say. "She knows you're a big softie, darling. Besides, you would never deprive her of her entrance."

The cat had stayed. Because Gwenella didn't like water, the bathroom became their playground.

The sound of water lapping against the shore triggered memories that stoked the fires of Brick's fury. He escalated the kiss, all the while keeping an eye on Helen Sullivan and her entourage.

She'd kept the same secretary and the same personal fitness trainer. Brick was pleased, though he didn't dare analyze his secret glee.

Bundled up as if she were attempting an expedition to the North Pole, Marsha issued orders that everybody except Helen obeyed. Instead Helen stood by the car, laughing while her tiny, indomitable secretary got the crew moving in not too orderly a fashion.

Gwenella sassed Chelsea, who retreated in alarm and wrapped her leash around the trainer's legs. With a mountain of Great Dane pulling at him, Matt Rider might have gone down if he hadn't had muscles the size of Arkansas. As it was, he merely unwrapped the first dog only to have the second try to hide between his legs when the cat took exception to something Sami had done.

Helen moved in the midst of the melee, laughing in her throaty way and flashing her dark eyes in his direction.

Brick wanted to catch her by the shoulders and shake her until her teeth rattled. Then he wanted to throw her over his shoulder and disappear into the woods until he had loved the truth out of her.

Why did you leave me, Helen?

It was Chelsea who started the entire crew moving in his direction. With a yelp that sounded like recognition, she broke loose from Matt and raced across the portico, her long tongue hanging out in the goofy smile he remembered and her tail flapping like a flag in a windstorm.

Suddenly Brick had his audience.

"Hello, Brick."

That was all Helen said. Just hello and then his name, all soft and sexy the way she used to say it when the lights were low and the fire was crackling and he was stroking her long, long legs.

"Helen." Lord, he sounded like a dying calf in a hailstorm. He'd have to do better than that if he wanted to survive the next two weeks with Helen Sullivan. "I see you still travel light."

Several of Farnsworth's employees had come from the house and were struggling up the steps under the weight of her luggage. She stood amidst her entourage as bright as the evening star in a New Hampshire sky, and just as inaccessible.

"I travel with the people and the possessions that are necessary to me."

"So do I." With a subtle pressure of his arm, he positioned Barb for the best effect. Her blatant sexual impact was totally lost on Helen, but Matt got pink around the ears. "Helen, meet my fiancee, Barb Gladly."

"Nice to meet you, Barb. Congratulations," Helen said, her eyes never leaving his face.

He'd expected more of a reaction. He decided to goad until he got one.

"You used to have more than that to say in the shower."

"You used to put on a better show in the shower."

The gleam in her eye told him he'd scored. That and the color in her cheeks. He bit back his gloating grin.

"This scene on the portico has all the makings of a grade B movie," she added.

"Even grade B movies have appreciative audiences."

As if she'd heard her cue, Chelsea licked his hand and, for good measure, licked his shoes.

Helen chuckled. "You know how Chelsea is. She never could resist a good ham."

With that parting shot, she swept toward the front door.

"Did I do all right?" Barb asked after Helen had disappeared into the house.

"You were great. Thanks."

"Is it all right if I take a walk? I'd like to get a good look at this place."

"Do whatever you like. Just be sure to be at dinner on time, dressed to kill."

Catching her lower lip between her front teeth, Barb glanced toward the front door, obviously awestruck

"I can't believe I was that close to Helen Sullivan," she said.

"Neither can I."

The smell of Helen's perfume still lingered on the portico. He didn't dare breathe deeply until he was safely in the woods.

Thinking of the next few days with her made his stomach turn over. He hadn't won the first skirmish, but he'd survived. He could do it again.

The Forever Friends Series

Forever Friends, Book 1

Brick and Helen Sullivan had been a team, onstage and off. When she walked out of their marriage without an explanation, he swore he’d never play another role with her, in the bedroom or otherwise. But Fate brings them together to reprise their roles in The Taming of the Shrew, and the sparks begin to fly. Laugh – and cry – as the famous and lively lovers try to untangle a web of misunderstanding and find their way back to the place where they belong. 

Forever Friends, Book 2

Kathleen Shaw has lost everything – the only man she’ll ever love, the husband who had rescued and adored her, her career, and now her eyesight and hearing. She has even lost the Forever Friends because she’s too proud to call for their help. That she survived the boat explosion is a miracle. When Hunter La Farge returns to Jefferson Parish searching for her, is it too much to ask for another miracle? 

Forever Friends, Book 3 

Attorney B. J. Corban’s fiancée is on their honeymoon – with another woman! When her zany sister packs her off to the mountains to get over being jilted at the altar, B. J. takes enough camping equipment to fight off mosquitoes, bears and famine. But she hadn’t counted on a heart-stealer on a Harley, appropriately called Crash. Nor had she counted on a little stray dog she calls Baxter. Crash lays claim to the dog – and her heart. She fights to keep both, but can Crash teach B. J. that to lose her heart is also to keep it? 

Forever Friends, Book 4 

When her sister B.J. asks Maxie to be godmother to her son, the zany interior designer is happy to comply – until she learns she will be sharing god-parenthood with Mr. Perfect. Lawyer Joseph Beuregard is successful, drop-dead handsome and lethally sexy. There are only two problems: he’s the cause of Maxie’s Most Embarassing Moment and he’s B.J.’s brother-in-law. Maxie ruins every man she touches. She’s not about to follow her heart and in the process destroy her sister’s family. Besides, she and Joe can’t even see eye to eye on the christening party. How could they ever have a relationship? But Joe has other ideas. Can two people so totally opposite give their godson the best party in the world and find true love?


Peggy Webb, author of 70 novels and 2 screenplays, lives in a cottage in Mississippi surrounded by gardens she designed and planted. A musician and actress as well as writer, she sings in her church choir and has sung in musicals at Tupelo Community Theater as well as played dramatic roles in Steel Magnolias and The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. She started her career in 1985 with a romantic comedy that took the number one spot on romance bestseller lists. Romantic Times presented her with the prestigious Pioneer Award in recognition for her contribution to romantic comedy. Peggy is currently bringing the best of her romantic comedies back to fans as eBooks. In 2008 she turned her talents to mystery with the hilarious Southern Cousins series starring Elvis, the sleuthing basset hound who thinks he’s the King reincarnated. This multi-talented author also pens literary fiction as Anna Michaels and Elaine Hussey. Pat Conroy calls her literary work “astonishing” and former Disney exec Kathie Fong Yoneda calls it “brilliant.” The author composed the blues lyrics that appear throughout her literary novel, The Sweetest Hallelujah, Elaine Hussey, due in bookstores July 30, 2013. To learn more about this bestselling, award-winning author, visit her websites at and

The Forever Friends Virtual Book Publicity Tour Schedule

Monday, June 3 – Book featured and First chapter reveal at Faerotic Prose

Wednesday, June 5 – Book featured at Miki’s Hope

Monday, June 10 – Book featured at Bookingly Yours

Monday, June 10 – Book reviewed at Rainy Day Reviews

Thursday, June 13 – Interviewed at Review From Here

Monday, June 17 – Book featured at Authors and Readers Book Corner

Monday, June 17 – Book reviewed at Books+Beach=Escape

Tuesday, June 18 – Interviewed at Herding Cats & Burning Soup

Wednesday, June 19 – Book featured at I’m Shelf-Ish

Friday, June 21 – Interviewed at Examiner

Monday, June 24 – Book featured at Confessions of a Reader

Tuesday, June 25 – Book reviewed at Janna Shay

Thursday, June 27 – Book featured at CelticLady’s Reviews

Thursday, June 27 – Guest blogging and First chapter reveal at Queen of the Night Reviews

Friday, June 28 – Bringing Up Baxter reviewed and Guest blogging at Melina the Reader

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