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Well Met
Cover of Well Met
Well Met
All's faire in love and war for two sworn enemies who indulge in a harmless flirtation in a laugh-out-loud rom-com from debut author Jen DeLuca.
Emily knew there would be strings attached when she relocated to the small town of Willow Creek, Maryland, for the summer to help her sister recover from an accident, but who could anticipate getting roped into volunteering for the local Renaissance Faire alongside her teenaged niece? Or that the irritating and inscrutable schoolteacher in charge of the volunteers would be so annoying that she finds it impossible to stop thinking about him?
The faire is Simon's family legacy and from the start he makes clear he doesn't have time for Emily's lighthearted approach to life, her oddball Shakespeare conspiracy theories, or her endless suggestions for new acts to shake things up. Yet on the faire grounds he becomes a different person, flirting freely with Emily when she's in her revealing wench's costume. But is this attraction real, or just part of the characters they're portraying?
This summer was only ever supposed to be a pit stop on the way to somewhere else for Emily, but soon she can't seem to shake the fantasy of establishing something more with Simon or a permanent home of her own in Willow Creek.
All's faire in love and war for two sworn enemies who indulge in a harmless flirtation in a laugh-out-loud rom-com from debut author Jen DeLuca.
Emily knew there would be strings attached when she relocated to the small town of Willow Creek, Maryland, for the summer to help her sister recover from an accident, but who could anticipate getting roped into volunteering for the local Renaissance Faire alongside her teenaged niece? Or that the irritating and inscrutable schoolteacher in charge of the volunteers would be so annoying that she finds it impossible to stop thinking about him?
The faire is Simon's family legacy and from the start he makes clear he doesn't have time for Emily's lighthearted approach to life, her oddball Shakespeare conspiracy theories, or her endless suggestions for new acts to shake things up. Yet on the faire grounds he becomes a different person, flirting freely with Emily when she's in her revealing wench's costume. But is this attraction real, or just part of the characters they're portraying?
This summer was only ever supposed to be a pit stop on the way to somewhere else for Emily, but soon she can't seem to shake the fantasy of establishing something more with Simon or a permanent home of her own in Willow Creek.
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  • From the cover ***This excerpt is from an advance uncorrected copy proof***

    Copyright © 2019 Jen DeLuca

    Chapter One

     

    I didn’t choose the wench life. The wench life chose me.

    When I pulled into the parking lot of Willow Creek High School on that late spring morning, I had very little on my agenda. No doctor’s appointments for my big sister, no school obligations to shuttle my niece to. The only thing I needed to do was get my niece to the signups for the Renaissance faire. We were five minutes late, so it was going great so far.

    Caitlin huffed from the back seat as I threw my little white Jeep in park. “Em, we’re late!” She managed to stretch both my name and that last word out into at least three syllables. “What if they don’t let me sign up? All my friends are doing this, and if I can’t, I’ll—”

    “They’ll let you sign up.” But of course she was out before I’d even unbuckled my seat belt. I wasn’t going to call her back. I didn’t have that kind of authority over her. At barely ten years older, I was more a big sister than an aunt. When I’d first come to stay with my older sister and her daughter, April had tried to get Cait to call me “Aunt Emily”, but that was only a short hop away from Auntie Em and Kansas jokes so we’d abandoned it quickly. My relationship with the kid had settled into more of a friendship with overtures of Adult In Charge.

    This morning, Adult In Charge was kicking in. No way was I leaving a fourteen-year-old by herself in a strange situation, even if it was her high school. I grabbed my coffee mug from the cupholder and started after her. She couldn’t have gone far.

    My cell phone rang from inside my purse when I was halfway across the parking lot. I fished it out and kept walking.

    “Did you find it okay?”

    “Yeah, we’re good. Hopefully this won’t take too long.”

    “Oh, God, you don’t have to stay.” April sounded slightly horrified by the prospect. “You just need to drop her off and come back home.”

    I held my breath and tried to analyze her tone through the crappy cell phone connection. The past few days had been rough as she’d started weaning off the pain medication. “Everything okay?” I tried to sound as casual as possible. “Do you need me to come home?”

    “No…” Her voice trailed off, and I stopped walking and listened harder.

    “April?”

    “No, no, Emily. I’m fine. I’m right where you left me, on the couch with coffee and the remote. I don’t want you to feel like you have to…”

    “It’s fine. Really. Isn’t this why I’m here, to help you out?”

    Another pause. Another sigh. “Yeah. Okay…” I practically heard her shrug. “I feel bad. I should be doing this stuff.”

    “Well, you can’t.” I tried to sound as cheerful as I could. “Not for another couple months at least, remember? Doctor’s orders. Besides, this ‘stuff’ is what I’m here for, right?”

    “Yeah.” A tremble in her voice now, which I blamed on the Percocet. I’d be glad when she was off that shit for good. It made her weepy.

    “Drink your coffee, find something awful on television, okay? I’ll make lunch for us when we get home.”

    I hung up, shoved my phone back in my purse, and once again cursed out the driver who had run the red light that...

About the Author-
  • Jen DeLuca was born and raised near Richmond, Virginia, but now lives in Central Florida with her husband and a houseful of rescue pets. She loves latte-flavored lattes, Hokies football, and the Oxford comma. Well Met is her first novel, inspired by her time volunteering as a pub wench with her local Renaissance Faire.
Reviews-
  • Publisher's Weekly

    June 17, 2019
    DeLuca shows a strong familiarity with Renaissance faire culture but a shallow comprehension of relationship dynamics in this humorous but thin debut romance. Recently dumped Emily Parker is living with her older sister, April, and niece, Caitlyn, in Willow Creek, Md. After a car crash takes April temporarily out of commission, Emily is roped into tavern wenching at the local faire. She immediately dislikes micromanaging, pedantic killjoy Simon Graham, who has run the faire since his brother died three years earlier. But when Simon’s pirate character, Capt. Ian Blackthorn, takes to dramatically wooing Emily’s Emma as part of the show, that energy seeps into real life. In-character banter with the whole ensemble and Emily’s heart-to-heart chats with the queen (bookstore owner Christine Donovan) flow naturally with warmth and wit, and setting details will resonate with those familiar with Faire while remaining comprehensible to other readers. But the love-hate energy between Simon and Emily is both overstated and lukewarm, and it’s hard to believe their romance will last beyond August. Anyone who’s not deeply into Ren faires or nostalgic for costumed summers past should give this a miss. Agent: Taylor Haggerty, Root Literary.

  • AudioFile Magazine Brittany Pressley brings humor and tenderness to this story about family, finding love, and playing pirate. After her older sister's car accident, 25-year-old Emily helps out with the care of her 15-year-old niece--which includes signing up to be a wench at the upcoming Renaissance Faire. Pressley is a dynamic performer who brings out Emily's increasing ease as she gets to know the people of her niece's small town and finds her place among them. The atmosphere of the fair is lively and entertaining as the attendees get into character and Emily resists the overtures of handsome Simon Graeme. Pressley provides easy transitions between characters and their American, English, and Scottish accents. A lively and heartwarming story well told. M.F. Winner of AudioFile Earphones Award � AudioFile 2019, Portland, Maine
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