purchases via affiliate links offset the cost of this website. thank you!
If you’ve been a reader here at Faithfully Bookish for any length of time, you have no doubt seen me mention today’s featured author. Her down-to-earth humor, super swoony heroes, and heartfelt stories launched her into my favorite authors, love at first read!
About the Author
Pepper Basham is an award-winning author who writes romance peppered with grace and humor. She currently resides in the lovely mountains of Asheville, NC where she is the mom of 5 great kids, speech-pathologist to about fifty more, lover of chocolate, jazz, and Jesus.
Her Penned in Time series has garnered recognition in the Inspys, Grace Awards, and the ACFW Carol Awards. Her contemporary romance novel, A Twist of Faith, received 4 stars from Romantic Times, and most recently, The Thorn Healer, received a Top Pick from RT with 4 ½ stars.
Five Favorite Moments
Pepper: Okay, I’m going to put FOUR favorite kid moments so I can add ONE favorite KISS moment. Is that okay? 🙂
Beth: Absoultely, I adore kids AND kisses!
Pepper: Those kisses lead to kids, anyhow so it makes good sense to sprinkle them together. 🙂
Beth: Indeed, they do and it does! I like the way you think 😉
Pepper: (In NO particular order, because I really don’t want to hurt their feelings)
Fiona from The Thorn Bearer
Her hair spilled over her shoulders as she stared down at him, a mischievous grin perched on her lips. “I was trying to hide from Mother long enough to sneak up a good tree.” She lowered her voice to a whisper. “She’s terribly fixed on seeing me refined.”
His heart warmed even more to this bright-eyed spirit. He worked up an appropriate grimace. “That sounds awful.”
She rolled her golden-hued eyes. “You have no idea how awful. She is determined I shall not fall into sin as she did, but I have tried to explain how climbing trees and fishing have very little to do with sins. I’ve not heard Father McClay mention one of them from the Bible.”
Sam laughed. She reminded him, with all her determination, like another little girl who used to fish and climb trees. A little girl who grew up to steal away his heart. The ache resurrected with full potency.
“Well, as I understand it, some of Jesus’ best men liked fishing.”
She snapped her fingers, another contradiction to a refined lady. “That’s exactly what I told Mother. And there was a short man who climbed a tree. The only reason Jesus told him to climb out of the tree was to go fix supper, not to make him more refined. He changed them all on the inside, where it counts most.”
“I believe you have a clear argument.”
Beth: Out of the mouths of babes! That Fiona is a sharp tack!
Pepper: Lou from A Twist of Faith
“What?” Reese’s daughter’s question shocked him so bad he almost slammed on the brake. “You’ve been hanging around your Aunt Emma too much, and we can only handle one matchmaker in the Mitchell clan, Lou.”
“You don’t think she’s purdy?”
He scratched his chin and glanced sideways at Lou. Just the thought of marrying anybody tensed him up from eyebrows to bootstraps. “I think you’re purdy and I ain’t gonna marry you.”
Lou shook her head of curls until they bobbed around her face. Even at seven, she was starting to leave the little girl behind, and the thought sent a wrench-squeeze to his chest. “You can’t marry me. I’m your daughter.” She sighed back against the seat. “Besides, I don’t have no job yet.”
Reese pulled the truck to a stop in front of his mama’s cabin, a grin twitching at the corner of his mouth. “Well, if you’re hankerin’ for a job, I think we can fix you up fine.” He tapped her nose and leaned close. “I have a felled tree up in the pasture that’s gonna turn into some firewood and I can always use help with the load.”
Lou’s face scrunched. “Daddy, princesses don’t load firewood.”
Beth: Sweet Lou! Oh, I love that young’un! ❤
Pepper: Jude from The Thorn Healer
“Cliff Carter, I’ll have you know I’ve not been sparkin’ anybody.” But her familiarity with Jasper Little annoyed her usual sensibilities. Why had she warmed up to the man so quickly? The unfamiliar response bounded against her typically cautious nature.
“What does sparkin’ mean?” Jude’s voice rose above her grandpa’s chuckle.
Jessica’s eyes fluttered closed.
“It means Miss Jesse has a particular interest in Mr. Little’s company.” Cliff snuck a maple cookie from Granny’s offering on the counter and pointed it at Jessica. “In the hopes he’ll take a particular interest too.”
“Oh, don’t be ridiculous, Cliff.”
“I don’t like Mr. Little.” Jude’s little nose wrinkled with his admission. “Why don’t you spark August instead?”
“That is one fine question, Jude. Why don’t you spark August instead?” Cliff leaned against the counter and tilted his head, his gaze needling her response while he took a bite of his cookie.
Jess stood and snatched the remaining cookie from Cliff’s hand, then pointed it at him like a weapon. “Cliff Carter, you are the most exasperating man on this planet. Don’t put ideas in Jude’s head.”
“Just because you don’t appreciate my certain brand of charm, doesn’t mean I’m exasperating.” He reached for another cookie without hesitation. “And don’t try to change the subject. Your boy asked you a very thoughtful question.”
“What does exasperatin’ mean?”
Jess smiled at ‘her boy.’ “It means Uncle Cliff needs to mind his own business.”
The daggers she shot her cousin bounced off his self-satisfied smirk. He glanced around her. “And just why do you think your mama ought to spark August, Jude?”
Grandpa’s chuckle didn’t help one bit. “This brings back memories.”
“I’d better snatch Faith before they get worse.” Granny wedged in between Jess and Cliff to pry little Faith from Jess’ arms. “You remember the time she jumped on Cliff’s back and held on by his hair?”
“Granny! I was seven.” Jess reluctantly released her little, squirming bundle.
“I wouldn’t be surprised if you didn’t make it to blows again, the two of you.” She eyed them both, a laugh in her smile, before returning to her chair to coo over Faith.
Jess returned her attention to her annoying cousin. “I don’t feel the need to be sparkin’ anyone, at present.”
Beth: So innocent and observant! Young Jude is behaving better than Cliff (and he’s a grown man)!
Pepper: The Barrett kids from Just the Way You Are (They require TWO entries 😉 )
“Look, mama.” Peter brought a paper for her investigation, his blue eyes sparkling with wonder. She knelt down beside him, bringing Emily with her. Pete’s usual Spiderman mask sat on top of his red head, with the rest of the costume covering from neck to cloth-webbed feet. “I drawed a picture of Santa Claus comin’ to our house.”
“You drew a picture of him?” Eisley gently corrected. “Oh yeah, that’s a great picture –well done, buddy.” She squinted and looked closer. “Hey, Pete, who is this with—is that a gun?”
“Yeah.” Pete nodded, his round chin lifted with pride. “It’s Papa trying to shoot one of Santa’s reindeer.”
Eisley released a long stream of air through her nose and squeezed an eye roll to a stop before it started.
Dad peered over Eisley’s shoulder at Pete’s paper. “Yep, I see.” He jabbed the page with his finger. “I’m aimin’ for that one right there. He’s an eight-pointer.”
The Barrett kids:
“You look different than you do on TV.” Wes peered into the rearview mirror and found Pete’s narrowed blue eyes examining him. “Like a normal person.”
“Pete,” Eisley muttered.
“I know.” Wes turned a little to get a better view of the ginger-headed boy. “I think it’s because they make me wear make-up when I go on the tele.”
“Make-up?” Nathan asked, his face contorting into a horrified grimace. “Like a girl?”
Nate’s influence ran a strong course through these boys’ veins already. Wes stifled a chuckle.
“Whew, I’m glad I’m going to be Spiderman when I grow up.” Pete sighed as he relaxed back into his seat. “I’ll never have to wear make-up.”
Wes lost all control of his laugh that time.
The boys had eased into conversation with him as if they’d always known him. Seeing them in person tightened the bond he’d developed over the past month of video calls.
“You can’t be Spiderman, because he’s not real.” Nathan sent Wes a look that read what do we do with him?
“I hungry,” Emily whined, with a heart-wrenching wobble of her bottom lip.
Wes reached behind him to grab her little foot. She squealed, jerked her foot from his hand, and produced an effective pout. He had the sudden urge to nuzzle her neck until she giggled. “Peckish, are you? We’ll get you something soon, chicken.”
“Chicken?” Both boys said in unison, exchanging a look.
“She’s never afraid of much except thunder.” Nathan patted his baby sister’s hand.
“Then she starts squawlin’ like a banjo, Mama says,” Pete added.
Nathan huffed. “Banshee, not banjo.” He shook his head and then focused his attention back on Wes. “Why’d you call her a chicken?”
“It’s a term of endearment, like darling, I suppose.”
Pete wrinkled his freckled nose. “I’d rather be a lion. Could you call me a lion?”
Beth: Oh, Pete! Those boys are definitely under the influence of Papa Nate Jenkins! 😂
Pepper: Wes and Eisley in ONE of my favorite kissing scenes from Just the Way You Are
He caught her hand and brought it to his lips, watching disbelief move across her features. “Friendship is the beginning of any worthwhile romance, but I want so much more, pet.” The pulse at her wrist escalated against another touch of his lips. He allowed his gaze to roam her body to emphasize his words. “And I like everything I see.”
She blinked a few times and then a hint of fire lit her narrowed eyes. “That’s not funny.”
“I would not play sport with your heart.” He held to her hand, though she tried to pull it away. “You’re beautiful. Inside and out. And the more I know you, the more I’m in awe of how perfect you are for me.”
“Perfect for you? Oxygen levels are definitely low in this place.”
“I’m quite lucid, pet.”
“I’m not that sort of man.” His words barely reached a whisper. “Not anymore. And temporary is the last thought I have in my mind.” He slid another palm up to frame her face, watching the morning light wave over her features as hope and doubt vied for a victor. “You’ve awakened my heart as no one ever could. I can’t go back to a life without you in it.”
Her teeth snagged her bottom lip from another quiver and she snatched back the handkerchief. “Is that a line from a movie?”
He pushed a ginger tendril from her damp cheek. “This isn’t pretend.”
“But easily the best date offer I’ve ever had.” She raised a timid palm to his cheek. He leaned into her touch. Soft and warm. Mint lingered in the air. He turned to kiss her palm and her quick intake of breath encouraged him to chase a few kisses up to her wrist.
“But…but how can this possibly work?” The worry crinkle formed between her brows again. “We live an ocean apart.”
His thumb slid a curve from her cheek to the corner of her mouth, prompting a smile. Her eyes swooped closed, face turned upward in trust. “I believe there is a verse in the Song of Solomon which says, many waters cannot quench love.”
Her eyes flashed open and her breath eased out a long sigh, sending a whiff of chocolate with it.
“Poetic and perfectly placed?” Her free hand slid up his chest to hook on his lapel, gaze studying his mouth, focused and a bit diverting. “No wonder you can write lips…er…scripts.”
He would have smiled at her misnomer if her nearness and solid grip on his jacket hadn’t sent his thoughts into predatory territory. “Oh, pet.” He breathed in her closeness, her heat. “If you could see what I see—”
One second he was trying to express his admiration and the next her hold tightened on his collar, drawing him the short distance to the object of his previous distractions. Her mouth. Soft, inviting, and shocking his system with the potency of a perfect match. Gone was her uncertainty, as her lips explored his. He delved in with the same enthusiasm, tasting a rare combination of mint, chocolate, and Eisley. Quite Christmasy—and he loved Christmas.
Beth: *frantically fanning* Woowee!!! Yes, I think it’s best if we stick with just one kissing scene or readers won’t be able to focus on one more word you share, Pepper dear! 😍
Tell us about your latest release
Pepper: Oh my goodness! It’s been such a delight to release my favorite contemporary romance I’ve ever written! It’s my first true Britallachian romance – a fun culture clash between Appalachia and Britain, with a quirky heroine and swoony hero!
Single mom, Eisley Barrett, prefers to keep romance safely housed within a centuries-old mystery, but when she travels to England to unearth the secret, an actor with a sordid past offers her reluctant heart a very different type of discovery.
Wes Harrison has a past he’s ashamed to confess. Suspicious and cynical, he’s managed to avoid romantic entanglements since a tragedy upended his career and life, that is until American Eisley Barrett comes along. Her authenticity and kindness upend his bitter assumptions and send his heart into unscripted territory.
When his past threatens to ruin a second chance at love, can some Appalachian matchmaking and letters from the grave salvage their unexpected romance?
Romantic Times had this to say about Just the Way You Are:
Laugh-out-loud humor combines with stick-your-head-in-the-freezer kisses in this novel of romance, faith, and a little historical mystery. Too. Eisley Barrett is a positively delightful heroine, her Appalachian charm the perfect counterpart to Wes Harrison’s British swoonworthiness. Secondary characters rich with warm yet unique personalities beg readers to pull up a chair and chat, while the family history subplot adds more layers of intrigue and romance to the plot. Above all, the theme of being treasured “as is” rings true and full of grace. —4 ½ stars Top Pick from Romantic Times.
Beth: I wholeheartedly agree with this reviewer, she really knows her fiction!
Pepper: I love this story! It has everything I love best in a novel – romance, humor, mystery, great kisses, funny kids, and a quirky family. I hope readers will enjoy this one too 🙂
Beth: I certainly adore Just the Way You Are! Readers can also read my review!
Pepper: And don’t forget my recently released FIRST novella set in the wonderful compilation Love and First Laugh. The novella is called Second Impressions and its romantic comedy with a Jane Austen twist.
Beth: Also a super fun romance AND the other stories I’ve read so far have been fabulous as well!
What are you working on? Tell us about your next release
Pepper: Well, my next release is the second book in the Mitchells Crossroads series – set to release November 1, 2017. It’s entitled Charming the Troublemaker and takes up where book 1 left off…except we get to learn about country-girl, Rainey Mitchell, and notorious flirt, Alex Murdock, fight to save a clinic without falling in love. Maybe. But, we are dealing with a pretty good flirt 😉 It’s a fun story with some great kisses and some even better messages about inner beauty.
As far as what I’m working on? Well, I have four projects in various degrees of WIP…and you’re hearing about them first HERE with lovely Beth!
- I’m writing another rom-com Britallachian series that’s set in Asheville, NC (and features the Biltmore). A Spice of Life Novel entitled A Thyme for Romance. I thought I could have a little fun with my name.
- I’m hoping to have two more novellas (one historical WW2 espionage and another one related to my recent romance Second Impressions)
- I’m also hoping to have book 2 in the Pleasant Gap series out this coming fall!!
- Okay, I saved this one for last because I’m just so excited! I’m in the process of writing a husband-wife sleuthing team series set in 1914-…not sure how long. The first book in the series is called The Substitute Bride and the characters are SO. MUCH. FUN!!! I NEVER planned on writing any sort of mystery- romance books – especially one with the same main characters, but the story just kept growing and growing until it’s reached many more pages than one book can handle (unless your last name is Tolkien or something). So… I’m not sure when we’ll see this one – me and my agent are shopping it around, but it’s such a fun adventure.
Beth: I adore your stories!!! You are truly a modern-day Appalachian storyteller. Your granny’s legacy lives on! Thank you so much for sharing some of your favorite moments and bookish news with us.
Pepper Basham has generously offered to send one randomly chosen Faithfully Bookish reader a paperback copy of Just the Way You Are!
Tell us your favorite kid character from the post
Share one of your favorite kid moments (real life or fictional)