Pick your Plants Safely

I love houseplants, but I love my little grandson, who is now a slippery fast crawler, even more. So I’ve had to rearrange some of the plants in my house to keep them out of reach and out of sight when he comes to visit. As much as we try to remain vigilant, he’s busy putting everything he can into his mouth!

Some of the common houseplants that are dangerous contain oxalate crystals that can cause throat and mouth swelling, and nose, eye, and skin irritation. This includes plants like the flamingo flower, caladium, Swiss cheese plant, peace lily, ZZ plant, philodendron and pothos. Yikes – I had four of those ones! Other plants like the amaryllis and daffodil contain lycorine, a toxic alkaloid that can cause abdominal pain, and symptoms like diarrhea, nausea, and vomiting. Dieffenbachia, commonly known as ‘dumb cane’ can cause temporary, but painful, speechlessness. They look enticingly pretty.

There are safer choices including spider plants (which are also easy to grow), African violets, Boston ferns, Christmas cactus, prayer plants, and herbs. Of course, other than the herbs, none are meant to be eaten so keeping toddlers and pets away from them is still a good idea.

If you think your child has ingested any part of a plant, the safest thing to do is to call the Poison Control Centre and they can advise you about what to watch for and what to do.

If you’re not busy baby-proofing your house, here’s a fun story to enjoy!


Love and the Hockey Heist begins with the theft of a treasured travel alarm clock, which triggers a hilarious series of events when Dr. Piper Roblin tries to steal it back! It involves a fake engagement with popular pro hockey player, Brent Dean. In this story I’ve woven a white-collar crime mystery into a romance. Add in a smart, sassy doctor and a swoon-worthy professional hockey player, and the stage is set for a fun, clever hockey caper. Get your copy today and cozy up with a fun read!

Love and the Hockey Heist is the second book in the Laugh-out-Loud Hockey Caper Romance series. The (stand-alone) stories in this series have an element of white-collar crime – like a cozy mystery without murder!

Here’s the blurb for Love and the Hockey Heist ~

Love and the Hockey Heist coverDr. Piper Roblin is peeved. She’s pretty sure her new neighbour stole her travel alarm clock. It may not be worth much, but it has sentimental value. Piper hatches a plan to get it back, but her plan relies on Brent Dean, popular forward of the Brighton Edge hockey team, to finagle a dinner invitation to gain access to her neighbour’s house.

Brent thought the invite from the stunningly beautiful cardiologist was based on a thoughtful gesture to welcome new neighbours to Brighton. He didn’t realize the gig included subterfuge, thievery, and a fake engagement. But he didn’t get to where he is without a lot of hustle and determination, and since he’s always up for some fun, let the games begin.



Enjoy an excerpt ~

“I need a fiancé.” Piper Roblin tucked her purse under the stool and sat down heavily. Her shoulder-length hair, the colour of rich dark chocolate flounced around her heart-shaped face. Her three best friends, already seated at the workstations waiting for the cooking class to begin, turned and stared at her with identical expressions: open-mouthed shock.

Bailey Jansen, a dermatologist with an adventurous spirit, and the most outspoken of their group, was the first to recover. “Excuse me?”

Piper pulled back her shoulders, trying to make the most of her one-hundred-fifty-seven-centimeter height, and raised her chin. “I need a man, a hockey player to be exact.”

Bailey grinned at the determination in Piper’s brown eyes and waved a hand. “I’ve been saying the same thing for months.”

They looked expectantly at Abigail Clark, a levelheaded emergency room physician, who sat at the workstation in front of them beside the fourth pea in their pod, Sierra Westlake, a serious-minded general surgeon.

“Why are you looking at me like that?” Abigail asked.

“Two words. Del Braebury.” Bailey pointed at the impressive diamond ring on Abigail’s left hand. “You’re engaged to the captain of the Brighton Edge hockey team.”

“You can make it happen,” Piper said.

Sierra raised a hand. “Whoa. Let’s just pump the brakes here. Why do you need a fiancé? Last I heard you were too busy being the chief of cardiology to worry about dating, never mind planning a wedding. And didn’t you say that your parents are big on the whole pre-arranged marriage idea?”

Piper waved that aside. “This is just temporary. I have no intention of settling into a relationship. I accepted an invitation to a dinner party, but the only reason I was invited was because I sort of mentioned that my fiancé played for the Brighton Edge.”

Sierra shook her head. “What? Why would you do that?”

“I was backed into a corner.” Piper gritted her teeth.

Bailey laughed. “I hear you, sister. You don’t know how many times I’ve needed to use that.”


“No, never. How did that even come up?”

Piper sighed. “You know how I belong to a neighbourhood book club?” At their nods, she continued. “Last week I hosted. After everyone left, I realized that my little silver travel alarm clock was missing. I think my neighbour took it.”

“That’s crazy,” Abigail said. “Haven’t you been in that book club for years? Aren’t those people your friends?”

“I know how it sounds, but I’ve looked high and low for that clock, and I cannot find it. Most of the women have been part of the group for years, but a young couple, Jessica and Ryan, moved in beside me recently, and I invited Jessica to join us.”

“Why would she steal your alarm clock? Is it worth something?”

“No. That’s what’s so annoying. I bought it online a few years ago, for like, ten bucks. But I really like it. It’s compact and has a quiet alarm. It’s perfect for travel, and I used it all the time when I had to sleep at the hospital during my residency. I don’t know why she took it, but I’m almost positive she did.”

“Why? What makes you think that?” Abigail asked.

“She went to the washroom and instead of using the powder room, I caught her coming down the stairs. She made some excuse about not knowing about the bathroom on the main floor even though I specifically pointed it out. And I’m pretty sure her house is the exact same layout as mine.”

“That is odd,” Bailey said.

Piper nodded emphatically. “I know. I didn’t think much of it until I noticed that my little alarm clock was missing. I’m sure she took it while she was up there.”

“That’s pretty bold,” Abigail said. “Stealing from your neighbour isn’t a great way to settle into the community. Do you know anything about her?”

“Only that they bought the house next door. She said they own a cleaning company and moved here from Toronto to set up a local franchise. No kids, no pets, and huge hockey fans.”

“So you plan to have dinner with them, get to know them, and ask if she stole your alarm clock?” Bailey asked, more than a little skeptically.

“I’m going to steal it back.”


Buy link ~ https://www.amazon.com/ebook/dp/B0B1QVMSS3


Award-winning author Linda O’Connor started writing romantic comedies when she needed a creative outlet other than subtly rearranging the displays at a local home décor store. Her books have enjoyed bestseller status. When not writing, she’s a physician at an Urgent Care Clinic. She shares her medical knowledge in fast-paced, well-written, sexy romances – with an unexpected twist. Her favourite prescription to write? Laugh every day. Love every minute.

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