Wolves of Willow Bend Single Wicked Wolf Releasing October 1, 2015
Releasing at ARe exclusively on October 1st, you’ll also be able to find this gem on other etailers sometime after the 10th. In the meanwhile. Would you like a sneak peek at Giovanni and Murphy’s first meeting?
He’s single, wicked, and a perfect pretend boyfriend…but exactly who is she fooling?
A Wolves of Willow Bend Novella
Murphy DeWitt enjoyed two years touring American consulates in Europe as an assistant to a diplomatic attaché. It was a dream come true, and a hell of a learning experience. A master of languages, she knows how to get her point across. Romance, however, proves to be a tongue twister. Now en route to Willow Bend for a friend’s wedding—without the make-believe boyfriend she created for her family—she debates how to confess her deception. Luckily, her flight includes a fantastically hot wolf that leaves her breathless and contemplating all kinds of naughty things.
Giovanni Conti thrives on protecting others. As a Centurion for the Seven Hills pack in Italy, it’s his pleasure to serve his Alpha wherever he is needed. Dispatched ahead in preparation for the Alpha pair’s trip to Willow Bend, he has no problem entertaining the sexy wolf he encounters in the airport. The last thing the playboy wolf expects, however, is to find in Murphy the most captivating chase of his life…
Single Wicked Wolf Release Date: October 1, 2015 on ARe, October 10th or later on other retailers All Romance: https://www.allromanceebooks.com/product-singlewickedwolf-1893620-168.html
Series Reading Order:
Wolf at Law (Prequel) Book 1: Wolf Bite Book 2: Caged Wolf Book 3: Wolf Claim Book 3.5: Wolf Next Door Book 4: Rogue Wolf Book 5: Bayou Wolf Book 6: Untamed Wolf Book 6.5: Wolf with Benefits (Romancing the Wolf Anthology) Book 7: River Wolf Book 7.5 : Single Wicked Wolf
About the Author:
National bestselling author, Heather Long, likes long walks in the park, science fiction, superheroes, Marines, and men who aren’t douche bags. Her books are filled with heroes and heroines tangled in romance as hot as Texas summertime. From paranormal historical westerns to contemporary military romance, Heather might switch genres, but one thing is true in all of her stories—her characters drive the books. When she’s not wrangling her menagerie of animals, she devotes her time to family and friends she considers family. She believes if you like your heroes so real you could lick the grit off their chest, and your heroines so likable, you’re sure you’ve been friends with women just like them, you’ll enjoy her worlds as much as she does.
Seven Hills Centurion, Giovanni Conti balanced the she-wolf with care and no small amount of interest. Though Salvatore declared the airport neutral territory for travelers, Giovanni caught her scent the moment he cleared security. With time to spare before his flight, he entertained himself by tracking her. As long as she remained within the airport, no one from Seven Hills would accost her.
She moved like a wolf on the hunt, striding with purpose cutting in and out of people, avoiding them with a smooth expertise he admired. When she ducked into the shop for a sandwich and a beverage, he’d grimaced. The call with her mother said she wasn’t planning to leave the airport. He didn’t have to keep following. Still, the length of her silky brown hair, honey bronzed skin and pale, pale hazel eyes captivated his imagination.
Inserting himself into her path to answer his curiosity, he hadn’t expected her to slam into him. More concerned she’d bruised herself, he caught her before she stumbled. The low-heeled pumps she wore were sensible for a meeting, not for striding through an airport. Shock with ripples of wariness and more than a dab of desire filled his nostrils.
Oh, she likes what she sees. Pleasure speared him. Women were so delightful. They came in all shapes and sizes. Some were confident, some were shy. They used laughter and jokes to set those around them at ease or they relied on their keen intelligence to snare interested males. He loved them all.
“Buon pomeriggio.” He gave her a moment to be certain of her balance before releasing her. “And my apologies for blocking your path.”
“Buon pomeriggio,” her swift reply in his native tongue tickled him. “Please, accept my apologies for colliding with you. I’m usually better about maintaining my personal space.” Though her tone was light, tension wound through her voice and she didn’t attempt to hold his gaze.
Relaxing his stance, he adopted an air of soothing. Most wolves within Seven Hills were less dominant than he and the other Centurions. Serving Salvatore, the Alpha of Seven Hills, and by extension his mate, was a privilege he and his brother wolves enjoyed. From gentle reminders to rebellious wolves to take downs of wolves gone wild to acting as spymasters and information gatherers, no task was too great or too small for him.
“Mi perdoni, cara,” he used the endearment to encourage familiarity, then resumed the courtesy of her language. “I stepped into your path to say hello. So it was my fault, not yours.”
“Thank you,” she surprised him by not making her own excuse or defusing his apology. So many of the Americans he met, wolf or otherwise, turned out to be apologists. She shifted her carry on bag and not so surreptitiously glanced at her watch.
“May I escort you to your gate? Or perhaps to a café? We have one or two.” All of which served better food than the sandwich she’d purchased.
“Lovely offer.” She recovered enough to smile as she spoke, but she adjusted her grip on her bag nonetheless. “I don’t want to miss my flight or overstay my welcome. Turning into Edward Snowden isn’t my idea of a good time.”
Though familiar with the name, he didn’t catch the reference. At his frown, she laughed and it chased some of the nervousness from her voice.
“The being stuck in Russia with no passport part, not the leaking state secrets part.” The explanation helped, but he didn’t see her in the same vulnerable position. Nothing in her scent said deceit. Her smile faded. “Diplomatic humor, sorry. It was nice to meet you.”
When she withdrew a step as though to circle him, he pivoted and fell into step with her. “You haven’t actually met me, cara.”
“I’m batting a thousand today,” she groaned, then juggled her items to offer her hand. “Murphy DeWitt.”
Accepting her hand, he lifted it to his lips. Grazing her knuckles with a kiss, he inhaled deeply of her scent. Eucalyptus and mint layered beneath soft pear and sage, offered him a deep breath of a bright, clean exotic morning. Savoring the tingling taste on his tongue, he enjoyed the catch in her breath and the leap of her pulse. All of the above were far preferable to her discomfort and wariness.
“Ciao, cara, I am Giovanni Conti,” he pitched his voice low, trusting her hearing even amidst all the background chaos of the airport terminal. “Centurion of Seven Hills.”
Blessings of the fall season! I’m a big fan of whimsy. Since I write emotionally intense, character-driven BDSM romance which explores the darkness of human nature on the way to the happily-ever-after, I think putting whimsy in my daily life is my balance. It touches my heart, knowing that people create and indulge simple pleasures to make themselves and others feel good and smile. For instance, I was just visiting Disneyworld, and I love their fall decorations, like these pumpkin people. The existence of whimsy supports a theory I have; that maybe the best way to gain perspective in the midst of grief or despair is not to come up with some big theory to explain or cure the problem, but to figure out a small way to touch the heart and keep the candle burning in darkness. The darkness may always be there, sure, but come hell or high water, that candle’s not going out.
In my own stories, I’ve found indulging those moments in the midst of bigger problems is a way to keep the story from being too dark and offer the reader as much hope as the characters. Like this short scene in Mirror of My Soul, where Tyler is wondering if love is enough to heal Marguerite’s broken soul. He’s never even seen her laugh. They get caught out in a rain storm and…
In the way of Southern storms, the full force of the shower was on them in twenty more steps, a heavy rain that made the winding asphalt path slick and dark like a raven’s wing. Steam rose from the tarred surface, disrupted by the raindrops. Marguerite stopped, pulling her hand free to push her wet hair from her face. Tyler saw her eyes were laughing, her mouth quivering against the real thing.
“It’s like music,” she said, her voice rising over the wind. Lightning flashed over her, followed by the roar of thunder. His angel spread her arms and began to twirl, her hair spinning with her, the wet skirt fluttering with the wind, grabbing for slick purchase on her legs.
As it grew wetter, the dress’s white cotton fabric began to cling to her. When she twirled, she stepped into a puddle, splattering water on her ankles and the glistening curves of her calves. Gathering up her hair in her hands, she held it to the top of her head as she swayed with the movement of the wind, her eyes closing, her mind obviously concentrating on the presence of the storm on her body. She undulated her upper torso with that rhythm, began to perform a sensuous dance with the elements. Turning and jumping as lightly as a dancer, then stomping in the puddle with both feet with the abandon of a child.
She opened her eyes, stretched out a hand and he took it, moving with her in a spinning dance across the path and back. Taking both her hands, he swung with her in a wide circle, mesmerized by the way the water rolled down her face and the top curves of her breasts, revealed by the scooped neckline of the dress. He brought her into him, a turn that put her back against his body. He held her there, nudging her head to the side to suck beads of water off the side of her throat. When his hand came up to catch a cold wet nipple through the cloth, her back arched, rubbing her bottom against him. She broke away, headed down the path as her laughter—her laughter—called him to give pursuit.
Kicking off the comfortable slides, she ran from him in bare feet, her arms wide like wings, ropes of hair spilling down her back wildly like a glossy cape. His heart had wings of its own, as if he were a young man again with no weights on his heart, but with the wisdom of his present age to know what a tremendous gift this moment was. He caught up with her, seized her hand. They kept running, both running from shadows but running together, throwing off a light he reflected might keep those shadows cowering in the past where they belonged.
This excerpt reminds me of that beautiful lantern scene in the movie Tangled and the song that goes with it: “I See the Light”. It always makes me cry, in a good way. Hope and loss rise together hand in hand in that scene, and leaves me full of faith that the two will always at least balance, even if one can’t vanquish the other.
Hmmm…. Well, when I started this, I’d intended to write about my vampires, because we’re headed toward Halloween and the next release in my Vampire Queen series, Night’s Templar. My thought was I could talk about how sexy AND scary vampires can be, but I got a little derailed. That’s okay, though. I’ll still give you a snippet from one of my vampire books before I finish this post. If you love vampires, and want to explore the vampire-servant relationship from a Dom/sub perspective, you can read blurbs and full chapter excerpts for all dozen or so books in the series here. The upcoming one (late Oct-early Nov release) is a male/male BDSM romance, featuring a Fae Lord and a vampire. As you may have guessed from the title, the vampire was a Templar Knight!
Since many of you may not have read the series yet, I’m giving you a teaser from Beloved Vampire, Book IV, because some readers prefer to read it as the first book. That’s because it can standalone, is a great introduction to my vampire world, and has a wonderful male vampire as the Dom hero, Lord Mason. If you decide to read Mason and Jessica’s story, you also get a gentler introduction to Lady Lyssa, a Domme vampire who’s a bit scary at first, but whose story with her servant Jacob actually starts the series with Vampire Queen’s Servant. Anyhow, here’s the teaser from Beloved Vampire:
Lord Mason went to one knee next to Jessica and curled a lock of her hair around her ear, even as she tried to draw her head away from him. Vampires usually prohibited their servants from looking them in the eye, but he’d specifically asked her to look at him, a couple times now. However, she stared down at the towel wrapped around her, not wanting to see his handsome face, feel the pull in her lower abdomen at the slope of jaw, high cheekbones, the firm lips and steady eyes.
“I meant what I said, Jessica. No harm will come to you here, but you cannot cause harm to others, either. Attack one of my staff again, and I will keep you with me at all times.” She noted from beneath her lashes that his glance strayed over her throat, then down to the tenuously tucked towel. “You know enough about vampires to realize that if I’m around you too much, I will not deny myself a taste of you, in several different ways.”
“You said . . . I’d be safe.” She swallowed as his brow lifted.
“You would be quite safe, Jessica. As safe as you were in Amara’s arms. Keep that in mind before you decide to take out your anger on an innocent again. If you need to fight with someone”—his gaze sparked in a way that inspired fear and yet heat again, low in her belly—“you call on me.”
Jessica is a strong, amazing heroine who has been through a terrible ordeal with her previous vampire master, so she and Mason have a long road before she can trust him and her submissive instincts again.
And that’s all from me right now (except for my giveaway at the bottom – don’t overlook that!). For those who don’t know my work, I do contemporary and paranormal BDSM romance. So far, I have about 40 books and six series happening. I know, I know, I should have mentioned this at the first, but that seemed like a boring opener (grin). Here’s how to find out more about those books –
GIVEAWAY – You knew I wasn’t going to leave you without offering you goodies, right? For a $15 Amazon, B&N or ARe gift certificate, AND a free ebook of your choice, tell me about a piece of whimsy in your life that makes you smile. A cute figurine on your mantle, a memory of you or someone you love acting silly, a pair of pajama bottoms with snoozing sheep printed on it… you get the gist. You can also leave any comments and questions for me as well. I’ll randomly choose a winner after about 48 hours and post the person’s name here, but if you feel comfortable putting your email address with the comment, I can also email you directly if you win!
For the last couple days I’ve been working on an old ceramic jug my aunt gave me a few years ago. I remember this water pitcher and its basin sitting on the sideboard in her dining room every time we’d go visit when I was a kid. She’d been given the set as a gift years ago by her brother- and sister-in-law. Over the years, it was broken (no, I didn’t do it!) and repaired with the glue available at the time. When it came to me, the glue hadn’t held, and two large fragments were inside the pitcher waiting to be reattached.
As I set to work removing the hardened and brittle glue from yesteryear, my mind wandered to the edits I’d received on my upcoming short story Summer Stalked due out in the fall with MuseItHOT Publishing. I’d written the summer theater murder mystery a couple years with the best available writing skills I had at the time. Though a good job on the overall story, I’d made some mistakes in the way I’d written the timeline and the character interactions. The edits were much like the acetone I’d been rubbing on the old glue on the pitcher. Undoing the problems that made the pitcher or the story not stay together.
The story is coming along, and the pitcher will be as good as new very shortly. New writing and new glue. Repairing two old but cherished items.
Brent Archer began writing in 2011 at the nudging of his cousins. His first story sold, and he was hooked! Stay tuned for the Dec 8th release of his short story The Artistry of Steam publishing in the Gym Boys anthology edited by Shane Allison. Preorder it here.
Visit his website to keep up on upcoming releases, and follow him on Twitter: @brentarcherwrit.
The Battle of Stirling Bridge evokes images of William Wallace, a man of firm beliefs, and a warrior who inspired both commoner and noble to raise their sword for Scotland’s cause. But in this era of shifting loyalties and political subterfuge, I believe it’s important to recognize another warrior whose tactical expertise and intelligence made a significant impact in Scotland’s fight for freedom — Andrew de Moray.
Born to one of Scotland’s greatest houses in the province of Moray, Andrew de Moray would have studied in Europe, his knowledge of military tactics learned from Swiss mercenaries. In the spring of 1297, recently married, and a man who despised King Edward’s illegal occupancy of Scotland, de Moray escaped his imprisonment at Chester Castle. With his father and uncle locked in the Tower of London, and a man greatly influenced by his uncle, David de Moravia, parson of Bothwell and one of the most ardent patriots of his time, it is easy to understand why upon his return to Avoch Castle Andrew de Moray raised the standard of revolt.
Frustrated by the choke hold of the English, with de Moray’s stand, many Scots, including Alexander Pilche, burgess of Inverness, cast away any semblance of allegiance to King Edward I and joined de Moray. Though de Moray’s initial assault upon Urquart Castle failed, he demonstrated the enormity of his threat as he led his growing army north to Ross. A cunning strategist, he divided his troops, placing half beneath Alexander Pilche’s command. Their combined efforts allowed them to harass English forces with destroying precision, capture weaponry and ultimately, Boharme Castle, a strategic stronghold that severed the northeast in two. With this major victory, de Moray pushed on to seize numerous strongholds including Urquart Castle.
Focused on his upcoming military campaign in Flanders, at news of Andrew de Moray’s uprising, King Edward I sent a message to Scottish nobles whom he’d freed in return for their joining his fight in Flanders to now find and squelch Andrew de Moray’s rebellion. Though John Comyn, Earl of Buchan, agreed, neither could England’s king dismiss that the Comyn’s were major contenders along with Robert Bruce to become the Scottish king, nor overlook Comyn’s blood tie to Andrew de Moray. Factors that in the end swayed Comyn to step back and see if de Moray would be the victor.
In this time of upheaval it is crucial to note the importance of the Guardians of Scotland, in specific, the role of the Bishop Wishart. A powerful man, Bishop Wishart utilized every available option to ensure Scotland’s freedom. With the long-reaching power of the church, Wishart’s connection with Andrew de Moray’s uncle David de Moravia, parson of Bothwell who would later become the Bishop of Moray, it is easy to understand how Andrew de Moray’s actions were guided by more than by his patriotism to Scotland, but by Wishart’s hand.
On 7 July 1297, when outnumbered, the Bishop Wishart, Robert Bruce and Sir William Douglas surrendered to Sir Henry de Percy. Though a blow to the Scots in their fight for independence, battle plans were already in motion; de Moray was en route to join Wallace to keep the English forces from reaching Stirling Castle.
With continued troublesome reports of Andrew de Moray, before sailing to Flanders, King Edward I employed an often used military tactic to stop de Moray’s interference. The king offered de Moray’s father, who was imprisoned in the Tower of London, freedom — if he agreed to fight with him in Flanders, and if his son, Andrew de Moray, replaced him as a hostage in the tower of London. De Moray’s father agreed. King Edward I’s letter of safe conduct and the personal letter from de Moray’s father were sent to de Moray, but not until after King Edward I had departed for Flanders. It is unknown if the offer ever reached Andrew de Moray’s hands. If so, de Moray’s future decisions proclaimed his reply.
On 11 September 1297, John de Warenne, the Governor of Scotland, and Hugh de Cressingham, the Treasurer of Scotland, readied their army on the south side of the Forth. Though both de Moray and Wallace stood before their men that day, it was the tactical expertise of de Moray which led the Scottish force, a strategist whose campaign in Moray built and swept south to create this defining moment in Scottish history. Andrew de Moray, having ordered the simple timber construction of Stirling Bridge weakened, waited until enough attacking infantry and knights had crossed, then he and Wallace gave the order for their spearmen to cut the English army in two. Without room to maneuver, the English were massacred. De Warenne fled for his life, but Cressingham was killed.
Tragically, amidst the fighting, Andrew de Moray was gravely wounded. Some believe he died on the battle field. Proof he not only survived, but played an active role in Scotland’s continued fight for freedom is confirmed by de Moray’s signature in several documents, including the letter written at Haddington on October 11th, and as his status dictated before Wallace’s, “Andrew de Moray and William Wallace, leaders of the army of the realm of Scotland.” Most likely, after the Battle of Stirling Bridge, de Moray was brought to Cumbuskenneth Abbey or farther north to be treated and recover. The last time his name appears on a document is November 7th, indicating that soon after, he succumbed to his injuries.
Andrew de Moray may have walked but months in the scope of Scotland’s history, but his steps were those of a brilliant leader, a skilled warrior who drew thousands to Scotland’s cause, and a champion who alongside another great man, William Wallace, overcame overwhelming odds and won the Battle of Stirling Bridge, forever changing the course of Scotland’s history.
The Scottish War of Independence by Evan Macleod Barron
Robert Bruce & The Community of The Realm of Scotland by Geoffrey W.S. Barrow
About the Author
A retired Navy Chief, Diana Cosby is an international bestselling author of Scottish medieval romantic suspense. Books in her award-winning MacGruder Brothers series are translated in five languages. Diana has spoken at the Library of Congress, Lady Jane’s Salon in NYC, and appeared in Woman’s Day, on USA Today’s romance blog, “Happy Ever After,” MSN.com, Atlantic County Women Magazine, and Texoma Living Magazine.
After her career in the Navy, Diana dove into her passion – writing romance novels. With 34 moves behind her, she was anxious to create characters who reflected the amazing cultures and people she’s met throughout the world. With the release of her first two books in her new Scottish medieval The Oath Trilogy, An Oath Taken and An Oath Broken, both which hit bestseller lists in the U.S., Canada, and the United Kingdom, as well as the release of the e Box Set of the MacGruder Brothers series, she is now preparing for the release of the last book in The Oath trilogy, An Oath Sworn on 23 December, 2015!
Diana looks forward to the years of writing ahead and meeting the amazing people who will share this journey.
Colyne MacKerran is on a mission for his king, and he’s well aware that spies are lying in wait for him everywhere. Wounded en route, he escapes his attackers and is aided by an alluring Frenchwoman…whose explanation for her presence in the Highlands rings false. Even if she saved his life, he cannot trust her with his secrets. But he won’t leave her to the mercy of brigands, either—and as they race for the coast, he can’t help but wonder if her kiss is as passionate as she is.
I was reading an interesting interview with a best selling author.
Click on Cover
The best selling author told the journalist that her success is owed to LUCK and to BRANDING.
All sorts of images came to mind.
– A hefty cowgirl being singled out of the pack, tossed to the ground and branded with a red-hot iron. ‘Romance Best Seller!’ – Right on her plump rear.
– A woman wrapped in shiny cellophane, with heart-shaped pink labels advertising romance stuck in strategic places, a bright smile firmly pasted on pink lips. (not too much lipstick – we said romance, not erotica.)
– Betty Crocker. (All right, silly, I know, but whenever I think of branding I think of Betty Crocker. This time she’s not holding a cookbook, she’s holding a romance book, and she’s wearing rhinestone-festooned glasses.)
The author went on to say she never gave an opinion on anything, and she made sure she was only associated with her books. What? You can’t express any opinions? And you must be careful not to project any other image except that of your books?
(Already I’m starting to feel schizophrenic – I write erotica, mainstream, and YA fiction, science fiction, high fantasy, contemporary, urban fantasy, historical and paranormal…what on earth kind of brand would I get? I’m guessing it won’t be pink and heart-shaped.)
I have strong opinions about things. I’m also open minded and can be swayed by a good argument. I love a good argument. But that’s not the point of this blog. You can’t really have a good argument on a blog – you can only post your opinions, get misunderstood, get into hot water, and decide it’s better to stick with recipes by Betty Crocker.
But the best selling author did have a point when she insisted on having a good image. I just suppose that the last thing I want (sorry) is to be branded as a romance writer. It’s too limited for me. For one thing, I do many things better than writing romance, and other things are more important to me.
I put so many things before my writing that it would really bother me to be branded. Think of me as one of those old steamer suitcases which has traveled all over the world, and has stickers in all sizes, shapes and colors from everywhere, in different languages, all over it. That’s more like it.
As for the LUCK part – well, that’s out of my hands, isn’t it?
And here is my favorite fish chowder recipe – enjoy!
Onion, new potatoes, milk, 1/2 cube chicken bullion or 1 cup clam juice (optional), bay leaves, salmon, cod, smoked haddock, sweetcorn(canned, frozen, or fresh cut off the cob), spring onions, parsley or dill.
Peel and roughly chop an onion, put it into a large deep pan with a little butter and fry till golden. Scrub 400g potatoes, then halve or quarter them depending on their size. Add them to the onion then pour in 500ml of water and 500ml of milk. Bring to the boil, with a coarse grinding of pepper and a couple of bay leaves.
Lower the heat so the liquid simmers and, when the potato is soft, introduce 400g of mixed fish, such as salmon, cod and smoked haddock, cut into large cubes, and continue to cook on a low heat for 10 minutes.
Add the corn to the pan. Roughly chop 2 spring onions and a small bunch of parsley (or dill) and stir them into the soup carefully, without breaking up the fish. Serve as soon as the corn is tender. It is important not to stir the chowder too much as it cooks, which would result in the fish breaking up.
The flavors will improve if the soup rests 30 minutes before serving.
Serve with crusty bread or oyster crackers, a green salad, and a crisp white wine or cider.
Many authors have a theme running through their works. The importance of family, the ultimate quest for something, well…questworthy; how good always triumphs over evil. Themes are wonderful; you can build on them and explore them in many ways.
The theme for my third MacQuire Women Book, First Impressions, is simply put, first impressions can be, and often are, wrong. The age-old adage that states don’t judge a book by its cover, essentially means the same thing, and I wanted to explore that thought,
In First Impressions, family Med Doc Clarissa Rogers has a not-too-positive opinion of local veterinarian Padric Cleary. She’s heard everyone from his twin sister to her own office staff label Pat as a player. This is not the type of man she wants to be associated with. From these descriptions, she bills him as shallow and superficial.
All that changes when Pat helps her through one of the worst days of her life. She sees him as a kind and caring man, honest, truthful and far, far from shallow. His concern for her is heartfelt and she responds to it as she’s done with no other man.
When a situation arises that seems to prove everything she’d heard about him was in fact true, their relationship takes a 180 degree turn backward. But, because this is a romance novel, you can guess how it ends. Pat and Clarissa’s journey and growth, though, are the most important facets of the book.
Now, another interesting fact behind why I titled the book what I did is this: Pride and Prejudice – my all time number 1 favorite romance novel – had as its original title, First Impressions. For those of you familiar with Pride and Prejudice you can see why Jane Austen called it that. Lizzy Bennett’s first impression of Darcy is that he is vain, pompous and arrogant, unconcerned with his fellow man and a snob. We all know how her opinion changes when Darcy shows Lizzy the true man he is during the Lydia/Wickham scandal.
I would never be so bold as to compare Clarissa & Pat to Elizabeth & Darcy. But both couples do share similar experiences with trust and being judgmental. Both books have strong, independent-thinking women as their protagonists, and both require the hero and heroine to go through a few mis-steps before stepping into one another’s lives forever.
I will admit this freely – I don’t usually make a good first impression when people meet me. I’m socially awkward and I tend to back away from a group and observe before I ever put myself into the mix. This has the tendency for people who don’t know me to think I am either excessively snobbish, rude or shy – none of which I am. Well, okay, I’ll give you rude -SOMETIMES! But first impressions are usually, in my observation, wrong. We need to really get to know people before we ever assume anything about them. That old book and cover saw drifts back to my mind frequently.
So, if we were to meet, what do you think my first impression of you would be?
Family Practice Doctor Clarissa Rogers’ first impression of Padric Cleary is biased and based on gossip. The handsome, charming veterinarian is considered a serial dater and commitment-phobic by his family and most of the town. Relationship shy, Clarissa refuses to lose her heart to a man who can’t pledge himself to her forever.
Pat Cleary, despite his reputation, is actually looking for “The One.” When he does give his heart away, he wants it to be for life. With his parent’s marriage as his guidebook, he wants a woman who will be his equal and soul mate in every way.
Can Pat convince everyone – including Clarissa – she’s the only woman for him?
“Have you ever been friends with a girl before?” she finally asked.
“Have a beer and shoot some pool friends? Or the kind with benefits?”
She laughed out loud, shook her head and grinned. “Have you ever been friends with a girl without having sex mixed into the equation?”
“Not since I was sixteen,” he admitted and then felt his neck heat. “Why?”
She cocked her head again. “It’s no secret I’m attracted to you, too. I think my reaction to the way you kissed me proves it.”
“Why am I hearing a ‘but’?”
Her lips twitched at the corners. “But I don’t jump into bed with a man because I’m attracted to him.”
“I never thought you did.”
“Good to know.”
He cocked his head. “So, what’s being friends got to do with anything?”
Clarissa sighed and settled back against the doorframe. “Can I be honest?”
“I would hope so.”
“I’ve been hearing about your reputation with women since I moved here, and I’m not looking to be the flavor of the week.”
He stared at her for a second as hurt washed through him. “When you say honest, you don’t pull any punches.”
Often in our busy, 24/7, social media addicted and instant gratification existence we get caught up in high expectations for (fill in the blank) events in our lives. One day you’re rolling along, plans all laid out nice and tidy and then something happens to challenge you. Something which tests your resilience for change, and threshold for disappointment.
Sound familiar? It happens to all of us. Hopefully not too often, but when it does how you react immediately after the stomach-dropping hit you just took, sets you up for a big decision… Turn the disappointment not into lemonade but opportunity or let it paralyze you.
I had one such disappointment this summer and it had to do with my debut baseball romance, SAVING MAVERICK. I was so excited when Bloomsbury Spark offered me a contract this past March and chose a November 2015 release date. I had gleefully told my family, friends, complete strangers, “My book is coming out in November!” I’d posted it on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, my website. You name it. I had begun to pimp it, well everywhere.
So, July rolls around and I’m eager to receive my edit letter from well, my editor, but what I received instead was a nicely worded email asking me how I would feel if they changed the release date, for marketing purposes, to early 2016?… How would I feel? Sad, very-very sad.
I found myself with this huge decision to make. Do I kick and scream and demand I get my way like a toddler who’s lost their blanky and end up alienating my editor and the publisher and perhaps blow my opportunity for books two and three? <takes deep breath> Or do I set aside my “poor me” feelings and listen to the “oh, yeah, this makes sense” voice that appeared soon after the need for the pink stuff in a bottle faded away?
The change in release date had really nothing to do with me or the quality of the book, but more to do with “Hey, there is no baseball in November” and it just made better marketing sense to release it at the beginning of baseball season, the following year.
I have to tell you, I was kinda proud of myself. I could have spent a day (or two or three) in bed boo-hooing, eating ice cream and refusing to go outside, but I chose to listen to that voice that said “Yeah, this sucks, but it’s best for the success of the book.”
The more I thought about the initial disappointment the more I realized the best approach is to make sure something’s right first instead of forcing it to be right. I replied back the next day, and was honest with my editor. I admitted I was disappointed but I also wanted to make sure we set the book up for a successful release—even if it meant I would have to wait three extra months AND I had to tell everyone it wasn’t happening until next year. That was a tough one because everyone was so excited and happy for me.
I took the extra time I’d been given before I needed to dive into the editing process on SAVING MAVERICK, to begin writing a short story and another full length book, this time a romantic suspense. I entered it in a writing contest and forgot about it until it was chosen as a finalist, and then I pitched it to another publishing house, and they’re interested in reading it. (Now I just have to finish it LOL)
So there you go, silver lining. One I hadn’t been planning on, but which wouldn’t have happened if I’d let my disappointment paralyze me.
So, tell me how do you handle life’s disappointments? Or better yet, what have you learned from having gone through a disappointing experience?
Thank you Delilah for sharing your readers with me. (And for teaching the Roses Plotting Boot Camp!)
All my best,
SAVING MAVERICK – Releases Early 2016 – It’s not yet up for pre-order, however you can go to GOODREADS and add it to your WANT TO READ list!
Maverick Jansen and Kelsey Sullivan fall into a complicated game of PR strategy by day and searing passion by night where they both find a new meaning to fast and hard.
Days before the biggest game of playboy pitcher Maverick Jansen’s career, his brother is killed in a horrific car accident. Determined not to let his teammates down, Mav pushes through his grief only to lose control of his signature pitch—and the series.
Still dealing with the backlash of his once adoring fans, Maverick learns his team’s owner plans to move the ball club to small town America. During a night of hard drinking Mav rails against the move to “Hicksville” while a fan records the entire tirade. His career takes another hit when the video goes viral right before spring training.
Kelsey Sullivan, Media Consultant, is hired by the team’s owner and her childhood friend, Thomas Scott, to help restore Maverick’s image and find a way to get his mojo back. As the daughter of a former minor league ball player who walked away from her and her unstable mother, Kelsey breaks her main client rule—no male athletes—to help her friend and gain a coveted position with the ball club.
STRIKE THREE, or…?
Persuaded to pretend they’re a couple against her better judgment, Kelsey and Maverick begin dating as a last ditch effort to secure his place on the team, fix his public image and prove to an unstable groupie who’s begun posting doctored photos on the internet that he’s taken.
In order to convince Kelsey what they have is more than just soul-shattering sex, Maverick digs deep, overcoming his commitment phobia and unexpected news to prove to Kelsey love can save them both. Can Kelsey bury her long-held belief that a bad boy baseball player isn’t the happily-ever-after type so they both can make the Show.
Excerpt from Saving Maverick:
Kelsey leaned against the railing and rolled the tension out of her neck and shoulders. How much longer should she hide out here before going back in? She didn’t want to chance looking around to check on T.S. and Maverick and get caught staring, again, so she kept her gaze on the still, dark blue lake below her.
So caught up in her memories, she hadn’t heard the terrace doors opening. She only noticed the footsteps right before a hand brushed her arm. She looked up and felt a shock of heat shoot straight to her core. It was him. Maverick Jansen and he was giving her his full attention.
“Excuse me miss. I hope I’m not intruding, but I really needed a break and you seemed so relaxed out here I just had to find out why for myself.”
She looked at America’s hottest baseball player out of the corner of her eye and snorted. Her body may be firing on all cylinders from his simple touch, but he didn’t need to know that.
“Really, is that a line you practiced or did it just come to you?” Kelsey asked.
“Well, now it got you to speak to me, so I think practiced or not, it had the desired result.” He smiled, and oh my, those dimples, Kelsey thought. He held out his hand. “Hi, I’m Rand Jansen, but everyone calls me Maverick.”
She allowed him to slip his sport roughed hand around her smaller one and tilted her head to the side. How should she play this? He may be the first man in a long time to make her feel even a twinge of sexual interest, but they would soon be working together. Maybe she should test him? See exactly how he would handle a woman turning him down.
“Kelsey.” She responded.
“Just Kelsey?” He asked.
“For now.” She smiled.
“Do you usually go by just one name? Are you a secret agent or something?” Maverick grinned again.
“Or something.” She took a slight step back, to gain a bit of control and for her sanity. She could feel her nipples pebbling against her camisole and was glad she wore a blazer for her meeting with T.S., otherwise Maverick would be able to see the effect he was having on her.
She shouldn’t be having such an intense reaction. It had taken a mere brush of his hand and the sound of his sinful voice to wind her up. She needed to get a grip and get off the terrace — fast.
BIO: Debra Elise lives with her husband and their two sons in the beautiful Pacific Northwest. She loves to read, nap, write, and watches entirely too much reality T.V. She also enjoys a good nap (oops that’s a repeat), hanging out with other author-type individuals and teasing her three ‘boys’ into displaying their killer smiles. Most days find her carpooling, avoiding laundry and daydreaming about her characters and how to make them come alive for her readers.