I’m Melanie Jayne, Romance writer, lover of fun, and wonderer. Now I’m not going to try to tell you that when a question enters my brain that I rush to ask Alexa or Google for help, nor do I pour over research books. I tend to be lazy. I usually make a cup of coffee, eat some chocolate, and make up different scenarios in my mind.
In my latest book, A Change of Plan, the heroine, Ramsay Kent, is complex, difficult, and a diva. When I was planning this series I didn’t intend for her to have a book. However, the badass Osi was a hit and he is the type of man who can easily have a woman anytime, but he wants Ramsay.
So I needed to figure out how this driven, successful fashionista was unable to put down roots and commit to a man who cared about her. When writing, sometimes things fall into place easily and because Ramsay never chooses the smooth path, nothing felt right. So I did what I always do when I hit a rough patch in my storytelling, I watch daytime TV, the treasure chest of dysfunction and ideas. My favorites are Divorce Court and Dr. Phil, sometimes it can be the major topic or a simple sentence that helps. On that particular day, Judge Lynn Toler counseled the wife not to let a label she acquired as a teen define her life.
How many times have I used the term, “Only Child,” to explain my selfishness? Or I have pegged someone as a cheerleader, prom queen, or jock? I remember my mother reminding me to be neat and orderly with my belongings every time I packed for camp, and before I left for my freshman year at college, she worried that I would be a sloppy roommate (I wasn’t). However, to this day, I worry about it whenever I travel and share a room. I don’t want to be the slob.
So as I wrote Ramsay’s story, it became clear that she believed herself to be responsible for a terrible chain of events. She’d never discussed those feelings with a professional and they were allowed to dig in and fester. She wants to atone but worries about people finding out. She’s caught in a vicious cycle of blaming herself, wanting to make up for her sins, worrying that she can never do enough, falling short, and then blaming herself even more.
For 2018, I decided that I would try to work on my bad habits. Make better food choices, focus less on the negativity, set long-term career goals, and then list paths to achieve. I was amazed by the number of times that the words “I can’t” or “this won’t work” popped into my head based upon crap I was told in high school. Have I allowed those opinions to hold me back for thir…, er too many years?
Did my algebra teacher’s summation that I lacked focus and commitment stick with me all of these years? I do have a history of career hopping? Mr. Jewell spent one hour a day with me and somehow he knew me? I rarely spoke in class because I knew that I wasn’t getting the math. Did this virtual stranger shape my life’s decisions?
Today, I wonder how much those labels have shaped my choices? I’m not going to give Mr. Jewell that much power. He was a lousy teacher and I doubt that he was that good at summing up a teen that he barely knew. I attribute my career hopping to my interest in different fields, great opportunities, and life changes. Sure I know a little about a lot of things, but that makes me a fun dinner companion.
For 2018, because of this book and Ramsay’s influence, I added to my list of changes that when a negative thought occurs, I would ask myself three questions:
1. Where did this come from?
2. Why would I think that?
3. Am I doing this to please myself or somebody else?
I like myself, the good and the bad but I ultimately know that I’m good because I’m always working to be better.
A Change of Plan
“Five, four, three, two, one, Happy New Year!” The party guests counted down in unison.
I already had one arm draped around Ramsay’s slender waist. She allowed me to roll her into my body so that we were touching from chest to pelvis as I kissed her long and hard. “Better than last year’s.” I grinned.
She pulled away from me and gave me a haughty look, raising one eyebrow. “What’s that supposed to mean?”
I didn’t loosen my hold. God, she’d lost weight working so hard on, first, Tye and Billie’s wedding, then Cress and Brian’s, and finally this annual extravaganza. I could feel the knobby bones along her spine. “Last year, I had to track you down for my kiss. This year, you’re by my side.” Where you belong, I added silently. Ramsay Kent was an elusive woman. Although we’d been involved to some degree for over a year, we’d yet to make our relationship official. But I’m a patient man. One of the reasons I’m good at what I do. With Ramsay, I could settle in and wait a while longer.
“Well, I suppose kissing you is better than making out with some random guy.” She turned her head to look around at the other party guests, her green eyes narrowing as though to assess their kissability.
I gave her a hot glare. “Not going to work, Ramses.”
“What?” She drew her eyebrows together in confusion, as if she didn’t know what she was doing.
“You aren’t going to push me away or make me mad. Not tonight,” I said, resolution ringing in my words.
A hint of something like panic entered her gaze. “I’m working… I don’t know what time I’ll get out of here tonight, er, this morning.”
I shrugged, pretending I didn’t see her fear. “It’s not a problem. You know I like to watch you work.”
One side of her mouth hitched upward in consternation. I could almost see her plotting a way to make me go. Before she could blurt out something I didn’t want to hear, I bent toward her. “If I get bored, I’ll head back to my place and send a car to bring you home.” Of course, I wouldn’t get bored. I got off on watching her run the show. Ramsay in command was a thing of beauty. She could multi-task as well as any military strategist—make that better. Handling the rest of this party would be a breeze for her, just like breaking down and reassembling my rifle was second nature to me.
A faint line appeared between her eyebrows. “Are you sure?”
I placed a light kiss on her vibrant red lips, not caring if I now wore the same color. “Go make someone miserable.”
“Asshole.” She snorted as she fought a smile.
“Shouldn’t they be putting out the food?” I asked innocently.
“Shit,” she hissed and spun around on her three-inch heels. “I’m seriously considering cutting the gratuity Tye left for them.” She took off in the direction of the kitchen. Perhaps it was the way her long legs ate up the ground or the red tint to her hair, the guests moved out of her way.
I was admiring the sway of her ass encased in some kind of silky material that was as sleek as her naked body, when I heard my name being called.
About the Author
Melanie Jayne has the best life. She spends her days chatting with feisty females, waking up to sexy men, eating chocolate and wearing pajamas. In March of 2015, she published her first book and never looked back. She currently has four series and will be adding to that number in 2019. Her books predominantly feature characters over the age of thirty-five, facing life head on. They are woman positive and advocate empowerment. She writes about the world that she lives in and collects many of her ideas from her friend’s lives and daytime TV.
She lives a quiet life on a grain farm in central Indiana with her very patient husband and their two mastiffs, Ginger and Duncan Keith. She has been employed in retail management, managed a federal courtroom, worked behind the scenes in a casino and closed home loans. By her own admission she was an inquisitive mind and gets bored easily.
She is an active member of the IRWA Chapter, an avid Reader/Author Conference Attendee, and avid Romance Reader. She is so grateful to the many authors and bloggers who have so generously supported her career and she in turn is giving back to new and aspiring writers.