In my upcoming release for the anthology, Stay With Me, I revisited my first published work that was under my own name (I’d been ghostwriting before this). “A Stranger’s Kiss” first appeared in Delilah’s Boys Behaving Badly, Stranded anthology. It gave me a massive boost in confidence and helped me launch my author career. A quick, heartfelt THANK YOU to Delilah for that opportunity!
Has anybody experienced the magic of a fresh off-the-line HOT Krispy Kreme donut? When I was a paramedic in Atlanta, we routinely dropped in for one in the wee hours of the morning. Nothing helped get you through the night like a sticky, sweet, melt-in-your-mouth donut from the original Krispy Kreme store in downtown Atlanta. Side note- I just found out that this store was not the original store. The company actually started in the 1930s in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. I also discovered that the building burned a few months ago.
When I first moved to Atlanta, I’d just turned 20 and had the world by the tail. I was also a country girl in the big city and walked around with my eyes bugging out and my mouth hanging open. I desperately wanted to experience all the city had to offer. I had big dreams and a head stuffed full of romantic nonsense—thanks to my obsessive reading of all things romance. Since I wasn’t 21, I couldn’t go clubbing with the crew from work, and after months in the city, I still hadn’t managed to have a night on the town. I was a little discouraged, but finally, a firefighter I met through work asked me out.
A tall, hunky guy with blue eyes and biceps that strained the limits of his uniform shirt, I had a serious crush on him. Due to my limited access to the adult world, we spent our evening at a taqueria that had an outdoor dance floor, and all my girlish fantasies of dancing into the night came true. Afterward, we ended swinging by Krispy Kreme and, over a dozen donuts, talked for hours. It didn’t end up going anywhere, but for a country girl with limited experience with men and the city, it was more than enough to make me feel like I had finally arrived.
That simple, sweet memory came to mind as I reinvigorated “A Stranger’s Kiss”. The story was initially an erotic short story. I wanted to use it for a romantic anthology, so I went back and focused on building the romance between the characters that includes bonding over hot donuts! I’m thrilled with how it turned out!
Here’s a tidbit from “A Stranger’s Kiss”. This story will be part of a charity anthology benefitting a good friend and Indie publisher, Sosha Ann, with BBB Publishing. Her mother is battling breast cancer, and we’re trying to support her as she takes care of her mom. The anthology, Stay With Me, is up for preorder and releases June 10th!
Stay With Me
Steaming hot to sugary sweet and everything in between. Join these amazing authors as they delve into worlds of romance. This anthology will be filled with short stories, prequels, and maybe a few surprises along the way. Please beware there maybe cliffhangers and some stories may come with a trigger warning
The anthology is only $1.99 and is FREE in KU!
Excerpt from “A Stranger’s Kiss”
“The hot sign is on!” Jordan suddenly came alive next to me.
Ahead of us, the Krispy Kreme Donut sign glowed with HOT NOW illuminated in red neon. Stuart laughed and made a quick turn into the parking lot. Jordan hopped out of the car before it even came to a stop and was at my door in a blink. He opened it and held his hand out for mine.
“Come on. There’s nothing better for a late-night snack than a Krispy Kreme hot off the line.” He grinned at me like an excited little boy.
The scent of hot fried dough filled the air. My mouth watered. I grabbed his hand and laughed as he practically ran to window to order. A few minutes later, after Jordan took Stuart a cup of coffee and a box of donuts, we sat on a concrete picnic table beneath the city lights with a dozen hot glazed donuts and two chocolate milks.
As we clogged our arteries and skyrocketed our glucose levels, we talked. Small discoveries, like our common love for chocolate and classic literature, revealed themselves quickly. By the time I was licking my sticky fingers clean, we moved past small talk, revealing bits about ourselves.
“So, if you’re not Batman, heir to the Wayne family fortune, what do you do?” I asked, sipping my chocolate milk, thinking I should have stopped at five donuts instead of splitting the dozen evenly. My mind buzzed with a pleasant sugar high as my tired body asked what it had ever done to deserve such abuse.
Jordan popped the last bit of his final donut in his mouth and chewed before answering my question. “I own several tech companies.” He shrugged and gathered up our trash.
I grinned, liking how he hadn’t taken the opportunity to launch into a dissertation on Jordan Campbell the man, the myth, the millionaire. I hated it when someone’s favorite subject was themselves.
“I thought you were going to say you were a YouTube sensation and donut critic.”
Jordan laughed and again offered his hand. “Are you up for a bit of a walk?”
I hesitated. Going for a walk in an un unknown city after dark with a stranger sounded like a great way to end up on the morning news, but even as I thought it, I put my hand in his. I couldn’t find the tiniest spark of fear for this man.
Jordan pulled my hand through the crook of his arm as we walked down the well-lit sidewalk. Stuart drove behind us, creeping along with his flashers on like a hovering dowager aunt chaperone. The stillness of the city felt odd. I assumed all big cities constantly buzzed with activity.
“Where is everybody?” I asked as we strolled along. I liked how he put himself between me and the street and matched his stride to mine.
“Atlanta’s a weird city. Every day, hundreds of thousands of people flood in from the suburbs and desert it eight hours later. They’ve done a lot of revitalization to help draw people live in the city, but it still feels like a ghost town after dark. What’s Kansas City like after dark?”
“I honestly don’t know. I avoid it at all costs. I live like a hermit in the middle of nowhere about an hour north of the city.”
Jordan stopped and faced me. “A writer. A recluse.” He tucked my hair behind my ear and studied me in the under the streetlight. “You’ve got too much to offer to hide away.”
I averted my gaze and looked up into the twinkling lights of the city. How did he know just what to say to disarm me? It was like he could see straight into me and flip whatever switch he wanted.
“Not everyone thinks so. Besides, you don’t even know me,” I said quietly, thinking of Dilan and what he said when he left me.
Kinsey, you just don’t do it for me anymore.
That short sentence shredded my heart and cut the moorings to my center. Over the last year, I tried to reconnect to my drive, my mojo. My editor forced me to go to this conference to get me out of the house in hopes it would jar me out of my funk. A few hours ago, I would have said it hadn’t worked, but now, I wasn’t so sure.
Jordan studied me for a moment before he continued our stroll. We walked the next block in silence until he stopped at the entrance of a high rise building that jutted up into the dark sky.
“This is where I live.” Jordan paused and looked over my shoulder into the night. Indecision played out on his face.
I jumped in. “I don’t know how to thank you. Seriously. Not just for saving me from sleeping in the airport, but everything.” He had no idea how much he had done for me in the last couple of hours.
“Stay with me,” he whispered.
With her author career in flames, all Kinsey wants to do is go home and nurse her wounds. When sparks fly between her and a hunky millionaire, will Kinsey grab a chance at rejuvenating her writing or will fear and self-doubt hold her back?
About the Author
A.C. Dawn is an active and enthusiastic author and reader of short stories, novellas, and novels. She enjoys bringing her characters to life and strives to stir the imagination of her readers. She believes the best writing touches the reader in ways they hadn’t expected and will never forget!
So, that’s the official bio…
Really, I’m a lover of chocolate, a strong jawline with a 5 o’clock shadow, and romances that make your heart pound and your middle get all squishy. I love quiet country living on my north Georgia farm with my family and fur babies of all shapes and sizes. I think the scariest things in life are how fast my daughter is growing and an empty coffee pot. I can’t stand slow drivers in the fast lane and wimpy handshakes.
I have endless stories rumbling around among the rocks in my head. I can’t wait to share them with you!