UPDATE: The winners are…Stacey Kinzebach and Laura!
Some of you might not be aware, but my sister and I began writing together, just over twenty years ago. These stories were our first efforts. Funny contemporaries that we set aside for years while we concentrated on writing our solo works. Then, a few years ago, we decided to revise them and put them up for sale. We never lost our love for these characters or the funny things we put them through. If you haven’t read them yet, check them out!
For a chance to win your choice of one of the Texas Billionaires Club books, answer this…
Do you love billionaire stories? Or do you prefer a blue-collar kind of hero?
Something to Talk About
What happens when Martha Stewart teams up with the Oscar Madison of radio talk shows? Sparks fly, romance blooms and their audience goes wild!
Diane Denton is a cool, sophisticated home and garden talk show host on K-YAK 102.5 radio station. All she thinks she wants is to talk about fertilizer and place settings, while fending off her well-meaning country club parents’ attempts to push her into marriage with the “right man.”
To Diane, fellow talk show host, Rip O’Rourke, is nothing more than a rebellious, overgrown teenager flaunting his baseball-capped, Hawaiian-shirted, ex-football player physique to “score” with anything with breasts. Proof of his perversity is the crude, but popular, hour of programming he hosts that discusses such manly topics as wet T-shirt contests and sports statistics. Diane wouldn’t spit on Rip if he were on fire, while Rip on the other hand, wants to do more than spend time with Diane. She is a challenge to mankind as a whole and his goal in life is to see Diane’s crisp shirts and tailored slacks properly rumpled, just once.
Rip gets his opportunity when the radio station is sold to a large corporation and the station manager is challenged to come up with a prime-time show that will set the city on its ear. From one of Rip and Diane’s public arguments springs the idea of a show about the differences between men and women giving their audience, “Something to Talk About.”
Excerpt from Something to Talk About…
Their boss and station manager, Dave Lebcowitz, stepped into the room at just that moment. The high-spirited chatter halted. Anxious faces turned in his direction.
“Good afternoon, team.” Dave’s voice carried like a sonic boom in a cardboard box. “I know you’re all wondering why I called this meeting. I don’t want to keep you hanging, so I’ll cut to the chase.” Dave glanced around the room, drawing out the pause.
Casey held her breath. Dave only acted this way when he was about to announce something big—something they weren’t going to like. Despite her belief superstition was for ignorant people, Casey crossed her fingers in her lap. Please don’t cut my show.
“The station’s been bought out by ROR International.”
Pandemonium broke out, and everybody spoke at once. A buy-out usually meant one thing. Someone, maybe a lot of someones, would lose his or her job.
Dave raised both hands, “Quiet now, everyone.” He waited until the noise subsided before continuing. “I just got off the phone with the new management team. They’ve been studying our ratings and haven’t recommended any personnel or timeslot changes, yet.”
“What do you mean—yet?” Casey demanded. “We all know what happened to that station in Denver they bought out six months ago. It’s pretty much a turn-key operation now. Most of their programming comes from nationally syndicated shows.”
“Well, they did express concern about our ratings,” Dave admitted, “but I talked them into giving us a little breathing space—a chance to prove ourselves as part of their new team.”
“Were they amenable to the idea?” Rip asked.
“They agreed to give us two months,” Dave responded.
Casey frowned. “A kind of trial period?”
“Yes.” Dave turned to pace the length of the conference table. “The problem is we’re not rock ‘n roll. We’re not rap. Face it—we’re not sexy. We’re talk radio. We’ve been losing market share steadily in our ‘morning drive’ slot ever since Jack the Yak left. We need to change that.”
“Any suggestions on how to turn that around?” Rip asked.
“We need something different. Something that will get the entire city listening and talking. Ladies and gentlemen,” he looked around the room at each face, pausing on Rip, who was poking holes in his paper coffee cup with a pen, “…and Rip, if we don’t come up with something big, we’re all likely to be out of jobs.”
He took a deep breath and continued, “Having said that, I called you together to brainstorm a new idea for our morning drive. We need something that will set this city on its ear.”
As the others settled into discussion, Casey sat silent, racking her brain for an idea. With a quick look around the room, she made a mental inventory of the current lineup.
Dan Rice had the hourly news segment. Not much you could do with that. Randy Gaither had “Mechanic’s Corner” in the mornings right after the morning drive timeslot. Evelyn Krinard hosted the late-night jazz segment on the weekends, and Trish Yarborough was the resident gossip columnist, mixing national with local celebrity news, in the hour following the evening drive hour. With disgust, Casey noted Trish’s attention was fully tuned in to Rip O’Rourke, the resident macho man who hosted the coveted evening commuter’s show and the “Just for Men” program after ten o’clock. She stopped her perusal there.
Casey pursed her lips. She couldn’t understand what she’d seen in him. His square jaw and many-times-broken nose, combined with his ice-blue eyes and dark chestnut-colored hair, were certainly arresting. His belly, as yet, hadn’t turned to flab despite his hedonistic appetites, and his shoulders strained the seams of his shirt, almost to the point of bursting. She hated to admit his exterior certainly had its charms.
But, he was rude, slovenly, and uncouth. A no-necked, ex-jock with the perfect combination of misogynistic qualities that made his show, featuring a mix of sports and male-oriented chatter, so popular.
She’d originally been attracted to his ruggedly handsome face and physique, and ignored warnings of his womanizing tendencies. For once, she’d followed her instincts and gone out with someone her mother would never approve of. And she’d been sadly disappointed when he’d lived up to his reputation, and then some. And he probably still had the paint to prove it.
Despite her own lack of interest, other women loved him. They fell all over themselves to be with Rip O’Rourke, case in point: Bambi. Sliding her gaze upward to his face, she found him watching her.
She glared back, and then dropped her gaze, trying to get control of the heat suffusing her cheeks. Casey stared at his chest for a moment before she noticed the T-shirt he wore beneath his open Hawaiian shirt. “Good grief, O’Rourke. Can’t you find something more—” Casey gave up searching for the right word and said what she thought, “—more adult?”
He waggled his eyebrows at her, grinning. “What’s the matter, Cramer? Don’t you like my hairy chest?” He turned toward the rest of the group and pulled the shirt open wider. His T-shirt sported a drawing of curly hair and a belly button.
“Of course not,” she replied sharply. “It’s crude and disgusting.”
“Don’t be such a prude, sweetheart. Haven’t you ever run your fingers through a man’s chest hair before? Or don’t the men you date have any?”
Embarrassed by the turn of the conversation, Casey pursed her lips. “It’s none of your business what I have or have not run my fingers through. That shirt belongs in a frat house—not a workplace. It’s as bad as the T-shirt you loaned me the other day.”
“That’s just your opinion, Cramer. Shall we poll the rest of the group to see if they feel the same?”
Glancing around the room, she was startled to realize the “Rip and Casey Show” held center stage. Even Dave was quiet, a speculative gleam in his eye, as though he waited for the next shot to be fired.
“All right,” Rip continued, “all those who like the T-shirt and don’t think it’s childish or—more to the point—don’t care, raise your hands.”
Most of the guys raised their hands. Trish smiled, raised hers, and batted her eyes at Rip.
Rip turned to Casey with a triumphant look on his face.
“Only the majority of the male half of this room agreed with you,” Casey pointed out, discounting Trish’s vote. “Obviously, you don’t have a clue about a woman’s preferences,” she said, with a smug expression of her own.
“Au contraire, Cramer. The only thing that’s obvious is you don’t know how to loosen up and have fun. You’re so stiff, I bet you even starch your underwear.”
Starched underwear? He had nerve. “I. Do. Not,” she said through gritted teeth.
Rip’s eyebrow rose. “Prove it.”
“I will not, you moronic, prepubescent buffoon. Why don’t you grow up?”
“I will as soon as you learn to loosen up. I’d like to see you when your shirt’s wrinkled and your hair’s messed up. Or you have salsa all over your chest. That’s when I can almost mistake you for a mere mortal like the rest of us.”
“That’s it!” Dave shouted.
Every person in the room turned startled gazes to the man standing at the head of the conference table. Dave’s color was heightened, and he had a feverish gleam in his eyes. “That’s it!” he repeated.
“What’s it, Dave?” Rip asked.
“That’s our show.” He clapped his hands together like a child at the circus.
“What are you talking about?” Casey stared around the room, certain she had missed something.
“The whole reason we’re in this room,” Dave answered, excitement staining his cheeks red. “Pay attention, you two. We’ll do a show on male versus female opinions with Casey and Rip as the co-hosts.”
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