Tag Archives: second chances

Status Update – Why Series End

Mar 01, 2017

In my writing career so far, I have written eight different series (and a few odds and ends). Of those series, I only have two “active” right now (The Brides of Paradise Ranch and Nerds of Paradise). Four of those series are definitely done (The Noble Hearts, Montana Romance, Hot on the Trail, and Culpepper Cowboys). And the other two (Second Chances and Grace’s Moon)? Ugh, that’s where my heart and my head get into serious debates.

But first things first….

Why does an author choose to end a series? If you’re a reader, it might be heartbreaking to say goodbye to your favorite characters and a world you’ve fallen in love with. The same is true for the author too, but sometimes things have to end. Like with my Noble Hearts series. That decision was easy, because I realized Medieval Romance wasn’t the way I wanted to go. Or with Montana Romance, I felt like I’d told all the stories I needed to tell in that world and wanted to move on to other things. Hot on the Trail was a slightly different story, because I just got burnt out of writing about the Oregon Trail. I mean, there are only so many stories you can tell about people headed west in wagons. But you’ll notice, I sort of just rolled that world into Paradise Ranch, so it doesn’t really end, it just shifts.

Incidentally, I’m thinking that later this year, I might spin-off Paradise Ranch into a 3-5 novella series about the girls that Bonnie has rescued, educated, and helped to find a new life. And thanks to Elspeth and Gunn, those lives are as servants in British households…which would be a great transition from my historical westerns to the British Victorian stories I really want to start writing. It’s all organic, and everything fits together!

But I digress. For me, the Culpepper Cowboys books ended because the well went completely dry for those books. I got to the point where I was just blank. I had no new ideas for the length, tone, and atmosphere of that world. But that sort of rolled into Nerds of Paradise, which are longer, deeper, more complex, and deal with more serious issues. So if that’s the case for those books, what about Second Chances, my contemporary series set in Maine?

This is where I start to cringe on an emotional level. Because I LOVE those Maine books. I love Maine! And I’m very proud of what is now a trilogy. I have people asking me if I’m going to write more in that series all the time. And I hate to say it, but the farther away I get from the last one of those that I published, the less likely I am to continue the series. Because the thing about writers is that their writing brains are not static. I am constantly coming up with new ideas, new worlds, and new characters. Which is a wonderful thing! But the consequence is that other things can be left behind because there just aren’t enough hours in the day. Also, when other series and types of books start to pick up in sales, it’s really hard to forego that income to write something that will need a bigger marketing push. We gotta eat!

And finally… Grace’s Moon. *epic sigh* So, so few people have read my Sci-Fi books or even know they exist. The thing is, I love that genre. I love the books that I’ve already published in that series, and I love the ones that are still floating around in my head. And I keep saying that someday I AM going to come back to that series and write more. Unlike Second Chances, I’m unwilling to say, willingly or grudgingly, that I’m done with Grace. Because I have generation after generation of those characters already planned out. In my mind, that world is epic! Someday I’ll get back to it. Someday!

Character Interview – Tasha Pike from Summer with a Star

Jun 14, 2016

Today I’m continuing my series of interviews with characters from my books. Older characters, newer characters, I’ve got them all here, ready to get to know you! Today I’m talking to Tasha Pike, the heroine of Summer with a Star, the first book in my Second Chances trilogy-for-now and the first contemporary novel I published.

SummerWithAStar

Merry: Hi Tasha! Thanks for coming around to be interviewed.

Tasha: Thanks for interviewing me! It’s nice to be seen again, although I’ve been getting a lot of press lately.

Merry: That’s certainly true. Ever since I made Summer with a Star free, you’ve been being read by a lot more people. Why do you think that is?

Tasha: Well, a lot of people love Contemporary Romance. They love to read about heroes and heroines that are not so far removed from the lives that they themselves live. And it’s nice to be able to read people speaking in modern language about stuff we’ve all been through.

Merry: So why do you think it was important that the first contemporary heroine I wrote be a teacher?

Tasha: (laughs) Well, I know that you know a lot of teachers in your life. We all do. Everyone encounters a teacher at some point, whether it’s as a student, as the parent of a student, or, well, if that’s the job they do. Teachers are the Everywoman of modern society. They’re someone that we can all relate to, and whose struggles we can all imagine easily.

Merry: Exactly. And how do you feel about your story being set at the beach?

Tasha: The beach is wonderful! Everybody loves the beach in some way. And even if they don’t, the whole idea of summer vacation, taking time off, relaxing and setting aside our normal cares is appealing.

Merry: But you don’t really get to set aside your normal cares in Summer with a Star, do you?

Tasha: Well, no, not at first. I dreamed of renting Sand Dollar Point for more than a decade, and I saved up for it through all those years too, but being the mean writer that you are, as soon as I was about to achieve my dream, you went and threw a wrench in it.

Merry: Yeah, but you have to admit, Spencer Ellis is a cute wrench.

Tasha: He is cute, that’s for sure. He’s got that movie star charm and those good looks that any woman would die for. But did you have to go and have him crash my dream by occupying my beach house at the same time that I was supposed to.

Merry: Of course! What’s a good story without a little complication. And things with Spence got very complicated, didn’t they.

Tasha: They sure did. I mean, I was just trying to enjoy my summer vacation as best I could, but how was I supposed to be content lounging around reading romance novels with that luscious hunk of a man parading around.

Merry: Yeah, but Spence is actually a really sweet, considerate guy.

Tasha: He is, but it took me forever to see that. At first I was just too angry that my summer had been spoiled to give him a fair chance.

Merry: So what changed all that?

Tasha: You said it. He’s actually a profoundly decent guy. Although it was a little disconcerting when I realized he had his eye on me.

Merry: Disconcerting? Why?

Tasha: Well, because of everything I’d been through with my ex-boyfriend. Because I was just a plain old teacher and Spence was a big-time movie star. We all dream of ending up in our Hollywood crush’s arms, but, come on. How realistic is it? I was just trying to be a realist.

Merry: Some people would argue that you had low self-esteem.

Tasha: I suppose I did. But can you blame me? After everything that my ex put me through? I think we all have those moments of self-doubt, especially when something as mind-boggling as a movie star being interested in us comes along. Everyone has low self-esteem now and then, it’s how we get out of those funks that matter.

Merry: Too true! So, as a normal, boring teacher person, how did you feel about all that hot sex?

Tasha: (gasps and laughs) I can’t believe you’re asking me that! I can’t believe you wrote all those steamy scenes for me either. But man, I’m sure glad you did. Spence and I really enjoyed ourselves. I was determined to live the fantasy, if only for the summer.

Merry: And how did that work out for you? How did you handle things when the end of the summer finally came?

Tasha: Do you really want me to answer that? Or wouldn’t you rather have your readers read about it themselves?

Merry: Good point!

 

You can find out more about Tasha and about Hollywood star Spencer Ellis and the amazing summer they spent together in Summer with a Star! It’s free right now on Amazon, iBooks, B&N, and Kobo!

Catch a Falling Star – Release Day!

Oct 27, 2015

It’s here! It’s finally here! Catch a Falling Star, the third book in my Second Chances, contemporary romance series is now here! You can purchase it for only 99 cents UNTIL SATURDAY ONLY at Amazon! Sunday, the price goes up to $3.99. So zip on over! In the meantime, you can continue reading Chapter One right now….

CatchAFallingStar_3D

The barista continued to stand beside the table, wringing her hands and biting her lip. “I’m sorry, Mr. Paul,” she burst at last. He turned to her. The barista’s eyes shot to Jo. “I didn’t mean to let someone sit at your table. I was busy when she came in otherwise I would have—”

“It’s fine, Kelly,” he reassured her.

Kelly breathed a sigh of relief and rushed off.

Jo’s insta-lust deflated to disappointment. She started gathering her things. “I didn’t realize this was your table. I can move.” Handsome, rich, and if he thought he was entitled to his own table in a crowded coffee shop—along with his own blonde to wait on him—a total prick. Of course he was too good to be true.

“It’s not really my table,” he laughed, waving for her to sit. “It’s just that I come down here a lot, and being a creature of habit, I sit in the same place so often that the staff likes to reserve it for me. It’s sweet of them.”

“Oh.” Jo hesitated. Was he a jerk or not? It would have been a crying shame to waste so much sex-appeal on an entitled douchebag. “Well, if you don’t mind me sitting here, then I hope you don’t mind if I get some work done.”

“Not at all.” He nodded. “I came here to work myself.” He opened his bag and took out a handful of bound pages, manuscripts of some sort.

Jo slipped back into her warm smile. “Don’t tell me you’re a writer too.”

“No, I’m not.” He matched her grin.

“Then please, please don’t tell me you’re an editor.”

He laughed. “Are they the enemy?”

“Some of them.” She smirked, remembering the hassle over her last book.

He took a sip of his coffee. “No, I’m a director.”

“Movies or television?” Not that it mattered. She had work to do.

“Theater, as it happens,” he answered. “Although I’ve been known to do an episode of television here and there. Ever heard of the show Second Chances?”

“Oh. Yes. They film it at an old nursing home about twenty minutes from my house.” She reached for her coffee, suddenly feeling more like she was talking to a friend than a character from her books.

“You’re from Maine?” For a brief moment, he relaxed to something more genuine than the leonine smile he’d been using to mentally undress her. At least, she assumed that’s what he’d been doing with eyes like those.

“Born and raised,” she answered with a nod, then looped the subject back around to him. “I love the theater.”

“Do you?” He still wore that expectant grin, as if waiting for her to realize he was Stephen Spielberg or something. “What was the last show you saw?”

She winced as she took a sip of coffee. “To be honest, I haven’t had time to see a show in ages.”

“Right.” He nodded as though she’d been stretching the truth to butter him up.

Not to be outdone, she asked, “What was the last book you read?”

His lips twitched again. Those lips were sensual and kissable. They held infinite potential for very naughty things. Jo wondered if he would let her kiss him so that she could describe the way they felt in a future book.

“I’ve been too busy to read anything other than scripts,” he said, bursting her fantasy before it could spin out of control. The sparkle in his eyes told her she’d been too obvious with her imagination anyhow.

“Oh, of course.” She let her appreciation show as she sipped her coffee. And why not? It was too fun to flirt with the man. Well, Diane had told her to have fun while she was in town. Flirting with a random stranger in a coffee shop was as fun as she got. “I’ll let you get on with your reading then.”

“And I’ll let you do your writing.” He met and held her eyes for a few delicious seconds before reaching for the manuscript on the top of his pile. “Let me know if you need some help when you get to the juicy bits.”

Jo laughed…and her unmentionables tingled. She adjusted her laptop on her knees and scanned over the last words she’d written. It didn’t help that she was close to one of the juicy bits. Her hero and heroine were about to find themselves alone, dripping with desire, and unable to control themselves. She felt her cheeks go pink and stole a peek at the delightful Mr. Paul. He was sipping his coffee, but his eyes snuck up to meet hers. He smiled as though it was a game. Jo snapped back to her work, wondering if she should change the description of her hero to be a tall, elegant man with blue-green eyes that crinkled when he smiled.

He was too delicious to resist. She clicked to open another document. Her fingers flew across the keyboard as she recorded every aspect of her handsome stranger’s appearance and personality with the paintbrush of prose. Mr. Paul leafed through his script. His tempting spark was replaced by a serious frown of concentration that was almost as seductive as his smile. Jo stopped typing and lost herself in studying her companion.

The rain picked up outside, drumming against the windows. Dozens of wet New Yorkers scrambled in and out of the shop. Mr. Paul caught her staring. He closed his script, marking his place with one long finger.

“You’ve reached the naughty part, haven’t you.” He flashed back to majestic charm.

“Maybe I have.” She played coy and typed a sentence about the rich cadence of his chocolate voice.

“Care to read it aloud?”

Jo swallowed, way, way more turned on than she had a right to be. But the man had asked her to read her work aloud. No self-respecting author in her right mind would fail to feel the compliment there. Giddy with confidence, she glanced up at him from under her lashes, like her heroine would. “I’m afraid, Mr. Paul, that you’ll have to go to your local book store like anyone else to read one of my love scenes.”

“Call me Ben.”

A shiver pulsed through her. She bit her lip, arching a brow in challenge, refusing to back down.

He blinked. “You’re not joking, are you?”

“What?”

“You really are a writer.”

Jo burst into giggles, breaking character. “Yes, I am. Are you really a director?”

His lips twitched with the same mysterious joke from before he’d sat down. “You’ve really never heard of me? Benjamin Paul?”

She shrugged. “You’ve never heard of me.”

“I don’t read romance novels.”

“Well maybe you should.” She rested one elbow on the arm of the chair and gave him her best coquettish smile. “Men could learn a lot from romance novels, you know.”

“Oh really?” He leaned back, settling into his chair with hip movements that set Jo’s blood on fire. “Do tell.”

“You could learn what really turns a woman on.”

“Is that so?” He purred each word.

“You could learn about gallantry and seduction.”

“I’m very good at seduction.”

His interjected comment sent another tremor slithering through Jo, landing hard in the most inconvenient places.

“I bet you are.” Her smile warmed and her pulse pounded. “But do you know what a woman is thinking when she’s in bed with you? Do you know what her deepest expectations and fantasies are? What finally pushes her over the edge and makes her c—” She pulled back from the edge of too far, biting her lower lip. She hadn’t had this much fun or been this turned on by a conversation with a stranger in…ever.

He stared at her, eyes dancing with white-hot mischief, as if he was reading her thoughts to glean the answers to her question. She needed to fan herself.

“Alright, what’s your name?” He leaned forward to reach into his messenger bag, seduction replaced by purpose.

“It’s Josephine Burkhart.”

“Josephine Burkhart,” he repeated, making her name sound like pillow talk. If that wasn’t toying with her she didn’t know what was.

He drew his smartphone out of his bag and tapped it. With a scintillating arch of his eyebrow he tapped the screen several more times. His wicked expression dropped to genuine surprise. “Well look at that. Josephine Burkhart.” He slid his finger across the screen. “You’ve written twelve books!”

“Fourteen,” Jo corrected him with a triumphant shrug. “One is coming out in two months and I’ve just turned another in to my editor. Not to mention the one I’m working on right now.”

“I’m impressed,” he admitted.

He tapped the phone’s screen a few more times. It was fascinating to watch him slip out of his initial persona. He was still gorgeous and charming, but the wolf had been tucked away in favor of the man. Normal Benjamin Paul was somehow even more of a turn-on than rakish Mr. Paul. Jo’s heart did a whole new kind a flip in her chest, one that left her far more unsteady than she wanted to be.

“I suppose every day brings its own surprise.” He lowered his phone to focus on her. Just like that, the sexy beast was back.

“Did you think I was lying?” The warm buzzing in Jo’s stomach took on a more sinister hum.

“No,” he answered, unconvincing. “But we artists like to exaggerate our accomplishments.”

He handed her his phone over the top of her laptop. On display was a list of links in a web browser for Benjamin Paul. The cluster at the top was a series of articles about his recent theater award. Not just any award either. According to the phone, he’d won Broadway theater’s most prestigious award for directing only a few months ago.

Jo laughed. “Trying to prove that you’re not exaggerating?” She handed the phone back.

“Just providing context.”

Their eyes met as he slid his phone into his back pocket. An impromptu pelvic thrust accompanied the movement. Well then. The man knew how to fill out a pair of jeans. The tingling in Jo’s stomach spread through her entire body, certain areas in particular.

“Congratulations on your award,” she said. Her cheeks felt as pink as could be.

“And congratulations to you on your book release,” he answered. “I’ll be sure to line up for a signed copy. And in the meantime I’ll pick up some of your other books as soon as I can to learn about what women think when they’re about to come.”

Her heart thumped to a stop, then sped up a thousand times over. “Of course you could always just ask.” What? Where did a comment like that come from? Had the rain waterlogged her brain?

“Oh really?” Ben sprawled back in his chair, once again oozing sexuality. His lips and his eyes were the only part of him that still glowed with humor. The rest? Well, the rest of him made her reckless.

“That’s the reason women have to resort to reading romance novels, after all. Men rarely ask what’s going on in their heads. They’re usually too busy thinking of their own. Heads. One in particular.”

Heat infused his look from head to toe. “You’ve just been with the wrong men.”

“You’re probably right.” Her eyebrow flickered up. “But I have yet to be convinced that the right men exist outside of the pages of a novel.”

The intensity of his stare set the hairs on the back of her neck on edge. The coffee shop would have to turn the AC on in a minute in spite of it being forty degrees outside. He watched her, perfectly still, like a wolf. She met his gaze with equal intensity. If he thought he could out-smolder her he had another thing coming. She wrote romance for a living, dammit.

At long last he took a breath and leaned forward. He surged halfway across the table, forearms coming to rest on his knees. She leaned closer to him.

“I live in this building, just upstairs. Would you like to come up and do some research?”

Jo’s heart hammered against her ribs, making her short of breath. She was sure he could see temptation pumping under her skin. He was close enough to smell his cologne. His lips were relaxed, begging to be kissed. His eyes still danced with mischief, utterly focused on her. Her. She’d never wanted anyone so hard so fast.

“Isn’t it a little dangerous, picking up strangers in a coffee shop in the middle of the afternoon?” It was a miracle that her voice didn’t crack.

“You’re not a stranger,” he murmured. “I’ve Googled you. You’re Josephine Burkhart, Romance Novelist.”

“My friends call me Jo,” she hummed in reply. Dear God, she was actually considering it. She, Jo Burkhart, with her overactive imagination and reclusive ways, easily forgotten and pushed aside, was considering an afternoon delight with an award-winning Broadway director she’d met in a coffee shop.

“Well then, Jo.” He pushed her along with his deep, sultry voice. “Shall we go upstairs?”

Her mind went blank. All she could hear was the pounding of her heart and her shallow breaths. She couldn’t think. Nothing came to her. Nothing but unadulterated lust and the urge to take a chance.

“You know, I think I will.”

 

Whoa! Is Jo actually going to go through with it? Continue reading by hopping over to Amazon and purchasing the book for only 99 cents, but ONLY UNTIL SATURDAY. Not that I’d say no to you purchasing the book for the regular price of $3.99.

And be sure to check out the first two books in the series, Summer with a Star and One Night with a Star. Each book in the series stands alone, though. You don’t HAVE to have read the others to be right at home in any of them. Both books were given rave reviews in InD’Tale Magazine!

Catch A Falling Star – Almost Here!

Oct 26, 2015

Tomorrow is release day for Catch a Falling Star, the third book in my Second Chances, contemporary romance series! I’ll let you know as soon as the links are live at Amazon. Keep in mind, you’ll be able to purchase Catch a Falling Star for only 99 cents…THROUGH SATURDAY ONLY! As of Sunday, it goes up to its regular price of $3.99.

But why wait? Why not get started reading now….

CatchAFallingStar_3D

Chapter One

 

Spending the day in Manhattan was not exactly Jo Burkhart’s idea of a good time. Spending the day in Manhattan in the rain in January was a unique form of torture.

“No, I understand, it’s fine,” she sighed into her phone as she ducked into the nearest coffee shop to avoid the icy downpour. “It’s an honest mistake.”

“Thanks for being willing to reschedule,” Diane, her agent, answered on the other end of the call. Like Jo had a choice. “You wouldn’t believe the problems I’ve been having with this assistant. Double-booking meetings is one thing, but the other day….”

Jo lost Diane’s complaint as she lowered her phone to collapse her umbrella. She would have shaken the umbrella out if the coffee shop hadn’t been so crowded. As fast as she could, she returned her phone to her ear.

“…string her up by her neck.” Diane growled. “But at least I’ve got time around lunch tomorrow. Is that doable?”

Tomorrow. That would mean a hotel in the city, pricy meals, missing a day of work. Jo’s stomach clenched as she answered, “Sure. Tomorrow is fine.” She slipped in line for coffee, fretting over how she would have to do to rearrange her world. At least her brother, Nick, wasn’t out on a photography assignment and could keep the lid on their family house in Maine. “I’ll come to your office around noon.”

“Eleven thirty would be better.”

Jo clenched her jaw, chest tight. “Okay, eleven thirty it is.” She forced a smile into her voice. Nice girls always smiled.

“Perfect. You’re a peach, Jo. And hey, as long as you’re in the city you should get out, maybe even meet some people,” Diane cooed.

Jo cringed. Why was everyone always pushing her to be a big, old social butterfly? “Yeah, maybe,” she said. “I’ve got my laptop with me. I might just find an obliging coffee shop and continue wrestling with the next book.” In fact, she was already scanning the crowded shop for a quiet table.

“You’ve got to stop squirreling yourself away, Jo. You know what they say about all work and no play. Go out and have some fun.”

Yes, Mother. “Fun is expensive,” she said aloud. She arched an eyebrow and stepped up to the counter, slipping her hand over her phone. “I’ll have a small caramel cappuccino and a plain croissant.”

“Still having trouble with the house?” Diane asked.

Jo sighed, plopping her messenger bag on the counter, wet umbrella under one arm. “The taxes are going to kill me this year.” She fished in her bag for her wallet. “The list of renovations I need to make is as long as my arm.” Not to mention the cost of maintaining the property itself. She was still waiting for the bill from the tree company after two huge oaks fell in the last ice storm.

“Sorry to hear about that.”

“I’m going to cut back on the garden this year. Maybe that will make the rest of it easier to handle. I can feel my great-grandfather rolling in his grave because I’m not keeping the roses where he put them. But seriously, Diane, I need this next book to be a bestseller. I need it.”

“Well you write it and I’ll move heaven and earth to make it happen, okay?”

“Thanks. Really.”

“Okay. I’ll see you tomorrow.” Jo hung up and slipped her cell phone into her pocket. The barista behind the cash register watched her with typical New York impatience. “How much?”

“Eight ninety-five.”

Jo’s heart flopped. She pulled a twenty out of her wallet. It wasn’t all that significant in the short-term, but how many cups of coffee and croissants could she get away with before the house slipped away? She could hear her mom’s lecture from beyond the grave. Waste not, want not.

With her order paid for and delivered, Jo slung her bag over her shoulder and searched for a seat. The coffee shop was packed. Everyone and their brother had come in to get out of the rain. People stood along the bar at the back of the room and by the windows. They huddled like sharks, waiting for a table to free up. There was only one spot that hadn’t been touched—two leather chairs on either side of a low table by the window. It was a minor miracle no one else had nabbed it. Jo made a bee-line to one chair. A few of the shop’s patrons gave her funny looks when she sat down, but she ignored them.

There she was, stuck in Manhattan, given the brush-off by an agent who knew she couldn’t afford overnight jaunts, a mountain of expectations in the form of a hundred-year old family house sitting on her shoulders. She settled her snack on the table between the chairs and opened her bag to unpack her laptop. At least she could work. When all else failed, work never did. Now, if she could just figure out how to make her next book the financial juggernaut it needed to be, it wouldn’t matter how dismissive Diane was or how much everyone ragged on her for spending too much time in front of her computer and not enough “getting out there.”

She sipped her coffee, took a bite of her croissant, and slid her laptop onto her legs. Bit by bit, the gnawing tension rolled off her shoulders as her fingers flew over the keyboard. She relaxed and lost herself in the story. It was a new book, one she’d only started a few days before, but the characters were familiar—minor players in her last Regency romance who were now getting their own book. Nothing beat the bliss of building a world, forming characters to live in it, then making their lives miserable. At least until they had their happy ending. And really, when all was said and done, Jo would have gladly put up with society scandals and reversals of fortune if it meant she could be swept off her feet by a handsome duke. Especially one who was as dynamite in bed as her heroes tended to be.

A grin tweaked the corner of her lips as she typed away, banging out a particularly heated exchange of dialog between her hero and heroine. She would put up with a lot to have her own sizzling love scene. God only knew it’d been long enough since her last one. But what she lacked in real life, she certainly knew how to make up for in fantasy. Now, if she could just figure out a way to get her duke to—

“Excuse me.” A deep male voice interrupted her creation. Jo blinked fast and glanced up. “Is this seat free?”

An unexpected flush of raw attraction hit Jo right in her gut. The man addressing her was shamelessly gorgeous. He was tall and well-built, with dark hair that showed just a touch of grey, and blue-green bedroom eyes. He was dressed impeccably, in jeans that had to be designer, a black button-down shirt, and a sweeping wool trench coat, glistening with raindrops like diamonds. His eyes flashed with the kind of mischief that made her toes tingle. He set a leather messenger bag, not unlike her own, on the table as if he owned the whole coffee shop.

“Um…” She was staring. Great. With a smile, she said, “Sure, go right ahead.”

The gorgeous man chuckled as if he knew a fabulously funny joke that she didn’t get. His grin formed delicious crinkles around his eyes. He shrugged out of his coat, hung it on a hook in the wall behind the table, then sat. He watched her, waiting, his enigmatic expression making his lips twitch.

Jo’s fingers itched over her keyboard, torn between work and play. She’d been on a roll. The words were writing themselves. It was painful to stop when the words were writing themselves. She ducked back to finished the sentence she’d started. Those words poured into another sentence. Before she knew it she had polished off a whole paragraph.

The man continued to stare at her, mouth hitched in a lop-sided grin. “Do you mind if I ask what you’re writing?”

Under any other circumstance in the full extent of the universe, Jo would have snapped an unequivocal ‘yes.’ But how could she say no to a man with eyes that danced like his did?

“I’m writing a novel,” she replied.

“Oh. That’s nice.” His answer was a shade condescending. Her gut tightened in defense. “Are you an author?”

It was her turn to try a haughty smile. “Yes. Yes I am.”

“What do you write?”

“I write Romance.” If she had a dime for every time she’d had this conversation she would never have to worry about paying for coffee again.

“Romance,” the handsome stranger’s brow rose. His eyes glittered. “Really?”

“Yes,” she replied with a saucy smile, arching one eyebrow and waiting for him to ask her about BDSM and hardware stores—which couldn’t have been further from what she wrote.

“Fascinating.”

“I think so.” She tossed him a flirty look, like one of her heroines would. And why not? The man sitting across the table from her, lounging in his chair as if he owned it, could have walked straight out of one of her novels. All he needed were breeches and a cravat. And maybe a rapier and his own pirate ship.

Her musings—in all their heated glory—must have been painted vividly on her face. His smile widened to something downright wicked. He opened his mouth, and Jo braced for the BDSM comments.

Whatever he was about to say was interrupted as a young barista skittered up to the table. “Here’s your coffee, Mr. Paul.” She presented the man with a large, steaming mug and a biscotti. Her eyes shone as she stared at him, cheeks pink.

“Thank you, Kelly.” He reached into his back pocket and took out a billfold, handing her a twenty. “Keep the change.”

Jo shifted back in her chair, tilting her head to the side. So the handsome Mr. Paul was rich on top of everything else. Definitely a romance hero. Flashes of billionaires with secret babies came to her mind.

The man—Mr. Paul—caught her expression. His eyes went crinkly with mirth and flirtation. Jo wanted to laugh. Editors were constantly complaining about manuscripts loaded with ‘insta-lust’, but there it was, in the flesh. Hot was hot. There was nothing you could do about that….

 

Come back tomorrow to read the second half of Chapter One and for the link to the book on Amazon. And remember, it’s 99 cents for FIVE DAYS ONLY!

Excerpt Wedn– Um, Thursday – Catch a Falling Star

Oct 15, 2015

Okay, yesterday got away from me just a little bit. But I still have an excerpt for you this week! We’re so close to release day for Catch a Falling Star that I can practically taste it. So here’s a little sampling of the stakes my hero, Ben, is working with….

CatchAFallingStar_3D

“So this is our mystery guest?”

Ben’s warm, fuzzy, and far too vulnerable mood was popped by the broad-shouldered man with long hair and a beard who sauntered into the room.

Jo got up. “Ben, this is my brother, Nick. Nick, this is Benjamin Paul. Be nice.”

“As if I would be mean?” Nick shot a teasing look to Jo, who returned it with a sisterly scowl. Nick chuckled, then stepped over to the table and held a hand out. “Hi. I’m Nick.”

“A pleasure.” Ben took the offered hand, making sure to put some strength into his grip. No sense giving Jo’s brother the idea that he was a loser. Although these days, most media outlets would tell him that much.

“Hey, Nick,” Jo started, tipping her head to the side. “Do you think you could loan Ben some clothes?” She turned to Ben. “I noticed that you didn’t have any luggage with you, or if you did, that cabbie has it now.”

“Sure,” Nick agreed readily. “I’ll take you up and show you what I’ve got.”

“Any cast-offs you’re willing to throw my way will be fine.” Ben stood and followed Jo’s brother as he started out of the kitchen.

“You can use my bathroom to clean up too,” Nick went on. “I’ve got a few disposable razors in the medicine cabinet, if you can stand to use one of those.”

“I’m sure anything will be fine.”

As soon as they were out of Jo’s sight, Nick rounded on him, backing him a few steps toward the wall.

“I don’t know who you are, other than a big shot director,” he said, full of outright threat, “but if you cause my sister any trouble or hurt her in any way, I’ll tear your balls off.”

Ben blinked. There was nothing like being threatened with castration while still suffering the effects of a hangover brought on by career implosion.

“Sorry,” he drawled. “My balls were torn off yesterday. You’ll have to check with 42nd street if you want to find them to tear off again.”

Nick grinned, though Ben had the feeling it was in spite of himself. “Okay. Glad that’s understood. Now let me show you where you can clean up.”

Forty-five minutes later, Ben was washed, shaved, and dressed in clothes that fit his frame but not his style. Nick’s jeans were too loose, and his shirts were more appropriate to the frozen north than the Great White Way. At least his head was beginning to clear.

Although one look at his phone, after fishing it out of his coat pocket, changed that.

Fifteen voicemails and eight unanswered texts. His stomach squeezed. He ignored the voicemails and scanned through the texts. All of them were variations on a theme: WTF.

He turned to leave the bedroom Jo had given him, hoping to find her and ask if she had a charger he could borrow, when his phone rang. Only this time, the name that flashed on the screen didn’t turn his bowels to butter.

Yvonne Plummer.

Ben tapped to accept the call and yanked his phone to his ear so fast it made him dizzy. “Yvonne.”

“Ben,” she answered without hesitation. “Where are you?”

He hesitated. “Maine. Where are you?”

“Manhattan.” Her voice brooked no nonsense. “So, you want to tell me why you just committed professional suicide? Because I’m pretty sure ‘You’ll never work in this town again’ is more than just a cheap cliché for you now.”

 

Catch a Falling Star is coming on October 27th. Be sure to sign up for my newsletter to be alerted when it comes out! Just a hint, it will be available at the low, low price of 99 cents for the first three days only, so you’ll want to act fast!