Tag Archives: summer with a star

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!

Summer With A Star is here!

Mar 09, 2015

SWAS-MerryFarmer-LaunchGraphic
It’s here! A story of expected endings, unexpected beginnings, and second chances: Summer With A Star, the first book in my Second Chances contemporary romance series!

Get Summer With A Star exclusively on Amazon
(and FREE with Kindle Unlimited!)
Add Summer With A Star on Goodreads!

SWAS-MerryFarmer-Cover250px

All Tasha Pike has wanted for the past twenty years is to rent Sand Dollar Point for a summer. The grand Victorian on the beach of Summerbury, Maine was the object of her childhood fantasy and her standard of romance—and it was finally happening.

Her dream summer is ruined, however, when she arrives in Summerbury to find that Hollywood superstar Spencer Ellis has muscled his way into the house instead. His offer that they share Sand Dollar Point is not only infuriating—it’s insulting.

He’s a celebrity—and one she’s determined to hate.

Spencer’s summer in Maine was supposed to help him get his head screwed on straight. One look at Tasha, however, made that impossible. She’s beautiful. She’s angry. She doesn’t care who he is. She doesn’t care about his fame. In fact, she doesn’t even like him.

She’s irresistible.

He’s only got the summer. She’s only got her heart. They’ve only got each other.

Get Summer With A Star exclusively on Amazon
(and FREE with Kindle Unlimited!)
Add Summer With A Star on Goodreads!

CLICK HERE to enter to win a signed paperback copy of Summer With A Star!

Summer with a Star – Coming TOMORROW!

Mar 08, 2015

Less than 24 hours, and Summer with a Star will be here! Let’s continue reading from where we left off yesterday….

SummerWithAStar_3D

Spence heard women’s voices from the second floor porch where he’d stretched out with a script and an iced tea, but he figured they came from the beach. He did his best to tune them out and concentrate on work. The problem was, work was about as boring as sitting in rush hour traffic. He thumbed ahead a few pages in his script. Explosions, chases, dialog that could have been written by his eight-year-old cousin. He’d read the same story in five different scripts now, all of them pale imitations of the film he’d wrapped last summer—a film that was finishing up a solid run in theaters now. If he had to play another emotionally ambiguous FBI agent or cop or investigator, he’d punch something.

The two female voices grew louder, far too loud to be down on the beach. No, they were right underneath him, on the porch, and they didn’t sound happy. Glad to be rid of it, he tossed his script aside, took one last sip of his tea, and hopped up to investigate. Just like a cop in one of these horrible scripts. He grinned to himself as he crossed the upstairs hallway and circled down the big, open staircase in the center of the house.

Yvonne had struck pay dirt with this rental. It was exactly what he’d been looking for, the perfect place to hide away from the rat race for a few months while he figured out what he wanted to do next. With a hat-trick of blockbusters behind him over the past year, a pile of scripts that reached the ceiling, and more money than he’d ever dreamed he would see, it should have been a no-brainer to pick his next project. Yvonne was already breathing down his neck about not having the next three years of his life scheduled. But nothing he looked at seemed right.

Except this house, he thought as he strode across the elegant dining room and through the cozy living room with its huge fireplace. It’d been ages since he’d taken a real summer vacation, since he’d felt like a real human being and not a series of roles and accolades. He’d only been there for a few days, but already every bone in his body wanted to sink into the place and never leave. It was quiet. It was gorgeous. It was remote. No one knew he was there.

“…some third-rate motel, or worse, at home, because a real estate big-wig thinks I’m too much of a loser to live a dream for just two months,” one of the women on the back porch was saying. Spence winced at her distress. It made him want to fix something.

“It’s not that,” the other woman said as he stepped through the screen door and onto the porch. She was blonde and pretty, the kind of woman that turned guys into blabbering idiots at first sight. “Of course you’re not a loser. It’s—”

“Can I help you?” he interrupted.

Both women pivoted to face him. Both sets of eyes went round. The blonde’s mouth dropped open, but it was the brunette who stopped his heart in his chest. She was petite, with short, pixie-cut hair, bangs slanting across her forehead. Her t-shirt and jeans were faded and comfortable and fit her curves well. Her cheeks were rosy in her round face and her brown eyes sparkled. No, not sparkled, she was on the verge of tears. She took one look at him and sobbed.

“Spencer Ellis?” The blonde gaped as she threw an arm around her friend.

So much for no one knowing he was there.

“Yes.” He nodded, stepping closer to the weeping brunette. As badly as he wanted to help, he wasn’t sure what to do. “Is something the matter? What can I do?”

“Spencer Ellis,” the blonde said again.

“You’re the person in my house?” The brunette sniffled. She wiped her eyes with the backs of her hands and made a valiant effort to pull herself together with short, gasping breaths. Her watery eyes stayed fixed on him, as though she didn’t quite believe what she was seeing.

An awkward itch spread across his back. “I’m staying here for the summer,” he answered as simply as he could.

Apparently, it was the wrong answer. The brunette’s bottom lip quivered. “No,” she spoke in a strained voice, “I’m staying here for the summer.” She buried her face in her hands and moaned. “Of course. Of course they would give my house away to somebody famous and perfect instead of letting me catch just one tiny break.”

The way she drew out the last three words shot straight to Spence’s heart. He hummed and ran a hand through his hair, glancing around the porch and off across the beach as though an explanation would appear or a director would shout “Cut!”

“There must be a mix-up somewhere,” he said, stepping closer to her, arms itching to hug her and make things better. “My agent took care of all the arrangements and booked this place last month.”

“Last month?” the brunette asked. She was tense from the top of her head to her flip-flops, as if battling to keep anger at bay and hold herself together. “I’ve had this house reserved for the last three years. How could anyone walk in just last month and swipe it out from under me?”

Yvonne. Crap.

“Spencer Ellis.” The blonde growled his name this time. She jerked her phone up and tapped on the screen “I should have known. Celebrities. You think you can wave a little money and a few movie tickets around and the world will fall at your feet.” She held her phone to her ear.

“I’m so sorry,” he told the brunette as the blonde stomped away. “If I had known, I would have—”

“She’s just over-protective,” the brunette apologized, sagging. She squeezed her eyes shut and pressed her fingers to her temples. A moment later, she huffed an ironic laugh. “The universe sure does like screwing with me. I should give up and lay down.”

Guilt and anger on her behalf hit him at the same time. That and the awkward thought that she had an excellent rack.

“I am sorry,” he said, blushing over where his thoughts had gone. He pulled his phone out of his pocket. “Let me see if I can figure out what’s going on here.”

“Please do,” she replied, weak with frustration.

He hated that. Boy, did he hate that.

He hit Yvonne on speed-dial as the brunette wandered to the edge of the porch and leaned on the railing. Spence watched her closely. She had a nice butt too, enough to get a good handful if—

“Spence, sweetheart,” Yvonne’s cloying voice cooed through the phone. “What’s up?”

“Hi Yvonne. Was someone else booked into this house when you found it for me?” He cut right to the chase.

“The house?” That was all it took. Spence could tell from the false innocence in her voice that she’d pulled strings and worked her so-called magic again. “I’m not sure, sweetheart. Possibly.”

“Yvonne.” He grimaced and rubbed his forehead with his free hand. “I told you to stop doing stuff like that. I wanted to find a nice summer house away from things so I could think. I didn’t ask you to evict the rightful renters.”

“I didn’t think they would mind, whoever they are. The real estate broker said they would send a nice fruit basket with a note of apology and a full refund.”

Spence shook his head. “Unbelievable. This is exactly why I wanted to get away for the summer.”

“Is there a problem?” Yvonne’s voice turned a shade more serious. “Those other people didn’t show up there, did they?”

“She did.” Spence said and ended the call. He growled and shoved his phone in his back pocket. It immediately started vibrating, but he ignored it.

The blonde ended her call at about the same time. “I don’t believe they would actually do it,” she muttered, shaking her head. “I don’t believe the Cavanaros would let them do it, but they’re in Florida. Dana says that someone was supposed to tell you and refund your money.” Her heels clicked as she walked over to smooth a hand across the brunette’s shoulders. It was a gesture Spence thought he should be making.

“This is my agent’s fault,” he said, joining the pair.

“It’s all so unreal,” the brunette said, blinking so fast Spence worried she might start crying again. “Twenty years, down the drain.”

“I’m sorry?” he offered.

She glanced up at him, frustration knotting her shoulders. “Some people are meant to get the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow and some aren’t,” she said. “You’re one of the gold ones, I’m not. I like your movies, by the way,” she added with a surprise shy look.

“Thanks,” Spence murmured, more impressed with the soulfulness in her eyes than the compliment.

She swallowed and rolled her shoulders, standing straighter. “I have dreamed of staying in this house since I was ten-years-old, I guess I can keep dreaming. I’m sorry I bothered you.”

Her words might not have been intended to wound him, but they did. She pushed away from the porch railing and started to leave.

“What’s your name?” He stopped her, brain scrambling to figure out a way to clean up Yvonne’s mess.

She stopped and turned back to him. “Tasha. Tasha Pike.”

“I’m Jenny Young,” the blonde said, thrusting out her hand to shake his. “I can’t believe I’m meeting you in person. I’ve seen all your movies. You’re great.”

“Thanks,” he said as graciously as he could, then turned his attention back to Tasha. “Let me make this up to you somehow, Tasha. I feel terrible.”

“Oh no, I couldn’t ask you to do that, Mr. Ellis.” Tasha’s cheeks flared bright pink with shame, and she looked down.

“Call me Spence. And I insist on doing something.”

“Dinner?” Jenny suggested.

Both Spence and Tasha blinked at her.

“Hey, I’m just saying.” Jenny held up her arms in defense.

Tasha inched close to her friend and whispered, “Let’s go. I’m so embarrassed. We shouldn’t bother him.”

“No, please, bother me,” Spence said to stop Tasha from leaving. “You have no reason to be embarrassed.”

Maybe dinner wasn’t such a bad idea after all. Any woman who could send every last one of his protective instincts into overdrive in less than five minutes was a woman he wanted to buy a drink. And more. He’d do just about anything to make up for Yvonne’s meanness and help Tasha to hold onto her childhood dreams.

The solution to both of their problems hit him like a ray of sunlight. “Why don’t you stay here for the summer too?”

“What?” Tasha balked.

Her friend stood a little taller, a wide smile spreading across her neatly made-up face.

Tasha wasn’t wearing any make-up. She didn’t need to. Even with a cry-face, she was gorgeous. Spence caught himself smiling at the thought of spending the summer with her, at the whole grand idea unfolding in his mind.

“I’m here by myself,” he said. “The house has six bedrooms. It’s huge. I don’t really need it all. Why don’t we share?”

“Share?”

Spence nodded.

“Share the house?” Tasha’s shoulders loosened a fraction and she shifted her weight to one hip as if considering.

“Share a summer house with Spencer Ellis,” Jenny breathed in wonder.

“I wouldn’t mind if you wouldn’t,” Spence said, keeping his eyes on Tasha. “Look, I’ll even pay for everything. It’s the least I could do. My agent is a little over-eager when it comes to pampering her clients, and I’m afraid I’ve made her a lot of money in these last couple of years.”

His words had the opposite effect from what he’d intended.

“I wouldn’t feel right taking your money,” Tasha said, dropping her arms and shaking her head. “The one thing I can hold my head up about is that I’ve always paid my own way.”

“All right.” He held up his hands in surrender. “You can pay for whatever you want.”

She softened from wary suspicion to worry. “You aren’t planning to throw any wild celebrity parties, are you?”

“Definitely not,” he answered.

“I’m not going to wake up to paparazzi outside my window, am I?”

“I sure as hell hope not. I came here to get away from all that. Nobody knows I’m here.” He glanced pointedly to Jenny.

“Right,” Jenny whispered. “My lips are sealed.”

“Jenny’s lips are sealed,” he told Tasha with a smile. It was, admittedly, a practiced smile, designed to weaken her knees.

Instead, she chewed her lip and picked at one of her nails, clearly nervous. “You’re willing to leave me alone to read or walk on the beach or whatever I feel like doing?”

“I am.”

Tasha drew in a breath. She glanced out over the beach below the cliff as she let it out. Her doubtful expression melted to a sadness that grabbed hold of Spence’s gut. It was early summer still and a weekday. The beach was only half-filled with sunbathers and kids playing in the waves. Their laughter and happy calls drifted up to the house along with the soothing roll of the waves. Tasha closed her eyes as if letting it all sink in, as if she needed it to sink in.

“Okay,” she said at last.

“So you’ll stay?” He liked the idea far more than he expected to.

“I think you should stay,” Jenny whispered to her.

Tasha turned and frowned at her friend, then at Spence. Her face pinched as she thought. “Twenty years.” She pressed the palms of her hands to her temples and groaned. “I can’t just walk away from all that saving and planning, not after the spring I’ve had.”

“Don’t walk away, then,” he insisted. “There’s no need to. I’m a pretty quiet guy. We don’t have to get in each other’s way if we don’t want to.” Though he would very much like to get to know any woman who didn’t turn into a pile of giggles at the sight of him. “It’s up to you,” he finished as casually as he could.

“I’ll stay,” she said, dropping her hands and shaking her head. “I can’t believe I’m doing this, though.”

“Neither can I,” Jenny added, though for an entirely different reason, Spence was sure. She watched him with that giddy spark in her eyes that he hated.

“Okay, now that that’s settled, can I help you carry your bags in?” he asked.

“No,” Tasha replied. “You can go back to whatever you were doing. I’m sorry I interrupted you.”

As much as it burned him that they’d gotten off on the wrong foot, Spence backed down with a sheepish grin. He had the summer to make it up to her, and he promised himself he would.

“I’ll just be on the upstairs porch if you need me,” he said, turning toward the door.

Tasha gave him one more guilty glance before turning and marching off to the front of the porch. He waited until she’d turned the corner before chuckling and shaking his head. Yvonne would be annoyed that the perfect vacation she’d set up for him had hit a bump.

He, on the other hand, thought he might like it.

 

And you can go ahead and preorder Summer with a Star on Amazon right now if you’d like! I won’t stop you.

Summer with a Star…in TWO Days!

Mar 07, 2015

It’s coming! Summer with a Star, the first book in the new Second Chances contemporary romance series is coming on Monday! But why wait? Start reading the first chapter now….

SummerWithAStar_3D

Chapter One

Twenty years. Tasha Pike had been saving her pennies for twenty years to scrape together enough to rent the big Victorian house that stood on the point overlooking Summerbury Beach. She drew in a deep breath as she drove the last mile of the winding road that hugged the sleepy Maine coast. Her heart thumped against her ribs, as though she was on her way to the first day of school instead of a much-needed vacation. Ten bucks here, half a tax refund there—twenty years had taken forever, but she’d done it. Let people try to tell her she was dreaming now. Let them say that teachers couldn’t rent stunning mansions for an entire summer. She’d shown them. After two decades, Sand Dollar Point was hers. At least it was for the next two months.

Not much had changed about Summerbury since the summers she had spent there as a child. The tiny seaside town was still adorable. She had to inch her way through Main Street to avoid shopping tourists and locals catching up with their seasonal neighbors. Summerbury’s economy was driven by the shops and restaurants along the two main roads that intersected at the town’s only traffic light. One road headed down to the marina. The other wound out of town and around to the shore and the pier, where Summerbury gave way to Summerbury Beach.

“Twenty years,” Tasha repeated the mantra she’d been chanting since turning off of the Maine Turnpike. An upbeat summer jam blared on her radio, giving her courage. “Piece of cake.”

She smiled at the tall pines that poked out behind the sandy parking lot of the hotel her family had stayed in summer after summer. It would have felt natural to turn into that lot and find a spot in the shade beside the shed that housed bicycles for rent. But no, not this summer. She let out a giddy laugh as she drove on, around a sharp corner, then on to the wide curve of Beach Avenue.

There it was, half a mile away at the end of the long stretch of sand-dusted road. Sand Dollar Point. It was as vibrant in reality as it had been in Tasha’s dreams. Its freshly-painted gray siding was off-set by bright white trim and maroon-red shutters. The black shingles on the steeply-slanted roofs sparkled in the morning light. Sand Dollar Point had two stories of balconies, all with lace-like accents that made the house look as though it had been pulled from the pages of a fairy-tale. It even had a widow’s watch at the top of the octagonal tower nestled in the cross-point of the house’s two wings. The house was surrounded by pink and red-blossom sea rose bushes. A wooden staircase leading down to the beach hugged the side of the cliff the house had been built atop.

“Beautiful.” Tasha hummed, warmth filling her soul. She slowed to five miles below the speed limit so that she could draw out her approach. The white wicker porch swing on the first floor porch swayed in the sea breeze as she drove the last few yards to the driveway. Ten-year-old Tasha had once spied a couple kissing on that swing as the sunset bathed them in orange light, and ever since that had been her gold-standard of romance.

“Eat your heart out, Brad Jamison,” she muttered with a satisfied grin.

Brad. He was supposed to come with her on this vacation. They’d met on the very beach she drove past now. He was the boy she’d dug for buried treasure with, the summer crush she’d come back to year after year, her first kiss. He was the man who had made her a woman, the man she’d thought she would marry.

He was the man who had dumped her three weeks before the end of the school year.

Forget it, she told herself, fighting that familiar tremor in her gut as she made the turn into Sand Dollar Point’s long drive. Brad was history. She was well rid of the lying, cheating bastard. The time for feeling like a loser over her dead relationship had passed. The best thing that had come out of the twenty years she had known Brad was fact that she had never once let his snide comments discourage her from saving for Sand Dollar Point. He may have mashed her self-esteem to a pulp, but her vacation of a lifetime would be twice as sweet knowing that she’d persevered on this one point. The summer vacation of her dreams started now. It served Brad right.

The driveway curved halfway out onto the cliff. Its mass of rose bushes hid the parking spots by the front porch from the road, so when Tasha spotted her best friend Jenny’s car already parked, it was a surprise. She pulled into the space beside Jenny and cut her engine. Jenny waved at her from the other car’s driver’s seat as she talked on her phone.

“Why are you here?” Tasha asked, knowing her friend couldn’t hear through the windows. She climbed out of her car—stretching the stiffness of hours of driving from her back—and circled around to the other side. The breeze blowing in from the ocean was tangy with salt and cool enough to make her wish she’d rolled her windows down instead of driving with the AC on.

“I don’t care if it’s listed as confidential,” Jenny snapped at whoever was on the other end of her call as she got out of her car. “I need you to find out.”

She glanced at Tasha walking up between the two cars. The frustrated, anxious frown Jenny wore put a sharp dent in Tasha’s euphoria. Jenny was upbeat. She was the kind of smart chick who made you understand why blondes had more fun. Of all Tasha’s friends, she was the one that could always be counted on to put a smile on Tasha’s face and make things better. She’d brought wine and picked up the pieces at the end of the Age of Brad. She’d given Tasha a pep-talk a week since then. If Jenny wasn’t happy, it wasn’t good.

“What?” Tasha asked as Jenny tapped her phone to end the call and lowered her arm.

“Don’t freak out,” she said.

“Why would I freak out?” Prickles of dread ran down Tasha’s spine.

Jenny let out a breath, then drew in a steadying one. “There’s a problem with the booking.”

Every ounce of elation that Tasha had felt during the drive, every happy memory, and every shred of relief at being able to get away from the last couple of miserable months of her life fell flat at her feet. The loser vibe began to creep up her spine to replace it.

“No.” She shook her head and took a step closer to Jenny. “No, no problems. Swear on your life, Jenny, swear on twenty-five years of friendship that there are no problems with the booking.” Her throat threatened to close up.

“I wish I could, babe. All I know is that they wouldn’t give me the keys at the office because they’ve given them to someone else.”

“The keys?” Tasha’s heart twisted in knots. “Someone else?”

Jenny chewed her lip. “Yeah.”

“No.” Tasha gulped. “This is my house. You know how long I saved for it.”

“I know.” Jenny pivoted to stare up at Sand Dollar Point’s front porch, long ponytail swinging down her back. Even with perfect make-up and a cute, pink linen suit that would make any real estate agency proud, Jenny was still the girl who Tasha spilled apple juice on during their first day of school. She’d laughed it off then—she would laugh this off now.

She wasn’t laughing.

“The office said that someone else has booked the house for the entire summer,” Jenny said with a frown.

“They can’t have,” Tasha answered. She rubbed a hand over her breastbone as if she had heartburn. Heart-break was more like it. “I booked this house three years ago. I had to book it that far in advance to get it for the full two months. I confirmed last year and I confirmed again just last month after Brad—” She stopped before she broke down in tears, and took a deep breath. “There has to be some sort of misunderstanding.”

“I’m sure there is,” Jenny said. She motioned for Tasha to follow her up the flower-lined path to the front porch steps. “The office won’t tell me what’s going on, but maybe there’s someone else I can call.”

As they climbed the steps, Tasha sucked in the sea air, and with it the faint scent of fresh paint. This was her dream. She deserved this after all she’d been through. There had to be something she could do that amounted to more than letting herself be run over yet again.

Jenny fiddled with her phone, then held it to her ear and clipped, “Hey Dana, it’s Jenny. I’ve got a top secret question for you about Sand Dollar Point.”

Tasha walked down to the end of the porch as Jenny dealt with her coworker. Everything about Sand Dollar Point was perfect. A dark pewter eight and five were fixed to the side of the maroon front door, marking the street number. All of the white curtains in the clean and sparkling windows looked freshly laundered. The porch was crisp and white, its white wicker furniture arranged with a view of the beach behind it that would make any decorating magazine drool with envy. The house hadn’t even looked that good in her memory. The owners must have put extra effort into sprucing it up for their season-long renter. No one had ever bothered to go to that kind of effort for Tasha. Even she wouldn’t have put in that much work for her.

She reached the end of the porch and leaned on the rail, peering out over the beach. The cliff-side garden had recently been replanted. The stairs leading down to the beach had been replaced since the last time she had been there as well. The porch swing she’d spotted from the road—still swaying in the breeze off to her right where the porch wrapped around to the ocean side—looked new. A blue-striped towel was draped across its back and a pair of sunglasses lay abandoned on the seat.

Tasha pushed away from the rail and went to investigate. The windows on the ocean side of the house were open, their curtains billowing in the breeze. Somewhere inside the house, a radio played indie rock. Tasha frowned and bit her lip as she reached the swing and picked up the sunglasses. Men’s sunglasses. Tom Ford. She didn’t know much about brand names, but they certainly didn’t sell Tom Fords at the local five-and-dime.

“Someone is in my house,” she whispered to herself, frown growing. How could someone waltz into her house, someone with money by the look of it, when she had worked so hard to have it?

“Tash!” Jenny called to her from the front of the house. The sound of her heels clicking around the corner signaled that her call was over, and that she hadn’t liked the outcome. She came stomping into Tasha’s view. “You’re not going to believe this.”

“Don’t tell me someone swiped this place right out from under me.” Tasha tossed the sunglasses back on the swing and strode to meet Jenny, chest squeezing. This was the last thing she needed. “Don’t tell me that after the spring I had, this place isn’t mine.”

“I wish I didn’t have to, babe.” There was as much distress in Jenny’s voice and in her face as Tasha felt welling up in her gut.

“Please don’t tell me that I’m about to spend the next two months booked into some third-rate motel, or worse, at home, because a real estate big-wig thinks I’m too much of a loser to live a dream for just two months.”

Jenny blinked. “It’s not that. Of course you’re not a loser. It’s—”

“Can I help you?” a resonant male voice asked from the back door.

Tasha turned, fairly certain she would burst into tears in about three seconds.

Her eyes popped wide at what—or rather who—she saw. Suddenly everything made sense, and she fell apart.

 

Come back tomorrow as the chapter continues, and don’t forget to pop over to Amazon to preorder your copy today!

Excerpt Wednesday – Summer with a Star

Mar 04, 2015

It’s Excerpt Wednesday! And while I may have been slacking with my blog for many other things, I could never slack when it comes to Excerpt Wednesday. So here’s a little taste of Summer with a Star, which is coming out on Monday!

SummerWithAStar_3D

Goddammit, now he was mad at her. His frown was unrelenting and he crossed his arms over his chest. It was completely unfair that he still looked delicious while she probably looked like she was wearing a bad Halloween costume.

She flopped into one of the armchairs flanking the sofa. Well, flopped as much as she could with no flexibility in her torso at all. Mostly she just tipped back at an awkward angle.

“I give up. I’m not sexy and I know it.”

“It’s that outfit that’s not sexy,” he scolded her. He paused, his lips twitching up to a grin. “Okay, it’s a little sexy. But not like this.”

“I don’t know what Jenny was thinking,” she sighed.

“Neither do I.” He shifted his weight and looked at her from another angle. “Although, let’s try this whole thing again later.”

He was trying to be nice. She had to give him that. Jenny was trying to be nice too. It just wasn’t working out.

“I’m going to go upstairs and take a shower and change into a nice, frumpy muumuu,” she said.

“Or you could find a comfortable medium.”

She sent him a sullen glare, then rocked forward, gripping the arms of the chair. The combination of cushy chair and tight corset made her five times more clumsy than she needed to be.

“Here.” Spence scooped her around the waist and brought her to her feet. He kept his arm around her, pressing her flush to his stomach. A smile formed on his lips. “Do you know how sexy you are right now?”

“Yeah,” she answered, moping. “About as sexy as a mop.”

He chuckled. “Far more sexy than a mop.”

She arched an eyebrow.

“Hey, I like mops.”

“You like mops?” She narrowed her eyes at him.

“Yeah. They’re useful. They keep things clean.”

She shook her head. “Too much. I don’t buy it.”

He kissed her lips lightly and loosened his hold on her. “I had to try.”

“So did I,” she said, losing her smirk.

“No, you didn’t,” he said, as serious as she was. “Give me a little credit for not being an asshole.”

She glanced down, but he caught her chin with his fingers and tilted her face up to meet his eyes.

“I mean it,” he said. “Yvonne’s opinions are her own. My opinions are mine. I want to spend my summer with you, not a teased up biker chick with a sugar rush.”

His description made her smile, but just barely. “Gotcha.”

“Glad we sorted that out.”

Did we? They must have, because he let her go with a wink and started back for the kitchen.

“I’ll have fresh waffles and sausage and coffee waiting for you when you come back down,” he said.

“Thanks,” she called after him. “Just make sure you wash your hands first.”

As soon as he was gone, Tasha held out her arms and looked down. “Oh, lord!” One of her breasts had succumbed to the pressure and popped out of the top of the corset. And Spence hadn’t said a thing. She looked ridiculous. She felt ridiculous. Spence could say sweet things all he wanted, but she still had a ton of work to do before she could consider herself a movie star’s girlfriend.

If that was even what she was.

 

Summer with a Star is my first contemporary romance, and the first book in a new series, Second Chances. As you read Summer with a Star, you’ll hear the main character, Spencer Ellis, a big-time movie star, mention the script for the pilot episode of a TV show that he’s thinking of signing on to: Second Chances. All of the books in the Second Chances series will involve characters who are involved in the TV show, from its actors to directors to the catering staff (trust me, that’s going to be an excellent story!). You won’t want to miss it!

Lucky for you, you can preorder Summer with a Star now, right here on Amazon.