When Corrie Windsor’s roommate dies in a car accident, she leaves behind her four-year-old daughter, Ella. Corrie loves the little girl and hopes to adopt her, but instead, she’ll have to stand by while Ella’s uncle steps in to take custody. If things aren’t awkward enough, there’s a chemistry between them that neither wants to acknowledge.
Preston Ford can’t imagine instant parenthood, especially considering he just chickened out of proposing to his girlfriend. However, once he meets Ella, there’s no other choice. The time he spends with her and Corrie solidifies an alliance between the three of them, a plan to give Ella the stability she needs. But reality can sometimes turn the best of plans upside down.
With more than one heart hanging in the balance, how long can their platonic teamwork really last? Romance has never been this complicated.
“Ask her to dance,” Ella prompted. Her big brown eyes, so much like April’s, shined up at him. Only her hair was different, a dark brown instead of April’s blonde.
“What?” Preston looked at the doll she was shaking in his face.
“Sprinkles wants to dance. You have to ask her to dance.”
Preston snuck a glance at Corrie, who was holding back silent laughter, and then in his best doll voice said, “Sprinkles, may I have this dance?”
The two dolls swayed together, and Preston felt like the world’s biggest idiot. But if this was what Ella wanted to do, that’s what they’d do. Whether he adopted her or not, he was still her uncle, and he wanted her to have good memories of him.
Loretta cleared her throat and stood up. “I’m going to go. Ya’ll keep getting acquainted. Preston, give me a call later and we’ll talk. Bye, Ella.”
Ella waved. “Bye, Miss Loretta.”
Corrie looked a little panicked to see the woman go. He couldn’t blame her. He’d been in the apartment for five minutes and now they were left alone together to figure things out. He needed to explain how long he was staying. When he’d thought about spending a week with Ella, taking the time to make a careful decision, he hadn’t even thought about the roommate tagging along. She was just this person offering temporary housing. Having met her, she seemed like someone a little more important to Ella than that.
He ran a hand through his hair. “Um, I can go whenever you need me to. I don’t want to make you feel like I won’t leave if you give me a gentle hint. Although I’m here for a week, and I’d like to come over every day. My flight is next Tuesday. I can change it though, if I need to.”
Corrie came over and sat on the couch next to where they were playing on the floor. He had to look away from her long legs perched at eye level. Corrie wasn’t model-gorgeous like Nicole, but she was pretty enough to make the room feel smaller when he looked at her. He liked the sprinkle of freckles across her little snub nose and her big green eyes. He mentally smacked himself. They had things to work out, and dumb guy hormones would only make that harder.
“Spend as much time with Ella as you need. Would you like to stay for dinner?”
“That would be great.” The thought of eating alone in a restaurant was not appealing.
Ella reached up and pulled on Corrie’s arm. “Play with us, Corrie. You can have Buttercup. She wants to dance with…um, what’s your name again?” Ella turned her questioning eyes to Preston.
“Preston,” he prompted.
“Dance with Preston,” Ella insisted.
Corrie sat next to them and gave Preston an amused look. “Okay, Ella, but only for a minute. Then maybe we should play something else.”
Preston bounced his doll back and forth next to Corrie’s, although his eyes were trained on the wall behind her. He could ham it up for Ella, but having Corrie playing along ramped up the embarrassment ten-fold. Somehow it reminded him of slow dancing with a girl for the first time at a seventh-grade dance. He hadn’t been able to make eye contact then either.
And just released & on SALE…
Better with You (A Change in Plans #2) by Rachel John
Paperback & ebook, 162 pages
March 11th 2018
Paige Parker has no time for romance. She’s too busy building up her house-flipping business. But when a charming guy comes between her and the house she wants, Paige is a little more torn than she expected. For a girl who’s always gone with her firm business sense, she’s not sure how to trust her heart.
When it comes to dating, Shaun Randall is not about to get serious with anyone. He has his mother to take care of and enough family secrets to keep him running from any girl who gets too close. Spending time with Paige starts out as a means to get the house he wants, but every time he thinks it’s time to bail, he finds himself drawn in a little more.
When is it worth taking a chance on love?
On SALE for 99¢ in ebook for a limited time! Amazon
1 winner will receive a $10 Amazon eGift Card
Ends March 23rd
Rachel John is the author of books filled with awkward humor and sigh-inducing romance. When not burning dinner or chasing kids, Rachel can be found working on family history, writing, reading, or putting off writing by staring at Facebook. She lives in Arizona with her husband, four crazy kids, and her desert tortoise.
House falling down? Check. Pet sitting job with annoying clients? Check. Ability to speak to ghosts, which has the unfortunate side effect of having to listen to what they say back? Double check! Hot high school crush still in town being all successful and stuff while you protest his building projects? All kinds of checks! Did anyone say Witch of Mintwood? Yup! Just add murder and this will be a week to remember!
Hello! I’m the author of the Witch Way to Mintwood series and the Spooky Business series! I live in New England and love it. I survive the winter by layering, good-natured complaining, and more layering. In case you were wondering. Hearing from readers is always lovely, so come visit me on my blog or Facebook.
1. If you could live a day in the life of a fictional character, who would it be?
I would have to choose Eve Dallas from the JD Robb “In Death” series. Not only is she a kick ass homicide detective (although she prefers “cop”) she’s savvy and smart and not a slave to convention. She’s also married to one of the hottest male characters around, Roarke. So what more could one ask?
2. What is your all time favorite book? And what books are currently on your nightstand?
That would be a tie between GONE WITH THE WIND and THE THORN BIRDS. You didn’t expect that, right?????? Even though I saw the movie before I read the book, I absolutely fell in love with Margaret Mitchell’s sweeping saga of the South. There were more times than not when I wanted to slap Scarlett silly, but I also admired her independence and strength of character. Her choices in men, not so much, but then again, no one’s perfect! I also love the strong characters of Meggie and Fee in the Thorn Birds. In that one I wanted to slap Father Ralph silly.
What’s currently on my nightstand: Secrets in Death by JD Robb. Can’t miss an Eve Dallas adventure. I’ve read all 40+ books. And look forward to 40 more! 3. If you weren’t an author, what would your dream job be?
I really wanted to be a reporter when I was younger. I had a thing for Lois Lane. I also wanted to be a dancer. I think I would have liked to be a reporter on one of those entertainment shows, I could have combined the best of both worlds. 4. Do you read and/or comment on reviews?
I read every single review. Comment – n o. 5. What is one question that you hear too many times during interviews?
Do you have any advice for aspiring writers, mainly because I feel like I’m the least qualified person in the universe to give advice. 6. And a question that you wish someone would ask?
Actually, you just asked it. What would your dream job be.
This or That? 1. Fiction or Non-Fiction? – Definitely fiction, although I do love me some true crime 2. Novella or Tome? – novella 3. Cover or Synopsis? Cover definitely. I do judge a book by its cover 4. Bookstore or Library? Bookstore, and that’s where all my money goes. 5. Pen or Pencil? Pen 6. Hardcover or Paperback? Probably paperback. 7. E-book or Audiobook? Neither. 8. Science Fiction or Paranormal? Definitely paranormal. 9. Stand Alone or Series? Series. I get invested in the characters. 10. Bookmarks or Dog Ears? OMG!!! BOOKMARKS!!!!!!!!! No dog ears!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Getting used to life back home in Deer Park, North Carolina, Sydney McCall and her right-hand tabby, Toby, are helping her sister Kat run the local animal shelter. Syd and Kat are all excited about the prospect of the shelter's newest fundraiser: shopping channel queen Ulla Townsend. Shelter admin Maggie Shayne vehemently refuses to have anything to do with the woman, but the fundraiser ensues as planned. That is, until Ulla turns up dead in the middle of the event.
The cause of death is determined to be an allergic reaction, but Syd and Toby are sniffing out something fishy. When Syd met Ulla, it was clear she was distasteful and rude. And right before the event, Syd spotted some behind-the-scenes drama between Ulla and her manager. As they begin to investigate, they realize there is no shortage of suspects, and Maggie is at the top of the list.
Now Syd and Toby must claw their way to the truth before everything goes paws up at their animal shelter in Death by a Whisker by national bestselling author T. C. LoTempio.
Born in New York City, T. C. LoTempio is the national bestselling author of Meow If It’s Murder, the first in the Nick and Nora Mystery series.
She has been a staff reporter at the young adult magazine Susabella Passengers and Friends for more than a decade.
While Toni LoTempio does not commit – or solve – murders in real life, she has no trouble doing it on paper. Her lifelong love of mysteries began early on when she was introduced to her first Nancy Drew mystery at age 10 – The Secret in the Old Attic. She lists among her favorite mystery/suspense writers Erle Stanley Gardner, Mary Higgins Clark and James Patterson, as well as EJ Copperman, Steve Hockensmith, Victoria Laurie, Ali Brandon, Rita Mae Brown, Miranda James and Sofie Kelly to name only a few!
Toni is also passionate about her love for animals, as demonstrated with her four cats: Trixie, Princess, Maxx and, of course, ROCCO, who not only provided the inspiration for the character of Nick the cat in the Nick and Nora mystery series, but who also writes his own blog and does charity work for Nathan Fillion’s charity, Kids Need to Read!
Toni’s also devoted to miniseries like The Thorn Birds, Dancing with the Stars, reruns of Murder She Wrote and Castle (of course!).
She (and ROCCO, albeit he’s uncredited) pen the Nick and Nora mystery series from Berkley Prime Crime.
She, Rocco and company make their home in Clifton, New Jersey, just twenty minutes from the Big Apple – New York
The gateways linking the great libraries of the world don’t require a library card, but they do harbor incredible dangers.
And it’s not your normal bump-in-the- night kind. The threats Gia Kearns faces are the kind with sharp teeth and knifelike claws. The kind that include an evil wizard hell-bent on taking her down.
Gia can end his devious plan, but only if she recovers seven keys hidden throughout the world’s most beautiful libraries. And then figures out exactly what to do with them.
The last thing she needs is a distraction in the form of falling in love. But when an impossible evil is unleashed, love might be the only thing left to help Gia save the world.
The most magical time of my life was spending it with my Irish grandmother. She was such an eccentric woman. She’d sing quirky songs, use fun Irish sayings, and tell stories. Many of them were filled with leprechauns, fairies, and other mythical creatures from Irish folklore.
Visits with my grandparents in Massachusetts was the highlight of my young life. I was the youngest of the girls and my sister and our cousin would ditch me often. Lonely, I would sit on the floor beside my grandparents’ bookcase. It was filled with books from my mother’s childhood. I’d read while my grandmother sat in her chair, feet resting on an ottoman, doing a crossword puzzle from the daily newspaper.
On one such day, I asked her how people wrote books. She said a good book comes from a great storyteller. I’d asked her if she knew any stories and she said she did. She told me several stories that day. Her voice changed with each character and her facial expressions were animated. I had so much fun listening to her. All her stories were mystical, full of magic and shenanigans. I remember bits of them, but I wish we had recorded them.
After a while, my grandmother, apparently getting tired of telling me stories, told me that she thought I had many stories in me and that I should write them down. I grabbed a notebook and wrote a very short and horrible story about a bunny rabbit who lost his carrots. In the end, a leprechaun had stolen them because he was hungry after carrying a very heavy pot of gold around all the time. My grandmother said it was the best story she had ever heard. That is how she had formed my love for storytelling and writing books with a bend toward the fantastical.
Encouraging a child’s imagination can lead him or her to follow their dreams. Is there someone in your life that inspired you to read or write?
Brenda Drake grew up the youngest of three children, an Air Force brat, and the continual new kid at school. Her fondest memories growing up is of her eccentric, Irish grandmother’s animated tales, which gave her a strong love for storytelling. With kids of all ages populating Brenda’s world, it was only fitting that she would choose to write stories with a bend toward the fantastical for both younger readers and the young at heart. And because she married her prince charming, there’s always a romance warming the pages. Her favorite books are The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett, The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis, Kings Row by Henry Bellamann, and Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins. When she’s not writing, she hosts workshops and contests for writers such as Pitch Wars and Pitch Madness on her blog, and holds Twitter pitch parties on the hashtag, #PitMad. In her free time, Brenda enjoys hanging out with her family, haunting libraries, bookstores, and coffee shops, or just reading someplace quiet and not at all exotic (much to her disappointment).
Dear Lady Truelove, I am a girl of noble family, but I am painfully shy, especially in my encounters with those of the opposite sex . . .
For Clara Deverill, standing in for the real Lady Truelove means dispensing advice on problems she herself has never managed to overcome. There’s nothing for it but to retreat to a tearoom and hope inspiration strikes between scones. It doesn’t—until Clara overhears a rake waxing eloquent on the art of “honorable” jilting. The cad may look like an Adonis, but he’s about to find himself on the wrong side of Lady Truelove.
Rex Galbraith is an heir with no plans to produce a spare. He flirts with the minimum number of eligible young ladies to humor his matchmaking aunt, but Clara is the first to ever catch his roving eye. When he realizes that Clara—as Lady Truelove—has used his advice as newspaper fodder, he’s infuriated. But when he’s forced into a secret alliance with her, he realizes he’s got a much bigger problem—because Clara is upending everything Rex thought he knew about women—and about himself. . .
“Well, well,” he murmured, “with every look and every word, the little lamb with the big brown eyes proves she’s not as defenseless as she first appears.” Clara felt a spark of frustration at his description. She might be plain and possess a shy, quiet disposition, but she was not some helpless, dependent creature.
“Is that what I am?” she asked as they turned in a circle, moving in the steps of the dance. “A little lamb?” She opened her eyes deliberately wide. “And I’m lost in the woods, I suppose, and you’ll come save me?”
“Save you? I doubt it.” His gaze lowered, paus- ing at her lips. “Ravish you would be a sight more likely.”
Clara’s heart gave a panicked thud, slamming into her ribs with such force that it broke her concentration. She trod on his foot, lost her balance, and would have stumbled, but he caught her, letting go of her hand to wrap his arm around her back. “Careful,” he murmured. “Dance with me much longer and you’ll be in danger.”
“You warn me, Lord Galbraith, but I cannot help wondering why.”
“You’re in my arms.” He pulled her a fraction closer. “Make no mistake, my lamb. You are in very great danger.”
Tour Wide Giveaway
To celebrate the release of THE TROUBLE WITH TRUE LOVE, we’re giving away two paperback copies of THE TRUTH ABOUT LOVE AND DUKES by Laura Lee Guhrke!
GIVEAWAY TERMS & CONDITIONS: Open to US shipping addresses only. Two winners will each receive a paperback copy of The Truth About Love and Dukes by Laura Lee Guhrke. This giveaway is administered by Pure Textuality PR on behalf of Avon Romance. Giveaway ends 2/20/2018 @ 11:59pm EST. Avon Romance will send the winning copies out to the winner directly. Limit one entry per reader and mailing address. Duplicates will be deleted. CLICK HERE TO ENTER!
Laura Lee Guhrke spent seven years in advertising, had a successful catering business, and managed a construction company before she decided writing novels was more fun. A New York Times and USA Today bestselling author, Laura has penned over twenty historical romances. Her books have received many award nominations, and she is the recipient of romance fiction’s highest honor: the Romance Writers of America RITA Award. She lives in the Northwest with her husband (or, as she calls him, her very own romance hero), along with two diva cats and a Golden Retriever happy to be their slave.
Welcome to the weekly meme that celebrates the wonders and sometime hilarity of cats! Join us by posting a favorite LOL cat pic you may have come across, famous cat art or even share with us pics of your own beloved cat(s) and then link up at the host’s site: The True Book Addict.
When sexy Joe Malone never calls after their explosive kiss, Kylie shoves him out of her mind. Until she needs a favor, and it’s a doozy. Something precious to her has been stolen and there’s only one person with unique finder-and-fixer skills that can help—Joe. It means swallowing her pride and somehow trying to avoid the temptation to throttle him—or seduce him.
the best thing to do . . .
No, Joe didn’t call after the kiss. He’s the fun time guy, not the forever guy. And Kylie, after all she’s been through, deserves a good man who will stay. But everything about Kylie makes it damned hard to focus, and though his brain knows what he has to do, his heart isn’t getting the memo.
… is enjoy the ride.
As Kylie and Joe go on the scavenger hunt of their lives, they discover surprising things about each other. Now, the best way for them to get over “that kiss” might just be to replace it with a hundred more.
Joe studied her. “I asked you once before, but now I’m going to ask you again. Is there something going on between you two?”
She tossed up her hands. “Why do you both keep asking me that about each other?”
His eyes narrowed. “I thought nothing was going on.”
“And before today, I could’ve passed a lie detector test on that,” she said.
“What happened today?”
She paused. Not because she had anything to be ashamed of, but because she wasn’t quite sure what had happened.
She sighed. “It’s nothing.”
“Try again,” Joe said and gave her the very male universal go on gesture.
She rolled her eyes. “Fine. He . . . finally made a move on me.”
Joe didn’t budge. Not a blink, not a muscle twitch, nothing, but she could’ve popped corn off the electric tension coming off him.
“Describe ‘made a move,’ ” he finally said.
She crossed her arms. “And again, how is this relevant to my case?”
He just gave her that careful stare again and she thought wow, those eyes of his should be registered as a lethal weapon, because she found herself opening her mouth and spilling her guts. “He kissed me.”
“He kissed you.”
“Yeah,” she said. “Do you know that you often repeat what I say?”
“What kind of a kiss?” he asked.
She was momentarily bewildered. “I don’t know. It was a kiss. A normal kiss. A nice kiss.” She cocked her head at him. “How many kinds of kisses are there?”
He just looked at her for a long moment before coming toward her. He backed her to the wall and pressed his big hands on either side of her head.
“There are many kinds of kisses,” he said.
Her breath had backed up in her throat, where her heart had lodged, pounding wildly. “S-s-such as?”
“Such as this one.” And then he leaned in and covered her mouth with his.
At the touch of Joe’s mouth, Kylie’s brain stopped being capable of rational thought. His tongue gave a knee-weakening stroke against hers and she let out a shockingly needy moan as she clutched at him, fisting her hands in the material of his shirt at his chest. Only when he’d thoroughly plundered and pillaged and left her boneless did he lift his head and
look into her eyes.
“Wow,” she whispered, fully aware she was still holding on to him like he was a lifeline, but the bones in her legs had liquefied. “I mean . . .” She shook her head. “Wow.”
He nodded. “Yeah. So to be clear, that wasn’t ‘a normal kiss’ or even ‘a nice kiss.’ It was a ‘wow’ kiss. Any questions?”
“Just one,” she said softly. “Can I have another?”
Joe didn’t have to be asked twice. His mouth immediately descended again, his fingers sliding into her hair to change the angle of the kiss to suit him. It was a controlled, alpha thing to do, but she had only one thought—nothing about the usually carefully, purposely leashed Joe was in control at the moment.
And she liked it.
She had no idea how long they went at it because she was in absolute heaven. Who knew that the man could use his preferred silent mode to communicate in a way that she finally approved of?
Only when she was completely breathless and about to strip him down to his birthday suit did she manage to pull back.
“Any more questions?” he asked, also a little bit breathless, which was more than slightly gratifying. Dumbly, she shook her head. His eyes softened and he gently he stroked his thumb over her bottom lip. “And FYI? Gib’s an idiot.”
So if you read through that excerpt with me…let’s take a moment to fan ourselves…talk about chemistry! About that Kiss certainly delivers on that component!
Jill Shalvis‘ latest installment in The Heartbreaker Bay series gives us Kylie and Joe’s story and boy what a story.
From great characters…to a suspenseful mystery…to peeks at how our couples from previous books in the series are doing…About That Kiss had it all.
Both Joe and Kylie had different but equally difficult upbringings and they are both incredibly stubborn..so you can imagine the dynamic between them is something intense to begin with. Add in the fact that Kylie is forced to ask for Joe’s help to find a stolen carving and the fact that she insists on accompanying him of all of the legwork for the case and we end up with fireworks.
I was a little disappointed that Shalvis didn’t give us the sort of mystery that the reader could really feel a part of…but the important aspect was how it threw the two of them together and led to a few hair-raising incidents.
I can’t wait to see what Jill Shalvis has in store for us with the next Heartbreaker Bay novel. I can guarantee that I won’t hesitate one-click once available.
About Jill Shalvis
New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Jill Shalvis lives in a small town in the Sierras full of quirky characters. Any resemblance to the quirky characters in her books is, um, mostly coincidental. Look for Jill’s sexy contemporary and award-winning books wherever romances are sold and click on the blog button above for a complete book list and daily blog detailing her city-girl-living-in-the-mountains adventures.
Charmed, Texas, is as warm and welcoming as it sounds. But even in a small town, when it comes to love, sometimes you’ve got to take the bitter with the sweet . . .
Carmen Frost hates honey. And bees. And in her hometown of Charmed, Texas, which practically invented the stuff, that’s a problem. The good news is that the summer Honey Festival is finally over. Even better, so is the annual Lucky Hart carnival, a road show that made off with her dreams years ago—including the boy she loved. Now she’s got a divorce behind her, and a successful law career in front of her, but in a tiny town, big memories die hard. Or they don’t die at all—as Carmen discovers when she runs into an all too familiar pair of eyes—older, wiser, and just as heart-melting as ever . . .
Sully Hart has had enough of the nomad lifestyle. Travelling with his father’s carnival gave him adventures, but it cost him much more. Now he’s home to stay, contracted to create an entertainment complex in Charmed. He wants roots, a house with a yard and all the mundane pleasures that go with it. But the girl he loved has become a woman who still wants freedom. Can she still want him? It seems he and Carmen are at each other’s throats one minute—and on each other’s lips the next. Someone’s gotta give . . .
“What did it matter that the love of my life, the man who shattered me into a million pieces in the stadium parking lot, was standing in front of me fifteen years later, looking good enough to lick from head to toe?
I was better than that.”
“Falling in love with him was easy, like we were made to order. Our bodies fit, our sentences finished each other, the feel of him close by was tangible whether we were touching or not. He called me his love, and we belonged to each other. Incomparable lovers. Best friends. Inseparable. Long after the carnival left Charmed and the miles became too far, and a decision had to be made.
I made mine. He made his. They weren’t the same.”
Another cute installment in the Charmed in Texas series by Sharla Lovelace. I love how all of these are sweet southern romances with a touch of magic.
Lucky Charmed also has a great second chance romance which comes across as frustrating at times but ultimately very believable. And man…the chemistry between Carmen and Sully…It was so hard no to want to just jump to the end to see their HEA.
Honestly though it was worth the wait to see them get there. We have amazing friends and supporting characters, we have a lot of sexual tension, humor, small town gossip and we have a lot of personal growth. I was so rooting for Carmen the whole time…I think she is she a realistic and relatable character that I was just sucked into the story.
If I had to nitpick one flaw with the story…I just we we had gotten a little bit of the story from Sully’ perspective. I found his background fascinating and I would have love to see some of the scenes though his eyes.
On the whole though, Lucky Charmed is another winner in what is quickly becoming a auto-buy series for me. I just love Sharla Lovelace’s easy writing style that mixes in small town romance, lots of swoon-worthy moments and just the right amount of humor. It’s a winning combination.
Lucky Charmed can be read as a stand alone…but I promise that you what to read A Charmed Little Lie!
About Sharla Lovelace
Sharla Lovelace is the bestselling, award-winning author of sexy small-town love stories. Being a Texas girl through and through, she’s proud to say she lives in Southeast Texas with her retired husband, a tricked-out golf cart, and two crazy dogs. She is the author of five stand-alone novels including the bestselling Don’t Let Go, the exciting Heart Of The Storm series, and the fun and sexy new Charmed in Texas series.
For more about Sharla’s books, visit www.sharlalovelace.com, and keep up with all her new book releases easily by subscribing to her newsletter. She loves keeping up with her readers, and you can connect with her on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram
SAVING MADELINE is both heart wrenching and humorous. In the beginning, Roxy, a naïve young actor arrives in Hollywood to follow her dream and escape from her mean-spirited family. When she finds herself coexisting in a cramped Los Angeles apartment with a wounded warrior and her German shepherd, tensions run high . . . And then her mother moves in—so much for escaping.
Along comes the well-connected actor, James Jonathan Jarvis, and Roxy’s big break in showbiz: a part in a reality TV show with a wilderness survival theme. But a week before rehearsals begin, her confused mother disappears. Roxy’s search leads her close to Wyoming where she and Madeline become trapped in a real life-and-death situation.
Though the daily obstacles that challenge these three women are paramount, they manage to find humor in their frequent calamities, and Roxy’s Hollywood misadventures buffer the troubling glimpses into the world of a woman whose memory is fading.
A short excerpt from the section “Guests Come Knocking” In Saving Madeline
Then Roxy contemplated doing something she’d sworn she would never, ever do. Don’t do it. Do Not Do This! Her palms sweated, her stomached rolled, then taking a deep breath, she did it. She opened the Help Wanted section of a regular newspaper and searched for an ordinary, though flexible, part-time job—just like normal, non-showbiz people did. To her surprise, she spotted two possibilities right away. One involved helping first-year college students revise and edit their failing work from the required course, Writing 101. Piece of cake. She could do that in her sleep. The other required someone capable of assisting a high school aged male with his guitar playing and songwriting.
“Ah, ha!” she declared. Now that was a tasty piece of cake. She wanted that job. Without any hesitation, Roxy made the call, which resulted in an on-the-spot phone interview with a pleasant, friendly woman.
“There is just one more question I must ask,” the woman said after they’d spoken a while. “And I’d like to offer my apology in advance for asking it.”
Roxy waited, curious.
“My son has a thing for starlets, and starlets seem to have a thing for him. Do you consider yourself a starlet?”
Not certain of the meaning or motive of her question, Roxy replied, “What’s a starlet?”
Genuine, hearty laughter traveled across the phone line, followed by, “Perfect. You’re perfect. When can you start?”
* * *
“Hi. You must be Liam,” she said. “Come on in. Can I get you something to drink before we get started?”
“Thanks, man. A beer would be great.”
He was a good-looking young man with short dark hair and eyes to match. She figured he was kidding about the beer because he definitely wasn’t old enough to drink. He was still in high school. So she smiled and played along.
“One beer coming up—right after I check your ID.”
He shot her a look of annoyance. “Are you messing with me?”
“No, but I thought you were joking. You weren’t?”
“Hell, no. Come on. Everybody drinks beer.”
“Well, I don’t.”
“Not a problem. Wine, whiskey—I’m not picky.”
The content of this first conversation with her arrogant new student was unbelievable. Was this typical behavior for an L.A. teen, or was she just being a mid-western geek?
She brought him a can of soda and asked him to play something. He didn’t react. She nudged, needing to make this small job a continuing reality. “How long have you been playing guitar?”
He shrugged, reluctant to answer her simple question, so she asked again.
He sipped his soda, looking both bored and annoyed. It was as if he didn’t want to be there, but then with a tilt of his head and one eyebrow slightly raised, he tossed out an answer. “Since I was a kid.”
In her estimation, he still was a kid, albeit an alcohol drinking kid. When he finally freed the Martin guitar from its case and played a few bars, Roxy was blown away. As badly as she needed the cash, she let him know that she wasn’t the right person to advance his guitar playing ability. Between the two of them, he was by far the better musician. His musical talent was amazing.
“That’s okay,” he assured her. “I’m more interested in breaking into show business than I am in upping my guitar skills.”
For now, Roxy kept her thoughts to herself. She could relate to his dream, but she wasn’t the person to help him with that, either. She had no connections, no ‘ins’ when it came to breaking the showbiz code.
She crossed her arms and tilted her head. “So you’re here expecting me to help you break into show business via your songwriting ability?”
“Not exactly.” He gave her a lopsided smile. She gave him a confused frown. “I’m here because my parents are trying to keep me out of trouble. They’ve lined up a bunch of activities to keep me busy. You’re just one of them.” An amused expression flashed across his face. “Hey, since I am here, what do you think of this?” He played a new riff on his guitar. “Are you any good with lyrics? Help me come up with some words to go with that.”
His unique musical style intrigued Roxy. She dug out a notebook and pencil and settled on the floor in front of him. The words and music came together with surprising ease. Or so it seemed. They both agreed they were on to something great and had the beginnings of a real song.
With their first session over, Roxy asked, “Same time next week?”
Placing a few folded bills into her palm, he shrugged. “Sure.”
After her student had managed to shove the ill-fitting door closed, she stood in her living room with her ears ringing from the sudden silence. After spending time creating and playing music with Liam, the apartment felt empty, lonely. She didn’t like that feeling, but she did like the fact that she held $30 cash in her hand. Cash she had earned.
Expecting to see a twenty and a ten, she sat and stared at the money. The two faces staring back at her belonged to neither Alexander Hamilton nor Andrew Jackson. She stood face-to-face with Ulysses S. Grant times two. One hundred dollars. Was this a mistake? Should she be elated or concerned? Until Roxy learned the truth, she’d consider the extra $70 to be a gift, a bonus for a job well done.
About Cricket Rohman
Cricket Rohman grew up in Estes Park, Colorado and spent her formative years among deer, coyotes and beautiful blue columbine. Today she is a full-time author writing women’s fiction and mysteries about the cowboys, lovers, teachers, dogs, the great outdoors—even Alzheimer’s. And, so far, there is a dog in every one of her novels.
Book 1 FOREVER ISLAND and Book 2 WINTER’S BLUSH of The Fantasy Maker series, romance novellas, were released November 2017.
The romantic western, COLORADO TAKEDOWN, is scheduled for release early summer of 2018.
Prior to writing, Cricket’s career path included the following adventures: actor, singer, audio/video producer, classroom teacher, school principal, and U of A assistant professor.