Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Born to be Wild - Sneak Peek #1

Here's the first unedited excerpt from BORN TO BE WILD, Book One in my new series -

The heroine owns the only bookstore in a small Alabama lake town...

* * * * * * *

This particular Wednesday I was sitting between the shelves on the rolling black stepstool unpacking a box of books I’d ordered for the history section. Biographies of former local residents and family histories were some of my biggest sellers. Soft jazz was playing from the small shelf system I always had playing into the room, and I was engrossed with recording the incoming stock and sorting it out when heavy footfalls drew my attention from the task. 

“I’ll be with you in just a second,” I called out, set the stack of books onto the floor and quickly stuffed the packing material back into the empty box. I was trying to organize the pile of books and papers when the deep timbre of a voice sent a ripple of sensation down my spine.

“Sorry to disturb you.” Black leather boots with silver hardware came into view. My gaze traveled from the boots, up a pair of sturdy thighs, past the black tank which displayed muscular, caramel-colored shoulders. Well-formed muscles were evenly distributed over his lean frame, which had to be at least six feet tall. But his face is what did immediate damage to my nervous system. Scruff covering his angular jaw of a GQ-worth face gave him a rough edge. I don’t think I’ve ever seen such a good-looking man. It took me a couple of seconds to stand and get my brain and mouth working together to produce some intelligible words that didn’t sound like stuttering.

“I’m sorry. May I help you?”

“Yes.” He took off his sunglasses revealing eyes that were so dark they were almost black and handed me a piece of paper. “I’m looking for this book on motorcycle repair. Would you have it in stock?”

Without even looking at the title, I knew it wasn’t one I carried. “I don’t, but I’ll gladly order it for you. It should take three to four days. Can you wait that long?”

 He smiled and my bones felt as though they were melting. “I’m on my way to Florida, but I’ll be coming back through in a few days. Can you order it for overnight delivery just to make sure?”

“No problem.” It took everything I had to make sure he didn’t see the way my hands were shaking when I handed him an order form and a pen. “Do you mind filling this out for me?”

He grinned. “I wouldn’t mind doing anything you ask.”

The whole room tilted, and I glanced way from his penetrating dark gaze. While he completed the form, it was all I could do not to gawk at him, so I pretended to be busy straightening up around the register.

“Here you go. I appreciate this. It’s a birthday gift for my buddy.”

“Would like me to gift wrap it?” I asked, simply wanting to hear him talk some more.

“Could you?”

“Of course, Mr…,” I glanced down at the order form. “Turner. No problem.”

He didn’t move to leave, and I suddenly felt uncomfortable with the way he stared at me. “Is there something else I can help you with?”

He cleared his throat. “Yes. Can you tell me where can I get lunch?”

“There’s Arby’s, KFC, Church’s Chicken, and McDonald’s up yonder on Eufaula Street.”

“I mean real food. I ate Mickey D’s for breakfast, and after being on the road all morning, I’m starving.”

“Well, I’m prejudiced, but Karly’s KafĂ© around the corner is where I eat whenever I don’t bring lunch from home.”

That smile again. “It’s lunchtime now. Are you going there today?”

I checked the clock and returned his smile. “I’d planned to.”

“Can you show me where it is?”

Was he flirting with me, or was this confident, laid-back manner just his everyday personality? It had been so long since a man flirted with me, I wasn’t sure, but what harm could there be in walking there with him? It was broad daylight, and Karly’s was a little over three hundred steps away. The only reason I knew that piece of trivia was thanks to my FitBit. “Okay. I have to lock up, because my assistant doesn’t come in until later.”

He propped a lean hip against the counter, placed the leather backpack that hung over one brawny shoulder on the counter top and looked inside. “I need to make a call.”

After I pulled the plug on the coffeemaker and hit the power button on the stereo, I listened as he dialed and said, “Spence, I’m going to get lunch somewhere else. If you want to head out, I’ll catch up with you.” Reese listened for a moment and smiled. “Yeah, there is. Okay. Later.” He returned the phone to the well-worn bag. It wasn’t until he turned around that I realized he was wearing his hair in a ponytail. Long hair on a man never appealed to me, but it actually looked good on him, and it was evident his wasn’t chemically straightened. The texture testified of something in his bloodline. Native American, perhaps.

I grabbed my purse from beneath the counter.

“Nice place you have here. Been here long?”

“Thank you. This is my third year.” I took out my keys. “Okay, I’m ready.”

“Is it okay to leave my bike here?”

“Of course. Nobody is going to bother it.”

“All right, I’ll take your word on that.” He stretched out a very muscular arm toward the front door. “Lead the way.”

# # #

Saturday, December 10, 2016

Status update...

Since I posted here last time, I've had major surgery and have been recuperating at home. Since I wasn't allowed to do much else, I concentrated on writing the first two chapters of BORN TO BE WILD, Book One in The Lake Series.

This story is going to be a love triangle with the heroine, bookstore owner Tangela Holloway, trying to decide between two men - one whom she's known her entire life, and another who has just walked into her life. And these men couldn't be more different. 

Here's the long blurb I'm working on. It needs tweaking, but this is what I have so far...
If you enjoyed reading the Stafford Brothers Series, keep an eye out for my upcoming Lake Series. This series, set in an Alabama lake town, will feature different residents of the town. Book One, Born to be Wild, introduces readers to Tangela Holloway, the shy, introverted owner of the town’s only bookstore. She spends her days running the store, and her nights reading. 

For the past two years Tangela has been dating Johnnie Ellison, a hometown boy who owns one of the town’s boat rental companies. Johnnie is among the town’s few eligible bachelors. She cares about Johnnie and considers him a good friend. Recently he’s been hinting about taking their relationship to the next level. She is giving his suggestion serious consideration but secretly longs to feel the kind of sparks she’s read about in the romance novels she loves to read. Tangela wonders if she is holding out for a ridiculous fantasy that only happens between the pages of fiction.

One August afternoon, Reese Turner strides into her store looking as sexy, wild and dangerous as one of the heroes in her books. As he speaks to her, what she experiences is more like an electrical storm than mere sparks. Reese explains that he and his motorcycle club are on their way from Atlanta, Georgia to the Annual National Bikers Roundup being held this year in Panama City Beach, Florida. He asks her to order a specific book on cycle repair and says if she can put a rush on it, he will return to pick it up. The handsome biker ends by asking if he can also take her out to dinner when he returns in a week.

Tangela has a week to decide if she’ll make the safe choice and settle down with her old friend or follow the current that’s pulling her to a man who is different from any she’s ever known.

Today I'm 8,500 words into the story...