It's Friday! This week my dear friend, Franky A. Brown, is joining me to talk about her contribution to our Fall Into Romance boxed set, Wired for Romance. Franky has always called the South home and loves to write about it. She holds an English degree from the University of South Carolina and can’t seem to stop reading. She is the author of chick lit, humor, and romantic comedy about life, love, and Southern women. She also writes a gluten-free recipe blog, Julia and Me, Gluten-free.
When asked to share a little about her story and why she picked this particular scene, she said, "My novella ,Wired for Romance is about a therapist, Audrey, who hires an electrician, Josh, who happens to be her client's ex-boyfriend. Sparks fly and it becomes an issue because Josh doesn't know Audrey is working with his ex-girlfriend who has told her numerous unpleasant things about him. I loved writing this scene because of the element of suspense mixed with humor. Audrey has sprained her ankle and is feeling a little out-of-it from pain medication. Josh has taken her new dog Toby home with him to give her time to rest. So Audrey is home, alone, in a house with no electricity. It's something I can relate to. It's easy to become acutely aware of every sound when one is alone in a dark house...and if there is something I know for sure, is how loopy a shot of pain medication can make me."
Curious to know more?
He can rewire her house, but he can’t do a thing about the electricity sparking between them… Therapist Audrey Foster thought helping a difficult client through a breakup would be a challenge, but things get out of hand when the electrician she hires is the client's horrible ex-boyfriend.
Electrician Josh Chadwick needs a big job to pay off some debt and get his mind off women. Rewiring Audrey's house seems perfect, until he finds himself heavily distracted by everything about her, and wondering why she asks so many strange questions. How can Audrey stay professional when she knows so many dark secrets about Josh? And how can Josh convince Audrey, he’s not a bad catch after all?
And now for the fun part:
A loud, deep scream outside made her jump and she tightened the grip on her phone. What on earth was that sound? She clung to her pillow and struggled to breathe. Was someone being murdered outside her house? Was an animal dying?
She punched through her contacts with trembling hands and clicked to call Rob.
She brought the phone to her ear as a groggy voice answered. “Hello?”
“Rob! Oh my gosh, someone or something is outside. There was this horrible scream and this growling…and Toby isn’t here. Not that he’d be able to rescue me from something like that, but it’d at least help if he was here…” Her voice turned into a high pitch and she squeezed her eyes shut. “What if it’s Sasquatch?”
“I’ll be right there, okay?” The phone signal was breaking up. “And I’ll bring Toby.”
“Toby? Rob, is this you?” There was no answer and the call dropped. Then she looked at the screen and realized she’d called Josh. She really had thought she’d hit Rob’s number. “Well, this is the last time I let them give me a shot of painkiller then watch Bigfoot hunters in the dark.”
Okay, so Josh would come to her rescue. It may be embarrassing, but at least she’d get Toby back. It was probably nothing to worry about. Maybe kids were playing early Halloween pranks or something.
The growling noise sounded outside again, and she felt her heart pound nearly audibly. She pulled herself up and took a deep breath. She needed to figure this out. Limping once again toward the kitchen with her flashlight, she gulped and opened the wide blinds on the window.
There was nothing but grass, leaves, and that old white oak tree in the back yard. Behind her fence was a line of trees. Nothing was out there. She shined the flashlight back and forth and sighed. “Everything’s fine. So what was that horrific noise?”
Then the growling sound was back, sounding like it was right by the window. She thought she saw something moving, and she turned her flashlight off to see if she could see better without the glare from the window.
The growling became louder and something inside the oak tree rattled a branch, shaking more leaves out. Something was in the tree.
Then a pair of legs dropped down from the tree. Furry feet dangled in the air and the growling noise seemed louder every second. She squealed and covered her mouth with both hands, dropping back against the wall. Something was in her back yard. In her tree. Growling fiercely. Did Sasquatch growl? Did he climb trees? He certainly had two furry feet.
She dialed Josh again and he answered on the first ring. “I need my dog.”
“On the way right now, are you okay?”
“No, I’m not okay. I need help,” she whispered sharply. “There’s something big and furry and growling in my tree.”
“Animal or human? I’m almost there.”
“If it’s human it’s incredibly hairy. But that growling sound isn’t human.” Audrey clenched the phone tighter and hugged herself with her free arm. “I can’t believe I’m saying this right now. The feet dropped down from the tree and looked furry. Aren’t you the expert on this subject?”
“What kind of animal has two legs, climbs trees, and growls? Do Bigfoots climb trees?”
“Say what? Look, hang tight. I’m about to pull into your driveway.”
“Bring me my dog!”
“Don’t hang up, okay?”
“Okay.” It felt like an eternity as she sat against the wall in the dark, hearing her heart pound in her ears. In reality, only a few minutes passed before she heard Toby’s deep bark outside and she hung up the call. She looked outside again and spied one of the large branches rattling, and a furry-looking human figure leaped from the tree to the top of the side fence, then swung over it to the tree cover on the other side. She blinked, heart stopping.
Next she saw Toby running across the yard to the fence where the creature disappeared and Josh followed.
Then something small and furry jumped out of the tree and ran across the top of the wooden fence. It stopped and growled down at Toby.
Curiosity finally won over her fear, and she hurried as best she could with a sore foot to the back door and pulled it open.
“Toby, it’s okay,” Josh said and gave Toby a head rub, but he didn’t stop barking. The furry thing on the fence disappeared.
“I think I just saw a Sasquatch…” She stood frozen in place on the patio.
Josh walked toward her while Toby continued to bark. “Come on, Toby!” He stopped in front of her and studied her a moment. “Yeah…it was actually a ’possum. A rather angry one.””
“Are you serious? But what was that big animal that ran off?”
“What big animal? ’Possums make a variety of different sounds, it was probably in your tree.”
Her lip started to quiver. “Something on two legs, the size of a man. He was…furry…the feet were furry…”
“There was a man back here? We should call the police.”
“I told you, I think I saw Sasquatch!” Audrey covered her face with both hands, humiliation washing over her. Oh my gosh, I’ve lost my mind.
Josh paused for a moment and pulled her hands from her face. “Are you okay?”
“That scared me to death.” Audrey took in a shaky breath. “You didn’t see anything at all?”
“Just a ’possum.” He spoke slowly. “Do you really think it was a Sasquatch?”
She shook her head, now questioning everything. “To be honest, they gave me a shot at the ER for pain, and then I was watching videos in the dark…and it’s pretty late.”
“Were you watching ghost stories?”
She felt her face warming all over and knew she was turning red. “I may have caught a little of a Bigfoot reality show.” The last part was almost a whisper.
Josh pulled her into his arms and hugged her. She was a little surprised by the hug, but more surprised by how much she didn’t want him to let go of her. She held him and took in several deep breaths.
“It’s okay, whatever it was is gone.” Josh’s words were so tender, his lips were so nearby. She looked into his eyes and wanted to give in to his spell.
Then Toby wedged himself between their legs and they stepped apart. “Toby, you came to save me.” Audrey rubbed his ears and hugged her four-legged friend.
“But I do think we should call the police. There may be someone creeping around the neighborhood.”
She nodded. “Yes, you’re right. It could have been a prowler.”
Audrey continued to pet Toby. She desperately needed the distraction from the tingling sensations running through her body. The way she was feeling toward Josh was not at all appropriate for someone she depended on to restore her electricity, or for a new friend. And if he was Carly’s ex-boyfriend who believed in Bigfoot, she’d allowed herself to briefly buy into the myth and he would probably like that about her. But if it wasn’t, and if he didn’t really believe in the story, maybe he thought she was a therapist in need of serious therapy.
If you enjoyed this snippet, be sure to preorder your copy of Fall Into Romance so you'll be able to enjoy this story and the others the moment it becomes available.
.Last week we saw a little bit of J. J. DiBenedetto's story. This week, Liwen Y. Ho is visiting with her favorite scene from Chasing Romance and a little about herself. Liwen writes sweet and inspirational romance infused with heart, humor, and a taste of home (her Asian roots).
Want to know what Chasing Romance is about?
When pop sensation Chase Lockhart wants more than a room at Izzy Sutton’s Bed and Breakfast, she must decide whether it’s worth opening up her heart to him, especially when he’s eleven years her junior.
The excerpt Liwen shared has a little bit of reality in it. Here's what she said about it: "I was so excited to find out that our stories for Fall into Romance needed to include an animal that our characters would adopt. There are so many animals who need a home, and being able to write about one reminded me of our cocker spaniel who jumped into our car without hesitation the day we adopted him. I based Thor off the dog my sister and brother-in-law adopted two years ago. Sadly, Thor's injuries in the story happened in real life to my fur-nephew, but now that he's found his forever home, he's a much happier dog."
Amid the chatter of the animals, a lone bark caught her attention. It was the dog they’d heard earlier. Izzy walked over to one of the closest kennels where a black Labrador had his nose pressed against the wire door. “Hey sweetie, what’s your name?”
Whining, the dog scratched the crate with his front paws. His movements grew more frenzied by the second.
She knelt and placed one hand against his nose. “You want to come out, don’t you?”
Chase lowered himself beside Izzy. He leaned close to the crate and lifted the brim of his baseball cap to get a better look. “Poor dog. Do you see his back leg?”
Before he could elaborate, the dog began barking wildly. He backed away as far as the kennel would allow and growled, baring his teeth in Chase’s direction.
“Let's give him some space.” Izzy took a few steps away and pulled Chase with her. She spotted his name on the information card attached to his crate. “Thor. His name’s Thor.”
“Seems more like Thor’s evil brother, Loki, if you ask me.”
Shooting him a stern look, she admonished, “He’s not evil, just scared. A lot of these animals came from bad homes before they were brought here. Who knows what he’s been through.”
“I didn’t mean he was evil. Thor’s blond; his brother’s dark-haired. That’s the resemblance I was referring to.” He pointed to the crate’s left side. “You’re right; something happened to him. His back leg’s missing some hair.”
Izzy spotted the area Chase mentioned. Without fur covering it, part of Thor’s hind leg was as hairless and pink as a raw piece of chicken. Why would anyone mistreat such a sweet animal? She felt an unexplainable compassion for the dog and wanted to find out his story.
We're so excited to share this boxed set with you and for you to meet all the wonderful people of Romance!
It's Friday again which means it's time to meet one of the authors in the Fall Into Romance boxed set! This week I'm thrilled to have J. J. DiBenedetto share his favorite scene from his story, Finding Dori.
First, a little bit about him. J.J. DiBenedetto is the author of the Dream Series and the Jane Barnaby Adventures. He lives in Arlington, Virginia with his lovely wife and Danny, a white cat who’s trained them both. He’s originally from Yonkers, New York. He loves the New York Giants, fondue, photography, travel, the opera and he’s a huge science-fiction and fantasy geek.
And a little about the scene he's sharing today: "This scene doesn't in any way come from my life. I went to an all-boys high school, and never attended a football game, for one thing. And, anyway, I was so shy that even had the opportunity to kiss a girl presented itself, I certainly wouldn't have realized it, or gotten up the nerve to do anything about it."
Curious? Here's a fun snippet from Finding Dori, coming Oct. 5th in the Fall Into Romance boxed set.
What was wrong with him? He hadn’t been this nervous on a date since high school.
He remembered it as though it were yesterday. It hadn’t been his first date ever, but it had been the first one since he’d really begun to understand what liking a girl actually meant.
It was a chilly October Saturday, and he was sitting way up high in the bleachers. His jacket was draped over Izzy Sutton’s shoulders, and she was leaning close to him for additional warmth. Jumpy, tongue-tied fifteen-year-old Lucas didn’t dare imagine that she had any other reason for sitting so close, or for resting her head on his shoulder. Or for wearing perfume, and a sweater that fit very tightly and emphasized her every curve.
When the Romance Valley Archers scored a touchdown late in the fourth quarter to take the lead for good over the Meadowlarks of Portland Central South High, and the rest of the crowd erupted into wild cheering, Young Lucas knew he should act. He knew this was his best – maybe only – chance to make a move. He could kiss her. He should kiss her. Her head was on his shoulder; her lips were only inches from his. It ought to have been the easiest and most natural thing in the world.
Lucas remembered turning his head to face her, putting his hands on her cheeks and moving closer, closer, until their lips were less than an inch apart. He remembered what had happened next, too. His body utterly betrayed him. He burped, sneezed and hiccupped all at once, a combination he had never experienced before, or since. And just like that, the moment, and the opportunity for his first real kiss, was gone.
Poor Lucas! Did you ever have an embarrassing moment on a date?
Be sure to check J.J. DiBenedetto out and if you haven't already, preorder your copy of Fall Into Romance. This is one set you don't want to miss!
More about Finding Dori:
She’s a loud, pushy New Yorker who drives him crazy. He almost ran her over with his truck. Of course they’re perfect for each other…
Dori came to the town of Romance to help a friend. She wasn’t looking for a romance of her own. But when she broke her leg and found herself stuck in Romance for two weeks, romance found her – with the very man who caused her accident.
Lucas wasn’t looking for romance, either. But when the woman who almost killed herself by running in front of his truck turned out to be his next client, romance found him, too.
Dori has two weeks until her leg is healed and she can travel back home to New York. Lucas has two weeks until his job is finished and he won’t have see Dori again. Can the two of them stop sabotaging themselves long enough for Romance to work its magic on them?
I think one of the best parts of working on a group project like Fall Into Romance is getting to see all the fun other authors are having with their stories. Working together to build this little town and fill it with amazing people was such a joy! And yes, I was absolutely starstruck to be working alongside authors I've read and respected for some time.
If you've been visiting our Facebook page, you may have already read Melanie Snitker's interview with fellow author, Liwen Ho. And if you haven't yet, be sure to go check it out! I wanted to do something similar, but also make sure our posts weren't exactly the same. So, I've asked my fellow Romance authors for their favorite scene to write from their novella and if real life ever poked its head in. Today, I'll be sharing my favorite from Katie's Chance for Romance in order to give some extra time to the busy authors. Next Friday, we'll get to start seeing their replies. Are you excited? I know I am!
From Katie's Chance for Romance, we have the town's Costume Parade. Not only was this scene just super fun to write, (Who doesn't love a dashing hero in costume?) but it also has several "real-life" moments in it. I loved showing this playful side of Mike. He's a man who's had his heart broken, but he refuses to give up. And I have to say, if a certain someone showed up on horseback wearing...well, I won't spoil the scene too soon. ;) Let's just say, I'd go for that ride in a heartbeat! And I very much enjoyed surprising Katie. She often seems to be a step ahead, and this time Mike got her for sure.
What also made this scene fun was drawing on real-life experiences to flesh it out. My little town has a Costume Parade for the elementary and younger children every year through our downtown. My kiddos have never needed to trick-or-treat because the downtown shops fill their bags to bursting! You'll also hear Mike, who is a Spanish teacher, call Katie by a special Spanish nickname. While her nickname is not the same as mine, my Prince Charming, who is also a Spanish teacher, has special nicknames for me. And like Katie, those little Spanish words make me feel weak in the knees.
Without any further ado, the Costume Parade from Katie's Chance for Romance:
[Mike] drove to the town square and parked. Cheryl was waiting for him with a bouquet of flowers. “Katie’s lucky I’m a loyal friend, or I’d snatch you up myself tonight,” she teased as he got out of his truck.
“Very funny, Cheryl,” he retorted. “I feel a little ridiculous.”
She laughed. “Believe me, Mike, no woman looking at you tonight is going to have the word ridiculous anywhere in her vocabulary. Dreamy, gorgeous, manly, swoon-worthy…”
“Okay, okay,” Mike interrupted, heat crawling up his neck. “No need to go overboard.”
Cheryl laughed again. “One stunning fall arrangement, as promised,” she said, holding the bouquet out for him.
“Hang on to it for a second would you?” he asked. Mike walked around the trailer and led Licorice out before mounting smoothly. He then reached down for the flowers.
She sighed. “You’re going to leave a trail of broken hearts down Main Street tonight, Michael Elders.”
He rolled his eyes. “Thanks a lot, Cheryl.”
“Anything for you, Zorro,” she replied, trilling the r longer than necessary.
Mike shook his head with a grin. “Come on, Licorice, let’s go.” He waved back at Cheryl before getting Licorice to a brisk trot. He tried to ignore the gawkers as he rode down the street. Despite Cheryl’s affirmation that he looked fine, Mike still felt silly in the costume. Licorice’s hooves clopped loudly as he continued on, drawing stares and squeals from the older members of the parade. Most of the participants were young children who pointed and gasped, “Mama, a horsey! See the pretty horsey?” As he neared Sweet Retreat, his heart thundered in his ears. Earl and Viv made the perfect farmer couple from their matching denim overalls to the straw hats on their heads. Loverboy and Roxette charmed children with their scarecrow costumes while Earl kept them on a firm leash. But Katie stole the show. Make-up gave her a little brown nose and perfect whiskers across her cheeks while a headband sporting fox ears and reddish jumpsuit with a bushy tail completed the ensemble. A bright pink collar sparkled around her neck. He wasn’t sure how someone could look so utterly appealing and innocent at the same time. Swallowing his heart back down to his chest, Mike remembered the next part in his plan. “Hyah!” He kicked Licorice into a canter, going down past Sweet Retreat before turning and running back. He raised the sword above his head and pulled Licorice into a rear, causing his audience to gasp in awe. When the mare landed, he replaced the sword and hopped down from the saddle. Brandishing the flowers before him, he stopped in front of Katie. With his best Spanish accent, he announced, “I have come for mi zorrita. Does she come willingly, or do I carry her off into the night?”
Katie’s eyes widened as a strangled sound escaped her lips.
“As you wish,” Mike said. He handed the flowers to Aunt Viv who was staring at him with a mix of amusement and shock. “Put these in water please, señora, for zorrita.” He then scooped Katie up in his arms.
She squirmed. “Mike! I’m working.”
“Not tonight, mi amor,” he replied, carrying her to the patiently waiting mare. After letting Katie get settled, he swung up carefully behind her. “Buenas tardes, Romance!” he called and clicked his tongue at Licorice. The horse broke into a trot while the watching crowd cheered and clapped.
So if you're part of my fan group, or you've been hanging out at my fanpage, I've dropped a few hints at a secret project. I've been dying to tell you guys since I started, but when you're working in a group, you learn to keep a secret. But the time has come to reveal my secret project and I hope you're as excited as I am! Ready to find out what it is?
Fall Into Romance
Early this year I was invited to take part in a secret project involving several other authors. We were given the task of writing a sweet romance and having our main characters adopt a pet at the local animal shelter's annual fundraising festival. If you've read my Holly and Mr. Ivy, you know I love having animals help out with a romance. Fall Into Romance is a new boxed set coming this October to your favorite eReader. And guess what? Preorders begin now at a bargain price of only 99¢! Not only will you get my newest book, more about that in a bit, but you'll also get novellas from nine other amazing authors, including a couple of my personal favorites. Each story promises a sweet romance with lots of heart and at least one adorable pet to help nudge those silly humans along. There will be lots of laughter, perhaps some tears, and heart-warming love to take the nip out of the fall air. Curious what it's about?
Surround yourself in the romance of the autumn season with 10 heartwarming, sweet novellas from the USA Today, national bestselling, and award-winning authors. Each story takes you inside the heart of a small town-its people-and features adorable animal friends in need of a forever home. Take a trip to Romance, Oregon, where falling in love has never been easier and happily-ever-after is guaranteed!
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | iTunes | Kobo | Google
Stories and Authors
Lost in Romance by Stacy Claflin
Second Glance by Raine English
Blown Into Romance by Shanna Hatfield
Wired for Romance by Franky A. Brown
Restoring Romance by Tamie Dearen
Finding Dori by J.J. DeBenedetto
Katie’s Chance for Romance by Jessica L. Elliott
Chasing Romance by Liwen Y. Ho
Lessons in Romance by Kit Morgan
Finding Forever in Romance by Melanie D. Snitker
They all sound great, don't they? If you're curious about any of the above authors, click on their links and visit their websites. And be watching my blog over the next several weeks as I invite them in to talk about what makes their story amazing.
What's more, we have an awesome new Facebook page where you can stay in the loop of all the exciting things going on in our little town of Romance. Believe me, you're not going to want to miss a thing! We'd love to see you there.
So you're probably wondering about my contribution, Katie's Chance for Romance. The first character, though he plays a only a small role, who came into my mind was a gorgeous buckskin gelding named Chance. From there, the rest of the story grew with a pair of dogs, a lively aunt and uncle, and of course our main couple. It's been one of my most fun projects to date and I can't wait for you to enjoy it!
Katie Mackall broke up with high school sweetheart Mike Elders when he made a decision which deviated from their plans. Five years later he returns to Romance and she can't seem to shake him from her life, or her heart. When Mike rescues her from car troubles at Finding Forever's Fall Festival, Katie must decide if she's going to let go of her lingering doubts and give her heart the lead.
Mike never forgot Katie, and when he accepts a teaching position in Romance he hopes to have a second chance with her. But their complicated past and a PTA mom who won't get out of his way, doesn't make it easy. An instant connection with Katie's new dog may not be enough to win her heart, but determination and patience, with just the right touch of romance, might.
Jessica L. Elliott
Author, artist, mom and super-genius