WELCOME to Kris Pearson, our guest blogger today!
The best part about being a romance author
It’s our friends – because we’re never on this writing journey on our own.
For starters, there are all the authors who have written great books to entertain and inspire me. Of course they’re friends. I’m always so pleased to discover a new Lisa Kleypas or Rachel Gibson. It’s at least as good as meeting with my flesh-and-blood buddies.
And speaking of them, my local writing group is a big part of my inspiration and motivation. We share, we enthuse, we encourage, we critique. Couldn’t do it without them. If you write, I hope you belong to a group? Author Diana Fraser is one of my locals – check out her Sheikh novels and Italian novels for Kindle on Amazon.com.
Online friends are special, too. Some of them I’ll never meet because they’re half a world away. I’m in New Zealand, way down in the South Pacific. They’re in Australia, all across North America, in Great Britain....anywhere English is spoken.
I sometimes meet up with the Aussies at our annual conference of Romance Writers of New Zealand. There’s the inspiring Kylie Griffin, author or Vengeance Born and Alliance Forged. And bubbly Dakota Harrison, who recently made her first two sales AND won the big Emerald Award in Australia. Cathryn Hein’s wonderful rural romances are a joy – Promises and Heart of the Valley are beautiful reads.
Some more of my Downunder friends are Bronwen Evans with her racy Regencies – Invitation to Ruin and Invitation to Scandal. Catherine Robinson – such a funny writer; see if you can grab The Sweet Second Life of Darrell Kinkaid, or just-released The Not-so-perfect Life of Mo Lawrence. Gracie O’Neil’s killer brain concocts twisty suspenses, including Touching Shadows and Shadow Seer. Faye Robertson (Serenity Woods) writes for Samhain, Lyrical Press and Entangled; her most recent book is Seven Sexy Sins. And the amazing Natalie Anderson is a Harlequin Mills & Boon writer beyond compare. Every one of them is now a better friend than the girls I grew up with.
The last friends I’ll mention are the characters in my books. When you’re writing a novel it’s amazing how close you get to these people. You live as the heroine. You fall in love with the hero. They take shape on the pages, and breathe and yearn and misbehave. It’s like having a whole extra life.
* * *
I chose to write about friends because today’s excerpt from OUT OF BOUNDS features my heroine Jetta’s friends. They’re on their way to take her out for a surprise birthday treat. She and hero Anton have called a temporary truce, and things are simmering along nicely...
Jetta searched her addled brain for some sort of equilibrium. Her head felt full of unraveling knitting—as tangled as Gran’s sometimes used to get when old Pusscat found the wool bag and had a field-day.
This was hopeless. She smiled, despite her best efforts not to.
Anton didn’t deserve smiles. He’d frightened her half to death by bursting right in to her home that morning and saying he was going to demolish it. He hadn’t even knocked.
Then he’d pretended she should know all about it.
She’d been shocked out of her mind—terrified to be caught on her own. Even clutching the old spade hadn’t really made her feel safe.
And yet...? She’d somehow found the courage to come back here with him—and into his bedroom, no less.
Because that’s where the plans were, of course.
Yes, she’d panicked a little, but not too badly. Then visions of Anton had taken over from thoughts of Uncle Graham as they stood together at the drawing board, even if it was only for a few dreamy seconds.
Maybe it was okay now because there was the table between them, and she knew he couldn’t just reach across and grab her. Even so, it amazed her. He’d declared he’d be moving in to Gran’s house, although she was determined he wouldn’t be, and she still found him good company.
She took another sip of her wine and inspected him covertly. In the softening light of near-dusk, his skin looked a deeper gold.
His face was long, like his body. Dark hair sprang back from his smooth forehead, short around his ears and at his neckline. But it stood up a couple of inches on top of his head, thick and a little unruly, as though he often thrust his fingers back through it.
How would it feel, running my hands through it?
Her fingertips itched with anticipation, and she lowered her gaze a little.
Above his vivid blue eyes, his brows were strong and almost straight. As thick and dark as the hair on his head.
He was freshly shaved. She liked that he’d done that for her. Or had he? Maybe he always shaved when he showered? But somehow she knew he’d made an extra effort because of her birthday.
His shirt had a couple of buttons undone at the neck. A proper business shirt, not just a casual polo or tee. The spicy brown complimented his sun-gilded skin. He’d flipped the sleeves back a few turns, and the tendons moved in his forearm as he stabbed a morsel of smoked salmon.
She flicked her eyes back up to his face. High cheekbones under those amazing eyes, and slightly hollowed cheeks. The words ‘lean and hungry’ sprang easily to mind.
He had a long, straight nose—no tell-tale bumps to indicate mishaps on the rugby field. She pictured him loping along on a cricket pitch, or arrowing down off a high diving board, sleek and controlled.
But his mouth was the treat she saved for last. Exactly as wide as his nose was long, she thought, unconsciously measuring and memorizing. Was the symmetry why he looked so good?
His top lip bowed sharply, but once again it was the sensuously full lower one that made her catch her breath. That sulky cushion of smooth flesh appeared to be the only soft thing about him, and all the more attractive for the contrast.
It was nothing like Uncle Graham’s thin mean mouth that he used to press against hers in a slimy slobber when her parents were out of the house.
She shivered and wrapped her arms across her breasts in an unconscious barrier.
“What’s wrong?” Anton’s tone cut sharply through her memories.
“What do you mean?”
“Your expression changed. You looked as though you’d seen something repulsive. And it was me you were looking straight at.”
“No,” she protested. “Just an old memory. Someone long gone.”
But he keeps coming back. Will I ever get rid of him?
“Sorry,” she added, trying to make amends.
“That would be a flattering description of him,” she murmured. “I’d go as far as ‘male animal’ perhaps.”
“So why are you sitting here with me and thinking about someone else?” he pressed.
She could hardly say ‘because you’re wonderful compared to him’. Anton appeared arrogantly sure of himself without her pumping his self-esteem any higher. No—she needed to discourage him.
“Just a birthday memory. Nothing special.”
“But he didn’t treat you well? Not from that description?”
This was the last thing she needed. She glanced down at her food and chased an olive around the plate to avoid looking at him again. And then—salvation—someone banged loud and long on her front door. The sharp noise of the knocker carried in the still air.
“Visitors,” she said with relief, starting to rise.
“I’ll let them know them where you are.” Anton strode off toward the front of the property.
“She’s over here,” he called so someone unseen. A chuckle rose in Jetta’s throat at Hallie and Bren’s lively exclamations and giggles. Spying, of course.
Soon the two girls came tottering up his driveway, glamorous in high shoes and short skirts.
“We didnae mean to interrupt anything,” Bren protested, all innocence. All innocence and all eyes, Jetta saw, pleased Anton’s long lithe body and arresting face would easily pass inspection.
“Looking good in your birthday suit,” Bren threw in her direction once they were all in the shelter of the courtyard.
Jetta closed her eyes.
“I take it these two...ladies...are your old flat-mates?” Anton asked. She grinned at his deliciously insulting hesitation.
“The dark one is Hallie, and the redhead is Bren,” she managed over a giggle. “Yes—they’ve been my flat-mates for the last several years. They’re very old indeed.”
“The terrible trio,” Hallie said.
“But sadly no more,” Bren needled. “She’s left us to do her decorator thing and renovate her very own home.”
“Stop teasing him,” Jetta protested. “It’s not really his fault. Oh—Anton Haviland, Bren McKay and Hallie Dragos,” she added, remembering the old-fashioned courtesy Gran and Grandpa had drilled into her.
Anton pulled two more chairs up to the table and the girls sat. Hallie stole the olive Jetta had been pushing around her plate. Bren snagged Jetta’s champagne for a sip, and then glanced at the bottle. Anton took the hint, and went inside for more glasses.
“You’re right—he’s plenty hot,” Bren said, mercifully almost in a whisper.
“Have you come spying?”
“Us?” Hallie asked.
“Yes—you. I know what you’re like. Nosey as.”
“Noooo—we just thought we’d bring you a nice housewarming present and have a wee look at your Gran’s place now it’s all yours,” Bren soothed.
“Maybe not all mine. And where’s the present?” Jetta asked, eyeing their empty hands.
“On your front step.”
“Will it melt?”
Hallie giggled. “It’s not chocolate.”
“What’s not chocolate?” Anton asked as he returned. “Don’t you like chocolate?”
He set the extra glasses down, and poured. Bren and Hallie raised their drinks in Jetta’s direction.
“Happy birthday Jetta,” they chorused.
“And may you be very happy with Anton,” Bren added with a small wicked smile.
“We’re not setting up house together! We can’t stand each other...”
“Aye, I can see that—sitting here having a private supper and drinking champers on such a nice evening.”
“For her birthday,” Anton said. “No-one else seems to have arranged a celebration.”
“Not easy with her Gran the way she was,” Hallie protested.
“And we have arranged a wee treat—we’ve come to take her to the movies,” Bren said. “You could come too, Anton?”
Hallie burst into renewed giggles.
“What?” Jetta demanded. “You’re up to something. I know that laugh.”
“No, it’s a genuine offer,” Bren said, feigning a hurt expression. “Girls’ Night Out. Special late double feature at the Embassy. ‘Dirty Dancing’ and ‘Sex in the City’—just the thing for a red-blooded man like Anton.”
Jetta tried to hide her grin. “He’ll pass on that,” she said. “But is this for real? What time?”
“Of course it’s for real,” Ben said. “We wouldn’t tempt you with the divine Patrick and then not deliver.”
“Nine-thirty,” Hallie added, “so there’s time for a look at your house first. And we can stay in town for a drink afterward, yeah?”
Jetta checked her watch. “Are we finished here?” she asked.
Empty glasses thudded down on the table-top in unison.
“Okay,” she agreed. “House inspection time.”
“I’ll come over in a minute and take some of that tape off,” Anton said, but the girls were already rising and chattering like a flock of colorful birds.
He watched as they strolled off arm-in-arm—Bren in a small electric-blue and white dress, Hallie in a flirty gold skirt and violet blouse, and Jetta sandwiched between them in her slippery red top and snug fitting black leather trousers.
Not quite sex in the city. But certainly sex in the suburbs.
Question: What are Jetta’s two old flatmates’names?
Visit Kris at http://www.krispearson.com
Buy OUT OF BOUNDS at http://amzn.com/B008RH0LAC
Jetta Rivers has inherited half a house. Big problem: she has to share it with co-owner Anton Haviland, and her past has left her terrified of men. Gorgeous Anton is a confident sexy architect, and he might be exactly who Jetta needs to put her crippling fear to rest. But can she allow him close enough? And would he even want to try? A midnight disaster leaves her no option when he drags her off to the only bed left in the now-damaged house. She’s appalled to find how much she craves the man who plans to smash her inheritance to pieces, and Anton’s equally shocked when his sharp-tempered housemate attempts to seduce him. WARNING: Contains one ambitious man with a tender heart and a body to die for. And one unlikely temptress with an ancient copy of The Joy of Sex.
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