Tomorrow is the 29th anniversary of my 29th birthday. A friend figured that out for me (since I do as little math as possible), and if you’re better at numbers than I am, it’s probably pretty easy to figure out my age in real years.
|Here I am on the -26th anniversary of my 29th birthday.|
This is not a particularly significant birthday. No milestone number of years. No big need to celebrate. I am aging but not aged. And yet, somehow this birthday feels “heavy.” Maybe it’s because it coincided this past weekend with my 40thhigh school reunion. (Forty years? Seriously?) Or maybe it’s because in the course of writing another new book, I’m once again contemplating the love story of a hero and heroine who are younger than my own children
Basically, I needed some birthday cheering up. So, I’ve booked myself into Get Lost in a Story for two days and am throwing a little party for myself and for you. And I’m giving you a little sneak preview (the first ANYWHERE) of my upcoming Avon Impulse book, RESCUED BY A STRANGER, releasing on October 1st.
I also want to invite you back here tomorrow for my actual birthday party. Eleven of my favorite authors are sending me cool birthday wishes AND hot book suggestions—in fact, THEIR hot books. I’ll have a dozen late-summer must-reads for you tomorrow AND I’m going to ask what book you’d add to the list to make it a baker’s (birthday cake) dozen: 13 BOOKS on the 13th! You don’t want to miss this list!
Then, in October, I’ll be back here to indulge in four days of fun for the release of STRANGER. I’ll bring along my hero and heroine and I’ll have some great giveaways. But that’s in October!
For today, I’ll just tempt you with a short excerpt from the new book—my indulgent birthday present to you. And trust me, this is better than how it works in Germany. There, people do bring in food and wine on their own birthdays to share with fellow workers. But the most popular dish to share was mettwurst. That’s raw pork thick-spread on bread and covered liberally with chopped onions and ground pepper. Now doesn’t an excerpt sound particularly GREAT? LOL.
RESCUED BY A STRANGER
She’s a woman full of dreams
When a stranger arrives in town on a vintage motorcycle, Jill Carpenter has no idea her life is about to change forever. She never expected her own personal knight in shining armor would be an incredibly charming and handsome southern man—but one with a deep secret.
He’s a man hoping to outrun a tragedy
When Chase Preston jumped on his motorcycle to escape his wounded life, he didn't expect the perfect woman to fall into his arms... literally! But though he can't deny his feelings for the sweet and beautiful Jill, he doesn't see any way he and his mistake-filled past will fit into her bright future.
Falling in love may require more than either can give
The longer Chase stays in Kennison Falls, the more deeply Jill and the people of her home town pull him in. The more Jill discovers heroic qualities in Chase, the more she wants to find a home in his arms—if only he would trust her with the truth. But will truth tear them apart when Jill’s dreams start coming true and Chase’s past finally returns to haunt him? Or, can they get beyond dreams to find the love that will rescue their two hearts?
(Set up—Jill Carpenter has just swerved into a ditch to avoid hitting a stray dog in the middle of the road. The stranger has stopped because he saw it happen.)
The right side of his upper lip, as perfectly sculpted as the rest of his features, lifted in an Elvis-y half grin—a cute-on-handsome action that made Jill’s mouth go parched again.
“Sounds like we’d best get you out before Lizzie Borden the truck here changes her mind about killing you.” His warm humor-filled voice calmed with its hypnotic Southern cadence.
“I’d be very, very good with that,” she replied.
“Let’s try the door.” He reached for the handle.
“No! Wait. Don’t! Whenever I move the whole thing rocks. I—”
“Okay, it’s okay.” He held up his hands. “I’ll look first and see how solid she’s sitting.”
He stepped away and walked slowly around the front of the Suburban. Jill took the time to regroup. She wasn’t a wimp, dang it. This was stupid. The man already believed she was half-baked. She needed to stop whining and simply crawl out. And she had to get the stupid truck out of this stupid ditch or she’d miss the most important riding lesson of her life. Maybe if she could see how to straighten her wheels she could just drive—
“She isn’t hanging on by a lot, you’re right.” He returned to the window. “But you should be able to ease out this way. I’ll open the door very carefully. Trust me.”
Trust him? For all she knew he had a handgun in his pocket, a twelve-page rap sheet, and a mug shot at the Post Office. “Fine.” She grimaced. “Just don’t mug me until I’m fully out. One crisis at a time.”
His slightly nasal laugh flowed between them, as musical as his voice. “Gotta love a woman who’s funny in the face of adversity.”
Funny? This merely kept her from weeping. In addition to causing expense for which there was no money, this accident was messing up two appointments she couldn’t afford to miss.
“I’m not being funny.” She wriggled out from behind the steering wheel. “On the other hand, if you murder me right here I’ll have a great excuse for being late.” She edged to the passenger side and glanced at her watch. “Make that very late.”
“Lizzie here didn’t murder you, and I’m not going to either.”
He tugged on the door and it hit the slope, barely opening ten inches. Jill was small, but not that small.
“Great. Just awesome.” She eyed the stranger dubiously.
“I’m afraid it’s out the window for you.” He shrugged.
“Well this gets better and better.” She simply wanted out, and she reached for the oversized tote she used as purse, clothing bag, and carry-all. “Would you toss this on the ground? I hope that stupid dog appreciates its life.”
“It’s on its knees thanking—”
“All the angels?” she teased.
“Yes, ma’am.” The return of his Elvis-grin sent a flutter through her belly. He hefted her striped, leather-handled bag and grunted. “Lord love a monkey, what have you got in here? Car parts?”
“Riding boots.” She reached for the top of the window opening and suddenly heard what he’d said. “What?!”
“Sorry, my granddaddy’s saying. Gotta admit,” he grunted again, “didn’t expect you to say boots.”
“Only because you don’t know me,” she muttered.
“Let’s go then. We can do getting-to-know-you once you’re free.”
The easiest way out was head first, since it caused the least amount of wiggling. But halfway out, with her torso flopped over the doorframe and her knees hovering above the passenger seat, The Creature slowly swung its nose downward. She shrieked.
“Got you!” Strong hands caught her beneath the armpits.
The Creature spun left and spit her from the window.
The momentum squirted her out and propelled the stranger backward. One second Jill’s shoe toes skimmed the window frame, the next she sprawled atop a very long, very hard male body. He grabbed her, and held the back of her head expertly, as if people fell on him all the time and he knew precisely what to do.
“Sorry. Sorry. I’m okay. Are you okay?” Her words were muffled in his shoulder.
She should move.
He should move.
Instead, his chest rose and fell beneath her, and his breath warmed the top of her head. His fingers formed a firm brace at the base of her neck, and he lay like a stone beneath her. When she finally made the tiniest effort to roll away, his free hand planted itself on her hip.
“No,” he commanded in a hoarse whisper.
“Relax. Make sure you’re all in one piece.”
She certainly didn’t know this guy well enough to relax in a reverse missionary position with him . . . but the pleasant musk of masculine perspiration prickled her nose and mingled with the redolent scent of his leather jacket. Her eyelids floated closed in spite of herself, and she went all-but-limp with relief. When he relaxed, too, however, she couldn’t ignore his long, lean form beneath her or the intense pressure gathering low in her body.
She tried to concentrate on the fact that nothing bad was happening while he held her—no accidents, no animals dying, no worry she was late for . . .
“Oh my gosh!” She jerked hard against his hold.
Immediately he released her, gave her shoulder a squeeze, and a mini explosion of sparks raced for every nerve ending in her body. She pushed onto her hands and stared into eyes as calm as a waveless lake.
“Hi,” he said, his mouth only inches from hers. “I’m Chase Preston. Nice to meet you.”
That’s it—the first publicly-offered excerpt from “Rescued by a Stranger.” Thanks for indulging me seven weeks before the book is even released. Can you tell I’m kinda champing at the bit to let the story out?
And that leads us to tomorrow when I’ll have little blurbs from so many wonderful new books for you. PLUS: Watch for a giveaway!!
While we wait, I have a question for you: What’s your favorite birthday indulgence? Do you love to get presents? Give presents? Pamper yourself or be pampered? Do you like your birthday to be quiet or a big ol’ party day? Please let me know—share what makes you happiest on YOUR birthday!
Thanks for coming to my online party. Hope to see you tomorrow.