Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Weddings & Rock N Roll

One of the best things about being a RWA Golden Heart Finalist...watching the careers of those who finaled with you. Here's a big welcome back to one of my Unsinkable sisters, Cara Connelly. Be sure to check out all of her SAVE THE DATE series and giveaway.

READY TO ROCK

His name is on everyone’s lips–sexy rocker Jack McCabe. His gritty New York City band is red hot, almost as hot as his fiery affair with photography student Lil Marchone, the girl from his past, now the woman he loves.
The problem is, Lil’s controlling ex wants her back. Rich, powerful, and ruthless, he’ll stop at nothing–including murder–to get Jack out of her life.
But Jack’s a badass himself, always up for a fight. And with the stakes this high, he’ll risk everything for Lil, even his band. Even his life. 
May 2005
Outside of Austin, Texas

            “Holy shit!”
            Those were the last words my father ever uttered, and coming from him, they were shocking enough to tear my attention away from People magazine. I looked up, past his headrest, through the windshield, and the latest gossip about Brad and Angelina flew right out of my head. A massive SUV was coming at us in our lane, its giant chrome grill looming larger by the second as it barreled toward us at seventy miles an hour.
            “Hang on!” Mama cried, bracing a hand on the dash. At the last moment, Daddy jerked the wheel to the right and we jounced off the pavement and onto the stony shoulder. The SUV whizzed past, missing us by inches.
            We’d been spared. Thank you, God. I collapsed back against the seat, heart thundering from the gallons of adrenaline pumping hot and cold through my veins. In the front seat, Mama sobbed with relief. Daddy said nothing, just turned the wheel of our Passat to steer us back onto the pavement.
            If that had been the end of it right there, the whole episode would have been just a story to tell my friends, one that wouldn’t have sounded half as terrifying as it was. But it didn’t end there, because as we left the shoulder our rear wheel caught the edge of the pavement, and through some principle of physics or act of God the whole car spun ninety degrees to the right and shot down the six-foot embankment.
            When we hit the bottom the car kept going, skidding forward as if Daddy wasn’t standing on the brake. We slammed into a cottonwood head-on. The front air bags detonated, momentarily smothering Mama and Daddy, then deflating with a hiss. Daddy slumped forward over the wheel.
            Dazed but conscious, Mama brushed her hair from her eyes. After a quick glance at Daddy, she swiveled her head to look at me. “Lilianne? Are you okay?”
            The seatbelt had practically strangled me, but I said, “Yeah, I’m fine. But what’s wrong with Daddy?” Blood trickled from his ear, staining his white shirt.
            She felt his wrist for a pulse. “He’s alive.” She laced her fingers through his, held on tight. “Honey, you have to get help.” Her tone was calm but urgent.
            “Me? How?” I was frozen in place. I needed her to tell me what to do.
            “Just open the door,” she said quietly, “and climb up to the road. Wave at the first car you see and tell them to call an ambulance.”
            It sounded simple, but I was trapped in one of those dreams where you desperately want to run but your legs won’t move.
            Then flames licked out from under the hood. Mama quit feigning calm. “Get out of the car!”
            Galvanized, I yanked on the door handle. But the frame had bent. The door wouldn’t budge. “Mama, help me!”
            “I can’t!” she shouted. And that’s when I noticed the dashboard sitting in her lap. Her legs were crushed, she was pinned to her seat. It was up to me to help her.
            Unlocking my seatbelt, I leaned across to the other door. The car was tilted that way, so the door swung open when I touched the handle. But before I could bring my legs around, fire belched up from underneath. I leapt back, singed. Flames curled into the car. Mama was yelling. “Get out the back! Go! Go!” I yanked down the seat. The trunk was jammed with suitcases. I clawed at them. But Daddy had loaded the largest first, wedging it tight against the seat, braced by the smaller bags.
            “I can’t,” I wailed. “I can’t move them!” And it was too late anyway. The flames were all around the car, the air inside so hot it seared my lungs. Reaching forward, I wrapped my arms around Mama’s neck; she clawed at my shoulders, trying to pull me between the seats, into her lap, to shield me with her body.
            And then my door flew open, and a man thrust his shoulders right into that furnace. Mama saw him, and with all the strength she’d been using to pull me forward, she pushed me back toward him. “Take her! Take my daughter!” His arms locked around my waist and he hauled me backwards. Insanely, I clung to Mama, trying to bring her with me. She batted at my grasping hands. “Go with him!” And though I struggled at first, I had no choice. He was big and strong. He threw me over his shoulder and ran.
            At the roadside, he set me down in the grass. The car was a fireball, the cottonwood jutting above it, burning like a torch against the dusky sky. “Mama!” I screamed, trying to get up.
            The man pushed me down. Holding my face between his hands, he forced me to look into his eyes. “I’ll get them out, but you have to wait here. Promise me.” He seemed so steady and sure. I didn’t know what else to do, so I nodded. And without another word, he stood up and ran straight toward the car.
            He was almost there when it blew apart. I watched him fly through the air and land on his back. Please, God, let him get up. But I knew he wouldn’t. He’d never get up again. All around him, grass fires sprang up, flickering and flaring as the breeze picked at them. It was blowing away from me, so I was safe, but in moments his body would catch fire.
            I couldn’t let him burn too, not after all he’d done. I got myself up and went to him. He was heavy, close to two hundred pounds, but I figured out that I could drag him by his ankles, so I did. No chance of getting him up the embankment, though. When we were clear of the fires, I sat down beside his body.
            By then the prairie was in flames, a wall of fire marching northward, smoke billowing ahead of it. Yet where I sat, it was strangely peaceful. Minutes passed. Time slowed to a crawl. I thought of nothing sensible, just random images: the gray mare we’d passed five miles up the road, nursing her gangly foal; my history classroom, fourteen desks and a map of the Middle East on the wall; Eleanor, my speckled hound, snoring peacefully on my pillow. Each thought floated in, then out, of my sluggish mind. After a while, I lay down in the dry grass and slept.
* * *
            “Hey, wake up.” A hand rocked my shoulder. “Wake up.”
            I opened my eyes. The man was squatting beside me. “You’re alive,” I said with wonder.
            “Yup. You hurt?”
            “I don’t think so.” I sat up and looked around, disoriented. Then I spotted the charred skeleton of the cottonwood silhouetted against the receding flames. The world crashed in. “My parents . . .” My throat closed. I started to cry.
            He sat down cross-legged and pulled me onto his lap. “I got you,” he murmured into my hair. His voice was so kind. I burrowed into his chest like a small child, knees drawn up so he could wrap my whole body in his arms. We rocked like that for a long time, his soft words soothing me. “It’s all right, I’m here.” By the time the first sirens screamed in the distance, his voice was the only thing I cared about, and his arms seemed like the only safe place in the world.
            Of course, none of that mattered to the cops. When they got there, it was dark. From the roadside they couldn’t see the twisted remnants of the car. They knew nothing about the accident. All they knew was that thirty acres were burning, and since they assumed we must be responsible, they weren’t going to listen to anything we had to say until they separated us.
            The problem was, I refused to be separated from the only person who seemed to care about me. I clung to him, and when he realized they were acting like I was a criminal instead of a victim, he held on to me too, refusing to let them drag me away. That pissed off the cops. They got a little rough. And in the confusion and swearing and struggling that ensued, things escalated.
            In the end, it took all four of them to tear us apart. That pissed them off even more, so while the lone woman officer twisted my wrist up behind my back, the three men threw him against a patrol car and held him there with a nightstick across his throat and a Taser in his ribs.
            At that point he finally stopped fighting and stood still, glaring at them, and I got my first good look at him. He was taller than any of them, with straight black hair that fell past his shoulders. His face was streaked with soot, his ripped jeans filthy and scorched from the fire.
            He was younger than I’d thought, just a few years older than me. But I had to admit that in his leather jacket and black boots, he looked like a badass. After the fight he’d put up, it was no wonder the cops weren’t taking chances.
            A guy in a brown suit walked up to face him. “I’m Detective Scott,” he drawled. Then he looked closer. “Hell, I know you. You’re Jack McCabe.”
            “Yeah, that’s right.” Jack’s tone said he knew Scott too, and detested him. “Now will you for Chrissakes get her to the hospital? Can’t you see she’s bleeding?”
            Scott’s eyes narrowed. “Shut your mouth until I tell you to talk.”
            Jack’s lip curled in disgust. “You’re a fucking idiot.”
            “That’s it, we’re done.” Scott turned to a patrolman. “Put him in the car. And cuff him. He’s a goddamn menace.”
            Scott walked over to me, looked me up and down. “Christ, you’re just a kid. How’d you get hooked up with a guy like him?”
            “I’m fifteen,” I shot back, “and he saved my life.”
            He snorted. “Yeah, he’s a goddamn superhero.” He shook his head in disgust. “Do your parents know where you are? And who the hell you’re with? I swear to God, I hope I’m there when they bail you out. I’ll tell them a few things about Jack McCabe that’ll make them lock you in your room till you’re thirty.”
            I looked past him to Jack, face down on the hood of the car while they cuffed him, and I knew the world couldn’t get any more off kilter. Jack, a stranger who risked his life helping me, was being treated like a criminal by Detective Scott, the public servant who should have been helping us both.
            Once I was able to tell my story, Jack would be off the hook. In fact, he’d be a hero. But at the moment, no one was willing to listen, least of all Detective Scott. And he’d insulted my parents too. There was only one thing I could think of to say to him.
            I looked him straight in the eye. “Jack was right. You’re a fucking idiot.”
            Unsurprised, he smirked. “Take her to the medics.” And he turned away from me.

            From the back of the ambulance, I watched the patrol car drive off into the night, lights flashing. As it disappeared, a wall of loneliness crashed down on me, as black as the night, as heavy as my grief.

Read a Little, Buy the Book



CARA CONNELLY writes love stories with sizzle and sass. Her books have won several awards, including Romance Writers of America’s prestigious Golden Heart, Valley Forge Romance Writers’ Sheila, and Music City Romance Writers’ Melody of Love. Her bestselling, award-winning Save the Date series features sexy heroes, smart-mouthed heroines, funny situations, exotic locations and steamy romance, not necessarily in that order.
Cara used to work as an attorney and law professor, but now she devotes all her time to romance. She lives in upstate New York with her husband Billy, their magical rescue dog Bella, and their overly affectionate cat Millie.

THE Q&A WITH CARA
ANGI: How often to you get lost in a story?
CARA: Every single day.

ANGI: Hugh Jackman or Gerard Butler?
CARA:Both!

ANGI: What's your most favorite thing to do in your state?
CARA:Apple picking…New York State apples are the best, especially the Honeycrisps.

ANGI: What do you like about the hero of your book?
CARA: Jack is both artistic and very, very physical. ;)

ANGI: Sand or Snow?
CARA:Sand. Give me a sandy beach on an ocean shore, a good book, and a split of Prosecco in a bucket of ice and I'm a very happy girl.

ANGI: Superman or Batman?
CARA:Superman

ANGI: Last interview you said your favorite rerun on television was Star Trek. Are you a fan of the reboot movies? Ready for the third one this summer?
CARA: I'm a huge fan of the new movies. The casting is amazing, and the reboot was a brilliant idea. I can't wait to be back on the Enterprise this summer!

ANGI: Are you a Star Wars fan? Favorite thing about the reboot?
CARA: I loved the first three movies (Episodes 4, 5, and 6), and my favorite thing about the new movie is the same as my favorite thing about the old ones: Han Solo

ANGI’S GOTTA ASK: What’s one thing from your bucket list?
CARA’S GOTTA ANSWER: Visiting the National Parks in the Western US…which I'm hoping to do next summer.

FIND CARA
Contact   Website    Facebook    Amazon   Twitter   @Cara_Connelly
Goodreads     Newsletter Signup    Previous GLIAS interviews

PREVIOUS RELEASES by CARA

The WEDDING GIFT
Save the Date, novella
Read a little, Buy the book
The WEDDING DATE
Save the Date, novella
Read a little, Buy the book
 


The WEDDING FAVOR
Save the Date, novel
Read a little, Buy the book


The WEDDING VOW
Save the Date, novella
Read a little, Buy the book


CARA is giving away a signed copy of The Wedding Favor -- the first novel in the Save the Date series --North America Readers only

Note: COMMENTERS are encouraged to leave a contact email address to speed the prize notification process. Offer void where prohibited. Prizes will be mailed to North America addresses only unless specifically mentioned in the post. Odds of winning vary due to the number of entrants. Winners of drawings are responsible for checking this site in a timely manner. If prizes are not claimed in a timely manner, the author may not have a prize available. Get Lost In A Story cannot be responsible for an author's failure to mail the listed prize. GLIAS does not automatically pass email addresses to guest authors unless the commenter publicly posts their email address.
ANGI'S back next Friday with a huge
MULTI-AUTHOR Participation & Giveaway
WHAT’S YOUR FAVORITE CANDY

UP NEXT ON GLIAS:  Beth Cornelison
Get Lost on Goodreads, Facebook
or @GetLostInAStory  #GetLostStories

CARA WANTS TO KNOW: What's one thing on your bucket list, and when do you hope to make it happen?

3 comments:

  1. So glad to have you back at GLIAS, Cara. Best of luck with the latest release.

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  2. Really enjoyed reading this book! <3

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  3. Congratulations Cara! Can't wait to pick this one up! (And I am right there with you on the Prosecco on the beach!)

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