I'd post the pic of the cover, but it's over there ---->; in my sidebar. Somewhere.
It's got Zach on the cover. He's my hero. I wish I could yank him out of the pages of the book and keep him, even if I had to fight my critique partners for the privilege. (It would be a knock-down, drag-out catfight, I'll tell ya. I had to fight for him even in rough draft form.) But here are the first few pages.(WARNING: This exerpt contains adult language, adult themes and one incredibly hunky cowboy.)
When Zach O’Connor walked past a group of women, the world ended. And here at a hotel crowded with romance writers, women who lived to create the ultimate romantic hero, the world ended in chaos.
Alexis DeMille stood beside a potted palm and watched her oldest and best male friend create pandemonium as he walked toward her with a smile on his perfect face and tight, faded blue jeans clinging to his perfect butt.
His battered black Stetson fit just so on his head, highlighting the vivid blue of his eyes. His boot heels clicked and his spurs cha-chinged, growing louder as excited convention-goers’ conversations sputtered into stunned silence.
Suitcases tipped as their owners gave up balancing them to watch him pass. Folders of carefully organized papers slipped from limp fingers to sprawl open, contents skidding across the floor. Handbags slid off weakened shoulders with thuds; tubes of lipstick, compacts, and pens clattered onto the floor. Coins clinked and rolled under lobby tables and chairs.
By the time Zach reached Alex, the floor was littered with personal items and, women were drooling like diabetics in a chocolate factory.
Ignoring the devastation, he dropped his dufflebag at her feet, tossed his saddle — his saddle, for Chris sakes! — on one of the hotel chairs and pulled her into his arms. “Alex! ‘Yo, sweetstuff, how’s it hanging?”
“Not at all, thanks. I’m hang-free.” Alex tried hard to ignore the scent of him — leather, horse, and warmth — and the feel of his manly days’ end scruff. Tucked in his embrace, heat flushed down one side of her body and up the other, landing somewhere around her female bits where it sat, simmering in its usual useless anticipation. She tried to ignore the stares of her colleagues, as well. Unsuccessful on both counts. She slipped out of his grasp. “Trust you, Zach O’Connor, to bring the United Romance Writer Organization’s well-oiled machinery to a grinding halt.”
He winced under his hat. She noticed that several years of cowboy-ing, sun, and age had put tiny wrinkles in the corners of those engaging blue peepers.
Not that you could really see them through the camouflage of his thick, black eyelashes.
It really wasn’t fair for all that gorgeous-ness to go to one person. God had been working overtime the day He made Zach.
“Should I turn and look? Is it that bad?”
Alex peered around his shoulder. Recovered convention-goers were now whispering as they stared. “It’s worse. Turn and wave or something, so they can stop oogling your butt.”
Obediently, Zach did, he turned and—Oh, God, no, not that—touching his hand to the brim of his cowboy hat. He nodded. “Afternoon, ladies,” he drawled, silky-smooth and sexy enough to cause a girl to come on her feet. His spurs cha-chingied as he turned to look down at Alex. “How’s that?”
“Useless.” She shook her head. “They’re going to have to call maintenance to mop up the drool.”
“Stop being dramatic. Where’s our room?” He bent and grabbed the horn of his saddle, hefting it over one of his broad shoulders as if it weighed nothing.
She felt the sighs of three- hundred romance writers brush against her skin like a summer breeze.Dear God. Make him stop! “I’m dramatic? You’re the one wearing spurs.”
He lifted his foot and turned his ankle to look. “Oh. Yeah. I forgot.”
He forgot. Of course he did. And elephants could fly. “You sound like a gunfighter in a bad Western when you walk. I hope you’re not using them on Stars.” Alex hefted up his duffle bag, staggering under its weight. “Holy mackerel. You didn’t stuff Stars in here, did you? You do realize they don’t allow horses in the rooms?”
Zach snorted. “Haha. Let’s go. I want a shower.”
She started for the room, questioning the wisdom of asking Zach to create a workshop for cowboy-romance writers. Though—at the time—it had seemed like a great idea. She’d just finished reading yet another book where the author made a horse sound like a motorcycle, and it had driven her crazy.
Research, people. It’s all in the research.
So she’d emailed Zach, and the rest was history. One member of the Conference Committee owned a farm and volunteered her barn and riding ring for the workshop, and the space for Zach’s horse. Zach—who she hadn’t seen since Christmas—was available and willing to help out. And the attendees were willing to dish out any fees for this special, off-site workshop.
The only glitch in the plan was the dirth of rooms at the hotel. She and Mr. Incredibly Gorgeous but Terribly Annoying had to share an executive suite at a reduced rate.
Darn. A bigger room, a lesser rate, and time spent with an old friend. It was hardly a glitch at all; more like a bonus.
At least that had been her attitude until an hour ago, when her editor had sprung a new project on her. Something dangerously new. Embarrassingly new, even. And asked her for a quick plot summary by the end of the weekend, complete with character information for the marketing department. If only she wasn’t such a stickler for research…if only she couldn’t help but imagine Zach was her hero, too.
Oooh. What do you think? Isn't he just...sigh. Keep checking back: I'll be announcing a contest to win free e-copies of In the Cards.
Second of all, I received a request to give a presentation on Writing Romantic Comedy, May 1st, to the Rhode Island Romance Writers. I'm so excited. One thing I always held in mind as my prize for being published was the chance to do workshops and presentations for other writers. So this is a dream come true!
Of course, I have NO idea what I'll say: I don't know how I write funny, I just do. But I've got time, and a few thoughts of how to approach the presentation. I wonder if I should wear a silly hat?