Tag Archives: Dialogue

#Writinglife

Yesterday I worked on a few lines of dialogue for over two hours.

Really.

Did you think all this witty repartee just jumps into my head at will?

No. It doesn’t. Not even close.

Everyone knows writing is a solitary, ofttimes monotonous life and this is why. Creativity, while at times coming in bursts and flames of speed, usually…doesn’t. It’s hours, days, months, sitting at a laptop, playing with phrases, rearranging words, charging emotions with verbs and descriptors, bleeding, spewing, dying and then being reborn until finally FINALLY the perfect sentence or snippet of dialogue that reveals sososososo  much more than is said, is created.

Yeah…it’s just like that.

Every day.

Every. Friggin’. Day.

Can I get an “AMEN” from all my writer friends out in the blogosphere because you know this is true?!

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Filed under Author, Contemporary Romance, Dialogue, Life challenges, research, Romance, Romance Books, Strong Women

A funny little thing about dialogue…

So my new editor ( and don’t I still love saying that!!) sent me an email asking me to change a few things in my next book. No worries. Her suggestions make a ton of sense and I know I can pull them all off successfully. One of the things she asked me to do was turn up the sensuality level a little. Usually, this wouldn’t be an issue for me. I can write sensual. I like writing sensual. It pleases me to write sensual.

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Here’s my problem. Without giving away the plot, the hero is someone totally forbidden to the heroine, or so she thinks. These two would never have sex. EVER, EVAH!!! Not until the revelation scene would she even consider it. So. How can I turn up the heat level without, you know, them doing sensual and sexual…. things?

Well, the best way I’ve found is to  amp up the dialogue between them. Flirty, innuendo-filled speech will certainly spice up a scene or two, no? Especially when my girl is so conflicted about the whole thing. She is trying to fight her mounting feelings for the guy because she really truly believes he is forbidden fruit in every sense of the term. You will see why when you read the book!! No spoilers here AT ALL!! Words have a great deal of power and our spoken words to one another can do wonders for a scene.

Hidden meanings, hidden agendas, using terms in a different way in which they are supposed to be used can all increase the tension and the sensuality in a scene.

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So, today I wrote 27 pages of mostly dialogue. I won’t use it all, heavens knows. But most of it is pretty good and serves the purpose it was intended for. At least I think so. Hope my editor does, as well.

Until this new one is released into the book reading world, here’s my newest for your enjoyment!

THE VOICES OF ANGELS

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The last thing Carly Lennox is looking for as she sets out on her new book tour is love. The independent, widowed author is content with a life spent writing and in raising her daughter. When newscaster Mike Woodard suggests they work on a television magazine show based on her book, Carly’s thrilled, but guarded. His obvious desire to turn their relationship into something other than just a working one is more than she bargained for.

Mike Woodard is an ambitious man-and not only in his chosen profession. He wants Carly, maybe more than he’s ever wanted anything or anyone else, and as he tells her, he’s a patient guy. But the more they’re together, Mike realizes it isn’t simply desire beating within him. No. Carly is the missing piece in his life. Getting her to accept it-and him- may just be the toughest assignment he’s ever taken on.

Available here:

Amazon /// TWRP /// Kobo /// Nook

Find me:

Tweet Me// Read Me// Visit Me// Picture Me //Pin Me//Friend Me//Google+Me//

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Filed under Author, Characters, Contemporary Romance, Dialogue, Literary characters, love, MacQuire Women, Romance, Romance Books, Strong Women, The Voices of Angels, The Wild Rose Press, WIld Rose Press AUthor

What I meant to say…..

In my never-ending desire to improve the way I write, I’m reading a fabulous  little gem titled How to Write Dazzling Dialogue by James Scott Bell.

Now, I’m known for good dialogue. I make it a daily habit to listen to the conversations going on around me, and yes, that means I’m nosey! But it’s not just for nosiness’ sake.

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Every conversation I eavesdrop on teaches me something new about syntax, style, word choice, personality, and character. I use all of that info into creating the best character dialogue I can.

Recently, I spent over two hours on three lines of dialogue between two characters. I wrote it every which way I could think of, making it more complex with each word I eliminated, and finally deciding it was perfect as stood.

The next day I changed it all around and you know what – it was even better!

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Scott Bell’s book is filled with motes of dialogue genius like this: “Every word, every phrase that comes out of a character’s mouth is uttered because the character hopes it will further a purpose. The character has, in short,  an agenda.”

WOW!

I truly have never looked at it that way. I mean, I knew it was true, and hoped I could pull it off on the page, but seeing it so succinctly and eloquently put has turned this little gem into literary gold for me!

Knowing what dialogue is supposed to convey in the scene you are writing is another important facet to think about. None of us wants to be accused of writing tired coffee-talk dialogue. You know: the kind where you write,” Hey, what’s new?”  “Nothing. You?” “Same old same old.” “Yeah.”

Can you spell BORING??!! Dialogue should amp up the scene, convey what you want the characters to convey, and make the reader want to read further.

So to my writing friends out there – and you know who you are – how are you at dialogue? Good? Lousy? Always looking to improve? What are the ways you can guarantee your dialogue does what it’s supposed to? let’s discuss…..

And since we’re talking… here’s my newest:

THE VOICES OF ANGELS

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The last thing Carly Lennox is looking for as she sets out on her new book tour is love. The independent, widowed author is content with a life spent writing and in raising her daughter. When newscaster Mike Woodard suggests they work on a television magazine show based on her book, Carly’s thrilled, but guarded. His obvious desire to turn their relationship into something other than just a working one is more than she bargained for.

Mike Woodard is an ambitious man-and not only in his chosen profession. He wants Carly, maybe more than he’s ever wanted anything or anyone else, and as he tells her, he’s a patient guy. But the more they’re together, Mike realizes it isn’t simply desire beating within him. No. Carly is the missing piece in his life. Getting her to accept it-and him- may just be the toughest assignment he’s ever taken on.

Amazon /// TWRP /// Kobo /// Nook

Find me:

Tweet Me// Read Me// Visit Me// Picture Me //Pin Me//Friend Me//Google+Me//

 

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Filed under Author, Characters, Contemporary Romance, Dialogue, Family Saga, Life challenges, love, MacQuire Women, Romance, Romance Books, Strong Women, The Voices of Angels, The Wild Rose Press, WIld Rose Press AUthor

Speak and they will listen..

Since I’ve been on the topic of mannerisms of late, how about we discuss how your characters speak and the idiosyncratic styles they each have? This is a fun topic for me any time of day or night.
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I’ve said before that I was born in Brooklyn, NY and lived in NYC for the first 27 years of my life. When I open my mouth and start to speak, you automatically can hear where I’m from. I have a tendency to drop the letter R at the ends of words ( which is why I refer to girls as sistahs), my “Th” sounds come out sounding like the letter “d”, so you’ll hear me say Dat for That. I speak as quickly as a lightning flash and use my hands expressively a great deal. All these verbal tags and mannerisms tell you I’m probably a New York kind of girl.

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Last year I was in San Antoni for the RWA conference. Most of the people who originate from that region and the ones I came in contact with at the hotel and in the city said “y’all” and “rightly so” a bunch of times in their adorable Texas twang.

Two weeks ago I was Las Vegas. Many of the employees in the hotel I was staying in were from the Philippines and addressed every person every time they came in contact with them as Ma’am or Sir. In their country this a severe sign of respect for the individual they are addressing.

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So, having shared this, some of the ways you can make your characters jump off the page to the reader and make them come alive, is to know how they speak.  Can you hear each character in your books speaking in their own style, or does every character sound the same to you? I read my dialogue out loud all the time just so I can be sure one person doesn’t sound exactly like another. Do your characters all use the same words and phrases when they speak? Again, this can get boring and confusing for the reader. For instance, doctors are highly educated people and use a certain vocabulary the average person doesn’t. You wouldn’t want your immigrant, unable-to-read-and-write character who is a patient be able to understand what a doctor is telling him. That just doesn’t ring true. Nor would a scientist and a four year be able to communicate on the same level. Unless of course the kid was a prodigy.talkingmeme

One of my favorite characters that I am currently writing is a ninety-two-year-old Irish immigrant grandmother who continually speaks in malapropisms. It gets her into some funny and outrageous situations, but it rings true when she speaks the words incorrectly, because she thinks they are correct.talkingmeme6

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So, if your character is smart, does she speak like she’s educated?  Did your hero come from the South, because if he did, he’d be polite in his conversations with people, saying “please”, Ma-am, and so forth. Got a Canadian in-law? Make sure you round those vowels.

All these special little touches will make your characters more attractive, honest, appealing, and most importantly to your readers, Real.

So…you know what’s coming. How do you make your characters sound all like individuals and not robots….Let’s discuss.

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Filed under Author, Contemporary Romance, Dialogue, Literary characters, research, Romance Books, WIld Rose Press AUthor

A visit with Angela Hayes…

Hi all.  Greetings on this lovely June day.

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Allow me to introduce myself. I’m Angela Hayes and I’m an author with The Wild Rose Press. My debut novel, Love’s Battle, a fantasy romance is available on Amazon at http://bit.ly/LovesBattle, Barnes and Noble at http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/loves-battle-angela-hayes/1119985601?ean=2940149742493 , and on The Wild Rose Press website at http://www.wildrosepublishing.com/maincatalog_v151/index.php?main_page=indexHYPERLINK “http://www.wildrosepublishing.com/maincatalog_v151/index.php?main_page=index&manufacturers_id=1103″&HYPERLINK “http://www.wildrosepublishing.com/maincatalog_v151/index.php?main_page=index&manufacturers_id=1103″manufacturers_id=1103 .

I’d like to invite you all over to my blog www.authorangelahayes.blogspot.com where Peggy has graciously agreed to be a guest.

We’re talking all about her new book, There’s No Place Like Home. You don’t want to miss out.

If you like what you see, be sure to follow me either by email or by Google to get the latest blog postings.

You can also follow me on Twitter at https://twitter.com/imahayes and Pinterest at www.pinterest.com/imahayes.

It was wonderful meeting you,
Happy Reading,

Angela Hayes

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Filed under Characters, Dialogue, New Hampshire

A new experience…

I’ve said many times on this blog how taking a risk or having a new experience is a worthwhile endeavor and yesterday I talked the talk, walked the walk. I participated in my very first Facebook release party. It was last minute thing. I was asked because one of the authors couldn’t make it so, my NHRWA sistah Susan A. Wall asked me to fill in and I was happy to.

Those 30 minutes went by faster than a speeding bullet (a head nod to Superman here!)

Apparently, a very large group of readers, fans, and fb followers attend these sort of things. Who knew? 

I had to ask a few questions, answer a few, and give something away, because we all know folks like freebies and giveaways. ( Shameless self promotion coming) I’m actually doing a giveaway right now of THERE’S NO PLACE LIKE HOME on Goodreads. Here’s the link:

https://www.goodreads.com/giveaway/show/138470-there-s-no-place-like-home

So, anyway. It felt good to connect with some new people and to experience this new fangled way of promoting my work. This just solidifies in my mind that Social Media has changed the world. And the future. I simply can’t imagine ever going back to the old fashioned ways of promoting things like sending out postoffice mailers, flyers, postcards. Having book premier cocktail parties ( expensive!!) seem to be a thing of the past as well.

One thing that will never go out of style is meeting the fans, the readers, the people you write for. Giving a talk at a local library, visiting a book group, volunteering to be a guest lecturer at a school, even doing a physical book signing at an actual book store are all things I want to keep doing to promote my work, and will.

That’s a promise from me to the people who read  and support what I like.

But this virtual stuff is pretty cool, no?

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Filed under Characters, Dialogue, New Hampshire

Why I write about families…

If you could come up with one sentence about what I write that defines my “brand” it would be Writing about families and everlasting love. The love part is easy to understand: I write romantic fiction. The family part needs a little explaining.

I was, and still am, an only child. Both my parents remarried after they divorced each other, but neither had more children. I’m it. Some people might think this is like winning the presents and attention lotto. I’m the only one who gets birthday, Christmas, Easter and every other gift-giving holiday, presents. I’m also the one who gets all the individual attention from the parental units. I don’t need to share my parents with anyone else.

In a perfect world this would be great. But we don’t live in a perfect world.

My biological parents despised one another and their anger and disgust filtered down to me. I don’t have any memories in childhood where one of them actually said something nice about the other. It was always a negative comment. In fact, I was told I was so much like the other parent (from both of them ) that this increased the animosity they had for one another and the anxiety I had being around them. When I would dream at night I frequently dreamed of either being an orphan or being in a humongous clannish family.

All 4 of my parents (step and biologic) are still alive, so no orphan state. But I did – luckily – marry into a huge family that I feel is clannish, but in the best sense of the word.

So, when I started writing romance I knew what I wanted to write about were families. The good, the bad, the ugly and the beautiful – of which there are equal parts in every family structure.

Since I am an only child, I know firsthand how to write about that. And I have. Many of my stories are about an only child struggling to find the perfect life. Throwing an only into a large family pond is a great way to increase conflict, bring about change both internally and externally, and to encourage growth to happen on every character’s part.

Large families have their own individual ethics, rules and codes for everything from acceptable behavior, to kitchen duties. Throwing an independent only child as an adult, into this dynamic where everything from work to feelings are shared as a whole, and not singularly, is a sure-fire way to ramp up the conflict and tension between the main characters, especially if the only is stuck in his or her ways.

Large families are fun. They can also be soul sucking, heartbreaking, and destructive. But when they are accepting, open and loving, the plot almost writes itself. No one knows you better than the members of your family, and no one will go into battle for you in a heartbeat other than those closest to you.

Friends and acquaintances move in and out of you life – that’s natural. But family is forever. No matter what the circumstance, the emotional outbursts, the jealousies or the failures, your family is ALWAYS your family.

And in my book, the bigger the family, the better!

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Birth order…in life and in characterization

I’m fascinated by families and birth order. As an only child, I was the solitary kid in rooms always filled with adults. I think one of the reasons I’m such a good and thorough observer is because I was raised in that era where children were seen but never heard. I learned very early in life how to watch people without them noticing, how to gage emotions and reactions during situations, and most importantly, how to describe what I was seeing. From the time I knew I was the only kid in my family’s realm, I dreamed of having siblings. It didn’t matter to me if I was the oldest, youngest, or came somewhere in the middle of the food chain. I wanted other people like me around the house.
Sadly, it didn’t happen.
My life long fascination with birth order and how siblings react and interact with one another is the reason I like writing about big families. It gives me a great deal of pleasure to invent the families I always wanted as my own. I would have liked nothing more while growing up than to have older brothers looking out for me and sisters guiding my way to adolescence. Families come with their own sets of rules on behavior and thinking and actions. Most of it is based on the shared history they have, and much of it is situational. When I start a new book series, the dynamics in the family come first. Is there a father figure present and if so, how does he rule? If no dad is around, how does the mother keep order, pay the bills, provide for her children? What roles do the oldest and youngest play in  his scheme? All these questions are thought out prior to my ever typing a word of the story. I need to know “my families” before I can write about them. I invent the parents I wished I’d had growing up, along with the support system siblings bring with it. Since I was a step-kid to two new “parents” when my parents both remarried, I know what it means to be the outsider in a group. Resentments abound, feelings of insecurity and of not measuring up run rampant, and you never really “feel” as if anyone is truly on your side. Of course, these feelings follow us into adulthood so when I write about siblings who are aging, I know I need to have them make decisions and run courses of actions with those childhood traumas and dramas in mind.
Siblings are such a curious breed of human. They love each other one minute, then engage in a fight to the proverbial death in the next. They depend on one another, forgive one another for transgressions, and then never let the other person forget it! They share secrets, tell secrets, and hold secrets for one another. Who wouldn’t want to write about people such as this???!! The emotional ground is fertile and ripe with conflict, love, support and emotions.
What about you? Come from a big family, or are you an only like me? Where is your birth order and did it play a role in making you the person you are? Or did it hamper your dreams and desires because things were “expected of you?”

Birth order, sibling dynamics, and families are truly fascinating to read – and write – about.

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Is This When the Miracle Happens? by Cheri Allan

My guest  blogger today is author Cheri Allan.

web site cover All or Nothing

I met Cheri Allan at NHRWA a little over a year ago and I was immediately taken with her open, easy, friendly and FUNNY personality. When I was lucky enough to read her first book, Luck of The Draw right before it was officially released, I realized she writes exactly the same way she does everything else in her life: with fun, heart, warmth and joy.  Her newest book,  All or Nothing, book 3 in the Betting on Romance series, is dedicated to her beloved mother, whose birthday is today – Happy B’day!! Today, Cheri’s blog is titled Is This When the Miracle Happens? Read  along and find out….

There are two facts about me you should know: I have successfully crammed a loveseat into the back of a Chevette, and my final grade in high school geometry was 103%.

I share these two little factoids not to brag (okay, maybe a little. I even got the extra credit questions right!), but because it was with this inflated sense of mastery over spatial thinking and physics that I approached a particularly difficult application of ice and water shield several years ago. (Think rubbery sheets of contact cement.) Dearest Hubby and I were weatherproofing our newly framed dormer before the summer T-storms hit again. I was leaning through the narrow rafter cavity with a piece of ice and water shield (sticky side out) attempting to reach in a direction that would require: a.) one of my elbows to bend backwards, b.) my arms to stretch another 6-8 inches, and c.) me to develop x-ray vision that would allow me to see through a 2 x 12 rafter. I had struggled for probably ten minutes or so at this task when DH leaned close to my ear and whispered, “Is this when the miracle happens?”

I dissolved into convulsions of laughter and ended up sticking the ice and water shield to my forearm (which, BTW, I don’t recommend) because it was perfectly clear that as much as I stretched and pushed and struggled, the physics of the situation where not going to change.

In ALL OR NOTHING, self-made tech millionaire Ian McIntyre has just returned from filming a reality dating show. Unfortunately, he did not find a match. This is an ice and water shield moment for the show’s producer who spends the rest of the book trying to bend her elbows backwards getting Ian to fall in love and choose a fiancée so the show’s ratings don’t go down the toilet.

It turns out that the kind of woman Ian asked to be matched with isn’t the woman he needs (big surprise!) And it takes a loveable puppy, some persistent paparazzi and one spunky heroine to get him to see he needs to approach things differently. Cue the triumphant music and happy ending as the hero and heroine run through a sunny field toward one another…

You see, sometimes the miracle happens (don’t ask me how I got that loveseat in that car) and sometimes it doesn’t, but as writers we have a tendency to continue to shove and twist during those difficult times waiting for the fairy dust to sprinkle down from the heavens so our elbows will bend backwards and the scene will work. Chances are good, though, that we won’t suddenly realize we’re double-jointed, and it will take a whisper from outside ourselves to see that we need to take a new tack.

This is where I admit the third fact: If it weren’t for my lovely, talented and painfully honest editor, you would probably throw my book at the wall. In ALL OR NOTHING, I had a plot line that was not working. I knew this, and yet a part of me still hoped that, somehow, I’d pull it off. (Shh! Don’t say anything! I just need to stretch a little more!) Enter my editor who said (and I quote): “WHAT?!” If she’d had a red Sharpie, my manuscript would have been glowing. She hated this plot line and told me the two (Or twelve. Really, I lost count.) reasons why readers would go on to hate me and my heroine if I left it in.

She was right, of course. I was struggling so hard to make it fit, I wasn’t able to step back and see that it would never work. Once I pulled that plotline, all sorts of things fell neatly into place… like a loveseat into a Chevette.

This whole experience has reinforced for me the VITAL importance of having a critique partner, a plotting group, a good content editor or simply an honest friend to point out when persistence has morphed into stubbornness. Anyone that knows me knows I’m an optimist. I believe in happy endings and true love and that, somehow, the sticky pieces of life will magically fall into place. (Ta-da!) The reason I believe so strongly in these things, though, is because I surround myself with those who have the courage to whisper the truth in my ear when it needs to be said so I can reach my goals another way.

Now, I’m excited to share ALL OR NOTHING with the world, because I know it delivers the magic of a happy ending (with only fictional joint pain.) And I hope, if you do throw the book at the wall, you do so out of convulsions of laughter.

It does make me wonder, though… If I had left that ugly, unsympathetic plotline in, would you have thrown your book at the wall? How far does an author/character have to go to make you lose all respect for them to the point they become unredeemable? Depending on your answer, I may have to send my editor an extra large bouquet of flowers to thank her…

Join my mailing list at http://www.cheriallan.com and be entered to win an ‘All or Nothing Gift Basket’ full of goodies and books from New Hampshire. Drawing to be held April 30th! But don’t wait. Download your copy of ALL OR NOTHING today! Just $2.99 for a limited time.

 

 ALL OR NOTHING (A Betting on Romance Novel, Book 3)

web site cover All or NothingWhen finding Mrs. Right goes oh, so, wrong…

Self-made tech millionaire Ian McIntyre has suffered through a reality dating show only to return home to idyllic Sugar Falls, New Hampshire, empty-handed, swarmed by paparazzi, and hounded by a Hollywood producer determined to deliver a Happily Ever After. But then his home is invaded by a sexy, snarky local staging it for the season finale, and Ian finds himself more interested in the cute and scrappy hometown girl dusting off his action figures than the audience’s favorite southern belle.

Auto mechanic Bailey Adams grew up on the wrong side of the tracks and is struggling to patch together enough odd jobs to buy a garage of her own. When the Golden Boy of Sugar Falls entangles her in his disastrous season of Happily Ever After, they both discover that some long-held dreams are only as ‘real’ as ‘reality’ TV. Now, with the deal on her dream garage in jeopardy and her unlikely love affair with America’s favorite geeky hunk playing out on national TV, Bailey must decide if she’s willing to risk it all for love… or be left with nothing.

**Mild sexual content; Mild language; No violence**

 

EXCERPT 

“Then take off your coat and avoid hypothermia.”

Her bottom lip jutted out. “You first.”

He shrugged out of his parka and hung it on a hook by the door, raising one eyebrow as he did so.

She took another long drink then tugged her coat off and hung it next to his. Melting snow dripped onto the floorboards beneath it. Stubborn woman.

“Your lovely flannel shirt is also soaked,” he said.

“Yeah, like I’m falling for that.”

“Don’t flatter yourself. I’ve seen lumberjacks make flannel sexier than you do.”

He didn’t know why he was goading her, but he felt on edge… wet, chilled and restless.

“Like you could resist me if I were standing naked in front of you,” she said.

She paused, as if she weren’t sure how those words came to be floating in the air between them. But there they were, raining down over him like hot sparks. Heat flooded through him, and he could feel his blood pumping. He watched her, the air crackling with awareness. The fire in the stove popped and something tumbled inside. His heart thudded in his chest at the word ‘naked.’

“Try me,” he finally said.

 

AUTHOR BIO : CHERI ALLAN

Cheri Allan writes humorous, hopeful contemporary romances. She lives in a charming fixer-upper in rural New Hampshire with her husband, two children, two dogs, four cats and an excessive amount of optimism. She’s a firm believer in do-it-yourself, new beginnings and happily-ever-afters, so after years of wearing suits, she’s grateful to finally put her English degree to good use writing romance. When not writing, you might find her whizzing down the slopes of a nearby mountain or inadvertently killing perennials in her garden. Betting on romance… because every woman deserves to get lucky.

BUY LINKS:

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Nothing-Betting-Romance-Novel-Book-ebook/dp/B00VO56WMU/

Barnes & Noble/Nook: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/s?store=allproducts&keyword=cheri+allan

Kobo: https://store.kobobooks.com/en-US/ebook/all-or-nothing-62

You can also find Cheri Allan on Goodreads, Facebook, Twitter and (when she can figure it out) Pinterest. All three Betting on Romance books are available at most major on-line retailers and http://www.cheriallan.com.

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A little present and a tease….

May 6, 2015 is the official release date of my second novel THERE’S NO PLACE LIKE HOME. Yippie!

Most of you know the Wizard of OZ is one of my favorite books of all time because it is so rich with psychological subtext and family drama, two of my favorite things to read. The title for my book comes from Dorothy’s famous line, spoken at the end of the movie, and I have always felt this statement is true. There really is no other place like your home. Home means warmth, shelter, comfort, safety, acceptance, love and nurturing. My heroine in THERE’S NO PLACE LIKE HOME, Moira Cleary, is at a crossroads in her life and has come home to rest, recover, and reconnect with her beloved family. She has been globetrotting around the world for over 4 years with a traveling symphony, when something happens to question the lifestyle she has made for herself. Coming home provides her with safety and surrounds her with love. Love of her immediate family, and of her best friend, veterinarian Quentin Stapleton.

Here’s a little present from me to you. Hope you enjoy it and are intrigued enough to order your own copy of THERE’S NO PLACE LIKE HOME.

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“Remember when your cousin Tiffany got married in the backyard here?”

Confused, Moira nodded.

Quentin rubbed her bottom lip with the pad of his thumb. “When the Reverend told Cole ‘you can kiss your bride,’ and he swooped her off the ground, spun her around and kissed her silly? Remember what you said?”

“I think I said it was the most romantic thing I’d ever seen.”

He nodded. “The exact quote was, ‘I hope someone kisses me like that some day.’”

Her grin was quick at the memory. “Pat snorted and said I’d better be satisfied with licks from the horses and Rob Roy because no guy was ever gonna kiss me.”

“He wasn’t known for tact back then.” He rubbed a hand down her back as he held her. “Remember what happened later on behind the barn?”

Because she did, she couldn’t stop the heat from spreading up her face like wildfire. When she nodded again, he said, “You wanted to know what it felt like to be kissed like that and since I was your best friend, you thought I should be the one to do it, because you – quote – felt safe with me – unquote.”

“What was I? Eleven?”

“Thirteen. And I was more than willing. Almost broke my heart in two when you said afterward, ‘I don’t see what all the fuss is about.’”

“Q—”

“Hush.” He kissed her forehead. “Ever since that day, all I’ve wanted is a second chance. Now,” he pulled her body closer, wrapped both arms around her small waist, his hands resting just above the dent in her spine. “We’re both a little older, a little more mature. Some of us are much more experienced—”

“And conceited.”

“Experienced,” he said, the laugh in his voice quiet and seductive, “and things can be so much better.”

 

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