This is my new contemporary romance, “A Reason to Stay.” It releases June 1st. It’s quite a different tale than that of Amy. Elise is my heroine and she can handle herself a little better when it comes to men. What she can’t handle is commitment! That’s why when she feels the flutters for her boyfriend, still after 10 months of dating, she knows it’s time to leave. But why would she? This is something she’s working on. To pull out the ol’ “it’s me not you” seems so cliché. But wait…a trip home to Kentucky to help her mother after surgery could be just the ticket. Then again, Kentucky is also home to Ben, the first guy who Elise still feels flutters when she has thoughts of his swagger and delicious smile. What’s a girl to do? Especially if he tracks her down and wants to talk about old times.
I loved writing Elise. She’s a bit like me–a commitment phobic. It’s amazing I even settled down, myself! It’s also probably why I don’t take price tags off things. I need to feel I can return things should I need to. Not that I do a whole lot. 🙂 Well…maybe sometimes.
I’ll blog later about each of my characters in “A Reason to Stay”, and why I enjoyed writing them. Ben…Darren…Lyla…they’re all there! You can see if one stands out as a person you know. I’m sure there is!
And now for a tiny teaser…
Memories of their first time making love, while his parents were away, washed over her and strangled in her throat, forcing her to clear it. Ben looked up.
“Are you alright?”
“Fine.” One word. And for anyone who knew Elise, it was the worst word she could use. He knew it, too.
He fished through his drawers and pulled out a pair of boxer shorts and grabbed a shirt from his closet. She took them from him. Their fingers touched, making her attentive to his reaction. Were there any memories that were haunting him, as she stood inside his room? If there were, she wouldn’t keep her eyes on him long enough to find out. She couldn’t. They knew too much of her.
“You can change in here with me or the bathroom on the right.” A devil-painted-smile crossed his face and a rush of hormones swam through her stomach.
“I’ll take the bathroom.”
Why was he even messing with her? Just get changed and go home. There was no force that could be used against the Pandora box he was attempting to unlock. She peeled off her top and closed her eyes as she slid his shirt over her head, imaging the times before when she wore his clothes. It was like coming home after too long being gone. She smoothed her hair over to the side and pinched her cheeks for color. After taking a long draw of air, she knew that look of hers in the reflection of the mirror. The one that wanted to stay there, for old time’s sake. She pushed the thought away and dropped her wet shorts to the ground and shimmied on the boxer ones he lent her. There was a towel hanging on the back of the door that she used to dry her hair so it would stop dripping.
It was quiet when she opened the door. The kids and Ben had beat her downstairs. She held her wadded wet clothes as she stepped into the kitchen where Ben was pulling out some pots from the cabinets. He had changed into a baseball cotton tee with eye pleasing jeans. Age had perfected him well.
“I’m going to get going, I guess. I’ll make sure Melanie gets your clothes back to you.” Elise stood at the edge of the counter, watching his rendition of a chef on The Cooking Network.
He pretended not to hear her segue for leaving, and filled the large pot with water. “Sit down. I’m going to make dinner.”
“Ben, I have to go.”
“Sit down and relax. Oh, by the way, Darren’s been trying to call you.”
The words streamed in her mind like a foreign language she could not translate. What did he just say? Darren?
Ben read her thoughts. He pointed toward the area by the back door. “Your phone is on the counter and it’s been buzzing. I didn’t mean to look, but his picture kept coming up. Still have a fetish for dark haired men, I see.”
Elise remained quiet. Anything she said could be used against her. More importantly, she hated answering questions about her life. The one she hoped to leave safely back in California. Traps and snares never put her in a good mood. She walked around to the counter where her phone lay and took it, trying to put it in her pocket. When she realized the shorts she had on had none, she held it down by her side.
“You’re not going to call him back?” Ben said, turning on the stove.
“I’ll call later.” Answer given. Now move on. Please, move on.
“Who is Darren?”
Ever the non-committer. “A friend.”
“A friend?” A note of skepticism was in his tone. Did he know the real Elise Newton too well?