Genre: Contemporay Romance
Publisher: Entangled Flirt
Date of Publication: November 11, 2013
Number of pages: 49
Cover Artist: Kerri-Leigh Grady
Rena Woods has a great life. She recently landed the contract to decorate the home of basketball wife, Cecilia Hood, her business is growing, and this contract could make her the elite decorator in St. Louis. Rena’s sacrificed her personal life for her company without a single regret. When Staff Sergeant C.J. Riker moves in across the hall, Rena can’t stand to be around him. He may be on the volcanic side of hot, but his attitude sucks. Riker does whatever he can to get under Rena’s skin.Excerpt:
After a massive blow to her business sends Rena on a self-destructive binge, Riker is there to save her from doing something she might regret. Could there be more to Riker than meets the eye? And will he open up enough to Rena to tell her how he lost his leg or shut out love forever?
The moving van blocked my car on the street outside my building. Thanks to a freak storm knocking out the power the night before, I was already running late for an appointment halfway across the city. The meteorologists in St. Louis should just add “we think” to every forecast to save themselves the trouble. Of course, my mother would have said I was always late, no matter what the reason. It’s her favorite complaint, besides pointing out her lack of grandchildren. Never mind my two older brothers with three kids between them.
“You’re not getting any younger, Rena,” she chided the night before as we had our weekly phone conversation. Mom loved using my name against me as added emphasis. “You’ll be thirty in a few years. And it’s all downhill from there.”
Such a positive influence.
The cars were covered in summer leaves. The winds had sent tree limbs to the center of the streets. Despite the storm, the air had already lost its “fresh rain” scent and regained the heavy humidity of a St. Louis summer.
Soulard’s neighborhood association had a policy that movers could not start until after nine o’clock in the morning. It was ten minutes until nine, which was also the time I was supposed to meet my biggest client.
I hammered my palm against the door of the moving van, leaving a wet handprint on the white paint. A guy with dark hair cut in the traditional USMC hairstyle—short on the sides with an inch on top—leaned out the window. He lowered his wraparound sunglasses and cocked an eyebrow. A smirk played above his stubbled jaw. I wanted to smile back—guys with dimples were a weak point for me—but I was running way too late to flirt. Too bad.
“Could you move? You’re blocking me in.” I motioned to my red hatchback, which my best friend Maddie had dubbed “The Tomato.”
He stuck his arm out the window and opened the door from the outside. His dark, sleeveless t-shirt revealed a tattoo of the eagle, anchor, and globe on a tight bicep. I figured he was around my age, give or take a year or three. As he climbed down, my gaze traced each curve of his athletic frame until the prosthetic caught my attention. I felt his eyes on me as I stared too long at the fake leg.
“Are you done yet?” he snapped with a voice hardened by the Corps. It was the same voice my uncle, a retired sergeant, used on my cousins. It made you want to stand at attention and shout “Yes, sir” at the top of your lungs.
Before I could come up with a decent sounding apology for letting my eyes linger too long where they shouldn’t have, he stalked past me and around the back of the truck. His elbow brushed against the bare skin of my arm. Goosebumps spread to my shoulder. It’d been too long since a guy, any guy, made that happen. Just freaking great. I don’t have time for this. I spun on my heel and hurried after him, glad he didn’t see the embarrassment color my cheeks. Good job, Rena. Piss off the hot Marine. It’s not like you haven’t seen a guy with a prosthetic before.
Authors often get asked, “Where do you come up with your ideas?” It’s a great question when you think about it. All the writing books give suggestions on where to find ideas, but you never know where the lightning might strike.
The idea for Neighbors came from Rena Woods. I started jotting down notes about a character who dreamed of being an interior designer. At the time, she was sixteen. Before I realized it, I’d written Rena’s backstory and had the idea for a more adult romance forming.
My latest YA manuscript stems from a scene that I witnessed in high school. My creative writing teacher used to take us out of the classroom to wonder about town, in an orderly fashion of course. He would point out things that he thought would be inspiring. As we approached the school on our way back from the town square one day, he stopped and pointed at the parking lot.
“If that’s not inspiring, I don’t know what is,” he shouted. (He shouted a lot.) “Now write!”
Lined up in the parking lot were a dozen or so tractors. I rolled my eyes at the time, but the image stayed with me. My MC, Piper Marks, drives up to a similar scene on her first day of school. She’s as impressed as I was, only for different reasons.
During vacation last year, I came up with an idea about a teenager whose family owns a Branson, Missouri theater. I’ve recently finished this novel, currently titled No Regrets. Inspiration can strike at any time, any place. It could be a memory. It could be a spark of characterization. It could be a location. It could simply be a word that haunts you. My advice: Don’t look for inspiration. It will find you. And when it does, be ready because it won’t let go.
That’s a good thing.
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L.S. Murphy lives in the Greater St. Louis area where she watches Cardinals baseball, reads every book she can find, and weaves tales for teens and adults. When not doing all of the above, she tends to The Bean (aka her daughter), her husband and a menagerie of pets. “A Reason to Stay”, a contemporary romance novella, is available as of November 2, 2012. Reaper is her debut young adult novel and is available as of January 7th, 2013.
She is a member of Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI) and the St. Louis Writer’s Guild.
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