I have a few things to share with you today! A quick update on this year’s releases.
Tall, Dark & Alpha Box Set
The Tall, Dark & Alpha 99 cents sale has been extended to April 5th. For all you bibliophiles, it’s a great way to discover new authors, and the set includes several genres, including paranormal, sci-fi, and contemporary. Book 2 of my Hot Latin Men series – Fight for Love – is included. If you haven’t read it, now’s your chance to get a copy and do so.
More Than a Mistress
More Than a Mistress will be delayed for a bit. It was supposed to be my next interracial romance, but I’m not an author who plots. I’m a pantser, which means I write as the story comes to me, and that particular story has veered off into a different direction and might end up being longer than originally expected. Therefore, my lips are sealed until I have more concrete details.
Now for the Johnson Family series…the release date for Unforgettable is April 25th, and I’m in the middle of edits. I know a lot of authors complain about edits, but I’ve learned to enjoy this period because it’s when the story really comes together for me. With the help of my editor and critique partner, I get to tweak it and make it shine.
I have part of Book 2 – Perfect – written, which should be finished in time for the fall, and Just Friends is slated for a spring 2015 release.
So, why Seattle and why beer? I’m borrowing one of the answers I gave in my interview with Tia Kelly. (By the way, check out the interview if you haven’t.)
“I visited Seattle almost two years ago and I loved the city. I had already thought about making it the location for the series, and my visit cemented my decision. The Seattle area has a thriving beer culture, so that also made sense for the series.
I made the Johnsons a beer-making family because I thought it was more interesting. There are plenty of wine-making families, so I thought I’d just pick something different. The research has been fascinating—learning about the history of beer, the beer wars over the past few decades, and the rise of craft beer-making and how it’s chiseled away at the market share of the big guys. Most of this stuff won’t make it into the books, but it gives me background to get a better understanding of the family business. Then I can sprinkle in a few things here and there to add authenticity to the story. But the series has very little to do with beer-making. It’s about the family dynamics and the romance between each sibling and the person they end up finding love with.”
Meet the Characters
Ivy Johnson resides in Seattle and has four brothers: Cyrus, Xavier, Gavin, and Trenton. You’ll meet all but Gavin in the first story. Gavin is Ivy’s twin and a bit of a wild card.
She’s thirty-one and one of the heirs to a billion-dollar company that owns restaurants and brews beer, but she’s not one of those socialites who courts the paparazzi in an effort to make tabloid headlines. Ivy actually shuns the spotlight, and after a traumatic experience with the media during her high school days, she’s even more cautious. She heads up the restaurant group of the family business—The Brew Pub for casual dining and Ivy’s, an upscale restaurant chain her deceased father named after her.
Ivy is a widow, and when the story starts her husband has been dead for two years. Her greatest weakness is her eight-year-old daughter, Katie. Having Katie made her grow up fast, and she’ll do anything to protect her.
Lucas Baylor is in his mid-thirties and makes his living as a writer. His only family is his foster mother, Mama Katherine, and the other kids he grew up with in her household. When the story opens, he’s on a short tour for his book, The Rules of Man. He got a book deal because of the popularity of his blog, Why He Won’t Marry You. (interesting name, right?)
Lucas says whatever he thinks and has no interest in getting married or having kids. His most memorable relationship was his summer fling with Ivy nine years ago. His longest relationship is the on-and-off one he’s had with a woman by the name of Priscilla over the past five years.
Below is an unedited excerpt to give you a taste of what’s to come.
Ivy Johnson is stunned when Lucas Baylor makes an appearance at her family’s event in Seattle. She hasn’t seen him in nine years, and she never expected to again. She does what she can to avoid him because of the secret she can’t let him uncover. But Lucas won’t be denied. When her deception is revealed, it throws his life into a tailspin and forces them to face the truth of their feelings for each other—feelings they’d both tried in vain to forget.
In this scene, Lucas and Ivy have met for the first time in years when he discovers her at a party in the same Seattle hotel where he’s staying.
“I should go,” Ivy said. She waved her hand vaguely at the room. “We have so many guests here tonight.”
“I know you’re busy, but I was wondering if we—”
“I’m sorry, but I just saw someone I need to speak to.” Her insides quivered in alarm at the suggestion he’d almost voiced. She could sense that he was about to ask to keep in touch, to speak to her privately—something, and she had to avoid that.
She took him in, memorizing his face, the breadth of his broad shoulders and the beauty of his eyes. She used to tease him about the unfairness of him having such long lashes while she was stuck wearing false ones to get the same look he had naturally. “It was nice to see you again.”
As she walked by him, she paused.
“How’s Mama Katherine?” she asked. Lucas’s mother, whom she’d called Mama Katherine at the older woman’s insistence, had welcomed her into their life with open arms.
His dark brown eyes were neutral, studying her. She knew he wanted to talk more, knew he had questions, but she was afraid of where the conversation would lead and what he would uncover.
“She passed away a few years ago.”
“Lucas, no.” A wave of sadness washed over her.
“Yeah, it was tough at first, but I realized she was in a better place. She died peacefully in her sleep. All the kids came back for the funeral—everyone who could, anyway.”
Mama Katherine had taken in dozens of foster children over the years. She’d had a no-nonsense attitude about her, and when Ivy had met her she’d insisted that she call her Mama Katherine, like all her “kids” did. Her house was always full with her foster kids, children from the neighborhood, or someone stopping by to spend time with her and soak up her wisdom.
She’d taken in Lucas when he was about fourteen years old, a troubled teen with rough edges. She’d worked on him, smoothing out the edges with discipline and love, and watched him graduate from college with first a bachelor’s degree in Creative Writing and then a masters in English.
“I’m so sorry,” Ivy said.
His gaze softened. “You did love her, and she loved you, too.”
“I felt like I had a second mother for a short time.”
Very short. Only a few months during the summer she and Lucas were together. When her relationship with him ended, she’d mourned the loss of her relationship with his mother almost as much. Now she mourned again with the knowledge that someone so generous with her time and love was no longer among the living.
“Take care, Lucas.”
Unable to help herself, she reached out and squeezed his arm. Feeling the muscles there, she caught her breath at the raw power that emanated from him. The type of power that had kept her pinned beneath him, his heavy thrusts making her breathless, panting, pleading. She missed being handled by a man who didn’t know or care about her pedigree and didn’t treat her like fine China instead of a woman with needs.
He tensed under her touch, and their gazes collided, eyes lingering a fraction too long on each other. Desire whipped through her, and her body throbbed with awareness so sudden, so basic, it frightened her.
She escaped with rapid steps across the room. She didn’t want to see that look in his eyes, because then she’d be tempted to stay and talk and bask in his presence. Tempted to exchange numbers and try to recapture the magic they’d shared during their brief time together. She risked revealing too much if she did.
Resisting the urge to look back, she wondered the entire time if he was still standing there, staring after her.
Nine years ago, meeting Lucas had changed her life for good. He had no idea how much.
Unforgettable goes on sale for the early bird price of $1.99 when the book is released. Subscribe to my blog alerts to the right so you don’t miss the release date and sale announcement!