Publication date: July 21st 2015
Genres: Adult, Romance
Jake and Andrea met once. When Andrea was in college, Jake came with her brother Ben who was visiting on leave from a deployment in Afghanistan. Now, years later, Jake gets a job in Ben’s home town to be close to his best friend. He hadn’t counted on Andrea. The attraction he’d felt then was still there. And this time he wasn’t headed back to a war zone where he could very well be killed.
Andrea is drawn to the man who calls Ben brother. Something about him speaks to her, but she’s not sure what. She falls into things head first, but when something makes her question how fast things are going she slams on the breaks. Can the two of them figure out what’s going on with them before it’s too late?
She started reading at a very young age, and her love for series started early, as the first real books she remembers reading is the Boxcar Children series by Gertrude Chandler Warner. Through the years she's found that there's little she won't read, and her tastes vary from westerns, to romance, to sci-fi / fantasy and Horror.
She's been writing since 2009, and enjoys nearly every minute of it.
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I started writing almost six years ago after receiving an email about National Novel Writing Month, more commonly knowns as NaNoWriMo. I read the email that told about the international challenge to write 50,000 words in 30 days and thought, “That’s insane,” and I threw the email away. But the seed had been planted. The idea wouldn’t leave me alone. And it haunted me night and day. I checked my trash bin, because I needed more information, but the email was gone. I finally had to google it. It didn’t take long before I was on the right website, taking in all the information they had to offer.
On November 1st I started writing, and I wrote and wrote and wrote, and low and behold I managed to finish the book, and get the 50k in 30 days. I was hooked. Over the next year I didn’t do much, we bought a house and moved and I had a preschool child still at home, that was all I could handle. Then in September I found a deal online for some bookshelves for the new house. I was talking to the woman who was selling them and she told me how she was trying to write and sell a book, I told her I’d written one but I hadn’t really tried to sell it. Let me tell you, that was embarrassing. Not that I’d written it but that I hadn’t done anything with it since. So I went home and started rewriting, then submitted it to a couple of small publishers. While I waited for responses, I plotted and did NaNoWriMo that year. I had a good portion of that book done, 65k, at the end of the month and I set it aside for the holidays.
During that break I started getting responses back on the first one, rejections… but there were a couple of really good rejections in there. How can a rejection be good you might wonder? Well, if the editor offers any kind of reasoning or advice, that’s a good rejection. You can learn from it. There were a couple of those in there... “I really like the <story, style, whatever> BUT… and while it’s not an acceptance, those buts can be really helpful if you choose to take the criticism constructively.
By the time I got these responses, I’d been over that first book about 8 times in just a couple months and I was done with it. I didn’t want to look at it again to fix it so I just set it aside and went to work finishing then rewriting the book I’d mostly written that November.
The next year (2011) I signed up to be my region’s Municipal Liaison for NaNaWriMo. What that means is I was the local front person trying to spread the word, gain participants and do events for the month. I loved it, but it was a lot of work. After 2011 I started writing all the time, not just in November. In the process of getting ready and finding people for NaNo 2011 I found a writing group that meets at my local library. They have been a godsend to me.
Because of my writing group I investigated and started self-publishing, my first book releasing in January of 2012. We had some major life issues that summer and I decided I just didn’t have the time to ML again, so I dropped it… but this year I’m back, with a friend from my writing group, and we’re doing it together. We’ve already scheduled “NaNoWriMo Prep classes” with 2 branches of our local library. It’s a lot of work, but it’s worth it
Oh, and how have I done in the last few years? My 8th book just came out and I have several more in different stages.
- Paperback copy of Choosing Happiness ** the grand prize giveaway - ends August 13th:
He quickly fixed two cups of hot cocoa, but before serving he ducked around the corner. She was sitting on the couch with the blanket pulled over her lap. "Have you ever tried Bailey’s in your cocoa?"
"No. Is it good?"
"I like it, want me to bring you mine and let you try it before you decide?"
"If you don't mind, please?"
"If I minded I wouldn't have offered." He carried his cup of cocoa to the sofa and let her take a sip.
"Oooh, that’s good."
"Want me to add some to yours, too?"
"Please, that would be great." She kept his warm cup cradled in her hands, her shivering had stopped.
Jake quickly doctored the second cup of cocoa and returned, sitting down on the sofa near Andrea. He was careful not to jar her enough to spill the cocoa. "Do you want to trade? Or do you want to keep that one?"
"I already have this one and it’s almost half gone so I might as well keep it."
Jake held his arm out. "Do you want to come over here and let me help warm you up?"
She scooted over and slid under his arm, lifting the blanket to cover his lap too, so he could help the heat build underneath. He pulled her close against his side and curled his arm around her. They sat quietly, drinking their cocoa for a few minutes, until Andrea started laughing.
"What?" Jake frowned down at her, confused.
"We’ve got to be crazy. Sitting here, still dressed for the wedding, sipping cocoa at nearly three am."
"Well, I considered getting you out of the dress, but thought I'd be a gentleman and let it warm up in here first," Jake quipped, causing Andrea to laugh harder. "I love your laugh," Jake squeezed her against him in a quick, one-armed hug. "It makes me feel good."
"What a sweet thing to say." She stretched up to kiss him on the cheek. Draining the last of her cocoa, she set the empty cup on the coffee table in front of them. Pulling the blanket up to her shoulders, she curled into him, resting her head against his chest. "You smell nice." She wiggled a little, trying to get comfortable.
"Make yourself comfortable." He looked down at her, amused.
"I'm working on it. You're warm, like Ben."
"You do this to Ben?"
"Not anymore, but I did when I was younger. I was always cold and he was always so warm. I would curl up against him and steal some warmth. He never really knew what to make of it." She admitted reflectively.
"I imagine not." He wasn’t sure what to make of it himself. Not knowing what else to do, he slipped the arm that had been around her under the blanket and started rubbing up and down her side. He didn't know why he did it, just that it seemed right. After a couple minutes she kicked off her shoes and pulled her legs up and curled them beside her. Jake started rubbing his hand up and down her leg. "Hmm... No hose."
"No, I hate those things."
"Probably would have been at least a little warmer in them though."
"True. I wasn't planning on staying out quite so late or in the cold as long when I got dressed though."
"So you froze." He ran his fingers along her thigh, back and forth against the hem of her dress, sending another shiver though her body. "You still cold?"
"No, not anymore." She moved against him, as if silently asking for more.
Jake continued to play his fingers lightly over her skin, teasing her with his touch until he had finished his cocoa. He carefully slipped out from under the blanket, tucking it around her, and stood. Picking up hers, he took both mugs into the kitchen and set them in the sink. On the way back, he took off his suit jacket and hung it and his tie over the back of a dining chair.
Unfastening his collar, Jake returned to the couch. Sitting beside her, this time he kicked his own shoes off and sat sideways, one leg bent in the seat as he leaned against the arm. He invited her to curl up against him. "Come here."
She crawled closer, dragging the blanket with her, and laid against his chest. He pulled the blanket around her, tucking it around her feet and put his arms underneath to wrap them around her.
"How’s that? Warm enough?" He liked that she trusted him enough to put herself in his arms.
"It's nice, but not at all what I thought you meant when you said you wanted to take me home." She looked up at him with half lidded eyes.
"It's not, but it’s still a little cool in here, besides I'm enjoying this too."
Andrea got a mischievous glint in her eyes as she started to wiggle, moving her arms around his sides.
"What are you up to?"
"Nothing much." She struggled a moment, pulling the ends of his dress shirt and the t-shirt underneath free from his slacks. When she managed to untuck them all the way around she slid her hands underneath, against his skin. "Mmmm, much better." She played her fingers back and forth over his skin. Pushing herself onto her knees, she stretched until her lips met his. She kissed him eagerly, using her mouth to let him know she was ready to move faster.
Jake ran his hands along the hem of her dress, caressing the bare skin as he slowly inched the fabric up her legs.
Engrossed in the deep kiss, Andrea let her fingers curl. They dug into his skin as she pulled herself against him. She squirmed, moving into his hands as he touched her and pulling herself back into him again, as though she couldn’t decide which touch she wanted more.
Jake continued to slowly slide her dress up, running his fingers lightly over her soft skin on either side of her body as he went. It wasn’t until she arched her back, leaning into him that he realized he'd reached her waist. He broke the kiss and looked at Andrea, confused.
She smiled mischievously again, amused by his confusion.
"Don't tell me you've been naked under that dress all night long?"
"Would you like it if I were?"
"Girl, I've wanted you since the first time I laid eyes on you, before I knew who you were. It drives me crazy thinking of you with no panties on under that little dress all day. On the side of the highway, changing that tire." He felt himself growing hard at the thought. "In the church while Ben said ‘I do’. All that time at the reception hall, and sitting next to me at the diner."
Andrea laughed at how his voice deepened with desire as he spoke and the hard feel of him pressing against her. "It's a good thing I was wearing some then, wasn't it?"