Georgia girl needs a miracle.
What if the answer to your dreams meant turning your back on who you were and where you came from? Would it be worth it?
Read an excerpt:
Holy shit. Pierce’s mouth went bone dry when Gabrielle appeared at the far end of the pool wearing a black one piece, cut high into her slim hips. His instincts were dead on. She’d by-passed all the bikinis in favor of the most conservative suit of the bunch. The G-rated little number offered a stingy glimpse of Gabrielle’s high, full breasts but couldn’t hide her delectably round derriere. Gabrielle was a woman who knew how to take care of herself and was comfortable in her own skin. Pierce slid onto a float, not letting her out of his sight.
Never breaking stride, Gabrielle headed straight for the diving board. With a quick spring, she arched gracefully into the air then sliced through the water–what a shocker. In Pierce’s experience, most women would rather walk barefoot across broken shards of glass than get their hair wet or risk muddying their mascara.
Gabrielle broke through the surface, hair streaming back from her face, emphasizing high cheekbones. Droplets of water clung to her long lashes and beaded up just above the rim of her mouth. It was a sexy mouth, soft, full and tempting. Pierce imagined covering her lips with his, kissing, tasting. Idiot. What the hell was he thinking?
“Excuse me,” Gabrielle spoke in her Scarlet O’Hara voice. “Could I have the other float?”
Scarlet effectively sucked him out of his x-rated daydream. “Sure.” He grabbed another float from the side of the pool and shot it across the water to her, reminding himself that Miss March was still a possible suspect in his mother’s “give away the farm” campaign. He needed to gather information without appearing to be more than an amicable host. From this moment on, he’d be on his best behavior. Maybe she would be gracious enough not to tell his mother he’d practically mauled her in the dining room. Anyone who saw Gabrielle’s curvy body would peg him a liar if he tried to play the “I thought she was a seven year old boy” card– even if it was the truth.
Gabrielle pulled herself onto the float and settled back, ignoring him completely.
Pierce paddled his float closer to her, prepared to be Mr. Charm. He would gain her confidence, get her to drop her guard and figure out her real agenda.
“Tell me about yourself, Gabrielle,” he encouraged. “Where’s home?”
“Prescott, Georgia.” She scooped up handfuls of water, splashing her arms and shoulders.
Several drops of water trickled, like melted butter, into her cleavage. Pierce loved butter.
Several drops of water trickled, like melted butter, into her cleavage. Pierce loved butter.
“Born and raised there?”
“Brothers and sisters?”
“No.” She frowned at him, not bothering to hide her exasperation.
Not exactly a wellspring of information. In spite of his curiosity, Pierce didn’t want to come off like a Nazi interrogator. He kept his tone casual. “What do you do in Prescott?”
She opened her eyes and squinted at him. “I’m with a newspaper,” Gabrielle answered.
A reporter! If she’d said she was a trapeze artist Pierce couldn’t have been more shocked. “You’re a reporter?” Even to his ears, it sounded more like an accusation than a question. Was she writing an expose on his father? Some hack had already written one and it graced the window of Weybridge’s only bookstore.
“Is that a problem?” Gabrielle jerked upright, her long, shapely, sun-tanned legs straddling the float. You would have thought he’d waved a damned red flag in her face.
“Newspapers were never very favorable to my father,” he explained. “To the best of my knowledge, a newspaper reporter has never been invited to this house.” He wouldn’t tell her that his father referred to them as a pack of ill-bred, bloodthirsty hounds. Edward Hastings refused to return calls or grant interviews to any newspaper.
“Are you insinuating that I’m here under false pretenses?”
From beneath his sunglasses, Pierce looked directly into her fiery green eyes. “No, not at all Miss March. I was merely stating a fact.”
“The fact is, Mr. Hastings, it is not a reporter’s job to be favorable. They are in the business of finding and reporting the truth.”
“Nobly put, Miss March.” The woman certainly didn’t pull any punches.
“I hope this will put you at ease, Mr. Hastings. I own the newspaper. It’s been several years since I single-handedly set out to ruin anyone.”
Sarcasm, even with a lovely Southern accent, was still sarcasm. “I see.” Pierce sounded duly impressed. “That’s certainly an accomplishment for such a young …” He froze when her eyes narrowed. What the hell was wrong with him? He careened from one blunder to the next.
“Tell me, is it my age or the fact that I’m a woman that bothers you?” Her face was considerably more colorful than the rest of her and he knew it had nothing to do with the heat.
Pierce was no chauvinist and certainly had no prejudice against successful females. After all, he’d been married to a talented trial attorney. Hadn’t he put his wife through law school? Hadn’t he supported Glenna in every way until she made partner in her firm and then announced that she’d changed her mind about having children and, by the way, she didn’t want to be his wife anymore either.
“I didn't mean that you weren't responsible.” His eyes returned to the very entertaining Miss March who had just snapped up the ball and was ready to run with it.
“What would someone like you know about responsibility anyway? You've probably never put in an honest day’s work in your entire over-privileged life. Flying around the world trying to stay one step ahead of reality. One of these days you’re going to have to come down to earth and see what it’s like in the real world.”
Where did the woman get her information? She’d obviously pegged him as some sort of wealthy derelict. Fired up, she was something. Misinformed maybe, but she had balls of steel. “For a newspaper woman, you’re lacking in your facts, Miss....”
Frenzied barking drew Pierce's attention skyward. Just as he looked up a huge black creature soared through the air, plunging down on top of him, upending his float and catapulting him to the bottom of the pool.
Max exuberantly dog paddled to his mistress and was rewarded with an affectionate pat on his broad head. “Perfect timing, Max.” Gabrielle smiled and broke into laughter.
“What did you do, signal him to attack?” Pierce sputtered, trying to locate his five hundred dollar sunglasses.
“Don't be silly.” She laughed. “It's just Max's way of thanking you for the afternoon snack.”
Max offered up a cheerful bark. The behemoth black dog actually looked pleased with himself. He was a retriever for God’s sake; he should be down there looking for Pierce’s glasses.
“I'd hate to see what he'd do if I gave him a T-bone.” Disgusted, Pierce dove to the bottom of the pool in search of his new sunglasses. When he found them, they looked like they’d been rolled over by a Humvee. When he shot to the surface, he waved the mangled sunglasses in the air and was somewhat gratified when Gabrielle winced at the sight of them.
“Max is terribly sorry about the damage he caused and promises to make it up to you.”
“Yeah, right. He told you that, huh?”
Pierce climbed back on his float, trying not to let her know how pissed he was. Shit. First, he misses out on his favorite vacation of the year. Then, some nutso driver forces him to plow into his wild flowers and this monster dog destroys his day old sunglasses.
“So, how’s old Max going to make it up to me?” Let’s see how creative old Max’s imagination can be.
“He says he’ll be your jogging buddy for the rest of the weekend.” She threw his niece’s plastic yellow duck for Max to fetch. “You do jog, right? Because if you don’t, you definitely should,” her voice turned snippy. “Especially since your stomach is such a concern.”
It took almost all of his control not to pick her up and flip her ass over end. He ground his teeth instead. “Tell Max thanks for the offer. I do ten miles every morning. Think he can keep up?”
Her green eyes narrowed. “You? Ten, really?”
“Really.” So what if it was closer to seven; old Scarlet didn’t need to know that. He took hold of her float and pulled her up against his, startling her. With his other hand, he took her arm and pretended to examine it. “Free weights should help you shape these spindly arms of yours–give you some definition. There’s a fitness center at the house.”
Pierce was rewarded with the flash of anger in her eyes. “Why thank you, Mr. Hastings.” Honey could have dripped from her lips. “My boyfriend thinks I’m perfect.”
“Ah,” he said. “Probably a wimpy, nerdy kind of a guy. A writer, maybe,” he snorted.
Before she had the chance to reply, Pierce stood up and strode through the water to the far side of the pool and hoisted himself out. “I'm going to get a beer. Would you like one?”
“No, thank you. I'm sufficiently cooled off.”
In one media or another, I've written all my life. At age ten I started a neighborhood newspaper in my small hometown in Ohio. News stories about whose cocker spaniel just had puppies or where the Enrights spent their vacation were pretty boring―at least to me― so I embellished a bit which got me into trouble with the neighbors. Amid a flurry of apologies, my little news operation folded. The next week my parents unexpectedly sent me off to summer camp.
Several years later, during a summer break from Stephens College, I was hired as an intern at The Associated Press–a real prize for a broadcast major. Yes, I was in the big leagues now and though I warned myself to keep my “creativity” under wraps– some things you just can’t control. This time I got into really hot water by mis-quoting a source. What I'd done was simply re-arrange a few words in a direct quote to make it flow better. Evidently my "re-arranging" altered the source's meaning and he was furious and out for blood; someone’s head had to roll. The red-faced bureau chief fired me on the spot, muttering something about me trying my hand at fiction. Lesson finally learned: don’t screw with the facts!
After working in TV news for a few years, I moved into commercial production, then freelance writing. Fewer and fewer facts and more creativity. Finally, I was on to something; working my way towards fiction where I could whip up my own batch of facts and no one could call me out.
Four years ticked by and I finally landed—where I should have started, years ago—on the green square clearly marked “fiction writer.” What was I thinking all those years? Now, with my feet firmly planted—we are NOT moving again—I’m a full time writer of contemporary romance. With the support of my family and my two office assistants—Gracie, a black Lab and Lambeau, a yellow Lab named after Lambeau Field, home of the Green Bay Packers—I spend my days in a world of my own creation where the only facts that matter are the ones I invent. Hopefully, my readers will enjoy my stories as much as I love writing them!