Whoot! Bells and whistles, and some happy dancing, too. My contemporary romance, THAT DATING THING, is about to hit the virtual shelves!
Can you tell I’m excited? I can’t help myself. As a storyteller, I can honestly say, I’ve never enjoyed the writing process so much. Shhh. Don’t tell the characters from my other stories because I wouldn’t want their feelings hurt, but these characters took me along on a fun-filled ride I didn’t want to see end. Rylee is a woman with whom I can see myself swilling martinis.
*AJ says, me too! Oh! Can I come? Can I? Can I?*
Coop simply makes my heart sigh, and as for Pippin? Oh yeah. I definitely see a Great Dane in my future. The thought of one jammed into my Jeep wrangler, tongue hanging out as we explore the backroads of the southwest, brings a wide smile to my face.
Yeah, I’m a goof, but I’m a goof on cloud 9! And I’m thrilled to be visiting with AJ today. She’s earned my undying appreciation, you see. *winks at AJ, the best damn editor ever* She saw something in THAT DATING THING and put her nose to the grindstone to help polish and prepare my lighthearted, romantic romp in the midst of Wall Street greed for publication. Working with AJ was not only educational, but a frigging blast as well. I can’t thank her enough for sharing her incredible editorial prowess with a relative newbie. But enough about my literary crush…
*AJ blushes. Do you now see why I love this woman? Geesh! And what Mac isn't telling you is that honestly, the pleasure was all mine. *
Who the heck would think to combine Wall Street greed and lighthearted romance, you ask? A news junkie who loves a fun contemporary romance. That’s who. The Bernie Madoff scandal fascinated me from day one. I mean, who the hell did this guy think he was? Like dictators around the world, who narcissistically believe they have the right to run the lives of others, and think nothing of using brutality to convince non-believers to go along with their delusions of grandeur, the Wall Street financier brutalized his investor’s hard won portfolios, treating them like his own personal piggy bank. Okay, so my comparison is a bit of a stretch. Unlike a dictator’s victims, Bernie’s investors were somewhat complicit in their brutalization. Apparently they chose to ignore the old saying: If something appears too good to be true, it probably is. Still, families were destroyed by Bernie’s crimes, including his own, and they were the inspiration for THAT DATING THING.
I personally have no experience with criminal tendencies in my own family. My dad was the most ethical man I’ve ever met. Let’s face it, a man who marches his four year old back to the corner store to return a pilfered piece of bubble gum (No, it wasn’t me. I’ve always been too much of a weenie to steal anything.) would never even consider lining his pockets through a ponzi scheme. But for the innocent children of those who would, what must life be like? Rylee Pierce, the heroine of THAT DATING THING, is one of those innocents.
Continuously painted with a guilty brush, thanks to her father’s notoriety, Rylee does what any rational woman would do. She changes her identity, starts up a dog training business, and learns to fly beneath society’s radar. Boring! Well crap. We can’t have that! Dictators and ponzi schemers aren’t the only ones who believe they have the right to control the lives of others. Authors do it all the time through their writings. I’m no different, and I love nothing better than shaking up my character’s lives through laughter.
Enter one long legged, exuberant Great Dane, an inheritance sure to piss off Rylee’s father’s victims, and a sexy, assistant district attorney with political ambitions, and what have you got? Love, laughter, and romance. Three of my most favorite things. Here is an excerpt:
Rylee reacted to Coop’s suggestive comment exactly as he expected. She blinked and a tiny frown creased her brow. Whenever the conversation veered toward anything even remotely personal, she either fell back on that sarcastic wit she’d perfected or she retreated into silence. Like now.
Curious contradictions lurked beneath the carefree, lighthearted image she projected. She’d dismissed his show of interest, along with his invitation to meet his friends, and yet he caught her watching him several times during dinner, her eyes full of feminine awareness. Her aunt’s matchmaking annoyed her, but she smiled and teased him, including him in the family camaraderie around the table.
Confusion trumped wariness in her eyes now. He’d thrown her off-balance. Good. Since meeting her the other day, she’d been popping into his head with annoying regularity. Why should he be alone in his madness?
He’d been anxious to see her again, telling himself he’d imagined the unprecedented sexual pull he’d experienced for Elliott’s step-daughter, step-cousin—step-whatever. His imagination was in play, all right. From the moment he’d seen her again, he’d envisioned her in a number of different situations. She’d been naked in all of them.
And he wasn’t the only one experiencing the pull. Those flashes of feminine awareness in her dark-chocolate eyes broadcast her attraction to him, an attraction she evidently planned to ignore. He’d see about that. He hadn’t earned his reputation as a successful prosecutor by backing away from a difficult case, and the beautiful dog trainer was a case he meant to crack.
He turned away and wandered further into the room. Pippin trotted at his side.
“So, this is The Canine Academy?” He eyed the cages. “Where are your other students?”
A soft release of pent up breath reached his ears and he smiled. Yes, off balance was just how he wanted her.
“Gone for the day.”
“Why is Pippin still here?”
“Pippin required a more intense program. He’s our only boarder at the moment.”
“Have dinner with me,” he said, without turning around. She didn’t answer and he waited several beats before glancing over his shoulder. Her eyes shuttered, she fell back on sarcasm.
“We just finished dinner. What do you have, a tapeworm?”
He faced her. “I’d like to take you to dinner, Rylee.”
Her hand went to Belle’s head beside her and she jutted her chin up a notch. “That wouldn’t be a good idea, Coop.”
“Why? I’m attracted to you, and a man can tell when the attraction is mutual.”
She said nothing, returning his gaze while she scratched the fur between Belle’s ears.
“It’s just a meal.” He crossed his arms. “I’m not suggesting we jet off to Vegas.”
She snorted softly. “That’s a relief. Casinos give me a headache.”
The dry sarcasm made him smile. She hadn’t said no.
“Look, you’re a great-looking guy.”
He flashed a grin, pleased when her lips twitched in response.
“And I admit you have a certain amount of charm.”
“But, your father is married to my aunt.”
“Your mother’s cousin,” he corrected. He dropped his arms to his sides and stepped toward her. “And Dad and Silvia can get their own dinner.”
Her lips formed a genuine smile, but she shook her head. “People rarely come out of this kind of thing on friendly terms.”
“This kind of thing?” He continued to advance.
“We’re connected through Sil and Elliott. I don’t want to see them caught in the middle when this…dating thing, or whatever it is you’re after, ends.”
“This dating thing?”
“Or whatever it is you’re after,” she repeated. As he closed the distance, she stepped back and bumped up against the shark cage. She slapped her spread fingers against his chest to prevent him from coming any closer. “I’m not in the market for a relationship right now.”
“Then we don’t have a problem, because neither am I.” He brushed a fingertip over the perfect skin of her cheekbone. “So, here’s what I suggest.”
Her eyelids fluttered, pupils dilating, and reluctant temptation replaced the wariness in her dark orbs. Still, she kept a defensive hand on his chest.
“If you insist on negotiating when I’ve already explained my concerns,” she said, holding his gaze, “I’d rather you didn’t touch me.”
He checked the urge to kiss her at the artless admission of finding his touch disturbing. Instead, he moved his hand to the cage beside her head. He wrapped his fingers around the metal bar and dipped his head, bringing his face closer to hers. She blinked but held her ground, boldly meeting his gaze.
“I propose we get to know one another,” he pressed. “A few dinners. Maybe a show, or a ball game or two if you like. We find out what makes each other tick.”
“Hmmm.” Her mouth moved into a smirk. “Five seconds ago you were talking a meal. Now it’s a few dinners and a ball game or two. At this rate we’ll be jetting off to Vegas by the end of the week.”
She didn’t try to stop him when he took the final step that brought their bodies within inches of each other. “Has anyone ever accused you of being a wiseass?”
Head cocked as though considering the question, her mouth quivered on a smile. “Nope.”
“How about a liar?”
She lost the battle with the smile and her low laugh sent a lash of desire whipping across his midsection. He did what he’d wanted to do since arriving at his father’s condo days ago. Leaning in, he took...
I’ll be giving away a free e-copy of THAT DATING THING to one lucky commenter. As for the rest of you, I hope you’ll pick up a copy, and that you’ll enjoy reading Rylee’s story as much as I enjoyed writing it.
Thanks so much for visiting with me today. I love meeting new friends. You can find me at my web home MackenzieCrowne.com Twitter and Facebook
THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR BEING HERE TODAY, MAC! I LOVES YA', BABE! And for our visitors, don't forget to leave a comment for the chance to win a copy of THAT DATING THING! WHOOT!
XO AJ XO