This might sound dramatic (hey, I’m a writer!) but my life changed forever two years ago today. Late in the evening on July 24, 2011, my husband and I hovered over our computer, questioning whether we were doing the right thing. Then we did it. We clicked “Publish.”
I’ll never regret the decision. Seeing the Daughters of Saraqael in the hands of readers will always be its own reward. Hearing from fans–both old and new–keeps me up late at night, typing away on whatever story happens to be in my head at the time. Since I still work full-time, I write through holidays and weekends, often bypassing “fun” outings and time with family and friends, all to share more stories with readers.
It’s truly a labor of love, and I can’t thank my friends and family enough for understanding that. Without their support, these past two wonderful years might have turned out quite different. Now I have six Estilorian novels out, one Estilorian short story, and a New Adult Contemporary Romance with a second on the way. My books have won awards and hit multiple bestseller lists, including the Top 100 on Amazon. I’m working with a producer interested in pitching the Daughters of Saraqael to Hollywood, which is exciting beyond words.
All because we decided to click “Publish.”
Those of you who are pursuing your own writing dreams, I encourage you not to give up. Whenever you harbor doubt (and you will…we all do!), find a source of inspiration to keep you going. You CAN do it!
In celebration of my two-year anniversary of becoming a published author, I wanted to share a sneak peek of my upcoming New Adult Contemporary Romance, Meant for Her, which is tentatively scheduled for release in late September (details to come). Please note that this is an unedited excerpt and subject to change before publication. I’d love to know your thoughts once you’ve checked it out!
As always, thank you so much for reading my books and being a key source of my inspiration. I couldn’t do this without you!
Meant for Her, Chapter 1
A drunk woman fell into Evan’s lap about two hours into the wedding reception. He’d seen her coming from across the dance floor. She’d been glancing his way for the better part of an hour, so he wasn’t surprised when she made her way on unsteady legs in his direction. The part where she exaggerated a stumble so she ended up on top of his thighs was an added touch. Not a very original one, though, he thought.
“Oh!” she gasped as she pressed against his chest to steady herself. “I’m sorry. I might have had a little too much to drink.”
Easing her away from him and off his lap, he met her glassy gaze without comment. Whatever she saw in his expression had her smile fading.
“Hey there, Tanya,” came a male voice. “Everly was just asking about you. I think she’s hoping you can show her how to do this line dance.”
Evan and the woman—Tanya, apparently—looked over as his friend Cole Parker stopped a few feet away. Cole gave Tanya a good-natured smile and reached out to steady her when she swayed. She looked relieved over having been rescued from a potentially embarrassing scene.
“I’m sure she’s doin’ fine,” Tanya said with a slow wink. She reached out to hug him. “Congratulations, Cole. I’m so happy for you and Everly.”
He patted her between the shoulders. “Thanks, Tanya. Now be a sweetheart and go help my wife look like a dance champion. This is being recorded for posterity, after all.”
She laughed and waved, wobbling back to the dance floor. Evan wondered if she’d make it through the dance without breaking her ankles in her four-inch heels.
Cole took the empty seat next to him. Evan was sitting at one of the round tables in the back of the large ballroom, trying to stay away from the action on the thriving dance floor. At the moment, he was the only one sitting at the table.
“Don’t mind Tanya,” Cole said. “She’s harmless.”
“Friend of your wife’s?”
Cole nodded. “Damn, that sounds weird. I have a wife now.”
“You sure do.” Evan shook his head. “Tied down at barely twenty-six.”
Cole grinned and shoved his shoulder. They sat together for a couple of minutes, watching the crowd. The bride was holding her own with the line dance, laughing in the middle of the energetic floor. Her long red hair, worn mostly down for the mid-November wedding, bounced around her shoulders as she moved. Cole had sure married a looker. Judging by the way his friend stared at her, he was only too aware of that. He looked just as happy as his new wife did.
The wedding had been enjoyable enough so far, Evan admitted to himself. Although he didn’t generally enjoy these kinds of spectacles, the couple hadn’t gone over the top in extravagance to a point that felt pretentious or uncomfortable. Considering Cole’s status as one of the best pitchers in the Major Leagues, that was really saying something. They’d been married in the bride’s church, then hosted the cocktail hour and reception at a country club in town. Soft lighting, tasteful floral, and touches of elegant décor gave the venue a romantic, welcoming feel. He supposed if he was going to attend the wedding of one of his closest friends, this one was all right.
“I appreciate you coming, Dorsey,” Cole said at last. His hazel gaze reflected his serious tone. “I know it’s a long way from L.A., but it wouldn’t have been the same without you.”
Evan shrugged. “It’s no big deal.”
“You and I both know that isn’t true.”
Not responding, Evan focused on the dance floor. He’d been friends with Cole since he was thirteen and Cole was fifteen. They’d lived down the street from each other and played together on their high school baseball team until Cole was drafted by Atlanta. Although Evan had also hoped to play for Atlanta once he graduated, that hadn’t been in the cards. He’d ended up getting drafted by St. Louis and had bounced around since then.
Still, he and Cole had remained friends, getting together whenever their teams played against each other. Prior to this, they’d last seen each other two months ago. The memory had Evan’s jaw clenching and releasing.
“Thanks for coming to the funeral,” he said at last. “I didn’t think to say anything at the time.”
“Of course.” After another moment, Cole reached over and picked up Evan’s untouched beer, taking a swig. “So, are you going to talk to Wayne about getting the hell out of L.A.?”
Evan shrugged. He still had a year left on his existing contract, though the team could option to trade him. In fact, rumors indicated they would. He was the first to admit that he hadn’t been playing at his best toward the end of last season. He hadn’t yet talked with his and Cole’s agent, Wayne Shelton, about what lay ahead. His career had been the last thing on his mind over the past few months.
Not wanting to spoil his friend’s wedding day, he offered, “I do need to talk to Wayne.”
Cole seemed to sense that he didn’t want to talk. Smiling, he got to his feet. “Don’t suppose you’ve had enough beer for me to talk you into hitting the dance floor?”
“Not nearly enough, mate. Go on. Dance with your gorgeous wife.”
Clapping him on the back, Cole headed into the crowd. Evan watched him stride onto the floor and say something to Javier Rios, one of Cole’s teammates and Everly’s current dance partner. Javy gave a dramatic show of disappointment over the cut-in before kissing the back of the bride’s hand and turning to dance with someone else.
Evan’s gaze settled on Javy’s new partner. The young woman with the chin-length, curly blonde hair had caught his attention a few times throughout the evening. She had an infectious dimpled smile that made it impossible not to feel a little more cheerful just seeing it. Her deep green gown had a flowing skirt and a high waist accented by a band of glittering stones just beneath her breasts. The style suited her. Something about the way she moved kept his gaze returning to her time and again.
Just as he was about to make his excuses so he could leave, she abandoned the dance floor and started walking in his direction. Bare feet accented by dark toenail polish and a silver toe ring peeped out from the bottom of her gown. Intrigued despite himself, he rose and waited until she stood in front of him. His eyebrow lifted as he spied her small diamond nose stud and a couple of purple curls framing her pretty face. He hadn’t noticed those details from a distance.
She tipped her head back to look up at him once she stopped. Judging by where the top of her head met his chest, she couldn’t be more than five-six.
Her direct approach didn’t surprise him. Many people knew who he was thanks to his baseball career.
“Good evening,” he said.
He expected a comment on his Australian accent. Most women were compelled to say something once they heard him speak. Although he’d lived in the States since he was thirteen, this reminder of his heritage lingered.
“Would you come with me for a moment?” she asked instead, reaching out and taking his hand. “I could use a break, and you look like you could, too.”
Her eyes were the same shade of green as sea glass, he realized. She wore makeup that enhanced them, making it hard to look away. Though he had no idea why, he