Friday, 28 July 2017

The Authors of Wanna Be Bad- Tina Donahue

Wanna Be Bad is an anthology of  hot and sexy stories about forty-something women who find their first (or second) chance at love, after spending most of their adult life focused on other things. This weekend, I'm introducing you to the fabulous authors who have contributed to this collection.

Today, I'm featuring Tina Donahue, author of Skin Deep.

 What was the last book you read? 

The Handmaid's Tale

Do you have any hobbies? 
Love to travel

When did you write your first book?
When I was 9. Illustrated it too, made copies and sold them around the neighborhood. My first book tour. :)
The best is yet to come…
Turning forty and losing her job in the same week sends Tori into a tailspin. At her lowest point, she meets Jon. He proves there’s more to life than work, and she’s just getting started on the future she deserves.

Excerpt:

Tonight had taught her a lot. She’d never met a man as wise or honest as him. “In what way?”
“Are you from around here?”
“Orange County. I won a scholarship to Stanford and never left the area.”
“Smart and beautiful.”
Heat poured through her.
“Bet your parents are proud.”
She sipped her wine. “Mom was. She passed away before I graduated.”
“I’m sorry.” He covered her hand. “Didn’t mean to bring up anything bad.”
“You didn’t.” She turned her palm and curled her fingers around his. They barely knew each other but touching him felt right, needed. Could be the wine had gone to her head. She hadn’t eaten in days.
Maybe loneliness had finally overwhelmed her.
Whatever the reason, Tori didn’t care to pretend. Not tonight. She wanted him. “I have great memories of our times together.”
He stroked her thumb. “What about your dad?”
Gloom should have settled in, but, somehow, bad memories steered clear. More of Jon’s magic. “He left us when I was eleven. Moved in with his mistress and their son. Last I heard, they’re still married and happy.”
Jon squeezed her fingers gently. “You’ve had a tough time.”
“Oh hey, I’m good. Great, in fact, or will be once I get my career rolling again.” She pulled her hand from his. Pity she didn’t want. Mindless sex might be all she could handle. “Knowing what you do about the industry, do you think I have a chance of ever landing a good position, or am I dreaming? Don’t sugarcoat it for me. I’d rather know.”
“Here we are, here we are.” Salvatore bustled close, a tray perched on his protruding belly. He placed the bruschetta between them. “More wine?”
Tori finished hers. “Please.”
Jon put his half-filled glass aside. “I’m good.”
“I’ll send Carmine over. He’ll take care of your lovely Tori, pronto.”
Her pulse thudded. Being called Jon’s anything sat too nicely. Sharing dinner with him wasn’t something she should get used to. He was simply kind. Hence, his reluctance to answer her question. She’d asked him for the truth but didn’t want to face it tonight. Hell, ever. She was too young to retire and too old to take on student debt to start another career that might not work out. God, she was screwed.
His silence got to her. In the dim lighting, he was a breathtaking study in muted browns and tan. Pure male. A magnificent animal. Wind tugged his hair. She would have given anything to bury her face in his locks and capture his scent.
She pressed her toes into her moccasins to steady herself. “What do you think?”
He offered a slow, sexy smile. “About you ignoring me when I noticed you at your company and my place for what seemed like forever?”
Her cheeks stung. “You did?”
“Almost asked about you, but hey, that’s so high school, right?”
Tori laughed. “Yeah. I guess. I’m sorry I didn’t notice. I was afraid to make a mistake at work or not be on top of things.” She slumped. “I have to study for so many certifications and constantly learn new things I’m always busy.”
“Bad girl.”
She hadn’t been that in too long. Maybe ever. “I wish.”
Interest registered on his face. A younger guy might have smiled, laughed, made a crude joke. Not Jon. He had the benefit of age and experience. He regarded her assuredly. No need for words. Their prolonged silence spoke volumes.
The surroundings drifted away. Sounds faded. Wrapped in an intimate gaze, they melted into each other, their mouths joined.
He speared his tongue between her lips.
Hunger burned within her, deeper than she’d ever known. She drove her fingers through his hair and suckled his tongue.
He growled.
A wondrous sound.
She needed more.
They scooted closer. Their chair legs scraped the concrete.
Jon cupped her face and glided his thumbs over her cheeks, a soft, sensuous touch. His stubble rasped, adding extra excitement.
They broke free on a gasp. Both gulped air.
Arousal smoldered in his eyes. “This is what you need.”
Her stomach fluttered. “Kissing you?”
“Not just that.” He cupped her chin. “My guess is you’ve spent your life chasing your dream, pleasure not in the equation. Precisely what I did. I lost my family. For what? You can give your damn soul to a company and they don’t care. There’s always someone cheaper to take your place. Trust me, what happened to you isn’t about age. It’s about economics and power. You know too much. When someone comes up with a monumentally crappy idea, they can’t sway you. However, they can bulldoze a young kid and pay him or her zip while stuffing their own pockets with what should have gone to the employee. You asked what I thought. For your future, I think you should try something different.”
Her spirits sank. “Another career?”
“Shh.” He pressed his finger to her lips.
She resisted the urge to suck it inside.
“We’re not talking about careers, work, or anything unpleasant now. We’re discussing your immediate future. You need a change. Something to recharge you.”
“Such as?”
“Fun. Beginning tonight and going through to your birthday, nothing except fun. With me. What do you say? Don’t sugarcoat it. I want to know the truth.”



*AMAZON*   *iBOOKS*   *NOOK*   *KOBO*



Thursday, 27 July 2017

The Authors of Wanna Be Bad- Ever Coming

Wanna Be Bad is an anthology of  hot and sexy stories about forty-something women who find their first (or second) chance at love, after spending most of their adult life focused on other things. This weekend, I'm introducing you to the fabulous authors who have contributed to this collection.

Today, I'm featuring Ever Coming, author of Remember Me.
What was your first job? 
I worked at Taco Bell.

Are you a plotter or pantster?
I usually have a basic idea for my solo-works but the characters take over and they morph drastically. When I co-write, there is much more planning and outlining involved to facilitate the process.

How long does it take you to write a book?
I am a power writer. I write a ton all at once but then take days off because I have four young children. I have been known to finish a first draft in under two weeks, but on the other end of the spectrum, I have a novel I have been working on and off on for the past two months.
Remember Me
Ten letters. 
Four syllables. 
Two words. 
Two of the most powerful words of Kate’s life. She read them the first time she had her heart broken, heard them when she lost her husband, and now they stared back at her as her daughter moved away for the first time. Yes, each time these two little words crossed her path, her life changed course. That was why when Kate spoke them to herself, about herself, she knew great things were about to happen. She was going to remember who she was and go back to being that strong, intelligent, determined and fun, yes fun woman she once was. Remember Me is a contemporary BBW second chance romance.

*AMAZON*   *iBOOKS*   *NOOK*   *KOBO*



Wednesday, 26 July 2017

The Authors of Wanna Be Bad- Krista Ames

Wanna Be Bad is an anthology of  hot and sexy stories about forty-something women who find their first (or second) chance at love, after spending most of their adult life focused on other things. This weekend, I'm introducing you to the fabulous authors who have contributed to this collection.

Today, I'm featuring Krista Ames, author of Out with the Old.


After a divorce from a marriage where he'd been the arm candy to a drama queen socialite, Dutch Walker needed and wanted a carefree, quiet and single lifestyle. He had no idea moving back to his hometown after so many years would bring anything but.
Elizabeth hadn't had a moment's peace since she signed her divorce papers two years ago. Completely frustrated with the current state of her life, she could only pray that her ex-husband would stop trying to put their marriage back together and leave her alone.
When Dutch steps in to rescue damsel in distress, Elizabeth neither knew that their chance encounter would end up bringing them back together again. Will their reuniting lead to a walk on the wild side, or to the one thing they truly needed most...love.

*AMAZON*   *iBOOKS*   *NOOK*   *KOBO*



Tuesday, 25 July 2017

The Authors of Wanna Be Bad- Adaline Raine

Wanna Be Bad is an anthology of  hot and sexy stories about forty-something women who find their first (or second) chance at love, after spending most of their adult life focused on other things. This weekend, I'm introducing you to the fabulous authors who have contributed to this collection.

Today, I'm featuring Adeline Raine, author of Calling the Shots.

Roxy Monroe, a tough-as-nails emergency room nurse, finds herself at the bedside of a man who has stoked the fire of her fiercely protected heart. His name is Keith Cooper. He’s a paramedic and volunteer fire-fighter, and staring down at him, feeling her pulse race and heart quicken, she wonders if she’s the one in need of medical attention. 
Later the tables are turned, and when Keith rescues her from a life-threatening situation, Roxy finds herself asking him to dinner. In spite of her determination to keep him at arm’s length, Keith’s charm and wit slowly melt away her protective wall of ice…until her fear takes hold, and though deeply conflicted, she pushes him away. 
But has Roxy met her match? What happens when a stubborn woman and a tenacious man, both driven by love and an undeniable chemistry, find themselves in a clash of wills?

Excerpt:

"So, I don't remember seeing you around the ER before your suspected concussion incident. Did you move here recently?"
"You've never noticed me before." He cracked a smile. "I had to drag you out of a burning building for that to happen." Her lips twitched, but he couldn't tell why. "The answer is no. I've been with Life Trek since for about ten years or so? I took the EMT skills test on my eighteenth birthday and the paramedic on my twenty-first."
"Oh." A light flush crept across her cheeks. "Well, I've been sort of preoccupied. Thinking back, I'm sure I've seen you. Anyway, I hope your partner feels better." Trying to move past him proved to be a challenge. She shifted the board to her other side, but it pressed her hip into his. "Excuse me."
"Are you serious about dinner?" He brought up the earlier, more interesting topic. Keith stepped backward to insert himself between her and the exit.
"Yes. You saved my life. That doesn't happen every day. So I figured if our schedules matched up sometime between now and three years down the road, we can grab something to eat."
"If they don't match up in three years, the offer expires?"
"Yup."
"Roxy?"
"Okay, well not really. I'm working four nights in a row followed by three days off. You?"
"I'm also working the next four nights and then I get three off." He grinned in spite of himself.
"You're lying."
"I do not lie about nights. Those things are hell on earth."
"Fine. Pick me up at 6 o'clock on Thursday. It gives us both a day to relax and sleep." Her tone held an edge, but her eyes sparkled just a little.
"Do you plan on taking me to dinner in the hospital cafe'?"
"No. You’re driving me crazy." She reached into her pocket and then pulled out a notepad and a blue dry-erase marker. Roxy jotted what he hoped was her number down, and then ripped off the top sheet. "Here. I'm not good at small talk."
"I'll text you later on to get your address, but I'm sure we'll run into each other." He wanted to kiss her, right here in the damn dungeon, but what if he read her wrong? Maybe this was just dinner. No strings attached. Then why was she still looking up at him instead of rushing off?
"I bet we will. One other thing. I’m so sorry I caressed your buns."
"Don't be sorry." Risking a slap to the face, he leaned down and kissed her cheek. "I'd say we're even."
"We're not even close to even."
"Oh yeah?" He grinned. "What do I have to do to you to get even?"
"No, nothing. That's not what I meant."
Roxy sounded like he had to grope her to be even. Not that he would mind doing so. "What did you mean?" He loved teasing her. It caused the light pink on her cheeks to deepen.
"Nothing. I have to get back." Roxy used the backboard as a battering ram to push him to the side but he caught it in his hands. "You’re getting on my bad side."
"Which implies at the moment I’m on your good side."

*AMAZON*   *iBOOKS*   *NOOK*   *KOBO*



Monday, 24 July 2017

The Authors of Wanna Be Bad- TL Reeve

Wanna Be Bad is an anthology of  hot and sexy stories about forty-something women who find their first (or second) chance at love, after spending most of their adult life focused on other things. This weekend, I'm introducing you to the fabulous authors who have contributed to this collection.

Today, I'm featuring TL Reeve, author of The Professor & Adeline.

 What is your favourite genre to read? 

My favorite genre, is everything, but I have found myself liking M/M more than anything lately or m/m/f and RH (Reverse Harem) One girl multiple men.

Everyone has a guilty pleasure, what's yours? 
Books. Tons and tons of books. I love reading when I'm not writing. Thank goodness for my kindle. I don't think I have anymore room for paperbacks or hard backs. lol

What do you think makes a good story?
I think overall a good story needs a fluid story line, great characters and a little suspense. I think too much anxiousness or back and forth will he/won't or they kills a story. I get aggravated at the book and put it down. I'm not saying it has to be insta-love, but if you're going to have sex with the heroine early on in the book then you have some intentions toward her, so treating her crappy, just doesn't work for me.
After her divorce and her son leaving for college, Adelaide Miller is ready to try something new. The local community college is offering a six-week program on English literature, poetry and dramas, taught by none other than Alastair Kline.
New York Times Bestseller Alistair Kline, is in America for a twelve month tour to promote his new book and to get to know his fans. Every six weeks he changes locations, and this time he ends up in a quiet, little Midwestern town, teaching at a community college.
The man could read a phone book and Adelaide would sit and listen to him.
Unfortunately, the class isn’t about listening, it’s about participating and writing a story. She’d love to write a romance, however her source material, is lacking. What starts out as harmless flirting when he offers to help, escalates, and the line between professor and student blurs.

Excerpt:

“If you thought you would only learn about American Literature, you are sadly mistaken.” He held up the book. “Regency romance. Jane Austen, Charlotte Bronte, Emily Bronte. These ladies wrote superb novels, filled with romance, angst, and such dynamic verve. You want to hate the hero, but love him at the same time. You curse the heroine’s naivety, or her stubborn bullish ways. Her stiff upper lip.”
Adelaide hung on every word he spoke as he stood in front of them, leaning against the counter with his long, muscular legs crossed at the ankle. He could read the phone book, and she’d hang onto ever word he said—as would the whole female population in the room.
“Who has read Pride and Prejudice?” His gaze rose to stare at the class, giving his brow a quirk.
Adelaide raised her hand, surprising herself with the speed.
“You are?”
She opened her mouth, and a squeak came out. Clearing her throat, she tried again. “Adelaide Miller.”
“All right, Ms. Miller.” He gave her a cheeky grin, the gleam of something more in his dark brown eyes had her heart skipping a beat. “What is your favorite part of the book?”
She licked her bottom lip as several pairs of eyes gazed upon her, waiting for her answer. What was her favorite part? The whole thing! But, what stuck out for her the most was both Mr. Darcy’s and Elizabeth’s fierce protective streaks for their family and their friends. “I guess … well, everything.” A few snickers from her classmates sent a bolt of anxiety through her.
“Care to elaborate.”
She nodded. “There are several themes in Pride and Prejudice. It’s not just a love story. It’s a tale of greed and good intentions gone awry. It’s a story of family and protecting your loved ones at all cost. It’s also about making assumptions about people you don’t know. I found Elizabeth to be a cynical girl who viewed everything with a bent, while Mr. Darcy saw everyone as a threat to him or his family. Moreover, the thought of expressing his love for Elizabeth, in his eyes, could be a fate worse than death.”
“No way, it’s about the zombie apocalypse,” a guy from the back shouted. “I should know. I watched it last night. Those chicks were so hot.”
What? There were no zombies in Pride and Prejudice.
“You are?” Alistair grabbed the list off the table behind him.
“Casey,” the boy replied.
“Ah. Well, Casey, we’re not talking about the modern version of the story. We’re talking about the original, in its original context.” The censure in his voice surprised Adelaide. “We all know zombies don’t belong in the text. It’s a fad, and if the movie was any indication, a bad attempt at one. Moving on.”
Alistair stepped over to the white board and began writing on it. “The book is about two houses. The Bennetts who were middle class socialites and the Darcys who were upper class, bordering on aristocrats.”
For the next hour, he spoke about the interwoven stories within Austen’s novel. Adelaide didn’t much pay attention. She found herself paying more attention to the faces he made. The way his eyes brightened when he spoke about his favorite parts. The closer they got to the climatic parts, the more animated he became. The passionate way he engaged those who sat nearest him … she grew more excited by the second.
A wistful sigh passed her lips. She’d never experienced anything of the sort before. Sure, she got this way with books, but seeing another person do the same surprised and invigorated her. Ignited the embers of her lackluster desires, causing them to slowly warm her. She was inspired. If one lecture could do this to her, what would six weeks do?
“So, you have your assignment. Write your story. Bring it to life. Give it plenty of twists and turns and love, and misfortune. Make your characters work for every ounce of what they do and what they receive. It can be any genre. Set anywhere, just make me believe.” He placed the marker on the ledge, and turned to the class. “I will see you Wednesday. I would like a blurb and a brief background on your characters.” His gaze locked with hers, or at least she thought so. “Make me believe. Make me fall in love with reading all over again.”

*AMAZON*   *iBOOKS*   *NOOK*   *KOBO*



Sunday, 23 July 2017

The Authors of Wanna Be Bad- Michele Ryan

Wanna Be Bad is an anthology of  hot and sexy stories about forty-something women who find their first (or second) chance at love, after spending most of their adult life focused on other things. This weekend, I'm introducing you to the fabulous authors who have contributed to this collection.

Today, I'm featuring Michele Ryan, author of Figuring it Out.

 If you could run away with any of your characters, who would you choose? 

That's easy as I'd run away with Kalkin Raferty, who is a wolf shifter, sheriff and dominate alpha in an upcoming series TL and I are working on. Kalkin will be the first book in our Apache County Shifters. Kal gives me the shivers, the good kind of course and is the totally package. Of course, I'm bias!

How do you cheer yourself up when your feeling down? 
When I'm feeling down and I need to cheer myself up, I'll either spend some time with my three kids, or hobbits as I like to refer to them, or read. My kids always make me laugh with silly stories or questions, which are endless, by the way. On the plus side, I've learned a bunch, because when I don't know an answer, I go Goggle it. I also found out, if I read a bit each day, no matter how little, it helps center me.

When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?
In high school, I had a good friend who told me I came up with amazing stories. She had a plan, she'd be in charge of writing and I'd be in charge of coming up with the ideas.  It never panned out and so I continued to play out stories in my head. About five or six years ago, I got involved in a Role Playing group. It literally changed my life because I met TL. We became friends, and then writing partners within the group. We just gelled from the first time. I went to Lora Leigh's RAW and listening to the authors during the events, realizing the voices I heard in my head, were what they heard and wrote about. So, I came home from the event full of life and determination thinking, this maybe something I could do, even if I never got a story published. TL was already an established writer at this point, but I told her I wanted to write. She was like, lets do it together. Of course I said yes and here I am!
Sixteen years ago, Jackson Wescott let Simone Baker walk away from their marriage. He didn’t want the divorce she demanded, but he knew she was in pain, suffering from the loss of their daughter.
Simone walked away from the love of her life, unable to deal with her pain. She worried she’d end up bringing Jackson down into her hell.
Long before they married, Jackson promised Simone they’d always be together. Done with waiting, he pulls some strings, deciding now is the time to remind his ex-wife once a promise is made, it’s never broken.
Jackson can follow Simone’s rules, but time had a way of changing people. Figuring it out, is the easy part, making it last, only time will tell.

Excerpt:

The small, intimate eatery was a treat for the senses. Low, creamy lighting reflected off the pale blue paint and made the wood and copper accents pop. A small sushi bar rested in the back. Behind it was a massive wall made of glass. Painted the same blue as the wall, with copper circles to mimic bubbles. Soft, relaxing music played softly mixing with the soft hum of conversation.
The hostess came up, took their name, and had them seated at a booth off to the right within minutes. Choosing the seat with her back to the door gave her a clear picture of the chefs as they worked behind the ornate bar.
She could watch them all night long as they called out to each other in Japanese’s, twirling their knifes as they worked as a team to fulfill each order.
“I can understand the buzz about this place. It’s amazing.”
He agreed, handing her a book, which turned out to be the menu.
“Anything jumping out at you?” he asked as perused the massive menu with her.
“All of it!”
“It’s a bit excessive, but I’m game if you are,” he teased.
Glancing up, their eyes clashed over the menus they held. She could see desire and need reflected in his gaze. Taking a deep, steadying breath, she held it, exhaling slowly as old memories and feelings for the man across from her started rushing back.
Conversation had come easy for them in the car and it continued. If she closed her eyes, she swore it would be like the last sixteen years simply no longer existed.
Alas, it wasn’t the case.
“No.” She grinned. “I think we should stick to a normal meal.”
“Has your palate widened, or are you still Maki girl.”
She smiled. “Still a Maki kind of woman,” she corrected him as she went back to perusing the large menu. “I’m not eating raw chunks of fish.” She shuddered. “No way. No thank you.”
“You realize it’s raw in some of the Maki you eat.”
She looked up and he was watching her, with a sexy smile on his lips.
“The rice and nori cover it up,” she proclaimed.
He laughed. Deep and full of life. It made her happy thinking about how much she missed his laugh. It was something he did often while they were married. His laugh always made her smile. It was infectious.
“It’s still raw.”
“Keep it up and I’m going back to eating California Rolls!”
The waiter came, interrupting their playfulness. After giving their drink order and appetizer, they both continued to study the menu.
“They have a meal for two. A Love Boat, which is a mix of Sashimi, Sushi, and Maki if you’re feeling adventurous.”
She seen it when she looked over the menu earlier. “I’m game. But I’m going to order the Spicy Crab Roll. It sounds heavenly.”
“Will you share?”
Closing her menu with a snap, she laid it down on the table next to his. “Depends. Are you a good boy?”
He laughed. “I’m no boy, Pepper. I’m all man.”
Pepper.
She hadn’t heard her nickname in such a long time it startled her. He had given it to her when they first began dating. He claimed it had to do with her red hair. Later, when they were engaged, he told her it was because he suspected she had a fiery temper to match her hair. Instead of it making her sad, it made her feel…happy. This could be dangerous. He was determined to rekindle their previous life together, whereas she was determined to keep this strictly about pleasure.
“Oh please.” She rested her elbow on the table, tucking her hand under her chin. “We both know all men are boys on some level, easily excited by a pair of tits and ass.”
He snorted. “You got me.”
The waiter returned to their table, placing their appetizers down. Jackson ordered, adding on her additional rolls. From time to time, it was nice having a man who knew when to take charge and when to back off. Shifting in her seat, the pleather creaked and groaned causing him to stare steadily at her.
“Problems?” he asked.
She ignored his question and picked up her chopsticks. She snagged one of the plump Japanese dumplings with her sticks and plopped it into her mouth.
She groaned as the tang and spice of the dumpling exploded on her tongue as she chewed. “Oh, my... Those are amazing.”
“Orgasmic, perhaps?” he teased as he picked up his own chopsticks and followed her lead of picking up the dumpling off the plate.
She watched as he lazily placed the dumpling on his tongue. Enthralled as his lips smacked and his strong jaw moved up and down as he chewed. He was really good with those lips, especially when he’d buried his head between her legs and ate her out.
“I wouldn’t go quite that far.” She reached for another Gyoza with the hopes of distracting the path her mind was taking, only to find her path blocked by his chopsticks.
“How far would you go?” he asked.
She suspected his question had nothing to do with food, and everything to do with sex. “As far as I wanted to,” she answered, not willing to give him the advantage.
A well-placed smack with her sticks against his had him backing off, giving her access to the plate. Picking up another dumpling, this time she dipped it into the sauce and popped into her mouth.
He pushed the plate closer to her, nudging the dumplings with one of his sticks. “Go ahead and eat up. Watching you eat those damn things is enough to make me want to come in my pants.”
Her gaze flew from the plate to his face. Only to realize he wasn’t teasing her. He was dead fucking serious.



*AMAZON*   *iBOOKS*   *NOOK*   *KOBO*



Saturday, 22 July 2017

The Authors of Wanna Be Bad- Elizabeth Kirke

Wanna Be Bad is an anthology of  hot and sexy stories about forty-something women who find their first (or second) chance at love, after spending most of their adult life focused on other things. This week, I'm introducing you to the fabulous authors who have contributed to this collection.

Today, I'm featuring Elizabeth Kirke, author of Doing it Right.

Is there a genre you haven't written in but you'd really like to try?
Cozy mysteries! I’ve always loved a good cheesy mystery book and it seems like a quirky little genre. From what I can tell they have their own little conventions to follow, so it’s going to be quite different from my current genres. As it happens, I recently started plotting one!

Where do you get your information or ideas for your books?
A lot is experience. I’ve always jumped from thing to thing and done a lot of little bits. For example in college I did a semester of each: kickboxing, rowing, kendo, and fencing. I was always being told to pick something and stick with it, but I realize now I was just collecting enough information for character development! A lot of my hobbies pop up in books and places are often loosely (or heavily) based on places I’ve been. I worked at a historical site for a number of years, so my paranormal romance series based in an antique shop draws from that.
My story in Wanna Be Bad takes place on the island of Saint Martin/Sint Maarten, which is actually somewhere I’ve been, so the setting is drawn entirely from my experiences there. At the same time, the plot actually came around when I was going through some of my souvenirs from a trip in high school and wishing I had gotten less stupid t-shirts and kitschy stuff you can get anywhere and gotten more cultural stuff instead. That led to thinking about some other stuff I did on the trip that was dumb – like wasting an ENTIRE day wandering a town in France looking for hair dye instead of wandering the TOWN. Which led to wishing I could go re-do the trip and not have regrets 20 years down the road. And voila: the plot.

What did you want to be when you were younger?
When I was very, very young I wanted to be an artist. As soon as I learned how to write that turned into author.
After her marriage crumbled, Natalie looked back fondly on her vacation to Saint Martin. Even though she and her ex-husband, Blake, started dating during that trip, it reminded her of her youth. The island was the last place she felt free and happy. The last time she felt like herself. 
Until she finds her old Saint Martin journal and discovers that her imagination had sugar-coated the trip. Just like her marriage, she spent her vacation following Blake, hoping he’d notice her. The pages were full of regrets of things she hadn’t done, because he hadn’t wanted to.
Instead of wallowing in self-pity, Natalie decides to reclaim the independent woman she used to be. Armed with her journal, Natalie books a trip back to the island. This time, she’s going to do what she wants. She’s going to have the perfect vacation she remembered. She’s going to do it right.

Excerpt:

What the hell was I doing?
Wasn’t I here to not have regrets?! How on earth did making out with my high school sweetheart fix that? If things became awkward between us now, so soon after we reconnected, I’d be furious with myself.
It was hard, but I pulled away from him, putting my fingers over my lips. “I’m sorry… I don’t know what came over me…”
“It’s okay.”
“I should go to bed.” Before he could answer, I jumped up and hurried upstairs. I was still wide awake when the others got back. It sounded like they decided to get in the hot tub.
“Is Natalie okay?” Mary’s voice drifted up into my open balcony door.
“She said she wasn’t feeling well,” Darren said. “We may have gone a bit heavy on the rum.” I silently thanked him for not saying anything. “How is she, with the divorce?” he continued. “It’s not really something we’ve talked about.”
“I think she’s handling it really well,” Mary said. “I mean, she’s obviously still upset about it, but I think this trip is good for her.”
“More like she’s realizing what an ass Blake was,” Nate added.
“Nate!” I couldn’t tell if it was Mary or Tanya. Maybe it was both of them.
“Well, that’s half the reason we’re here,” Nate said.
“What do you mean?” Darren asked.
Don’t tell him, don’t tell him. I thought. Knowing Nate he’d keep my secrets… unless he thought telling someone would help.
I listened as Nate explained how finding my journal had ruined the memory of the trip I had held on to for so long. Even though I wished he wasn’t telling anyone, somehow listening to him explain it made me feel better. He got it. And his succinct explanation seemed logical. Like my profound disappointment of reading about the trip wasn’t just emotional and irrational.
“I’m glad you talked her into coming,” Darren said, after Nate filled him in, with some help from Mary.
“Me too,” Mary said.
“I think… I think she might enjoy a girls’ day out tomorrow,” Darren said. “I’m glad we’re all here for her, but I think it’s hard to be stuck with two married couples all the time. Not to mention her ex.”



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