Shifting priorities, knuckling down, and doing whatever is necessary to finish the book and turn it in on time. It is point of pride and professionalism that I have never missed a deadline.
However, Mother Nature threw a monkey wrench in the works with this book when she sent Sandy careening toward NJ. We were very lucky and only lost one tree—it fell toward the backyard—and were only without power for 10 days and the internet for 12…did I mention that my poor old laptop only works when it’s plugged in?
Yeah…this is my brain on deadline…OH…and that it was right as my Virtual Tour for the first book in my Small Town Series began? Yep…Mother Nature does have a sense of humor. So mid-deadline, I had to learn how to cope with Windows 8...but had a laptop that would work on battery-mode! Yay!
I love our darling grandbaby to pieces and babysit for him when his momma and daddy are at work…right before the holidays it was insane! Did I mention our darling girl is in retail? As you can imagine it was crazy-busy here during the holidays…did I tell you that I hadn’t shopped for anyone since I was busy babysitting and writing? LOL! You get the picture.
So…here I am with 7 days left to turn in the book and my characters decide that they do NOT want to get with the program and follow my plan. Characters usually know what they are talking about and I’ve learned not to ignore their voices when they are yelling at me to go left when my synopsis clearly says to go right. <sigh>
I’m crazy about the hero in book 3…former FDNY firefighter, Patrick Garahan, moved to Ohio after a tragedy on the job makes it impossible for him to stay. He is the second oldest of 7—4 boys and 3 girls…and has cousins in Pleasure, Texas—that’s right dear readers: Tyler, Dylan and Jesse…and cousins in Colorado…those handsome U.S. Marshals the Justiss brothers: Matt and Ben.
Before I get back to Patrick and Grace and plead with them to do things my way, I’ll leave with you the opening to Chapter Three:
The game was on and her nephews were running around, screaming like little heathens. “Watch out!” she warned as Danny nearly collided with the back of Patrick’s knees, but the man seemed to have a sixth sense where little people were concerned, and stepped to the side at the last minute.
Her nephew tumbled to the grass, but got up like a shot, sporting a grass stain that she knew her sister wouldn’t be able to remove without a fight. Two minutes later Joey tried the same move on their honorary Uncle Pat and ended up sprawled on the grass. Their delighted laughter lightened her heart, but the added depth of the men’s laughter was music to her ears.
Grace acknowledged that it had been too long in between visits home. She thrived here, and maybe that was the biggest motivator to her looking for a job in the city—she was afraid she couldn’t exist anywhere else…afraid that she’d lose the tie to her family, like the one she’d already lost when her mother died tragically.
She needed to be the one to sever the chord in order to find out if Apple Grove was her destiny…or if it lay somewhere farther west…in the big city. Grace was Irish to the bone and had been raised to believe in fate, destiny, karma, and the all-important Murphy’s Law, and knew she had to go.
Wisps of her childhood dream teased at the edge of her memory…she remembered dreaming of a tall and handsome man…smiling at children—playing with them. Her brain struggled to pull the rest of the details from that long ago dream, but got caught when questions filled her heart.
Had the long and winding road brought her back to Apple Grove because of her dream?
Why had Patrick been here today?
Was it the Universe, or someone a lot more down to Earth, who arranged their meeting again this way?
Was she meant to stay?
Her thoughts circled around and around until she had no way of sorting them out.
“Hey?” a strong callused had had a hold of her elbow. “Are you all right?” The warmth of that hand snapped her out of it and down off the proverbial hamster’s wheel.
The concern in Patrick’s gaze added to the warmth his touch ignited. He cared. The trick would be figuring out whether it was caring about her as a person…or if was the something more he’d hinted at when he’d gotten into her personal space earlier.
Grace finally found her voice. “Yes. Fine. Why?” Was I staring at you like an idiot? She sure as hell wouldn’t be asking him that.
“You got quiet all of the sudden,” he said. “When one of my sisters does that, it usually means, she’s solving the worlds’ problems or worried about something.”
She smiled. “How many sisters do you have again?”
He grinned. “Three younger sisters.”
“Do they have adorable freckles across the bridge of their noses like you do?” As soon as the words left her lips, her hands flew to her mouth and her eyes flew open wide. Dork!
Patrick’s cheeks turned an interesting shade of pink. She’d embarrassed herself and
him! Way to go making a great impression on the first guy who set off sparks inside her in more than a year.
“I’ll uh…take that as a compliment?”
She blew out a breath. “I’m sorry…sometimes the words in my head sortof slip out of my mouth.”
“So you didn’t mean to bring up the fact that I’ve got freckles?” His tone was light and his manner, endearing as he tried to get her to fess up.
“No,” she said. “But since the cat’s out of the bag…they really are adorable.”
He straightened to his full height, puffed out his broad chest and pounded on it with a fist, saying, “I’m a man…men are not adorable.”
“Mommy calls daddy, ‘dorable all the time,” Joey said, patting Patrick’s jean-clad leg.
“Jeez,” Dan hissed. “Nothing is sacred once you become a parent.”
Patrick grinned and nodded. “I hear the most interesting things from my nieces and nephews…out of the mouths of babes.”
Grace realized that he’d glossed over the fact that she thought he was adorable, but she knew he’d been touched by her words, if those intense glances he shot her way every few minutes were any indication. Deciding to test her theory, she took a step closer to where he stood and watched for a reaction. His body tensed. Oh my!
For whatever reason, this handsome hunk of fireman was interested in her—the youngest of the Mulcahy sisters…the only one who doesn’t really know how to use power tools or a plumber’s wrench. The black sheep of the family, the only one who’d left home to make a life for herself…the only one who wasn’t wand slim.
Maybe he was thinking about something else and it wasn’t a reaction to her nearness. Needing to find out, she moved to stand beside him and touched his arm. The muscles in his forearm jumped beneath her fingertips. She looked down at his arm until she heard his sharply indrawn breath, then she glanced up and felt her heart skip a beat watching the desire swirling in his amber eyes. Desire for her.