Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Amanda Quick Goes Hollywood, 1930's Style

Posted by Susan B James on 1:36:00 AM with No comments

Amanda Quick, Jayne Anne Krentz's nom de plume for her Victorian suspense thrillers, has taken a step into the future. The Girl Who Knew To Much is set in the world of 1930's Hollywood. 

Amanda/Jayne Anne Krentz held a question/answer session at The Ripped Bodice in Culver City.
The Ripped Bodice is the only bookstore I know devoted exclusively to the romance genre. I waited to buy her book until the session because it didn't seem polite to come with an already purchased copy and ask her to autograph it. After the session I hurried home to read it. It was worth waiting for. But then I knew it would be.
I filmed the Ripped Bodice interview, thinking to use portions of the video in this blog. Alas, the sound is too soft. You can watch it on Vimeo. Here are a questions from it.

Why 1930's California?
This is the first book in my whole life that I've ever come up with a one sentence description of a book. We call it the elevator pitch. "A failed magician, a hired killer and a celebrity gossip columnist walk into a 1930's Hollywood bar." And I have to tell you when I started this book I got that same rush as when I started my first Regency. I knew this world. I realized the vibe of the world clicked with the kind of characters I do. My heroes and heroines are usually in the process of reinventing themselves and that fits perfectly in 1930's California.

 What are some of the things you discovered in your research that were interesting?.
Well, I can tell you right now that Jockey Briefs were invented in 1935.
And the elegant draped men's cut suit. The one we know today that is broad in the shoulders and kind of narrow at the waist? It was invented by a Brit and was a real hit in the US. One of the reasons was you could wear a gun under it.
I usually start from a sociological point of view. The clothing they wear interests me. They food that they eat. Hey, when was the last time you saw abalone on a menu? It was on every major menu in 1935.
I stumble across factoids and sooner or later I know that one of those factoids will translate into a plot point I can use.
I stumbled across the fact that radar, which became so critical to World War II, was in the process of being developed in the 1930's. Every major nations was working on it and in every major nation, it was all top secret stuff. Getting that information into a small device that could sit on a battleship was the big goal. Do you have any idea how hard it is to write a book about radar when the word didn't get invented until 1941?
And of course there were great cars. The hero drives a Cord. 

I love Cords. They are beautiful pieces of art.

What's coming next?
The next book will definitely be set in the thirties. In the same world. After that I'm going to wait and see how my audience reacts. I hope they love it as much as I do. 

Personally, I loved every moment of The Girl Who Knew Too Much  
Amanda Quick's traditional wit and style fit beautifully in this new venue.
I love her protagonists and the beautifully developed characters surrounding them. I know there is going to be another story in Burning Cove and I wish I didn't have to wait a year for the next one.

Anna Harris runs from a dangerous nightmare to start a new life in Hollywood. Her new identity is Irene Glasson, string reporter for a Hollywood gossip magazine.

Irene's first big story leads her to The Burning Cove Hotel, an exclusive resort in a small town up the coast. The favorite haunt of Hollywood moguls and stars who want privacy.

When Irene arrives for her meeting, she expects to get a tip on the latest up and coming leading man, Nick Tremayne. She doesn't plan on finding the body of her source at the bottom of the pool.

Now Irene’s investigation into the drowning threatens to tear down the wall of illusion that is so deftly built around the famous actor, and there are powerful men willing to do anything to protect their investment.

Seeking the truth, Irene finds herself drawn to a master of deception. Oliver Ward was once a world-famous magician—until he was mysteriously injured during his last performance. Now the owner of the Burning Cove Hotel, he can’t let scandal threaten his livelihood, even if it means trusting Irene, a woman who seems to have appeared in Los Angeles out of nowhere four months ago…

With Oliver’s help, Irene soon learns that the glamorous paradise of Burning Cove hides dark and dangerous secrets. And that the past—always just out of sight—could drag them both under…

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Allie and Bea is a Keeper #Giveaway

Posted by Susan B James on 4:30:00 AM with 2 comments
How do you cross young adult fiction with women's fiction? Go ask best selling author, Catherine Ryan Hyde who did it beautifully in Allie and Bea  
Allie and Bea debuts today on Amazon from their Lake Union publishing arm. For audio book lovers it' looks like it's going to be available at Audio Book Store. Right now at Amazon, if you buy the eBook you can add audio to it. (I went over to the Audio Book Store and listened to a sample and I really liked the narrator I heard. There are two narrators, one for each POV, I assume.)

Blurb: Bea has barely been scraping by since her husband died. After falling for a telephone scam, she loses everything and is forced to abandon her trailer. With only two-thirds of a tank in her old van, she heads toward the Pacific Ocean with her cat—on a mission to reclaim what’s rightfully hers, even if it means making others pay for what she lost.
When fifteen-year-old Allie’s parents are jailed for tax fraud, she’s sent to a group home. But when her life is threatened by another resident, she knows she has to get out. She escapes only to find she has nowhere to go—until fate throws Allie in Bea’s path.
Reluctant to trust each other, much less become friends, the two warily make their way up the Pacific Coast. Yet as their hearts open to friendship and love from the strangers they meet on their journey, they find the courage to forge their own unique family—and begin to see an imperfect world with new eyes.
ALLIE AND BEA proves that it’s never too late to start over and that in losing everything, you might just gain the courage to live the life you truly want.

I found Allie and Bea an absorbing and wonderful story. I was completely involved in both their view points and I think that both lovers of women's fiction and ya fiction will take the book to their hearts.
I received an ARC of Allie and Bea from Little Bird Publicity. 
I also received a giveaway copy to share one with a lucky reader.
a Rafflecopter giveaway
And I am very grateful to them for introducing me to Catherine Ryan Hyde. I love her writing.. Catherine was born in Buffalo, NY, which is also my home town and now loves in Cambria, CA.
I found this interview at Writer's Relief

Catherine Ryan Hyde is the award-winning author of thirty published and forthcoming books, including WorthyThe Language of HoofbeatsTake Me With YouDon’t Let Me GoWhen I Found You, and Pay It Forward, which was adapted into the Warner Brothers major motion picture starring Kevin Spacey and Helen Hunt.
Every writer has to learn how the publishing business works. How did you do it?
I joined the local Cambria Writers Workshop. I joined the semi-local SLO (San Luis Obispo) Nightwriters. I scratched up the money to go to conferences such as The Cuesta College Writers Conference and the larger Santa Barbara Writers Conference. I read my work out loud, even though I nearly died of stage fright. In doing so, I caught the attention of more experienced writers willing to mentor me. Then I utilized their kind offers of mentorship for all they were worth. They were worth a lot.
What role does social media play in staying connected to readers and/or building an audience?
In my mind, social media has replaced the book tour. Once upon a time, my publisher would send me to various cities on tour. I’d languish in airports, watch a lot of CNN in hotel rooms, and hope that more than four people would turn up at the bookstores. It hardly seemed worth it, but my publishers felt it was important for bookstore employees and readers to meet me. It breeds loyalty when a reader feels he or she knows the author. Today I build the same loyal relationships on Twitter and Facebook—from my easy chair at home. That makes my dog happy. And I hate that kind of travel, so it makes me happy too.
What was the biggest stumbling block or frustration for you so far, and how did you overcome it?
I think my biggest frustration was the fact that people loved the Pay It Forward concept, but really didn’t pay much attention to the book. At least, not as much as I had hoped. That’s one downside to a movie. People can just see the movie instead. It’s also an odd feature of a book with a lift-out message. People lifted it out and left the book behind.
I’m not bemoaning the fact that more people didn’t read the book. People can read or not read whatever they choose. But people would proclaim themselves my biggest fans, even ask me to fly across the country to speak to their groups, without ever reading a word I’d written. At the time my career was in a slump and I was having trouble staying out of Day Job Land, so I minded. Now I’m doing well with the newer books and able to be more circumspect. So getting by as an author again was enough to overcome it. I just had to keep moving forward.
Fill in the blank. Rejection is____________.
Not always as much of a judgment on the quality of our writing as we assume it to be.
Has a particular rejection ever been helpful to you? What were the details?
Yes, once a combination of an acceptance and a rejection was extremely helpful. My first short story acceptance came to me from a literary magazine called South Dakota Review. The editor said I’d shown “great poise” in the way I’d “depicted the characters with brief brush strokes.” The same story had just been rejected by a smaller, less prestigious literary magazine whose editor felt there was a “hollowness” to the characters.
From this I learned two important things: 1) Some editor may love your work for exactly the same reason another editor doesn’t. 2) Unless you agree that the editor has pointed out a valid flaw, revising your work based on comments in rejections will usually get you nowhere.
This article has been reprinted with the permission of Writer’s Relief, a highly recommended author’s submission service. We assist writers with preparing their submissions and researching the best markets. We have a service for every budget, as well as a free e-publication for writers, Submit Write Now! Visit our site today to learn more.
I hope you enjoyed this. Happy Memorial Day to all of you.

Monday, May 22, 2017

Maggie Marr's Bad Boy Billionaires sale plus Rafflecopter giveaway.

Posted by Susan B James on 6:01:00 PM with No comments
Maggie Marr , 2017 RWA Pro Mentor of the Year,  has a deal going on.
Her Eligible Billionaires Boxed Set Books 1-5 is on Sale Now through May 29th
 Tomorrow, May 23, that deal will be on Book Bub. 
Now you know that to be on Book Bub, you have to have lots of good reviews. Can't Buy Me Love, book 1 of her Eligible Billionaire series, has 67 reviews with a four-star average.

Meet Cole, Tristan, Nick, Ryan, and Trevor. 
Jet set from South America, to L.A. from the exotic resort of Mesquale to France, with a media mogul, corporate raider, real estate tycoon, resort owner, and restaurant heir. Each Bad Boy Billionaire is shockingly sexy both in and out of the bedroom. Enjoy all five of the Bad Boy Eligible Billionaires! 
Maggie is also offering a $25 Amazon Gift Certificate on Rafflecopter. If you buy the $.99 Box set through the Rafflecopter, you're entered to win the Amazon Gift Certificate.
Happy reading.

a Rafflecopter giveaway
Buy Links

Maggie Marr is the author of contemporary romance and women’s fiction. She writes smart, sexy, women and the men they love. She got her start in Hollywood pushing the mail cart at ICM, but quickly rose through the ranks to become a motion picture literary agent. As well as writing, she maintains a boutique legal practice dedicated to the needs of creatives & entrepreneurs. She is the current President of Los Angeles Romance Authors (LARA) and legal adviser to the Women’s Fiction Writers Association (WFWA). Maggie loves all things pop culture and when she isn’t taking care of her clients or writing she can be found reading, chasing kids, or exercising her rescue pup

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Author Eva Moore is Someone Special

Posted by Susan B James on 3:00:00 AM with 4 comments
Eva Moore is a new author to me. Her book. Someone Special is free through May 31st. I urge you to grab a copy. https://smile.amazon.com/Someone-Special-Girls-Night-Book-ebook/dp/B00STSYOXY 
When I read the excerpt at the end of this post, I loved it enough to grab my copy and start reading. I am halfway through it and I know my next Amazon buy will be Eva’s next book, Second Chances, which released April 14th. I am not a fan of the covers because I am not attracted by black and white photos, but I am definitely a fan of her writing.

Eva, please tell us a little about yourself.
 I’m Eva Moore. I write sexy and sweet contemporary romance. After several hops around the globe, including Chicago, San Jose, and Singapore, my husband and I have settled down in Northern California, and my characters have followed me for the sunshine. In addition to writing, I am also raising three darling daughters and two shih tzus who think they are cats. This is my circus, and those are my monkeys. I began writing when I was trapped at home with a toddler and an infant. I had lost all of my precious reading time to diapers and dishes so I began creating characters to play with while I folded laundry. After a while they bugged me so much, I had to start getting them down on paper. I haven’t looked back since!

I love firsts, so tell me about the moment when you decided to self-publish Someone Special.
 I first decided to publish Someone Special on my 35th birthday as a milestone goal for myself. Happy birthday to me! I kept learning more and more about writing through my involvement with my local RWA. When I re-read my work, I realized it needed work. So I pulled it down and rewrote it completely. Then I went through two rounds of editing with a professional editor. I republished it this January and I couldn’t be prouder of how far my book baby has come. When you think about it, I spent more time “pregnant” with this book than with two of my children combined! It is amazing when I reflect on how much I’ve learned in the last two years. Of course, I kept working on other stories, too. 
You should be proud. It's a delightful book. I am so happy to have discovered it. And I want the name of your editor in case I get brave enough to self publish.

What is the most exciting moment, so far, in your writing career?

The most exciting moment of my career came just this January. I was stunned when the fourth book in this series, Forever Nights, won Cherry Adair’s Finish The Damn Book Contest. This is a wonderfully supportive contest. If you are struggling to stay motivated, this could be the contest for you. The prize is overwhelming. Cherry is providing a custom cover, professional editing by a New York editor, and a promotional tour. So now I have been hustling to get the first three books up to speed with professional editing, covers, etc. Thankfully, the cover designer who worked with me on Forever Nights was available to work with me on the covers for Someone Special, Second Chances, and Three Strikes. They are gorgeous, and I can’t wait to show you.
Is the fourth book about Jamie, who we meet in Someone Special? I really want to read her story.

What is your favorite pastime, other than writing?
The one thing I love to do, almost as much as I love to write, is cooking. My children are grateful. The only problem is that I rarely follow a recipe more than once. I love to improvise with what I find in the fridge. Thankfully it usually turns out well, but when the kids ask me to make something again, I’m screwed!

Got a recipe you want to share?
Food often finds its way into my books as well. In Someone Special, Dani Carmichael makes amazing chocolate chip cookies that begin to soften Army veteran Nick Gantry’s hardened heart. They also softened my waistline while I was writing, but hey, the things I do for my research…

Here’s the recipe! 

Dani’s Chocolate Chip Cookies

3 cups of flour
1 t baking soda
½ t salt
1 c butter, softened
½ c granulated white sugar
1 c brown sugar, tightly packed
2 t vanilla
2 eggs
1 c semisweet chocolate chips
1 c dark chocolate chips
½ c walnuts (optional)

Cream together butter, sugar, and vanilla until pale yellow and fluffy, either with a mixer or a wooden spoon. Add eggs one at a time and mix well. Sift flour, baking soda, and salt together and add to the wet mixture. Mix until well combined. Add chocolates at the end and mix again. Drop heaping teaspoons of dough two inches apart on greased cookie sheets. For larger cookies, use a measured 1/3 cup and flatten a little before baking. Bake at 350 degrees F for 8-10 minutes. If you want them soft, remove them when lightly browned. Let it go a little longer for a crisper finish. Let them sit on the baking sheet for 1 minute before moving to a cooling rack. Makes 6-7 dozen, depending on size. I will be trying this recipe, darn you. But my friends will be grateful.

Tell us about Someone Special.
Someone Special is Book 1 in the Girls’ Night Out Series, which follows four girlfriends as they figure out life and love. In Book One, Dani Carmichael loses someone close to her and is struggling to get back on her feet. Her life has turned upside-down in a matter of months. Sex is the very last thing on her mind. Processing her grief? Yes. Rallying her girlfriends? Definitely. Starting a new career? Sure. But finding a man is way down on the list. Until she meets her new neighbor, Army Vet, Nick Gantry. His hidden wounds and his bare chest tempt Dani to risk her bruised heart.

Nick is looking for a place to hide away and heal, after his last tour in Iraq. The apartment building close to the VA seems perfect, until he discovers the girl next door he can’t ignore. She deserves more than he can give her, but her sexy smiles and sinful cookies shake his ‘just friends’ resolution.

After their undeniable chemistry explodes, Nick beats a hasty retreat, afraid of hurting her. Dani is left angry and alone, picking up the pieces. He’ll have to battle his demons to convince her that she is truly someone special. She must decide if she can trust the man who broke her heart.

Here is the first chapter:

Chapter 1
            “This is better than cable!” remarked Mrs. Grady, from her habitual perch by the window.  Dani looked up from the stove.  Something good must be happening two stories below on their normally quiet street.  Dani briefly turned her attention back to the bubbling pots on the stove.  Confident that her three meals were coming along nicely, she tucked her unruly curls behind her ear and turned from the kitchen to join her neighbor at the window. 
            Below, two very muscular men, with shirts removed in deference to the fierce sun and brutal heat weltering up from the pavement, were wrestling an ugly sofa in through the double front doors of the building.  Their lean muscles and trim waists twisted and flexed with effort.  Dani’s face flushed with heat, a welcome change from her recent numbness.
            “They can move my furniture anytime! Then again, I’m not sure my blood pressure could handle it!”  Mrs. Grady cackled.  Dani continued to observe the scene below.  While the slick and straining bodies held her gaze, the implications flooded her thoughts.
            “I bet they’re moving in the new tenant across the hall from us.”  An empty ache spread through her chest as Dani was hit by the grief that she managed to keep just below the surface.  “Well, across from me. It will be strange having someone else living there in my old place.”  Her throat tightened at the reminder that she was living alone in Helen’s apartment now.
            She returned to the kitchen, grasping for calm, trying to avoid sinking into her grief.  She drained the pasta, mixed in the homemade marinara sauce along with some freshly grated Parmesan, and reduced the chicken soup to a simmer.  At least managing to create three large meals at once required her attention.  She spun too quickly and knocked a wooden spoon to the floor.  With a huff of frustration, she threw the offending utensil into the sink.
            “Are you ok, Sunny?”
            “Yeah, sometimes it just hits me that she’s gone.  That she won’t sit at your Wednesday night dinner again.  That she won’t ever tell another crazy story about her service or her travels.  That no one will be there when I open the door.  It’s just hard.” Dani’s voice cracked and her shoulders drooped under the weight of her sadness.
            “I know, sweetheart. I miss her too. She was my best friend.” Dani let herself be bundled into a hug, even though it was a poor substitute for the hug she missed.
            “Mine, too. Now that she’s gone, I feel lost.”
            “That’s normal, dear.  After all you practically gave up your life to take care of her these last six months.”
            “What did I give up? A lackluster career in accounting and a dead end social life down in Houston? You know as well as I do, I didn’t belong there. No. I gained so much more, moving up here to help out. I met all of you, and got to spend more time with Aunt Helen.  And with how quickly her health failed…well, I wouldn’t have wanted to be anywhere else.”
            The pancreatic cancer had snuck in under the radar, and when they found it, it was too late. It hit vicious and fast. She’d been home for Christmas when Aunt Helen broke the news. Now, it was June and she was alone again.
            “I know she loved having you with her. You were the grandchild of her heart.”
Her grandfather’s sister, Aunt Helen had never married. She had no children of her own, and had spoiled Dani and her sisters like crazy as a result. Summer trips wherever Aunt Helen happened to be living that year, fantastic surprises from abroad, and boxes of massive navel oranges every New Years were her trademarks.  And her stories!  Dani had vivid memories of curling up at the foot of her chair and listening to her tell stories of her time as a Navy librarian during World War II in her irreverent and slightly salty way. Dani let the fond memories roll through her mind. 
            “Remember how pissed she was when Dad brought up the idea of a nursing home?”
            “Oh my goodness! I thought she’d have a stroke then and there, and save us another trip back to the hospital. She was not a woman to tolerate limits on her independence.”
             That independent spirit was her trademark, and Dani hadn’t been able to stomach the idea of Helen losing that. When she had refused chemo and radiation, and begun to look at hospice care, Dani had offered to move into the vacant apartment across the hall and help take care of her. The move set her family at ease, and Dani felt blessed that she could help her surrogate grandmother wring every last drop of joy from her remaining days. They had visited favorite haunts and dear friends until leaving the apartment had become too difficult. Hospice nurses had come to handle Aunt Helen’s medical needs, and give Dani a few much needed breaks. Just handling her personal care had become a full time job near the end. Dani had given up her month to month lease on the apartment across the hall and moved to Helen’s couch. Given the moving crew, she assumed her old apartment wouldn’t be empty anymore.
            Aunt Helen was gone, and Dani was as lost as ever. All of her things from her apartment were boxed and shoved into corners. She was surrounded by the remnants of her aunt’s life, and it was difficult to see how hers could share the space. She’d always had trouble figuring out where she fit in. Growing up she’d been told she was someone special, that she could do whatever she wanted. But what if she couldn’t figure out what that was? After going to college in Houston, she’d accepted a job working as an accountant at a multi-national energy firm. It had been lucrative, but it hadn’t been satisfying, and her asshole ex-boyfriend even less so. She'd been sprinting on the hamster wheel and going nowhere. She had zero desire to hop back on. Coming home hadn’t been a hardship, but what now?
            “Moving in was the best thing for both of us. She kept her freedom, and I gained my own. But now I have too much freedom. I have no job, no friends, and no idea what to do about any of it.  And I’ve got all of her estate to handle…I keep losing hours at a time just holding an afghan she knit or rearranging the framed postcards from her travels.” The tears she’d been fighting to hold back ran silently down her cheeks.
            “It’s a big job.  Don’t rush it.  You’ve got a lot to deal with.  Losing Helen was hard on us all.  Just keep putting one foot in front of the other.  Come to our dinners.  Talk to your friends.  Bake her favorite desserts.  Share stories of her that make you laugh instead of cry.  It will get easier with time.”
            The timer ding pulled Dani from her maudlin thoughts, and she bent to remove the shepherd’s pie from the oven.  She set it aside to cool and quickly packed everything else into the fridge.  At least her neighbors would benefit from her lack of a plan.
            Dani turned back from the fridge, wiping the tears of frustration and grief from her cheeks.  She had to shake things up and move on with her life.  It’s what Aunt Helen had wanted, and she knew she had to live up to her end of the bargain.  When Helen had agreed to let her come help, it was always with the understanding that when she was gone, Dani would take up the reins to her life and do something spectacular.  Now if I could just figure out what that is...
            “Well, Mrs. Grady, you’re all set.  You’ve got the shepherd’s pie for Monday night, the spaghetti and meatballs for Wednesday, and chicken soup for Thursday.  Make sure you nuke a vegetable to go with. I stocked your freezer today, so you should have plenty to choose from.  Also, let Mr. Leland know that I left the fennel out of the soup this time, just for him.  Tell everyone I said hi.”  She gathered her things and moved toward the door.
            “Are you sure you won’t join us, Sunny?  I worry about you eating alone so much.”
            The use of her aunt’s favorite nickname for her sparked a brief smile, but Dani shook her head.  “I just...can’t yet.  Maybe next week.”  To be honest, she couldn’t stand to see the sadness in her heart reflected back in the eyes of her aunt’s friends.  It was bad enough to feel it herself.  “I’m going to go bake some cookies to welcome our new neighbor to the building.  I’ll extend an invite to your dinner party on Wednesday, if you’d like.” 
            “The more, the merrier, I always say.  And if he turns out to be a bachelor, send him over on Tuesday!”  Still chuckling, Mrs. Grady closed the door behind her, and Dani waited to hear the bolt snick in the lock.  She’d fallen into the habit of checking up on her neighbors when Aunt Helen had gotten too weak to do it herself. Making meals, listening for locks, dropping off mail, it didn’t take long and helped a lot. Sometimes it felt like those were the only things she accomplished in a day. “I really need to change that,” she muttered.
            Dani walked down the hallway, skirting past a pile of boxes left outside the door across the hall from hers.  One of the moving men came out of the apartment for another load, and sent her an appreciative glance and smile.  Dani ducked her head with a blush and quickly headed inside.  Why hadn’t she said hi? Why on Earth had she blushed?  She had to get out more, preferably with a male of the species. Shaking her head over her reaction and the dismal prospect of that happening any time soon, she pushed aside her worries in the kitchen, baking her famous dark chocolate chunk cookies for her mystery neighbor. 

“I don’t know how you managed it, man.”
            “Managed what?”
            “You pick an apartment in what is practically an assisted living home, and end up with a bombshell across the hall. I got a place in the new high rise downtown, and my neighbor is the cat lady. Some guys have all the luck!” Seth plopped down on the couch that had just recently been shoved through the narrow doorway and into place. He stretched his arms up high over his head and groaned as his shoulders released their tension. “How many more trips do we have to make?”
            “Two more trips with boxes, the TV, and then the mattresses,” Nick replied. He slicked his sweat soaked hair back from his forehead and flopped on the couch next to his buddy. “Tell me more about the bombshell.”
            “5’7”, blonde, stacked, but shy, ducked into the apartment across the way.”
            “Maybe she just isn’t used to seeing bare chested men roaming the halls. Like you said, this building doesn’t exactly cater to the younger crowd.”
            “I still don’t know why you picked this place. There are openings in my building. We could’ve been kings.”
            “Now you get to be king all by yourself. You won’t have to worry about any unfair competition from this quarter.” Nick deflected his friend’s concern into the competitive insults that defined their friendship.
            “Unfair, my ass! You know you’d be hiding in my shadow,” Seth replied, and it was on. Break time over, Nick and Seth heaved themselves up off the couch and headed back down to the truck for the last few loads.  Carrying the conversation back out into the hallway, they continued hauling Nick’s few possessions into his new place. Thankfully the apartment was small enough that it didn’t feel empty with his lack of stuff. The small bedroom was now filled with a bed and dresser, and the living room/kitchen open space was just big enough for his hand-me-down couch and a kitchen table. Furniture shopping was not high on his to-do list.
            “What does your mom think of your new place?”
            “I could move into a dump, and she'd still be ecstatic that I came back home. Dad is already pressuring me to take over the business. That is much easier to accomplish with me close at hand. I think she wants to send my cousins over to renovate the place. Tile counter tops offend her. I keep reminding her it's just a rental."
            "Are you going to do it?"
            “What, get new counter tops?"
            “No. Take over the business from your dad.” Nick hefted a box up on his shoulder, wondering what it would feel like to have a family that cared as much as Seth’s.
            “Not right away. I want a little freedom first. I just got back and already they want me to jump right back into all that responsibility. No way. But eventually, yeah, that was always the plan, now that my days of "seeing the world" are over."
            "No one said you had to leave the sandbox.”
            “If I never see sand again, it'll be too soon.”
            “So instead you'll join your cousins in the general contracting business."
            "They promised I could start helping with demolitions."     "That fits. You've always been good at breaking shit. Do they expect the house to still be standing when you’re done?”
            “Shut up. Have I broken anything today?"
            "Not much to break.”
            The stacks of boxes and the few pieces of furniture Nick had kept barely filled the small truck they’d rented to move everything from his storage locker. After six years in the service, four of those deployed, first in Afghanistan and then in Iraq, Nick had left the Army when it came time to re-up. Years deployed hadn't left him much time to accumulate stuff. It made moving again pretty straightforward, if a little depressing.
            Since Seth had gotten out at the same time and decided to move back closer to his family, Nick had opted to tag along. It wasn’t like he had anyone waiting for him to come home. He wanted to be near his buddy, but he also recognized his need for some private space to decompress. He knew the signs, the symptoms. Lord knew he'd been coached in how to recognize it in his men. He wasn't fine, far from it, but with a little down time he could put things right. He'd been able to keep his military mask in place, so no one suspected anything. He wouldn't be able to keep it hidden from Seth if they were roommates though. So when he had seen the opening in a smaller building a bit further from downtown, he jumped on it.
            “So what are you going to do?”
            “I’ve earned a little R&R. I’ve got enough in the bank to give me a few months to fat ass and figure that out.”
            “Lucky bastard. Got anything in mind?”
            “Nothing firm yet.  A few hobbies. Anything that doesn’t involve PT at dawn or barking orders sounds good right about now.”
            “Well, if you get desperate I can get you on a construction crew, but early starts and barked orders come with the territory.”       “Thanks. I’ll think about it.”
            “Open offer. Just let me know. My dad would love to have a new face to harass.”
            “Yeah, it sounds great.” Sarcasm dripped from his lips. “You just want someone else to be his whipping boy.”
            He was looking forward to having some peace and quiet for a while. He had enough saved to buy himself a month or two of freedom before jumping back into the working world. He vowed to use it wisely.
             They brought the mattress and box spring up last, which were of course the hardest to get through the doors and into the apartment. Nick cursed as he caught his knuckle on the outer door. The apartment building, built in the late 70's, lacked charm, but it did boast a swimming pool and a functional elevator. He was also grateful it had an available rent-controlled veteran housing unit. With a few muttered curses and forceful shoves, it was done. He was officially moved in. Nick popped them each a celebratory beer before collapsing back on the couch.

            “You’re really gonna live all the way over here, all by yourself?” Seth asked.
            “Dude, let it go.” Nick’s frustration colored his tone. “I know it’s hard for you to believe, but I really do just want a little peace and quiet.”
            A firm knock on the door interrupted his statement, and he grimaced. Really? People already? Probably someone complaining about the moving truck. Annoyed, he got up to answer the door, and swung it open before he realized he was still half dressed. His heart jumped to his throat, pulsing madly, choking any words of greeting that might've made their way out of his mouth. There stood the woman who had to be the bombshell, blonde and brightly smiling. Her long, loose curls teased the face of an angel. Startling blue eyes, framed by long brown lashes looked at him curiously.
            “Hi, I’m Dani Carmichael. I was looking for the new tenant. Is he or she here?”
            Stunned by that smile, Nick didn’t immediately reply. His fingers twitched with a barely contained desire to reach out and touch. His heart thudded thickly in his chest, and his mouth disengaged from his brain, leaving him mute and gaping.
            “I’m sorry, I just assumed when I saw you moving the furniture in. Do you know when they’ll be here?” Dani shifted, waiting for a response he couldn’t quite muster. Now he knew the meaning of dumbstruck. He watched a blush creep up her neck, and she looked past him, clearly hoping to find someone capable of speech.
            “Nope, he’s here alright,” chimed in Seth. He came forward to shake Dani’s hand. “I’m Seth Valenti, and this is Nick. He’ll be your new neighbor, so if you ever need any help with your pipes or pickle jars, feel free to call.” Nick shoved him back and shot him fulminating glare.
            “Ignore him. He’s an idiot most of the time, including right now.”
            “That’s alright,” Dani met his gaze again, and he just wanted to bask in her gaze. “Are you my new neighbor?”
            He finally got his brain to sync up with his tongue.
“Yes, I’m Nick Gantry. Nice to meet you.” He finally remembered his manners and stuck his hand out to reach for hers, when he noticed the plate she was carrying. “Are those for me?”
            She pulled her gaze down over his bare torso on the way to the plate of cookies in question. Each pause made his pulse leap.
“What? Oh! Yes, I made you some cookies to welcome you to my apartment. Um, that is, your apartment. Which used to be mine. So.” She handed him the plate quickly and shoved her hands in her pockets, and he couldn’t help but notice the way it highlighted the generous curve of her chest beneath her thin t-shirt.
            “The shower can be a little wonky. If you don’t jiggle it right, you’ll end up with a cold shower. If you need anything or have questions about the building, just knock on my door. I’m home most days now. We’re a pretty close group of residents around here. Anyone would be glad to help if I’m not around.” God, she was cute when she was flustered and rambling. If she kept talking and he kept staring much longer, he was going to need that shower to run cold. Maybe he should ask her to come in with him and demonstrate the jiggle. He struggled to follow the words coming out of her mouth while that image completely derailed his concentration. “Mrs. Grady in 212 wants to invite you to a dinner party she’s throwing Wednesday night at 6.”
            “Huh? What? A dinner party? She doesn’t even know me?”
            “She will after an hour at her table,” Dani grinned, clearly knowing more about this Mrs. Grady than she was letting on.
            Dammit, that was a killer smile. Nick found himself nodding and agreeing to go, while under the influence of that grin. It shouldn’t be legal to ask questions wielding that kind of power. Here he’d been looking for a retreat, and he was already getting sucked out into the company of strangers. Dammit!
            “Well, I’ll let you get back to unpacking. It was nice to meet you Seth, Nick.”
            “Thanks for the cookies.”
            Dani turned and quickly walked back into her apartment, setting her blond curls bouncing. Nick couldn’t look away, until she and that lethal smile of hers had made it all the way inside.
            Seth commented from the couch, “Now I get it. You chose to live here to brush up your social skills before upgrading to a place like mine. That was tough to listen to, man. You didn’t even invite her past the door.”
            “I didn’t want her to have look at your mug any longer than necessary. And I thought your building was full of cat ladies...”
            As Nick razzed his buddy mercilessly and washed down the cookies with beer, his mind couldn't fully focus on the conversation. Blond hair, blue eyes, and that genuine smile danced through his mind, and he wondered when he'd get to see them again.
As I said, I finished reading the first chapter and went to Amazon and got the book. https://smile.amazon.com/Someone-Special-Girls-Night-Book-ebook/dp/B00STSYOXY I love your writing style.
 You have one more book out and two more planned for your Girls Night Out Series. What are they?

Book 2 in the Girls’ Night Out Series is Second Chances

Paralegal Olivia Stone knows there’s more to life than billing and briefs. She follows her sweet dreams and enters a harvest contest, pinning her hopes on her strawberry preserves. She walks away with a blue ribbon, a job offer, and a sizzling attraction to farmer, Theo Harper. Eager for a change, she accepts the job and moves out to Theo’s farm.

With a battered heart and a poet’s soul, Theo is happiest alone in the fields. He is content with his blog and his plants, until Gran gets sick. He needs help, and when Olivia shows up, with her organized plans and her tight jeans, demanding his attention, sparks fly in the kitchen, and the bedroom, and the barn… But Theo is determined to keep the blazing heat from thawing his heart.

Adjusting to her new job and her overwhelming attraction to Theo isn’t easy for Olivia. Her career and her heart are on the line, and she struggles to let go of her rigid need for control. She doesn’t want to walk away from a future with Theo, but she needs more from him than lust. Theo will have to be brave enough to give love a second chance.

Book 3 is Three Strikes, where yoga instructor Stella Martin has to confront her own fears while helping Silicon Valley CEO Bastian Pierce during a relaxation retreat in Bali.

Book 4, Forever Nights, is the final book in the series and features life coach Jamie Donovan keeping an eye an unruly heiress in Las Vegas while trying to keep her eyes off the girl’s smoking hot bodyguard.

I hope you enjoy these women’s stories as much as I enjoyed writing them. 
I signed up to follow you at Amazon so I would be notified of your new releases. Funny thing. My first book, was called Second Chances until my publisher informed me they were publishing another romance called Second Chances and I would have to change my title. I held a contest on my Facebook Page and Second Chances became Time and Forever. I promise you the only resemblance between our stories is the title and the face that second chances are involved.

And finally, where can we find  you?
You can find me online at www.4evamoore.com. I can also be found at completely inappropriate hours at www.facebook.com/4evamoore or @authorevamoore on Twitter.

Someone Special is available on all major platforms, including Kindle, iBooks, Nook, Kobo, and Smashwords. The other three will be available shortly.

Alright, readers, if you like the first chapter, pick your favorite platform and get a wonderful free read. If you like it, please consider reviewing it on Amazon and/or Goodreads. We authors cherish those reviews. Happy reading.