Posted by Leslie at Jul 10, 2012 6:00 am
Continuing on with what Janelle started yesterday, I wanted to talk a bit about my novella in our fabulous GUY MOST LIKELY TO collection, which is a Harlequin Blaze release in stores right NOW!
I had such a great time working on this project with two of my FAVORITE writers in the whole entire world. :-) I’d worked with both Janelle and with Julie on earlier projects, but it was just about perfect for all three of us to do something together. Getting Carly in on it via her cover quote was just the nicest dollop of icing on the cake.
I was a pretty well-rounded teenager in high school. I was cheerleading captain, VP of my junior class, in the National Honor Society, did all the plays, performed regularly with the concert choir, sang solos in a number of venues, and had friends across all spectrums of the high school stratosphere. I don’t ever remember getting into trouble and while I wasn’t Miss Popularity, I think I held my own.
One of my most vivid high school memories was when my best pal, Ricky, and I got into the costume room and put on these crazy Ma-and-Pa Kettle type costumes. We were doing a spring chorus concert, and he and I were singing a duet, Anything You Can Do, from Annie Get Your Gun. To that point, we’d done it “straight” – both of us had strong voices, and we were singing our lungs out, absolutely loving being dueling divas. But on that day, with those costumes, we decided to go into the auditorium and ham it up for our favorite teacher. We surprised her while she was doing lights and music. She laughed hysterically and asked us to perform the song that way in the concert that night, which we did. None of our classmates knew, obviously the audience did not. We came in from the back, ad-libbing everything and doing lots of broad physical comedy. We got a standing ovation. It was probably the most fun I ever had in high school chorus. Believe it or not, I have a recording of that night–an old friend had it on cassette and had it transferred to CD and sent it to me. We were so young and adorable!
Here’s a pic of me with Ricky. Christmas Eve, 1982. Singing, as usual (that’s my Dad at the piano.) I was 17.
And if you’re really masochistic and would like to listen to this “brilliant” (cough cough) performance, check it out!
10 Anything You Can Do
Now, back to GUY MOST LIKELY TO. My story, “Underneath It All” is about Lauren and Seth, who were high school sweethearts ten years ago. They were supposed to not only go to prom together, where they were to be crowned king and queen, but they were also going to spend the night together, to make love for the first time.
Only, Seth didn’t show up.
Now, ten years later at their high school reunion, Lauren comes face to face with Seth again. He wants to explain, and to apologize, but Lauren isn’t in the mood to listen. He has to go to some extreme lengths to get her to even have a conversation with them.
Below is a scene showing just that. He’s gotten a room on Lauren’s floor, and she’s walking out of her room, about to catch him checking up on her. So he takes drastic measures…
Click below and enjoy!!
PS: Don’t forget to look online later this month for the sequel to this book, GIRL MOST LIKELY TO! My story, “Can’t Fight The Moonlight” features Seth’s little sister, Emily, who’s about to come face to face with the sports superstar who broke her heart!
Not thinking about it, Seth leapt into a tiny alcove, trying to cram himself between a small decorative table and the wall. On the table stood a huge vase filled with plate-sized flowers, peacock feathers and curly sticks of wood. As he tried to shove himself into the pretty pathetic hiding place, he accidentally set the vase in motion. Lunging, he grabbed the thing in both hands and yanked it toward his chest, not only to steady it but to try to hide behind its fronds and branches.
This is ridiculous.
He was acting like…a high schooler. No, worse, a middle schooler, a stalkerâ€™y, wimpy kid being led around by his hormones, hoping to make a girl like him. Jesus, he was Seth Crowder, named as one of L.A.â€™s most eligible bachelors in a west coast magazine last year. Yet around Lauren Desantos heâ€™d become an absolute basket case. This reunion thing was taking all his rational brain cells and mashing them to bits.
â€œI see you there, you moron.â€
Gritting his teeth, he peered through the flowers and feathers, imagining the picture he presented. Lauren was standing a few feet away, glaring at him, her arms curled protectively around an empty ice bucket. She wasnâ€™t yet dressed for the evening, wearing a long robeâ€”silky and pink against her skin.
He shoved away the want, want, want that filled his brain.
â€œDoing a little redecorating for the hotel?â€
He pushed the face back to the center of the table, then stepped out of the alcove. â€œI bumped into it and thought the vase was going to tip over.â€
â€œSo you leapt behind the table to steady it?â€
Totally busted, he couldnâ€™t prevent a self-deprecating grin from widening his mouth. â€œWould you believe I was trying to steal the flower arrangement, which would go so well with my color scheme?â€
She snorted. â€œNot only are you the worldâ€™s worst decorator, youâ€™re one step short of color blind. How did you get my room number?â€
No point in denying it. â€œMy sister.â€
Her brow went up in surprise. â€œEmilyâ€™s here?â€
Lauren had always liked his kid sister, and had been good to her. Sheâ€™d taken the five-years-younger girl under her wing like her own sibling, as if knowing how badly Em needed an older female figure in her life. God knows their mother had never been a good one.
â€œYeah, she works at this place.â€
Laurenâ€™s expression turned wistful for a moment. â€œIâ€™d love to see her,â€ she admitted. Then, as if seeing how much that idea pleased him, hurried to add, â€œTo tell her to keep customersâ€™ room numbers private!â€
â€œDonâ€™t be mad at her, you know she always loved us as a couple back then.â€
She rolled her eyes. â€œThirteen year olds love Edward and Bella as a couple, too.â€
â€œIâ€™m not a vampire.â€
She hesitated, as if ready to argue that point. She had, after all, already called him a dog and a moron. What was a little you disgusting bloodsucker between old friends?
â€œWell, you sure donâ€™t glitter,â€ was all she finally said.
â€œAnd youâ€™re not a vapid klutz.â€
One brow arched up. â€œDo a lot of vampire-romance reading these days?â€
He shrugged. â€œWhat can I say? Channel surfing on late night cable.â€
â€œHuh. Iâ€™d have figured you more for the porn type when youâ€™re doing your late-night channel surfing.â€
He cleared his throat. Not to mention clearing his mind of the images her words elicited in his mind. Porn and sex werenâ€™t something he should be thinking about while Lauren was around, not if he wanted to retain his sanity and his edge, both of which were shaky right now. Damn, but the woman could cut the legs right out from under him…and make him laugh while doing it.
â€œBack to Emily,â€ he insisted. â€œShe loved you. She always wanted you to be her sister-in-law.â€
An unladylike snort preceded her response. â€œOh, and I suppose youâ€™re here to propose to me now?â€
If I did, would you say yes?
No, of course she wouldnâ€™t. Nor was he here to ask that question. Getting her forgiveness and understanding was the first step, maybe dinner and drinks after that. Heâ€™d be lucky to get her to voluntarily touch him. Marriage seemed like a distant dream.
Funny, it had been what heâ€™d dreamed about all those years ago when heâ€™d been so suddenly separated from her.
Would she believe that? Probably not.
He stepped closer, unable to resist leaning in to breathe some of that Lauren air. She wore a different perfume now than she had in the old days. No longer innocent and flowery, it was heady, womanly, evocative.
Or maybe that was just her. She was incredibly womanly, amazingly sexy, from the top of her shining gold-brown hair down to the tips of her red-tipped toenails peeping out from beneath the robe. And, of course, everywhere in between.
The in-between was especially distracting. Beneath that pink silk was nothing but luscious female. Even with the ice bucket in front of her, he could see the way the v-neckline of the robe revealed some amazing cleavage. Lauren had been more slender as a teenager. Now she was all curves, all inviting and sultry, with full breasts, a small waist and hips that were meant to be clutched in a manâ€™s hands. All that, wrapped up in a pink package he wanted to open like a Christmas present.
â€œStop staring at me,â€ she said, her voice weak, breathless. Like even she wasnâ€™t sure she meant it.
â€œCanâ€™t help it,â€ he admitted. â€œYouâ€™re beautiful.â€
Unable to stop himself, he moved even closer, until his shoes nearly touched her toes. The robe flitted against his pants and he caught a glimpse of pale, soft leg. Groaning, low in his throat, he lifted a hand and slid it onto her hip. Memories flooded him, thoughts of how heâ€™d encircle her waist in his hands and pull her close. Heâ€™d brush his fingertips along the top curves of her bottom, teasing her lightly, knowing the caresses drove her mad. He would hold her like this, and pull her hard against him to kiss her until neither of them could even think.
She looked up at him, her blue eyes sparkling, and time fell away. Electricity sparked between them and for a half a second, Seth thought she might not punch him if he kissed her.
He leaned closer, needing to taste her. Needing to revisit that place where need and desire and strong emotions twirled into a quiet storm that both excited and fulfilled.
Their mouths met, a soft brush of lips, a quick tumble into memory, a time when they knew, without a doubt, they were meant to be together.