And Then the Doorbell Rang

I knew it was going to happen soon. Somehow, in my imagination, it happened differently.

The UPS guy was extra hot in the brown shorts uniform. I was in a cute little outfit, hair and makeup ON FLEEK. The doorbell would ring. I would jump up and down and clap and laugh. UPS guy would valiantly rip the box open for me, light would pour from the box, clouds would part, sunlight and rainbows would appear and trumpets would sound.


12189018_1498442030452620_5079921265439391329_nWell, the boxes arrived. The doorbell rang.

What I didn’t foresee is that this would happen as I wallowed in my bed, day sleeping after a night shift, not wanting to get up but knowing I should because I didn’t have work that night and if I slept all day, I’d be up all night.

My fantasy didn’t include me stumbling down the hall, pulling on yoga pants and a paint splattered tank top. Nor the fumes and dust as the UPS truck sped away. Nor my shrieking at Molly to GET BACK IN THE HOUSE!

12004063_1486629824967174_9069274620410041890_n“I was just trying to help.”

This was not the book delivery I dreamed of! Where was my hot UPS guy? Why did I have morning breath and need coffee??

I texted The Fella: You need to come home right now.

I attached a picture of the boxes.

He texted me back: Are those your books?

No, they’re Maisey Yates’ books. I stole them from her porch.

And he refused to come home RIGHT THEN.

And now, I had two hours. Two hours to sit there and look at the boxes. Should I open one? Just to see? Just to have a quiet, private moment. Me and my book?

Somewhere around the second cup of coffee, common sense returned. I needed a shower. Some attention paid to my hair and clothing choices. So when The Fella got home to record this momentous moment, I didn’t look like…well….*me* me, but *AUTHOR* me.

12219508_1498442057119284_42090984345599177_n (1)Molly still trying to help.

Everyone asked me how it felt to hold my book for the first time. I felt a lot of things. Joy, relief, excitement, fear.

But the number one feeling was: validated.

I am a writer. I can do this.



So, It Happened Like This

I was writing a series set in the North Carolina mountains and it had gone practically no where. People liked it. It did well in a few contests. Got a few nibbles from publishers and agents.

But pretty much nothing.

This all coincided with a complete overhaul at my pay-the-bills job that left me frustrated and unhappy and feeling like nothing I did was for what I *loved* anymore.

Alternate job opportunities became a frequent topic in our home. As in, “I’m going to quit and become a nutrition counselor.” “I’m going to quit and be a vet tech!”

Then something happened. I was fooling around on Twitter. I can’t remember who all was involved, but someone was tweeting about the maid her agency sent over. It was a guy. And he was cute. And we were, of course, egging her on to sneak a picture to show us.

I looked over at my Fella and said, “THAT’S what I should do! Quit and start a cleaning company with all gorgeous hot man maids.”

And, bless him, the Fella got up, kissed me on the forehead and said, “You don’t know anything about running a cleaning company. But you know how to write.”

And there was the little bit of sand that would irritate me until it became the pearl.

Sadie from Spying on the Boss was made up from that point. Wyatt, not so much.

Wyatt and his poor deceased sister, Maddie, were actually from a short story I’d written years ago based on the time my family was stationed in Japan.

Wyatt was devoted to Maddie and as a very young boy, promised her he’d always look out for her. Now this devotion was transferred to Maddie’s daughter, Juliette. Or Jules as Wyatt likes to call her.

Here’s a snippet of how Juliette came to live with Wyatt:

He didn’t miss Victoria, not really. His love for her had been squelched in a single moment.

She had gone with him to Asheville after Maddie’s death. He’d found Jules stunned and scared in the care of Maddie’s best friend, Kate. She’d put her little arms around his neck and told him her mommy was dead. He remembered sinking to the floor, Jules in his lap as they cried together. After her tears tapered away, she had whispered a question to him. “Who’s going to take care of me now?” He’d told her he was. A movement in the doorway caught his eye and he saw Victoria standing there. The words ‘Victoria and I will’ died on his lips at the expression on her face. Horrified. Furious.

That night, they’d argued. She told him to let Kate keep Jules. She told him she had no intentions of starting their marriage with a half grown kid. She told him he had no business even trying to take on a young girl. She told him to leave Jules here and return to his – their – life. He’d listened to her with a dizzying sense of stunned relief. It was as if a mask had slipped and he was seeing into her soul. And it was ugly. When she said if he was going to take custody she might as well leave him, he told her to go home and pack her things. To be out of the house before he and Jules came back.


So when Wyatt, to whom family means everything, meets up with Sadie, to whom family means pain and abandonment, things are going to get really messy.



Snippet Sunday

I’ve shared the cover art for Spying on the Boss at my Author Facebook page and you can see it on the “Buy the Book” page. But I wanted to share a bit of the story of that scene with you.

My author friends will be aware of the Art Fact Sheets, or AFS, as I’ve learned they are called. For Harlequin, this is a long…very long…very detailed form in which you describe up to four main characters.

You also pick out three scenes and describe them down to the time of day, mood, clothing characters are wearing. These sheets are what the art department uses to design

This dish washing scene that made it to the cover was actually my favorite of the three and the one I hoped Harlequin would use.

Here’s the rest of that bit of the story. Some set up: Sadie has a family style dinner for her crew of hot man maids once a month. This scene takes place after all the guys bug out to go to whatever hot guys do on a Friday night. Molly, the company’s older office manager, knows Sadie has some feelings for Wyatt….


Molly picked up a bag from the counter. “Okay, then. Sadie, the pots are in the dishwasher. You need to finish up the plates and silverware. Everything else is done so I’ll see you Monday, y’all have a great weekend. Bye.”

Sadie put her hands on her hips as Molly scooted out the door. “Well, bye.” She turned to Wyatt as he walked in to the kitchen. “She could have said she didn’t want to wash the dishes. Sheesh!”

She went to the sink and began to fill it with hot water and poured a generous dollop of dish soap over the plates stacked there. “Julietta is reading Jack a book.”

“Guess I’m on dish duty with you.”

“You don’t have to.”

“I want to. Owe you for the dinner.” He stepped to the double sink. There were two dish drainers on the counter. “Wash or rinse?”

“I’ll wash. I hate rinsing. It’s boring.”

They stood side by side, washing and rinsing. He could hear Julietta’s voice lilting in a sing song as she read to Jack. He was overly aware of Sadie’s body next to his. The brush of her shoulder against his arm and the accidental bump of her hip sent ripples of heat through him. She handed him a plate and their fingers touched so he held on for a moment. She looked at him, her eyes wide and blue, her lips parted. God, she felt it too.

Her head swiveled back to the sink. “I hope it was okay I painted her nails.”

“It’s fine. But I may have to hire you for girl stuff lessons.”

She smiled and shook her head, making a tendril at the side of her neck sway. The urge to push it aside and press his lips to the tender spot at the base of her skull went through him. And then work around the column of her neck to that spot where her pulse was fluttering. And then… He tore his gaze away from her neck and shifted against the growing pressure in his groin. You gotta stop this.

“I’m probably not your best bet for that kind of stuff.”

“No?” He tugged a plate from her fingers and playfully bumped his shoulder against hers. He couldn’t help it. He wanted to see her blush. “What are you my best bet for?”

She drew in a sharp breath and peeked up at him. He got his blush and resisted a smile. He turned towards her and leaned in. One kiss. Just one. So he could go on with his life with the knowledge of how those lips would feel against his. As his mouth approached hers, she turned to him and tilted her face up to his. He let his hand touch her waist, ready to pull her closer.

“We can’t do this,” she whispered.

He stopped and let his hand fall away. “I know. I’m sorry.”

“Don’t be sorry. But we can’t.”

She couldn’t do it because she believed he was an employee. She wouldn’t break her own rules. He shouldn’t do it because when the truth came out, it would hurt her even more. Jack’s nails clacking down the stairs gave them a moment to step apart before Julietta burst into the kitchen.

“Uncle Wyatt? Can we get a dog? I’ll walk it and play with it and everything!”