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.