She wanted to smile back. So badly. Instead she cleared her throat. “Was I saying that out loud?”
“No, but I think every person who flies has probably prayed, ‘Please let that kid sleep all the way through, let the toilets work, let the flight be smooth and my connection on time, and don’t let that guy sit next to me.’ ” He wiggled his arms a bit, each shift rubbing across her right arm and thigh. “These seats get any smaller and we’re actually going to have to get a butt cheek removed to get in.”
Julie’s lips twitched but she wasn’t going to laugh. He made that difficult. “Listen, maybe we should try to get someone to switch with one of us. We’d probably both be happier.”
He waved his hand. “I am in no way complaining about being wedged in with you. Besides, I don’t think the right combination exists to fit us into a spot like this comfortably.”
As the flight attendant closed the door, he added, “I just think that’s the next machine that ought to go up at security. Maybe they could call it the Ass Minimizer 2000 or something.” He waggled his eyebrows at her. “Let’s get to work on that. An invention like that would make us a buck or two.”
Her smile fought its way to the surface before she snorted. “Believe me, I’ve been trying to lose some portion of my”—she licked her lips—“rear end for most of my life. If I could have invented something like that, I’d have already done it.”
And then she wanted to smack her forehead. Or maybe die. Calling attention to the size of her rear was never a good idea.
When a wicked smile spread across his face and his eyes heated, she knew that a mental smack to the head would never be enough.
“I think that might be a shame, darlin’. I wouldn’t change a thing.”
Are You Lonesome Tonight?
Julie Dillon prayed under her breath while she did a particularly active form of airplane yoga. She contorted her nearly six-foot frame into this position and that to wrangle the seat belt and buckle out of the seat before cramming her twenty inches of hip into a seventeen-inch seat.
“Please don’t let anyone sit next to me. Please, God, let’s leave this one seat empty, okay?”
This had been the day from hell, if hell was a frozen wasteland that sent freezing precipitation across half the country. So far she’d gone from Atlanta to Chicago to Charlotte and right back to where she started before dawn. After a quick race through the airport, she’d been one of the last people to board the final flight of the day. It would take a miracle for her to make it to Dallas tonight but she wanted to get home. She was staring Valentine’s Day in the face, and if she didn’t make it home tonight, she’d be at the mercy of the world’s romantics tomorrow. Maybe the good luck that had gotten her to the gate on time would hold and that seat would be vacant for the hour and a half it would take to fly from Atlanta to Dallas.
As Julie leaned back to take a deep, calming breath, she kept an anxious eye on the front of the cabin and the still-open door. Really wish I’d taken this jacket off before I buckled in. With her knees crammed up against the seat pocket in front of her, she decided there was no way she’d ever be comfortable on this flight, jacket or no jacket, and besides, she didn’t have enough energy to repeat the process and take it off. Instead, she waved her hand limply around her glowing face and decided to cool herself by sheer force of will. She closed her eyes to concentrate and kept whispering “Please let it be empty” under her breath.
“Sorry, darlin’, but that prayer isn’t going to be answered.”
At the deep, soothing voice, Julie’s eyes snapped open and she swallowed a groan. She didn’t want anyone in that seat, but she sure as heck would have picked just about anyone else besides Luke Pearce.
There have been a few things I was unprepared for in this journey to my first on-sale date. Seeing the first rating up on Goodreads was one of them. First I flipped, then I tried to imagine how it was possible as the book’s not out yet, then I told myself to just calm the hell down. This is a marathon, not a sprint after all. People with writing careers need to learn to pace themselves. And that’s the goal: a career.
And then, when I should have been writing or working on the day job, I was watching television and googling. I made sure my Google alerts were set. Yep. Then I went over to Amazon to see if anything was happening.
Searched my name and the first result on the list was something I’ve never seen before. It was from Avon. But the first name on it was Eloisa James. So somebody made a mistake. But I was curious because it was Valentine’s Day related, just like Kiss Me. I read the list of names under it and there was Cheryl Harper. Since I didn’t know anything about it, I was still pretty sure it was a mistake somehow. Then I embiggened the cover and Cheryl Harper is on it. Right next to Rachel Gibson. I gasped. Audibly. I think I scared the dog. Then I fired off an email to editor Chelsey that went something like “Wha?” And also “Wha?” And then maybe a “squeeOMGthatcan’tbemecanit”.
And it is. This is a free sampler, a collection of excerpts from some of your favorites. And me. Oh holy night. February 22, you can get it for free. I’m hoping you’ll already have Kiss Me, have laughed heartily and rated it all 5 stars in every rating location you can find. But if not, maybe you’ll try this.
I will be cowering under by bed by the time this one’s out so somebody call me to tell me how it goes, okay?