Excerpt 3 from Love Me Tender

Chapter Three

Heartbreak Hotel


LMTWhen he nudged her, Julie stumbled to a stop. If she didn’t get to a bed soon, she’d fall asleep on her feet somewhere, but there was something she was trying to remember, a reason this was a really bad idea. She grabbed his arm to pull him up beside her and then leaned against him as they walked to the elevator. He sighed as he reached over to push the button.

“No staring at my ass,” she said. “It’s been a long day and I don’t have it in me to control all the jiggle and bounce, you know?”

He shook his head as he watched the numbers over the elevator. “If it’s not me staring at your ass, it’s someone else. Does that make it better?”

She yawned widely and rested her forehead on his shoulder. “As long as he keeps his mouth shut about it, it’s better.”

“I stand by my earlier judgment. Never change that ass, okay? If you think you might, call me so I can talk you out of it.”

Julie knew her mouth was hanging open but there was absolutely nothing to say to that. Her teeth clicked as she snapped it shut.

“You know, Luke, I like you, but it’s okay to let the flirting go.”

He wrapped an arm around her to urge her onto the waiting elevator. “Thanks. I appreciate your kindness. I like you too. I like your ass. I wouldn’t mind taking either or both out on a date but you’ve got your reasons.”

She ignored his added, “Wish I knew what they were,” and watched the doors close. Before they shut, she saw the long line at the reception desk and was glad she’d hooked up with a sprinter instead of a distance runner. His speed was going to get her into bed sooner rather than later.

At that thought, she snorted.

He raised an eyebrow and she shook her head. If she made it through this night without losing her mind, it was going to be a damn miracle. When the elevator doors opened, they stepped out on the top floor. It had to be the luxury floor because the carpet and walls were all covered in leopard-skin print. With a sinking feeling, she followed Luke down the hall. When he paused in front of a set of double doors, she took the handle of her suitcase from him and leaned against the wall.

Luke whistled as he stepped inside, and she tried to take a fortifying breath but it whooshed out as she stepped into a room decorated exclusively in white and purple. The walls were white. So was the carpet. The chair and love seat in front of a large television were purple. So were the bedspread, the lamp, the curtains, and even the telephone. The bright neon of the Elvis alarm clock and the movie posters on the walls were nice additions.

As he flipped on the light in the small bathroom beside the door, Luke whistled again. Biting her lip, Julie took a deep breath and peered into the room. It was pink. Every bit of it. Tiles, toilet, sink, shower curtain … all in pink.

“I hate pink!” she moaned as she dropped the handle of her suitcase, which toppled over and landed with a thump. Completely understanding the sentiment, she collapsed against the purple velvet sofa and started to laugh.

The Next Big Thing Blog Hop

So yesterday I got an invitation from Codi Gary, fellow Avon Impulse Kiss Me anthology author, to join the Next Big Thing blog hop. Since I am a joiner by nature, I was so up for that! The Rules: Answer 10 questions and invite up to 4 writing friends along. (Note to self: find some writing friends, invite them along.)

CLICK HERE to see Codi’s answers. To find out more about Codi’s novella, “The Trouble with Sexy” (such a great name!) in the KISS ME anthology (available 2/5/13…you didn’t forget, did you? No worries. I’ll remind you because I’m cool like that), CLICK HERE.

Q. What is the title of your book?

ALL SHOOK UP is  coming in April. It’s the next in my Rock’n’Rolla Hotel series. The first? Yeah, I have this novella called “Love Me Tender” in the KISS ME anthology (*cough* available February 5 *cough*)

Q. Where did the idea for the book come from?

The novella came from a couple places: Valentine’s Day + snow storm = rerouted flight + co-workers = true love. How I got to Memphis and created an Elvis-themed motel…yeah, that’s murkier. Laura, the modest showgirl waitress in the first book, was in the novella. In ALL SHOOK UP she encounters child star KT Masters who’s in town to tape the celebrity impersonator contest at the Rock’n’Rolla.

Q. What genre does your book fall under?

Contemporary romance

Q. Which actors would you chose to play your characters in a movie?

For All Shook Up, I actually started with characters in mind. KT Masters is all Nathan Fillion as Castle, charm charm charm. And Laura is a modest showgirl who looks like Kelly Monaco because I have a real Dancing With The Stars problem.

Q. What is the one sentence synopsis for your book?

Oof. This is hard.

A modest showgirl waitress and a child star with a wild streak find true love surrounded by faux celebrities in a hotel fit for The King.

Q. Will your book be self published or by an agency?

It will be published by Avon Impulse, on sale in April.

Q. How long did it take to write the first draft of your manuscript?

Two and a half weeks? I think that’s right. Then I had about that long to edit it. It was my first attempt at working with a deadline. I was skeered.

Q. What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?

Hmmm. I’m not sure. I’m a fan of romances with plenty of humor, like Jennifer Crusie’s. Some of hers are set in crazy places. But I’d never compare my story to any of hers! Maybe someday…

My goal: I want you to smile as you read.

Q. Who or what inspired you to write this book?

I was unpublished and I wanted to try my hand at Avon’s call for submissions. It seemed like a great chance with very little risk. I liked those odds. I started the novella “Love Me Tender” with one scene in my head. Everything else I created to make it work. The hotel was part of that but as I worked I could totally see it in my head. Then my editor asked if I had any other stories set there, and I so did. In ALL SHOOK UP, we meet the hotel owner, Miss Willodean Jackson, and her dog Misty. We also meet the hero of the next book and have a hint about the third book.

Q. What else about your book might interest the reader?

If you love a good Elvis song or movie or Graceland, you could like these.

If you like lighthearted romance with plenty of laughter and a little steam, you could like these.

If you like a series with connected characters who make their own family, you could like these.

Mini Excerpt-ALL SHOOK UP

Laura made it back out in time to hear the rustle of whispers as every diner in the bar turned to watch KT Masters sweep in with Willodean Jackson, owner of the Rock’n’Rolla Hotel and Laura’s personal guardian angel, on one arm. She couldn’t blame the crowd. KT Masters should be talked about in hushed tones. At first glance, he seemed handsome but only in a slightly above average kind of way. He was tall, with broad shoulders, brown hair cut in what was probably a very expensive style but it wasn’t trendy, and his brown eyes honestly sparkled with good humor. The long sleeves of his button-down were rolled up to reveal truly top notch forearms. Distressed denim covered long legs and he wore…running shoes. That wasn’t really what she expected, but overall he looked healthy. And fit. She liked the look. A lot. He might just be classically handsome, not the sexiest man alive, but charm oozed from him. His star power competed with the lights of the bar.

Laura watched him pat Willodean’s hand and both preened under all the attention before she loaded up a tray for the strange combination of another Justin Bieber, David Copperfield, and two Marilyn Monroes. Glad to have an easier table, Laura laughed at one of the Marilyn’s jokes, made a quick delivery, and managed to slip out of the way of the Hollywood entourage just in time.

The big man in charge paid her no attention but Willodean winked once. She’d clearly dressed carefully for the occasion because it was a big deal for the hotel. This talent show had been going on almost since the hotel opened and had grown in popularity. But there had never been camera crews or real, live, actual Hollywood talent. Not that she hadn’t tried to get them here. Willodean was a natural hype woman, a product of the old school hustle. The rumors were that her first husband had been one of the Memphis Mafia and that’s where all the hotel’s memorabilia came from. Laura privately thought that was exactly the kind of story Willodean would invent and circulate.