Sneak Peek: Santa, Bring My Baby Back EXCERPT

Blog tour, Stop 5…EXCERPT! (I think. It’s early and it’s not posted yet so…could be a surprise!)

And the Giveway…did you enter yet? Click and add your favorite Elvis song for a chance to win. The clock is running down. I’ll pick and announce a winner tomorrow!

And now…an excerpt from the last Rock’n’Rolla Hotel book, Santa, Bring My Baby Back, coming December: weddings, Christmas, bloodhounds, and more weddings.(SO wish I could show the cover. I loved the cover of Stuck on You the way a starving woman loves a dessert buffet. There was great rejoicing when I saw it. But this last book…I haven’t even seen the final cover. The rough images made me sniffle happy tears. More good to come later, I guess.)

Charlie’s been stood up. He’s ready to perform his duty, marrying a happy bride and groom, even though he’d rather be just about anywhere else. But they didn’t show.


When his stomach growled again, Charlie hit the door to the lobby with a stiff arm, determined to get back on his own schedule. He needed to learn he couldn’t control other people. Maybe the world would work better if he could, but no one had elected him supreme leader. He wasn’t even a county mayor anymore. Now he was just Charlie. And he wasn’t responsible for the world.

He took four determined steps toward the glass doors that led out to the hotel’s pool area. The lobby of the new building was quiet as only the chapel was complete. The new spa was next on the list and then the meeting rooms on the second floor. The dark lobby made it easy to see the line of light under one of the dressing room doors off to the side.

Charlie mentally cursed again. Something about that light told him this was going to be more trouble than a man who hadn’t eaten in over four hours should attempt. If he was lucky, the groom was behind the door and he’d be a guy who could handle being left at the altar with manly stoicism. Charlie would have his lunch. Life would go on for both of them.

If he was really lucky? That light would be nothing but the symbol of the unlucky bride or groom who’d already done the math and cleared out while forgetting to flip the light switch. Wasteful? Maybe, but he’d take a little waste in order to get his schedule back and meat loaf sandwich in his hand.

After two perfunctory knocks, Charlie turned the knob and shoved open the door.

When his eyes met the bride’s in the mirror’s reflection, he froze on the spot and forgot just exactly what he thought he might say to the inconsiderate bride or groom if he ever found either of them.

Because she was beautiful with shiny dark hair and bright red lips. When she turned to face him, something sparkled like diamonds in her hair and he was tempted to look for seven small miners. But he couldn’t tear his eyes away from her.

“Aw, crap, he ain’t comin’, is he?” A small frown wrinkled the pale skin of her brow and something about Snow White’s east Tennessee twang set everything back in motion.

That was a damn good thing. Fairy-tale references would get his man card revoked. No amount of sawdust in his hair or worn flannel would save him.

He reached up to run his hand through his hair but hit crunchy product and decided to rub his neck like that was what he’d intended all along. “I was hoping that you could tell me. Don’t you know what happened to your groom?”

Changing horses in midstream

I know nothing about horses. They are large and have big teeth. People ride them. And it is apparently not the best idea to change horses in midstream, thus we have the saying. Google says we owe the saying to Abraham Lincoln. And it’s on the Internet so it must be true.

But I’m going to do it anyway.

I’m pretty sure I’m a pantser at heart. I always have been. When the assignment required an outline, I wrote the paper first and then the outline. I think this is because I have so many words and it’s hard for me to know what they’re going to do without spreading them out and rearranging them.

But I want to be a plotter. There are good reasons to plot first and then write. Being able to tell an editor what you’re going to do without writing the whole dang book would be a very good reason. Also, being able to follow an outline should mean you know what to put down every single day.

I got closer with the Rock’n’Rolla Hotel because I thought out a series. So, now that I’m at the last one, everything should be easy. I’ve set up the place. I know the secondary characters very well. But I’m going to tell you, the hero and heroine of this one are giving me heartburn. Part of that’s because my editor and I made a change in the first book that impacts this one. And it’s so cool that I can’t even believe how things work out. But now I’m having trouble figuring out who this guy is and what kind of girl he needs. Have you ever been there? No? Just me? Fine.

I mean, his backstory is set. We’ve been reading it already. What is the deal?

It doesn’t help that my day job has hammered every single bit of imagination into pulp lately. Or that the clock is ticking. But…today, I think I nailed the Jell-O to the wall. This is who he is (until my editor says differently) and this is who she is. And I’m starting over. This will be version three of Chapter 1. Third time’s the charm.

Anybody know where that saying comes from? If it’s Abraham Lincoln again, I’ll know it’s all meant to be. Just in case it isn’t, I’m not going to look it up. Here’s my new, impossibly ambitious plan. I still have the day job. I still have edits on Can’t Help Falling In Love. But I need this story done. So it’s crunch time, yo.