Welcome to Happily Ever After Contemporay Week!
We're starting the week off with Patricia Pellicane. She's going to tell us how she came to write contemporary romance and give us a behind the story look into her latest release, Temptation. Welcome, Patricia! We're to have you here.
Why do I write Contemporary Romances?
For years I wrote only historical romances for Pocket, Zebra and Avon books. I enjoyed doing them. Each story was special to me and I expected to stay in that one field forever.
One day my editor at Zebra told me the company was opening a new line called Lucky in Love. I was one of its launch authors and delighted but nervous to try my hand at something other than historicals. As it turned out, I enjoyed writing contemporary romances at least as much as an historical. Actually I think they were hotter because you didn’t have to follow an unspoken rule about getting the heroine into bed too fast. For instance, you couldn’t take a woman from an Elizabethan era and put her in bed with the hero within a chapter or so. It was unlikely that something like that might have happened in those days, at least not with a decent woman. So the sexual tension was always at its highest, but the actual sex was farther into the book.
My books are character driven. So whatever they do it has to ring true to the time period.
Contemporary pieces are much more modern when it comes to sex. It can be and sometimes is almost instant, most especially with erotica.
Now I mostly switch from one to the other. I think it keeps my writing fresher and my stories more interesting.
Where did I get the idea?
Most of the time the ideas for my books come to me while I’m doing something mindless, like doing the dishes and cleaning my kitchen. Not this time. “Temptation” a contemporary romance begins with a woman sun bathing topless. A construction crew owner comes across her, never realizing she’s topless until he’s standing at her side, because she was facing away from him.
Years ago I lived in Vegas. While there I sunbathed all the time. No one realized in those days the damage that could be done to a woman’s skin. At least I didn’t and if I was told I managed to ignore the warnings. A tan looked great. During the day while the kids were in school, I sun bathed topless.
We lived in a mobile home park before we got our house. My neighbor next door was a huge, quiet guy, who never spoke a word to me, never even said hello, until he came home early one day. Obviously he saw me, not all of me, because I was sitting with my back to his place, but apparently he got the idea. A half hour later, I had my top on again, and breathed a sigh of relief that I had because he was suddenly standing at my side talking to me as if we were long lost friends.
My days of sunbathing topless came to an immediate end that day and surprisingly enough so did any conversation with my next door neighbor. Although on occasion he did wave and call out “Hello”.
Here's an excerpt from Temptation:
Maggie frowned and blinked her confusion, as the low guttural groan dragged her from the edge of sleep. For just an instant, she thought she’d imagined the sound, but a turn of her head immediately proved the notion to be false. A man stood at her side. A strange man! Remembering her half-naked state, she gasped and lunged to her feet, putting the lounge chair between them. Her shirt, grabbed on the way up, was crushed in her hands and covered little more than her nipples as she pressed it tightly to her bare breasts.
The man grinned. “I don’t think I’ve ever seen anyone move that fast before.”
Maggie frowned and shook aside a moment’s dizziness. “What are you, an Indian? How come I didn’t hear you?”
He laughed. “Actually, I am. Just a small part, I’m told. You want to know which part?” He shrugged when she did not respond to his teasing. “You know what they say, if you hear an Indian…”
Maggie glared her annoyance.
“And you didn’t hear me because I walked on the grass.”
“Who are you, and what are you doing here?” she asked tightly, knowing a slight sense of alarm at being caught sunbathing, alone, behind a deserted mansion. There wasn’t a soul around, should she find the need to cry out, and she didn’t expect anyone for hours.
“Name’s Jeremiah. Russo sent me over. My crew is starting here tomorrow.”
Feeling slightly more at ease at his explanation, she sighed a derisive, “Great, and you came a day early just to make sure you wouldn’t be late?”
Jerry grinned at her sarcasm. “I came to look the place over, to see what I’m going to need in the way of supplies.”
“Far be it for me to tell you how to do your job, but if you needed to look the place over, why were you standing here, looking me over instead?”
Even as she spoke, he continued looking her over with some obvious appreciation, from her black hair that curled past her shoulders to her plumped up breasts, to the bottom of her string bikini, to her long, tanned legs and finally, to her polished pink toenails. “I saw you when I came around the corner of the house. I didn’t know you were topless until I reached you, what with you facin’ the ocean and all. I wish I could say I’m sorry, but…”
“But you’re not,” she said finishing the sentence for him, her tone clearly unhappy. Her hair moved gently with the soft breeze coming off the water, just beyond a distant line of trees.
He couldn’t hold back a low, wicked chuckle. “I came around back ‘cause no one answered when I rang the bell. Thought the place was empty, maybe the back door was open.” He gave a slight shake of his head and bit his bottom lip just before saying, “Damn, but you’re somethin’.”
Maggie decided not to ask exactly what he meant by that statement. She watched him for a long moment and thought he maybe had five years on her. He was tall, but so was she, and she thought only four or five inches separated them in height. His body… She shook her head. She was better off not thinking about his body and immediately knew the folly of that notion. She might not want to think about it, but there was no denying the man was gorgeous. No other word fit so perfectly. He wore cut-off jeans that hugged his sex just a bit too tightly, the hems torn and straggled came to his knees. His clean T-shirt, was punctuated here and there with holes, the neck and sleeves torn away. He looked ragged, rugged and dishevelled.
Her mouth watered.
His dark hair was too long, his cheeks and jaw in need of a shave. God, even that appealed. She’d seen hundreds of men dressed the same but couldn’t remember one so startlingly handsome, with eyes so incredibly blue, with thick, brown calves and arms that bulged with sinew and muscle.
His gaze was filled with amusement. Laugh lines crinkled at the corners of his eyes as he watched her long, slow perusal. Her heart fluttered. Damn. This one was just too tempting, and she didn’t want to get involved. It had been a while since she’d broken off with her ex-boyfriend, Andy. Still, she thought she might never be ready for a man like this one.
“Turn around,” she said and waited for him to do as much.
He did, with some obvious reluctance, his gaze alive with humour. “You should know you don’t have to go to any trouble on my account. I’d be perfectly comfortable if you left the shirt off.”
“Right,” Maggie muttered. She turned as well and shoved her shirt over her head. Quickly, she pulled it into place and slipped her feet into her sandals.
* * * *
Maggie and Jeremiah finished looking over the third floor. At the moment, he stood just inside Maggie’s bedroom door and watched with a frown as she casually pulled cut-off jeans over her bikini bottoms, even as she continued their conversation.
“I like the feel of this place,” she said. “If possible, I’d like to keep as much as I can of the Victorian flavour. I don’t want new and modern except for the kitchen.” She was buttoning the jeans into place as she led him from the room. “I want claw-foot tubs in all the baths. Pedestal sinks and old fashioned mirrors. I’ll pick them out, but you get the idea?”
Moving along the wide hallway, she opened each door as she indicated her needs. “Each bedroom on the both floors will have its own bath. There should be enough room on the third floor for three suites, maybe two of them with sitting rooms. I have some rough drawings in my briefcase. This floor, the second, will have five bedrooms, all with sitting rooms. We’ll look my plans over together, and you can tell me if I’ve left anything out. You’ll need to check with the building department about fire escapes.
“Down here,” she continued as they descended the wide staircase, “there are a few rooms on the opposite side of the kitchen. I’ll need them modernised, new bath and,” she shrugged then waved her hand, “whatever it takes. I’m using one of them for my office right now, or I will be once a desk and a few office supplies get here. They’ll be the manager’s private quarters.”
“Have you a place of your own somewhere?”
Maggie offered a questioning glance. “In the city. I’m not there much. Why?”
Jerry shrugged. “Just wondering where you keep your things. Your bedroom,” he nodded towards the ceiling, indicating the large room she’d take for herself, “doesn’t hold much in the way of personal stuff.”
She frowned again. “What do you mean? What kind of personal stuff?”
“Books, CD’s, TV.” He shrugged. “I don’t know, just things.”
She nodded. “I don’t have much with me. I’ve books in my car, and I’ll buy whatever else I need as I go along.” She shook her head. “There’s no point in a TV until the cable is set up. By the time that’s done, I’ll be ready for my next project.”
She changed the subject as they entered the kitchen. “I’m going to need all new appliances in here. I’ve done commercial kitchens before so I know what’s needed. I’ll give you a copy of my list in a minute. The town’s inspectors will have the last say, but you should know the building codes.”
He nodded as he continued to mark a small pad with indecipherable scratching. “You aiming to run this place after it’s done?”
Maggie shook her head. “I don’t run B and Bs. I create them, put them in the hands of a management group and eventually sell.”
“And you’re living here in the meantime?”
Maggie shrugged. “It’s comfortable enough.”
“Sort a big and lonely though.”
“Not lonely. Quiet. I like quiet.”
He looked around the kitchen as they spoke. “You should do this room first. It will take the most work.”
She nodded her agreement and turned. “Most everything looks good in the dining room except the floor all the woodwork needs to be refinished. I’d like to keep as much of it as possible, but it needs to be stripped and repainted. Oh and I want French doors that will lead out to a huge patio and gardens beyond that.”
“Wait a minute,” he said as she moved to leave the room. “There’s a lot to do before we start on carpentry and refinishing woodwork. If I have more than two crews working at once, they just get in each other’s way.”
“How many men are in a crew?”
He shrugged. “Depends. I can get one on the roof and one to gut the kitchen, while the plumbers start on the bathrooms.” He checked his notes. “They’ll have to stop once the kitchen is ready for them.” Again, he looked at his notes. “And we’ll need to take some of the storage space for the third bath on the top floor.”
“Take what you need and close off the rest. Have one of the plumbers draw up the plans, and I’ll okay them.”
He nodded. “I’ll draw them up.” Again, he looked the room over. “All these cabinets have to go. Dry rot,” he said as he opened one of the bottom doors and watched a quarter of it crumble to dust in his hand. “I’ll order a dumpster.”
Maggie nodded. “One will be here tomorrow.”
“The stove, too,” he said with a frown. “It looks like it’s been here since the turn of the century. I wouldn’t try lighting it.” Then he added, without even a glance in her direction, “What are you doing for dinner?”
“What?” she asked with a frown, for his question in the midst of a conversation centred solely on construction and plumbing was totally out of place.
“You have to eat don’t you? And you can’t cook here. So…”
Maggie watched his grin and oddly enough felt a flutter in her chest. “Does that smile always work for you?”
His grin grew wider. “It should. My folks spent a fortune on an orthodontist.”
“I hope you thanked them.”
for romance that sizzles
Tell Me You Love Me (In Print)
Monday, July 12, 2010
Welcome to Happily Ever After Contemporay Week!