Dark ‘N’Stormy is available for pre order now, and its release date is MARCH 29th
Dark ’N’ Stormy (3)
Twenty-three-year-old Finn enjoys playing the field, but when a one night stand turns into something more, Finn is ready to jump on the relationship bandwagon. Thirty-three-year-old Julia Royston is everything Finn desires—blonde, sexy, and naughty in bed. But this love thing isn’t as plain sailing as he’s seen advertised. While Finn puts his past behind him, Julia’s rears its ugly head and Finn’s carefree life turns dark and stormy.
Another lightning flash lit up the dark street, its sudden brightness highlighting a car parked near the side of the road. Impatient motorists honked and yelled as they tried to pass. Out on the sidewalk, a bedraggled woman wrestled with a wheel jack. As Finn moved closer, she kicked the tire in a temper and threw down a wrench. She was wetter than he was.
He stopped beside her and yelled over the thunder. “Flat?”
She wiped the water from her face and nodded.
“Give it here.”
He scooped up the wrench from the ground and she handed him the jack. Finn set to work. He had the car up in no time, but the wrench wouldn’t budge. The two of them leaned on it, their slick bodies pressed together as they tried to force the nuts to move. With a sudden give, they fell against the car.
“Damn it.” Finn helped her up off the sidewalk.
He heaved off the tire and rolled the spare from the trunk. Hoisting it into position, he tightened the nuts. “I’ll dump this in your trunk.”
“Thanks so much.” Her voice got lost in the traffic.
“No problem.” He wiped his hands down his pants and smiled at her. “Oh, I know you, don’t I?”
She must have had the same ah-ha moment because she smiled, “You’re the guy from the rink?”
“Yeah, Finn. Finley Martin.” He reached out his hand.
She pointed to her car. “Please, let me take you home. You’re drenched.”
“It’s okay, I don’t live far.”
She put her hand on his arm. “I insist.” The warmth of her fingers tingled across his skin. Goosebumps spread outward from her touch. As another brilliant flash lit up the night sky, she gestured at the car again. “I won’t take no for an answer.”
Her rain-soaked blouse was almost transparent, her lacy underwear on full show. The tight skirt stuck to her shapely thighs. He couldn’t help staring at her attractive and wet body. Oh, what the hell, she’s fit and he was soaked.
He climbed into the passenger side, and she ran around to the driver’s door. She flicked on the heater, setting it on high to deal with the condensation. She pulled down the sun visor and peered into the vanity mirror. Wiping the wet strands from her face, she laughed. “I look like a drowned cat!” She flicked the visor back into place. “You said your name was Finn?”
He nodded, averting his eyes from her see-through blouse.
“I’m Julia Royston.”
Finn’s teeth chattered. “I appreciate the lift, Julia.”
She signaled right and turned. “I live a few streets away. Let me get you some dry clothes before you freeze.”
Finn lived less than a mile away, but he kept that information to himself.
His eyes roved over Ms. Royston again. This could be interesting. “That’s very nice of you, ma’am.”
A few minutes later, she turned into a quiet dead-end street and pulled up outside a smart townhouse. “This is it.” She shouted over the pounding rain. “Give me a second to open the door.”
She scrambled out the car and raced up the path. Finn followed her; a few more drops of rain wouldn’t make any difference. She struggled with the key in the lock, and he put his hand over hers to help turn it. The door swung open and they fell into the hallway, dripping gallons of water over the shining hardwood floor. Julia slammed the door closed behind them and leaned against it laughing.
Her long blond hair hung in limp rattails. The tailored blouse no longer offered any useful coverage. She reached for the buttons and peeled it off her shoulders. As she dropped it to the floor, she shucked her skirt too. “You better take yours off. You’ll catch your death.”
Finn needed no second invitation. He tugged off his tee and threw it onto the wet pile of clothes on the rubber mat. While he dropped his shorts, Julia flicked off her heels and peeled down her pantyhose.
Unable to believe his luck, Finn faced the almost naked woman. Her underwear was as translucent as her blouse had been. The sound of the storm disappeared. He swallowed hard. Man, his day had turned around. Julia threaded her fingers through his and led him upstairs.
Behind the Cocktail Series
I began writing the Cocktail Series on a whim, after never having written anything more than a grocery list in my life. I excitedly rattled off 140k words over about a three-month period and then sat back and thought, what the hell shall I do with it now? Quite by accident, I was reading a book and in the acknowledgements in the back, the author mentioned wattpad. So I investigated and then I spent a month plucking up the courage to put my very raw manuscript up there. I also spent several weeks constructing the worst cover imaginable in the totally inadequate program of Powerpoint! Yes, well, the least said about that the better, especially as I moonlight at making covers for people now- in photoshop now, not powerpoint lol. I can feel my cheeks reddening at the thought of it.
Despite the horrendous packaging, I was over joyed when my first reader left me an awesome comment, a few days later I was amazed that more than ten people were reading my book. That was it. I was hooked. One year later more than 170k people had read Lemon Drops And Love and as I was in the middle of writing book two. I decided to put that on hold and give Lemon Drops a thorough edit and see if I could publish it.
Since those days I have written just about one book a year for this series- in between, I write a fantasy series. From the start, I wanted the series to be a good old-fashioned Happy Ever After romance, however, I also wanted it to be so much more than that.
I love reading books that emotionally ring me out, and I love hot and sexy books. Gripping realistic characters are a must, and I wanted my women to reflect the real world- sometimes they have times when they are insecure and appear weak, but they also have a huge strength within them that they can draw upon. As my checklist for must haves in my series grew, the one thing I wanted to do was to include a real, not so pretty social problem in my tales.
So that is what I did. Sometimes people find they can’t read my books because of the subjects matter- domestic abuse, infant mortality, grief, peer pressure, domestic violence against men- they are not the easiest subjects for some to read about, but that is ok. It was a choice I made, because my characters had pasts that weren’t always pleasant, or perfect. Pasts that may have sent them spiraling downward. But, all of my characters find a way through, and all of them find their happy ever after.
One other thing I felt compelled to do was to allow several of my characters to speak. In each book you will hear from several points of view. Yes, even from those that you may not wish to hear from. In Lemon Drops And Love, giving Carl Frasier his own voice was a bit of a gamble. For some people it paid off- he is the villain they love to hate, and while his thoughts are disturbing I felt allowing his character to speak was something that had to happen. For others, getting inside Carl’s head is too much. For those people, I apologize but there are evil people out there that do despicable things and they impact the rest of our lives, and unfortunately they like to make themselves heard.
Dark ‘N’ Stormy came about when a reader messaged me to say how much she loved Ice Cold Mint Juleps (Book 2). In our back and forth conversation, she commented on Finn, Ash Cooper’s housemate. While she loved his characterization, she made an off hand remark about ‘knowing his sort’ and thinking he was too much of a ‘player’ to be trusted. I told her the next book in the series was to be Finn’s story and she said, “Huh, you sure that’s wise? I’m not sure I could ever fall in love with that guy.” Well that was a challenge I set out to win.
At that point, I had no idea what Finn’s book was going to be about. I just knew Jen had to love Finn by the end of it. Now it’s finished, I think Finn is my most favorite character to date. He has certainly gone through the greatest transition, and I hope when you all read it, you will agree with me.
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