Wednesday, February 16, 2011
However, like many ideas, this one wouldn’t leave me alone and eventually I asked an editor friend of mine about it. She assured me it was all in the writing and convinced me I could pull it off. So I gave in and started writing what would become CREATIVE LICENSE, but then I was calling THE VEGAS STORY. Kind of ironic now as none of the story takes place in Vegas.
I am by no means a plotter, but I like to know my story has enough meat before I start writing. I always ask myself what’s keeping the two characters apart. It’s a writer’s prerogative, and duty, to torture them before the happily-ever-after. For me to do that, I needed to really nail down the characters.
Caleb’s character was the easiest. He almost arrived full-born on the page. I think I fell in love with him before Lily did.
Lily was a bit more challenging to pin down. I wanted her likeable and quite frankly, at first she wasn’t. It took a few good edits and some brainstorming before I came up with a good balance of privileged female and approachable heroine.
And then there was the setting. I decided to place the story in San Francisco, so I drove up there with my sisters, a notebook and camera.
A writer’s stories are kind of like children. You love them all. But CREATIVE LICENSE holds a special place in my heart. I hope you enjoy it too.
Loose ends have a way of tripping you up…
Years ago, a law school graduation weekend in Vegas had been part of Lily MacPherson’s plan. Waking up next to a naked Adonis with a ring on her finger was not. After a quick annulment, she relegated Caleb Anderson to her late-night fantasies—and very short list of mistakes—until his voice on the other end of the phone asks a favor that could shake the foundations of her neat and tidy future.
Caleb is still haunted by Lily’s horrified expression that morning in Vegas. At least it had made it easy to set her free…except they aren’t. The papers were never filed. And when the nosy patroness who could launch his painting career insists on meeting his “wife”, does he confess, or call Lily? He calls Lily.
When she steps off the plane, Caleb’s determination to play tour guide disappears in the San Francisco fog. Lily thought she could keep up the pretense for one weekend, cut the last tie to her past, and move on. But their chemistry still pops and sizzles, finally exploding into passion at Caleb’s studio.
It’s everything they remember…but so is the yawning chasm of differences that, in the end, could once again drive them apart.
Contains balmy ocean breezes, coffee as seduction, the creative use of melted chocolate, and naughty shower lovin’ that gives new meanings to the term “shower head”.
Excerpt: Rated PG
The computer screen blurred. Lily blinked to refocus her tired eyes on the deposition and sighed in relief when the phone rang. She loved her job, loved working for a law firm, but staring at a computer screen for hours took its toll.
Blowing a strand of dark hair out of her eyes, she reached over a stack of law books. “McPherson.” Lily glanced at the clock as her stomach rumbled. She’d worked through lunch again. Damn.
The other end of the line was silent for so long, she thought the caller had changed his or her mind. “Hello?”
The rich, masculine voice sent chills down her spine and knotted her stomach. Eyes closed, she gripped the phone so hard it hurt. Even after all these years, she knew that voice. “Caleb?”
A low, sexy chuckle rumbled through the line. “You remember me.”
Oh shit, why was he calling her now? Memories of the most erotic night of her life flashed through her mind. Lily opened her eyes, reminding herself the most embarrassing morning of her life had followed. “How did you get this number? Never mind.”
Despite the deep breath, the receiver trembled in her hand. “Can I do something for you?”
An intake of breath and then a pause. “We have a slight problem.”
Lily’s stomach churned acid. None of their problems had been small, not for the twelve hours and twenty-two minutes they’d been married. “Yes?”
Caleb cleared his throat. “It seems the annulment didn’t go through.”
“Oh, shit.” I’m in a bad movie. This has got to be a joke. She leaned against the back of her chair. “What do you mean it didn’t go through?”
“We’re still married, sweetie. The annulment was never processed.”
Married? “Why?” Lily rubbed the ache growing between her eyes. “No. I don’t care. Just get it processed.”
“It’s too late now. We’ve been married too long.”
“We are not married.” Lily tried to swallow past the tide of rising panic.
“The state of Nevada would disagree, sweetheart.”
She could almost see that sexy grin, those sparkling green eyes. She definitely remembered what they did to her. She’d been chocolate under the heat of his sun. “I am not your sweetheart.” She reached for a notepad. Who to call? Certainly no one in the firm. Though they were all professional and talented, people talked. She couldn’t let it get back to her family or… Oh, God. Stewart. “I’ll file for divorce in the morning.”
“Um, about that.”
She didn’t have the patience to wait out the pause. “What?”
“I was wondering if we could delay that a bit.”
A pain in her hand alerted her to the death grip she’d taken on the phone. She was suddenly glad she’d skipped lunch. “Delay? Why?”
“I need a favor.”
“Well you’re out of luck. I’m fresh out of favors.”
“Lily, please listen.”
His voice had lowered to almost pleading. Something in her heart softened. What’s wrong with me? I don’t owe this man anything! He’s a stranger. “You call me out of the blue to tell me we’re still married and now you need a favor?” It came out a little more acerbic than she’d meant.
His chuckle sounded nervous. “I guess that pretty much sums it up. You’re not married or anything, are you?”
Lily closed her eyes. “No. I’m not.”
“Well.” He cleared his throat. “Except to me.”
“Not for long. Thank you for letting me know about the clerical error. I’ll handle it from my end. Good-bye.” Lily set the phone in its cradle. Quite a feat when she wanted to slam it down. She stood and walked toward the window, leaned against the sill and stared out at the tops of the trees and below them to the expanse of grass. Interns didn’t usually merit an office with a window, let alone a window facing the courtyard. It was one of the benefits of almost being engaged to her boss’s son.
Ah, Stewart. He wouldn’t mind that she slept with someone in Vegas, though he’d be a bit irritated she hadn’t been smarter about keeping it quiet. But in his eyes, marrying a divorceé was socially unacceptable. No one could ever find out about what happened in Vegas. It had been a mistake, a horrible mistake.
She closed her eyes and the image of waking next to a naked Adonis filled her mind. His long blond hair had spread over perfectly sculpted shoulders, his head cradled by well-muscled arms. A silk sheet covered his lower back to mid-thigh but had only served to tantalize the imagination of her sleep-fogged brain. For a moment, she’d been tempted to explore the promising hills and valleys of his body and then she’d moved to touch him and seen the gaudy fake diamond ring on her left hand.
She still could only remember flashes of their night together; falling into his arms, the silky warmth of his skin next to hers, his lips. She opened her eyes in an attempt to wash out the images that had tinted her fantasies in the three years since. An ache built in her lower abdomen as she remembered the sound of his voice. She couldn’t recall standing in front of a minister and saying I do, but the documents didn’t lie. “Shit.” Caleb Anderson might be a talented artist and sexy as hell, but he wasn’t in her ten-year plan.
Behind her, the phone rang again and she sighed, turned and picked it up. “Macpherson.”
“Lily, please, listen,” Caleb asked.
“You have three minutes.”
“It’s… Damn it, Lily. It’s a long story.”
“Three minutes,” she repeated. The sound of Caleb’s sigh into her ear sent shivers down her body.
“I need you to…come out here for a few days.”
Her jaw dropped open.
After a long pause, Caleb cleared his throat. “Are you still there?”
“Is this a joke?”
“No. It’s not. If you’ll let—”
“No. Absolutely not. You’re crazy.”
“Please. I know it’s inconvenient—”
“Inconvenient? That’s an understatement. Why would I fly across the country?”
“Because it could make a permanent difference in my career, in my life. Listen, it’s complicated but…” he paused and his voice thickened. “My patroness did a background check, she found out I was married. I panicked. She wants to meet you.” The words came out in a rush.
“I appreciate your position, but…” Lily hesitated. She could vividly remember the passion with which he described his art. It had been one of the many things that had kept her by the bar ordering drink after drink until her memory faded to black.
“I’ll pay for your air fare and—”
“It’s not that.”
“Then what? Lily, I need your help. Please. It’s my one big chance. It would only be for a couple of days.”
A couple of days. That’s what got her into this mess in the first place, but something inside of her softened further. She did have some vacation time coming and she’d heard San Francisco was beautiful in the summer. Holy heaven, I’m considering it.
She had to admit, part of her hesitation was the memory of his skin on hers and the fear she’d tumble back into bed with him in a heartbeat. She’d done it in her fantasies enough times. Would that be so bad?
No, it would be so good. That was the problem. She took a deep breath. “I’ll think about it, Caleb.”
She hung up the phone, buried her face in her hands, and then grimaced. “I’ve just had my first argument with my husband.”
Available at Samhain http://store.samhainpublishing.com/creative-license-p-6257.html