SURPRISE! I’M NOT WHO YOU THOUGHT I WAS.
As a writer I’ve never had this happen to me before. Okay, at least not to this extent. But this is exactly what happened while writing my newest release for Avon Impulse SOMEBODY LIKE YOU, the third book in the Sugar Shack series.
James Harley is a former bad boy turned deputy sheriff. I knew he had some dark secrets. I thought I knew what they were. I wasn’t struggling with writing him at all. In fact, I was totally in love with him. Or so I thought. Until the moment he revealed his true self and the reason behind his torment. Then it was like wham! I get it now. I understand. Thank you! If I thought I’d been in love with him before, I was now a total fan of the man. He’s hot. He’s sexy. And he has an amazing heart.
Here’s a moment from SOMEBODY LIKE YOU that led up to the scene that totally sold me on James’ heart and character.
“How are your ribs feeling?” James asked his little brother.
“You’re young. They should heal pretty fast. Although next time you might want to choose to talk to an unattached female instead of one who has a boyfriend with a good right hook.”
A staggered breath lifted Alex’s shoulders. “You know that’s not what happened, right?”
“I figured. You want to tell me the truth?”
“Nothing really to tell. I went looking for a fight.”
Alex leaned back against the headboard. “Stupid, I guess.”
“Stupid—which you are not—doesn’t usually lead someone to pick a fight.”
“Guess I’m just a problem child then.”
James pulled air into his lungs. That’s what he’d thought about himself years ago. “Maybe you’re a child with a problem. How about we talk about that? And don’t worry. You probably aren’t going to shed light on anything I haven’t already seen, said, or done.”
With the exception of Poppy releasing a long sigh, silence hung heavy between them.
“Promise you won’t laugh,” Alex said, lowering his gaze to the blue plaid comforter.
James sat down on the edge of the bed. “Promise.”
A long pause stretched out between them before Alex opened up. “I’m afraid. And that makes me mad. Only pussies are supposed to be afraid.”
James’s heart jumped, and he respected the admission for what it was. Honesty. “Are you calling me a pussy?”
“You’re never afraid,” Alex said.
“Are you kidding? There have been times in my life when I was so scared I cried like a little girl.”
Alex gave a brief chuckle that died out on a long sigh.
“What are you afraid of?”
Brown eyes stared into his own, and James felt their desperation to his core.
“I’m afraid that no one wants me,” Alex confided. “My father never wanted me. Mom didn’t want me. And I know you didn’t want me when I moved in here after mom got sick.”
“That’s not true, Alex. I can’t answer for your father …” Who was a total scumbag. “But I can tell you that it wasn’t that mom didn’t want you. She loves you. But she can’t even care for herself.”
“I would have helped her.”
“You were eleven.”
“I still could have helped.”
James’s heart did a funny sidestep in his chest that stole his breath. Alex had never been given that option. Everyone who thought they knew what had been best for him had made the decisions for him. Alex had never been brought in on the conversation.
“You’re right. We should have talked to you before we made arrangements that would affect your life,” James admitted.
Alex shrugged. “Just would have been nice, you know?”
James understood. There were many situations in his past where he’d not been allowed to have a say. Not when his mother brought home a new daddy who’d hated James on sight. Not when she’d brought home a new baby brother who’d taken over his room and his life. Not when she’d put fifteen-year-old James in charge of an infant while she went looking for husband number three.
I’m celebrating the return to the Sugar Shack with a contest and giveaway of a Sugar Shack inspired gift basket. Please check my Facebook page for details. Contest is open to U.S. and International readers.
Welcome Back to the Sugar Shack!
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Deputy James Harley has always played with fire. When smart and sexy Kelly pops back into his life, he doesn't mind going for a full burn. And that might be exactly what happens when his past threatens to catch up with his future.
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