My characters, Christine Rollins from A Second Chance and Elizabeth Ashley from May I Have this Dance insisted on interviewing each other. I hope you enjoy it.
E: So, Christine, tell me a little about yourself.
C: Well, I’m a fifty-eight year old divorcee and mother of two. Problem is my daughter, who lives next door to me, and my friends insist on fixing me up with every Tom, Dick, and Harry who is widowed or divorced.
E: Aren’t kids great. Why is it everyone thinks we need a man in our lives to be happy?
C: Good question. So tell me about you?
E: I’m a sixty year old widow with one child. Fortunately, she hasn’t tried to fix me up with anyone. I think I made it pretty clear I wasn’t interested.
C: I’m sorry to hear that.
E: Oh don’t be. I lost the love of my life forty-two years ago. I should never have married Harry. So, tell me how you spend your time.
C: I work as a school secretary and fill my evenings with college courses. I was quite content until my son in law’s uncle arrived in town. There I was minding my own business coming home from visiting my son in Florida, and this drop dead gorgeous guy appears at the airport with my daughter and grandchildren.
E: I’m all ears. Do tell.
C: laughs and rolls her eyes. You’re as bad as my daughter. Okay, so he’s handsome and sexy. Lord, I thought I was past that, but this guy woke something in me that I didn’t know was sleeping. Heck, something I didn’t know existed.
E: He sounds fabulous.
C: Oh he is. Not only is he handsome, he’s the kindest, sweetest, most attentive man I’ve ever met.
E: So what happened?
C: My ex came back and asked for a second chance. After two years living with some bimbo. Okay, she wasn’t a bimbo, she was his dental assistant, but still. She was only half his age. Younger than our daughter. Then suddenly there he was standing in my kitchen, begging for another chance. He never begged. Do you have any idea how I longed to hear those words?
E: Did you take him back?
C: Now if I told you that, I’d give away the whole story. But you can find out in my book A Second Chance available from MuseItUp Publishing at: http://bit.ly/asecondchance.
So tell me about the love of your life, Elizabeth. What do you mean you lost him forty-two years ago?
E: Wow, where to start. I guess at the beginning. I met Danny Sullivan in 1955, my coming out year. We were spending the summer at our cottage like we usually did. I was thinking about the fist ball and suddenly there he was. He was so dreamy. I fell instantly in love. Problem was my father didn’t approve of him.
C: Why not?
E: He didn’t come from the right stock. My father’s words not mine.
C: The right stock?
E: Yes, we were wealthy and my father was very old fashioned and strict. I swear he should have been born in the Victorian Era. Unfortunately Danny didn’t come from money.
C: So did Danny work at Lakeview?
E: No his mother passed away and his Godmother, Mrs. James – a very influential woman in Lakeview – took him under her wing and invited him to spend the summer.
C: So what happened?
E: Danny and I hit it off, much to my father’s chagrin and the other parents delight. No one bucks Mrs. James. So needless to say, although my father forbid me from seeing Danny in private – he’d never say anything in public and risk making a scene. So I ignored him. It bothered Danny how some of the older residents treated him. The kids were pretty cool. At least most of them.
C: Wow, you really went against your father.
E: Yeah, until Danny asked me to marry him.
C: What happened then?
E: If I tell you, I’ll spoil the book. You can read about it in May I Have this Dance available from MuseItUp Publishing in July. http://bit.ly/MayIHaveThisDance
Blurb and Excerpt from A Second Chance
Fifty-eight year old, Christine’s family and friends are always trying to play matchmaker, much to her chagrin. When she returns home from a vacation over the Christmas holiday, her daughter introduces her to a sexy, handsome, man. A man, she’s much too attracted to. One she tries to resist, but eventually gives in, and begins to see him on a regular basis. At least she does until her ex husband appears on the scene and wants a second chance at their marriage.
Steven’s rough hand covered hers, igniting smoldering sparks, starting in the pit of her stomach. Christine groaned inwardly and pulled her hand away, trying to ignore him. Not normally a rude person, but something about him invited it. He annoyed her. His magnetism made her uncomfortable. She hadn’t reacted to a man like this since Tony, and that ended in disaster.
Instead, she focused her attention on Jenna and Richard. “I sure have missed you two.”
She looked at her grandchildren and avoided Steven’s eyes. Seeing the sign for baggage claim, she headed toward it. “Let’s go. I can’t wait to get home.”
“Can we stop for dinner?” Jenna hooked her arm through Christine’s. Her long blond hair bounced as she kept up the rapid pace Christine set, leaving all but Steven lagging behind.
Christine threw him a sullen look. He lifted an eyebrow and winked at her through long dark lashes. Great, she amused him. Who did he think he was, God’s gift to women? A bit arrogant…but so darn good looking. Stop it, she told herself. She was acting like a fool, why was she letting this man get to her?
“You’re hungry too, aren’t you, Uncle Steve?” Jenna’s voice broke Christine’s thoughts and drew Steven into the conversation as Jenna linked her other arm through his.
Something about her granddaughter’s tone aroused Christine’s suspicions. This sounded like a setup. Playing matchmaker again. Her family and friends had been trying to match her up since Tony divorced her two years ago.
Christine’s stomach growled, reminding her she hadn’t eaten since breakfast. “I suppose we can stop for dinner.” Besides, a restaurant held more appeal than the confines of Lisa’s kitchen with Uncle Steve nearby. If they didn’t stop for dinner, Lisa would expect to fix something.
At the restaurant, Steven held Christine’s chair out before sitting opposite her. Still too close for comfort at the small table. Curious about him, she glanced over the top of her menu. She caught his laughing eyes staring at her. He winked, and she pulled the menu up to hide the blush she knew crept into her cheeks. What drew her to this man?
“Uncle Steve just moved back from New Zealand,” Lisa explained. “Derek and I insisted he stay with us.”
Unsure how to reply, Christine just nodded. Now she knew something was fishy in
Denmark. Lisa had tried to set her up with Derek’s business associates and just about every widower, divorced, or single man she met.
“Uncle Steve’s a confirmed bachelor.” Richard announced loud enough that people from other tables looked at them and smiled.
“Oh...” Christine couldn’t resist this one. “How have you managed to remain single all these years?” So, they were matchmaking again. Well, Mr. Payton, you won’t be single much longer if Lisa has her way. Christine shuddered at the thought. And neither would she. Something told her she was treading on thin ice here. Too darn attractive for his own good, the type of man to break women’s hearts and walk away. Once was enough for her, thank you very much.
“Never found the woman of my dreams.” Steven leaned back and rocked in his chair.
“And I guess I never found a woman with enough patience to put up with me.” He straightened, reached across the table, patted her hand, and grinned.
“And, why haven’t we met you before now?” Christine pulled her hand away and put it on her lap out of his reach. “I thought I met all of Derek’s relatives.”
“I haven’t been back to the states much since my parents passed away, about twenty
years ago. And my job prevented much travel.” His eyes locked on hers as he spoke. “Derek and his mother are the only relatives I have left.”
Christine mumbled an apology and turned her attention to Jenna and Richard. “So what have you two been doing during the holiday break? Skiing, skating?”
Jenna and Richard chattered the rest of the meal, and Christine relaxed and enjoyed them, but she couldn’t keep her gaze from straying to Steven. Of course, sitting across the table from him made it difficult to not look at him. But did she have to openly stare?
Grateful she made it through dinner, and uncomfortable with the feelings Steven stirred
in her, she stood to go. When they reached the car, Lisa handed the keys to her uncle. “You drive, and Mom, you sit in front, and I’ll sit in back with the kids.”
Oh you are clever, Lisa, Christine thought. She would have protested but knew it wouldn’t do any good. Good thing the drive home only took ten minutes. She couldn’t believe Lisa was being so obvious about this. Fortunately, Richard and Jenna were still in a talkative mood, and the ride home passed quickly.
Steven pulled the car into her drive, put it in gear, popped the trunk, and got out. He grabbed her luggage and had it halfway to the door before Christine could protest.
Irritated with his attitude, she followed. He’s sure taking liberties. Who does he think he is? She could handle her own luggage. He’s arrogant and too good looking for his own good. Oh stop it, Christine, she admonished, he’s being helpful, a gentleman, that’s all. What made her think he was interested in her anyway? Like she was so special. He probably acted the same way with all women. With his good looks, she doubted he lacked female companions.
He stopped at the door and waited for her. When he took the key from her hand, opened the door, reached inside, and flipped on a light, a warm sensation began in her stomach, and spread outward as he looked down at her.
Something told her this man was dangerous territory. “Thank you.” Christine’s insides trembled. She hoped her voice sounded calm. Holding her hand out for the key, she wished him away.
“Dinner tomorrow.” He said it as a statement not a question.
She felt her eyes narrow. A habit she never managed to break when someone irked her.
How dare he be so presumptuous? “Sorry, I’m busy.” Closing the door halfway against him, she tried to hide behind it.
He reached up, and combed his fingers through her short blond hair. The small gesture electrified her. She backed away. He chuckled, winked at her, and pulled the door closed behind him.
Darn it all, why was she acting like a silly teenager who had a crush on the football captain? Infuriated at the feelings he instilled in her, she leaned against the door. Her body trembled. From anger or attraction, she wasn’t sure. Christine shook her head, trying to clear it.
Exhausted from her trip, Christine went to bed, trying to erase Steven from her mind. She closed her eyes and visions of his laughing eyes appeared. She turned the pillow, punched it, and closed her eyes again, willing herself to sleep. Darn it, why did that man affect her like this? She tossed and turned through a dream-filled night.
Blurb and Excerpt from May I Have this Dance
Returning to a summer resort in 1997, Elizabeth Ashley sits in the gazebo watching her granddaughter and a young man who reminds her so much of her first love. She fell in love with a boy her stern father didn’t approve of. One who didn’t come from the “right stock” as he put it. Her memory takes her back to 1955. Back to a time when life was fun and she was full of life.
Excerpt from May I Have this Dance
Elizabeth watched a young man chase her granddaughter through the water, while enjoying the coolness of the shaded gazebo and relishing the gentle breeze. So much like that day so long ago. June 4th 1955, the day forever etched in her memory. Only the splash of the water and sound of gulls broke the silence. The scene brought back a memory so vivid—it could have been yesterday instead of forty-two years ago. Elizabeth pushed her silver-streaked hair from her face, leaned back, closed her eyes, and remembered that summer. A summer when she was young and carefree like her granddaughter.
* * * *
Swaying to imaginary music, Elizabeth held her sundress out to the side and imagined the long flowing gown she’d wear at the ball. Bowing and smiling at an invisible partner, she twirled around the pavilion. Her long dark hair fell forward, covering her face. Tossing it back, Elizabeth laughed aloud and batted her long lashes, pretending to flirt.
“May I have this dance?” A masculine voice startled her into awareness.
Heat burned her cheeks. Embarrassed, Elizabeth turned and ran.
“Hey, wait.” He ran after her, caught up, and grabbed her arm. “I’m sorry; I didn’t mean to startle you.”
Elizabeth stopped, the light pressure of his grip sent a tingling sensation through her, igniting sparks deep inside her. Gathering her composure, she remembered her manners. “Are you new to Lakeview?” Her gaze caught his blue-green eyes and locked.
“Just arrived.” A smile twitched on his lips, as if he wanted to laugh but thought better of it. “Never been to a resort before. I’m staying with my aunt, Melissa James, maybe you know her?”
“Oh, Mrs. James, of course, you’re the nephew. I’m Elizabeth Ashley.” She extended her hand. “Do you live in Ohio?”
“Cleveland, matter of fact. But I’ll be working in New York come fall. How about you?” He took her hand and raised it to his mouth, in an old-fashioned gesture. His gaze never left hers as his lips brushed slowly across the top of her hand. “I’m Danny Sullivan, by the way.” A mischievous gleam twinkled in his eyes.
“Uh…” Pulling her hand away, she tucked it behind her, trying to cool the heat that coursed from her hand through her body. “I have to go.” Elizabeth twisted her hands behind her back, her usual calm reserve shaken. No one had ever caused a reaction in her like this. Her head spun. Her stomach felt like a million butterflies fluttered in it, and her heart throbbed so loud she knew he could hear it.
“Can I see you later?” He matched her quick strides. “Where do you live? I’ll walk you home.”
Elizabeth stared up at him. Lord, he must be six feet tall. She only came to his chest. “No, I mean, uh, I’ll see you around.” She raced off, leaving him to stare after her.
A few minutes later, Elizabeth danced into her room, dreamy eyed. Usually she hated the white, ruffled curtains at the window and the pink bedspread, but not today. Today, it didn’t even bother her that her sister picked everything out for the room. Talk about luck. She had to be one of the first to meet Mrs. James’s nephew. Danny Sullivan. Mrs. Danny Sullivan. Loving the sound of it, silly as it was, she couldn’t help herself. She was in love. Bouncing onto the bed, where her sister laid reading, Elizabeth pulled her knees up to her chest, circled her arms around them and rocked. Sighing loudly, she inhaled the scent of Lily of the Valley perfume, lingering from the morning.
“Do you have to jump on the bed like that?” Susan slammed her book closed. “If you want to talk to me, why can’t you be like normal people and say so, without trying to get my attention first?”
“Oh, Suse,” Elizabeth ignored her sister’s irritation. “I met the most handsome man. He’s tall with hair the color of an old rusty pail and eyes the shade of sea foam.” Elizabeth stood up and danced around the sun-filled room. “I think I’m in love.”
“You’re always in love. Who is he this time?” Susan set her book aside. “I thought we knew everyone here.”
“His name is Danny Sullivan, Mrs. James’s nephew. Remember, she mentioned him the other night? He’s older and he kissed my hand and called me Beth.” Elizabeth paused for a breath. “No one has ever called me that.” Elizabeth hugged herself and continued to dance. “I can’t wait to see him again. I hope he’s at the ball tomorrow. Maybe he’ll dance with me.”
“Will you be still already and quit babbling.” Susan sat up, her slender body in perfect posture. The two sisters were as different as night and day. Susan, tall, blond, serious, like their father, while Elizabeth, impulsive, petite, and dark haired, favored their deceased mother.
“Father isn’t going to like this, Liz. You know how he feels about outsiders.”
“Oh quit being such a square! Wait till you see him, Susie. He’s so dreamy.” Elizabeth closed her eyes. Why couldn’t her sister be on her side, just once? “Besides, Father doesn’t like anyone, you know how he is.”