Writing Wednesday: POV


So, I’ve been reading a book by a NY Times bestselling author, in a genre I normally enjoy.

The main story is solid. That’s not the problem.

The problem is with all the other stories.

In this case, when I’m discussing point of view (POV), I’m not talking about head hopping, which is a completely different problem (and one this author doesn’t really have). In this case, I’m talking about having too many point of view characters.

I’ll tell you, you give me more than three POV characters, and I stop giving a shit about any of them.

I’m about two-thirds of the way through this book, and honestly, I feel like I should have put it down about one hundred pages ago. I know of too many people who, in my same position, would have done that and then written an absolutely scathing review about it.

See, every chapter should drive the story forward. If you have too many characters, each with their own stories, you run the risk of losing sight of the story you sold on the back jacket. And that, my friend, is cheating your reader out of the story she bought.

In the case of the book I’m reading, sometimes the secondary POV characters are contributing to the main story–which is something I detest, by the way. If one of the main characters doesn’t know this information, then I shouldn’t either. Either have someone tell them (from the MC’s point of view), or the information really isn’t that important. Not only that, but I despise it when an author has the villain’s POV in the story, especially in fantasy/sci-fi, because it smacks of author hubris. “Look at how clever I am! Look at my world building! You wouldn’t know this if I didn’t totally spell it out for you!”

Let me figure it out with your characters. I don’t need to know everything if they don’t. And if they don’t ever figure it out, then I didn’t ever need to know it.

But in this story, more often than not, they’ve got their own story lines. I’ve read books like this before, and I’ve never been so bothered by it as I am in this case. I mean, I’ve never particularly liked it, but I’ve read it and not hated it. This time, though, I find myself dreading chapter and scene breaks, because I never know whose POV I’ll be in next. Will it be the hero? The heroine? One of the hero’s brothers? The heroine’s brother? Or, even, the heroine’s brother’s friend’s love interest? (I’m not even exaggerating on that front)

It’s getting to the point of being obnoxious.

Okay, it is obnoxious.

To me, having so many Point of View characters says a couple of things:

1) The author thinks: “I love these characters and I must write about them!”

2) The author doesn’t have enough plot or conflict in the main story to carry an entire book.

3) The author really didn’t know where her story was going.

4) The author lost control of her story.

5) The author didn’t care enough about her story or her readers to fix it.

These are not things you want your reader thinking, in general.

So, here’s my advice: keep your point of view characters between one and three. Really, no more than three. And if you’re writing a book that you would consider a romance, that you’re planning on selling as a romance, don’t have more than three POVs. I might even caution against that, because generally, a romance is between two people. Nothing that happens in the story should be from someone else’s point of view, because in a romance with two people, what does a third person’s POV do to drive the story forward?

Just wondering.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have a review to write.

PS As an aside, I finished this book today. The secondary stories weren’t even wrapped up. With so much energy spent on telling these secondary stories, to not wrap them up in this book is a cheat.

Boo.

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Booty-licious: A Pirate’s Ransom


 

Good morning, peeps! (It’s always a good morning if it’s Monday and you don’t have to go to work, right?

Help me welcome Gerri Brousseau, author of A Pirate’s Ransom.

Gerri: Thank you, Meggan, for hosting me here today. I thought for a little bit of fun today, I would invite Captain Drake to help me answer these questions. So … he and I shall be taking a stab at them.

He’s not going to stab me while taking a stab at my questions, is he? After all, he’s a pirate. (Gerri shakes her head; Captain Drake grins. I decide to plow on ahead anyway)

So, uh, Captain Drake, Gerri, can you tell us a little about yourself?

Captain Drake: I’m a pirate. What more is there to say?

Gerri: Really, Captain … sometimes, you can be so crass. I shall answer this question.

Captain Drake: My deepest apologies, Lady Gerri. By all means, please do continue.

Gerri: I live in CT with my two pugs … they are such good company and have great personalities. Besides writing, my other passion is cooking. I guess I just love to create things, no matter if they are on paper, or a plate.

Do you have a day job?

Captain Drake: I sail the seven seas looking for the prize I seek.

Gerri: Unfortunately, no. I got laid off with the downturn of the economy.  I am looking though.

Of course you do, Captain. I would expect nothing less. So tell me, Gerri, how do you balance writing with all of your other obligations? (I ask, because I have yet to find it!)

Gerri: I don’t. I give myself permission to be temporarily out of balance. I learned a long time ago that dust keeps. No one else will do the dishes or vacuum so when I have a moment, I do. If I were working, I would have to deal with it. I find that women are good at juggling.

That’s a perfect response, mostly because I haven’t vacuumed in the last few days, and I only dusted because, well, I have a hole in my bathroom floor from a dreaded toilet leak. That floor would be clean if it existed, right?

Just because I’m curious: What’s your favorite book of all time, and why? (Because I’m a lit geek, I’ll let you get away with listing more than one)

Captain Drake: I find I’m quite fond of the tales of Odysseus.

Gerri:  I really can’t answer this. I have many that I have read more than once, so I would be hard pressed to pick, but I do have to say I love Mister Darcy.

Oo, oo, I love Mister Darcy, too. Especially as played by Colin Firth. I think I was seven or eight when that version came out, but lawd, I love it! Speaking of actors, who is your favorite movie/TV character and why?

Captain Drake: What is TV?

Gerri: Captain, I will handle this one as well. I have many favorite movies. Let’s see … I adore Harry Potter because those books/movies inspire me. No matter how many times I have seen them, whenever they are on I MUST watch them. I love Pirates of the Caribbean, of course. I have seen Gone With the Wind many times, as well as The Sound of Music. I love The Wizard of Oz and Top Gun too. Favorite TV character is Damon Salvatore, played by the devilishly handsome, very hot and sexy Ian Somerhalder. Man, if I were just 20 years younger.

 I  to agree with you on that front: Ian Somerhalder is very nice to look at. 🙂 

What are your interests outside of writing?

Gerri: I have a new granddaughter and I love spending time with her. As I mentioned above, I love to cook and create new recipes. I enjoy going to the movies, trying a new restaurant, I like to sketch and paint, I enjoy walking with friends or with the pugs. I like to go to the beach, although I hate sand … weird huh? I love to dance.

Congrats on the new grandbaby! That’s so exciting. 

Let’s talk a little about your writing. Answer as many or as few as you want…

Is there a particular author who may have influenced you?

Gerri: Yes there are two actually, Stephanie Meyer and J.K. Rowling. Let me tell you a little bit about how I started writing. Way back in 2007 I took a job that required me to travel 4 hours per day on a train. I know, crazy, but desperate times … anyway … during those hours I started to read – A LOT. Well, one fine day I picked up a little book entitled, “Twilight” and couldn’t put it down. In a matter of one week, I had breezed through all four of them. Then I read an interview with the author who said she dreamed Twilight. I thought … if I only could have a dream, maybe I could write a book. Well, I pushed that notion aside and went on with my life. Then one weekend it just so happened that Harry Potter was on. The particular movie was the Goblet of Fire. In this movie, Harry has to battle a dragon. The old professor looks at Harry and says, “What are your strengths? What are you good at?” And at that moment, it seemed as if the old professor was asking me. Harry answers, “Well, I’m a pretty fair flyer.” and I answer “I’m pretty fair writer” and the old professor answers, “Better than fair, the way I heard it.”  And it was at that moment that I decided to seriously become an author.  It is my fondest wish to one day meet J.K. Rowling.

That’s a great story! Tell us a little bit about what inspired this book.

Gerri: I always had dreamed about being swept away by a handsome pirate, but my pirate had to be so much more. He wasn’t rough and mean. He was a gentleman. The more I thought about him, the more he manifested himself in my mind. Of course, I couldn’t picture him alone, so I imagined what his lady would look like. Pretty soon, Captain Drake and Lady Catherine were screaming at me to tell their story … I tried my hand at writing a pirate tale and I hope your readers love it as much as I loved writing it.

I’m sure they will!

What is your favorite sentence or quote in your new release?

Gerri: My favorite is spoken by Captain Drake to Lady Catherine: “Every Lady needs a scoundrel in her life.”

Captain Drake: I said that and I do believe that to be true. I confess, I strive daily to see that I fulfill this need.

I confess, I’m pretty enamored with the scoundrel(s) in my life.

So, Gerri, In their hearts of hearts, what would your characters say about themselves?

Captain Drake: I am a gentleman. Although I am known to be a pirate, I am honest and strive to do the right thing. I see myself as being loyal and protective.

Gerri: Lady Catherine is a well-mannered lady. She would never dream of bringing dishonor to her father. She is innocent, but a quick study (blush). She is strong-willed and can be feisty.

Miss Mary Chadwick – Lady Catherine’s maid has been with Catherine since her birth. She is loyal and protective.

Tobias Smith – Captain Drake’s Quartermaster – he’s a little rough around the edges, but he is fiercely loyal and level-headed. 

Sounds like a good crew, and every pirate captain needs one of those! Tell me, Gerri–or perhaps you could answer, Captain Drake, who would play the lead characters in your story?

Gerri: Since Hollywood wouldn’t give the author the chance to cast her characters, I really haven’t given it too much thought. Captain Drake is devilishly handsome. Dark hair, green eyes … hmmm have to give that some thought. Lady Catherine has dark hair and crystal blue eyes … I guess I will challenge the readers to make some suggestions. I have had one already for Mary Chadwick. Let’s see what the readers say in their comments.

Do you have any advice for an aspiring writer?

Gerri: Yes. Believe in yourself and your story and NEVER give up.  Don’t listen to the nay sayers. Keep writing. There will be no’s … there will be rejections, but do not give up.

Where can your readers stalk you?

Gerri:  My website at www.gerribrousseau.com where I urge them to enter my Claim the Ransom contest for their chance to sail away with the treasure.

I’m also on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/#!/gerri.brousseau.5 and I also have a Fan page on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/pages/edit/?id=265905043526325&sk=permissions&success=1#!/gerribrousseaubooks  I invite them to stop by “Like” my page, say Hi or ask a question.  I also have a page at Soul Mate Publishing authors http://smpauthors.wordpress.com/

Tell us about your new release:

Gerri:  I would be happy to. Here is a little blurb about the book:

Despair filled Lady Catherine as she boarded the ship for England, and toward marriage to man she’s never met—the Duke of Devonshire.  But the sea is no place for a lady.  She’s captured by the Pirate Captain, Edmund Drake and held for ransom; a ransom that has nothing to do with coin.  But when she’s stolen from him, he realizes she has captured his heart. She becomes the pawn in a dangerous rivalry between two pirates—the handsome pirate Captain Edmund Drake and his notorious and fearsome opponent, Blackbeard.  How far will Captain Drake go to reclaim his prize?  Which pirate will decide her fate?  And who will pay … A Pirate’s Ransom?

But … there is so much more to the story. What about the Duke? How and when does he fit into this story and who the heck is The Contessa Theodora de Lorenzo? Hmm, guess you’ll just have to read the book to find out.

Do you have an excerpt?

Gerri: Yes, I sure do.

Well then, without further ado, A Pirate’s Ransom!

My hand rested on the smooth wood of the rail while I watched the moonlight dance upon the waves, the sound of the wind in the sails was almost liberating. I don’t know how long he stood behind me in silence but when I sensed his presence, my backbone stiffened. What was it about this man that riled me so?

He took a few steps closer. “Catherine,” he said in a voice just above a whisper. The deepness of his murmur caused my mind to wander. Why was I picturing him using this tone with a lover? My back stiffened further and I chided myself for allowing my thoughts to wander in that direction. Refusing to face him, I kept my gaze upon the water.

“It would give me great pleasure if you would do me the honor of dining with me this evening.” He seemed to purr.

He inched closer and the heat of his body radiated into my rigid back. Placing one hand upon my shoulder and his lips close to my ear he whispered, “Please.”

The heat of his whisper caressed my ear and the tension seemed to melt away from me. I closed my eyes and tried to swallow the lump in my throat.

“You look truly beautiful this evening, Milady.” His hoarse whisper scorched my neck and goose bumps ran up my arms. He stood so close that when I relaxed, my back nestled against his chest. His body was hard and warm and the intoxicating smell of him made me dizzy. Heat spread through me in a sensation I had never experienced before as his soft lips gently brushed my neck, but my heart nearly stopped when he whispered, “but not nearly as lovely as you looked this afternoon in the mirror.

Gerri: Oh, by the way … if your readers are interested in purchasing the book, here are my links:

Available at: http://www.soulmatepublishing.com

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/kindle/dp/B0091PRUTO/ref=rdr_kindle_ext_eos_detail

Barnes & Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/a-pirtes-ransom-gerri-brousseau/1112651492?ean=2940015206692

Thanks so much for hosting me. 

You are very welcome! Thanks for stopping by to chat!

 

Author Interview: Welcome Char Chaffin


Hi Char! Welcome to The Bodice. Can you tell us a little about yourself?

Sure! I’m a native New Yorker raised in Upstate. Many NYC dwellers will sniff in disdain when Upstaters mention where they’re from. To them, the only place to live in NY is The City.  J  I married Don in 1975, at the time an Air Force man who kept our little family on the move. And yet many of our moves occurred after Don retired from the AF. The hunt for decent jobs sent us all over the US, other times family obligations got us packing up and heading out. We’ve lived in six different states, and I’ve been in all fifty states at one time or another in my life. Plus Canada and Mexico!

I’m a book and copper collector, a classic car fiend, a pizza gourmand, adore dogs of all shapes and breeds, love to cook, actually enjoy ironing clothes, and my family comes first in my life. Though the writing does come a close and tight second! I don’t spend nearly enough time pond-ing in the summer and I read myself into a coma during long winter days when it’s frigid outside and the pellet stove keeps our home cozy.

Respect, sister. I love copper, but don’t collect (I would, though).  I have too little space for copper, as I have too many books! Also, can you come to my house and iron? I hate that stuff. How do you balance writing with all of your other obligations? (I ask, because I have yet to find it!) 

That’s a tough one. Right now writing is a daily delight that often gets scooted to the back of the bus. J I’m also an Acquisitions Editor for Soul Mate Publishing and my current manuscript responsibilities are heavy. I’ve got some serious deadlines coming up, plus a book tour I’m trying to stay ahead of. So writing has been set aside.  ::cries::  But I’ll get back to it soon, and if I ever find a solution to that pesky writing-versus-obligation problem, I’ll be sure to let you know!

Fantastic. Because I really need to know! What’s your favorite book of all time, and why? (Because I’m a lit geek, I’ll let you get away with listing more than one)

Oh, I have many, none of which are all that literary. I read the obligatory classics in school, then promptly forgot them. Mostly because at eight I discovered horror and science fiction. I started reading Ray Bradbury, then ate my way through Edgar Rice Burroughs, Alfred Hitchcock’s amazing short story collections, found Stephen King and Dean Koontz, and never looked back. I read all Ian Fleming had published (so far!) before my twelfth birthday. When I was a teenager I found romance, and started reading large chunks of them scattered throughout the horror.

When paranormals hit I was a happy girl, especially since I happen to adore vamps and weres. Nowadays I often inhale entire series instead of focusing on a single book. But in single titles, for King, I’d choose Salem’s Lot, for Koontz it has to be Watchers and Dark Rivers of the Heart. For romance my all-time fave is Nora Roberts/JD Robb. I have all of her books, and her Quinn Brothers and In Death books are my absolute fave Nora. I love Lara Adrian’s Midnight Breed series, Lora Leigh’s Breeds, and Jacquelyn Frank’s Nightwalkers. And I never miss an installment of Charlaine Harris’s Sookie Stackhouse!  

I love Ray Bradbury and Edgar Rice Burroughs! What are some of your interests outside of writing?

You mean there’s something else besides writing?  J  I have a few of them. Not many! Other than reading, reading and more reading, I spend my summers working a large veggie garden and the afore-mentioned “pond-ing,” which is spending my free time swimming in our spring-fed pond. Or lounging on a float atop the pond; I’m not fussy. As long as there’s water and sun involved. I crochet, love to cook. Love to go car cruising; Don and I are both car fiends and own classic cars. He has a red ’66 Shelby Cobra, and I have a blue ’64 ½ Mustang convertible.

So jealous of the Shelby Cobra. My dad once had a ’67 Mustang, and I loved that car, probably  more than he did. So, let’s get on to talk about your writing. Is there a particular author who may have influenced you?

Probably Nora Roberts influenced me the most. She writes wonderful male characters and has such an understanding of the male psyche and how they think, feel, act. Her eye for detail and her settings are unrivaled.

Tell us a little bit about what inspired this book.

Years of living in Alaska was the start! I always wanted to set a story there. Once I decided on location, I began to think up (and discard) scenarios, until I came up with Kendall’s story: an abused woman seeking to escape from the ex-fiancé who’d stop at nothing to get her back. Kendall needed a place to hide, but even in Alaska there’s remote, and then there’s remote. Southwest Alaska seemed the perfect place to place my heroine. She also needed a protector, a lover, a true soul mate. (Don’t we all??!) Creating her handsome, endearing, strong hero, Denn, was just a matter of knowing what I love most in a man, then building my Native Alaskan cop from the inside, out, until I could see him, almost reach out and touch him.

I also wanted family in my book. Because I myself have such a wonderful family, I can’t imagine not having brothers or sisters, parents, in my stories. For me, Denn had to have a little sister: a teenager, borderline sullen, headstrong and rebellious as so many teens can be, but vulnerable and needing female guidance in her young life. In Luna, I actually saw a lot of myself. Then, because nothing ever comes easily, I created Kendall’s sociopath ex, Conroy. Recalling some of Dean Koontz’s ugliest and most memorable villains, I crafted mine with a particularly soulless personality.

When I threw them all into remote Southwest Alaska, with no easy way to just pick up and run . . . I had the backbone of Unsafe Haven.

What is your favorite sentence or quote in your new release?

My absolute favorite is from Denn:  “Mmm. You taste like sleep and yum.”  If you want to know what, who, how, and why, I guess you’ll have to read the book!  J

I think I will! In their hearts of hearts, what would your characters say about themselves?

I think they’d both say it’s a long, long road to get where you’re going when the path is filled with obstacles and the heart is afraid to try living again. Both my hero and heroine had obstacles to jump over, especially Kendall. But Denn knows, almost immediately, that Kendall’s the one for him. She’s wary, hesitant, but he can sense her heart is just waiting for someone who can fill it to the brim with happiness. And Kendall finds herself drawn to Denn even as she fears what he represents to her: another man, big and strong, as intimidating as he is handsome. It’s hard for her to trust again.

Do you have any advice for an aspiring writer?

First and foremost: YOU’RE A WRITER. Start thinking of yourself as one, now, today, this very second. Never stop writing! Never stop reading, either, and I don’t just mean the comics. J Read outside your comfort zone; write outside it, too. If you only write historicals, then try to write a paranormal. If you write humor, try writing tragedy. Stretch yourself both as a writer and a reader.

Join writing groups, attend organizational meetings if you belong to RWA or something similar. Get involved with your chapter whether in person or online.

ASK FOR HELP. Every writer needs a support chain of help. Join a critique group, let them read your work, and listen to them when they offer critique and suggestions. I don’t care how good a writer you think you are, YOU NEED A CRITIQUE PARTNER. I can’t emphasize this enough. Too many writers think they can go it alone. They can’t. You need supporters, cheerleaders, critiquers, editors. You need to hear the bad as well as the good concerning your writing, otherwise you’ll never grow. And if you can’t grow, then you can’t be a writer.

This is a tough business, so develop a thick skin. You’ll be rejected more than you’ll be accepted, this I promise you, so learn to live with the rejections and celebrate every victory. In the writing biz, if you go around thinking, “I’m all that,” chances are you’re not, and with that attitude you never will be. Learn humility. It’s good for you.

When you do celebrate a writing victory, remember who put you there: your readers, your critique partners, your agent, your editor, your publisher. The family members and friends who cheered you on and supported you in so many ways. Remember to thank them all.

That’s such great advice! I especially agree with th need to develop a thick skin. So, tell me Char,  where can your readers stalk you?

My website: http://char.chaffin.com

Come find me on Facebook and Twitter:

Facebook: http://facebook.com/char.chaffin

Twitter: http://twitter.com/char_chaffin

SMP Authors’ Blog: http://smpauthors.wordpress.com

Goodreads:  http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5337737.Char_Chaffin

Tell us about your new release, Unsafe Haven:

For Kendall Martin, a small, remote village in Southwest Alaska seems like a good place to start over. On the run from an abusive relationship, she leaves everything familiar behind and begins a new life as owner of a small souvenir and sportsman trading post in picturesque Staamat.

Denn Nulo knows everyone in town: he’s the Chief of Police in Staamat. He’s lived there all his life, except for his college years, spent in Anchorage. Originally planning on practicing criminal law and living in Anchorage permanently, Denn is forced to change his plans when he receives word that his widowed mother has passed away, leaving his young sister, Luna, alone. Denn comes back to Staamat to care for Luna.

When Kendall meets Denn, she begins to believe there are truly good men in the world. Denn is everything she wants: strong, loving, dedicated to family, protective. . .and patient. There is instant attraction between them, but Kendall is leery of men, and Denn craves a serious relationship that includes marriage and children. Their courtship is a conflicting mix of hesitancy and passion, with Luna, desperately needing a mother figure in her life, cheering them on.

As Kendall learns how to trust again and her romance with Denn grows more intense, a local woman who’s had her eye on Denn for years releases a torrent of damaging jealousy. . .and the nightmare from Kendall’s past discovers where she’s hidden herself.

Do you have an excerpt?

But of course!

A hand gently shook Kendall’s shoulder. “Sweetheart, I have to go.”

She came awake with a start and peered up at Denn through the tangled curls that hung in her face. He regarded her somberly, but his eyes gleamed in the shadowy room.

Kendall cleared her throat. “What time is it?”

“After ten. We both fell asleep.” He sat beside her, threaded his fingers through her hair and brushed it back, skimming a knuckle over her cheek. “You’ve got wrinkles.”

“What?” Still groggy from sleep, she struggled to sit upright and pressed her hand to her face. “What wrinkles? I’m only twenty-three, I shouldn’t have wrinkles.” She pushed against him. “Let me up, I need a mirror, I need to see–”

“From the cushion, Kendall.” He pointed to the pleated pillow she’d had her face buried in. He chuckled softly when she frowned at him. “You always this gullible when you wake up?”

“You’re just mean.” She punched his shoulder weakly and he caught her hand and pulled her close. With a sigh, she settled into the curve of his body. “I’m sorry I fell asleep on you.”

“No biggie. Besides, I conked out on you, too.” He nuzzled her ear, warm breath tinged with a trace of the coffee they’d shared after dinner. “I liked sleeping with you.”

Her face flamed and she hid it against him. “I’ve never slept with anyone before.”

A soft groan rumbled in his throat. “Don’t tell me that. I’m already having a hard enough time leaving you.” He cupped the back of her head and brought her closer. “I’m your first?”

“Sort of.” She eased away, but met his eyes. “You’re the first man I’ve ever slept with, but you’re not the first I’ve ever . . .” She gestured, finding the words too embarrassing to say. “You know.”

“Made love with? But we haven’t. Not completely.” He kissed her, then murmured against her lips, “Not yet.” His kiss deepened passionately when she clung to him.

As their lips parted, she dropped her forehead to his chest and struggled to regain her breath. No one had ever affected her this way. He’d given her more pleasure than she’d ever had. And with the realization of what he’d come to mean to her, came the surety that if she’d known Denn Nulo would someday enter her life, she’d have waited for him. She whispered it aloud.

Her eyes closed over sudden tears as his arms tightened in response. “When the time’s right, you’ll give me innocence, Kendall. Never doubt it.”

“But it’s not—I don’t—” She gazed at him, her vision blurry. “I don’t have much innocence left. After I, um, ran from Portland, I spent a year in Pendleton. I was so determined to obliterate Roy from my life. I worked at a coffee shop, went out on dates. Gave myself to a nice guy who didn’t have a clue his new girlfriend was a screwed-up mess.” She rubbed away tears and released a troubled sigh. “His name was Greg, and he loved me. He wanted more than I could give. I tried, I really did.”

She moved away and stared at Denn, sympathy and understanding softening his features. She gestured helplessly. “I wouldn’t let him stay the night. We’d go out, come back to my apartment, have sex.” She blushed. “Afterward, he’d leave. I never offered it, and he pretty much had to beg for it. He started out patient with me, but I knew it was only a matter of time before things got too difficult. In the end I broke it off because sex with him made me uncomfortable and unhappy. I walked away before our relationship dragged him down and he ended up miserable.”

Denn was quiet a moment. He took her hand and held it, absently stroking her palm with his thumb. “Kendall, I’m not going to point fingers, here. I’m certainly no virgin. And I’ve got plenty of baggage.” He pulled her into his lap and cuddled her. “I had a girl at UAA. Sharon. It was getting serious. She was a Physics major and planned on doing graduate work in Fairbanks. We talked briefly of marriage but neither of us came close to being ready.”

He paused, and sighed. “Sharon broke it off three months before my mother died and I had to fly home for Luna. She’d met someone else. Another Physics major. A woman.” He quirked a half-grin when her mouth dropped open in shock.

“Oh, my. I’m not even sure what to say.”

“Yeah, kind of how it hit me, too. After she left, I went through the wringer, thinking my ‘technique,’ for want of a better word, sucked crude oil. Here I am, slapping myself on the back for being a stud-muffin, and my girl’s getting her satisfaction from a woman.”

He shrugged. “When our relationship ended, at first I thought I could get her back. But I was the wrong gender. This woman gave Sharon something I couldn’t.”

“So, you let her go.”

“I did. Three months later, I was back in Staamat, arranging a funeral and learning how to deal with my baby sister.”

She curled her arms around his neck and gave him a loving hug. “I’d never throw you over.” She held his gaze and hated to see the trace of sadness in the depths of his warm, amber eyes. “I’ll bet Sharon regrets the day she ever tossed you away.”

“Actually, I heard from her after I got back here. She’d married her girlfriend and they were searching for a sperm donor. She thought I might like to volunteer. I pictured a candlelit room, Barry White music, and a turkey baster. I laughed in her ear and hung up on her. Close your mouth, Kendall,” he admonished. He put a finger under her chin and pushed her jaw playfully.

She batted at his fingers, then held them in a loose grip. “Did she ever call you back and ask again?”

“Yeah.”

She couldn’t help but ask, “You didn’t change your mind, and decide—of course you didn’t.” She paused. “Did you?”

“What do you think?” He looked indignant.

“I think you told her where she could stick her turkey baster.”

With a shout of laughter, he caught her close and hugged her. She rubbed his back soothingly.

After a few minutes, Denn stirred. “I have to relieve Stevie. He likes to make sure he’s home to help his mother with her bedtime meds.” He gave Kendall a lingering kiss, which she returned with eagerness.

Three kisses later, he groaned. “This time I have got to go.”

“Okay.” She scooted off his lap and waited as he stuck his feet into his boots and laced them. A thick skein of hair slipped over one eye as he straightened, and he grinned at her through the silky curtain. The pure sex emanating from him almost buckled her knees. Those wide shoulders and long, long legs, encased in snug, worn jeans. All that blacker-than-night hair, falling around a face God had seen fit to enhance with twinkling eyes and an effortlessly charming smile. As if that weren’t enough, He’d balanced Denn’s considerable physical gifts with a big generous heart, and so much loyalty she couldn’t begin to measure it.

And he’s falling in love with me.

Meggan, thanks so much for having me as your guest today! I hope everyone enjoys reading Unsafe Haven. Look for it from Soul Mate Publishing http://www.soulmatepublishing.com/, very soon!