A Holiday for Romance
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Publisher: Crimson Romance
Date of Publication: September 29th, 2014
Number of pages: 155
Getting a life do-over in the small theater town of Ashland, Oregon, has suited lawyer Julie Payne to a T. After ten years in the Portland prosecutor’s office, she’s enjoying her new, easy lifestyle, and she’s not looking for any complications.
Trace Watkins comes to town seeking the same refuge from life as a big city banker. A new job might make Ashland his permanent address, and he likes what he sees of the place, especially when he meets Julie one hot Halloween night.
The sparks fly instantly between the costumed couple, and Julie and Trace waste no time connecting beneath the sheets while literally hiding behind their masks.
But when the holiday hook-up ends, their real identities present a serious snag: Trace manages the bank Julie happens to be suing. The only way they can turn this trick into a treat is if both of them are willing to face their pasts and finally bury the skeletons in their closets.
Julie was reasonably sure there were more people crammed into her living room, dining room, and kitchen than the number she’d expected from the RSVPs. Dozens of people laughing, flirting, having conversations about the future of the theater, who should run for mayor, and God knows what else, drowned out the carefully chosen background music. Most of the catered food had disappeared in the first couple hours, so she was down to crackers, chips, the remains of a wheel of brie, and a few lonely olives, carrots, and celery stalks on the dining room table. However, since the wine and beer were holding out, no one seemed to object. Her first party in Ashland appeared to be a success.
She should have been smugly satisfied. Instead she couldn’t shake the sense there was something going on, something more to the evening than friends, food, booze, and good conversation. The atmosphere felt charged. Not some scary the-dead-walking-the-earth- on-Halloween feeling, but something exciting in a good way. The energy in the crowd gave her goose bumps. She tried to talk herself down with reminders of what a practical person she was, a lawyer, for God’s sake. She didn’t believe in woo-woo or spirits. The only thing in the house right now was half the population of Ashland, Oregon.
But she couldn’t get it out of her mind. There was something going on. She scanned the room, trying to figure it out. All she could see was a mind-boggling array of people in fabulous costumes, no two dressed alike. There was, for instance, only one Queen Elizabeth, one Princess Leia. One Santa Claus, one Napoleon. One Easter and one Playboy bunny.
Could her feeling be based on something as simple as seeing the mix of time, place, and reality in what her guests were wearing? The time warp of a NASA astronaut chatting up an Elizabethan woman? The clash of cultures as a belly dancer walked in with her Puritan date?
Maybe that was it. Maybe it was just the comfortable way everyone seemed to inhabit a different persona for the evening. Well, except for the guy across the room, the one who looked like he’d stepped off the Elizabethan stage of the Shakespeare Festival. He seemed ill at ease in the costume, or maybe in the crowd, hanging back, not looking at anything or anybody except the bottle of beer in his hand.
Halloween is my favorite holiday of the year. Well, Halloween, Valentine’s Day, Christmas, Hanukkah, Easter, Independence Day, Thanksgiving…
Okay, I’m a sucker for holidays. All of them. Any of them. That’s why I came up with the idea of writing a series called A Holiday for Romance. It gave me an excuse to endlessly research the food, decorations and customs of all the wonderful celebrations I love!
Take the latest release, “Unmasking Love.” On a magical Halloween night, Julie Payne throws a costume party to celebrate one year of her new life in Ashland, Oregon. She dresses as Juliet, which happens to be her real first name. Trace Watkins, in town to see if he wants to take the bank manager position, crashes the party dressed as Romeo, a costume his old fraternity brother digs up for him at the last minute. Julie and Trace…um…Romeo and Juliet…share a spectacular night of passion without ever revealing who they are or, even, what they look like. Their masks stay on both literally and figuratively.
When real life intervenes, they will have to gradually reveal themselves to find their happily-ever-after. And of course they will have challenges along the way.
But let’s get back to that Halloween party Julie threw.
Planning my fictional party, I set the stage for the hero and heroine to connect by using the other couples to set the scene. I started to think of other paired couple costumes. Several Shakespeare couples came to mind (Ashland is home to the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, after all): Anthony and Cleopatra, Kate and Petruchio from “Taming of the Shrew.”
Then I thought of Rhett Butler and Scarlett in that sprigged muslin dress she wore in the opening scene. Or maybe the dress made from the draperies (although I’d have left out the Carol Burnett touch of including the curtain rod.)
I even considered including Count and Countess Dracula, a combo that won my husband and me a prize one year at a party. Or the ones a friend and her husband wore when she was eight and a half months pregnant. She was a bride; her husband dressed as her father with a shotgun.
In the end, I decided to create an air of tension by using couples dressed in opposites to contrast with Romeo and Juliet—a NASA astronaut attended the party with an Elizabethan wench. A Puritan with a belly dancer. They help create the magic on a night when more than the spirits of the dead were aroused.
What would you have chosen? A famous couple like Rhett and Scarlett or a contrasting couple like the space explorer and the wench? Give me your ideas on the comments!
Peggy is hosting a Tour Wide Giveaway for a Grand Prize of Print Copy of TRUSTING AGAIN, Glass Mask Trinket and eBook copy of SPARKED BY LOVE and a Second Winner will receive an eBook of SPARKED BY LOVE
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