Luck of the Draw
Betting on Romance, #1
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Date of Publication: August 9, 2014
Number of pages: 358
Word Count: August 9, 2014
Cover Artist: Elena Elisseeva
If only life had a refresh button...
Kate Mitchell never planned to be a 31 year-old widowed single mom, but when her soon-to-be-EX husband up and dies, her dreams of finishing college and starting over are thrown in the air like a game of ‘52 pick-up.’ When she’s given a leave of absence from work and told to “quit or recommit,” Kate retreats to idyllic Sugar Falls, New Hampshire, to figure out whether she can discover her passion and pay the bills. Cue the fresh air, summer sunshine and one sexy local contractor.
Tall, dark, and handy...
Volunteer fireman and all-around hunky guy in a toolbelt, Jim Pearson has sworn off complicated women with messy baggage. They cling to his nice-guy stability and skills with a power saw just long enough to straighten out their lives and move on… but then he meets the cute single mom staying at Grams’ lake house for the summer.
While a sizzling attraction draws them together, Jim’s distrust of complicated women and Kate’s incredibly complicated life threaten to pull them apart. But forces beyond their control--match-making grandmothers, the lazy backdrop of summer, and their own reckoning with the past--conspire to make them risk it all… and bet on love.
She could hear their breathing in the quiet room, the air a bit close from the heat of the day. She smiled.
She put her finger to his lips. “Please, don’t. I know this must seem crazy. We hardly know each other, but… I don’t want to analyze it. Not now.”
She didn’t want to talk. Didn’t want to admit her behavior was so far removed from her usual comfort zone it was like observing someone else. But Jim made her feel safe in a way she couldn’t put her finger on. Safe… and alive. No, that wasn’t right. He made her feel… hopeful. There was something about his eyes. So gentle, so kind. When she looked into his eyes, all the sad, lonely years melted away, and her heart felt light again, like a butterfly in her breast. She hadn’t felt that feeling in so very, very long. She couldn’t bear to turn it away. Not now. Not yet.
He nodded, his gaze boring into hers as he grasped her hand and pressed a kiss to her palm. His thumb brushed over her fingers as he looked at her hand. “You took off your ring,” he whispered.
She nodded, and he brought her hand to his lips again, looked her in the eyes. “Tell me what you want,” he said.
“For you to,” she managed a shaky breath, “do that again?”
He grinned against her wrist…
I never had a grandmother who baked cookies, wore a calico apron or gave me sage bits of dating advice like a wizened, pie-making Yoda. *My* grandmother played bridge, treated the New York Times Sunday crossword as a competitive sport and had a cocktail hour. So, it wasn’t a stretch for me when I was writing LUCK OF THE DRAW to imagine a group of four friends playing poker, drinking gin and tonics and forgetting that to the outside world they’ve all (gasp!) grown old.
You see, I have a favorite black and white photo of my grandmother in her teens posing with her sisters and friends in bathing suits on a summer’s day. I wonder whose idea it was to take the picture and pose that way. Who was the instigator? Who was shy about it? Who took the picture? They look happy, carefree, and a little bit risqué and this photo has always made me think of what and who my grandmother was before the cataracts and arthritis set in.
The photo is a reminder that she had a history before she had a kitchen cabinet dedicated to grandpa’s vitamins and high blood pressure meds, and it was my inspiration for ‘the ladies’ in my Betting on Romance series. To me, these poker-playing grandmothers are not ‘old women.’ They are Ruth and Claire, June and Lydia. I imagine they once double-dated and went canoeing in the lake and had crushes on boys. Now, they banter and prod, make jokes and support one another, and even though their husbands are gone, they remain what they have always been: friends.
Yet, while their history is a common one, I purposefully didn’t make them alike. Lydia, for instance, is childless even though she married her high school sweetheart and had a wonderful marriage. (But don’t worry, I have plans to give Lydia all the grandchildren she could ever want in Book #4!) To me, these details make each ‘grandmother’ so much more than the stereotype of cookies and aprons. These women are individuals. They wear bowling shirts or fluorescent pink nail polish or eat too much ice cream. They play poker. And, yes, they have strong opinions about life and love they’re not afraid to share with others!
Here’s an excerpt from LUCK OF THE DRAW just after our heroine, Kate, has received the box with her dead husband’s cremated remains:
Nana, of course, was no help whatsoever.
“I don’t see why you didn’t just bury him,” she said later that day as they stood staring at the FedEx box on the mantel. “That’s what you’re supposed to do with dead people.”
Kate closed her eyes. “He was claustrophobic, Nana. He hated small spaces. I couldn’t do that to him.”
They stared at the box.
“Seems to me it’s not all that roomy in there either.”
“I know that,” Kate said. Nana looked at her expectantly. “I just need some time to figure out what to do with them, that’s all.”
“You could make him into soap.”
“Oh, lighten up. I’m kidding. But don’t let this fester. You need to take care of this and move on. Randy is a part of the past for you. You can’t let him keep popping up like this. It’s not good for you.”
Kate felt light-headed. If Nana only knew how wrong she was…
Kate could probably use some sage advice about now, but Nana isn’t much the cookies and apron type. She’s more the electric cattle prod in Kate’s love life, and she isn’t about to back down when her Katie’s happiness is at stake. Which is okay. We need all types of grandmothers. Even opinionated ones who think a hearty push is as good as a gentle pat of comfort.
Besides, I’ll bet she’d rock the New York Times Sunday crossword.
So, tell us about YOUR grandmother! What stories are in her past that make her unique and interesting? What made your relationship with her special? Do share!
Cheri will be awarding a $25 Amazon or Barnes & Noble gift card to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during this tour and the Super Book Blast Tour, and a $15 Amazon or B&N gift card will be awarded to another randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during both tours.
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