Have you noticed how some characters stay with you long after you’ve finished reading a book? My all-time favorite book is Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood by Rebecca Wells. I can clearly remember the deep sense of loss I felt when I finished the book. The characters had become my friends and I knew I’d miss them.
I feel the same way about the characters I write. I began to feel a sense of panic as I neared the end of my first novel, Luke & Bella: Two Streets Over. I loved my characters deeply and I wasn’t satisfied until I left them in a place where I knew they’d be happy. Ditto that for Michael Rannigan, Maggie Flynn, and maybe my favorite book boyfriend yet, Bobby Beaulieu, all from Rannigan’s Redemption. Sometimes they’re real to me, especially when they take conversations in directions I didn’t expect.
Now I’m working on a new erotic romance novel, Lost and Found. It’s a return to the light BDSM theme featured in Luke & Bella. Blake Walker is a sexy Daddy Dom and Shasta Pyke is a spoiled Hollywood starlet with ‘little’ sub tendencies. She’s also fond of all things pink and sparkly. Here’s a little excerpt.
He went outside, needing space, needing to breathe. She followed along behind him. “What do we need to do now?”
“Are you hungry?”
She frowned slightly. “I guess I am. I hadn’t thought about it until now.”
“How about I catch us some fish for lunch?”
Her expression was doubtful. “Just like that, you can catch some fish?”
“Just like that.” He winked at her and headed for the plane to get his rig.
While Blake took his fishing rod a few yards down the shore, Shasta sat tailor-style on the dock and watched him. He flicked his wrist and she heard a whirring sound as his line flew out over the lake and plopped into the water. Then he slowly reeled in his line, the lure bobbing along the top of the water as it moved closer to him.
His open tackle box sat beside her on the dock and she began to look through it at all the items it held. There were lures of all sizes, shapes, and colors. In the bottom was a clear plastic box full of lead balls of various sizes. And one small compartment held a pink rubber worm that sparkled in the sunlight.
Curious, Shasta picked up the pink worm and grinned as she squeezed it. From the shoreline Blake called to her. “Hey! Are you touching my tackle?”
She looked up at him, surprised. While the aviators hid his eyes, there was no mistaking the smug curve of his lips. She matched it with a sassy smirk of her own. “Do you want me to touch your tackle?” Her giggle echoed across the water and he grinned broadly.
“Here we go,” he murmured, reeling halfway through his third cast. He jerked up on the line and reeled faster.
Shasta jumped up. “Did you get one?”
“Yup. He’s not a huge one, we’ll need at least one more.” He reeled the fish closer to the shallow water and scooped it up with a blue net before depositing it into a large bucket filled with water.
Shasta ran over to look. The fish in the bucket was pond-scum green, mottled with streaks of brown. “Ooh, he’s kind of ugly.”
“Ugly? That’s a smallmouth bass right there. He’s good eating.” She eyed him skeptically. “Would you like to try?”
“Really?” she grinned, wide-eyed.
“Really. Go pick out something from the tackle box and I’ll put it on a line for you.” While Shasta returned to the tackle box, Blake retrieved another fishing rod from the plane.
“I don’t know what to pick. What if I pick the wrong thing?”
Guilt gnawed at his gut as he remembered the way he’d criticized her earlier in the day. “You can’t get it wrong. Pick anything you like.”
She grinned up at him and he felt his heart melt. “I like the sparkly ones. I think I want the pink worm. He’s nice and squishy, plus, he sparkles.”
Blake nodded. “The pink worm it is.” Quickly he attached it to her line and handed her the rod. “Now, all you do is…” He stood behind her, reaching around to help her hold it properly. “Just bring it back and flick it forward, holding your thumb on this button on the reel.”
Shasta watched as the pink worm sailed out over the water. “Now just slowly reel it back in.” She did as he said. Blake stepped back to watch as she concentrated, absently chewing on her bottom lip as she turned the reel. When the worm lifted out of the water, she turned to him, frowning. “I didn’t catch anything.”
“Just keep doing it,” he chuckled. “It takes time.” He returned to his place on the bank and cast out his own line again.
On her fifth cast, Shasta felt a pull on her line. “Ooh, I think I have something.”
Blake dropped his rod and hurried back to her. “Good. You’re doing fine, just reel him in.” She gripped the rod like her life depended on it, reeling as quickly as she could, her rod bending dangerously toward the water. “You’ve got it, get him a little closer and I’ll get him in the net.”
As soon as the fish was within reach, Blake used the net to scoop up their second smallmouth bass. He took it off the hook and placed it in the bucket with the other one. Shasta peered into the bucket before grinning cheekily at Blake. “My fish is bigger than yours.”
He laughed out loud. “Yes, yours is bigger.”
She nodded proudly. “Yep, me and the sparkly pink worm, we rocked this.” She circled her fists around in front of her, performing an impromptu cabbage patch.
“Do you want to clean yours by yourself?”
Shasta immediately frowned. “No.”
“Well, don’t go getting too big for your britches, then.”
Today I treated myself to a mani-pedi. For my polish, I chose what I always do, a nice berry. But then…I decided I’d add a little sparkle to my ring fingers, in honor of Shasta. I know. It’s a sickness, really. I love my characters.
Don’t forget, the full Rannigan’s Redemption Collection comes out Tuesday, July 26. You can pre-order it now at all these fine online retailers.