This is a new series about lost love, troubled love and lasting love. This first book sets the stage. Without further ado, please welcome Kris Jayne to Book, Chocolate and Wine.Why did you call your series, Thirsty Hearts?
All the heroines are looking for something, longing for something. They have lost love, troubled love, problems hanging on to love. Plus, I’m a fan of cocktails, and each one has a signature drink—except for Shannon in Cherishing You. She’s a recovering addict.
What’s the first book, Charming You, about?
Charming You features Micky and Nick as my heroine and hero. They meet when Nick helps her jumpstart her car, and sparks fly between them. The problem is that Nick may or may not have a fiancée—even he’s not sure at the beginning—and Micky’s last boyfriend was a total pig, so she’s gun-shy. It doesn’t help that Nick has a double agenda. He’s under pressure from his law firm to dig up information about the company where Micky works, but he’s also starting to fall for her. Micky has to get over her trust issues, but that’s hard to do with a guy who’s not being totally honest. Plus, Nick has the complication of his ex-fiancée. The question is: how can Nick untangle his personal and professional life and get to a place where he deserves Micky’s trust?
They have instant chemistry which makes them exciting, and underneath all the issues they have, they want the same things. They are both goal-oriented. Once they know what they want, they go after it. They just have to wind their way around to wanting the right things — especially Nick. He’s been on one track in his personal and professional life, and it takes him a while to realize that his plan is nonsense and trying to hold onto that dream or any version of it is too problematic. For Micky, she just wants a nice guy. Like a lot of women, she’s wondering why that’s so much to ask. Nick looks like that guy, and I hope the reader sees how he could be — but he has to make different choices.
What was your favorite scene to write?
That’s a hard one. I like when my characters first start to be aware of their attraction to each other. So some of the flirty scenes at the beginning of the book are fun. I like creating the repartee between Micky and Nick — especially the scene where Nick gets pretty blunt with Micky about how he feels. He says something to Micky that leaves her speechless. I liked shocking her.
What was the toughest scene to write?
Any sex scene — seriously, when I started writing, I didn’t realize how hard it was to write love scenes and have them be different. No one wants to read the same scene over and over again. People get enough of that in real life, right? But besides that, the big reveal scene where Micky and Nick fight. I don’t want to get too specific. I had to work at choreographing that scene to get it right.
Charming You is the first book in a series. Where do you pick up in the next book?
The second novel, Choosing You, picks up Taryn’s story. In Charming You, we first meet Taryn and her fiancé Jeff as they are planning their wedding. Everything is going according to plan until Jeff’s first wife shows up and wants to insert herself back in Olivia’s life. Olivia is Jeff’s daughter. Taryn was going to adopt her. Jeff has a lot on his plate with the wedding and selling his business so he just wants to keep Shannon pacified. And he also wants to help her. He still feels sorry for her since she had a troubled life. Taryn, on the other hand, is convinced that Shannon is up to no good. That conflict brings up a lot of issues in their relationship. Plus, Shannon has brought her second husband with her, and he’s nothing but trouble. Taryn just wants to get down the aisle, and she and Jeff both start to doubt whether that’s going to happen.
Taryn and Jeff were so in love in Charming You. Why does the ex-wife cause so much trouble?
Jeff has a real hero complex. Shannon knows how to plug into that and get him to save her over and over again. Taryn sees how manipulative that is, and it drives her crazy that, in her mind, Jeff falls for it. Plus, Taryn gets jealous. Here she was about to adopt Olivia and have this great family and Shannon pops up. Taryn is kind of a bulldog, which causes her trouble with Jeff. He doesn’t think he’s falling for anything, and he's convinced that he’s got everything under control. He resents it when Taryn keeps pushing certain issues and thinks she doesn’t trust him.
In the book, you have some scenes from Shannon’s perspective. Why introduce her point of view?
Shannon’s perspective becomes a good contrast for how Jeff sees her and how Taryn sees her, which is the central conflict of the book. I didn’t plan to do that, but as I was writing, I kept wondering: how bad is she going to be? I thought about making her really nasty, but then the more I wrote, the more I kind of liked her—even though she has serious problems. About half way through, I thought of a storyline for her that would be a book all on its own, so then it was important to me to make sure you understood her. Otherwise, from the outside, it’s easy to just hate her and be done with her, which would also make Jeff seem really stupid for having any faith in her at all.
Shannon’s book is Cherishing You, right?
Yes. Originally, I had planned to write book three about Alexa, Taryn’s cousin, but I got obsessed with how Shannon was going to pull it together. I kept doing terrible things to her, and I couldn’t just leave her that way although I end up putting her through the wringer more in book three. She meets Jonah Moran—who showed up at the end of Charming You. He has some drama with his father that I didn’t explain in the first book, but we find out what that is in Cherishing You. They come from completely different backgrounds. Jonah comes from loads of family money, and Shannon grew up in foster care—with no real family. Forget family money. They have an intense physical attraction that turns into something deeper, but if you read the first book and you see how the Morans operate, you know they aren’t going to love Shannon. Also, as much as Shannon wants to leave her past behind her, her old life and the people in it still haunt her. Jonah and Shannon have to figure out how to step out of where they come from and be together. That’s gets more and more complicated throughout the story.
You say that you liked Shannon, so why torture her?
I didn’t mean to. Things happen to her. I think many of us know those people who make terrible decisions and that causes them problems, but then that seems to also create a cloud of trouble that follows them. They really have the worst luck where a lot of things happen and it’s really not their fault. That shitstorm makes it hard for them to ever think they deserve anything better or that they can do anything to improve themselves. That’s Shannon’s struggle. I was rooting for her, and she knows how to survive, which is her greatest asset. Anyway, it’s not all torture for Shannon. She and Jonah have a lot of fun. A lot. Over and over.
So what about the other characters? What are their greatest assets or your favorite things about them?
In Charming You, I like how Micky stands up for herself. Nick is charming and fun. You see that when he’s with his family. In the second book with Taryn and Jeff, Taryn is fierce and pretty fearless. Jeff is the most kind-hearted of the bunch, but he’s also practical. That’s a unique combination to be an idealist and a pragmatist. Shannon is a survivor, and Jonah—when he wants to be—is a shark. He has an edge to him, but when he falls hard for Shannon, that’s fun to watch.
I’m circling back to Alexa’s story in a fourth book called Chasing You. I just finished a prequel to book four with Alexa, called Her London Fling. That’s a novella, and then I have the book itself mapped out. We’ll see what ends up happening. Sometimes you think your characters are going to do one thing, but then once you start writing, they do something else. Chasing You will be out before summer. Alexa is going to have two heroes to wrangle, and she’s going to have to choose the right guy. Also, I like Vivienne, Nick’s ex and Jonah’s sister. I’d like to give her a love story down the road.
Can she trust the charm of an ambitious man?
Back Cover Copy from Charming You:
Micky Llewellyn has trusted men before—with disastrous results. Now, she’s focused on her career, her friends, and making sure she doesn’t let another charming man lie to her and break her heart.
Nick Halden’s life has unfolded according to plan. He’s on track to a partnership at one of Dallas’ premier law firms, and he’s marrying a woman who has the beauty, smarts, and connections to be the perfect wife. Or he thought he was.
Fate and a dead car battery throw Micky and Nick together, forcing them to question what they want. Nick’s charm makes Micky’s heart pound with desire and her gut twist with mistrust. Micky’s fire awakens a passion in Nick that flips his world upside down. With his personal and professional lives colliding in chaos, Nick has one way to make sure he gets what he wants, but it means betraying the woman he craves.
In their struggle to balance love and ambition, Micky and Nick will have to decide what they want and at what cost before they lose the one thing that matters.
Review from GOODREADS:
“I loved this!
While mixed with romance and comedy are my favorite things, this story offers so much to readers. During the popular times of ‘50 Shades’ styled novels, Charming You brings out the classy, heartfelt storyline, while still getting steamy. This is definitely worth reading.”
Amazon - http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1944460063/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=390957&creativeASIN=1944460063&linkCode=as2&tag=keitrefi-20&linkId=KQBNDY3F7TJMUWWB
Smashwords – https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/603950
Excerpt from Charming You
Sweat beaded on her brow. The September temperatures still hovered above eighty, even as the sun faded. Micky looked around the emptying parking garage and pulled her cell phone out of her purse to call the auto club and explain her dilemma.
"Yes, Ms. Llewellyn. We can have a technician there in forty-five minutes to an hour."
"No chance they'd get here sooner?" Micky questioned hopefully.
"Possibly, but at rush hour on a Friday, that's the best we can do."
She ran a fatigued hand through her dark chocolate, shoulder-length waves and then wiped her forehead with the back of her hand. She hated to be a kink in her brother's plans.
She called Pete.
"Bad news. My car battery died, and I'm going to be late."
"Shit. How dead is dead?" Micky heard Clarissa Langley, Pete's girlfriend, inquire in the background.
"I turn the key and hear nothing but clicks and the faint laughter of the gods," Micky quipped. "AAA is on the way. Is your mother there yet?"
She turned her key in vain and prayed for a mini-miracle. A sharp knock on the driver-side window startled her into a loud curse.
Micky looked up into crisp green eyes framed by the longest, darkest eyelashes she'd ever seen. The chiseled angles of his face mesmerized her until she remembered she was in a downtown parking garage. Alone. Lord only knows what this guy wanted.
"Who's that?" Pete asked.
"I don't know. Some man."
"Do I need to call the police?"
"Uhhh." She paused and surveyed the man leaning over her car. "I doubt it. Do serial killers wear Hermes ties and look like Cary Grant?"
"You never know."
"It's fine," she told her brother. "I'll give you a call when the auto club guy gets here."
"Sooner if you think you're headed for dismemberment and a crawl space. Or later if he buys you dinner." Micky laughed at Pete's suggestion before he reversed himself. "Scratch that. I need you here."
"He doesn't look like the crawl space type. And I'll make it at some point."
They said their goodbyes and hung up. Without power, she couldn't roll down the window, so she cautiously opened the car door.
"Hello." The green-eyed man smiled. "Are you having some trouble?"
"Umm...my car won't start. I've already called the auto club. They're on their way."
"Oh, well, I'm right here," he turned and pointed to the dark blue Mercedes parked next to her. "I've got jumper cables if you need a start."
The man tossed his dark blue suit jacket into the passenger seat of his car, removed his expensive silk tie, and began rolling up his sleeves. By now, Micky had climbed out of her car and stood next to him, acutely aware of his height. He had to be at least six foot three. He looked down at her even though she wore three-inch heels that heightened her already tall, five-foot-eight frame.
He was hot. There was no denying that, and it made Micky immediately suspicious. Not that he meant her harm, but in her experience, good-looking, charming men were often times up to no good.
Slightly shaggy, dark brown hair fell in his face when he leaned over, framing startling green eyes. His smile was warm and gentle. Micky took note of his lean but muscular body with its broad shoulders and masculine, athletic grace.
Heat washed over her, and not from the weather. His tan hand extended toward his car, and she wondered what those strong fingers would feel like on her body.
God, he's a complete stranger. Her throat went dry. She pursed her lips and shook her head like an Etch-a-Sketch to erase the images springing up in her mind.
"So, do you want a jump start?"
Her body screamed, "Yes!" But, she managed to pull it together enough to answer about her car.
"I think I do." Her voice was husky from the surprising rise of desire within her as much as from her previous week's illness. "No harm in trying. If that's not the problem, the AAA guy will figure it out when he gets here."
He popped his hood, then his trunk, and pulled out an emergency kit much like the one she kept telling herself she should get.
"I keep telling myself I should get one of those," she confessed, stepping between their cars.
"You should. I bought them for my mom and my sister."
"Just the women?"
He laughed and walked back to the front of his car. "All I have is women."
"How gallant," Micky replied.
"I try. Do you have brothers and sisters?"
"I have a brother," she said. "That's who I was talking to on the phone."
"Are you close?" he asked, shouting as he opened the hood of his car. Micky climbed into her car to pull the lever by her knee and pop the hood.
"Yes, actually," she shouted back. "It would have been nice to have a sister."
"I can see that. I always wanted a brother," her handsome savior said, standing in front of her car and reaching inside for the release hatch to fully raise the hood. He fiddled for several seconds, but couldn't get it open. "Hey, do you know how this thing works?"
Micky walked up beside him. Her fingers probed under the hood, brushing against his in the small space. He smelled incredible – tangy, salty spice. She found the latch and quickly released it.
"You just have to know where to push," Micky said, looking up at him.
She inhaled his scent, and the heat of his strong body next to hers triggered an acute awareness of his proximity. His brilliant, emerald eyes sparked as he looked down at her. Micky wasn't vain, but she knew men often admired her statuesque frame. She avoided his eyes and gazed down, noticing the top button of her blouse had come undone, and she was revealing a bit more cleavage than she intended.
He grinned at her. "Well, isn't that always how it is." With that, he quickly hooked the cables to each car battery and commanded her to try her key again. She turned the ignition and her car rumbled to life.
"Fabulous," the sexy stranger exclaimed, leaning over her open car door.
"Thanks so much...?" Micky trailed off, not knowing his name.
"Nick." He presented his soiled right hand then withdrew it. "Nick Halden. I work at Winston Stratford."
Micky recognized the first two names on the long list of partners in the law firm occupying the top four floors of the building. Now she understood how he afforded the Hermes tie.
"We'll shake hands another time," she responded after a brief pause. "I'm Micky Llewellyn. I work in marketing at Azur, the tech firm on the fifth floor."
Nick raised his eyebrows. What did he think she did for a living?
"Pleased to meet you, Micky."
"I'd better be going. If I leave now, I can be slightly rather than egregiously late." She rolled down the window and closed her car door.
"Big Friday night plans."
"Not especially. Just dinner with family."
"Yes. And my stepmother, who is a real stickler for promptness."
"Lovely." He said with a deep, rich laugh. "Well, I won't keep you, but I will ask you a favor."
"What's that?" Micky asked.
"I think you owe me a drink. How about tomorrow?"
"Owe? That doesn't sound like a favor."
"A favor in return for services rendered."
"I can agree to that. But, I don't know about tomorrow. Give me a call on Monday." She lied. As she dug a business card out of her purse, she knew she should have just agreed, but she didn't want to appear too eager or to rush into anything. That had bitten her in the past.
So what if she'd probably spend the whole weekend working instead of allowing herself the distraction of drinks with a handsome, successful man who looked like sin in a suit? He was probably used to getting whatever woman he wanted, whenever he wanted.
"I'll definitely call you. It's not every day I get to be the white knight for a beautiful woman."
Nick gave her a charming smile that quickened her pulse. Suspicion inched up her spine even as the warmth of his gaze invaded her belly. Micky had horrible luck with charmers. The last one made her week from hell seem like a hangnail. She smiled at her well-dressed white knight and backed out of her parking space.
As she drove off, she couldn't help but take another peek at him in her rearview mirror. Jesus, he's hot.
Maybe her luck wasn't so bad after all. At least she hoped so.
Kris Jayne is a devoted writer, reader, and traveler. She spends her days blissfully sweating out the writing process in the Dallas area with her dog, Otis the Shih Tzu (DNA verified after being told he was a Lhasa Apso).
Her debut Thirsty Hearts series launches in 2016 with three books—Charming You, Choosing You, and Cherishing You—available on Valentine’s Day. She’s begun work on the fourth book in the series, Chasing You, which will be available in the spring. The novella Her London Fling, an extended prologue to Chasing You, is also available on February 14.
Her passion for writing is only matched by her passion for the adventures of travel. In 2008, she let a friend talk her into sleeping outside for the first time in her life when she climbed Mount Kilimanjaro.
P.S. If you're buying her a gift, she has a penchant for single-malt Scotch and scarves.
About Kris Jayne
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