I am pleased to post the first-ever excerpt from my upcoming release BABY STEPS. BABY STEPS is Book 2 in my Cross Springs series. The heroine of this book is Connie Burns, the best friend of my heroine Linda from KICK START. Connie has decided, after 15 years of marriage, that she wants to start a family. The problem is, her husband Tim does not. They agreed long ago that neither one of them wanted to have kids, but Connie has changed her mind (as women are wont to do!). In KICK START, Connie was diagnosed with lupus. Tim, who is a doctor (a dermatologist), told Connie she should talk to her GP about having a baby. He figured her doctor would tell her it was a terrible idea. Let’s see how their discussion of her visit to her GP goes, shall we?
“So what did Dr. Stearn say?” Tim asked over our late dinner.
I narrowed my eyes at him over the salads I had thrown together. “How did you know I saw her today?”
“I have my sources.”
I glared at him.
“Mindy had a doctor’s appointment yesterday morning and saw your car on that side of the medical park. She wanted to know if you were sick.”
Mindy was Tim’s receptionist. I pointed my fork at him. “You’d better not tell her anything, Tim. You know she runs her mouth to everyone.”
“Yeah, I know.” He raised his eyebrows at me and stabbed a cherry tomato. “To people like you, who want to know what procedures everyone else is having done.”
I twirled iced tea in my glass, unsure how I felt about him outing my nosiness. “At least I don’t gossip about it. I just keep it in my head.” Okay, maybe that was a bit defensive. And not strictly true.
Tim raised his eyebrows. “That’s what concerns me. All that stuff whirling around your evil mind. I never know what your brain might conjure up.”
“I think, Timothy dear, you’re suffering from an excess of imagination.”
“And I think I know you too well.”
I rolled my eyes at him. “Whatever. Let me tell you about my horror today.”
“No. Stop trying to change the subject. What did your doctor say? Or was that the horror?”
I heaved a sigh. “No. She laid it on thick about the problems I could have and how I couldn’t take my meds and all that.”
“Told you,” he muttered, eyes on his food.
“Yeah, well, she seemed as concerned about my age as about the lupus.” That one still burned. “Like thirty-eight is so old. These days, women who are fifty-eight are having babies.”
“You ever seen one of those old egg babies? They come out looking like gnomes, all shriveled and kind of gray. It’s weird, Con.”
“I’m not talking about having one in twenty years. I’m talking about now.” My fingers twisted the paper napkin in my lap with a vengeance.
He shrugged. “I’m thirty-nine. I raised all the kids I wanted to—and some I didn’t—before I got out of undergraduate school. We discussed this ad nauseum before we got married, Con. Things are good. Why take a chance?”
The napkin shredded under my twitchy fingers. “Because now is when I want to start a family. I wasn’t ready before this. I’ve grown up, I think.”
He raised his eyebrows again and grinned at me. “This from the woman who’s seeing Alpha Moe and Forty-two Cent tomorrow?”
I threw the napkin shreds at him. “I’m going for Nate, not for me!”
“Whatever you say. I seem to recall you dragging me to more than a few questionable venues to see a bunch of bands the past decade and a half. I was just happy when Nate got old enough to go with you. Takes the pressure off me and my beat-up eardrums.”
I picked up my dishes and headed toward the sink. “Nate has more musical taste at fifteen than you’ll cultivate in a lifetime, pal.”
As I rinsed the dishes, I felt him loom behind me. I was tall, but Tim was taller. And big. I loved the bulk of him, which went so well with that down-home Southern thing he had going on. He kissed the bare back of my neck and the fringe of my hair tickled. I shivered.
“That’s not going to make me forget what you said,” I lied.
He nuzzled some more and slid his dishes into the sink in front of me. “Okay, then I’ll stop. Thanks for washing my dishes.”
I grabbed a dish towel and snapped it as his rapidly retreating rear end. But I grinned while I did it. Tim got to me every time—all the time. He was my Achilles heel. And he still didn’t want a baby. Love and frustration tangled me in knots.
Poor Connie. I’ve given that girl a hard time in this book. Nate, by the way, is her beloved nephew (also briefly mentioned in KICK START). Connie has her hands full of troubles with her husband, but with Katie Warren, too. You’ll recall Katie was a bit of a nemesis to Linda in KICK START. She is giving Connie fits at the beginning of BABY STEPS, interfering with a house sale Connie is working on. Connie does a lot of growing in this book, though, and she and Katie find more common ground than either expects.
I hope you’ve enjoyed this glimpse into Connie’s world and that you’ll want to read more about her (mis)adventures. For a high-stress, career-oriented workaholic like Connie, motherhood may not be anything like she expects!
BABY STEPS should be out in April. Also, I will have Cross Springs novella out in April called CROSS SPRINGS IN BLOOM. The heroine of that story is Tim’s busybody receptionist, Mindy! Things are definitely hopping this spring in Cross Springs, NC. I hope you’ll check it out!
We’re cheering in the Lair for the two Anna’s, both of whom are finalists in the Gayle Wilson Award of Excellence contest. Anna Campbell is a finalist in the Historical category with A Rake’s Midnight Kiss and Anna Sugden is a finalist in the Contemporary Series category with A Perfect Distraction!
Nancy has posted an excerpt from her upcoming novella, Sentinel, in the Members Only section.
Not a member? It’s easy to join. Just click here and fill in the blanks. You’ll get our great monthly newsletter, with prize packages and fun facts about the banditas, and access to the recipes in our Members’ Den.
Wow! Our Aussie Banditas have really done well in the nominations for the 2013 Australian Romance Readers Association Awards, announced 6th January on their website: http://australianromancereaders.wordpress.com/2014/01/06/2013-arr-awards-finalists-announced/
Christina Brooke, aka Madame, has been nominated for four awards:
LONDON’S LAST TRUE SCOUNDREL – Favourite Historical Romance of 2013
THE GREATEST LOVER EVER – Favourite Historical Romance of 2013
The Westruthers – Favourite Continuing Romance Series of 2013
Favourite Australian Romance Author
Anna Campbell, aka Fo, has been nominated for four awards:
A RAKE’S MIDNIGHT KISS – Favourite Historical Romance of 2013
Sons of Sin – Favourite Continuing Romance Series of 2013
Sir Richard Harmsworth from A RAKE’S MIDNIGHT KISS – The Sexiest Hero from a Romance Published in 2013
Winners will be announced at the gala awards dinner on Saturday, 22nd March, at Cello’s Restaurant in Sydney. If you’d like to come (it promises to be a great night), tickets and information are available here: http://australianromancereaders.wordpress.com/2013/12/21/awards-dinner-tickets-on-sale-2/
Congratulations and good luck, Banditas!
With Christmas this month we thought you might like to get to know some of Suzanne Ferrell’s favorite things.
What are you favorite Christmas Carols? I’m partial to the old hymns. Comes from growing up in a Southern Baptist church and singing in choirs all through my child hood. My favorite is an old spiritual I Wonder As I Wander. I learned it in high school choir and something about the more mournful tune resonated with me. I love Angels We Have Heard On High, with all it’s movements in all the part. And The First Noel is always fun for me as I sing the upper descant to the chorus. In fact, I think my kids thought that was the way everyone sang it when they were little.
We know you do a lot of cooking, what’s your favorite food for the Holiday Season? Goodness, there are so many. When I was a teenager I learned to make Buckeyes and that’s a tradition among my family ever since. They’re so rich, I can confess to only eating 2 or 3 a year. We make these chocolate cookies with mints melted on top as icing. Those are deadly. Then there’s this cheeseball I learned to make from a nurse I worked with years ago. That recipe has been passed down to my daughters already.
Favorite gifts ever? When I was 12 my mom and dad got me my first Carpenters Album. I wore that puppy out. Then the year my husband bought me a new wedding and engagement ring. We’d been married 15 years already and he asked me if I’d stay married to him. Got to love that!! I’ve gotten some absolutely wonderful art work from my girls and an OSU sweatshirt from my son…all gifts dear to my heart. And this year we got an early present…a puppy, named Rusty.
Have you ever written a Christmas romance? No, but I love reading them. I think the Westen series may lend itself to a novella for next year. Depends on how fast I get VANISHED and the third big book of the Westen series done.
No Christmas celebration would be complete at our house without the making of this candy. Dipped in chocolate they resemble Buckeye nuts, the state emblem for all Ohio natives and OSU fans. We always warn friends trying them for the first time, that while they can eat these, please remember that real Buckeyes are poisonous.
1 cup butter, softened
3 cups creamy peanut butter
2 pound of confectioners sugar
2-3 packages of chocolate chips
1. Cream together butter and peanut butter. Mix in as much as possible 1 pound of confectioner’s sugar. Dough will be very thick and crumbly. Form into 1-inch balls. Makes between 7 & 9 dozen…depending on if kids are helping!
2.Using a double boiler, melt chocolate. (For novices, put about 1- 1 ½ cups of water in the bottom, chocolate in the top, as chocolate melts, turn heat down to a simmer, to keep chocolate warm.) Using a toothpick, dip candy balls into chocolate until ¾ covered. Leave top uncovered, as this is what makes it look like a Buckeye.
**I refrigerate for 30″ to set chocolate. Can be frozen for weeks ahead of time.**
RT Book Reviews has announced their finalists for the best books of 2013 and the Banditas have featured!
Congratulations to Christina Brooke, whose wonderful Earl of Davenport from LONDON’S LAST TRUE SCOUNDREL is up for the Knight In Shining Silver Historical Hero award.
Congratulations to Tawny Weber, whose A SEAL’S SEDUCTION is up for best Blaze of 2013.
Congratulations to Anna Campbell, whose A RAKE’S MIDNIGHT KISS is up for best sensual historical romance of 2013.
Winners will be announced at the RT convention in New Orleans in May! Good luck, Banditas!
Be sure to read Christie’s interview in the Members Only Den. It’ll only be there for this month so don’t delay.
If you have any questions you’d like to specifically ask the banditas – just send an email to RomanceBandits@gmail.com and we’ll see what we can do.
Caren Crane has added an exclusive excerpt for Tiara Wars in the Member’s Only Section. Love that title. Love that cover. Check it out!
Double trouble … I mean double your pleasure!
In August, you had Anna Campbell as Bandita of the Month and an Exclusive Excerpt from Anna Sugden’s A Perfect Distraction.
In September, you get Anna Sugden as Bandita of the Month and an Exclusive Excerpt from Anna Campbell‘s A Rake’s Midnight Kiss.
A double dose of the two Anna Banditas and a double dose of reading delight.
But you have to be a member to read the Exclusive content. It’s easy. Just click on the Members’ Den and sign up today!