When the start is no longer the beginning
Begin at the beginning,” the King said, very gravely, “and go on till you come to the end: then stop. ~Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland
It’s a lovely idea, and I usually write in this order, but publishing is another matter. They’ve ended up out of sequence.
My last major release, Pole Position, can be read as a standalone contemp romance. However, the secondary characters in that (Kate & Jordan) are about to appear in their own romance – Perfect Stranger – which precedes Pole Position.
Then you have the Talisman series, which also features Jon and Anita (from Pole Position). And later this year, I’m publishing the first in the Event Horizon series, which also features Kate & Jordan.
This is actually the beauty of self-publishing, that my characters and worlds are not locked down by a publishing house, and like old friends, I can keep going back to them. When it comes to keeping them all ordered, I have a constant struggle to make sure I know who’s who, and where, and when. Three-dimensional chess would be easy in comparison to juggling three separate series of books, each with their own (sometimes intersecting) timelines, and crossover characters.
Right now I’m working on Event Horizon #1. That’s the start, right? Except, Perfect Stranger and Pole Position precede it. So it’s really the middle? Or is it…?
~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Perfect Stranger comes out 25 August
Kate’s having the birthday from hell. A sadistic boss and rumors of a corporate takeover threatening her handpicked team are bad enough, but then her car breaks down in the middle of nowhere. In a monsoon.
A one-night stand with the delicious Jordan Merrill is probably not her best idea, but it’s far more appealing than room service and pay-per-view. Like Cinderella, she runs away from the best night of her life, but instead of leaving a glass slipper, she drops her business card.
Like Prince Charming, Jordan isn’t satisfied with just one night, though he and Kate live hundreds of miles apart.
Kate’s worked hard to reach her senior management position, and she knows a long-distance relationship is impossible, even if she falls in love with Jordan. He wants to promise her a happily ever after, but is she ready to throw away her career for him?
~ ~ ~ ~ ~
I awoke to something heavy pressing on my arm. Cracking my eyes open, I saw it was Kate, lying face down into the pillow, my forearm under her stomach. Daylight sneaked through a chink in the curtains, and I lifted my wrist to see the time. Shit. It was almost seven, and I had a breakfast meeting in half an hour. Being the boss sucked sometimes.
With care, I eased free, but she didn’t stir. I gazed at her, admiring the graceful neck and smooth skin across her back. She was covered from the butt down by the sheet, and that was a shame. It was also a shame that I didn’t have time to wake her slowly and play some more. I smoothed one hand down her hair, and she obligingly turned her head to face me, her eyes still shut.
Even with mussed hair and crinkles in her skin from the pillow, she was breathtaking. Whatever the hell I did to be so lucky to catch her, I was glad. As for last night? She was beyond hot.
What were the chances I could rearrange my meeting and stay here another hour? Zero. I’d scheduled this breakfast to get mid-conference feedback from my team, and it would be irresponsible of me to cancel this late. Duty battled with want, and as usual, won.
Would my father ever appreciate the sacrifices I made for him?
I pressed a tender kiss on Kate’s bare shoulder and headed to the shower, to take care of my aching hard-on there.
An irrational fear that she might leave when I was in the shower nagged at me, but she was still there, waking up. She squinted at me, unfocused, when I emerged from the bathroom, a towel around my middle. A second later, she snapped her eyes closed again and tugged the sheet over her head. Cute. She’d seen me in all my glory last night, yet was embarrassed about watching me dress? I shrugged into a fresh shirt, found clean boxers and socks, and selected another pair of suit pants.
While Kate continued to sleep, I called room service, checked my phone and email, and knotted a tie around my neck and put on my shoes. A glance at my watch confirmed the ugly truth. I couldn’t stay any longer.
I figured that level of drinking wasn’t usual for her, and she’d most likely have a headache this morning. I dug out some painkillers and a chilled bottle of water, and placed them on the bedside cabinet. Inching the sheet lower, to see her face, I couldn’t hold back my smile. She was irresistible.
“Morning, gorgeous.” I dropped a fleeting kiss on her lips, and she opened her eyes. God. What I wouldn’t give, to climb back into bed with her. “I’m really sorry, but I have an early meeting, and then I’m straight back into the conference.” When she tugged her eyebrows together in a hint of a frown, I added, “I’ve ordered room service for you, and it’ll be here soon.”
“Mmm, ‘kay.” She stared at her hands, where they lay tangled on the bedclothes. She wouldn’t meet my gaze.
Did she think I was ditching her? The idea made my heart pound. “Hey.”
She glanced up at me and then skittered her gaze away again.
“Last night was amazing. You were amazing.” I captured her cheeks with my hands and claimed her mouth in a deep kiss. Hot damn. I wanted her all over again. Pulling back a fraction, I found my voice. “I’ll be free by seven. Meet me for dinner?”
There was a long pause. My gut churned with an unfamiliar sensation. “Uh, huh,” she muttered, and then burrowed back under the covers. Okay. So she felt awkward about morning-after protocols. I was never sure about them either, but one thing was crystal clear—I couldn’t wait to repeat the experience with her.