Saturday, July 31, 2010

Welcome, Elaine Cantrell

Life’s highway is littered with stumbling blocks with some being bigger than others.  LOL.  That sounds like the beginning of a high school graduation speech, but never mind; it’s true anyway.  When I encounter stumbling blocks, my first reaction is panic.  Oh no!  Why did this happen to me?  The blood pressure rises, and if my husband is nearby he gets a play by play recap.  Then, I take a deep breath and start to strategize.  Usually the stumbling blocks aren’t as horrible and big as I thought they were.  Nine times out of ten I can find a way around them with minimal disruption to my life.  Still, that being said, some stumbling blocks are so big you have no choice but to go through them since you can’t go around them.

Sometimes the stumbling blocks can get in the way of a great romance too.  Let me share some stumbling blocks that trip up my hero and heroine in Return Engagement, my new release from Whiskey Creek Press.

The first stumbling block is the heroine’s age.  Elizabeth is five years older than Richard, and since they meet when he’s only seventeen this is a pretty big stumbling block.  Elizabeth is an up and coming actress in Hollywood so naturally her romance with a minor makes the headlines.

The second stumbling block is my hero’s family.  Richard is the son of Senator Henry Lovinggood who plans to make him the president one day.  He’ll need a woman from a wealthy, powerful family by his side, not an actress whom the senator suspects of being a gold digger.

The third stumbling block is my heroine’s family.  Elizabeth comes from a less than stellar background.  Her family consists of unwed mothers, alcoholics, and welfare recipients.  If being an actress isn’t enough to damn her in Senator Lovinggood’s eyes, this will.

The fourth stumbling block is the fact that Elizabeth is engaged to another man.  Alex is a wonderful person, and Elizabeth’s mother sees him as a son.

And lastly… I can’t tell you about the last one without giving away too much, but it’s HUGE.  It makes all the others look insignificant by comparison.

Here’s a blurb and excerpt from Return Engagement.

Elizabeth Lane has heard the call of the four most seductive words in the entire English language: what might have been.  Would you risk everything you hold dear to find out what might have been?  That’s the choice which Elizabeth has to make.

Elizabeth is lucky, for she has it all, money, fame, a satisfying career and a devoted fiancé.  Her humble beginnings are all but obscured, but she isn’t the kind of woman Senator Henry Lovinggood wants for his son, Richard.  Senator Lovinggood plans to make Richard the President of the United States; he’ll need a woman from a wealthy, powerful family by his side.  Ten years ago he broke Richard and Elizabeth up, but this time it won’t be so easy, for Elizabeth wants to know what might have been. This time she’ll fight back, a struggle which ultimately leads to kidnapping and attempted murder and alienates her from the man of her dreams.
This excerpt takes place after Richard and Elizabeth meet on a California beach after a ten year separation.  They went to a beach front carnival, and now they’re on the way back to their cars.
“Look at the moon, Richard.  Have you ever seen anything so big and beautiful?  Isn’t it lovely the way it’s reflecting off the water?”

“Yes, but not as lovely as you are.”  Richard made a sound of disgust.  “That is so trite.  You’d think I could do better, but all evening I’ve had trouble saying what I mean.”

“Maybe it’s because you’re trying too hard, but for the record, I think you’re doing just fine.”  She shivered and hunched her shoulders as she hugged herself.  “That wind is cold.”

Richard immediately removed his jacket and handed it to her.  “Here, put this on.”

“Won’t you be cold?”

“I’m fine.  I’ve got on long sleeves and that’s enough.”  His eyes twinkled in the moonlight.  “In fact, I kind of like the idea of you wearing my clothes.  Sounds like high school, huh?”

The chilly wind that blew across the moon-drenched water snatched Elizabeth’s laughter away.  “Who cares?  Sometimes it’s nice to be as irresponsible as a teenager.”

“Let’s sit down and watch the moon awhile.”

Elizabeth willingly sank into the damp sand and cuddled close beside him.
“Richard, about this evening….”

Elizabeth, about Alex….”

“You go first,” Elizabeth urged, glad to put off telling him she couldn’t see him again.
“All right, I will.”  He turned slightly, an almost angry look on his face.  “What the hell do you think you’re doing getting yourself engaged to Alex Crawford?  It’s obvious to a blind man that you don’t love him.  You’ve been teasing me and flirting with me all evening.  You’ve even kissed me.  Right now your body language makes me think if I wanted to take this snuggling any further you’d be willing.”

“Wha…” Elizabeth sputtered.
“You don’t strike me as the type of woman who’d pick a man for a night of sex and then go back to her fiancé like nothing had happened.  If that’s true I don’t think you love Alex as much as you think you do.  The question is: what are you going to do about it?”

Elizabeth moaned and hid her face in her hands.  Richard expected this surprise meeting to lead to something more that a hot dog on the beach, a casual meeting between two old…friends.  I’ve done enough damage for one evening; I’m going home before I cause any more trouble.  I’ve betrayed Alex and given Richard hope for a relationship with me when there is no hope. 
She tried to jump up, but Richard grabbed her and held her close.  “The wind is cold, and you can think just as well, no better, in my arms.”

Elizabeth gave up the effort to get away from him.  “Yeah, right.  Being in your arms clarifies everything!  I’m so confused I don’t know if I’m coming or going,” she cried.  “I do love Alex.  I do!  That’s why I agreed to marry him, but with you I feel like a different person.
“I know I shouldn’t have flirted with you and kissed you, but I couldn’t help myself.”  Her eyes misted with tears.  “I didn’t want to help myself.  It’s like it was ten years ago only better because now nobody can accuse me of corrupting a minor.  You asked me what I’m going to do, but to tell you the truth, I don’t know.  The only thing I’m sure of is that I don’t think I can stand it if you walk away again.”

Elizabeth threw her hands over her burning face again.  “What kind of woman am I?  I haven’t seen you in ten years, yet here I am leading you on and encouraging you to…  What’s wrong with me!”

Richard jerked her hand away from her face and kissed it.  “From my point of view things have finally taken a turn for the better.”  Satisfaction oozed from his voice.

“You’re willing to admit you don’t want to lose me.  It’s taken ten years, but we’re back where we belong-together.  Everything I ever felt for you came back the minute you spoke to me.  Don’t tell me you didn’t feel it too.”

“I…”  Elizabeth fell silent.  After all; what could she say?

“Let me help you make up your mind about what to do.”  Richard pushed her back into
 the sand and kissed her, a delicate, brushing of lips that deepened as hearts caught fire.

For more information on Elaine - Visit her website and blog.


Rhobin said...

You've a great hook for Return Engagement with those stumbling blocks (plus the biggest unknown one!)to attract any reader. Great excerpt, too.

elaine cantrell said...

Thank you so much, Rhobin. That last stubmling block really is pretty awful.

Carol Ann said...

Great stumbling blocks! I love the cover and the conflict this book promises. One more book to add to my TBR pile!

Carol Ann Erhardt

elaine cantrell said...

That's great Carol Ann. I liked the cover too. If it wasn't for the gun it wouldn't be as eyecatching.

jean hart stewart said...

What a great excerpt....Anybody with a drop of romance will want to know how things turn out. Especially knowing there' one more BIG obstacle. Jean

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