Hi y’all!! I’m Sharla Lovelace, and I’m SO excited to get to come play in the Café today! I’m gonna introduce you to my latest book out, DON’T LET GO, tell you a little bit about what I write, and then we’re gonna talk about couples.
Aren’t they adorable? Well, it’s relevant. That picture is of two donkeys my daughter and I saw on the side of the road while driving to Huntsville, TX on a back road coming out of Maynard. (I couldn’t possibly make that up.) Us…being us…we had to pull over and go see the donkeys. And take pictures. And pet them. And we named them Dolly and Max and made up a whole life for them on the roadtrip, because we’re both writers and that’s how we roll.
That’s what we writers do—create worlds where there are none. We create entire people and families and relationships and romance—and couples.
Now, before you find me too crazy, babbling about donkeys and such, I’ll start by telling you a little bit about me… Official resume says some stuff about having one of my books being a bestseller and another one winning awards, but unofficially I am married, live in Texas, recently empty-nested, my son lives two hours away and my daughter lives across the country serving in the Navy. (sigh) I still have a full-time day job, but one day…one day… And the photo of Dolly and Max is in my office at work, by the way. J
So I write in the evenings, am highly addicted to coffee and my DVR, and I have a 5 ½ month old mutt puppy named Gracie that sometimes resembles Cujo when she gets wound up.
All my stories are based in fictional Texas towns, featuring what I call ordinary heroes. Real men with real lives, falling for real women. I’ve had a bait shop owner, a diner owner, a carpenter, and a ghost J. In DON’T LET GO, my hero is a retired Navy Seal who returns to his hometown—and former love—twenty-six years after an ungodly decision tore them apart. Except he has a fiancée with him. Awkward!
In my upcoming book this summer, taking place in the same small town, STAY WITH ME features a former biker-bad-guy returning home to help the family business. And face the woman he left behind in a fog of secrets. (By the way, Dolly and Max make a cameo appearance…nothing is sacred, my friends!)
If you haven’t noticed the trend, I have a super soft spot for old flames. There is something so sexy about running into an old love. Sparks are already there, you get all shaky and wiggly inside, and you can see everything in a look. I LOVE that. Hot couples rock a good story. I’ll tell you about a few of mine. First up was Dani and Alex in THE REASON IS YOU, which—well let’s just say it went outside the norm, since he was a ghost. And in that same story was Dani and Jason. Both very hot, very intense, one was an old love and one was a new one. In BEFORE AND EVER SINCE, I had Ben and Emily, and oh my God these two…. I love the snark and the banter and the push-pull go-away-come-here dance they do. In JUST ONE DAY, Andie and Jesse reminisce about the one day they had twenty years earlier. And now in DON’T LET GO, it’s Jules and Noah’s story. Here’s the back cover blurb:
Twenty-six years later, Jules is still carefully living the life her mother planned out for her. She’s running her mother’s store, living in her mother’s house, following her mother’s rules, and keeping the secrets her mother made her bury.
Then Noah comes home and any sense of an ordered life flies out the window. Noah’s return does more than just stir up old memories—it forces Jules to see her life in a whole new way and uncovers secrets even she didn’t know were buried. Secrets that could easily destroy her world once more.
And because I love reading other people’s teasers, I thought I’d throw one in:
Morning? Really? I opened my mouth to say something back, but nothing came out, so I licked my lips and fidgeted with my robe like a crazy woman.
“Too early?” he asked, as if that were a normal thing to say to me as well.
A laugh-scoff-snort thing fell out of my mouth, which I chalked up to rounding out the perfect start to the day. I coughed and cleared my throat.
“No, I’m—just getting ready for work.” I stepped back so he could come in, and held onto the door for dear life as I glared at Harley for just sitting there on the couch like a diva. Some guard dog. She should have had his leg chewed off by now. “Come in. There’s still coffee if you want some.”
Oh, what the living hell was I babbling about?
Noah stepped in hesitantly, as if maybe he hadn’t thought things out that far. Maybe he expected me to slam the door or not be home or God only knows what. He gave me a sideways glance as he passed me, and I caught a subtle whiff of soap and shaving cream. I stared at the door as I closed it, as if it had betrayed me too, and then I turned on my heel and put myself in motion.
I walked straight past him to the open kitchen, trying not to really look at him. I knew he’d follow. He knew the way around my mother’s house. My house.
Harley’s curiosity finally got the better of her and she followed on his heels, making him turn around to check out the beast stalking him.
“Hey there, killer,” he said, holding out a hand for her to smell him, and then scratching her ears. “Are you nice?”
“That’s Harley,” I said. “I’m afraid growing up with two women has made her a big wuss.” I took a deep breath. “Coffee?” I asked again, opening a cabinet.
When he didn’t answer, I turned around, and felt my heart slam against my chest. He was standing on the other side of the big island from me, where I’d seen him so many times before. Except he was a man now. With something in his eyes that resembled lost.
“What?” I asked, though not much of the word came out.
Noah shook his head, and his expression cleared a little. “Just weird being back here, I guess. In this kitchen.” He gestured with a small hand flick. “Seeing you here.”
“I know the feeling,” I said softly, turning back to grab a mug whether he wanted one or not.
“Linny told me you were living here again,” he said. “Sorry to hear about your mom.”
My hands shook as I poured the hot black liquid and turned to set his mug on the counter.
“Thanks,” I managed to push out. “Sugar and creamer are right there,” I said with a gesture.
“Black’s fine,” he said.
I nodded and headed into the living room for my cup. Shit, Jules, breathe. I planned to come back, but he followed me. Shit. The kitchen felt more stable. We could stand up in there. Have the island between us. The living room was cozy and please-sit-and-stay-a-while. Granted, I did have to go to work—in an hour and a half. Shit.
I licked my lips again, and sat back down where I was earlier. Feet curled beneath me. Two pillows on my lap for security. I felt every centimeter of my nakedness under the robe, and wished for more clothing, but it was big enough for him not to know that. I just thanked God for giving me the wisdom to get ready early and not be sitting here with wet hair or raccoon eyes. And then I mentally kicked myself for caring. He didn’t. I wondered if his woman knew he was paying me a visit. Or if she even knew who I was.
So tell me about your favorite couples. Books, TV, or movies… I love ‘em all! Like Johnny and Baby in Dirty Dancing! Luke and Lorelai in Gilmore Girls! Ummmmm, Jack and Rose in Titanic?
Thanks for hanging with me today!
Sharla Lovelace is the bestselling, award-winning author of small-town love stories. Being a Texas girl through and through, she’s proud to say she lives in Southeast Texas with her retired husband, a golf cart, a crazy mutt, and an aviary full of cockatiels. She is the author of The Reason Is You, Before and Ever Since, Just One Day, Don’t Let Go, and the forthcoming Stay with Me, coming in summer 2014.