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Wednesday, April 21, 2010

GUEST POST: ELAINE CANTRELL

Return Engagement

It’s the high moments that make a life and the flat ones that fill the years.

From Dara’s Gift by Ellen Glasgow

“How did you think of a think like that?”

“Where do you get your ideas?”

People I meet always ask me one of those questions. Sometimes answering is easy. I wrote one of my favorite books, the sequel to Return Engagement, when I was taking a shower. I had just finished reading a book about German secret codes in World War II, and as I showered I was thinking about the code. I decided on the spot that I’d write a book with a secret code as the centerpiece of the work. And so I wrote Blue 52.

I have another book ready to send out titled The Captain and the Cheerleader. It’s about a football coach who’s a former football player and an English teacher who’s a former cheerleader. Since I’m a teacher myself that one is pretty obvious.

But then there’s my Lacheis Publishing work Kara’s Change of Heart. The book is supposed to release in June, but I have no idea where the idea came from.

I can’t tell you where the idea for Return Engagement came from either. I only know that I had a hero in mind. I wanted someone who just oozed sex appeal, was drop dead gorgeous, and might be a little dangerous. So, I created Richard Lovinggood. Richard is the son of Senator Henry Lovinggood, one of the most powerful men in Washington. He’s grooming Richard to be the president one day, but Richard makes the mistake of falling for an inappropriate woman. Elizabeth Lane is older than Richard, her family is a disgrace, and she’s an actress! The senator is sure she only wants Richard’s money so he pays a little visit to Elizabeth and convinces her to break up with Richard.

Ten years go by before the two meet again. This time Elizabeth vows not to let anyone scare her away, a decision that will ultimately lead to kidnapping and attempted murder and might separate her and Richard forever.

Getting Return Engagement published is one of the high points in my life. I invested years writing the book and changed it about a million times before I was happy with it. I couldn’t let the Lovinggoods go, though. I wrote Blue 52 and now I’m working on the third and final book in the trilogy. It doesn’t really have a name yet, but like both other Lovinggood books it’s full of betrayal, adventure, danger, and intrigue.

I’d like to share an excerpt from the book. It hasn’t been edited yet, so forgive me if you see errors. Return Engagement is coming in July from Whiskey Creek Press.

Excerpt: In this excerpt Richard and Elizabeth have met on the beach after a ten year separation.


“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.”

Elizabeth laughed. “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.”

Richard tugged on her hand. “Let’s sit down and watch the moon awhile.”

Elizabeth willingly sank into the damp sand and cuddled close beside him. My gosh, the man had muscles she hadn’t known even existed!

“Richard, about this evening….”

“Elizabeth, about Alex….”

“You go first,” Elizabeth urged. Her shoulders marginally relaxed. She wasn’t looking forward to telling him she couldn’t see him again.

“All right, I will.” Richard 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.” He stirred up the butterflies in her stomach when he gently caressed her shoulder. “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. There was no way she could argue with those hard, muscled arms. “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.” His voice lowered and became husky and persuasive. “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 you want to do.” Richard pushed her back into the sand and kissed her, a delicate, brushing of lips that deepened as hearts caught fire. Elizabeth imagined she could feel the thudding of his heart against her own and shivered against him. She didn’t really notice when his hand slipped under her blouse, but when she felt its warmth on her breast she cried aloud and shoved him away.

“I want to finish this in private,” Richard whispered, eyes blazing. “We’ve waited ten years, and we deserve this night. Ask me to go home with you.”


Thanks for reading!

Elaine Cantrell

Hope. Dreams… Life… Love

http://www.elainecantrell.com

http://www.elainepcantrell.blogspot.com

Return Engagement is coming in July from Whiskey Creek Press.

1 comment:

Linda Andrews said...

Very nice, or naughty, excerpt.