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Monday, May 9, 2011


Right There the Whole Time
By A.R. Norris

Almost two decades ago now, I walked into a billiard room and ran smack into something I thought didn't exist…love at first sight. No, really, I did. He was six and a half feet of pure sexy male, leaning on a pool stick, waiting to hose my cousin for all of his money. His mischievous bright green eyes peered across the room, zoned right in on me, and shot me through the heart with his devil-may-care grin.

Okay, okay…it wasn't love. But it was that spark of attraction where my woman instincts kicked in and warned my heart that man would be mine.

What came after surprised me. What happened wasn't in any of the romance books I read. Wasn't spoken of once in any of the juicy stories told around the girl's night table. Heck, never even seen in a movie.

We didn't play a game of cat and mouse with each other. There were no "evil" females waiting in the wings to chase me away and take my place. There wasn't even an antagonist with wary plans to have him move halfway across the country.

No, he took me to his parent's house. We bowled, ate pizzas, hiked, went to movies, and…hung out. I found out he hid his shyness with the hot grin I took for cocky sureness. That twinkle I assumed was mischievousness…it's a natural zest and joy for life in general. Not only that but I found out the cool red-head was, in fact, a geek himself. We became best friends over cheesy B flicks and Japanese television. This AC/DC lovin' man trusted me with his -- now don't tell anyone -- secret love for Chicago.

What's more, I learned he dreamed of fatherhood, always wanted to live near family, and loved Valentine's Day. Looking back, I realized I had a wonderful romantic story that was probably closer to fairytale than, well, fairytales.

Why weren't more authors writing about this kind of romance? Why weren't these true Princes ever told? It was crazy. It was insane. It was…an opportunity. Sometimes the world around the characters are so chaotic, the romance doesn't have to be. The romance, in turn, can be the stabilizing force for both main characters. The one thing in their crazy world that keeps their compass on target.

I guess, in summary I'm trying to say…love doesn't have to be difficult. Love is an exhilarating experience that -- when finding the right person -- should bring strength and sense of wholeness and rightness to one's life. That should be celebrated more, don't you think?

In my debut novel,Duty and Devotion, coming out next month from Desert Breeze Publishing, I worked in a romance similar to mine for one of the sisters. Yes, there's a bit more hesitancy on her part than was ever in my relationship…I mean, come on, it is fiction, it is space, and it is set in war time. Poor Nettie has a lot going on in her life.

But, her romantic build up is with someone who's both a peer and a friend. And even though she freely admits his attractiveness, they share a light and funny camaraderie that supports her through some very tough times with the strength of their friendship. In the beginning of the story she thinks she's fallen into love in two of the stereotypical places: the strapping yet reserved leader and the mysterious and sexy dancer.

In the end, love was right there all along…in a friendship that hadn't blossomed to its full potential. Below is an excerpt showing this relationship. (Watch out…warning there are a couple curse words and suggestive terms. These are soldiers, ya know.)

The three waited just long enough for the Commander to exit the training deck before they did a little dance and hugged. Kaitlin picked up both Nettie and Jenny and tossed them a few feet before she headed towards the locker. Nettie ran and jumped on Kaitlin's back, piggybacking into the locker room with Jenny practically skipping ahead of them.

"Don't celebrate too soon…we're on our way in," a voice taunted behind them.

Nettie slid off Kaitlin and turned to see James Northman standing at the simulator entrance. Man, he knows how to work the hotness. Tall and fit with dark auburn hair and piercing green eyes, he stood with a confidence that bordered on cocky.

"Don't get overly excited, Northman. Wouldn't want ya coming down with blue ball," Nettie hollered.

Northman's laugh echoed through the large simulation room. "Thanks for the advice. I'll remember it." He blew her a kiss and turned to enter the simulator.

"Ugh, that guy drives me crazy," Nettie grumbled. Giving another appreciative glance at his fit rear-end, she headed into the locker room with the other two.

Kaitlin chuckled and started to strip. "Well, he and his crew are good. If it's not us getting first, it's them."

"It's us more," Jenny defended.

"Damn straight," Nettie agreed. They high-fived each other.


"Lunch is always so exciting," Nettie picked at her pasta-like meal with suspicion.

"We're out in bum-fucked universe. What do you expect?" Jenny forced a bite. Her scrunched face gave enough information.

Kaitlin plowed through the meal and downed some water. "What? It's good."

"You think this is good? What do you all eat on Jupiter?" Nettie asked, incredulous.

Kaitlin looked up, her pink and purple eyes swirling as she paused to think about it. The cartilage around her mouth tightened. "Hmmm. Oh, this and that I guess. Our taste is underdeveloped so…pretty much anything that can go down tastes fine."

Someone tapped Nettie's shoulder.

"Well, looks like you won today, but only by a slim percentage." James leaned against the booth, his head in between her and Kaitlin.

"Well, maybe next time," Nettie held her smugness in check.

James smirked. "No comeback? Is war over? 'Cause I know hell region froze over."

She nudged him lightly and chuckled. "Shut up. Fair's fair and you were sportsman enough to come by."

James gave her a wicked smile and winked. "Well…I did have an injury."

"What happened?" Jenny asked, a flicker of worry in her eyes, before Nettie could stop her.

James laughed. Nettie and Kaitlin stared at their friend, waiting for her to remember. Jenny finally caught on and groaned. "Oh, you are such a sicko. Outta here you perv."

"Quick bite first?" he asked. "We ran over, hence the second place."

Jenny handed him her plate. "Just take it."

"Thanks, lovely." He took it, winked at her, then tossed an amused grin at Nettie. "Catch ya next time around." He ruffled her hair and headed off to his crew's table.

"What an ass." Nettie straightened her hair into place.

Well folks, I hope you all enjoyed both the guest post and the excerpt. I'd love to know what you all think of the friend-to-lover scenario in writing.

A published author of speculative and science fiction, I live in Napa Valley and am married to a wonderful husband. We have 4 children ranging from 3 to 15 and two canine babies. One very evil cat -- of which the dogs fear -- decided to accept our offer of residency and has tolerated us for about 7 years now.

More Information:
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StephB said...

Amber, what a sweet romantic story. Thanks so much for sharing. Great character driven excerpt!


A.R. Norris said...

Thanks Steph!

Toni Noel said...

If your upcoming release is as interesting as your blog, it will be a best seller.

Good luck,
Toni Noel

A.R. Norris said...

Thanks Toni!

Naomi Musch said...

That was a great post, Amber. Like Toni said, it hooked me and I found myself grinning right through the whole thing. Congratulations on the new book!

A.R. Norris said...

Thanks Naomi! SUper excited about it coming out...only a couple more weeks (EEEHHHH)