I’m very excited to have Happily Ever After Thoughts’ very own Marie Patrick with me. She was so sweet in her introduction of me. I am thrilled to return the favor :-) Plus, she is giving away a copy of her latest release A SCANDALOUS WOMAN.
Lexi: Hi Marie, I can’t believe it, but your fourth book, A SCANDALOUS WOMAN, is coming out Friday! I got a sneak peek of this story and absolutely loved it! It was so much fun. You must tell our fans what this story is about before I spoil it all.
Marie: I know! I can hardly believe it myself. My fourth book! Wow! And I’m so glad you liked it, Lexi. As you found out in your sneak peek, Jovanna “Joey” Darling, is a rather unconventional woman….some might even say scandalous. Joey doesn’t believe she should conform to the rules of 1898 Galveston polite society and find a husband simply because she is told she must. She’d rather work for her brother who runs the Darling Security Agency, but not as a bookkeeper as her father believes. With her flair for disguises and accents, Jovanna is one of Darling Security’s best operatives, although her involvement in solving crimes is kept secret.
To Braeden MacAllister, love not only hurts, sometimes it can kill, a fact he learned at a young age with the death of his parents. He keeps his heart under lock and key, so to speak. Raised by his aunt and uncle, he has been groomed to take the reins of MacAllister Enterprises and when his uncle passes unexpectedly, he is named president, but he has a problem – someone is out to ruin him. Or kill him. Or both. When he seeks the services of Darling Security to stop the robberies on his newly purchased and renovated railroad, he has no idea exactly what he will be getting. In fact, it is quite more than he bargained for.
Lexi: I love that Jovanna is so good at her job, especially when women were just beginning to assert their independence. Wherever did you come up with this story?
Marie: The honest truth? I have no clue. Usually, I remember exactly how the idea came to me….witnessing a beautiful sunset, visiting a museum, seeing the shimmering of the pavement on a hot summer day or seeing something on the History Channel that sparked my imagination. For A Scandalous Woman, I cannot, for the life of me, pinpoint when the idea hit me or what I was doing. I knew I was in the mood to write something fun and light and A Scandalous Woman, I think, captures that, but it’s not all fun and light. There’s some serious tones in there too.
Lexi: I’ve been reading your posts for awhile now and I noticed that you have a rather large To Be Read pile. How do you find time to write, read other books and work your fulltime job? Basically, when do you fit it all in?
Marie: Since I don’t have a magic wand and the shoemaker’s elves don’t visit me, it can be difficult sometimes “to get it all done”. Actually, hanging onto my sanity can be difficult, but I manage (I think). I very carefully schedule, allotting so much time for this, so much time for that. For the writing part, because I’m better in the morning, I get up at 4:30 and write for an hour and a half each workday morning (longer if I can squeeze it in). Yup, just me and the dogs stirring at that hour. For the pleasure of reading? I read before I begin work. Because I hate to be late for anything, I’m generally fifteen minutes early so I read (and there’s always a book or my Kindle in my purse as well as a notebook because one never knows when inspiration will strike). Oh, and I read during my lunch break too, and just before bed…actually, any time I have a few minutes. Somehow, all the things I need to get done, do.
Lexi: I get the feeling that you may have a lot more energy than me :-) What do you like the most about being a romance writer?
Marie: This is going to sound like a contradiction and it is but….I like the fact that I can control my characters or the situation. As we know, sometimes, there is very little control in our lives. On the other hand, I absolutely love it when my characters surprise me and go full steam ahead, usually in the opposite direction of where I wanted them to go. Believe it or not, they have done this quite often over the past couple years. And I love the happily ever after, especially when it makes me cry.
Lexi: A little birdie told me that you just celebrated your 32nd anniversary. What do you think makes true love work?
Marie: Oh, that’s such a difficult question as it’s different for everyone, Lexi. What works for one couple may not work for another. Personally speaking, it’s a combination of things. Compromise is big on my list, so is accepting each other for who and what they are (yes, this is one of the more difficult things to do). Trust and respect are also on my list. And laughter. My husband makes me laugh, even on those occasions when I don’t want to or have nothing at all to laugh about. Lastly, and in my opinion only, one should be friends with their spouse. Even if I wasn’t married to him, we’d still be best friends because he’s funny and sweet and generous but above all else, he’s a good man….and I think I just came up with another idea…..
Lexi: Excellent! We want more stories from you. What can we expect next? Do you have any works in progress?
Marie: Do I have any works in progress? You’re just joking with me, aren’t you? At last count, I had thirteen works in progress. All in various stages from a simple two or three line blurb/idea to several chapters written (I know, I’m a little nuts, but when something comes to me, I have to write it down or I may lose it). Right now, I’m trying to finish a Civil War story I’ve been working on. I do have a completed manuscript that recently came in first place in the historical category for the Hot Prospects Contest. I’m very excited and happy about that!
Lexi: Congratulations on your contest win! Hopefully, we will see that story in print soon. It has been awesome to be able to chat with you. A SCANDALOUS WOMAN was so much fun, I can’t wait until your next release. Thank you for being my guest.
Marie: And thank you for having me. It’s always a pleasure! Welcome to HEAT, Lexi!
Lexi: For a chance to win Marie’s A SCANDALOUS WOMAN, be sure to leave a comment for her. And don’t forget to include contact info in your comment in case you win.
For more information on Marie’s Romances go to http://mariepatrick.com/
Lexi: Check out this excerpt from A SCANDALOUS WOMAN
The reception room of Darling Security seemed more like a gentlemen’s club than a security agency. His feet sank into the plush green, red, and black Persian carpet covering the floor. Dark wood paneled the walls. Gold lamps spread a warm glow throughout the room. Clustered around a mahogany table were several chairs, upholstered in rich burgundy velvet. Draperies the color of the chairs framed two large windows, beneath which rested a long camelback settee.
In the corner of the room stood a large mahogany desk set at an angle. Fragrant steam rose from a cup beside the telephone on its polished surface. Two large, comfortable chairs were set up in front of the desk for easy conversation.
All in all, the room was inviting, warm, cozy¼and empty.
He stepped toward a door at the opposite end of the room. The portal had been left open, just a crack.
“Hello? Is anyone here?”
Braeden grabbed the knob and started to pull. The door swung open, almost hitting him in the face. The muscles in his body tensed as he stepped aside but relaxed once he saw the shapely bottom backing through the door.
“Good morning,” he murmured, his curiosity piqued.
A startled cry escaped the woman as she whirled around. The armload of files she carried flew from her grasp and hit him squarely in the chest. They exploded on impact. Sheets of paper created a miniature snowstorm as they floated to the floor.
Thunder rumbled in the near distance—or was it his heartbeat? Lightning flashed. Rain pattered against the window. Braeden found himself drowning in the most unusual eyes he’d ever seen: not green, not blue, but a curious mix of the two. Flecked with gold and fringed with dark lashes, they sparkled with an inner light.
“Oh, I’m so sorry.” Her soft voice floated over him like fine mist. “I didn’t mean to accost you with my files.”
Braeden smiled as he stared. Her hair, a rich, vibrant flame, had been pulled away from her face haphazardly, as if she didn’t care how she appeared as long as the glossy tresses were out of her way. Two pencils held the bun in place but several tendrils had escaped. Cobwebs created a sort of mobcap on her head.
What would her hair look like if I removed the pencils and let the fiery locks fall down her back?
His smile widened as the corners of her mouth twitched. Her porcelain skin glowed with youth and vitality and her cheeks turned a delicate shade of pink, which highlighted the smear of red ink on her nose. A smudge of dirt covered the tip of her chin, too.
A subtle hint of her perfume tickled his nose. Jasmine. No, gardenia. No, not flowers. Something fresher. The scent floated around him, tantalized him and he inhaled deeply before he mentally shook himself to break free of the spell this dazzling witch had cast on him. “No harm done, Miss. Let me help you.”
They crouched down together to pick up the papers and knocked heads. She lost her balance and fell on her behind with an unladylike “oomph”. Heat seared through his veins when her skirt lifted enough for him to see slim, dainty ankles covered by white stockings.
“My apologies. Are you all right?” Braeden tried not to stare at the sight of her legs and the lacy petticoat hiked up to her calves. He accepted the fact he was a cad as his gaze traveled the length of exposed leg.
“It looks like we’ve gotten off on the wrong foot.” He grabbed her hand to help her. A warm tingle raced from their hands through his veins and settled somewhere in the pit of his stomach. He almost released her, but tightened his grip instead.
She gasped as his fingers entwined with hers and he lifted her to her feet.
Does she feel this strange tingling, too?
“Perhaps we should introduce ourselves. Braeden MacAllister.” He anticipated the shock, the rush of warmth coursing through him, when he touched her again. He reached for her hand and brought it to his lips.
I’ll be damned. He chuckled to himself, a little confused and more than a bit intrigued as an undeniable energy crackled between them. Startled by the powerful sensation, Braeden drew in his breath as his belly tightened, his muscles tensed and his heart pounded in his ears.
Her eyes opened wide and he knew she’d experienced the same bubbling rush as he.
“Jovanna Darling.” Her eyes twinkled merrily in her pink face. “What can I do for you, Mr. MacAllister?”
He knew what he wanted her to do for him. She could take down her flaming red hair and let him run his fingers through its weight. She could press her tempting lips to his. She could . . .
Lexi: Don’t forget to leave a comment if you would like a chance to win this great story, A SCANDALOUS WOMAN.