Friday, October 7, 2011

Watch Out! Angry Frat-boy Archer on the Loose

Posted by: Seleste deLaney/Julie Particka
Sometimes the book you start out to write isn't the one you turn in. When I started my little tale of the rock star and the principal, it was a straight contemporary for a contest. For better or worse though, the contest had a 7,000 word limit. I knew very quickly the story wouldn't fit in those confines, which gave me the opportunity to re-look at my hero and heroine.

Kira is a high school principal and very straight-laced, whereas one look at Jesse would make two words fly into the heads of women everywhere: bad boy. They definitely weren't people who would automatically gravitate toward each other, so I decided what they needed was a push in the right direction. Enter Eros (aka Cupid) and his arrows.

My initial reaction to the thought was abject horror. A little guy in a diaper flying around shooting people and making them fall in love? Plus, if Cupid was actually doing his damn job, would romance be in the sorry state we see these days? Of course not.

Which means he wasn't doing his job. And that opened up a world of possibilities, one I knew was far too big for me to handle on my own. Still, I had to get the ball rolling. I had to build an Olympus where this could happen.

Basically, where I ended up is with a college-like Olympus with Eros as frat-boy extraordinaire. And a very pissed off Dean of Students in Zeus who expels him until he shapes the hell up. Because really...what other kind of Cupid would look at Kira and Jesse and say, "Yeah. Those two need to be together" except one who thought succeeding in an unexpected match would earn him brownie points.

I'm really happy to say that other people have embraced my crazy vision as well. GunShy, the first book in the Cupid's Conquests series, is out now at Evernight Publishing. (Other authors have taken up the call and are penning stories for this series right now. Each one will follow Eros as he unites a couple--or more--in love.) For now, here's a little taste of Eros's magic...

As she staggered to a stop, the man peeled the card from his pants and held it out to her. “Lose something?” His deep, gravely voice sent a shiver all the way to her toes as she took in the six-foot- plus wall of muscle.

Kira wasn’t a small girl by any stretch, but in front of him, she felt tiny. “I... uh... dropped that.”

He read the card aloud. “Take a chance, huh?” Kira started, knowing those weren’t the words she’d read a moment before. With a shrug, he pressed it into her hand. “Better hold on tighter next time.”

When his fingers left hers, something pricked into her shoulder. She slapped her free hand against the pain and felt something. In her palm, she held a tiny golden arrow, but when she blinked, it was gone—replaced by a very dead wasp.

The guy in front of her, t-shirt straining against his chest as he moved, leaned close. His words belied the gruff tone of his voice. “That’s weird. Someone must have fucked with a nest. You aren’t allergic, are you?”

“N—n—no,” she stammered, staring at the arrow-wasp.

Gently, he gripped her wrist and tipped her hand until the insect fell to the ground. “Why don’t I take you to first aid anyway?” The words on the card drew her gaze: Take a chance. They’d

been different before; she was sure of it. Then Kira looked up at the man in front of her, his leather jacket and jeans such a stark contrast to Nolan’s polo and pressed khaki shorts, and the wasp sting burned. The strange, but not painful, heat traveled from her shoulder through her body to settle between her legs. She bit her lip, wondering where the feeling really came from. The guy in front of her wasn’t her usual type. Too big, too muscly, too rough around the edges right from his worn boots to the scruff along his strong square jaw.

In her mind, her teeth grazed that same jaw, and a shiver ran through her as she tore her gaze away. “Yeah. I think the pain is getting to me.”

Releasing her wrist, he rested his hand on the small of her back. The heat of his skin seared straight through Kira’s thin tank top. Her throat went dry within ten steps, and she had to swallow hard before she could speak again. “Thank you for your help, Mr....”He arched an eyebrow at her quizzically before answering. “Stanford. I prefer Jesse though. I killed the last guy who called me mister.”

Kira froze, fighting against the light pressure of his fingertips. “You what?” she squeaked.

He twisted his head and winked. “Kidding. Mister just makes me feel old. And you are...”

“Sorry. Kira Murphy.”

“Well, Kira Murphy, who needs to learn to take chances, consider yourself safely delivered to first aid.” He nodded toward the rickety trailer with the sloppily painted red cross on the side. “Have a good night.”

His hand fell from her back, and this time she shivered from the loss of his heat—heat she very much wanted back. But Jesse had already melted into the crowd. “So much for taking chances.”

With a sigh, she went inside to have the sting tended.


6 comments:

  1. I love this premise and I've read GunShy...awesome novella...totally a must-buy!

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  2. Love the idea behind the story, and the excerpt was terrific!

    Marie

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  3. Thanks, Marie. It's always fun when there isn't actually a plan but things just sort of come together :)

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  4. A really different imagining from your typical read... I enjoyed the excert...

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