A new week, a new Wednesday. Howdy!
My WIP is still not in shareable condition, though I hope to finish it off by the end of this week so hopefully next week I will have something cheerful and holiday-ish to share. This week I’m trying to focus on my back list a little.
I was thinking about SAME TIME NEXT WEEK recently, a book I don’t talk much about because it was my foray into interracial romance and it pretty much flopped. Not that the book isn’t good (because it is), but I didn’t and still really don’t know how to market this book. So while I am writing, I am trying to pop up some interest in a title that hasn’t received much attention but definitely deserves it.
You can catch the blurb for this book here, but the basics are that Jackson Sweeney, former boybander turned music producer, has taken his broken heart back to his hometown of Orlando, where he meets an insomniac named Shelby, who has tons of secrets that she’s not about to reveal… until someone reveals them for her and Jackson is caught up in her web of drama. But this time, Shelby’s past might hurt someone she’s come to love.
“This rug so wasn’t meant for this.”
Jackson laughed and then rolled off of her, onto his back. “I shudder to think how much value it’s lost just in the last few months.”
“If I have to sell it, I just won’t tell the new owners what I did on it.”
Wrapped in an afghan her mom had knitted for her a few Christmases ago, Shelby curled up next to Jackson in front of the fireplace, listening to the wood pop and hiss, watching him catch his breath, his skin glowing in the light. He pulled her closer to him, covering her mouth with his, despite the fact that he couldn’t yet breathe normally.
“And if anyone is trying to kill anyone, it’s you trying to kill me.”
“No, I’m not,” she said, laughing, but inwardly rolling her eyes at the irony. She put it out of her mind again. It would not ruin another night. She moved close to him, molding herself to his body, laying her head on his chest, holding onto him tightly. “To quote you, welcome to my world.”
“Yeah, you seemed like you were suffering a lot.”
“I suffer quietly.”
Jackson laughed at that, as did she. Mentally, she double checked the house to see if she’d left any windows open. No matter. If someone heard them, she hoped they were enjoying it as much as she did.
The intro music for a late night tabloid show interrupted her thoughts and their post sex-in-front-of-the-fireplace quiet time. They talked off and on, listening to inane stories of celebrities being celebrities and pretending to be upset at being caught. Jackson snoozed, one arm stretched out across the floor, the other around her shoulder.
‘Pop stars Rod Phillips and Jackson Sweeney took some time off from creating hits tonight, hitting a local theater for the premiere of Space Junkie, the futuristic thriller set in a postwar Los Angeles…’
Shelby shot up and scrambled around to face the TV. Jackson jerked awake at her sudden movement. “What? What’s wrong?”
“It’s a story about tonight. If they got me, I’ll be sick.”
Jackson sat up and joined her, craning his head around to watch the coverage. Shot after shot of Jackson talking to Rod, giving him the glare and walking away flashed across the screen, followed by video of the same.
Shelby nearly screamed, her hands flying to the top of her head, her fingers buried in her hair. Blurry, too-close-for-comfort still shots of Shelby filled the screen while the perky voiced entertainment reporter speculated on who the woman hiding behind Jackson Sweeney might be.
“Girlfriend? Lover? Friend caught in the middle? Is this the first woman to steal Jackson’s heart after the heartbreaking split with Kim Valentine? Only time will te-“
The TV snapped off, the image fading to black. Shelby turned around to find Jackson sliding the remote back onto the table. He already had a hand up to quiet her protests. “It’s not a big deal, Shelby. They put that in there for filler and probably won’t run it again. By 8 o’clock, it’ll be old news. Trust me, okay? It’ll be fine.”
Shelby just stared at him. How could he be so calm? Maybe he was used to his face being plastered across the news and tabloids, but she had a reason to want to keep her face hidden.
“You don’t think they’ll run it again?”
He reached for her, grabbing her arm and dragging her across the rug and back to him. He took her face in his hands and kissed her softly, then looked her in the eye. “Pretty sure they won’t run it again. Relax. It’s okay.”
Shelby let herself be pulled up off of the floor and down the hall to the bed. She wanted to believe him, but had a sinking feeling about it all. She crossed her fingers that she was wrong, in hopes that no one would particularly care about ‘the girl hiding behind Jackson Sweeney’.
Shelby was obsessive, almost manic about checking the news and the internet the following morning. Not much had been said about the few minutes of coverage the night before. A few blogs and YouTube had picked it up, but blessedly, most had cut off the end. It seemed people were really only interested in Rod, then Jackson, not the random woman hiding in the background. Shelby seemed to breathe a small sigh of relief.
“Told ya,” Jackson said, munching on toast and sipping coffee at her dining room table.
“I had to see it for myself.”
“Would it be really bad, if it ran a lot? I mean, I know you don’t want to get into it-“
Shelby set her mug down on the table with a thunk. “I just don’t want it to get back to Miami, really. I don’t care what Orlando thinks.”
“Who’s in Miami that would care? Your ex? You think he’ll come find you? Take you away, or something?”
Shelby ignored him, clicking through websites on her laptop, picking up her mug again and gulping down coffee. He didn’t repeat the question, but he didn’t move on. He finished his toast and drank his coffee, an uncomfortable silence between them. Finally, in a fit of frustration, he pushed the cover of her laptop closed.
Shelby glared at him, across the table. He shrugged a shoulder and stared back. Daring her to brush him off, again. He was getting sick of that shit.
“My ex is dead,” she said quietly, plainly. “Okay? My ex fiancé? The man you’re so curious about? He’s dead. So no, I don’t think he gives a fuck what I’m doing with pop star Jackson Sweeney.”
Jackson watched her get up from the table and walk down the hall and turn the corner, head down, hand over her mouth like she was about to cry. He wanted to follow her, but couldn’t move. Wanted to call out to her, but he was breathless and speechless and his mind was void of any thought that made sense.
Dead? Her ex was dead?
He now had abundantly more questions than answers, but felt even more uncomfortable about asking her. Maybe this was what she meant when she said it was complicated, and he didn’t want to know. Except he really did want to know. He wanted to know all of this woman’s secrets.