I’m so pleased to show everyone the cover of my forthcoming book Love, Simplified. The release date is just over a month away, and I can’t wait until my “new baby” is out in the world .
Below is an excerpt from the book. The set up to this scene is my heroine Cecile has just arrived at her family’s cabin after a fourteen hour drive and wants nothing more than to crash for the evening when she gets an unexpected visitor…
Cecile was in the bedroom kicking off her tennis shoes and was about to change out of her travel clothes and into pajamas when she heard a knock on the front door. She paused, momentarily alarmed. Who could be knocking on the cabin door at nine-thirty in the evening?
Should she answer it? If she didn’t, maybe they’d get the hint and just go away. As she weighed her options, she heard a second knock. Her visitor was certainly persistent. After she heard the second rapping noise on the wooden door she knew she had to answer it, if only to get some peace and quiet. She wished she had some sort of weapon, just in case the neighborhood had went to hell in the past few years. She looked around the kitchen and living room for something she could use in self-defense. She’d settle for a baseball bat or a golf club at this point.
“Who’s there?” Cecile called to the door.
“Ethan Morgan, I live a few cabins down. I’m head of the neighborhood watch. I saw the lights and thought I’d check things out. Make sure everything is okay.”
Cecile flipped the kitchen light on and grabbed the first weapon-like object she could get her hands on and wrenched the door open. This wasn’t the kind of story that a mass murderer would make up, she was fairly certain, but better safe than sorry.
“Surely you’re kidding?” Cecile asked skeptically. “I’m sorry, but I’m trying to get some sleep here. I’m exhausted. Can we do the Welcome Wagon visit tomorrow?” Cecile said to the darkness. She couldn’t make out any features of the hulking figure on the front porch. Cecile flipped on the switch to the porch light and was displeased when nothing happened. Evidentially the bulb was burned out.
“Everything is fine, but thanks for checking,” she made to close the door and at the same time he stepped forward out of the shadows and into the wedge of light that had pooled onto the dark front porch. As he did, the light from the kitchen illuminated his face just enough so that Cecile could clearly make out his features. She stopped herself just short of gasping in surprise.
Ethan Morgan might have been the head of the neighborhood watch by night, but Cecile was fairly certain he was some sort of male model or an outrageously good-looking lumberjack by day. He was six foot tall, at least, and had the kind of broad shoulders and brawny arms female fantasies were made of. Dark hair, a square jaw and Roman nose rounded out his jaw-dropping features.
“Sorry to bother you at this hour ma’am. I haven’t seen anyone in this cabin for years and then I saw the lights. I just wanted to make sure everything was okay,” he looked at her with a wry smile. “Awfully late to be making waffles,” he said with a slight chuckle as he looked at what she clutched in her right hand.
Cecile dropped her eyes to the clunky, 1960s-era waffle-maker she’d grabbed in a moment of desperation. The metal monstrosity might be heavy, but she realized in her haste she’d selected a poor choice of weapon. If Ethan had been an axe-murderer, she wouldn’t have been able to fend him off with a kitchen appliance, no matter how bulky.
“Oh, this,” she said with a laugh and a shake of her head, causing her glossy brown hair to sweep across her shoulders, “I was just…tidying up before bed.” Cecile felt idiotic. What an absurd lie.
“Is that right?” he asked in disbelief as his eyes briefly travelled into the dusty kitchen and the spider-infested cobwebs clinging to the walls. “So I noticed you have out of state plates. I guess you’re here on vacation?”
“You could say that, yes. I’m sorry, I’m Cecile Day,” she said as set the waffle-maker on the counter top. She opened the screen door and extended her right hand. Ethan returned her handshake with a warm firm grasp. At the touch of his large hand, Cecile felt a bit faint. He’s so…masculine, she thought. She garnered her composure and continued.
“My family owns this cabin, but like you said, none of us have used it in years. I just got in from Denver, long drive.”
He took this as his cue to excuse himself. “Okay, I won’t keep you from your rest. Sorry for the intrusion. Have a good evening,” he called to her as he headed down the front steps.
“You too,” she replied for lack of anything better to say.
Cecile closed and locked the front door, although knowing a man like Ethan Morgan was the captain of the neighborhood watch committee gave her more peace of mind than any lock ever could. With his Paul Bunyan-like proportions, she didn’t doubt he could take on an intruder without breaking a sweat.