I’ll feature ebook re-release on this page (I like to think of them as revisits to the recent past), with anecdotes to answer that ever-present question, “Where do you get your ideas?” Some of the re-releases are Kindle exclusives, others are also available for Nook and other ereader formats. Click the Books tab above for links to purchase from Amazon and/or Barnes and Noble.
Several of my early books are now available again as a Kindle exclusive for only $2.99. No Kindle? no problem! Download the free Kindle reader app to read on your computer, phone, iPad or iPod. Click on the Books tab above for a direct link to buy from Amazon.
HERO BY NATURE
They set off sparks from the start.
Electrician Autumn Reed has never gotten involved with a client, but attractive pediatrician Jeff Bradford could easily tempt her to forget that policy. She’s quite sure she’s not his type, and vice versa, so why does he keep coming up with new electrical projects for her at his nice Florida home – and why does he keep hanging around while she works?
Jeff has fallen hard for fiercely independent Autumn, but he doesn’t know how to get past her prickly defenses. How can he convince her that a wedding ring would not extinguish the electricity between them?
My third book for Harlequin was HERO BY NATURE, the final story in the Reed sisters trilogy. I started with Summer’s story (HERO IN DISGUISE), then wrote about oldest sister, Spring (HERO FOR THE ASKING) – which left only youngest sister, Autumn. My dad and all three of my brothers were electricians, so I knew I had a built-in research source for Autumn’s career (yes, I wrote this before Google and Bing). As I developed Autumn’s personality, I thought of how difficult it must be for a woman to be taken seriously in an occupation that in the late 1980s, when the story is set — and even now, to an extent — is considered a man’s job. Combined with being the youngest sister who feels she has to distinguish herself from her sisters, Autumn developed a tough exterior that hid a well of insecurities. When she meets pediatrician Jeff Bradford, those insecurities threaten to undermine the confidence she has worked so hard to build. But sweet-natured, easy-going Jeff has a determination of steel when it comes to convincing Autumn that they belong together.
This was a fun book to write and I particularly enjoyed talking to my dad and brothers about their job, hearing anecdotes from them I could adapt for my story. It’s a trip back to the ’80s — and if you missed it then, I hope you’ll enjoy revisiting that time with me now that HERO BY NATURE is available again at amazon.com. Click the Books tab above for a direct link to purchase the book for Kindle or the free Kindle reader app for mobile devices.
Previously featured re-releases:
HERO FOR THE ASKING
She has never met anyone quite like him.
Her sister’s friend, Clay McEntire, expresses his offbeat humor in a quirky wardrobe and outrageous flirting, leaving more conservative optometrist Spring Reed wondering if she can believe a word he says. Though she is tempted to indulge in a vacation fling with this sexy, and very eligible bachelor, she can’t imagine that anything lasting could come of it.
Impulsive, fun-loving Clay is serious about his work with troubled kids, but very little else … until he meets Spring. He can’t help wondering … if he follows her home to Arkansas after her San Francisco vacation, will she keep him? Or send him back to California with his heart in pieces?
I’ve mentioned before how thrilled I was to sell my first book (HERO IN DISGUISE) to Harlequin in the late 1980s, but there was also a huge rush from getting the call that they wanted to publish a second book from me. There was validation in knowing they liked the first story well enough to want more, that secondary characters in the book resonated with them and with readers enough that they wanted their stories. Clay McEntire, the hero of this week’s featured book, HERO FOR THE ASKING, was introduced in the previous book as a quirky, unpredictable friend of the heroine, Summer. With his whimsical wardrobe and happy-go-lucky attitude, Clay seemed an unlikely match for Summer’s serious, ambitious, slightly shy sister Spring — so of course, I had to find a way to make it work between them.
I had the most fun in writing this book just “dressing” Clay, who expressed his sense of humor – and hid emotional baggage – through his unconventional clothing (and remember, the book is set in the late 1980s, a time when we all made interesting wardrobe choices!). My editor was amused by Clay’s outfits, but there was one that crossed the line for her — she begged me to make another choice after I dressed him in a vintage country-western rockabilly suit complete with sequined cacti on the jacket. After some consideration, Clay and I both decided that maybe we’d gone too far with that one, so I changed the description in edits. But I still think that unworn suit is hanging in the back of Clay’s closet, just waiting for the right occasion for him to pull it out.
It’s a pleasure for me to re-release HERO FOR THE ASKING through amazon.com (for Kindle and the free Kindle reader download). If you missed it all those years ago, I hope you’ll enjoy meeting Spring and Clay this time around! Click the Books tab above for a direct link to purchase.
HERO IN DISGUISE
She’s holding out for a hero.
Happily single Summer Reed works by day, parties by night and refuses to waste time worrying about the future. Her roommate’s serious, ultra-responsible brother, Derek Anderson, sets off all her mental warning bells. From what she’s heard about him, she is prepared to find him dull, unexciting, a real kill-joy. But Derek Anderson is not at all what she expected. Former adventurer Derek knows from the start that unconventional Summer is the one for him, despite their intriguing differences. Now all he has to do is convince her that, despite first impressions, he is exactly the hero she’s been waiting for.
From the time I could hold a pencil, I was drawing pictures and scribbling stories to go with them, dreaming of a time when I’d see my name on the cover of a book. Although I’d written a couple of submissions that had met with the dreaded rejections letters, I was determined to try again. The idea for the Reed sisters of Arkansas — Summer, Spring and Autumn — came to me on a camping trip in the late 1980s. We drove through Rosebud, Arkansas on the way to the lake and I envisioned the three sisters growing up there. While my husband fished and our two very young daughters played around the campsite (our son wasn’t even born yet), I scribbled ideas in my ever-present wire-bound notebook. By the time that camping trip ended, I had a full outline and the opening pages of HERO IN DISGUISE written. A couple of months later, I finally received that long-hoped-for phone call. Harlequin wanted to publish my book!
I’ll never forget the excitement of that first sale. Nor the thrill of seeing my book on the shelf of a bookstore for the first time. A friend called me late one evening to announce in excitement that she had spotted it at a Waldenbooks store in west Little Rock — about twenty miles from where I lived. My husband and I grabbed our sleepy little girls, jumped in the car and drove all that way just to see the book for the first time, arriving just before the store closed for the night. Of course, I had to make sure everyone there knew that was my book. I signed a few before heading home – and what a joy that was!
I’m delighted that HERO IN DISGUISE is available again as a release for Kindle and the free Kindle reading app for mobile devices. It’s very much a 1980s story — a blast from the past — but I think it holds up well as a story of a young woman who strikes out on her own after a near-devastating accident,despite her secret fears of being so far away from her close family. I told Summer’s sister’s stories in follow-up books that I’ll feature in the next couple of weeks, HERO FOR THE ASKING and HERO BY NATURE, also available now from Amazon. I hope you’ll check back next Monday for the next featured re-release and check with my blog later this week for a new post!
A REBEL AT HEART
He isn’t the man she remembers.
Being cross-examined in a courtroom by stern, conservative attorney Griff Taylor, psychologist Melinda James is shocked to recognize him as her first love. But what has happened to the long-haired, denim- and earring-wearing teenaged rebel she knew as “Savage?” When did he become so … normal? And why does she still find him irresistible, even in this somber and buttoned-downed package?
Griff isn’t pleased to be reminded of his troubled early years. He has worked too hard to transform himself into an up-and-coming young attorney with a successful future ahead for him. But the memories sultry Melinda rouses in him are hard to repress – as is his growing attraction to the woman she has become. Can he give in to those feelings without releasing the savage soul he has spent the past dozen years trying to tame?
Melinda James first appeared as a rebellious orphaned teenager being raised by her older siblings in CAUSE FOR CELEBRATION (now available as a Kindle re-release). To cause her overly-conscientious older brother Matt even more headaches, I had a great time creating Melinda’s boyfriend, “Savage,” an eyeliner-and-leather wearing rebel with a barely-concealed soft side. Though I moved on to other stories after writing Matt’s story (A BRIGHT IDEA, last week’s featured re-release), Melinda and especially Savage remained in the back of my mind. Eventually, I had to find out what happened to them both. I thought it would be fun if Melinda reconnected with her teenage boyfriend as adults — only to discover that the nonconformist bad boy she remembers so fondly has turned into a buttoned-down, tie-wearing, establishment-type attorney! Not only that, he’s on the other side of a lawsuit in which she is involved. Now it’s up to Melinda to remind Griff of the secret sweet savage lurking inside him, and teach him how to release that inner bad boy — at least when the two of them are alone together. I loved exploring this couple at different points in their lives and relationships, and I hope you’ll check out these available-again books for Kindle or the free Kindle reading app for your computer or other portable device.
Click the Books tab above for direct links to purchase all my available titles for Kindle and/or Nook.
A BRIGHT IDEA
She’s looking for a marriage of convenience.
Florist Brooke Matheny is ready for a family, but she approaches marriage the same way she does her business – with a sensible, well-thought-out plan of action based on practicality, not emotion. She is chagrined when a long-time friend turns down her pragmatic proposal, but even more so when the too-appealing eavesdropper at the next table offers to change her mind about the value of romance.
Charming hotel manager Matt James is a hard man to resist. Accepting his challenge, Brooke gives him one month to change her views on courtship and marriage. Now Matt has to convince her that with the right partner, marriage can be so much more than a friendly merger.
Sometimes an entire book revolves around a single scene that pops into my mind. The scene could be the opening, the middle or the end of the story, but when an intriguing situation plays out in my imagination, often it nags me until I write the complete story following or leading to that scene. That happened to me with A BRIGHT IDEA. I’d “met” Matthew James in the previous book, CAUSE FOR CELEBRATION. The only boy in a family of five orphaned siblings, Matt has fallen into the role of adviser and guider — to his younger sisters’ frequent frustration. Picturing various storylines for Matt’s book, I envisioned a scene in which he accidentally overhears an awkward conversation in a restaurant – an attractive young woman proposing a marriage of convenience to a friend, and being gently rejected. With his deeply ingrained compulsion to offer advice, Matt can’t resist making a few suggestions to the chagrined Brooke — and their relationship develops from there. Of course, Matt has to be taken down a few notches during the unfolding of their romance, complicated by issues with his rebellious young sister, but both Brooke and I enjoyed the process. Matt’s little sister Melinda and her forbidden boyfriend, “Savage,” stayed in my mind long after I’d written this book and a couple of others, eventually demanding a story of their own (A REBEL AT HEART, to be featured next Monday).
CAUSE FOR CELEBRATION
He was looking for a permanent position…
Overwhelmed by work, Merry James was in no mood for a party. But since theme parties were her livelihood, she was destined to make merry. Especially after the appearance of the man she assumed was her temporary secretary.
Not only was Grant Bryant a top-notch typist and a first-rate filer, he was exceedingly sexy. And Merry had a hunch that they could both gladly give in to their urges and chase each other around the office. In fact, she was certain he wouldn’t even run…
It should be apparent that I love writing about big families. I came up with the idea of a big sister who is responsible for raising her younger siblings — including teenage twin sisters — while also heading the family’s party planning business. I had recently met someone who owned and operated a party business in Little Rock and it seemed like such a fun job, but after talking with her I learned how much work and time went into the behind-the-scenes details. That gave me the idea for the chaotic opening scene for CAUSE FOR CELEBRATION … and the story took off from there. Because I had so much fun with the James family, I wrote two spin-off books I’ll feature in the next two weeks, A BRIGHT IDEA and A REBEL AT HEART. I’m glad these books are available again and if you missed them the first time around, I hope you’ll check them out and enjoy them now!
CHANGING THE RULES
They were breaking all their rules.
TV anchorwoman Elise Webber has everything she has always desired. A glamorous job, a great apartment, and a sexy – if commitment-shy – lover, attorney Dustin Chandler. She tells herself she wants nothing more, and that she is no more interested in marriage and commitment than he is. But then she receives news that shakes her world, and will change everything between them.
Dustin has never thought he was husband and father material, but he vows to stand by Elise during her pregnancy. As the delivery grows closer, he finds himself longing to be a part of this little family for the rest of his life. Can he convince Elise that his bachelor rules were made to be broken?
When I came up with the idea of CHANGING THE RULES, I was expecting our third child and needless to say, I was rather obsessed with pregnancy and childbirth. I remember thinking it would be fun to add an unexpected pregnancy to the lives of two busy, somewhat self-absorbed workaholics with strict rules about their exclusive but carefully regulated relationship. The story was going to be a lighthearted comedy — but it turned out that I was a little too close to the subject that time. Before I knew it, my book took a more serious turn as this clueless couple dealt with the total commitment required of raising a child. Being a parent has been the single most difficult, terrifying and rewarding aspect of my life, and I knew I had to make it clear that Elise and Dustin would be faced with that realization. Their rules all change during the course of this story – but they find that being flexible brings them even greater benefits than they ever expected.
IN FROM THE RAIN
A storm blew him into her home – and her heart.
Jill Hammond leads a quiet, contented life taking care of her widowed brother-in-law and his two young children. If she occasionally feels restless in this small Arkansas town, she suppresses the feelings, reminding herself that she is needed here. Yet when she offers assistance to a sexy, wounded drifter who calls himself Rio, she discovers a reckless, passionate side of herself she has been repressing her entire adult life.
Driven by demons from his past he is not yet ready to face, Rio isn’t interested in settling down in this town where he has temporarily landed. Jill is the one woman who can heal his broken soul – but how can he take her away from the family who needs her almost as badly as he does?
Rio was a hero who cruised into my mind on a motorcycle and wouldn’t go away until I told his story. He wouldn’t even tell me his last name until I was well into the book. I’d been writing about wealthy, professionally successful heroes and Rio was different — young, rebellious, a drifter still looking for his path in life. So, who could I match him with? Why, a woman whose family roots were buried so deeply the thought of hopping on the back of a bike with a handsome stranger would never even occur to her, of course.
In writing about Jill’s big, loving family, I called heavily on my experiences with my own. Though I never base my fictional characters on living people, I did borrow a few names – those who know my family personally will recognize several names in the story, though I promise the characters are quite different from my actual relatives! Still, it was fun to try to work in so many well-loved names as tribute. (My nephew Chris’s name got cut in an edit, as my indignant mother pointed out, but I slipped that name into a later book as apology).
Originally published under the pseudonym of Gina Ferris, IN FROM THE RAIN has always had a special place in my heart. If you missed it the first time it was released, I hope you’ll try it now on your Kindle or on the free Kindle reading app for PC, iPads, iPhone or other mobile devices.
Her touch has healing powers.
Ex-cop Quinn Gallagher has lost too much, leaving darkness and pain inside him. He has hardened his heart, vowing never again to risk losing someone he cares about. He moves into nurse Laura Sutherland’s guest cottage to be alone with his unhappy memories. But soon he finds himself being reluctantly adopted into Laura’s diverse “family” of eccentric boarders.
Something about Quinn breaks Laura’s heart – even as he steals it without any effort. She would give anything to ease his suffering … but something tells her that getting too close to Quinn could leave her with a broken heart of her own. Is her love enough to heal him? And will he ever risk loving her in return?
When Quinn and Laura “introduced themselves” to my imagination, I had written only for the Harlequin Temptation line. HEALING SYMPATHY did not quite fit that line, being a longer story with a slightly different tone than the Temptations. So, HEALING SYMPATHY became my first Special Edition (originally published under the pseudonym of Gina Ferris). I have to admit I simply fell in love with emotionally-wounded ex-cop Quinn, who is still one of my favorites of my heroes. Set in Colorado in the early 1990s, HEALING SYMPATHY explores the theme of family (both by blood and by choice) and the healing power of unconditional love.
A reviewer for then-Rendezvous magazine gave me one of my all-time favorite reviews for HEALING SYMPATHY:
“The beauty of this book reaches out and grabs you and doesn’t turn loose; it keeps you turning the pages as you experience every nuance of emotion … There are tender moments that will leave you in tears and moments of joy which will do the same.”
I’m so glad HEALING SYMPATHY is now available again for Kindle and Kindle reading app. If you missed it the first time, I hope you’ll take the opportunity to let me share this favorite story with you.
COULD IT BE MAGIC?
She’s afraid to believe in magic.
Stable, sensible schoolteacher Gwen DeClerk is enchanted by her famous magician neighbor, Jeremy Kane. The sexy globe-trotter appeals to a reckless side of her she didn’t even know existed – but can she trust that those feelings are more than illusion? He says he appreciates the peace and quiet he shares with her – but secretly, she longs for passion and fireworks suitable to an affair with an international showman.
Charmed by his prim new friend, Jeremy finds himself wanting a lifetime with her. He’s had enough of drifting and he’s ready to settle down. But how can he convince Gwen that he finds as much excitement and challenge in her arms as he ever has on stage?
I have always loved magic and magicians. We once had the chance to take our children to see David Copperfield in person, and were able to score front-row seats in the Little Rock auditorium where he was performing. My husband even got to participate in one of the magic tricks, which was so exciting (for me, anyway). I had a lot of fun writing magician Jeremy Kane’s story, pairing him with a schoolteacher who never thought of herself as adventurous until she became involved with the globetrotting performer.
A couple of trivia facts about this book:
The title, of course, comes from the Barry Manilow song of the same name. My husband and I loved that song, which came out when we were dating in college, and we saw Manilow in concert several times, even before he was the superstar he went on to become. I’ve always had a soft spot for that song, because it takes me back to that time when we were so young and had so many adventures ahead for us.
One of my favorite romantic movies is “The Big Easy” with Dennis Quaid and Ellen Barkin. I’ve watched the bad-boy-redeemed-by-a-good-woman film so many times I can almost quote it. It has always amused me that tough-guy-cop Remy sleeps with a stuffed alligator that squeaks when squeezed, and one of my favorite quotes from the film is: “If I can’t have you, can I have my gator?” When you read COULD IT BE MAGIC, you’ll see how I slipped in a tribute to that scene!
Everyone says they are two of a kind.
The office gossips joke that Rhys Wakefield and his executive assistant Angie St. Clair are just alike – cool, no-nonsense workaholics. Angie is aware of what people say about her, but it would be even worse if they knew the truth about her scandal-ridden past. Hiding her true feelings for Rhys is only another way she protects herself from further heartbreak.
Rhys knows there is more to his beautiful assistant than she allows him – or anyone – to see. The glimpses of heat he spots in her are enough to melt even his hardened heart. He’ll have work overtime to convince her they can be themselves … after hours.
There are some classic plots in romance that just beg to be reworked occasionally — secret babies and lost memories, marriages of convenience and friends-turned-lovers. In the early 1990s, I was inspired to write a classic boss-and-secretary story — but of course, I had to put my own twist on it. Rhys and Angie are both very successful in their professional lives, but the walls they have built around their hearts make their personal lives much less satisfactory. They have their baggage and their secrets locked tightly away — without realizing that each holds the key to the other’s happiness.
My mother spent most of her professional career as an executive secretary (or administrative assistant, as it’s more commonly referred to now). Working in the same company during summers and holidays, I was able to watch her at work, and I was always impressed by her efficiency and the way she reigned over her office. To get to the president of the company, one had to first get through her, and she was vigilant at her duties, keeping her employer on schedule, his paperwork and correspondence handled, his callers courteously screened. It’s possible that I was influenced a bit by her when writing this heroine, though in their personal lives, they couldn’t be more different. My mother was a gregarious extrovert, always surrounded by friends and family, whereas Angie is a loner — not by choice, but by circumstance. Rhys is the one who sees the tender heart beneath the coolly competent exterior.
And, by the way, her full name? Angelique. With the new Tim Burton movie Dark Shadows in theaters now, I’m reminded with amusement of choosing this name for this heroine when I wrote AFTER HOURS. Yes, it came from the old ’70s TV show, Dark Shadows, that I used to watch when I’d rush home after school. I was a little too young to understand all the nuances of the program, but I loved the eerie ambiance of it, had a crush on the cute werewolf, and absolutely loved the name Angelique. All of which make it feel all the more fitting to feature this Kindle exclusive re-release this week!
Wrong number, right caller.
Lonely single mom Erin Spencer answers her phone one stormy night thinking the caller chatting through the static is her brother. She is startled to learn rather quickly that the pleasant voice belongs to a total stranger, Brett Nash. They laugh together about the misunderstanding, then chat a few more minutes before reluctantly disconnecting. The next time he dials her number, it’s deliberate.
Soon, Erin and Brett have a flirty, intimate, long-distance relationship. She finds herself looking forward to his calls, feeling surprisingly close to this man she has never even seen. But when he asks to meet her in person, she hesitates. Could reality possibly live up to their fantasy affair?
While I was in college, I worked summers in the accounting department of a locally-owned chain of discount stores (Sterling Stores/Magic Mart). One day one of my coworkers, Gwen, told a funny story about a phone call she had received the night before – the connection hadn’t been good, but she thought she was talking to her father, and he to his daughter. They chatted for several minutes before they discovered he’d dialed the wrong number. Even more coincidentally, when he told her his daughter’s name, Georgetta, she realized she knew her! Georgetta also worked for that company. I loved the story, and the quirky coincidences – and years later, in the early ’90s, the anecdote inspired me to write HOTLINE. I played my “what if game” – what if those accidental chatters are both lonely singles who fall in love over the telephone, sight unseen? An early version of “on-line dating!”