A week ago, Love Weighs In (#7 of Arbor University) released.
I'm still pinching myself; this makes seven Molly books and six for Kenzie. By all accounts, I should have the entire series written by now, since this book was written ten years ago. But raising an unexpected blessing, moving to a new town, and getting connected to other authors who introduced me to the spicier love stories caused my characters to take an extended vacation.
Fresh stories bubbled up in my brain, plus I was introduced to a local writer's group, which helped expand my story-telling.
Anyway, meet Miss Susan Best, who attends Arbor U from 1987-1992.
Hi Susan:) You start out dating Rob, your HS sweetheart, then you break up and begin dating Travis, who encourages you to sing in a band. But by the end of the book, you're dating Rob's identical twin brother Jamie. Wasn't that a bit strange, dating your ex's twin?
I've always been able to tell them apart, even when most couldn't. I'm not sure what it is; Jamie just had a devilish look in his eyes, while Rob's chin was more pointed, maybe. Our families took a vacation together when the boys and I were twelve, and I was the only one- beside their parents, of course!- who didn't have to ask them every morning, 'Which one are you?' and note what they were wearing. And of course they'd switch clothing halfway through the day.
As for when we began dating, I thought it was going to be strange at first, but maybe it's because I've known them so long, I didn't have any trouble keeping them separate in my mind. Does that make sense?
Makes perfect sense. To you, they were individuals, rather than two halves of a whole.
Can you take me back to That Moment, when you first began feeling different, or comparing yourself to others?
Well, there was the teasing in the eighth grade. You'd think, that with a younger brother, I'd be used to teasing and all, but nothing prepared me for what happened at school. I felt it was my fault, and didn't dare tell anyone, because I just wanted it to go away. Looking back, if I'd told someone, things would have been a little different. And I might have coped with it better. I think I was a junior in high school before I began to trust Rob again. I'd stayed friends with him, but at a distance. I credit my friend Rachael and Rob with helping me break out of my quietness, and join in. But when I found why Rob broke up with me, it just devastated me, and I began to doubt myself again.
But you still got up and sang in the band....
I've always loved to sing, and I never thought Glenn would ever get us a gig. But he did, and boy did I have the jitters! Glenn's the lead singer, and I add harmony, but at our first job, we discovered we had a better response if I joined him on lead vocals. I don't mind telling you, it's nice when people recognize you and praise you for your singing ability.
Are you still having issues or do you consider yourself 'cured'?
I still battle the demons, but I've learned I can't please everyone and I shouldn't try. Sexiness isn't about how others judge you; it's about how you feel inside. And being with someone who loves you for YOU, not because 'you look good together' or if you're doing all the giving and the other is doing all the taking. I may never be attractive according to society's standard, but I have a man who loves me and I'm at peace with the way I look and feel.
Thanks for being with me today Susan:) Can we share an excerpt with the others?
Love Weighs In is available at Secret Cravings Publishing and should be up on Kindle, Nook, and other 3rd-party sites this week. Enjoy!
What happens when your roommates are pencil-slim without trying, and you gain a dress size by looking at chocolate? Susan Best struggles with her self-esteem after a bad break up. She diets in the wrong manner, and soon it's almost out of control. When love sneaks up on her, can she accept the truth her man loves her, not the number on her clothes?
Travis Freeman was instrumental in jump-starting Susan’s singing career. But he didn’t count on the dark side of being in the spotlight, and stands by helpless as the woman he loves spirals out of control. But after alerting her friends to the problem, he risks losing her altogether.
Jamie watched his identical twin brother Rob break Susan’s heart. Thrilled by the fact their friendship is rekindled, he appoints himself her personal body guard during their summer job. But when he kisses her, is she picturing his brother?
“We’re getting a better response when you’re out in front, Susan. Do you think we can split up the lead on the next set? I’ll sing the first verse and you the second. We can switch back and forth after that.”
Susan hesitated. “Do you think it will work?”
Glenn nodded. “Hell, yes. The boys love you out there, and the manager’s thrilled. The more they dance and yell, the thirstier they get. Ergo, the more drinks they buy.”
“Ergo?” Susan laughed. “I didn’t think you knew that word.”
“I’m a man of many hidden talents, my dear.” He saluted her with his beer.
Susan downed her ice water. “Let’s try it. It can’t hurt, and like Glenn says, they’re all drunk now, anyway. I doubt they’d notice if we flubbed up.”
“You’re not going to flub up in front of us, are you?” teased a familiar voice. Susan looked up in surprise as Gretchen, Shawn, Amy, Brad, Caitlyn, and Peter approached.
“Hi, guys.” Happy to see them, she stood up and hugged her friends. “No, we’re just talking about making a slight change in the last set.” She introduced the band members.
“We just got here. Let’s go find a table and get a round of drinks. Break a leg, kids.” Gretchen ushered the rest toward the bar.
Susan excused herself to use the rest room and overheard a disturbing conversation between two other girls.
“...can’t believe she’d have the guts. I mean, did you see the size of her thighs? And that shirt. Good lord. You’d think people who pork out like that would have the decency not to tuck their shirts in like that.” A toilet flushed.
“I know, and can you believe her voice? I sing better than that in the shower.” Water running and the hand dryer drowned out the voices.
Are they talking about me? I’m not leaving until I know they’re both gone. She peeked through the crack between the stall door and the wall and saw the two girls touching up their makeup.
“She needs to get with the times. The Madonna look is so three years ago.”
“At least she’s not wearing a miniskirt.” Their voices disappeared as the door slammed closed.
Stunned, Susan left her stall. She looked at her reflection in the wavy mirror and studied herself. They’re right, I am a fat slob. My stomach has this bulge at the zipper, instead of being nice and flat. She stuck out her tongue and washed her hands. And my thighs do look awful in these jeans. Why oh why did I even wear them?
Because you were in a hurry. You were so happy after messing around with Travis, you forgot to be careful with what you wore tonight. Now people are talking about you!
How can I get up on that stage and wow them for another ninety minutes? They don’t want to see me or hear me. I heard that woman! I sing like I’m tone-deaf or something! Susan brushed aside the few tears. I've got to get back out there and fake it. Nobody’s forcing me to continue after tonight. I’ll finish this last set, even though my friends are out there, hearing us for the first time.