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Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Walking the Story Down the Aisle with @SusanAnnWall #TropicalTryst #RB4U #SummerReads

How exciting to be one of the 24 authors in Tropical Tryst! This collection includes some fabulous Off Balance, my novella featured in the Tropical Tryst set.
summer and beach reads! The setting for my story – a tropical cruise – was inspired by a recent cruise I took with my mom in the southern Caribbean. What a great escape! I had so much fun revisiting these places as I wrote
I loved writing the hero and heroine too, and their “origin” stories are fun and unique.
The heroine in Off Balance, Heather Wolfe, first appeared as a cell phone sales clerk in 3rd Trip to the Altar, book #3 in my Superstitious Brides romance series, where she boldly gives her phone number to the hero, Brent Daniels, after she gets his phone set up for him with a new number.
“Your phone’s all set. Here’s the new number.” Heather slid a paper across the desk. “I put my number below it, you know, in case she doesn’t contact you and you decide to move on.”
Brent never calls because his heart is otherwise occupied with Tristin May, his future wife, and Heather moves on, her interests leaning toward Haven Masters, her yoga instructor and mindfulness coach in Off Balance.
When I first wrote Heather in 3rd Trip to the Altar, I had no intentions of writing her as a heroine later, but I took this scene to my NHRWA critique group and everyone loved her boldness. That sealed her fate: she was to have her own story.
When I sat down to write her story, I was challenged with finding a hero worthy of her boldness. I can’t tell you why, but I knew in my heart he had to be a yoga instructor. That’s all I knew. He didn’t even have a name and I can’t write until I know that small detail about my characters.
One morning, I went out for a chai latte with a friend – named Heather, no less – and she helped brainstorm ideas. Turns out, she had a crush in high school on a beautiful creature named Haven, and since her crush never culminated in anything, we thought this was a great opportunity to bring Heather and Haven together (even if Heather Wolfe is completely different from my friend). So a hero was born.
I knew I had the right name when I recently spent some time at a beach on the Jersey shore, putting the finishing touches on this story. The name of the beach? Beach Haven. Crazy!!
Off Balance is the 8th book in my Superstitious Brides romance series. All the stories stand alone, but if you love small town romances and revisiting characters in multiple books, this is the series for you.
A few bits of trivia about the series:
·         Every story ends with a wedding.
·         There is a central animal in every story, as shown on the covers!
·         My daughter names most of the animals in the stories. The exceptions are Chocolate and Vishnu.
I’m currently working on book #9, Wish Upon a Sleigh Ride, which will be part of the Spicy Christmas Kisses 3 box set coming in November. This is a sort of Han Solo meets Princess Leia love story in that they are both stubborn and strong-willed and start off not liking each other a whole lot. If you’ve read the first two books in the series, you’ve already been introduced to resort events coordinator Melody Starr and farrier Cooper Harris. Can you guess what kind of animal will be central to the story?

Big dreamer and certifiable overachiever Susan Ann Wall embraces life at full speed and volume. She’s a beer and tea snob, can be bribed with dark chocolate, and the #1 thing on her bucket list is to be the center of a Bon Jovi flash mob.

Susan is a USA Today bestselling, multi-genre author of racy, rule-breaking romance and women’s fiction. Her bragging rights include the Fighting Back for Love series, Puget Sound ~ Alive With Love series, Superstitious Brides Romance series, Sunset Valley Women’s Fiction series, and Devon Taggart Suspense series. She also likes to boast about her three maniacal children, two amazing rescue dogs, and a happily ever after that started while serving in the U.S. Army and has spanned over two decades (which is crazy since she’s not a day over 29).

In her next life, Susan plans to be a 5 foot 10, size 8 rock star married to a chiropractor and will not be terrified of large bridges, spiders, or quiet people (shiver).

If you’ve read this far, you’ve earned a sneak peek of Off Balance.

Between wrapping things up at work before her vacation, and packing for the vacation itself, she’d had little time to do anything except fantasize about this project. Okay, not entirely true. She’d had plenty of time to fantasize about Haven, talking to him about code until his eyes glazed over and he eased her down on a yoga mat and had his wicked, spiritual way with her.
None of that had panned out. Haven was attentive, she had to give him that, just not to her. There were ten other travelers on this tropical retreat, and every single one of them demanded a chunk of Haven’s time during the journey from New Hampshire to San Juan, Puerto Rico. By the time they’d arrived in San Juan, checked into the hotel, and eaten dinner, Heather was ready to collapse. Anywhere would do, the hotel bed, the sandy beach just yards from the hotel, even the restaurant chair.
“Let me get you tucked in,” Haven had offered. Twelve hours earlier, those words would have made her panties go up in smoke, but when he’d uttered them last night, her eyes were already closed, panties securely in place.
Now they were boarding the ship, but it wasn’t exhaustion that prickled Heather’s nerves. For the next seven days, she would be in close quarters with Haven. While this was what she had manipulated, doubts sparked every cell in her body. She had never been on a cruise ship, but knew the cabins would be smaller than any hotel room she’d ever stayed in, the bathroom smaller too. The quarters weren’t just tight, but intimate in way that shattered her comfort zone into a million tiny pieces. Yes, she had created this scenario knowing it was a bad idea, but doing it anyhow because she’d been existing in a zone of safety for far too long.
Their group of twelve all had rooms in the same area of the ship, port side, midship, just a couple floors down from the first main floor. They all made their way together, everyone seeming pleased with the accommodations as they opened their cabin doors. Now it was time for Heather to do the honors with the cabin she and Haven would be sharing for the next seven nights. Swiping the key card across the panel, she got the green light and turned the handle, only to stop short when she spotted the bed.
The one giant bed.
“Ooomph,” Haven grunted as he plowed into Heather, making her stumble forward. “Sorry, I wasn’t expecting you to stop. Are you okay?”
“I’m fine, but the room…” she stepped in, Haven following, until she got far enough in that she could step aside. “I don’t…they said the room would have two beds.”
While the thought of sharing this giant bed with Haven turned Heather’s insides to a warm, gooey mess, she knew Haven would have a problem with it. She turned to him, ready to apologize, but when she was greeted with his warm smile, the words slipped from her mind.
“It’ll be fine. We can make this work,” he assured her.
Did that mean he wanted…no, Heather couldn’t allow that thought to settle. The fantasies were fine because she knew they were just that, but if she allowed herself to think deeper than the fantasies, she’d just be setting herself up for disappointment. She had a solid plan to spark his interest, she just needed to exercise a little patience.
“Oh, I didn’t realize you two are together. I just thought you were doubling up to save money,” Cat said from the doorway.
Heather pushed by Haven to face Cat. “There’s a mix-up. We were supposed to have separate beds.”
“Well, reowwwww,” Cat responded, making a cat-like motion with her hands. “You two have fun.”
Cat closed the door with her quick retreat, leaving Heather all alone with Haven in their tiny cabin and the giant bed. “I’ll go to guest services, see if they can change our cabin. The reservation shows we are supposed to have two twin beds.”
Haven took a couple steps toward her to close the distance and gripped her arm in that gentle and comforting way that always grounded her in the moment. Heather had always been confident around men, to her own detriment, usually, but that was better than acting like a bumbling fool. She didn’t understand why Haven brought that side of her out. “If that will put your mind at ease, then go ahead, but the one bed doesn’t bother me.”
Heather nodded, desperate to leave but unable to step out of his firm yet gentle hold. “I just don’t want you to think…” To think what? That she’d manipulated the reservation so they would have to share a bed? It wasn’t a stretch considering she’d done just that so they could share a room.
“I don’t think anything,” he assured her. “Take a deep breath, Heather. Everything is going to be fine.”

Sometimes, to find your center, you must collide with the one who throws you off balance.
Heather Wolfe started practicing yoga as a way to find some balance in her life and maybe decide on a new career. After the world of software engineering sucked the life out of her, she’s bounced from job to job to job, never finding any satisfaction. The same is true of her love life. She’s never been afraid to go after what -- or who -- she wants, but so far, the direct approach has produced zero results. She hasn’t ignored the crush she has on her yoga instructor, Haven Masters, but she’s kept it on a short leash while she devises the perfect plan to get him to make the first move. When Haven asks her to book a tropical cruise retreat for his Mindful Masters of Self class, of which Heather is a student, she puts her new skills as a travel agent to work, manipulating the accommodations to propel her plan forward.
Along his journey to enlightenment, Haven has come across many bumps and roadblocks, but never once has anything or anyone thrown him off balance the way Heather does. Normally confident, he’s confused by his hesitation to ask her out, but when they are thrown in a small cabin together for seven nights aboard the cruise ship, he believes it is the Greater Spirit providing an opportunity that he must seize. Heather doesn’t seem comfortable with the arrangements at first, but after their first night aboard ship, things start moving so quickly, Haven’s head spins as fast as his heart races. Heather seems to have everything he’s been looking for in a woman, so much so that she seems too good to be true. All Haven can do is look for his center again and hope he finds it with Heather.

1 comment:

Melissa Keir said...

Sounds like a fun read. Who doesn't love a woman who speaks her mind! All the best!

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