Jesse Oliver was a medic in Afghanistan, but back home in Pine Mountain he’s happy to switch gears as the Double Shot bar’s new sous chef. When his apartment floods and his old Army buddy offers the family’s dilapidated lake house as temporary quarters, Jesse thinks a little remodeling on the creaky duplex sounds like a fair return favor. That’s before he sets eyes on the gorgeous woman moving into the other side of the cabin—and discovers she’s his buddy’s kid sister, a.k.a totally off limits.
Kat McMarrin has fought hard for her space, and she’s not too interested in sharing it. Of course, her job as a physical therapist means she won’t see much of Jesse, even if he’s a few thin floorboards away—unless she seeks him out. And with his sculpted body and slow-burn gaze, she might be tempted. Maybe the fixer-upper projects she has planned for the cabin will keep her mind off him. Or maybe her instincts to strip the place down will get out of hand…
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As an author, I get asked where my inspiration comes from all the time. It’s a loaded question, because the answer varies depending on the project, and, okay, sometimes even on the day. I will say that I never wait for inspiration to come to me—I tend to either bribe it out of myself (“You can surf Pinterest for pictures of Taylor Kinney if you come up with a plot outline for that novella. And go!”), or it smacks me in the sternum at the most inopportune moment.
Case in point.
A few weeks ago, I went on my weekly pilgrimage to Super Wal-Mart. Now, having three kids (and thus, one hell of a grocery list), I know better than to take this trip with them in tow. So I tend to hit Wal-Mart when my little darlings—who are actually quite cool people, unless they are forced to go to Wal-Mart with their mother while she’s on deadline—are in school. I’m pretty deep in the book I’m writing (you saw the deadline thing, right?), and I’ll be honest. When I’m into writing a book, I’m pretty into it. So while my body is in Wal-Mart, buying apples and spaghetti and Froot Loops (don’t judge!), my brain is with my hero (a firefighter) and my heroine (also a firefighter). My cart is full, my brain says, “Let’s go home! We want to write the firefighters!” because, of course, said firefighters are about to have sex for the first time. I aim my cart for Checkout Lane 8, where there are all sorts of things waiting for the impulse buy, like Chap-Stick and breath mints and double-sided fashion tape.
And the whole sex scene unfolds in my brain with startling and flawless clarity, right there in the checkout line.
It was too good to pass up. My brain was even giving up dialogue! I saw exactly what the dress looked like in my head! And I knew better than to try and hold it ‘til I got home (it never works). So I did what any self-respecting author-slash-crazy person would do.
I dictated the whole thing into my iPhone, right there in the checkout line, pushed the speed limit to its maximum interpretation, and came home and wrote the scene, beginning to end.
So yes, friends. Inspiration comes in all shapes and sizes. I’ve been inspired to write book by really deep what-if questions (“what if an Army medic came home from Afghanistan with PTSD and the only way he learned to cope was to become a chef?”) I’ve been inspired by music (two words: Matt Nathanson.) And I have been inspired by the checkout line at Wal-Mart.
You just never know.