by Cara Covington
Charlotta Carmichael is mostly not ashamed of the way she paid for her college degree. Mostly. As an exotic dancer at a gentlemen’s club, she earned enough to get her degree in psychology.
But sometimes the scorn she’s suffered in the past comes back to haunt her. She fears a similar reaction from Jesse and Barry Benedict. Will they still think she’s good enough for them if she tells them the truth?
Jesse and Barry know all about past mistakes and regret. Feeling like outcasts, they left their Montana home and headed to Lusty, hoping to make a new start. Once they understand that Charlotta is their soul mate, they confess their sins of the past—because they want their relationship to have a solid foundation.
As Jesse and Barry rush to save Charlotta from a stalker, they all soon learn that moving on is easier said than done—and requires a bigger leap of faith than they’d ever imagined.
Once they exited the stable, Jesse turned to Charlotta. “I guess you need to get back to your office.” He’d seen her look at her watch. Their appointment with her had been for three, and it was now after four-thirty.
“No, I don’t.” She gave him a smile that definitely got his attention. “I was just checking. My work day is officially over.”
He tilted his head to one side. “Is it, now?” He looked over at Barry, then back at her. “Then maybe I can ask you a personal question?”
“You can. I might even answer it.”
“Are you a, married, b, engaged or c, seeing anyone?”
“No, I’m d, none of the above.”
Well that explains why she didn’t respond to Gene Harris’s proprietary vibes. That made Jesse happy as hell.
“Well in that case, may we buy you a drink? Your choice, any place you’d like to go.”
Jesse would have given almost anything in that moment to know what the sexy blonde psychologist was thinking. No question her secretive little smile got his libido firing on all cylinders.
Then she looked down for a moment before meeting his gaze again. Any doubts he might have been harboring that she wasn’t at least a little attracted to them died then and there. The look of longing that flashed in her eyes, though brief, was impossible to miss.
“I’d like that. There’s a place we passed, not far from here, that serves the best margaritas in Waco—at least in my opinion—as well as several different brands of beer, all ice cold. You could follow me there.”
Cast Your Characters
Everything begins with the characters.
I write erotic romance, and some people might think—and could be forgiven for it especially if they’d never read any of my books—that they’re all about the sex. They couldn’t be more wrong.
The very best stories ever written, and my stories too, are character driven stories.
For my novel, Love Under Two Outcasts, I had quite the challenge when it came to the heroes. These two characters were named a year before, as being twins, brothers to my heroes Cord and Jackson Benedict, in Love Under Two Quarterbacks. All the information I had on them, then, was that they were twin brothers Jesse and Barry, from the Montana branch of the Benedict family, and that aside from their oldest brothers who were also twins, they had an older sister named Addison and younger sister name Veronica. Their parents were George and Norah Benedict, and they were ranchers.
Quarterbacks introduced Veronica, as she was on her way out of the Lusty, Texas series, and into the Divine, Texas series written by my friend and fellow Siren author, Heather Rainier.
We all soon learned that poor Veronica had been bullied all her life—most recently by her loser boyfriend whom she soon dropped, but back in her childhood and by her family, too. Veronica didn’t look like her mother and her sister who were both thin. Veronica had curves! Her mother, from the time Veronica was very young and in an attempt to “shame” her into losing weight, called her Chubbs. Of course, the rest of the family followed suit. Cord and Jackson, to their credit, stopped doing that when they got to high school. But the others didn’t seem to get the magnitude of what they were doing. Veronica left home to go to college and never truly returned to the bosom of her family.
In Awakening Veronica, Heather’s heroine has a confrontation with her family at a crucial moment, revealing to them how deeply their bullying—not “teasing”—had wounded her.
So here I was left with two heroes—Jesse and Barry—about whom I now knew one more thing: starting from the time when they were 8 or 9 right up to high school, they bullied their sister. That was something that, until the scene Heather wrote, I didn’t know!
I wasn’t alone in my ignorance, because Jesse and Barry hadn’t realized it, either.
And that was key to the entire story I needed to write for them.
What do people do when they suddenly discover that what they’d thought was harmless teasing, instead was cruel bullying?
They repent, and they set out to make amends, to redeem themselves—not only and maybe, not even immediately in the eyes of the one they offended—but to themselves, to make themselves better people. They say, I hate who I am and I don’t want to be that person any more. I am going to change.
Two good-at-heart men who feel like outcasts, and are on a quest for redemption deserve a woman who can understand them, be their champion, and identify with them on at least some level, which gives them a chance to be her champion, too.
Enter Charlotta Carmichael, former denizen of Divine, Texas and dancer at a gentleman’s club. That much I had from Heather. I quickly learned that Charlotta used the money she made dancing to pay for her degree in psychology, graduating without debt, and, consequently, without the emotional support or approval of her parents.
So I had my story arc, knew who my characters were at the outset, and who they would be at the conclusion of the tale. I only had to write the story, and show, in addition to how they overcame their pasts and familiar entanglements, how they gloriously fell in love—en route to their very own happy-ever-after.
AUTHOR Bio and Links:
Morgan Ashbury, also writing as Cara Covington, has been a writer since she was first able to pick up a pen. In the beginning it was a hobby, a way to create a world of her own, and who could resist the allure of that? Then as she grew and matured, life got in the way, as life often does. She got married and had three children, and worked in the field of accounting, for that was the practical thing to do and the children did need to be fed. And all the time she was being practical, she would squirrel herself away on quiet Sunday afternoons, and write.
Most children are raised knowing the Ten Commandments and the Golden Rule. Morgan’s children also learned the Paper Rule: thou shalt not throw out any paper that has thy mother’s words upon it.
Believing in tradition, Morgan ensured that her children’s children learned this rule, too.
Life threw Morgan a curve when, in 2002, she underwent emergency triple bypass surgery. Second chances are to be cherished, and with the encouragement and support of her husband, Morgan decided to use hers to do what she’d always dreamed of doing—writing full time.
Morgan has always loved writing romance. It is the one genre that can incorporate every other genre within its pulsating heart. Romance showcases all that humankind can aspire to be. And, she admits, she’s a sucker for a happy ending.
Morgan’s favorite hobbies are reading, cooking, and traveling—though she would rather you didn’t mention that last one to her husband. She has too much fun teasing him about having become a “Traveling Fool” of late.
Morgan lives in Southwestern Ontario, Canada, with a mysterious cat, an eight pound Morkie dog who thinks he’s a German shepherd, and her husband of forty-two years, David.
Morgan’s books at Siren-Bookstrand:
Cara’s Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Cara-Covington/616302148428229