Today, my guest is MuseItUp romance author, Roseanne Dowell. Check out all of her books at MuseItUp Publishing's book store.
Roseanne, please tell us about your characters in A Second Change, May I Have This Dance, and Stranger on the Shore.
My characters, Christine Rollins from A Second Chance and Elizabeth Ashley from May I Have this Dance and Jordan Blake insisted on interviewing each other. I hope you enjoy it.
E: So, Christine, tell me a little about you.
C: Well, I’m a fifty-eight year old divorcee and mother of two. Problem is my daughter, who lives next door to me, and my friends insist on fixing me up with every Tom, Dick, and Harry who is widowed or divorced.
E: Aren’t kids great. Why is it everyone thinks we need a man in our lives to be happy?
J. That’s an interesting question. No one could understand how I could live by myself, isolated from everyone.
C: Well, you both have to admit it is nice to have someone to talk to. So, Elizabeth, tell us about you?
E: I’m a sixty year old widow with one child. Fortunately, she hasn’t tried to fix me up with anyone. I think I made it pretty clear I wasn’t interested.
C: I’m sorry to hear that.
E: Oh don’t be. I lost the love of my life forty-two years ago. I should never have married Harry. Jordan, your turn.
J. Not much to talk about my life. I’m a divorced writer. I live along the shores of Lake Erie and was quite happy living alone. Christine, what do you do for a living?
C: I work as a school secretary and fill my evenings with college courses. I was quite content until my son in law’s uncle arrived in town. There I was minding my own business coming home from visiting my son in Florida, and this drop dead gorgeous guy appears at the airport with my daughter and grandchildren.
E & J: We’re all ears. Do tell.
C: laughs and rolls her eyes. You’re as bad as my daughter. Okay, so he’s handsome and sexy. Lord, I thought I was past that, but this guy woke something in me that I didn’t know was sleeping. Heck, something I didn’t know existed.
E: He sounds fabulous.
C: Oh he is. Not only is he handsome, he’s the kindest, sweetest, most attentive man I’ve ever met.
J: So what happened?
C: My ex came back and asked for a second chance. After two years living with some bimbo. Okay, she wasn’t a bimbo, she was his dental assistant, but still. She was only half his age. Younger than our daughter. Then suddenly there he was standing in my kitchen, begging for another chance. He never begged. Do you have any idea how I longed to hear those words?
E: Did you take him back?
C: Now if I told you that, I’d give away the whole story. But you can find out in my book A Second Chance available from MuseItUp Publishing
J. So tell us about the love of your life, Elizabeth. What do you mean you lost him forty-two years ago?
E: Wow, where to start. I guess at the beginning. I met Danny Sullivan in 1955, my coming out year. We were spending the summer at our cottage like we always did. I was thinking about the fist ball and suddenly there he was. He was so dreamy. I fell instantly in love. Problem was my father didn’t approve of him.
C: Why not?
E: He didn’t come from the right stock. My father’s words not mine.
J: The right stock?
E: Yes, we were wealthy and my father was very old fashioned and strict. I swear he should have been born in the Victorian Era. Unfortunately Danny didn’t come from money.
C: So did Danny work at Lakeview?
E: No his mother passed away and his Godmother, Mrs. James – a very influential woman in Lakeview – took him under her wing and invited him to spend the summer.
J: So what happened?
E: Danny and I hit it off, much to my father’s chagrin and the other parents delight. No one bucks Mrs. James. So needless to say, although my father forbid me to see Danny in private – he’d never say anything in public and risk making a scene. So I ignored him. It bothered Danny how some of the older residents treated him. The kids were pretty cool. At least most of them.
C: Wow, you really went against your father.
E: Yeah, until Danny asked me to marry him.
C: What happened then?
E: If I tell you, I’ll spoil the book. You can read about it in May I Have this Dance available from MuseItUp Publishing. So that leaves you, Jordan. Surely, there’s a man in your life.
J. I guess you can say that. There I was minding my own business, preparing for an early winter snow storm. We get these Lake Effect snowstorms sometimes. Anyway, I noticed this heap of something out on the rocks. Looked like a body, so of course I had to investigate. Sure enough, it was a body. Thank God, alive, but unconscious. I had to literally roll him across the rocks and into my house. To make matters worse, when he came to he didn’t know who he was.
C. So what happened?
J. If I tell you that, I’ll spoil the book. You can read about it in Stranger on the Shore available from MuseItUp Publishing.
Excerpt from A Second Chance
Steven’s rough hand covered hers, igniting smoldering sparks, starting in the pit of her stomach. Christine groaned inwardly and pulled her hand away, trying to ignore him. Not normally a rude person, but something about him invited it. He annoyed her. His magnetism made her uncomfortable. She hadn’t reacted to a man like this since Tony, and that ended in disaster.
Instead, she focused her attention on Jenna and Richard. “I sure have missed you two.”
She looked at her grandchildren and avoided Steven’s eyes. Seeing the sign for baggage claim, she headed toward it. “Let’s go. I can’t wait to get home.”
“Can we stop for dinner?” Jenna hooked her arm through Christine’s. Her long blond hair bounced as she kept up the rapid pace Christine set, leaving all but Steven lagging behind.
Christine threw him a sullen look. He lifted an eyebrow and winked at her through long dark lashes. Great, she amused him. Who did he think he was, God’s gift to women? A bit arrogant…but so darn good looking. Stop it, she told herself. She was acting like a fool, why was she letting this man get to her?
“You’re hungry too, aren’t you, Uncle Steve?” Jenna’s voice broke Christine’s thoughts and drew Steven into the conversation as Jenna linked her other arm through his.
Something about her granddaughter’s tone aroused Christine’s suspicions. This sounded like a setup. Playing matchmaker again. Her family and friends had been trying to match her up since Tony divorced her two years ago.
Christine’s stomach growled, reminding her she hadn’t eaten since breakfast. “I suppose we can stop for dinner.” Besides, a restaurant held more appeal than the confines of Lisa’s kitchen with Uncle Steve nearby. If they didn’t stop for dinner, Lisa would expect to fix something.
At the restaurant, Steven held Christine’s chair out before sitting opposite her. Still too close for comfort at the small table. Curious about him, she glanced over the top of her menu. She caught his laughing eyes staring at her. He winked, and she pulled the menu up to hide the blush she knew crept into her cheeks. What drew her to this man?
“Uncle Steve just moved back from New Zealand,” Lisa explained. “Derek and I insisted he stay with us.”
Unsure how to reply, Christine just nodded. Now she knew something was fishy in
Denmark. Lisa had tried to set her up with Derek’s business associates and just about every widower, divorced, or single man she met.
“Uncle Steve’s a confirmed bachelor.” Richard announced loud enough that people from other tables looked at them and smiled.
“Oh...” Christine couldn’t resist this one. “How have you managed to remain single all these years?” So, they were matchmaking again. Well, Mr. Payton, you won’t be single much longer if Lisa has her way. Christine shuddered at the thought. And neither would she. Something told her she was treading on thin ice here. Too darn attractive for his own good, the type of man to break women’s hearts and walk away. Once was enough for her, thank you very much.
Excerpt from May I Have this Dance
Elizabeth watched a young man chase her granddaughter through the water, while enjoying the coolness of the shaded gazebo and relishing the gentle breeze. So much like that day so long ago. June 4th 1955, the day forever etched in her memory. Only the splash of the water and sound of gulls broke the silence. The scene brought back a memory so vivid—it could have been yesterday instead of forty-two years ago. Elizabeth pushed her silver-streaked hair from her face, leaned back, closed her eyes, and remembered that summer. A summer when she was young and carefree like her granddaughter.
* * * *
Swaying to imaginary music, Elizabeth held her sundress out to the side and imagined the long flowing gown she’d wear at the ball. Bowing and smiling at an invisible partner, she twirled around the pavilion. Her long dark hair fell forward, covering her face. Tossing it back, Elizabeth laughed aloud and batted her long lashes, pretending to flirt.
“May I have this dance?” A masculine voice startled her into awareness.
Heat burned her cheeks. Embarrassed, Elizabeth turned and ran.
“Hey, wait.” He ran after her, caught up, and grabbed her arm. “I’m sorry; I didn’t mean to startle you.”
Elizabeth stopped, the light pressure of his grip sent a tingling sensation through her, igniting sparks deep inside her. Gathering her composure, she remembered her manners. “Are you new to Lakeview?” Her gaze caught his blue-green eyes and locked.
“Just arrived.” A smile twitched on his lips, as if he wanted to laugh but thought better of it. “Never been to a resort before. I’m staying with my aunt, Melissa James, maybe you know her?”
“Oh, Mrs. James, of course, you’re the nephew. I’m Elizabeth Ashley.” She extended her hand. “Do you live in Ohio?”
“Cleveland, matter of fact. But I’ll be working in New York come fall. How about you?” He took her hand and raised it to his mouth, in an old-fashioned gesture. His gaze never left hers as his lips brushed slowly across the top of her hand. “I’m Danny Sullivan, by the way.” A mischievous gleam twinkled in his eyes.
“Uh…” Pulling her hand away, she tucked it behind her, trying to cool the heat that coursed from her hand through her body. “I have to go.” Elizabeth twisted her hands behind her back, her usual calm reserve shaken. No one had ever caused a reaction in her like this. Her head spun. Her stomach felt like a million butterflies fluttered in it, and her heart throbbed so loud she knew he could hear it.
“Can I see you later?” He matched her quick strides. “Where do you live? I’ll walk you home.”
Elizabeth stared up at him. Lord, he must be six feet tall. She only came to his chest. “No, I mean, uh, I’ll see you around.” She raced off, leaving him to stare after her.
A few minutes later, Elizabeth danced into her room, dreamy eyed. Usually she hated the white, ruffled curtains at the window and the pink bedspread, but not today. Today, it didn’t even bother her that her sister picked everything out for the room. Talk about luck. She had to be one of the first to meet Mrs. James’s nephew. Danny Sullivan. Mrs. Danny Sullivan. Loving the sound of it, silly as it was, she couldn’t help herself. She was in love. Bouncing onto the bed, where her sister laid reading, Elizabeth pulled her knees up to her chest, circled her arms around them and rocked. Sighing loudly, she inhaled the scent of Lily of the Valley perfume, lingering from the morning.
“Do you have to jump on the bed like that?” Susan slammed her book closed. “If you want to talk to me, why can’t you be like normal people and say so, without trying to get my attention first?”
“Oh, Suse,” Elizabeth ignored her sister’s irritation. “I met the most handsome man. He’s tall with hair the color of an old rusty pail and eyes the shade of sea foam.” Elizabeth stood up and danced around the sun-filled room. “I think I’m in love.”
“You’re always in love. Who is he this time?” Susan set her book aside. “I thought we knew everyone here.”
“His name is Danny Sullivan, Mrs. James’s nephew. Remember, she mentioned him the other night? He’s older and he kissed my hand and called me Beth.” Elizabeth paused for a breath. “No one has ever called me that.” Elizabeth hugged herself and continued to dance. “I can’t wait to see him again. I hope he’s at the ball tomorrow. Maybe he’ll dance with me.”
“Will you be still already and quit babbling.” Susan sat up, her slender body in perfect posture. The two sisters were as different as night and day. Susan, tall, blond, serious, like their father, while Elizabeth, impulsive, petite, and dark haired, favored their deceased mother.
“Father isn’t going to like this, Liz. You know how he feels about outsiders.”
“Oh quit being such a square! Wait till you see him, Susie. He’s so dreamy.” Elizabeth closed her eyes. Why couldn’t her sister be on her side, just once? “Besides, Father doesn’t like anyone, you know how he is.”
Excerpt from Stranger on the Shore
“Darn, it’s getting cold.” Jordan shivered and zipped her sweat shirt. She hated storms, hated thunder and lightning most of all. Grabbing at some papers that flew across the deck as the wind picked up, a movement caught the corner of her eye. Something washed up on the shore. Something big. A body?
Jordan jumped off the deck and raced toward the craggy shoreline. Dark clouds hovered across the lake. Cold water splashed against her as waves crashed against the rocks like angry arms hurling water at an invisible enemy. The crash of thunder echoed across the lake. Ducking her head as lightening streaked across the sky and the air crackled with electricity, she thought she must be nuts. Probably just a bunch of old clothes washed up. Still, she had to see for herself.
Surely, no one in their right mind would be in the water this time of year? There had been storm warnings on the radio all morning. No one would be stupid enough to ignore the forecast. Would they? Heavy rain and strong winds then turning to snow, with a drastic drop in temperature, and blizzard-like conditions weren’t anything to ignore. Jordan winced as lightning flashed again, back-lighting the dark clouds. Darn it, she wanted to be inside cuddling by the fire not out here in a storm. For two cents, she’d turn around and go back. But something drew her forward.
A man’s body against the rocks.
Oh, Lord, please don’t let him be dead. She had planned for a quiet weekend, writing. A weekend with a corpse wasn’t on her list of quiet. But she couldn’t leave him out here either.
Jordan came closer and stooped down next to him. Lifting his head out of the water, above the crashing waves, she felt for a pulse. Thank God, he’s alive. Now how to get him out of here? She grabbed his arm, rolled him over and tried to pull him from the fury of the lake. Wave after wave pounced on him, their foamy peaks trying to reclaim him. Lord, if she ever needed help, now was the time. Struggling to roll him to higher ground, she lost her breath. His long, muscular frame outweighed her slender five foot two body and felt like dead weight.
“You’re going to have to help me.” Jordan grunted and gasped for breath when the full force of icy waves pulled her down and washed over both of them.
“Damn it. I can’t do this alone.”
Still no response.
Great, how was she going to pull him to safety? “I hate to do this, but I see no alternative.” Jordan took a deep breath and pushed him over, rolling him like a barrel and trying to avoid cutting him on the sharp rocks. It wasn’t easy, but at least he moved.
“Come on!” Jordan tried to encourage some life from his limp body. Once he was far enough away from the waves, she stared at him for a moment, before leaning down to give him mouth to mouth. His long straight nose, eyes set wide with bushy eyebrows and the grin on his lips, even in his unconscious state, sent a ripple of excitement through her body.
Not a handsome man, but something about him caused heat deep inside her. Shrugging off the urge to run her fingers through his curly black hair, she began mouth to mouth. When her mouth touched his lips, opened them slightly, something familiar tugged on her heart. She hadn’t touched a man's lips in, what, three years. This wasn’t exactly the way she imagined touching them again. Not that she ever imagined it. Never even thought about it. She’d had enough of men to last her a lifetime.