Elementary school teacher and part-time librarian Sarah Mayhew has the perfect plan: show off her cycling skills at her school’s bike retreat and attract her oblivious coworker in the process. Her end game? Fall in love. Only one problem: she needs to find someone to teach her how to ride a bike pronto. But when she catches sight of Chris Dean’s gorgeous physique, her best laid plans are about to go off track . . .
Chris is not looking for a girlfriend. He’s getting over his last one by focusing on his bike repair business. So when a feisty, sexy schoolteacher urges him to help improve her cycling skills, he does it strictly for the money. He vows he won’t repeat history, even for a blond bombshell like Sarah. But when the two find themselves alone on the road, they can’t help taking a detour straight into each other’s arms . . .
I adore many things about the heroine of my fourth Lovestruck Librarians book, Ready to Fall. I love that Sarah’s loud and dramatic. I love that she’s outspoken and hilarious. I love that she’s loyal and generous.
But I’ll be honest. What I may love most of all? The fact that she regularly delivers screeds against Mother Nature, whom Sarah seems to consider a real, personal enemy of hers. A nemesis, even.
“I think Mother Nature is a malicious, merciless [w]itch who purposefully inconveniences and injures me,” Sarah explains toward the beginning of the book. And she doesn’t change her mind during the course of the story, either.
She’s not a big fan of heat:
“It’s hot enough out there to cook us like rotisserie chickens.” Sarah tapped a finger on the flyer. “I’ll be surprised if more than a dozen teachers survive the day. But at least our meat will be juicy and flavorful.”
And she definitely doesn’t enjoy perspiration:
She wrinkled her nose even harder. “Sweating? Do I have to? My body loses vital nutrients that way, you know. Like . . . I don’t know. Electrolytes?”
You probably won’t be surprised to hear that she’s not a big fan of exercise either. Which will make my hero’s job especially hard as he attempts to teach her how to ride her bike in the heat of a July summer.
Sarah is not entirely unlike me. Although I don’t take my ambivalence toward the outdoors to quite her extreme, you will never find me pitching a tent out in the woods. For me, staying a cheap motel is close enough.
I want a mattress. I want indoor plumbing. I want climate control. I want reassurance that bugs can’t crawl into my thin, inadequate sleeping bag and do terrible things to me.
Believe it or not, I was actually a Girl Scout for a few years. I did go camping once. ONCE. For the most part, though, my troop was more about the girliness than the actual scouting. We held a fashion show. We had a beauty expert come by and tell us our “season” and most flattering colors (I’m a winter, in case you ever want to buy me accessories). When we gathered trash at a park, we wore gloves and were issued long pincers to pick up the debris and deposit it into garbage bags. We never actually had to touch the trash, heaven forbid.
You’ll be happy to hear that we did sell a hell of a lot of cookies. Sadly, however, our troop broke up after a few years. Almost as if, I don’t know, we weren’t really committed to the organization’s mission?
Anyway, let’s just say that I can relate to my heroine’s love for the indoors. But even if you’re a committed camper, I think you’ll enjoy reading Sarah’s story. She’s a hoot, whether she has her full complement of electrolytes or not.
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While I was growing up, my mother kept a stack of books hidden in her closet. She told me I couldn’t read them. So, naturally, whenever she left me alone for any length of time, I took them out and flipped through them. Those books raised quite a few questions in my prepubescent brain. Namely: 1) Why were there so many pirates? 2) Where did all the throbbing come from? 3) What was a “manhood”? 4) And why did the hero and heroine seem overcome by images of waves and fireworks every few pages, especially after an episode of mysterious throbbing in the hero’s manhood?
Thirty or so years later, I have a few answers. 1) Because my mom apparently fancied pirates at that time. Now she hoards romances involving cowboys and babies. If a book cover features a shirtless man in a Stetson cradling an infant, her ovaries basically explode and her credit card emerges. I have a similar reaction to romances involving spinsters, governesses, and librarians. 2) His manhood. Also, her womanhood. 3) It’s his “hard length,” sometimes compared in terms of rigidity to iron. I prefer to use other names for it in my own writing. However, I am not picky when it comes to descriptions of iron-hard lengths. At least in romances. 4) Because explaining how an orgasm feels can prove difficult. Or maybe the couples all had sex on New Year’s Eve at Cancun.
During those thirty years, I accomplished a few things. I graduated from Wake Forest University and earned my M.A. in American History from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. I worked at a variety of jobs that required me to bury my bawdiness and potty mouth under a demure exterior: costumed interpreter at Colonial Williamsburg, high school teacher, and librarian. But I always, always read romances. Funny, filthy, sweet–it didn’t matter. I loved them all.
Now I’m writing my own romances with the encouragement of my husband and daughter. I found a kick-ass agent: Jessica Alvarez from Bookends, LLC. I have my own stack of books in my closet that I’d rather my daughter not read, at least not for a few years. I can swear whenever I want, except around said daughter. And I get to spend all day writing about love and iron-hard lengths.
So thank you, Mom, for perving so hard on pirates during my childhood. I owe you.