More Than One Night
Heroes of the Night book #1
The Few. The Strong. The Brave.
Melodie Alexander, a children’s librarian, prefers to live life between the pages of a book. But when the death of her best friend prompts her to step out of her comfort zone, she finds herself directly in the path of self-proclaimed bad boy, Daniel Bresland.
Daniel knew how to be a solider. Life after war? Not as easy. He served his country in Afghanistan, both in the military and as a private contractor, but fighting the war came at high personal cost. Now he’s determined to keep his relationships “casual” in order to protect his heart and prevent anyone from getting too close.
A chance encounter between Melodie and Daniel on a flight to Dallas proves that opposites really do attract. But when scars from the past threaten their new relationship almost before it starts, Daniel must decide if he can risk opening his heart again to convince Melodie he wants more than one night.
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If you love men in uniform and believe the night belongs to lovers, then The Heroes of the Night series is perfect for you! Stories of military heroes, sexy and flawed, and the women they love.
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I’m so excited to be here today and to share with you a little about myself. I have been reading for as long as I remember. My mother used to laugh and say I was reading the newspaper before kindergarten (Moms have been known to exaggerate from time to time!) Thankfully, I moved on to more entertaining and uplifting sources for my reading. I remember with much fondness reading Encyclopedia Brown, Nancy Drew, Hardy Boys mysteries and Black Beauty as a young child. As I grew older, the authors I favored grew as well. One of my favorites these days is the amazing Sara Paretsky. Her V.I. Warshawski novels transport me into her world and captivate me from page 1.
I think what I love most about Ms. Paretsky’s writing is her strong heroine. V.I. isn’t perfect, but she makes you want to laugh with her, cry with her, and hold your breath when she gets herself in hot water (which is frequently!) This heavily influences my style of writing. Part of my tag line refers to “Romancing Real World Heroines…” I want readers to be able to identify with the real-world heroine in the book while still offering that beautiful fictional/fantasy escape that reading gives us. Lots of love, laughter and, I confess, a little sarcasm from time to time. (I have no idea where my characters get THAT trait from. J) The heroine in my first romance novel is a children’s librarian. She faces challenges that many of us face on a daily basis from family challenges, insecurities and, of course, searching for her happily ever after.
One of the resounding themes I’ve learned hanging out with other authors is that each person has to find their own process for telling your story. I’ve learned, over the past few years, I’m a plotter/pantser combination. Sounds funny, doesn’t it? I confess to grinning every time I type or say it out loud. Every time I start a new book, I have to at least do a rough outline to get an idea of where the story is headed—plotting. However, about nine times out of ten as I’m typing along in a scene, my fingers become possessed by the characters (nope, I’m not an author of paranormal or fantasy in case you were wondering J) and they take on a mind of their own. When I finish a scene like that, I’ll sit back and just shake my head and think, “Well, I guess they didn’t particularly care what I had planned for them!”
Thankfully, the characters most often know best and I’ve learned to not get stressed when they deviate from my carefully laid plan and we fly by “the seat of our pants” –hence the “pantser “ side of my creative process. While I can’t listen to music while I’m writing, I often think of a song before I sit down to write. For example, for Book 2 in the Heroes of the Night series, I listen to John Legend’s “All of Me” to get me in the mood and right frame of mind for this story. I’ll put the song on repeat until I’m absorbed into the music and the emotion, then I turn it off and let the fingers get to work!
Becoming a published author has been a goal of mine for several years, a dream come true. What I’ve enjoyed most about this journey and being an author is the amazing people I’ve met along the way. Authors are some of the most generous, helpful and awesome people you will ever meet. They have mentored and encouraged me and cheered me on, even in the face of rejection (yeah, all authors contend with that at one time or another). Besides my fellow authors, my agent, publisher and editor are all wonderful people who help me understand the “business” side of this creative endeavor. Last, but most certainly not least, are the wonderful readers I’ve met over the years. Your excitement and encouragement fill this writer’s heart and soul with love and help me realize that the task of taking a blank page and creating a story that touches other people on an emotional level is the best “job” I could ever have.
Thank you for hanging out with me today. I hope you enjoy Melodie and Daniel’s story, “More Than One Night.”
Daniel paced the length of the telephone cord in his room as he waited for her to answer the phone. After several, heart-stopping rings, he heard the warm, soothing tones of her voice. “Hello.”
“Hey, Melodie, it’s Daniel.”
“What? How did you find me?”
I’ve got skills. Not wanting her to think he was a stalker, he chuckled. “I wish I could take credit for being a super sleuth, but you introduced yourself to me on the plane, which provided your first and last name. When you ran away last night, it wasn’t hard to figure out where you were staying. I also know you didn’t get a rental car at the airport, which narrowed the options to the hotel on the same property as the bar as your home away from home.”
There was a significant pause. “Sounds like stalking to me, and I didn’t run away. What do you want?”
No, you stumbled, desperate to get away from me. “To prove I’m not a total jerk—”
“Not a total jerk. More like Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. One I really like and want to get to know more, the other…”
“The other is a jerk.” No sense denying the truth.
Her smile almost came through the phone. “I was going to say arrogant jerk, but we’ll leave it at jerk.”
Go time. Damn, this woman intrigued him as no one else had. “Let me prove I’m more Jekyll than Hyde. Have dinner with me tonight.”
Another pause. This woman could be responsible for giving him a heart attack at a young age.
“You have one more chance to prove it to me. If Mr. Hyde so much as shows his face tonight, our date with history will never happen.”
“You won’t be sorry, Melodie. I’ll pick you up at five.”
He cut the connection, not wanting to give the arrogant jerk part of his personality a chance to say something that would make her change her mind. He rubbed the back of his neck in an effort to ease the tension. Her parting words last night rang in his ears. He hoped he found what he was looking for soon too. He wasn’t sure how much more his wounded heart could withstand, and all of the Band-Aids he’d been using to mask the pain were no longer working.
Daniel spotted her before she saw him. God, she was beautiful. Black pants and a dark green sweater. Though not a romantic, he’d heard enough woman-talk to know the color would make her eyes sparkle like jewels in the moonlight.
Maybe a little romantic. Must be the librarian. “Hey, Beautiful.”
Her face lit up even as she shook her head, a subtle denial again of his compliment. Regardless, her smile sent a lightning bolt straight to his groin. He wanted this woman—badly.
Wanting to show he was capable of being a gentleman, he extended his arm to escort her away from the sprawling complex comprising the grounds of her hotel. “Milady,” he smiled.
“Are you playing the role of my knight in shining armor tonight?” She laughed as she slipped her hand in the crook of his arm.
“I can make tonight a fairy tale for you, if that’s what you want. Although, I may not be as smooth and gallant as the heroes in your books, but I’ll do my damnedest to show you a good time.”
A look of—was it guilt?—crossed her face. “There’s a reason they call it fiction. Life never works out as perfectly as it does in the books.”
He opened the door of the Mustang convertible for her and tried not to focus on her long legs or the strappy black sandals showing off sexy, red toenails. “Is that why you read them?”
Quickly closing the door, he strutted around the front of the car. Might as well give her a look at one of my best assets. Sliding in beside her, he brought the engine to life. Something about powerful engines appealed to him. Fast. Dangerous. Loud. Similar to the way he’d lived his life—until recently. He missed his motorcycle back home. Images of Melodie in black leather, straddling his cherry red Ducati, did absolutely nothing to ease the fire burning behind the zipper of his Levis.
Her softly spoken words dragged him reluctantly out of the fantasy and back to reality. “You suppose what?”
Dark eyebrows creased on her face, adding to the charm of her confusion. “You asked me if I read books because they worked out better than real life. I was answering.”
He shifted the car smoothly into gear. “Real life definitely bites sometimes, doesn’t it?”
“Definitely.” The innocent statement prompted the faraway look on her face again.
Damn, he needed to understand what was going on inside that beautiful head of hers. He didn’t want to screw things up before they even started. And, God help him, for once—he didn’t want to screw things up. Time to unleash the full gentleman on her.
“All right. Try this compliment on for size. I’ve never met someone, librarian or otherwise, with eyes as beautiful as yours. They would give emeralds a run for their money in a contest for stunning.”
As he hoped, the subject of his compliment, those dazzling eyes, focused on him and, thank God above, they were at a stoplight, so he could return the intensity of her gaze. She offered a slight nod. “Your compliment would give any romance book hero a run for his money.”
“Score one for Doctor Jekyll.”
Her laughter filled the air, and he couldn’t help but smile too. He sent an urgent message to his lower half. The agenda for tonight was different. No bag ’em and tag ’em on this outing. No, the objective for tonight consisted of more laughter and smiles from the beautiful woman sitting next to him. While the head below his belt absorbed the mandate, the one resting above his shoulders realized he wanted more than one night with this woman…definitely more.
“Jekyll–one. Hyde–zero. So far so good. Five minutes down, hours to go.” Melodie teased.
Hours to go…Daniel liked the sound of a long night ahead of him. “So, for my next impressive move, I’ve selected Mi Casa as our dinner choice. You like Mexican food, right?”
“Does Taco Bell count?”
He grinned but cut her a quick look. “We’re talking authentic Mexican here. If you’re still craving one of those Dorito tacos after dinner, I’ll run thru the drive-thru on the way back to your hotel.”
“I’m willing to try.” She looked out the window, squinting into the bright sun. “Seems a shame to have a convertible in this unrelenting heat. You wouldn’t get to put the top down very often, I bet.”
His overactive imagination promptly offered up images of Melodie’s hair blowing freely in the wind, her expression smiling and uninhibited. He stopped the fantasy short of imagining her spread out on the hood, crying out his name in pleasure. Yeah, he might as well invite Mr. Hyde in for dinner if those illicit thoughts were allowed free rein. “If we take our time at dinner, the sun will set, and the temperature will drop to a bearable level. Then we can put the top down on the way home if you want.”
A beautiful mix of happiness, excitement and shyness filled out her complexion. “I’d like that. Thank you.”
Score two for Dr. Jekyll…at least one and a half.
A few minutes later, Daniel turned in to the parking lot. A brown building with the name of the restaurant in bold red letters sat prominently in the middle of the lot.
Melodie surveyed the exterior, unique décor of the restaurant. Chalk drawings of different scenes, including guitar players with sombreros, children playing soccer in the streets with brightly colored shirts, and the bold red, white, and green of the Mexican flag. Each drawing offering a colorful panorama of a slice of life in Mexico. “How extraordinary.”
Daniel opened her door and extended his hand to help her up. Either accidently or on purpose, he pulled a little too hard, causing her to fall onto him again, reminiscent of their encounter on the airplane. This time, though, his arm circled her waist and steadied her soft frame against his. “I’d say we should stop meeting like this, but I kinda like it.”
“You don’t hear me complaining, do you?” Her softness pressed into his body, searing everywhere they touched with a heat stronger than the Texas sun at noon. This woman had no idea the affect she had on red-blooded males.
This red-blooded male in particular.
“Me neither, but we should probably get inside before they give away our reservations and,” he let his hand slip a little lower until the small of her back rested under his palm, “before you tempt Mr. Hyde out of the dark corner I’ve relegated him to as punishment for misbehaving yesterday.”
She stepped away, giving them both some space. “Good idea.” She kissed him gently on the cheek. Leaving her hand in his, she pulled him toward the door.
He followed, like a lamb to the slaughter, knowing without a doubt his life would never be the same after spending time with this enchanting woman.
Nicole is a debut author with her contemporary romance series, Heroes of the Night. She has been an avid reader and lover of books from a very young age. Starting with Encyclopedia Brown, Nancy Drew, and The V.I. Warshawski novels, her love for mysteries grew and expanded to include romance and suspense. A Midwest girl, born and raised, her stories capture the love and laughter in her real world heroes and heroines.
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