Ciao, amici! This is going to be a busy week. I had some things planned to tell you, but someone interrupted me when I sat down to blog. Thought you might be interested in that conversation. What follows is my best recollection of our chat.
I stretched, cracked my knuckles. Opened a WordPress window to compose a new post. Caught movement out of the corner of my eye.
Looked up at the door to the den. Shouldn’t have. But curiosity got the best of me before common sense set in.
There he stood. My muse. In all his magnificent glory.
“When did you get back?” I cringed. Every time I get flustered, I do something stupid. Like ask a painfully obvious question. The guy had literally just popped into the house. I’m quite certain I would have noticed if he’d been around for the last six months.
One dark eyebrow arched as his lips quirked. “Do you really want me to answer that?”
I bit back a sigh. “No. I suppose not. But I would like to know where you’ve been.”
“You’re not my only author.” He sauntered into the room, sat beside me on the sofa. Heat radiated off his sun-burnished body, a warm caress that smelled of sea air and sandalwood.
“And these other writers you… inspire. Were they in the tropics? You’re looking awfully tan for us coming out of a rainy spring.” I was rather proud of myself for not withering in his presence.
That pleasure was short-lived.
“Cara, according to my calendar, you have a book release tomorrow. How much marketing do you have planned?”
My stomach flopped.
“And you’ve got no fewer than four manuscripts releasing in October, yet last week you had two days where you didn’t meet your word count goals.”
“True, but I was editing. And there was research.” My tone was pathetically small. I recognized the excuses for what they were. Surely I wouldn’t fool him.
“Not to mention the series you’re supposed to be releasing under your own name instead of the pen name.”
“Now, wait a minute. I have the cookie as well as the first book done. And I have a few chapters of the second complete.”
“The cookie and the first book were already done. You merely did another revision of them. And you haven’t touched the second book in weeks.”
“Well, I’ve been busy.” Even I rolled my eyes. My voice already has a nasally-Pittsburgh sound. Whining made it downright unbearable to listen to.
He shifted in his seat to better face me, muscles rippling with each subtle movement. The cushion dipped, and I wasn’t prepared. I lost my balance and all but fell into his lap.
Large, warm hands gripped my shoulders, steadying me while sending an electric jolt through my body. Honestly, I would rather have fallen on my face. Praying I wasn’t drooling, I looked up, met his gaze. His deep, brown eyes burned with intensity—a mix of self-satisfied humor and righteous irritation. Both of which were because of me.
“Cara, I can’t be here 24/7.”
“You haven’t been here in more than half a year! I think I’m doing pretty well, all things considered.”
“Tell me again how many marketing posts you have lined up.”
I scowled at him. “I have a release post going live tomorrow.”
“Good for you. That’s sure to get you on the NYTBS list. Where are you on your WIP?”
“I’m more than half way done, thank you very much.”
“But I keep adding scenes.”
“It’s not funny.” I got up and walked across the room. I was better at defending myself when he wasn’t so close. My mind got all muzzy when he was near. Stupid muse magic. And I could still feel the hum of energy surging through my blood.
“Something you want to do, cara?”
I could think of a lot of somethings, all too salacious to mention. Almost all. One desire—the overriding desire—was worth pursuing. “I want to write.”
“I’m sorry, what’d you say?” He put his hand to his ear and turned his head. “I didn’t hear you all the way over here.”
“You heard me.”
And just like that, his cocky grin was back.
“You know, you were more useful when I was writing romance.”
“You have a romantic suspense series just waiting for some attention.” He flipped up the leg rest of the recliner, leaned back. Cradled his head, biceps bunching.
I walked back to the other end of the couch, giving him as wide a berth as possible. Sitting with my laptop, I closed WordPress and opened Scrivener. “Would you mind relaxing somewhere else? I have work to do.”
“I’d take a swim, but you haven’t opened the pool yet.”
God help me, I didn’t need a wet muse on my hands.
“I suppose I could burn off some nervous energy by exercising.” He stripped off his shirt, dropped to the floor, started doing pushups.
I made a mental note to call our pool guy. Shirtless muse outside was preferable to shirtless muse inside. At least, as far as my productivity went.
When he got to one hundred—and showed no signs of slowing—I moved my computer so the screen would block my view. Then I started to write.
I don’t know. I think I might be the only person whose muse is as much a distraction as he is an inspiration. Obvious issues aside, I’m glad he’s back. My deadlines are starting to concern me, and I could use the motivation.
If you are one of the people who generously offered to help me promote The Gate, I’d like to thank you. As you just read, I seriously dropped the ball on this one, so I’ve decided to spread out my marketing efforts over the next month (or four) instead of rushing to get them all done within the next ten days. For those of you still interested in helping an overwhelmed writer weeks after her release, just leave me a comment and we’ll work something out. And if you’re as disgusted by my calendar management as my muse is, don’t worry about it. We’re still friends. 💕