Genre: New Adult Romance
Date of Publication: 10/5/16
Number of pages: 360
Word Count: 86K
**Standalone novel, NO cliffhanger. Contains explicit/steamy content intended for mature readers.**
I couldn't believe my luck, seeing Cady Killoren at the bar and finding out she no longer had a boyfriend. Then ending up at her place later that night... She had her guard up, but there was no denying what was happening between us. I wasn't sure how to play this, I hadn't exactly been honest with her. I only knew I wanted more of her...and then things got complicated.
It was one impulsive night--totally unlike me! I can't even blame it on the drinks. That night with Mick was pure chemistry. I never would've guessed that the next time we met it would be in a crowded restaurant, being introduced by my dad! And I would find out that everything I thought I knew about Mick was a lie. There are a lot of reasons why I need to resist Mick Croft... Easier said than done.
“So where does that leave us?”
“Wh—us?” she repeated stupidly.
“You and me,” he said softly and inched even closer—which only reminded her how good he smelled.
“N-nowhere,” she managed to eke out. Remember your resolve, she told herself. Distance, not flirtation.
“C'mon, Cady,” Mick murmured, “that's it?” For a moment, she just looked up at him. “Don’t we deserve another night?” The husky strum of Mick’s voice nearly sent shivers through her. “We could even make it ‘no strings’ since that’s what you’re into?” he suggested playfully.
Please, that was so not what she was into; in fact, she’d tried it just once—with Mick—and look at her. Still wanting him, still thinking about him.
“No,” she said finally.
“No to no strings?” he questioned.
Inhaling sharply, Cady replied, “No to all of it.” Though his face was inscrutable, she sensed that Mick was as unconvinced as she felt, so she doubled-down. “We can't hook up again.”
“Why not?” he asked simply, still not moving away. “We barely got started the first time.” Her eyes widened for a second. Barely got started? God...
She fought a sudden carnal reaction that sent her pulse leaping and made her cheeks flush. For an insane, overheated second, she imagined what else they could have done that night—
Abruptly, she caught herself. What am I doing??
Was she that weak? That hot for this guy? Where was her resolve?
To regain a sense of control, Cady straightened her posture (always a pretty good precursor to prissiness). “Mick, we’re forgetting that night, remember?”
He slanted her a look. “We are? When did I agree to that?”
“You have no choice,” Cady replied crisply. “I’m still annoyed with you.”
With a roll of his eyes at that, Mick said, “Jesus, how long are you going to be mad about a couple of white lies?”
Obviously he was determined to brush off his insincerity at Donovan Shay's. Their very first meeting had started with a pointless lie and apparently Mick didn't see a problem with that. “A lie is a lie—no matter how you color-code it.” Before he could say or do something to change her mind, Cady pressed on, “Besides, can you really blame me for being turned off? Considering that you...”
“...got me into bed under false pretenses,” she managed.
Then Mick had the nerve to laugh. “Got you into bed? C'mon, you must be kidding. Cady—we barely did anything!” His voice was gruff as he leaned his face a fraction closer to hers, adding, “And if you want to be accurate here, it was more like you got me into bed.” When she didn't immediately protest, Mick continued, almost glibly, “What could I do? You were pressing up close to me with those big blue eyes…that mouth…waiting for me to kiss you, practically challenging me to kiss you…”
“I was not,” Cady protested weakly, her voice soft and almost cracking.
Somehow their faces had drawn closer, and Mick's mouth was only a few inches from hers. She could almost feel his breath on her lips. “You were,” he murmured thickly, his deep voice making her burn. She felt heat spreading through her body, as perspiration broke on the back of her neck. It suddenly felt like it was 110 degrees in that kitchen. She was way too close to kissing him all over again.
And she panicked. “Oh, my God, you're doing it again right now!” Cady whispered, hoping no onlookers had noticed how much Mick was affecting her. A little flustered, she took an abrupt step back--then one more, just to break the spell.
Straightening up, Mick sighed. “All right, forget it. Like I said earlier: let's not argue. Obviously you just want to stay mad at me.”
“And obviously you're impossible to reason with.”
“And you're frustrating as hell.”
“I’ll come back.”
They both looked and saw Torie. “No, stay,” Cady insisted, feeling like she needed her friend there before she made an even bigger fool of herself. Obviously Cady didn't have to be a Psych major to realize that most of her fury with Mick at the moment was driven by suppressed desire. Sure, if life were simple, things might be different and Cady could do what she truly wanted—which was basically a repeat of everything they'd done last weekend, and then a bunch of other stuff that, according to Mick, they'd left out.
“Yeah, stay,” Mick agreed. “I was just going.”
Torie acknowledged Mick with a quick, friendly smile. “Hey—I remember you.”
Mick nodded. “Donovan Shay's, right?”
“Yep. So, how's the private security business?” she asked sarcastically.
At least Mick had the good shame to cast his eyes downward for a moment, as if to say he had no defense. Finally, a shred of humility!
Smiling sweetly, Torie added, “By the way, tell your friend, Quinn, that he's full of shit.”
With an effacing half-grin, Mick replied, “Believe me, he knows that.”
Turning her attention back to Cady, Torie said, “Well, I didn't mean to interrupt, but I was only coming over to warn you.”
Reflexively, Cady's forehead pinched with concern. “Warn me about what?”
“About the freakishly small world we live in,” Torie said, forcing a smile—which only worried Cady more. “Um, okay...Wes is here.”
About the Author:
C.J. Lake is a storyteller who is passionate about art, surfing, and skiing/snowboarding. She is the author of Constructing Us, A Hot Winter, Sky High, and Impulse. Residing near the coast of Massachusetts, C.J. is currently working on a new book.
Readers can get in touch via email firstname.lastname@example.org
Do you plan everything or just let the story flow?
Well, I outline everything first, but the outline changes many times as I go. I have to have a plan, though. I envy writers who can just sit and write with no conscious idea of where they are going, but it's just not me. Every time I've tried that (and believe me I have tried it many times!), I end up staring at a blinking cursor, adjusting my margins, getting coffee refills and daydreaming...
Do your characters ever want to take over the story?
I always think I know my characters at the beginning, but they usually change somewhat as the story evolves. Although I begin a book with a pretty detailed outline, often planned scenes get scrapped or reworked as I go, simply because I know the characters better and can recognize, “Oh, wait, they wouldn’t say that,” or, “Why would s/he do that?” A lot of times things sound plausible and solid when you’re outlining, but then don’t hold up to scrutiny when you’re actually putting a “real person” (i.e. the character you know & love) into the situation.
What is your favourite food?
Funny question! Not usually asked that, ha. Favorite meal is spaghetti—but favorite pantry item that I can not imagine life without is COFFEE. In all its forms. I'm obsessed.
Are you a morning person or a night owl?
Definitely morning person. Actually the best time for me to write is super-early when the house is still dark. I love this time because it’s so quiet and it's just me, my coffee and my laptop; I can usually focus. Often I’m a night owl in the sense that I can’t sleep, but my brain is too tired to be creative at that point (or at least that’s my excuse).
Where do you dream of travelling to and why?
Swiss Alps, because I’m obsessed with snow :)
Do distant places feature in your books?
Indirectly, yes. In Constructing Us, Andy’s dad lives in Zurich…also, while the story takes place in Boston, the city of London has a small role. In my new book, Impulse, Cady’s mom, who is an archaeologist, Skypes from Greece—and Mick is planning for a year in Italy.
Do you listen to music while writing?
Music absolutely plays a role in my head-space when I’m creating a story. I don’t typically listen to music while writing, but instead have a play-list of songs that I listen to when I’m not writing. This playlist is made up of songs that most remind me of my characters and their world—so in effect, they keep me in the story even when I’m not at my computer. So, I might be on the treadmill or in my car, but the music I'm listening to keeps the book in the forefront of my mind. (Here's a good example: whenever I listen to the Charlie Puth/Meghan Trainor song “Marvin Gaye” I think of the scene in which Cady and Mick dance...)
Could you tell us a bit about your latest release?
Yes—I'm very excited that my fourth book is finally out! My last novel, Sky High, was released in May 2015, so Impulse has been in the works for a while. Like my Attraction Series, Impulse was amazingly fun to write! Cady and Mick had a great vibe. There is a sarcastic kind of banter that just flows between them—and, of course, is a cover for their intense attraction to each other.
They meet one night under unusual circumstances—and share some incredible chemistry—but think they won't see each other again. The unthinkable happens when they are later “introduced” to each other by their parents—who, it turns out, are dating...
Besides the passionate love story that unfolds between Cady and Mick, there is also some amusing stuff with their (pretty clueless) parents, and their friends. This was such a fun, upbeat book; I loved working on it, especially with its fall/winter holiday setting, which is my absolute favorite.
I think my favorite thing about Impulse is Cady's journey from a total cynic in the beginning of the book, to a genuinely optimistic romantic by the end. I hope readers love this one!
What have you learned about writing and publishing since you first started?
Just how difficult it can be to see projects from beginning to end, to work through the hard parts or as my dad says “work through the pain.” I think sometimes people forget that publishing is merely a subset of the Entertainment Industry. Which, no one would argue, is a very tough business to succeed in—and to stay successful in, because consumer interests are always changing. If someone said to you, “I think I'll go become a big success in the Entertainment Industry,” you would hopefully wish him/her well, but also realize that's a very big proposition—one that will take some combination of talent & luck, but also a TON of determination and force of will.
Is there anything you would do differently?
So much stuff! Should have started sooner, should have tried to network, should have researched the industry, should have...well, the list goes on, ha. But ultimately, I feel lucky and happy about the stuff I did do right, and for me, that’s all about the story. Any time I get positive feedback from readers, I’m overjoyed, because it means I found a way to get the story and the characters right
Who, or what, if anything has influenced your writing?
Honestly, I set out to write the kind of book I want to read. I’ve always loved a hot, steamy love story -- but I also want certain other things, like monogamy and plausibility. Ideally, characters that sound like real people, and not like stock characters (ugh, when every line of a character’s dialogue and every description of what s/he is doing, wearing, etc. reinforces a one-note characterization. Drives me crazy!). I have never minded the predictability of romance in the sense of HEA -- in fact, I love that! But I do get frustrated as a reader when every plot point is telegraphed and there are literally zero surprises. As a hopeless romantic, yes, I want to know the couple I’m rooting for *will* end up together. But I don’t want to see exactly where the storyline is going and be able to predict easily exactly how they’ll end up at the HEA. So, I guess what I’m saying is that I tend to think like a reader, more than a writer when I’m crafting a story.
Anything you would say to those just starting out in the craft?
In terms of the writing itself: just go for it.
In term of the publishing world: If you have the patience for it, do tons of research and learn marketing. If no patience for that, then just dive in and learn as you go.
What are three words that describe you?
Hmm…I’d say sarcastic, emotional, compassionate.
What's your favourite book or who is your favourite writer?
Favorite writer is tough, because every writer I like has hits and misses for me. Favorite book of all time is The Great Gatsby. Amazingly sharp insights into people and the artificiality of relationships; the narrator becomes more cynical as the story goes on, just as the reader does. And IMO, the best, most heartbreaking last line of a book ever...
Blurb of your latest release or coming soon book
Here is a short blurb:
Cady never thought she'd see Mick again...then the unthinkable happened! Now, with their parents dating, how could they keep their distance? A hot+romantic holiday romance ~ first in a new series!
List of previous books if any
Constructing Us, A Hot Winter, Sky High (this is my “Attraction Series” – all standalone novels, NO cliffhangers, but there are some overlapping characters). Like Impulse, these books are fast-paced, hot, and there's a lot of humor.
Any websites/places readers can find you on the web?
Not right now. I know it's a betrayal to my generation, but I'm kind of staying off social media these days, though I hope to offer a mailing list soon to provide readers with updates and bonus material. In the meantime, you can reach me by email: writercjlake[at]gmail[dot]com.