This morning please help me welcome Guest Blogger Christie Craig , who also writes YA as C.C. Hunter.
Christie has joined us in the past and is of course, always generous with her time and talent.
Thanks for joining in us today, and please leave a comment or a question if you have one and Christie will get back to you!
A Hotter in Texas Novel
Blame it on Texas
Zoe Adams has always been content with her quiet nights at home, sitting alone on her couch munching popcorn and watching TV—until her life turns into a real-life episode of the Unsolved Mystery Hunters show she loves. The story of a kidnapped girl triggers unexplained memories, and Zoe is dead set on figuring out why. Her search leads her to one of the Lone Star state’s richest families and to sexy PI Tyler Lopez.
Tyler has sworn off women, especially redheads with killer curves who poke their noses into his clients’ personal affairs. Still, he can’t deny the attraction any more than he can deny that some of Zoe’s crazy story makes sense. But when she becomes a hit man’s target, this cold case really starts heating up. Suddenly, Tyler will do anything to protect Zoe—even if it means risking his heart.
What Are You Afraid Of?
Phobias. Most of us have a few of them lurking beneath our sane and sensible personas. These fears involve everything from spiders, snakes, to public speaking. I once heard a woman on a talk show tell about her phobia of . . . macaroni. Now, personally, the carb lover that I am, I haven’t ever met a piece of macaroni that I feared or that I didn’t find tasty, but I can only imagine that at some time this woman had a bad macaroni experience.
Yup, a lot of times there is something that sets us on a specific path of terror. From my extensive research—meaning I Googled it—sometimes this person doesn’t even know what it is.
I’ll admit right out that I suffer from arachnophobia. I don’t remember the experience that brought this on, but those creepy little creatures scare the poo out of me. Nothing should have that many legs. Oddly enough, or maybe not so oddly, my mother suffers from the same fear. It’s not that it’s inherited. It’s a learned behavior. I know, because my daughter will scream right along with me if a spider gets within a block of her.
For Zoe Adams, my heroine in Blame it on Texas, spiders are no big deal. Coulrophobia is her thing. Yup, she suffers from a fear of clowns. And poor Zoe isn’t sure why she’s so frightened of these creepy-looking being. However, before the book ends, she discovers exactly how her phobia came into being and turns out to be just another missing piece of the puzzle that is her life.
Of course, once I decided on Zoe’s phobia, I had to have a little fun and have my hero all decked out in a clown costume for their first meet. Well, let’s just say it made it interesting.
The papers in the folder, the one she shouldn’t be looking at, fell to the floor. She got down on her hands and knees to gather them. That’s when she heard footsteps enter the room, followed by the sounds of clicking paws.
Now all she had to explain was why she was down on all fours behind someone’s desk. Her heart did another flip-flop when she remembered she was possibly dealing with angry ex-cops, now ex-cons, who’d been accused of murder.
The dog pranced around the desk and licked her right on the lips. Those footsteps moved closer still, and her mind raced right along with her heart.
The deep masculine sound of a man clearing his throat came from behind her. “Nice view.”
“Oh, I was just…” She looked back over her shoulder, praying she’d come up with a good excuse for being in this ridiculous position. But the moment her gaze landed on the clown, the only thing she came up with was a scream. A loud one.
Tyler watched the shapely jeans-covered butt crawling around the desk. He did a side step so as not to lose the view and watched her moving at an amazing speed toward the door. It wasn’t every day he found a woman on her hands and knees behind his desk. So he jumped into action and planted his clown feet in front of the door.
The woman, long red hair hanging free and swishing around her arms, came to a dead stop about a foot from him. She raised her face. Her blue eyes, wide with what looked like panic, stared up at him. As soon as he got over the sheer terror he saw in her eyes, he realized the view from this side was just as nice as the one from her backside. Maybe even better. Her green scooped-neck T-shirt hung low, providing a nice view of her tan, lacy bra and ample breasts. Damn, she was hot.
“Hello,” he said. Then, somehow sensing the costume might have something to do with her fear, he yanked off the wig and without meaning to, his gaze shot back to her bra, or rather at the size Cs that were close to falling out of it.
Clearly seeing where his gaze had fallen, she slapped a hand to her chest. Balancing on one hand and two knees, she attempted to stand up. Apparently still shaken, she almost fell. He reached for her, but she lurched back. When she was finally on her feet, he summed up the package. Maybe five-four or -five in height, ample breasts, and a round ass.
“Nice,” he said without meaning to. “…to meet you.”
Alarm remained clear on her face—a face that would have been appealing if not for the fear. A face that stirred a slight flash of recognition, too.
“Do I know you?”
“I was…” She swallowed. “The…my purse hit it. I was…” She stopped jabbering.
He stopped trying to make sense of her mumbo-jumbo.
She drew in a breath and stepped away from him.
“Who are you?” And just like that, he remembered Dallas saying he’d hired a receptionist. He looked back at the stack of files on his desk, then at her.
“My contact…” She slammed one eye closed. “My contact fell out.”
“You’re the new receptionist,” he said, and let himself give her another glance up and down. “Nice…to meet you,” he said again, but sexy, hot, and stacked were the words that came to mind.
Damn, he could kiss Dallas. She’d make a breathtaking addition to the office. Of course, it was going to be hard to focus on anything but her. Hard being the key word. And a certain southern part of his anatomy had already twitched its approval. Which was a bit bothersome. He usually had better control. Thank goodness he had room in the costume.
“I’m Tyler. You’re the receptionist, right?” She didn’t answer. “You don’t like clowns, do you?”
“No.” She gasped, trying to get oxygen down her lungs.
“Don’t worry, I’m a friendly clown. And I don’t run around in costumes all the time.” And he could get really friendly if she was so inclined. “My niece’s clown canceled and—”
“Contact.” She blurted out again, as if she hadn’t been listening. Then she slammed her left eye shut and open again. “I lost it. Got some extras in my car.” She started forward, stopped, and backed up, as if scared to get close.
He stepped back, giving her room to pass. With only one eye open, she stared at the small space, then back at him. He took another step back and she scooted past. Stepping through the doorway, he watched her hotfoot it down the hall.
“When you get back, let’s introduce ourselves,” he said.
Still smiling and mentally preparing a list of questions about the new receptionist—he remembered he had a change of clothes in his car. Moving down the hall, he walked out the front door just in time to see a silver Cobalt with Alabama tags speeding out of the parking lot.
What the hell? Why had his receptionist run away? Or had she been the receptionist?
Three Things You Will Learn from Blame it on Texas.
- Guys don’t like to play dress up; but when one willingly dresses as a clown for his six-year-old niece’s birthday party—because the real clown canceled—he’s one special uncle. And could possibly make a special hero for some lucky lady.
- Sometimes, fear itself can do much more damage to us than the thing we’re actually afraid of.
- Learning to trust yourself is usually a lot harder than trusting another person. But both are generally required before finding true love.
And now, since I told you what I’m afraid of, how about sharing your fears and phobias? Today I’ll give away a copy of Blame it on Texas to one lucky commenter.
Please share, and keep your eyes open for Christie’s other novels from the ” Hotter in Texas Series”