Network is one of my guilty pleasures, and I often find recipes on the
shows I watch (especially Barefoot Contessa) that I want to try. My
husband and daughter wholeheartedly support my interest in
comedy Lucky Girl, released this September by Entangled Publishing, I
was struck by how much the writing process is like making a layered
confection. Since Jessica Devlin, the twenty-nine-year-old heroine of
my book, adores Tiramisu (along with many other calorie-laden desserts),
that seemed a perfect example. Tiramisu is also one of my personal
favorites, and one I’ve made several times when we’ve had friends over
basic ingredients: a rough plot, a hero and heroine, goals that each
character must achieve by the book’s end. Likewise, my Tiramisu recipe
begins with egg yolks, sugar, and mascarpone cheese, all equally
important in making the creamy filling that’s essential to the dessert.
Lucky Girl, Jess—my most important basic ingredient—finds herself
single, months before she was to be married. Heartbroken by her ex
fiancé’s betrayal, she takes an overdue vacation from her job as beauty
editor of Orlando’s O Tart magazine and flies to England to be
maid-of-honor in her cousin’s wedding. Jess is nervous about the trip,
and not just because her cousin is living the fairy tale Jess wanted so
badly. There’s also the mortifying episode that took place two years
ago after Jess’s grandfather’s funeral; it involved an English pub, too
many drinks, and a handsome Brit who held her in his arms and soothed
her while she cried.
her seeing James Bond gorgeous Nick Mondinello again—but guess who is at
conflict—what’s going to keep them struggling to complete their
character journeys until the book’s end. In terms of Tiramisu, conflict
equates to the crisp ladyfingers soaked in rum and espresso. Complex
in flavor, the ladyfingers provide structure for the dessert. They keep
the two separated layers of filling from collapsing in on each
other—just as powerful story conflict keeps a novel from falling flat.
kept the conflict strong in my novel by having Jess believe Nick isn’t
right for her, since he’s a playboy like her dad who left when she was
twelve. No way will she risk her wounded heart to have it trampled on.
She does her best to fight her attraction to Nick, but it’s a losing
battle. He couldn’t possibly be her Mr. Right, could he? How could Sex
God Nick be attracted to Plain Jane her?
scene, I wrote Lucky Girl, each chapter taking me closer to the
climactic moment and resolution of the novel. With the same careful
attention, I’d craft Tiramisu: a neatly-arranged layer of ladyfingers,
dollops of the luscious filling, more ladyfingers, more creamy filling.
Once completed to this point, the dessert must be covered and put it in
the fridge overnight, to allow the flavors to “meld”—a step that
parallels revising the novel so that the nuances of each word, scene,
and chapter blend together to create a cohesive whole.
the revising is complete. The Tiramisu comes out of the fridge, and is
decorated with shavings of semi-sweet chocolate. It’s done.
final moment, when the Tiramisu is ready to serve? It’s just like the
moment I celebrate finishing a novel. There’s a deliciously sweet
satisfaction to all the work being done. And what better way to
celebrate than to indulge in a rich, gazillion-calorie dessert?
started down the sweeping gravel drive. Already, my stress was fading
like the last splashes of sunshine. Now, my head swirled from too much
alcohol, sugary cake, and. . . Nick.
the breeze tugging at my gown. How totally dumb to get giddy over a few
conversations, and him touching my arm—but those moments were mine. All
savor those memories for days, like a mint I’d pull out time and again
and twirl around on my tongue to revive the zingy flavor, but would
never dream of crunching.
my sandals. The trees whispered in the breeze. Were those big ol’ cranky
oaks talking about me?
toe hit a half-buried stone. Ow! I stumbled, struggled to regain my
footing, and stepped hard on the hem of my dress. The seams under my
breasts and arms pulled taut, followed by a faint ripping noise.
Righting myself, I squinted down at my gown. I couldn’t see past my
humongo-bingo-bongo breasts. Was the silk torn? Were my womanly
attributes going to burst out?
down at an awkward angle, I brushed a gray smudge off the silk. It took
several swipes to get rid of the smudge, but I managed.
last smack, I heard laughter. Swaying slightly, I straightened, blinked,
then focused on the cars parked in rows on the lawn.
straightened and stared at me over the roof of the limo for two long
heartbeats. My pulse jumped from a smug-chicky thud-thud to a crazy
he’d been keeping tabs on me, huh? Watching how this Chicky Dee held
her drink as part of his panty-interrogation plan? “I thought I’d go for
a twilight stroll. Keep out of trouble—unlike you bad boys with your
company. He won’t mind.” Nick’s gaze slid to the other ushers then back
to me. “You’re not going to tell on us, are you?”
Wrong answer, Jess.” He stepped from behind the limo, a can of shaving
cream in his hand. “I’ll have to find a way to keep you quiet.”
exciting. Would he lather me all over with shaving cream? Force me to
join them? This could be very, very fun. “Keep me quiet?” I said. “How?”
him, I slowly circled around the tail end of the limo. They’d
splattered shaving cream on the boot. Someone had scribbled ‘Just
Married’ in clumsy letters.
vision of the boy chasing the girl in the reception hall darted though
my mind. “C’mon, Nick. You’ve no reason to get your panties in a knot,
as I yanked my heels free, cold wetness splattered in my hair. Another
soft whoosssht, and more cream hit my arm. Shrieking just like the girl
with the stolen bowtie, I resumed running, darting from side to side as
though being chased by a hungry alligator. I tripped on the uneven
ground, caught my balance, and then ran on.
side pinched. Gin lurched up from my stomach, burning the back of my
throat. Wheezing a breath, I stumbled to a stop. Nick pounded up behind
me. Bracing my hands on my thighs, I dropped my head and gasped for
air—realizing, in that moment, that my posture gave him a perfect view
of my cleavage.
stand up straight. As I rose, I took in his long legs, lean waist,
gorgeous face—so close I could reach out and trail my fingers down the
shadowed line of his jaw. Shaving cream spotted the front of his suit
reached out and pulled a soggy wisp of hair around in front of my eyes.
“I warned you,” he murmured in an oh-so-soft voice. “Do you like to
tempt danger, Jess?”
mouth curved into a grin before he released my hair so it brushed down
past my cheek. Shaving cream dropped from the edge of his hand. The
wetness cooled my neck and moistened my bodice above my breast. I didn’t
gentle hand. The potent heat of him zinged from his flesh into mine.
Longing, loneliness, and desire twisted inside me in a fierce tornado.
How keenly I remembered his hand smoothing over my back years ago, his
warm breath upon my hair, his strong, masculine arm curved around me.
stared at me, his focus so intense, I quivered inside. Very slowly, he
rubbed his thumb over my lips. I tasted shaving cream. I tasted him.
trilling romantic melody floated through my mind along with a glorious
fantasy—Nick’s hand sliding into my hair to capture the back of my head,
his head lowering, his mouth pressing to mine. Not a quick little kiss,
mind you, but a deep, slippery, tongue-tangling smooch which brought my
body arching against him, while I clung to his broad shoulders, begging
I struggled to understand. When did putting shaving cream on a car take
priority over kissing? “Is that the only reason you stopped our kiss?” I
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questions: Ever ran into an ex or that special that you never dated but lusted at a wedding? How did your encounter turn out?
- Giveaway ends Oct. 7th
Jessica Devlin isn’t looking for love. Heartbroken after being dumped by
her unfaithful ex‐fiancé, she’s determined to have a fabulous time during
her vacation in England where she’ll be maid‐of‐honor at her
cousin’s wedding. After working overtime as beauty editor of Orlando’s
O Tart magazine, avoiding dating, and putting on ten pounds, Jess is
ready to toss her past like an empty lipstick tube and party like a single
But when she steps into the church on her cousin’s wedding day, she
sees the one man who could sabotage her plan—James‐Bond‐gorgeous
Nick Mondinello. She’s never forgotten the London marketing exec who
held her in his arms after her beloved grandfather’s funeral two years
ago. Ambitious, and lusted after by women everywhere, Nick is completely
wrong for guarded, Plain Jane Jess.
Could Spy Man Nick ever fall for her? Nope. Not unless Jess is one lucky