In case you don’t know WIP stands for Work In Progress. Though the 8 Facts thing was the impetus that got this blog going, the writing was the real reason behind it. So, without further ado, I give you Letting Go.
Letting Go is a contemporary single title romance that tells the story of Cecelia “Celi” Cooper and Bryan Riggs. Celi cooper is a glass-half-empty kind of girl. She firmly believes if it weren’t for bad luck she’d have no luck at all. She also believes all men walk away. Every man in her life, including her own father, has left her high and dry and she’s not willing to give anyone the chance to do it again. But when Celi meets her new neighbor, her resolve is tested. The attraction is instant but beyond the physical, she sees vulnerability and a man hurting.
Bryan Riggs is a former Navy cook turned chef with a need for order. From the outside looking in it appears he has everything under control. But the tragic death of his fiancé has done more damage than anyone can see. That is, until he meets his new neighbor. Something about Celi has Bryan wanting to tell her everything but he’s not sure how to keep the old love in his heart and still make room for a new one. Between their warring best friends and what appears on the surface to be the worst of betrayals, can Bryan and Celi find the strength, trust and ultimately the love required to let go of the past and embrace a new future?
First I should say that the blurb alone has taken me hours upon hours to write. But the satisfaction of getting to something I can be happy with (for now *g*) feels wonderful. I have seven chapters done and hope to have at least a complete first draft no later than October. It all depends on how many more times I get stuck.
For a taste of the actual story, I decided on a snippet of their first meeting. This occurs at the start of chapter three.
Shoes on and keys in hand, Celi sailed out the door but didn’t get very far. “Ack!” Falling back against the door she barely avoided running face first into a recliner. Her first thought was how odd it was to see a recliner floating in mid-air in her breezeway. She then realized there was someone carrying the recliner but from her vantage point could only see two muscular legs in stained, cut-off jean shorts, pushed down tube socks and a pair of well-worn work boots.
“I’ll be out of your way in just a second,” a masculine voice from behind the chair said. The sexy, southern drawl sent heat down to her toes.
Though he was carrying what looked to be a heavy piece of furniture and had obviously just lugged it up three flights of stairs, he didn’t sound the least bit winded. The chair started backing through the door of the apartment directly across from Celi’s.
When she’d paid her rent on Monday, Michelle, the apartment complex secretary mentioned she was getting a new neighbor. Celi figured she’d end up with either a radio-blaring, young couple or a crazy old man. Apparently she figured wrong.
Leaning forward, she watched him turn and bend at the knees to put the chair down. His shirt was pulled taut across the muscles of his back and she was sure she saw a tiny hole under one pocket of his jean shorts. Not that she was looking at his ass. Ok, she was looking but it was a nice ass. The word “firm” came to mind. When she realized he was turning around Celi jumped back so as not to be caught staring. As he crossed the threshold wiping his hands on his already filthy shorts Celi stopped breathing.
“Sorry about scaring you like that, ma’am.” He extended one hand as he introduced himself. “My name is Bryan Riggs, and if you just came out of there, then I guess we’re gonna be neighbors.”
Celi shook his hand in silence, her insides damn near melting at the combination of hazel eyes, broad shoulders and lazy grin standing before her.
“So what’s your name?” he asked as he slid his hands into his pockets.
Realizing she must seem like an idiot and very much feeling like one she simply said, “Cecelia.” Her brain tried to push out more but her mouth would not cooperate.
“Cecelia,” He drawled and the heat in her toes headed north. “That’s awful pretty.”
“Celi,” she blurted out.
“Excuse me? What’s a seely?” His wrinkled brow showed his confusion.
“I mean my name is Cecelia Cooper, but most people call me Celi.” She had to get a grip. It’s not like she’d never seen a really hot guy before. If her brain was working at half capacity after looking into his eyes, it shut down completely when she took in the rest of him.
His University of Alabama t-shirt had obviously given up its sleeves long ago, and his wide shoulders, broad chest and defined arms made her fingers itch to touch them. There was a tattoo on his left bicep that looked tribal and he was no stranger to the sun if his tan skin and sun streaked hair were any indication.
He looked to be about her age and wasn’t wearing a wedding ring. Miranda’s lectures and speeches must have finally taken hold since Celi didn’t usually check for wedding rings.
“Well, Celi, it’s nice to meet you.” His head tilted to one side and a stray lock fell over his left eye. “Is there a fire in there or are you always moving that fast?”
“Oh, I’m just running a little late to meet a friend. I promise I don’t usually run around like a crazy person.” She was sounding more like a moron every second. “So is it safe to say you’re from Alabama?” she asked.
“Is it that obvious?” His hands left his front pockets and moved to the back ones pulling his shirt even tighter across his chest.
“The shirt,” she heard herself say.
Wow, she was working up to almost full sentences now.
He looked down to his chest then back up with a smile that did nothing to bank the heat now moving through her mid-section. “I’m an idiot.” Running a hand through his hair he chuckled, “You’ll have to forgive me I’ve had a real busy couple of days.”
She wished he’d put his hands back in his pockets. Or maybe in her pockets.
“Don’t worry about it. Goodness knows I have my air-head moments too.” After realizing what she said, Celi threw in, “Not that you’re an air-head.” She nearly smacked herself in the forehead but instead crossed her arms over her chest.
His laugh was a shot of whiskey that went straight to her head. “No problem, I’ve been called much worse.” His smile grew wider revealing one dimple in his right cheek.
Giving herself a mental shake she decided to change the subject. “So how does a guy from Alabama end up on the Eastern Shore?”
“I have a friend that grew up here so I’ve been here for a visit several times. This time I decided to make it a bit more permanent.” He crossed his arms and leaned against the wall. “Now I’m glad I did.”
His eyes moved to her mouth and she nearly took a step forward. Whoa, girl. She was officially beyond melting to pure puddle status. What was she doing? She did not want a man and the last thing she needed was to have a fling with her neighbor.
“I’m glad you like it,” she said being purposely obtuse. “I’m not sure what you’re used to, but the pace here is pretty relaxed and the people are really friendly.” Now that her mouth was working she couldn’t stop babbling. “But then again if your friend is from here, and you’ve been here before, you already know that.” At that moment a car horn sounded from the parking lot.
Miranda! Shit, how had she forgotten Miranda?
“I really have to go.” She started down the hall but remembered her manners. Walking backward Celi said, “It was really nice to meet you, Bryan.”
She found herself enjoying the feel of his name on her tongue almost as much as the warmth in his eyes as they watched her walk away. At the last minute Celi turned and nearly tumbled down the steps catching the railing just in time.
So much for a graceful exit.
So there you are. The official introduction of Letting Go. I guess this is where I should ask the question “What do you think?” Just remember this is still an early draft. Even though I think I’ve edited this bit at least half a dozen times…LOL!