The Hero (Sam Jackson)
Sam Jackson, the irresistible but commitment-challenged younger brother of my hero in Fur Ball Fever (Book 1 of The Fever Series), is a deadbeat, gambler, and player who hides behind charm and Jack Daniels. The opportunity for character growth and improvement was so obvious, I knew he deserved his own story.
What could be more fun than tormenting a serial womanizer like Sam by pairing him with a heroine who would drive him crazy while breaking down all his barriers? So I threw in a bossy event planner hired by Granddaddy Hiram, his business partner, to keep him on the straight and narrow. Since I delight in torturing my protagonists, I then proceeded to add as many roadblocks to a happily-ever-after as I could think of, including my heroine’s nine-year-old son, forcing Sam to coax his strengths out of hiding and confront his demons.
The Heroine (Katie Deluca)
Before I started writing Cold Feet Fever, I knew I wanted a heroine with secrets. Big secrets. The kind of secrets that were job terminators and, better still from an author’s perspective, romance destroyers. The best way to determine those secrets was to interview my heroine, Katie Deluca. Here’s the gist of our first interview.
Me: Hi Katie. I understand you’re hiding some big, bad secrets. Do you mind sharing them?
Katie (shrugging): Do I have a choice? Okay, so I’m a former mortician. I used to be the Funeral Director for the family business, Paradise Gate Funeral Parlor and Crematorium, even lived there with the rest of my family. It’s not exactly something I want broadcast to clients like Sam Jackson, though. Seriously, who wants a former mortician as a party planner?
Me: Good point. But why the career switch?
Katie: The grief got to me. Even with detachment, the sadness of the bereaved was too hard to handle. Then it struck me that morticians needed the same skillset to organize a send-off for the dearly departed as event planners did to organize a kick-ass party, difference being the focus would be on fun rather than death.
Me (after strenuous thinking, which hurt my brain): I’m sensing there’s more to your career switch than that.
Katie (refusing to make eye contact): Okay, so I learned my brother was offering ‘midnight specials’ to certain clients.
Me (hopefully): Do I understand you correctly? Your brother was delivering no-death-certificates-required cremations to connected clients?
Katie: Yep. A discrete disposal service. I couldn’t have my nine-year-old son anywhere near the place.
Me (surprised and delighted to learn Katie had a son to torment the commitment-challenged Sam Jackson): Of course you couldn’t. Is there anything else I should know before I start writing?
Katie (after a long pause): Yeah. Luigi Guglione—he’s a major Atlantic City crime lord—is obsessed with me. But it’s all okay now. He’s behind bars for murder one, and I’m finally free to date again.
Me: Are you sure he can’t hurt you or anyone who shows an interest in you?
Katie: Not unless he’s pardoned or he escapes. If that happens, all bets are off.
Me (imagining dozens of ways to complicate my protagonists’ lives): Wow. That’s a lot of secrets. Thank you.
COLD FEET FEVER
Secrets and Crime Have Never Been So Much Fun—or So Romantic!
Owning Kinki, Atlantic City’s first paranormal nightclub, isn’t as easy—or as much fun—as Sam Jackson anticipated. Someone’s trying to shut him down before he opens, he’s on the verge of bankruptcy, and his matchmaking granddaddy has hired a sexy event planner with a mysterious background, bossy disposition, and criminal ties.
A mortician-turned-event-planner with big secrets:
A job as event planner offers single mom, Katie Deluca, her last chance to escape her past. Turns out party planning is more difficult than organizing funerals. Plus, the nightclub owner, although perfect for awakening her sensuality, couldn’t be more wrong for the stability she craves.
Forced to collaborate, they overcome obstacles and fight crime:
Katie is the one person who can salvage Kinki—and heal Sam’s emotional wounds. Together, they tangle with a goofy dog, exploding trucks, an unfortunate synchronized swimming episode, homicidal thugs, a corrupt building inspector, disappearing corpses, a kidnapping, and the threat of live cremation, all to deliver a kick-ass grand opening.
The clatter of high heels accompanied by excited shrieks announced they had company.
“Oooooh, Sammy. You’re a hard man to find.”
“This is gonna be crazy fun.”
Sam did a double-take. Literally. Two identical young women bounced inside and darted toward him. They wore identical ass-baring shorts with identical skimpy red tops, barely concealing identical eye-popping boobs.
Beside him, he caught Katie downing her champagne.
One of the women said, “Remember us, Sammy? We’re the stripper twins from Happy Hustler Bar & Grill two nights ago. I’m Mango, she’s Tango. You said we were cuter than two speckled pups. We’re here to deliver your private lap dance.”
“Oh, thank the Lord,” he breathed. “I thought I was seeing double.” Noticing Katie’s disapproving frown, he forced himself to remain calm. Truth be told, the episode was a blur of pounding music, bourbon shooters, and nubile bodies.
To buy time, he said, “How did you get past security?”
“These puppies did the trick.” Tango unfastened her top button. A pair of triple-Ds sprang to freedom.
Look away, his brain screamed. His eyeballs ignored the warning. Hypnotized by Tango’s bouncing rack as it escaped captivity, he snapped out of it when Mango embraced him and ground her pelvis against his ass.
Using his finely-tuned peripheral vision, a skill he’d honed to preserve his hide from pissed-off husbands, he caught Katie pouring herself another glass of champagne.
His hopes for impressing her fizzled. It looked bad, especially when Mango climbed him as if he were a stripper pole, wrapping one leg around his calf tighter than a python.
Noting Katie’s scowl, he responded with a rueful shrug intended to project innocence. Disengaging from Mango without hurting her feelings was a challenge. He started by unpeeling one surprisingly strong arm from his waist. “Easy there, sugar.”
Mango responded by clamping her other arm around him and purring, “Let’s you and me get comfy in a chair for your special treat.”
“Sorry, ladies.” Making a point of not staring at any boobs, he tried to hide his desperation. “I’m afraid you’re interrupting an important business meeting.”
“Aw, baby,” Tango rubbed her booty against his leg before unzipping her shorts, “Chillax. You were tons more fun two nights ago.”
Katie interjected, “I bet he was a laugh a minute.”
Mango loosened her grip a fraction. Sam managed to break free. Breathing hard, and not in a good way, he retreated three paces.
While Tango shimmied out of her shorts, she scowled at Katie. “Who’s the undertaker bitch?”
“Hey.” Katie slammed down her glass. “Who are you calling an undertaker? I own a successful event planning business.”
Tango’s lips twisted in a sneer. “What kind of events do you plan? Wakes? I swear that suit would turn Morticia green with envy.”
Katie’s eyes narrowed to dangerous slits as she advanced on Tango. “Don’t. Call. Me. Morticia.”
Three Facts About Maureen Fisher
- Once upon a time, long, long ago, I was a chocoholic. That lasted until my ninth birthday, when I devoured 10 Jersey Milk chocolate bars in one sitting. I puked brown for two days. Even now, I prefer vanilla or caramel. Please don’t tell anyone. All romance writer love chocolate. It’s mandatory
- I once drank paint thinner in an oil painting class. Not on purpose. I thought it was my water. Hey, both bottles were clear with blue labels. Sadly, I’d already glugged it down before realizing my mistake. An ambulance carted me off to the hospital, where a doctor warned me I’d be really, REALLY sick for 48 hours. He wasn’t kidding.
- Contrary to popular belief about romance writers, I do NOT think about sex all the time. I often think about other things like, for example, Speedos (pros and cons). Or manscaping. Or Sexapaloosa. Oops. That sounds like I really do think a lot about sex, doesn’t it? But trust me. It’s all in the name of research. Seriously.
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