I thought I'd catch you up on things in my world. I've been participating in conferences and writing like crazy when my full-time wedding planning career permits. UtopYACon and Indie BookFest were both incredible events and I fully intend to participate in both next year. I hope you do, too!
I've also got some exciting news that I'm sharing here before I do anywhere else: my next New Adult Contemporary Romance, Meant for Her, is scheduled for release on October 17th! The photo shoot for the cover is happening this week. I'm so excited to be working with the talented Kelsey Kukal-Keeton and Regina Wamba on this cover. It's going to be epic!!
To celebrate the launch news, I wanted to share an excerpt from Meant for Her. If you'd like to read the first chapter, you can do so on my blog. For now, please enjoy this previously unreleased excerpt from the book. I hope you'll leave a comment with your thoughts!
Excerpt from Meant for Her by Raine Thomas
The sound of a loud engine caught her attention. She looked up as a guy pulled into the parking lot on a motorcycle across the courtyard from her. Judging by the sound, the shiny chrome, and the distinctive lines of the bike, it was a classic Harley-Davidson.
Her camera lifted of its own accord. The guy oozed sex appeal, even from a distance. When she used her zoom and saw the guy more closely, she realized why.
As she pressed the shutter release multiple times, she considered what this meant. Her aunt had something up her sleeve, she was sure of it. She supposed, since this decision made her particularly happy, she wasn’t going to complain.
Putting her camera back into her bag and hefting the bag onto her shoulder, she left the picnic table and made her way across the grassy courtyard used as a common area by the building’s tenants. She watched Evan pause after he dismounted from his bike to look up at the trio of red brick buildings that comprised the complex.
Did he see it like she did, as buildings with tons of character? Did he look at the large, white wood and brick balconies and think about how they overlooked the park across the street and the city beyond? Did he like how there were only a limited number of units, which helped foster a sense of community among the tenants?
Well, if he didn’t, he would after she gave him the walk-through.
He started in her direction, then abruptly stopped walking when he saw her. She gave him a welcoming smile.
“Hi, Evan,” she said, stopping a couple of feet from him. “It’s so nice to see you again. You look great.”
He looked spectacular, actually. He’d put on some weight since the wedding. His cheeks no longer looked gaunt, and his muscular biceps were nicely displayed by his navy blue T-shirt. As she had noticed when she was with Everly at the stadium, his brown hair had grown. Now a few wavy locks fell into his eyes and brushed his collar in the back. It had lightened a shade or two during the spring. The shadow of stubble lining his powerful jaw made her want to run her fingertips down the side of his face and then kiss his sinful lips.
“Your aunt didn’t mention that you’d be the one meeting me,” he said.
She couldn’t read anything in his tone or expression. His aviator shades hid his eyes from her, too. That made her smile again.
Evan Dorsey was an enigma.
“Yes, well, she’s like that sometimes,” she said. “We love her anyway.”
Linking her arm with his, she started walking toward the gate leading into the correct building. It pleased her that he walked with her rather than pulling away.
“I help manage the properties for my aunt and uncle,” she explained as they stopped at the keypad beside the gate. “One of my duties is showing available apartments to interested future tenants.”
He didn’t respond as she pulled a card out of her bag and scanned it, releasing the gate. When she started to open it, he reached around her and did so before she could.
“Thanks,” she said, smiling and walking past him. “Let’s give you the grand tour. Do you have any pets?”
He didn’t expound. She didn’t let his silence break her stride. In this line of work, she’d interacted with all kinds of people, including the strong-and-silent type.
“Well, this complex welcomes up to two pets under fifty pounds each, as long as the breeds aren’t on the restricted list.”
“They aren’t,” he said.
Mentally confirming that he wasn’t going to be very chatty, she just nodded. They walked through another small courtyard, which she explained was great for walking dogs if the weather didn’t allow for crossing the street into the park. She mentioned that most of the tenants also had pets and were quite friendly.
She led him through the building’s main lobby, which was quiet since it was in the middle of the week and most people were at work. Evan took off his sunglasses and looked around, glancing at the hardwood floors, the long, marble counter that served as the reception area, and the sitting area complete with comfortable furniture, rich wood accent tables topped with fresh flowers, and a flat panel television hanging on one wall. His gaze stopped on the glass door leading to the building’s gym.
“Each building has its own fully-equipped gym,” she explained, “but there’s only one pool, shared by all three buildings. Since there are only thirty units altogether, it rarely gets crowded.”
He didn’t respond. She saw one of the building’s employees, Oliver Werner, sitting behind the counter and crossed the lobby to greet him. He got to his feet, towering over her by more than a foot.
“Hi there, Ms. Sierra. Nice to see you.”
She winked at him. “This is Evan Dorsey. He’s checking out 4-B.”
“Is that right?” Oliver held out his hand and Evan shook it. “Pleasure to meet you, Mr. Dorsey. Can’t find a better place to live in this city, I assure you. We’ll take real good care of you here.”
“I like what I see so far,” Evan said.
Sierra wondered if it was a coincidence that his dark blue eyes shifted to her after he said that. In either case, her pulse quickened and a smile blossomed. What harm could there be in fantasizing about a compliment from a hot ballplayer? It was healthy, really.
“Thanks, Oliver. We’ll be down in a bit.”
They headed to the elevator. She punched a code into the keypad to the right of the doors. As they closed, she looked at Evan to explain what she’d done. He was staring at her. She expected him to look away when she caught him.
“When you’ve signed the lease, you’ll get your own code,” she explained.
“When I sign it?”
She smiled up at him. He might not have made up his mind about moving in just yet, but she already knew how this was going to end.
“There are four apartments each on floors two and three,” she continued as though she hadn’t heard him, “and two larger apartments on four. Only the tenants on each floor can access their floor.”
“Unless they give the code out to everyone they know.”
“Sure. We do change the codes regularly to try and prevent issues, and ask tenants to let us know if there’s any reason they need their personal codes changed. As with most secure buildings shared by multiple tenants, nothing is guaranteed.”
The elevator stopped and the doors opened up into a long hallway with hardwood floors and a richly colored carpet runner. Two large windows along the left side of the hall allowed sunlight to flood in. A few framed black and white photographs of some of the more interesting architectural elements of the complex hung along the right wall. The door to 4-B was straight ahead at the end of the hallway. Halfway there, they passed the door to 4-A on the left.
“Who lives in that apartment?” Evan asked.
She paused as she reached the door to 4-B. “Aunt Caroline didn’t tell you?”
She turned and unlocked the door to 4-B. They walked in, neither of them mentioning that she hadn’t answered his question. She started talking as she walked from room to room, figuring he was listening even if he wasn’t following her.
“As you can see, this apartment has lots of character and natural light. It’s over sixteen hundred square feet and has two large bedrooms, two full baths. Separate laundry. The kitchen has been completely updated with granite and stainless steel. Natural hardwood floors throughout. Neutral paint on the walls, but you’re welcome to change it once you move in. There are two real brick walls and exposed ductwork to enhance the loft feel. It’s a very open floorplan with—”
She turned and almost collided with Evan’s chest. Apparently, he had been following her.
“You’re in 4-A, aren’t you?” he asked.
“I’ll take it,” he said.
Please leave a comment with your thoughts!