Shannon here: Jessica Kate shares a romantic excerpt from her latest Romantic Comedy, Love and Other Mistakes. Comment or answer the question at the end of the post to enter the drawing for a copy when it releases on July 30th. U.S. only. Deadline to enter the drawing: June 22nd, 11:59 pm central time. Here’s Jessica:
Meet Cutes and Ex-Fiancés
What’s more addictive—a great meet cute, or characters with history between them? (The Proposal, I’m looking at you!)
I love both, so when I went to kick off my sassy romance Love and Other Mistakes, I pulled a Sweet Home Alabama and had two ex-fiancés meet one another for the first time in seven years. To make things interesting, my hero whacked his head on a tree branch and passed out—while holding his infant son.
When a stranger finds him and pries an ancient emergency contact card from his wallet, my heroine receives a glitchy phone message calling her to a medical incident that she mistakenly believes involves her father. Oh—and she’s been called away from a meeting that could save her job and her ability to pay her father’s mounting medical bills.
It was so much fun to throw these two ex’s together and watch the fireworks explode.
Excerpt from Love and Other Mistakes by Jessica Kate:
Natalie’s brain begged her eyes to admit they were lying. She scanned the man from head to toe. Brown hair with red highlights that caught the sunshine. Boyish freckles. Broad shoulders.
Jeremy Walters, her ex-fiancé.
I’m outta here.
Fumbling with her keys, she turned to the colonel to return the baby. Instead she encountered his retreating back. “Wait! You can’t leave me.”
The man spun to face her but kept walking backward toward a truck parked by the roadside. “You have no idea how late I am. He’s only been out for a minute or two. Take him to the emergency room if you’re worried.” With those words, he hauled himself into his vehicle.
“You can’t go.” Desperation edged her voice as Natalie stepped toward him, trying to hold out a crying handful of baby.
His revving engine drowned her plea. A puff of exhaust fumes tickled her nose as he pulled out, and she sneezed. The truck drove away as she watched.
Turn back, turn back, turn back . . .
It rounded a corner and disappeared.
Unbelievable. Natalie huffed a breath and swiveled with the enthusiasm of a vegetarian at Outback Steakhouse.
Jem hadn’t crumpled to the ground. He lay flat on his back, long limbs stretched in every direction. One hand lifted to rest on his bleeding forehead, and his eyelids twitched but remained closed.
No one would call him a bodybuilder, but neither did he have that gangly look anymore. He’d grown his hair longer than the military-style cut his dad used to do at home every month, and his face sported more freckles.
But it was him.
She ground her teeth against the warm rush of memories that poured into her mind. Sure, she hated his guts, but he wasn’t just the guy who’d broken her heart seven years ago. He was the tang of lemonade after they raced their bikes down the street. He was the crinkle of comic-book pages as they hid from his dad under the back porch. He was the smell of lavender in Mr. Holbert’s jewelry shop, where her nineteen-year-old self had pointed to a diamond and said, “That one.” He was every good memory before life got complicated.
So much had changed—though not all. Blue ink still smudged his palm. Jem without a pen was like a Saturday night without chocolate. Had he fulfilled his journalistic dreams?
She scrubbed a sleeve across her face. Time to focus. The man burned faster than forgotten eggs on a stove, so she should get him out of the sun.
Or better yet, leave him there.
God, what did I do to deserve this?
Running into the guy who’d dumped you ten weeks before your wedding was always bad, but especially like this. She was broke. Single. Going nowhere.
He’d take one look at her and thank his younger self for leaving.
She shifted on her feet. She’d give up anything, even pumpkin-spice M&M’s, to jump in the car and meet the head-office representatives. She had a store to save.
But there was a baby in her arms, and she couldn’t plop it on the ground and leave.
Jem lurched to a sitting position. “Oliver!”
The motion seemed to catch the corner of Jem’s eye. He swung his head toward her and squinted into the sun. When he jumped to his feet, he swayed.
“Whoa.” Stepping forward, she grabbed his arm with her free hand, then dropped it.
Jem leaned back against the tree trunk—the one supporting the branch that had put that red gash on his forehead. After a few seconds, he raised his gaze and did a double take.
About Jessica: Australian Jessica Kate is a sassy romance author and addict.
Her novels feature wit, snark and grit, and her StoryNerds podcast gives her a chance to nerd out with others about these ingredients in books, movies and TV.
She has a passion for garlic bread, theme parks and Batman.
Sign up to her newsletter at jessicakatewriting.com to hear first about her books, including her upcoming novels Love and Other Mistakes and A Girl’s Guide to the Outback.
Facebook and Instagram: Jessica Kate Writing
StoryNerds podcast: Available on Spotify and Apple Podcasts and at www.storynerds.podbean.com.
About the book – Love and Other Mistakes:
Natalie Groves once had big dreams. But soon after her fiancé, Jeremy Walters, inexplicably broke off their engagement and left town, her father was diagnosed with cancer. Now tasked with keeping her family afloat, Natalie’s grand plans have evaporated…and God feels very far away.
Fast-forward seven years, and Jeremy is back in Charlottesville with an infant son and years of regrets. When his niece, Lili, lands on his doorstep in need of a place to stay, Jeremy needs help—and fast.
An internship opening finally presents Natalie a chance at her dream job, but she needs a second income to work around it…and the only offer available is worse than a life sentence. Natalie may be just the one to help Jeremy, provided they don’t kill each other in the process. When they join forces, sparks fly. But they both know there’s a thin line between love and hate…and that when feelings this strong cannot be denied, love will turn out to be the best decision—or biggest mistake—of all.
Can’t wait for the drawing or worried you won’t win? Preorder your copy now! Love and Other Mistakes
Question for Readers: What’s your favorite fictional couple with a long shared history?
Come back June 14th for Jessica’s tour of Australia!