BTS: What Were You Thinking, Abbie?

April 10, 2022

I admit, writing a book involving a deadly, debilitating disease may seem more suitable to a teen/YA tear jerker than an adult contemporary romance. But, hey, I’m a rebel that way. I like a challenge.

My standalone romance, Letting Go (small town contemporary featuring a former military hero), isn’t really about ALS (Lou Gehrig’s disease). ALS is simply the catalyst, the driving force that brings love – family love, friendship love, romantic love – to the surface. It’s what motivates Hannah to come back home, drives her tough-as-nails father to get a bit devious, and brings Ethan into her life (even if she’s not too keen on that at first).

At its heart, the story is about people whose actions speak far louder than their words, and are willing to go to great lengths for those they love.

Where did I get the idea? Real life, of course. But like anything “bad,” something good can come out of it.

If you’re hesitant to give it a try because you think it’s sad or depressing, rest easy. Sure, it’s got feels, but it’s also filled with plenty of sarcasm and humor and of course, sexy times.

Still not convinced? Here’s a little peek from Hannah’s POV:

Why was Jake Schaeffer still here? Didn’t he have other service calls to make? Plumbers were supposed to be in higher demand than doctors, weren’t they?

He’d gotten the water heater going again. Had taken it upon himself to inspect the exposed pipes in the basement while he was down there, too. Now he just seemed to be lingering.

Jake paused, looking a little hesitant. “Hannah, can I ask you something?”

I nodded warily. So far, neither one of us had brought up what happened all those years ago and I prayed he wouldn’t now. I told myself that just because he asked a question didn’t mean I had to answer. And if it would get him out the door sooner…

What’s the deal with the guy staying here?”

“Ethan?” I said, surprised that that was what he chose to ask.

“Yeah, I guess. We weren’t formally introduced.”

Why the hell would he ask about Ethan? Then I remembered I wasn’t in SoCal anymore, and that around here, sticking your nose in your neighbors’ business was a favorite pastime. By bringing a single, attractive male into our home, we’d probably given Muskrat Falls enough fodder to keep the gossip mill going for quite a while.

It was a small town, after all, and we had all the drama of a really good soap opera going on  (cue dramatic music): a dying, widowed war hero returns to his family’s ancestral home (four generations, anyway). His quiet, moody daughter suddenly reappears from the West Coast, but does she do so out of love for her father or a nefarious desire to get her hands on the family land? (da da daah….) And let’s throw a brooding, hunky, dangerous Army Ranger into the mix, have him move in with possible ulterior motives…

Oh yeah, we were probably the biggest topic of conversation since Tom Hanks was filming a movie down in Philly and his driver stopped at the Muskrat Falls Mini-Mart for gas and a TastyKake (nobody bakes a cake as tasty, you know).

Had I been a more devious person, I could have had a great time with this, but as it was, I couldn’t summon the energy.

“Ethan’s father and mine served together,” I explained. “He’s helping out with dad’s care until the M-Fu— uh, the home health agency finds someone permanent.”

“Yeah, I heard about that,” Jake said, nodding empathetically. “Is it true your father threatened one of them with a butcher knife?”

Okay, I had a little energy. Jake made it hard to resist. “Not exactly. It was a Ka-Bar Zombie knife,” I said, keeping a straight face. “But she was totally asking for it. You don’t mess with a man’s pudding, you know?”

I saw Jake’s eyes go wide just as I heard a cough that sounded suspiciously like a laugh coming from the hallway. Ethan. I should have been annoyed that he was skulking around, obviously eavesdropping, but for some reason, knowing he was nearby eased me somewhat.

“Just a minute, Colonel,” I heard him yell down the hallway. “I’ve got the AK and the gun oil, but I think Hannah hid the ammo in the flour jar again.”

I had to turn away so Jake didn’t see my smile. He left rather quickly after that, suddenly remembering an ‘important appointment.’

“You were listening,” I accused later, after Jake’s hasty exit.

Ethan grinned unrepentantly. “Well, you were talking rather loudly. Anyone with their ear to the door would have heard you.”