Lately I’ve been on a nonfiction kick. I’ve read half a dozen psychology and relationship books over the past couple of weeks. (It helps that the kids went back to school and this is the first opportunity I’ve had to read in months.) The first one I picked up was written by a forty-something single mom discussing how picky young women are and the mistakes they make when dating and deciding what kind of man they want to marry. Maybe you know some of them, maybe you were one of them—the girl who wants to be on the arm of the popular homecoming king, the sexy womanizer, the wealthy CEO. What isn’t so obvious is that the homecoming king is too busy being entertained by everyone else to pay attention to you, Mr. Sexy is unemployed and lives with his mom, and the CEO spends 99.9 percent of his time at the office.
These are gross generalizations, of course, but the book makes a good point—a great date and a great spouse are not the same thing. And a lot of wonderful future husbands get passed up for what my own hubby calls the “flashy” guy. My husband happens to be the best guy in the world, but after our first date, I turned him down for a second. Why? Because his head was too round.
In my defense, he shaves his head, so it *is* rather round. Plus I was only 21 and still getting past a nasty breakup, so I wasn’t exactly thinking straight. Luckily the man had patience, and a few months later once I figured out I was insane, he got his second date. And I got a lifetime of unconditional support instead of one filled with doubt and insecurity.
Not surprisingly, Full Circle’s heroine didn’t make the best decisions in her youth after being drawn to the hot but arrogant jock. I was more than happy to pull the nice (gorgeous, sexy, successful…) guy off the sidelines to show her what she’d missed.
What qualities are “must-haves” for you in a relationship? What are the deal-breakers?
I’ll send a copy of Full Circle to one commenter, and I also invite you to hop over to my blog (www.averybeck.com/blog) and participate in my release week contest. Just leave a comment on any or all of the posts from Sept 13-17 and you’re entered in a drawing for all five of those giveaways.
Can’t wait to hear your thoughts!
If you love something, set it free. If it comes back to you…run.
Nine years ago, Elisa Haley set tongues wagging when she returned home from college single and pregnant. Finally, her long-delayed graduation is just weeks away. She’s ready to move out and move on to a bright, shiny future in another state…until a face from her past walks into her brother’s veterinary office. A man who once offered her one night of comfort in his arms. The memory burns as hot in her soul as the guilty secret he must never learn.
Tired of the big city, grieving a recent loss, Dr. Liam Barton longs for a home and family in a quiet small town. When he arrives for his first day at the veterinary clinic, he’s not surprised to find Elisa behind the desk. Curiously, though, she barely acknowledges their shared past, and insists she can’t wait to get out of the town he’s already come to love.
Elisa, determined to be nothing more than friends, tries fixing Liam up with Windy Flats’ most eligible women. Yet the old passion still simmering between them melts her resolve, and uncovers secrets that refuse to stay buried. Secrets that put both their hard-earned futures—and their hearts—at risk.
Product Warnings: Paranormal? No. Sci-fi? Nothing otherworldly here. Just a sinfully gorgeous vet who loves animals, and knows how to turn a gal inside out with supremely mushy love scenes? Oh, absolutely!
Excerpt from Full Circle
Copyright © 2011 Avery Beck
All rights reserved — a Samhain Publishing, Ltd. publication
A couple of minutes passed, and Liam inspected the house to distract himself from the possibility that Elisa may not come back. The exterior was painted white with the exception of the front door, garage door, and surrounding trim which all boasted the same dark green color. The paint was peeling and the grass dying in the sweltering summer heat. The whole place reminded him of something out of the seventies and didn’t exactly scream pride of ownership. His mental list of questions about Elisa’s life grew even longer.
At last, she fumbled with the locks again and then opened the door, this time wearing shorts and a University of Texas longhorn T-shirt. That must be where she attended school now. But why? She had transferred out after that first year to go who-knows-where with Brett, but she should have graduated from her new place around the same time Liam did—six years ago.
He had no idea where she’d gone or what had happened in the near-decade since their friendship came to an abrupt end. A tugging in his gut urged him to find out, and to do it without liking her too much. On top of the fact that she was his boss’s sister and his coworker, he had traveled that road with her before—and seen its dead-end.
“Welcome to my humble abode.” Elisa opened the door wider and gestured for him to enter.
“Thank you.” He nodded. More stilted conversation.
Liam stepped onto the hardwood floor. The interior of the house matched the outside, old and in need of repairs. A fresh coat of paint would benefit every wall, and the floor needed refinishing. With a few tools, he could do some serious updating in here. But the condition of the house didn’t disturb him as much as the absence of Elisa’s belongings.
There wasn’t the stash of sentimental knick-knacks he’d known women to display, or any photos of family and friends on the wall—just a few pieces of furniture in the living room, and around the corner, a vintage kitchen table surrounded by four green vinyl chairs. The stuff looked way too old to be hers.
“Do you own this place?” he couldn’t help asking.
She strolled into the living room, never meeting his eyes. “No. This is temporary.”
Temporary. It seemed to be the way she liked things—she had also said she would leave the clinic before long. He fought the urge to ask her why she was determined to leave a town he already knew he was going to enjoy. Dinner conversation had revealed Justin asked her that question often enough, so Liam kept his expression neutral. He’d have a better chance of getting her to talk if she thought he couldn’t care less.
“The house belongs to my parents,” she explained. “They lived here years ago, and when they moved up to a nicer home, they kept this one and rented it out. They’re letting me use it for free until I finish school.”
“That’s very generous.”
“If you want to call it that.” She sighed and stared into space. After a moment, she focused on him, waving her hand toward the kitchen. “Do you want a drink? I’m sure I’ve got a beer or something.”
He shook his head. These formal niceties were driving him insane. He had seen her in her pajamas at midnight, curled up on the couch watching a movie with Brett, who’d spent most of the time on his laptop checking email. When she had the flu, Liam found her pale, red-eyed and miserable after he skipped class to go to the drugstore and take medicine to her room—because Brett had been busy helping some other girl “study”.
For God’s sake, they had made love. She didn’t have anything left to hide from him.
“All I want is for you to stop playing this game.”
She froze in the doorway to the kitchen then faced him, her expression wary. “What game?”
“The one where we don’t know each other.”
“Of course we know each other. I never said we didn’t.”
“I never got a chance to tell you today, but I’m very sorry about your loss. I didn’t get the news.”
You never told me.
“It’s all right. It was a long time ago.”
She didn’t look all right, and she avoided his eyes. Since her mind was on the past, he might as well pull the trigger.
“Where did you go, Elisa? And what happened to Brett? Did he finally do something bad enough to make you leave him?”
“He left me.” Her voice rose, her defenses up. “Trust me, I wish I’d been smart enough to leave him instead.”
Liam would be first in line to agree with that, but now wasn’t the time to insult her. That deadbeat Brett could go to hell. He hated that he had once considered the guy a friend.
He stepped closer to her. “I didn’t mean to upset you. Guess I just never understood what you saw in him.”
She shrugged. “We were young. He was cute, I was naïve…you know the drill. Women have sex to get love, men give love to have—”
“He hit you. Is that your definition of love?”
Elisa jolted, as if right then, Liam had done the same thing.
“He did once,” she admitted then quickly added, “He said he was sorry. It never happened again.”
Liam’s eyes narrowed. He’d lived with the guy. He knew his temper. “It would have.”
She sighed. “I don’t know, and I don’t care. Besides, where were you if you were so concerned about me?”
“You moved in with Brett. Your choice was clear.”
“I thought I loved him. I thought he would be a good provider—”
“I know. You stayed with him because he knocked you up. You should have kicked him out the moment you lost the baby.”
She blinked. Her whole body shook. “That’s none of your business.”
It wasn’t. He’d gone too far, and he needed to end this conversation before his frustration got the best of him, if it hadn’t already. He couldn’t stand listening to her defend her relationship with a guy who had lied to her, cheated on her, laid his hands on her for the purpose of causing pain—then got her pregnant and ran off. It was a blessing in disguise that she didn’t have to spend her life raising Brett’s kid. Someday, she would get a chance to make a baby with someone who actually gave a damn about both of them.