Title: The Right Words
Author: Becky Moore
Release Date: May 5, 2010
Publisher: XoXo Publishing
Jane Porter’s life is all about fiction, but when it comes to dealing with her inconsiderate upstairs tenant, she’s all business. The cuffs are off when her noisy neighbor jolts her out of a sound sleep with a cacophony of banging thuds and her erstwhile favorite workout musicians, the Ramones. Imagine her surprise to find the offending party is not her flighty neighbor, Amber … but a sizzling, melt-your-panties Adonis, Lucas Moore.
Discouraged when a recurrent nightmare drives Lucas from another sleepless night, he figures a hard run is the perfect physical distraction to help him get back to sleep. But half an hour into his groove, pounding on the door stops him in his tracks. Who knew opening it would change the course of his life. Yet, one look at the breath-taking woman demanding entrance put his whole body on alert—and a serious strain on his self-imposed celibacy.
Can a dangerous, ex-government agent and a friendly, outgoing writer have anything in common other than combustible physical attraction? And when the flames of passion are banked, can Lucas and Jane trust the tentative bond they’re building beyond the bedroom? Sometimes, the right words can make all the difference in the world.
Welcome to Sizzling Releases, Becky. I’m so pleased you could join me today. What is your Sizzling Release?
The Right Words.
What is The Right Words all about?
The Right Words, ultimately, is a book about hope. Hope for a happy life, for a future that’s worth living, and for finding love. For Jane, an optimist by nature, she’s burned out from years on the road as a travel journalist. When faced with a sudden dose of reality—the murder of her sister—Jane realizes there’s more to life than chasing the next story. So she comes back to North Carolina, to the beautiful family homestead she inherited from her grandmother, to start the second phase of her life.
Lucas finds his way to North Carolina for a completely different type of respite—his from a decade of dangerous work as an undercover agent with a handful of government agencies. He’s seen one too many senseless murders, turned one too many heads, taken on one too many stains on his soul. His latest assignment with a Columbian drug cartel is especially hard to forget since bringing it down meant snapping his flexible undercover morals.
Jane needs somebody to love, somebody who’s worth taking a chance on. Lucas needs somebody to love him, somebody he can be himself with. Theirs is a match made in heaven.
That sounds like a wonderful and poignant love story. How did you come up with the idea?
I, myself, am an eternal optimist. Nine times out of ten I look for the silver lining on the cloud. I’m always willing to give people the benefit of the doubt, and a second chance. In my day-to-day world, I write grants and lobby the NC General Assembly for funding for individuals living with HIV/AIDS. I’ve learned through years of working with people who should have made a better decision that the one thing they need is the one thing they can’t get: a second chance to go back and choose more wisely. I think that concept is universal.
Second chances aren’t always dependent on a single moment in time, either. Sometimes a second chance can be like hitting the reset button … and that’s what both Jane and Lucas do in The Right Words. They hit their reset buttons. But because I’m an optimist AND a romantic, I put them on a path where they were sure to run into each other, and navigate their new lives together.
This is your first published work, which must be very exciting for you. What was it like for you to write your first book and get published?
Oh, my, it was like pulling a diamond ring out of a Cracker Jacks box. It was so surreal, checking my e-mail the day after Christmas while my husband and son were playing Guitar Hero upstairs. I was in a hurry because my turn was coming up, but I was looking for a note from a friend in Arizona. The note from XOXO Publishing showed up in my inbox as I was pushing my chair back to get up. Something made me check one more time before getting up, so I opened the message. I had to read it twice to process it, then I whooped and ran upstairs to tell the boys. Exciting is so true, but such an understatement!
What are you working on now?
Well, I’ve signed a contract for my second book, The Penalty Box, which will be released in a couple of weeks, and at home I’m putting the finishing touches on two books that I’ve worked on finishing in tandem: The Ice Storm, and Mine By Design. I’ve also written about half of the next story that’ll be part of a trilogy helmed by The Penalty Box, about a fictitious hockey team in Raleigh NC.
You mentioned your evil day job earlier, and given your occupation, how do you find time to write?
I do have an evil day job, but sheer force of will and a hope for a successful, long career as a novelist keep me going. The need to stay busy all the time helps, otherwise I get bored and crabby. My mind never rests, so I find that working out plots and characters keeps me focused. When I have down time, I’m late and flaky, both of which get on the nerves of my husband and son.
Is there something in particular that sparks you to write something new?
I like to think of myself as a keen observer of life, a fact that has driven my mother crazy most of my life. I don’t miss much, and the more unusual and memorable, the better. The strangest person in the craziest get-up with the weirdest situation will always pick me out of a crowd. It used to freak me out, but as I’ve gotten older, I appreciate a truly unique individual, and individual situation.
In the real world—outside of romance, that is—I work with a non-profit organization to find funding for individuals living with HIV/AIDS. My agency focuses specifically on those who are living below the Federal poverty level, are chronically homeless, and who are often suffering from mental health and substance issues … the truly disenfranchised. I was raised to observe the world and take a stand when I notice something or someone who needs help, to be a voice for the voiceless. My professional history is in marketing and public relations, but about five years ago I switched from the corporate world to the non-profit realm, where every second of the work day is occupied with an arduous task. It’s exciting, and often tiring, but necessary.
I’ve always been a storyteller, and attracted to the story around me—my work with this current population appeals to me on so many different levels. I’m drawn to our clients who, on the surface, are gruff and dirty, wearing worn clothes and a general unkept manner, yet who were once college professors or company CEOs. The mothers who choose a quick way to make a buck, knowing their actions are unsafe, to keep their electricity on and children fed speak to me. I like to see the world through their eyes, and find the story that they’re living. Everybody has something to tell, something to contribute. As a writer, I try to capture that idea and turn out a good story.
I’m honored to tell the story of the characters and lives I’ve created in my mind. I love pairing unlikely people together, and I love putting them in unusual settings. Being able to make my readers think … to view the world from a different view … is important to me. And, if I can put a happy ending on it, then all right.
What do your family and friends think about you being a published author?
They’re absolutely thrilled for me. I have a great support network at home, thankfully, and they’re all so involved in my imagination and aspirations to become a successful novelist. I’m already a seasoned storyteller … and they share my thoughts that if I can work as a productive novelist, I will have realized my greatest dreams. They’re all so fun about my genre, too, and my poor husband gets a good ribbing from the guys at work. I just tell him, “wait until they read my stories … they’ll be jealous their wives don’t have such an active imagination.” My mother tells me that she just pretends that she doesn’t know the author; although she’s a lifelong romance reader, she’d prefer not to think about where my husband falls into the reality or fantasy of my characters.
It’s May-did you celebrate Cinco De Mayo?
For the last few years, since my son was in the third grade, we’ve tried to have some type of traditional Mexican fare for dinner. My son’s 12 now, and he’s really interested in different world cultures, so Cinco de Mayo is a great opportunity to have a little history with our dinner. Everyone at my house loves an underdog story, so the Mexican Army’s unlikely victory over French forces at the Battle of Puebla is an exciting story. I think worldliness begins at home, and educating our son about history is a great refresher for me and the mister!
Dos Equis or Corona?
Dos Equis, although I’m more of a Stella Artois or Red Stripe kind of gal.
Speaking of Cinco De Mayo, have you ever been to Mexico?
No, but I’ve wanted to go since I was a kid … too many episodes of Fantasy Island and talk of Puerto Vallarta.
Thank you so much for being here. Is there anything else you’d like the readers to know?
Well that’s a loaded question! But aside from sharing my Secret Squirrel real-world identity, I’m excited for your readers to check out my book. I have a second novel, The Penalty Box, coming out this summer with XOXO Publishing about hockey. I’ve planned it to be the first in a trilogy. I think it’s a great story, too! One final note: make sure you check out all of the books at XOXO Publishing. It may be a newer publisher, but it’s a powerhouse of great stories.
And before we go, can we get a juicy excerpt from The Right Words?
Sure … Here you go!
Jane Porter squeezed her goose down pillow tighter around her head to try and block out the incessant pounding and blaring tunes of The Ramones coming from the efficiency apartment in her attic. She’d only gotten into bed two hours ago and, until the cacophony of sounds started, she was enjoying the blissful after-effects of her migraine medicine kicking in. Three songs in, however, the pain was beating out the remedy.
Oh, God. She flipped onto her stomach, groaning, and resettled the pillow to try and drown out the sounds. I deserve a medal, she thought. Maintaining her fledgling camaraderie with her flighty neighbor, Amber Taylor, was going to kill her … or cause her brain to melt down. Even on good, migraine-free days it was difficult at best to get along with that Barbie-bimbo—a self-centered, high maintenance, whiner of a slut who thought the world revolved around her and that any male within sight or scent of her should fall to their knees to worship her greatness. Jane snorted at the picture that popped into her mind of Amber standing spread-eagled at the front of the kindergarten class she taught, with one of the dads sitting on his knees going down on her, and the shocked expressions on the kids faces. Eww.
She groaned again, irritated that she was letting the pain was drowning out her patience. Jane found it was best to not dwell on how much she hated Amber; it made it easier to live with her.
But the pounding music was making her rethink her decision to open her home to a roommate. It was getting harder and harder to remind herself that she wanted the hustle and bustle of another living soul in the house with her.
When her grandmother died last Christmas and left the old brick mansion to her, Jane had been more than happy to leave Manhattan for Durham. Her work as a travel journalist kept her on the move, and for the last six years had lived out of a series of suitcases, hotels and friends houses. Hence, the thought that a roommate would be “fun”. Gah!
The old homestead was nestled deep within the historic Forest Hills area of town. It was a gorgeous Georgian-style mansion, with nearly 6,000 square feet. It was big and stately. And quiet. And lonely.
By Easter the silence had begun to make Jane crazy, so she’d taken a three month assignment in Costa Rica. While she was gone, contractors had segmented the third floor into an efficiency apartment—though it was larger than any apartment she’d ever had in Manhattan or Paris—and put an addition off the kitchen for her art studio and kiln. Now it was just right. And it was home.
A realtor had introduced her to Amber, who was in her first year of teaching. Amber was young and quiet, cute, and seemed like the perfect tenant. Apparently Amber was living on her own for the first time in her life, and while she was quiet and demure in the classroom, her crotch was a revolving door for anyone so inclined on the weekend. Crap, she’d even give Miss Kitty a run for her money.
They were four months into a six month lease, and the only thing keeping Jane from kicking Amber out on her ass was the lease they’d both signed. Legal and binding, damn it. Fucking Amber!
Jane glared at the ceiling, willing the noise in the attic to stop. But it was no use. The pounding went on and on. God, she had to get some sleep. With a muttered curse, Jane pulled the phone onto the bed and called Amber to pick up. Of course voicemail picked up.
“Amber . . . it’s Jane. I’m not sure what you’re doing up there, but you’ve got to stop. It sounds like you’re running with a herd of elephants. I was up late last night with a deadline and I’ve only been in bed for two hours. Please give me another couple of hours with some peace and quiet and I’ll go over to Duke Forest with you and run. I’ll even treat us to lunch afterward.”
She sighed and hung up and then went to the bathroom while she was up. The motion made her stomach lurch, so she sat on the toilet until she was able to stagger back to bed without vomiting all over the bedroom.
Twenty minutes later the banging continued enthusiastically.
“Shit.” She was going to have to go up there.
She was all the way at the attic landing outside Amber’s door, knocking with the flat of her hand, when she realized she was in her summer jammies. The only thing covering her little bikini panties was an old threadbare T-shirt with ‘Rough Riders’ emblazoned in pink rhinestones across the chest. She groaned and let her head drop back on her shoulders. Great.
Staring at the ceiling, she reached out to knock again—but instead of the solid door, her hand met solid, unyielding flesh. Crap!
She sucked in a quick breath, jerked her head up and came face to face with a tanned Adam’s apple. Ooh, and little dribbles of sweat trickled down it.
“Noooo,” she wailed. Then with a thud she dropped her forehead to rest in the solid notch between two very fine pectoral muscles. Neither she nor Mr. Pecs said a word.