Bring Me Back
By: Karen Booth
Music critic Claire Abby is a single mom dreading her daughter’s departure for college and worried that turning forty will leave her career running on fumes. She’s floored when she lands a Rolling Stone cover story on 80s British rock legend Christopher Penman. She spent her teenage years fantasizing he was her boyfriend.
In person, Christopher is everything Claire feared he’d be—charming, witty and unwilling to address the rumors he’s dodged for a decade. Still, she contains her adolescent fantasies and manages to earn his trust, unearthing the truth and the devastating secret behind it. His blockbuster story is her first priority when she returns home, a nearly impossible task when Christopher starts calling and flirting. She knows she should maintain a professional distance. She knows she should focus on the story. She knows it would be best to simply walk away. But how can she say “no” to the man she could never forget?
The Beauty of the First Kiss
By: Karen Booth
When editing a manuscript recently, I realized how much I love to write the first kiss. Everything is new and exciting, the person initiating simply reaches the point where they can’t stand it anymore. It doesn’t matter if you’re cooking dinner or doing laundry or standing in line for the movies. When the attraction is undeniable, it’s going to happen, regardless of the location or circumstances. For a writer, it’s a land of opportunity—put two characters together, let things simmer, see who breaks down first. So fun.
In Bring Me Back, the first kiss is of an entirely different scope. Claire Abby, a music journalist and single mom, has met and interviewed Christopher Penman, the British rock star she was obsessed with in high school. After the interview, he begins to call and flirt, and although she wonders if he has ulterior motives and is trying to influence the slant of her article, she can’t help but give in, even when she knows it isn’t the smartest call professionally. She has, after all, pined for this man for years and years. Her teenage fascination never quite went away. Keep in mind, during all of this, Christopher knows none of this.
Christopher ends up travelling to visit Claire, where he discovers she owns every piece of music his band ever recorded over their decades-long career, on vinyl and CD. Once he drags it out of her that he was in fact the band member she most, ahem, admired, the game changes completely.
He reached over and his hand touched mine, putting an end to my train of thought. His thumb rode across my knuckles while his remaining fingers tucked underneath to touch my palm. I sat mesmerized by his hand on mine—so innocent and sweet, and such a dangerous boundary to cross.
My heart ached and struggled. I could’ve written a surprisingly detailed inventory of the reasons I shouldn’t do this. My career, my future, Sam’s future; all tied to one moment, one act that would mean I’d crossed the line, and for what? My heart would undoubtedly get broken. Chris Penman didn’t fall for women like me.He spread his hand over the top of mine, obscuring it beneath his fingers, strong from years of guitar playing. I tried to stop, but I couldn’t help but turn toward him as he lowered his head to mine. My eyes closed and I became painfully aware of every uncertain move my body made.The heat radiated from him as he drew closer, time moving at a crawl, my mind moving at record speed. I desperately wanted the kiss, despite my miles-long list of doubts. I could feel it in my head before it happened—the protracted version of my teenage daydream.He gently pulled me closer, locking his hand around my waist. His face brushed against my hair and he moved his mouth to my ear, leaving my cheek white hot and flustered. “May I kiss you, Claire?”Just do it already. “We shouldn’t,” I murmured, finding my face nestled in his magnificent neck, the stubble gently poking at the bridge of my nose as I recognized his smell, pure and pleasing.He eased my hair away from my neck and his lips wandered closer to my skin. “Because we’re just friends?”I’d have to be an idiot to be just friends with you. “I guess so.” I was ready to give in after nanoseconds of superficial protest—right before our glorious moment dove sharply and went down in flames.“Mom? Are you in here?” Sam flipped on the overhead light. “Oh! Sorry!” She jumped and flapped her hands, averting her eyes from what was probably a horrific scene to her. “I didn’t know you were…I’m sorry.”I sat up straight and blinked from the sudden brightness, distancing myself from Chris. “It’s okay, honey. We were just talking.”
No, I’m not especially cruel. I realize this isn’t technically a kiss, but all of the build-up is there. The build-up is the fun! That’s what keeps your turning the pages, gnawing at your lip, your heart beating through your chest. Will he? Won’t he? Why doesn’t she take the reins and pin him against the wall? Seriously! These two need to just get this over with! That’s what I long for in a book. They’re often the scenes I will return to again and again. Even more than that, it’s what I love to write.
Thank you so much Karen for stopping by today!
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Bring Me Back Blog Tour