by Beth Cornelison Guest Blogger, author of Healing Luke.
Hi and thank you so much for having me today as a guest blogger here on the Love Romance Passion blog! I'm thrilled to have this chance to tell you a little about my upcoming release from Sourcebooks, HEALING LUKE.
The idea for HEALING LUKE came to me following a family vacation in Destin, Florida. I fell in love with Destin, with snorkeling, and as soon as the Morgan men appeared from the misty realm of my mind, I fell in love with them, too. All of them, not just Luke.
And I must say, I love Abby, too. She was an interesting character to write, largely because she didn't want to be the character I originally intended her to be! She had a mind of her own, and with all her sass and stubbornness in place, she told me who she was and how I was to write her.
I'd intended her to be a sweet, innocent, heart-broken thing. A girl-next-door type. A dewy-eyed darling who was bowled over by the Morgan men and had her world totally turned upside down by these hunky men. Abby would have nothing of it!
Right from the beginning she hijacked my telling of the story and told me flat out she was not going to be the docile creature I'd imagined. She had spunk and guts and a strong will. She'd grown up with two bully brothers and knew how to hold her own with the Morgan men, thank you very much.
Know what? She was right! Her character proved far more interesting, more fun to write and a better match for Luke the way she wanted to be written.
That's not to say Abby didn't have her vulnerabilities and heartaches, but gone was the docile, well-mannered innocent I'd first envisioned. And it's a good thing, too, because Luke needed a good strong kick in the pants early in the story and someone with Abby's faith and determination to find the heart of gold he'd buried under his pain.
Here's an excerpt from an early chapter of HEALING LUKE to whet your appetite. Abby is at dinner with Luke and his family (father Bart and brother Aaron), supposedly to discuss the terms of her coming to work for them. In truth, Abby has pre-arranged with Bart and Aaron to work for the family under the guise of a business consultant when, in fact, she is there to counsel Luke and assist him with his physical therapy (which he refuses to do). Let the fireworks begin!
“Bart says you’re some kind of consultant.”
Her gaze darted up from her plate to meet his. She drew her small frame erect and took a deep breath as she returned his stare with a composure that contradicted her previous signs of unease.
“He says he wants to hire you to work for us.”
Abby hesitated, and Bart jumped in to fill the brief silence.
“That’s right. I thought she could stay in the extra bedroom, help out in the office, give us pointers on where to improve customer relations.” Bart sounded overly enthusiastic and uncertain at the same time. He gave a nod toward Abby and glanced at Aaron.
“Sounds good to me. Especially the part where she moves in with us.” Aaron wiggled his eyebrows at Abby, and she sputtered.
“I… I, uh, don’t remember that being part of the arrangement.” She sent Bart a hard gaze under a furrowed brow.
Luke followed the unfolding events with interest. He smelled a rat.
“But surely you agree that having you live on the premises with us makes sense. I could include room and board in your salary.”
“It’s just… I—”
“I think you could get a better understanding of… our situation, if you’re living here.”
Luke tried to read between the lines of Bart’s carefully chosen words while keeping a watchful eye on Abby’s apparent reluctance.
“I can see your point, Bart, but I—”
“I agree with Bart. I like the idea,” Aaron interrupted, nodding with enthusiasm. “So you’ve said,” Luke groused. “Personally, I think the idea sucks.” He pinned another hostile gaze on Abby. “Bart built this business without any damn consultant. He knows more about money and finances than most of the people on Wall Street. And while Aaron may be clueless when it comes to running the office—”
His brother’s head snapped up, and he grunted in protest.
“—he can fix anything with an engine and can have customers eating from his hand. As you know.”
Her sea-green eyes flashed her affront at his implied insult, and she squared her shoulders.
Luke cast a meaningful glance at his father before continuing. “I may have lost my eye and my thumb, but I still have a brain. We don’t need any damn consultant.”
Abby sent Aaron an anxious look. A stab of petty envy prompted Luke to add, “Despite what my brother may have promised you under the sheets last night.”
“Hey!” Aaron barked.
“Luke—” Bart started, his tone grave.
Abby raised a hand to cut his father off. In the tense silence that followed, Abby set her fork down and narrowed a challenging gaze on him. “You’re probably right. The business has obviously thrived without outside help before now. It’s quite possible that I’ll have nothing new to offer. Nothing is settled. We’re merely exploring alternatives right now.”
She propped her elbows on the table and leaned forward. “And I spent last night under my own sheets, thank you, though I find your interest in where I slept very… interesting.” Her lips curved in a sassy smile, as if she thought she’d bested him at his own game.
He mirrored her posture, bracing his arms on the table and leaning toward her. “I don’t give a rat’s ass where you slept or who you’re giving it to. Just stay away from me and my family’s business, and take your cocky attitude somewhere else.”
“Damn, Luke, what’s your problem?” Aaron said. “Abby’s only trying to help.”
He turned a scathing look on his brother. “I don’t need her help or anyone else’s.”
Aaron gave him a dirty look, a muscle in his jaw twitching, but he turned away without replying.
His brother’s lack of response irked Luke.
A month ago, Aaron gave as good as he got. Now his brother walked on eggshells around him. Frustration wrenched Luke’s gut.
“All right,” Bart said evenly. “We have one vote against and two in favor. It looks like the decision is now yours, Miss Stanford. If you’re willing to accept the terms laid out earlier, the position is yours.”
Luke turned toward his father, anger roiling inside him. “Wait a minute! My ‘no’ vote should count for something! We don’t need any damn consultant.” He aimed a finger and a narrow gaze on Bart. “You can’t do this without me.”
“I think we just did,” Aaron muttered under his breath.
© Beth Cornelison, Sourcebooks Casablanca, 2009
I have to say, writing the banter between the Morgan men (and Abby got in her share of one-liners...) was a blast, my favorite part of writing this book! Each of the Morgans had a distinct voice in my head (yes, I know that hearing voices makes me sound a little crazy!) to match their personality and their position in the family. They burst on the scene so clearly defined in my mind that I even knew what they ate for breakfast. (Aaron likes Froot Loops while Luke's more of a cold pizza guy. When Bart makes the coffee, you never know what you'll get, but it is usually way too strong. He dumps the coffee grinds rather than measuring.) The Morgan family quickly found a special place in my heart, as they did Abby's... and, I hope, yours too!
So what qualities about a character— any character, hero or heroine, protagonist or secondary— tends to make them resonate with you the most?
Beth Cornelison, www.bethcornelison.com