“I need to learn to ride a bike.” Sarah didn’t try to hide her
grimace. “By the middle of next week. Even though riding one of those things is
basically daring God to smite me.”
That’s the opening of READY
TO FALL, my fourth Lovestruck Librarians
book. Now, I will freely admit that my heroine, Sarah Mayhew, has a flair for
hyperbole. She’s earned her nickname DQ (for Drama Queen) among her friends
honestly. But in this instance…well…
I can’t help but agree with her.
My mother taught elementary school for many years, and—to my dismay—she used to
tell her kids three main stories about me. They were cautionary tales, or maybe
reassurance that however delayed her students might be in learning certain
skills, they certainly couldn’t be as laggardly as her younger daughter.
Occasionally, she’ll also tell the same stories to friends, acquaintances,
restaurant servers, grocery checkers, random pedestrians, etc.
“Olivia didn’t learn to tie her shoes for years! She claimed the invention of
Velcro made shoe-tying skills unnecessary. She made the same argument about
digital clocks and her inability to read analog clocks. And you would not
believe how old she was before she learned to ride her bike!”
Sometimes, she’ll say I was nine before I learned. Which is a total lie, since I
was definitely no older than eight, maybe eight and a half.
Here’s the thing: Bicycles are freaking scary. They’re tall, precariously
balanced, prone to picking up an alarming degree on speed on downhill stretches,
and basically instruments of death. As a child, I did finally learn to ride
mine, but I never really enjoyed it. And as I got older and gained access to a
car, I abandoned my ancient two-wheeler without looking back.
Then I met my husband, who competed in long-distance bike races in his native
Sweden, as well as an Iron Man Triathlon. When we started dating, I attempted to
be a good sport. I bought the cheapest possible bicycle—“I don’t want hand
brakes! I want to pedal backward to stop, just like when I was a kid!”—and hit
the road with him.
Not literally. But that was more a matter of chance than skill.
My husband, bless his heart, took me out to a winding country lane, surrounded
by farmland and silos. The problem: To get to said country lane, we needed to
bike a stretch along a very heavily-traveled two-lane highway without a real
shoulder. One utilized by eighteen-wheelers.
Long story short: I wobbled, I got (rightfully) reprimanded by the long blast of
a truck driver’s horn, and I was terrified.
My now-husband: “Maybe we should have chosen a different road for the beginning.”
Me: “You think?”
But it was too late. I was already scarred for life.
The good news for my husband is that while I no longer want to perch my ample
ass atop a tiny triangle of hard plastic and wheel down the road, I do enjoy
watching cycling. On my couch, reassuringly close to the ground. So
every year, the two of us bond over the Tour de France—the team tactics, the
individual heroics, and the beautiful scenery. (Unlike my husband, I also
consider the sight of dozens of very fit men in shiny, tight outfits an integral
part of that gorgeous view.)
My cycling fears do rear their ugly heads in the mountain stages, however. I
can’t watch the riders descend a mountain in the Alps or Pyrenees. Who can blame
me? They reach insane speeds, using every inch of the roads as they wrestle
their bikes around tight corners with sheer drops one small mistake away. I
can’t look. I worry too much, and I have no desire to see anyone hurt or killed.
Yes, I’m a wuss. But we’d already established that, hadn’t we?
So is my heroine Sarah. But in the end, she earns an ample reward for her
determination in finally learning how to ride a bike. The expert she finds to
teach her, Chris Dean, turns out to be the taciturn man-beast of her dreams. But
since I already have my own personal hero at home, I think I can do without
polishing my own bike skills for the foreseeable future.
Sorry, nature. I’ll just have to see you on a walk or from a car. Or from behind
a window in my air-conditioned house, because really? Bugs and pollen are also
overrated. But that’s the subject for another blog post.
Elementary school teacher and part-time librarian Sarah Mayhew has the
perfect plan: show off her cycling skills at her school's bike retreat and
attract her oblivious coworker in the process. Her end game? Fall in love. Only
one problem: she needs to find someone to teach her how to ride a bike pronto.
But when she catches sight of Chris Dean's gorgeous physique, her best laid
plans are about to go off track . . .
Chris is not looking for a girlfriend. He's getting over his last one by
focusing on his bike repair business. So when a feisty, sexy schoolteacher urges
him to help improve her cycling skills, he does it strictly for the money. He
vows he won't repeat history, even for a blond bombshell like Sarah. But when
the two find themselves alone on the road, they can't help taking a detour
straight into each other's arms . . .
[Lyrical Press, On Sale: June 21, 2016, e-Book,
ISBN: 9781616509408 / eISBN: 9781616509408]
While I was growing up, my mother kept a stack of books hidden in her closet.
She told me I couldn't read them. So, naturally, whenever she left me alone for
any length of time, I took them out and flipped through them. Those books raised
quite a few questions in my prepubescent brain. Namely: 1) Why were there so
many pirates? 2) Where did all the throbbing come from? 3) What was a "manhood"?
4) And why did the hero and heroine seem overcome by images of waves and
fireworks every few pages, especially after an episode of mysterious throbbing
in the hero's manhood?
Thirty or so years later, I have a few answers. 1) Because my mom apparently
fancied pirates at that time. Now she hoards romances involving cowboys and
babies. If a book cover features a shirtless man in a Stetson cradling an
infant, her ovaries basically explode and her credit card emerges. I have a
similar reaction to romances involving spinsters, governesses, and librarians.
2) His manhood. Also, her womanhood. 3) It's his "hard length," sometimes
compared in terms of rigidity to iron. I prefer to use other names for it in my
own writing. However, I am not picky when it comes to descriptions of iron-hard
lengths. At least in romances. 4) Because explaining how an orgasm feels can
prove difficult. Or maybe the couples all had sex on New Year's Eve at Cancun.
During those thirty years, I accomplished a few things. I graduated from Wake
Forest University and earned my M.A. in American History from the University of
Wisconsin-Madison. I worked at a variety of jobs that required me to bury my
bawdiness and potty mouth under a demure exterior: costumed interpreter at
Colonial Williamsburg, high school teacher, and librarian. But I always, always
read romances. Funny, filthy, sweet--it didn't matter. I loved them all.
Now I'm writing my own romances with the encouragement of my husband and
daughter. I found a kick-ass agent: Jessica Alvarez from Bookends, LLC. I have
my own stack of books in my closet that I'd rather my daughter not read, at
least not for a few years. I can swear whenever I want, except around said
daughter. And I get to spend all day writing about love and iron-hard lengths.
So thank you, Mom, for perving so hard on pirates during my childhood. I owe you.
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