Imaginary Friends by CJ Kyle
I grew up as a military brat. Every two years, we moved to a new state or country, which meant I left friends behind all over the world. Kids are resilient, and while saying goodbye was always hard, saying hello, for me, was always harder. I’m an introvert. Painfully shy and awkward, never quite fitting in. Each move brought with it the possibility of reinvention, which excited me, but I could never break out of my shell enough to belong anywhere, really. In that corner of my life, books became my heroes. Some of the most important people in my life are completely made up. Yet they’re so real to me that they saved me from feeling lonely, and probably have a great deal to do with how I ended up making a career out of creating my own.
So my gift to you, dear Reader, is this: I’m going to share my circle of friends with you and hope that, if you haven’t met them already, you’ll take the time to introduce yourself.
Royce & Nicholaa: He’s a strong, sexy warrior and she. . . felled him with a small stone on the first page of Julie Garwood’s THE PRIZE. In a scene that makes me cry every time I reread it, Royce recreates a beloved possession that belonged to Nicholaa after it was destroyed, working into the wee hours of the night in secret until his hands were bloody just so she could have it again. These two were among the first of my imaginary friends in the romance world, and gave me a love for the medieval romance genre that has lasted to this day.
Harry Potter: Pretty sure I don’t have to lay out all of his feats here, or even mention that the list of friends I made in J.K. Rowling’s series is endless. But I can’t not mention him. He became a friend to me later in my life, but one of my daughter’s very first. She developed a love of reading thanks to Harry, Ron and Hermione, and for that I am forever indebted to them.
Dolores Price: If anyone could understand my plight as an outsider, it was Dolores. I found her in between young womanhood and adulthood, and she soothed a part of me in SHE’S COME UNDONE by Wally Lamb that I hadn’t known was so wounded. As she found her peace, I found a little of mine.
As you can see, genre wasn’t much of a concern to me then any more than it is now. I made friends with the Babysitters Club, Taffy Sinclair, the Boxcar Children. I solved mysteries with Nancy Drew and learned about sex probably way too early with Harlequin novels. I longed for a pet mouse like Stuart Little which led to my love of dog stories in books like Marley and Me. Today, I still surround myself with Julie Garwood’s historical creations and find a love in nonfiction that is relatively new but I discovered the experience of reading them is a lot like talking to friends about subjects that interest me, allowing their ideas to feed my own.
I’m still a loner. Still introverted. And always still on the lookout for new buddies. So please recommend some to me. I’d like to introduce myself!
by C.J. Kyle
Genre: Romantic Suspense, Mystery
Release Date: October 28th, 2014 by Avon
Format: Paperback/eBook, 384 pages
Christmas, Tennessee, is a town where no one locks their doors and the worst crime is a stolen bicycle. Until the night blood is found…but there’s no body.
Police Chief Tucker Ambrose hopes it’s just a prank, but his years as a cop in Chicago tell him different. Then a body is discovered in the middle of the woods, staged with a bible, a crucifix, and a rosary… and Tucker knows something dark and sinister has arrived in his town.
Miranda Harley knows exactly what’s going on. In fact, she’s been tracking this serial killer, hoping to gather enough evidence to convict him. Trouble is, no one will believe her, not even the sexy police chief whose heated gazes promise nights of sin. But when Miranda falls into the crosshairs of a psychopath, Tucker must put aside his doubts and race to stop the killer from striking again.
She glanced over the menu, settled on the stew and closed her eyes. A gust of cold from outside pulled her lids open again, and she found herself watching a tall man built like a quarterback stepping through the tinkling doors. Miranda swallowed, hating herself for even noticing how appealing he was. But who could blame her? She’d been so consumed with other things lately . . . getting laid had fallen so far down on her to-do list that she couldn’t even find it anymore. A man like that could spark even the deadest libidos back to life.
The waitress led him to Miranda and grinned. “Here he is.”
The man smiled down at her. “Miranda, right?”
He eyed her, and she squirmed a little. The term landlord had conjured an image of an old man with glasses. This guy certainly didn’t fill that bill.
“Yeah, hi.” She thrust out her hand awkwardly and shivered as his warm one engulfed her fingers. It took her a moment longer than it should have to let go. “Tucker?”
“That’s me. Mind if I sit? I have some paperwork for you to fill out and then we can get you settled in.”
“Sure. I was about to order something. I hope you don’t mind if I eat while we talk. It was a long drive.”
“Not at all. I could do with something myself.” He handed her a small stack of papers. “Have a look over those while I decide what I’m in the mood for and I can answer any questions you have.”
Occasionally, his gaze met hers over his menu and she looked away, embarrassed that her sixteen months of celibacy were catching up to her. She hadn’t come to this town for romance or sex. God she needed her life back. Needed to get laid. Needed to be anywhere but here.
She leaned back as Bouffant slid a glass of water in front of her. Miranda glanced up in time to see the name badge that proclaimed herthe Peggy Jo.
“What’s it going to be?”
“I’ll have the beef stew.”
Her new landlord flashed a grin that revealed two perfect dimples. Of course he had dimples. No Superman was created without them.