• • • Girls’ Guide to Flirting With Danger • • •
“A smart, sassy book that I just couldn’t put down.” — Author Fiona Harper
Rule #1—Don’t even flirt with your ex—let alone sleep with him!
Life is good for marriage counsellor Megan Lowe—until the media discover that she’s the ex–wife of Devin Kenney, America’s most famous divorce attorney! Now the paparazzi are digging for a scoop just in time for the launch of Devin’s new book. His gorgeous smile smirks at Megan from magazines and billboards—making him infuriatingly impossible to forget…
It’s time for Megan to throw her very bossy rulebook out of the window and face her dangerously sexy ex. And their sizzlingly hot reunion—well, that’s most definitely headline news…
Download and read the first chapter at Harlequin.com.
Behind the Book
Research is not my favorite thing. Been there, done that, wrote the thesis. Unfortunately, books require research – unless I want to sound stupid and anger readers who know the topic much better than I do. Even when I do research, there’s a good chance I’ll screw something up, so NOT doing research isn’t an option.
But there is one kind of research I really do enjoy: the field trip.
What better way to get a feel for how things work than to go someplace and witness it first hand? Thankfully, there are people out there who don’t mind being watched while they do their jobs and answering stupid questions from me at the same time.
Like Dan and Dingo from WDRM- 102.1 in Huntsville.
See the current WIP has scenes that take place in a radio station during a live broadcast. Unfortunately, the sum total of my knowledge about radio stations and how they work was gleaned from reruns of WKRP, Frasier episodes, and the movie The Truth About Cats and Dogs.
I very quickly learned that wasn’t enough info to write a book on…
Enter Dan and Dingo, who allowed me to come observe their show, and in doing so, saved my hide from huge errors (I won’t tell you how much rewriting I had to do just on what I already had…).
There was one small problem: Dan and Dingo are the morning show hosts. Do you know what time they get up in the morning? ZOMGWTFBBQ!!1! kind of sums it up…
But nothing shall stand between me and research, so I dragged my sorry carcass out of bed at 4.30 and went to the radio station. (And though it was radio, I did put on makeup. Eyeliner before dawn is not easy…)
By the time I arrived at the station a little before six (earlier than planned, but I didn’t stop to think how little traffic there would be on the road before dawn), Dan and Dingo had been on the air for an hour already. And they weren’t the least bit grumpy about it.
They were both super-friendly and never laughed at my stupid questions (and there were some doozies!). I was immediately impressed at their ability to multi-task (answer the phone, find something on the internet, and never lose track of the exact moment they had to go live again). I was also floored by the patience they had with long-winded callers – including the guy who obviously calls in regularly just to chat and bring them up-to-date on his life. (It was kind of sweet, actually, the way they knew who he was by his voice, asked how he was recuperating from his surgery, listened to his story, etc, all while keeping the show going. I got the feeling this caller was an older man who didn’t have a lot of other people to talk to, and looked forward to checking in with Dan and Dingo because they cared enough to listen.)
But, back to my field trip…
I started snapping pictures and asking questions (and taking lots of notes that I’m having a hard time reading now because did I mention it was six o’ freaking clock in the morning? My hands weren’t awake.)
I have to admit I was rather disappointed to find out there wasn’t a CD in sight. I’m not sure why it didn’t occur to me that all the music would be digital and instead of CD players and fancy stuff like that, it would all be computer screens and mouse clicks.
Then came the words to strike fear into anyone’s heart – especially before sunrise: “Let’s put you on the air!”
Um, okay. Totally unprepared for that. Me, mouth-of-the-south, struck dumb by the thought of going on the radio. Talking to people doesn’t bother me, but talking to thousands of people I couldn’t even see? Risk the chance of sounding really stupid because my brain wasn’t fully awake? (Did I mention how freakin’ early it was?) Take the risk that in my nervous, sleep-deprived state, I might get flustered and say one of those seven words you’re not supposed to say unless you want FCC fines? Oh, the possibilities for shame and humiliation were endless and abounding…
But the next thing I knew, I was seated at the mic, Dan was introducing me, and I was live, baby.
Sadly, I remember very little of the conversation – mainly because I was so nervous. But my mom taped it, and I don’t think I sounded all that bad. Since Dan and Dingo were there in the studio and I could make eye contact with them, it made it much easier to talk and not focus so much on the microphone in my face. It was kind of like a conversation, only with a lot of expensive equipment around for me to worry about breaking while trying not to stick my foot in my mouth too much.
I guess the first go-round went okay, because they put me back on the air a few more times. I assume if I’d sounded too bad or screwed up too much, they’d have thanked me nicely and moved my chair away from the microphone.
Instigator and Smarty Pants both tried to listen, but neither of them heard me. My mom, DG and AC* all heard me (AC and DG were listening while getting ready and in the car on the way to school.) My aunt in Tennessee found the WDRM website and listened to the live stream, so she heard me too.
So, many thanks to Dan and Dingo for having me on their show and letting me observe how it all works. My book will be much better for it, and it was a lot of fun as well. If you’re in the area, you should give them a listen in the mornings, or check out their live stream on the website. They’re on the air from 5-10 am.
And while I hope they’ll invite me back one day, I’ll probably try to wait and show up after the sun comes up. There’s just not enough caffeine in the world at five a.m.
(*Those of you keeping score will be happy to know that being on the radio did get me a bump up on AC’s Famous-O-Meter. Thanks Dingo and Dan…)
Read an Excerpt
“How could you, Dev?”
“How could I what? You’ll need to be more specific.”
Megan pulled a copy of his book out of her bag and tossed it at him. “This.”
He caught it reflexively and looked at her. When she didn’t elaborate, he prodded her. “Should I make it out to you, or is it a gift for a friend?”
“Neither.” She snorted. “I’ve got your autograph already. On my divorce papers.”
“Then what?” She didn’t answer, but he could see the muscle in her jaw working. “Need some legal advice?”
She tilted her head, and the end of her ponytail fell to rest on the heaving swell of her breast above the neckline of her shirt. A faint flush colored the skin there, barely noticeable in the dimness of the stockroom. “Actually, I could use some legal advice. What’s the difference between slander and libel?”
He pulled his attention from her cleavage. “What?”
“How about Defamation of Character? Can I sue you for that?”
Meggie rarely made sense when she got good and mad, but this seemed to be extreme, even for her. “Why don’t you calm down and tell me—”
“Don’t you dare patronize me, Devin Kenney. Your radio show was bad enough, but this book–”
Old habits warred with each other. Placate or fight back? “I don’t think—”
“And therein lies the problem. Did you never once think that people might be interested in the ex-wife of America’s most popular divorce attorney?” Megan began to pace, her hands moving agitatedly as she spoke. “That people might think that some of the things you mention on the radio or the stories in this book are based on your personal experience? Or that they might come looking for me wanting dirt or back story or something?”
Ah, unwanted notoriety. “You’re all spun up because some tabloid wants you to dish the dirt on me?”
She crossed her arms across her chest again as she stared at him, eyes snapping. “Not just some tabloid. All the tabloids. All the cable news channels. Half a dozen talk shows and every damn blogger in the universe. Do you not keep up with your own press? Haven’t you seen my name next to yours recently?”
He didn’t keep up with his own press; he didn’t have time. That’s why he had Manny. And they’d be having a conversation about that later on. After he finished with Megan.
Her anger made a bit more sense now. Megan was so shy, the media hounds would be too much for her to deal with without major stress. Feeling a twinge of guilt Megan had been pulled into this media circus at all, he reached for her arm out of habit, simply to calm her. When she stepped back, he remembered he didn’t have the right to touch her anymore. He leaned back against a stack of boxes instead. “The fact we were married once is public record. I can’t change that.” She took a deep breath, and he held up a hand, trying to be diplomatic. “But I am sorry you’re being bothered by the press. It’ll blow over soon.” Something about that phrase made her nostrils flare and the color in her cheeks deepen. “Feel free to milk this any way you want, though.”
“I don’t want to milk this. I want it to go away. My career may never recover as it is, but if this continues…”
He tried to follow the change in topic. “Your career?”
“I realize it was never high on your radar, but surely you remember I wanted one of those, too.”
Oh, he remembered, all right. She’d moved to Albany and filed for divorce in pursuit of her precious career. The bitter taste of that memory settled on his tongue and made his next words sharper than intended. “I don’t see how a little fame could have any detrimental effect on your career.”
“I’m a therapist.” He shrugged in question and Megan’s jaw clenched again. “Primarily a marriage therapist,” she managed to grit out.
He felt his eyebrows go up, and a small chuckle escaped before he could stop it.
Megan rolled her eyes and sighed. “Yes, yes, I’m aware of the irony. As are all the people contacting me about you. But I’m damn good at what I do. And I was building a nice client list and decent reputation. Until now.”
“Let’s see. The press won’t leave me alone. They call my office and my house at all hours. My email overflows, and one even tried to pose as a new client. I could handle that, but now my clients are being harassed by press, which is a horrible invasion of their privacy, not to mention embarrassing for them and the clinic I work for. The speculation in the tabloids about our marriage makes me look like some kind of psychotic harpy, which tends to make people think twice about listening to my advice.” She was pacing again, working that head of steam back up. “Oh, and there’s the little issue of being placed on extended leave because all of this interferes with the entire clinic’s ability to do business. So, thank you, Devin, for screwing up my life. Again.”