Old Enough to Know Better . . .
Thanks for inviting me to participate in the Blog Event at The Word Place. My first book with The Wild Rose Press, THE MITCHELL MONEY, is being released today.
I love writing romances with older characters, people who are old enough to know better than the younger generation, yet young enough to accept and enjoy each other in every way. Characters who have lived longer and have had rich life experiences bring a different dimension to the page. These characters are usually wrapped up in their jobs and families, or in just getting by, so they’re not expecting to fall in love again. For some, it’s downright inconvenient. For the ones who’ve been hurt, it’s difficult to trust again, and love is harder to accept.
In THE MITCHELL MONEY, Gary, a former cop and rancher, is pushing fifty. His son, Joe, is an attorney. Joe lives with Gary on the ranch, the biggest one in that part of Arizona, but neither of them can cook. Gary burns pans and sets off the smoke detectors. He lost his wife years ago and has grown surly in his loneliness. He’d half-heartedly looked for another woman to love, but never found anyone who could measure up to his beloved wife. The town gossip and all-around pest has been after him for years, but he’d rather shoot her than marry her.
Before he died, Rachel’s husband hid most of their money. If she doesn’t find it within the next two months, she’ll lose her half-built home and the land it stands on, her only real assets. She’s in her mid-forties, with two grown daughters in another state. During their marriage, her husband had never allowed her to work. Even with a job, she can’t make the hefty payments on the new house. She needs the missing money to get by. Finding love is the last thing on Rachel’s mind. After her lousy marriage, she can’t imagine ever trusting another man or getting married again.
The excerpt below is from the first chapter of THE MITCHELL MONEY, when Gary and Rachel meet. As you can see, it didn’t go well. Rachel had just met with Gary’s son, Joe, who offered her a job cooking at the ranch, but she didn’t meet Gary until he ran into her car. She didn’t realize the surly man in the battered blue pickup was Joe’s father.
Gary called Bert’s Body Shop, then offered to take her home. The excerpt follows:
The woman stared at his cell phone and her eyes narrowed. Her lips pressed tightly together, and she looked like she’d erupt any second.
“What’s wrong now?” he said in frustration.
“Were you talking on that thing when you ran into me?”
Oh, no! She wasn’t blaming this on him. She’d backed out right in front of him. “Lady, if you’re implying I can’t do two things at once, you’re wrong.”
She lifted her chin. “If you’d been watching where you were going, you would have seen me and stopped in time.”
He snapped back a response. “If you’d bothered to look first, you wouldn’t have backed out in front of me.”
After a withering glare, she said, “I’ll wait for my car.” She opened the door, slid off the seat and walked to the bench nearest Joe’s office, muttering something to herself. He couldn’t hear her words, but it was probably just as well. She was obviously irritated, but so was he. The woman backed right into him.
Bert arrived and, ignoring the scowling woman on the bench, Gary pointed to her car. “See if you can pop the fender out so she can drive it.”
Bert reached under the fender with a rubber hammer and, in three quick whacks, popped the dent out. A crease remained, but the metal no longer touched the tire.
“You want this fender replaced?” Bert asked the woman.
She peered at the fender. “Can I drive it like that?”
“I don’t see why not.”
“Then that’ll have to do. How much do I owe you?”
“I’ll take care of it,” said Gary.
She scanned the front of his old truck. “Are you sure your truck is all right?”
“It’s fine.” Best truck he’d ever had.
Her eyebrows knit as she peered closer at his pickup. “You mean it always looks like this?”
Gary looked to see what she was talking about. It was scratched and dented and the bumper hung a little askew. The hot Arizona sun had faded the light blue paint until it looked white in spots, but he didn’t see anything wrong. “Like what?”
“Like . . . like this isn’t the first time you’ve hit something.”
A burst of laughter erupted from Bert’s mouth. “She’s got you pegged, Gary.”
“Mind your own business, Bert.” Gary turned to the woman. “Are you making fun of my truck?”
“I didn’t mean to insult you or your . . . uh . . . lovely truck. Thanks for taking care of this. I’ll try to stay out of your way from now on.”
He tried to explain his rude behavior. “Look, I’m not having a very good day today, and—”
“Well, neither am I,” she snapped. Without another word, she got in her car, slammed the door, and drove away, leaving him standing in the street beside his truck, feeling like an idiot. Frustrating woman. She’d be nice looking if she’d get rid of that angry scowl on her face. With any luck, he’d never see her again.
THE MITCHELL MONEY is available from The Wild Rose Press.
Sue Fineman is a grumpy old lady who lives with an even grumpier old man in a small town in Washington state. She writes romance, romantic suspense, women’s fiction and light paranormal romance novels. Although she doesn’t write comedy, there’s a little humor in everything she writes. You can visit her blog at: http://suefineman.blogspot.com/