The cover and basic plot for To Have and To Hold
This is the cover for Dave and Mary’s second story. The more I think on this story, the more excited I am. I already knew the title of this one going in, so I need to start referring to Dave and Mary’s second story as To Have and To Hold. My plan is to start it when I finish Shotgun Groom, and I’ll start this one at 500 words a day for my daily word count goal. The estimated publishing month is May 2012.
I’m really excited about this book! I didn’t think I was going to be when I started brainstorming for what to have Dave and Mary go through. My overall outline (that is not written down) is for them to start out in Nebraska, she gets amnesia, she adjusts to being a wife and mother but then wonders about her family back in Maine and so she and Dave drop the kids off with Pa and Ma Larson and go to Maine. I’m thinking while there, one of her sisters will take an interest in Dave. Of course, he doesn’t go for it. I will never ever under any circumstance put a hero or heroine in the position of committing adultery. I hate romances with that as a theme. But I think I can use this to nag on Mary’s insecurities to a point but it won’t be the focus of the book. Dave will not be interested, but who knows what the sister will pull? I’ll have to find out when I write the book. 🙂 But they do return to Nebraska for a happy ending, and she will get her memory back at some point. I have to end it that way. Predictable set up? Sure. It’s a romance. I love happy endings, which is why I went into the romance genre to begin with.
Estimated Publishing Schedule From Now to May 2012
Hopefully, there won’t be any changes to make on this, but here’s what I have planned to come down the pipeline in the near future:
- Shotgun Groom to come out in November.
- Isaac’s Decision to come out in January.
- Her Heart’s Desire to come out in March.
- To Have and To Hold to come out in May.
I’d like to have three more Nebraska series books coming out every two months, so it’d be July, September, and November. I’ll have a better idea of what’s going on as I get into the next year. 😀
Her Heart’s Desire (Story Excerpts)
Clearing her throat, Sally decided she should approach him about her plan. “I notice you’re quite taken with my friend.”
His face grew pink. “I’m sure she’s noticed, too.”
“Do you plan to do anything about it?”
Glancing in her direction, he asked, “You mean, will I ask her if I can court her?”
“I plan to. I thought I’d see her a couple more times, see how things go, and then ask, though. I don’t want to seem too eager.”
Pretending to be relieved, she let out a sigh and chuckled. “That’s good because you have to be careful in how you ask.”
His steps slowed and he gave her a good look. “I do?”
“Of course.” She slowed down to meet his new pace. “Have you ever courted a woman?”
“Then I’m glad I happened to be visiting my friend when you stopped by.” Granted, Ethel Mae asked Sally to come because she knew Rick was coming over, but he didn’t need to know that. Choosing her words carefully, she continued, “My friend is wonderful. You will be very happy with her.”
His smile widened and he opened his mouth to speak, but she decided to beat him to it.
“The problem is, my friend prefers men who aren’t so easy to get. I hate to tell you this, but you’re a little too excited about courting her. She’ll see that and wonder why.”
“It should be obvious to her why I’m excited about it. She’s beautiful and kind and—”
Sally yawned and held her hand up. “But where’s the challenge? Does she have to fight for you? Does she have to wonder if you love her or not? It’s all too easy.”
His eyebrows furrowed. “I’m afraid I don’t understand.”
“All I’m saying is that women like to know that other women are interested in the object of their affection. You’d be more desirable to her if you feigned interest in another woman who feigned interest back.”
He laughed and shook his head. “That doesn’t make any sense.”
Turning wide eyes in his direction, she sweetly asked. “Doesn’t it?”
“No. If Ethel Mae is interested in me, she should want me even if no one else does. I should attract her on my own merits, not because some other woman is interested in me or because I’m interested in the other woman.”
“Hmm… You really don’t understand women then, do you?”
Looking uncertain, he said, “Well…no.”
“Not only am I a woman, but Ethel Mae is my friend. Men who are too eager to be with her simply don’t interest her.”
He stopped walking and turned to face her. She also stopped, met his eyes and clasped her hands behind her back. Putting on what she hoped was a charming smile, she waited for him to respond because if he responded the way she wanted him to, then her plan was all set.
After a glanced around them, he returned his gaze to hers and asked, “So what do you recommend?”
Good! That’s exactly what he was supposed to say. Counting to four so she’d sound thoughtful on the matter, she said, “Ethel Mae is my dearest friend in all the world, and I want to see her with a man who’ll treat her right.” That man, however, wasn’t him, but he didn’t need to know that. “I propose that you pretend to be interested in me.”
Shifting from one foot to another, he replied, “I don’t know. It seems rather devious to me. I could see making allusions to another woman to pique Ethel Mae’s interest, but it wouldn’t be fair to either you or her since you two are friends.”
Drat! Running through a list of possible arguments, she finally settled on the one that seemed to make the best comeback. “But Ethel Mae might not believe you unless she sees you paying attention to another woman. Granted, it would be me, and she’s bound to experience some jealousy.” More likely relief. “However, when you admit your undying devotion to her, she’ll know you are hers, and I’ll back out graciously while still being her friend. There will be no hard feelings since I am only pretending to enjoy your attention.”
“I’d have to think about it.”
Sighing, she realized she wasn’t going to get anywhere with him, at least not today. What she needed to do was talk to her friend, and fortunately, her friend should be more agreeable to the arrangement. “Alright then. But if you should change your mind, let me know.”
And so Sally and Ethel Mae come up with a plan where Ethel Mae’s younger sister will give Rick the idea that Sally is right and that Ethel Mae will need to think he’s interested in someone else in order to get her to like him.
A few seconds later, Ethel Mae’s ten-year-old sister bounded up the steps to the porch and stopped in front of him. “Are you here to see my sister?” she asked, her hands behind her back as she rocked back and forth on her heels.
“Yes,” he replied.
“Which suitor are you?”
Shifting uncomfortably on the swing, he asked, “How many suitors does she have?”
With a shrug, she said, “I think there’s three.”
“Yes, I’m sure it’s three. There’s Larry, Samuel, and…and…” She pressed the tip of her finger to her lips and glanced at the sky. “I’m not sure who the other one is.”
“Rick?” he squeaked. He cleared his throat and repeated, “Rick?”
“Rick! That’s it. You know how I remember it? Because Rick rhymes with sick.” She giggled as if that was the funniest observation a person could make. “So, which one are you? Or are you a fourth?”
“Oh. Well, it’s a pleasure to meet you!”
He nodded, though he kept wondering why he hadn’t heard of Larry or Samuel before. “These other suitors, Larry and Samuel… Do they come by often?”
“I’ve only met Larry, but she talks about Samuel an awful lot.”
“Yep. But he likes someone else. Maybe that’s why he hasn’t been by. He must be spending time with Miss Keating. Do you know who she is?”
“I do. My sister does, too. In fact, she went over to visit last week and Samuel was there. My sister came home, and she said she didn’t realize how addictive Samuel is.”
“You mean, attractive?”
“Something like that. All I know is she’s been sweet on him ever since. She says she wants him to court her or kiss her. Really gross things like that. I don’t understand it. Do you?”
Unsure of what else to say, he replied with a bland, “No.”
With another shrug, she said, “Maybe when I get older I will. But if a boy tries to kiss me right now, I’ll slap him silly.” Shuddering, she said, “Thank goodness I’m still a kid. Good luck with my sister!”
She ran into the house, and he didn’t know whether to be glad she couldn’t tell him anything else he didn’t want to hear or if he should run after her to find out more about Samuel and what else was so great about him. Samuel’s appeal couldn’t be the fact that he was interested in Miss Keating. There had to be something more to it than that. Maybe there was something about the way he acted or looked or…
“I’m sorry I kept you waiting,” Ethel Mae said as she stepped onto the porch, shutting the door behind her.
He stood up and almost took his hat off before he remembered his cowlick. Tipping his hat, he said, “I didn’t mind.”
He almost said he’d wait forever for her but then thought better of it. There was no need to let her know how eager he was to see her. Perhaps Sally was right. Maybe Ethel Mae picked up on his excitement and it made him less attractive to her.
I don’t know if Ethel Mae’s sister will show up in the story again, but I had a lot of fun writing her that last scene. 😀