A novel by Ali Baran
Thank you, Jane, for inviting me to your blog. You asked what inspired me to write Tessa. Well, nothing made the clouds part for me or anything like that. I've always been a reader, and I love a good sexy romance. I want to read a story that will warm me to my toes. The kind of story where you fall in love with the hero and he stays with you for a long time - long after you've finished reading.
I didn't set out to be a writer, but my mom's friend is an author. One evening we got into a discussion of romance heroes. I said I was sick of romance heroes who were jerks. You know the ones that seem wonderful, but if you stop to think about them, exactly how long would you date them? That prompted a discussion of what makes a guy wonderful.
My mom's friend encouraged me to consider writing what I like to read and to create that perfect hero. I mulled on it for quite awhile and then decided maybe it was something I could do - someday. But that someday just kept poking me.
A series of events had left me in a foul mood and I thought I'd break it with a good sexy story. Not! We're not body parts or ornaments meant for a man's pleasure. Women have lives too! We also have our own dreams and aspirations. We want men who are more than body parts and we want them to know what it takes to please us and not just in the bedroom. I grabbed a small notebook that I keep and started to jot down some notes about what I wanted in a man and what I wanted in a sexy romance. That list kept getting longer and longer.
Then one dismal, cold, windy, rainy day when my electricity went out, I grabbed my computer tablet and started writing. I wrote every chance I had for weeks. Once completed, I sent it to my mom's friend. Oh my!
She called me back and said, "Meet me at Starbucks. We need to talk."
That started me on a crash course in point-of-view, head-hopping, tip-toeing through the forest, back-story, purple prose, anchoring, story arcs, sexual tension versus blatant sex, hooking, and probably another dozen terms associated with writing. Believe me that was harder than any college classes I've ever taken. Armed with colored highlighters and a key for their use, I started working on what she had printed out of my story. By the time I was done, I was sick of the hero and the heroine. But I knew that the writing bug had bitten me and I was hooked.
I was in the fifth grade when I wrote a story for English. My teacher gave me an A and said I should become a writer. It made me feel good to be recognized for something, but I wanted to do something important with my life like save the whales. Thinking back on it, I did best in classes that required the most writing. And the ability to write probably saved my neck in my sciences classes, especially in college. Except I kept avoiding the obvious and switched majors every time I realized I didn't like something. Then one day, after a hard lecture from my mom about being a perpetual student, I had to do something and graduate - three more semesters meant seven years of college and three degrees. I'm over educated, under-employed, and I love my job.
Yes, I'm looking for Mr. Wonderful. I haven't found him. My mom says I'm too picky. I don't think I am. I know who I am and what I want. I'm no longer floundering. I know where I'm going. I don't need a man to make my life complete. Nor do I want to be that person to fill in his void. I want him to come to me as a whole person and bring something with him that adds to my life, so we can both continue to add to each others lives, as we grow old together. To me, marriage is a one shot deal, otherwise why bother? I want a happily-ever-after and not just a happy-for-now. I don't need marriage for a happy-for-now situation.
Warning: May December romance for the mature reader
Years of wisdom have taught Randal that it’s not the destination but the journey that makes everything worthwhile. When the tentative friendship between silver fox Randal and young Tessa bursts into lust, it ignites a passionate affair that leaves them both trembling. There’s nothing more fulfilling than a beautiful woman in the arms of a man who can appreciate everything she has to offer.
As Randal embarks on a second career and Tessa is preparing for her chosen field, Randal’s daughter flounders in a sea of depression. When Randal’s love for his daughter is pitted against his love for Tessa, can there be a winner?
In the water, Randal didn’t act like an invalid. Those piercing blue eyes sparkled and his body was ripped, better than any guy Tessa had dated. The man was damn sexy, and in the week she’d known him, she’d grown to like him—maybe too much. Way too much. Aside from a few thin, pink scar lines over his knees, no one would have believed he was living in a wheel chair.
He trapped her against the side of the pool and held her prisoner between his arms.
She turned and faced him. Now she stared into those beautiful blue orbs and caught the grin that crinkled the skin at the outer edges of his eyes. “You have the most beautiful eyes I’ve ever seen.”
“And you have a beautiful body.”
She inhaled as he drew himself nearer. His breath flowed over her face. She closed her eyes and she prayed he’d kiss her.
A finger touched her jaw, and she opened her eyes. He was inches from her with a warm smile on his face. Heaving in a deep breath, she hoped to cool the sensation building in her, but she couldn’t stop it. She tried to imagine his lips on hers. His finger traced her entire face, including her lips. She parted her mouth and touched her tongue to his roaming finger.
“Damn woman. You’re giving me an erection.”
She cast her gaze toward his trunks but she couldn’t stop the grin that was pulling on the edges of her lips.
His finger went down her neck and followed the edge of her bikini top. Her chest rose with his touch. Heat flowed through her, settling between her legs. She had never been one to have casual sex, but she was not a virgin. Right now, she wanted fulfillment. She tried to tell herself that older men weren’t usually capable of sexual intercourse, but somehow she figured this man was quite capable. His fingers splayed over her breast. And a moan escaped from someplace deep in her throat. She wanted to wrap her legs around his waist and pull him closer to her.
She pushed past him and headed for the stairs. She had to get a grip on her feelings because inside she felt as though she was about to shatter into a million pieces.
He followed her. “Tessa, I’m sorry if I’ve offended you. I meant no harm.”
She turned and touched her fingers to his lips. “We’re adults.”
“Don’t leave. I won’t do it again. But seeing you has awakened something inside of me.”
“Yeah. I know that feeling.” She walked up the stairs and found a towel before turning back to him. “Do you need help getting out?”
“No, not yet. I need to swim some more. I try to swim every morning that I don’t have therapy. You just aren’t here. So to answer your question, yes, I can get in and out by myself.”
She settled onto a chaise lounge and watched him in the water. He was as graceful as a dolphin as he swam lap after lap. She couldn’t help but admire his body. Even his legs had beautiful muscle definition. Inside, she still quaked. There was something about him—something dangerously sexy, and she felt it to her toes.
I’m young, single, college educated, and looking for Mr. Wonderful. I'm also a minimalist. The less I have, the less I have to clean! Some people save for Christmas, but I save for vacations. I’ll go wherever it’s warm with plenty of sun and water. Some women collect shoes – I collect bathing suits. The last time I counted, I owned forty-two suits. Why do you think I try to stay in shape?
I’ve always been an avid reader, and there’s nothing I love more than a sexy romance. My e-reader stays packed with books. By day, I’m tame and conservative, but once I leave work, the real me emerges. I always have a hunky guy calendar hanging over my desk at home. I kept February up until April rolled around. He was just too delicious. Some guys are worth the fantasy. I want a guy in real life who can kiss me and make my toes tingle. So far it hasn’t happened anyplace but in books.
So there you have it. I’m about as exciting as my pet goldfish. The big difference is that I have a computer, a muse, and I know how to use both. I don’t think Goldie gives much thought to having Mr. Golden swim into her life and she’s already got the castle. I believe she's missing out on a lot of fun!
Tessa is my first book but it won't be my last. Tell me what you think is the magic behind finding Mr. Wonderful and what makes him different. If you leave your email address, I'll toss your name into the hat this month for a $20 gift certificate to Starbucks. The winner will be drawn on Christmas and announced on my blog. http://alibaranauthor.wordpress.com