Thursday, December 1, 2011
Good Morning... Lee Ann Sontheimer Murphy
Lee Ann Sontheimer Murphy, an author at Rebel Ink Press, stopped by Sports Romance to discuss her upcoming release and her love of sports.
One of the most romantic things ever happened to me when I was just nine but it involves sports and since I’m a guest today on a sports romance blog, I thought I’d share. My sports back in the day included kickball at recess, hunting and fishing, and baseball games in our big side yard. Half the neighborhood came over to play baseball and when we weren’t home, the same thing happened next door to my aunt too.
One day I hit a foul ball which smashed right through one of the lovely bay windows of our aged brick house and into the living room where my mother happened to be at that moment. I didn’t scream or cry but I must have looked like a death angel tapped my shoulder because one of my buddies, Craig Churchill, shot me a funny look and asked, “Will you get in trouble for that?” Without any sense of drama, I said, “My mom’s going to kill me.” His lips curved in a slow, sweet grin I’ll never forget as he told me, “Then I’ll tell her I did it.”
With that Craig snatched the bat out of my hands and confessed to what he didn’t do. His noble act saved my rear end from a fresh cut switch and my mother never knew any different until I was an adult. She didn’t scold Craig the way she would have me if she’d known. I learned sports and romance can mix even if you’re just a kid.
In most of my romance novels so far, sports haven’t played much of a role but in my Rebel Ink Press Christmas release, Sing We Now of Christmas, fishing – which I suppose is considered a sport – is a big part of the story. My hero, Johnny Devereaux heads out onto the lake on the Fourth of July in his Bayliner boat and his bride, my heroine Jessica, plans to meet him later for a family cookout.
When he fails to return, their happily ever after that began the day they met the previous December fades to black or would for most couples. Jessica however is not your average gal. She refuses to believe her husband might be gone for good and so she waits with her faith intact and belief strong. The novel begins and ends at Christmas, one year apart.
Here's an excerpt from the story, from the moment they meet for the first time:
She got up to leave, unhappy because her friend, Susan, spent all her time with the lead singer of the band, and backed into someone. In her haste she almost lost her balance. Strong arms caught her and held her upright as a voice said, audible above the music but not loud,
“Whoa, there honey, take it easy.”
Jessica whirled, embarrassed, to mumble an apology. All her words faded away when she gazed into his eyes, dark brown and richer than sweet chocolate. He looked back with interest and she felt a strong sense of attraction. He wasn’t the kind of guy she would give a second glance under any other circumstance but tonight she couldn’t look anywhere else. Everything about him was opposite of what she liked in a man – she liked tailored, Brooks Brothers business charm and he radiated country cowboy.
He fit into his faded Wranglers as if they’d been made just for his long legs and his pearl snap button blue patterned Western shirt suited him. He towered above her, taller by several inches even without the worn cowboy boots he wore. She inhaled his scent, a potent mixture of musky cologne, tobacco smoke, and beneath it all, Irish Spring soap. His hands, still holding her arms, were warm against her bare skin and she was glad, now, that she’d worn the black silk halter top despite the cold instead of the red sweater she’d worn to school. Jessica made her voice work with effort, “Thank you.”
“No problem,” he said and she drank in his voice, strong and comforting with just enough Oklahoma twang to make it interesting. “Would you care to dance?”
“I’d love it,” Jessica said as he released his grip on her arms to grab her hand instead. “My name’s Jessica Martin.”
“I’m Johnny,” he said and she committed the name to memory, “Johnny Devereaux.”
He led her onto the tiny dance floor just as Mark began to sing the softer, sweeter vintage country song, Lookin’ For Love. The old Johnny Lee song she remembered from that movie, Urban Cowboy, now felt like a theme song. She recalled watching it one late night in college, hating the boot scooting dance moves and the mechanical bull riding but loving the scene where Debra Winger danced to this same music with John Travolta. Such a coincidence she mused, Johnny Lee, John Travolta, and Johnny Devereaux.
Johnny put his arms around her and she cuddled close against him for the slow dance. They swayed together, their easy motions in time with the music, and she felt safe. Jessica’s head fell short of his shoulder and so as they danced, she could hear the steady rhythm of his heartbeat. Above them, the stationary silver ball that must have once spun reflected the colorful Christmas lights strung above the bar and Jessica felt the strangest sense of coming home in his arms. She wanted to stay there forever, wrapped in that magic cocoon of his embrace, and hold this moment close to her heart.
Sing We Now of Christmas will be available on Amazon.com, All Romance Ebooks, Bookstrand.com, Barnes and Noble and more. Find me on my main blog, A Page In The Life at leeannsontheimermurphywriterauthor.blogspot.com. On Twitter: @leeannwriter