The Novel Approach welcomes Mary Calmes today to chat about her new contemporary romance novella with a bit of a paranormal twist, Just Desserts. Mary’s also giving the chance for one lucky reader to win an e-copy of Just Desserts, to be delivered right to your Dreamspinner Press bookshelf on release day, April 29, 2015.
To enter for the chance to win, just click on the Rafflecopter widget below.
Inspiration and Pinterest and the second trip to NOLA
First off I’d like to thank Lisa for having me here on The Novel Approach, thank you so much. J
Last year’s RT was in New Orleans, and it was my first trip to the amazing city, the Quarter, and that fast, I was hooked. I mean, I get it; the allure, the magic, all of it, the whole shebang. From the food to the music to the gothic vibe of the dark streets at night, the place is just steeped in history and magic. So when Marie Sexton and Amber Kell invited me to work on a cookbook anthology, along with RJ Scott and Amy Lane, I immediately thought of placing my story there.
Once I got home, I did what I always do after I visit somewhere: I bought a map. I love MapEasy maps the most because they are Guidemaps, so you get locations and a guidebook all in one. Plus, it’s all drawn, the words look like somebody’s handwriting, and I don’t feel the pressure like reading a regular map. I grew up in Hawaii, so the whole directional thing (travel Northeast for 2 miles and then turn West) is lost on me. Everything was either Mauka (toward the mountains), or Makai (towards the ocean), and there was no way to get lost. I love maps that are easy to read. So I got one for NOLA, and I’m writing the story, and I realize that there were things, details, I wanted to include. So I said to my hubby, “I need to go back to New Orleans,” and because who can say no to that, we packed up the kids and took the second trip.
We walked all over, hit all the places I didn’t get to see the first time, and the whole time I’m standing in the middle of streets, taking pictures, shooting video and talking to myself so I could remember landmarks, food, what I had, where it was the best, figuring out where Scott’s restaurant would be, and Boone’s gallery, and everything in between. In the past I was not as detailed, but I realized that was because I never wanted to be wrong. You don’t want to say that a shop or bar is on one corner when it’s on a different one, but if you’ve actually been there, it makes things so much easier, and if you have a place to put all your pictures up, that’s even better.
I discovered Pinterest when I was writing Old Loyalty, New Love. Roman’s house had to have a lot of antiques in it, and there had to be mention of the structure itself because the house has to be able to hold a crapton of shifters, and be built before the Revolutionary War. I had about a billion links saved and was clicking them all, keeping things straight, and I clicked on one link that led to Pinterest. And then I was there, looking around, and I could put my links up, and pictures, and my own that I took, and the sky parted, and the light came down…all right, I wasn’t on the road to Damascus or anything, but you get the idea. And so now there is a pic for everything, and I have character boards and location boards, and it all stays in order. I check the boards as I write so I don’t forget something and, well, it’s just fantastic. So when it was time to write about New Orleans, places I didn’t take pics of I found from other boards, and pics I did take, I can reference easily so when Boone is at Acme Oyster House in New Orleans (which is amazing, btw), I can say what he drank and what he ordered, or didn’t, and I can see it all in my head AND in front of me. Now I can be inspired, have a board to remind me, which all makes the trip worthwhile. Hopefully.
And now for a little bit from the book that was set in my new favorite city:
Excerpt: When he was at the sink moments later, flushed, drinking water, still chuckling between gulps, I wandered in.
“So you want my kitchen, my bedroom, and you probably have designs on my bathroom with the double showerheads too.”
He nodded. “The slate marble makes me hard.”
I grunted. “Good to know.”
“But you know, Boone,” he said, grinning wickedly as he crossed the room to me, to slide his hands up my chest. “Do you know what I want most of all?”
“No,” I rumbled, pushing the hair out of those beautiful charcoal eyes of his. “What?”
“You,” he husked, lifting for my kiss. “I want you.”
I leaned close. “Are you sure? This is really fuckin’ fast.”
“The only one who thinks two years is fast is you.”
“But you liked Daniel.”
“I was trying. I even got new clothes.” He chuckled. “But for the record, I didn’t sleep with him.”
“What?” I was startled.
He jumped up and I instinctively grabbed hold of him, my hands cupping his ass and squeezing. “I just couldn’t. I haven’t slept with anyone in over six months. That’s why I basically attacked you.”
“I liked being attacked,” I said before I bent and kissed him.
His hands were all over me, my hair, my back, as he gorged himself on my mouth, sucking on my tongue, one kiss seamlessly becoming another and another until I shoved him up against the wall and began grinding my groin against his.
Reaching between us, he rucked my open jeans just enough for my already stiff cock to bounce free.
“This is like holding a club in my hand,” he murmured as he squeezed tight.
“Scott,” I moaned into his mouth, yanking at the front of his shorts, jerking them down so his own leaking erection could shove up against mine, rubbing, dragging, the friction igniting the thirst for him all over again.
When he broke the kiss to gulp for air, my name came out guttural and edged in gravel as his semen spilled over my cock and abdomen.
“Jesus, Boone, what’re you doing to me?” he gasped, breathless and broken.
My dick trapped between us, between the heat and the sweaty slide, I climaxed moments later, spurting over his belly. His laughter was a surprise.
“I should beat you for making me wait so long to be this fuckin’ happy,” he rushed out, arms wrapped around my neck again as he mauled my bruised and swollen lips.
“Yeah?” I asked as I carried him to the bathroom. “You’re happy?”
“Oh baby, I’m so happy,” he said, laying his head on my shoulder for a moment before lifting his gaze to meet mine. “And I can’t wait for you to meet my family so everyone will know you’re mine.”
I had no idea I’d fallen so hard until I had him looking at me how I’d always dreamed—possessively, lovingly, like I was the whole thing, right there.
“I want you, I want all of you. Don’t doubt me. I swear I’m already in this for the whole ride, okay?”
“Okay,” I agreed and took that as a vow.
“Finally,” he sighed, wrapping tight around me.
It took a while for me to put him down.
We ate in bed, where he told me how hot it was that I’d held him before our frottage in the kitchen, during, and then all the way to the bathroom.
“You’re so strong,” he breathed, and the way he said it made me hard all over again. There was something very primal about the guy I had just made love to telling me the power in my body turned him on. I had the ridiculous urge to flex my muscles for him.
We fell asleep with dishes stacked on the edge of the bed, both of us naked and him curled into my side. I could not remember being happier—even with Haru—because none of our moments were ever ours, every one of them stolen. With Scott, there was no rush, no worry, no fear for our lives. I drifted off with his body curled around mine, his lips on my skin and my arms locked around him. I couldn’t imagine sleeping without him ever.
Blurb: Boone Walton has tried hard to create some distance between himself and his past. He’s invested in his new life, his New Orleans art gallery, and in his friendship with Scott Wren. Things finally seem to be settling down to normal, and Boone couldn’t be happier.
Chef Scott Wren wants much more than normal with Boone. He wants to raise things to the next level, but Boone is terrified—and not because of the ghost in Scott’s apartment or Scott’s relatives. No, Boone’s past is about to pay him a visit, and the only thing that can get between Boone, Scott, and a hinky recipe for chocolate mousse found in a curious cookbook is the river of pain Boone had to swim to get to this side of The Big Easy. There’s a secret behind the ingredients, though—one that might reveal the trust and love that have been missing from Boone’s life.
Author Bio: Mary Calmes lives in Lexington, Kentucky, with her husband and two children and loves all the seasons except summer. She graduated from the University of the Pacific in Stockton, California, with a bachelor’s degree in English literature. Due to the fact that it is English lit and not English grammar, do not ask her to point out a clause for you, as it will so not happen. She loves writing, becoming immersed in the process, and falling into the work.