Please help us welcome author Mary Calmes today to celebrate the upcoming release of her latest novel, You Never Know, from Dreamspinner Press. She’s talking second chances and is also giving one lucky reader the chance to win an e-copy of the book on release day, July 21st, so this is a FLASH GIVEAWAY, friends! Check out the Rafflecopter widget below to enter.
Staying and Going
Years ago when I first saw All The Right Moves with Tom Cruise and Lea Thompson, at the end of the movie I didn’t care about the main character because I knew exactly what was going to happen to him. His life seemed to be on track. My interest was with Lea Thompson because she was the junior while he was a senior, and she was the one getting left behind while he went off to college. It’s a weird thing because it’s really just an okay movie, not great, not horrible, but I remember thinking that if Steph (that’s Tom Cruise in the movie) went off and left me that I would be heartbroken.
Once I started to write, I thought that the idea behind the movie would be a really good one to explore, and I’m not the only one to think so. There are so many wonderful books in our genre about the one guy who left home and the other who stayed behind, and for a very long time, I wasn’t sure if I had anything new to add to the telling and so I kept putting it off, having that plot bunny continually go to the back of the line.
The more and more I thought about homecoming, though, the more it intrigued me. And what if the guy who left came back to stay. How long would it take the character who remained in the small town to forgive him? Or would he, and if so, why? On top of that, how on earth do you make the guy who left sympathetic as well? I mean, we all understand the leaving home part. Some of us go off into the world to seek our fortune, and in the story, that’s Mitchell Thayer. Mitch is a football player and he gets a scholarship to go to college, and, of course, he goes. Once there, he gets caught up in college life and sooner rather than later, has forgotten about his love back home, Hagen. But why would the reader ever want Hagen to take Mitch back? I think the answer is in the youth. Mitch is eighteen when he leaves home; he has his whole life to live and even though he’s leaving the love of his life, still, hello, at eighteen, he has no clue. That’s not to say that some people don’t meet their “person” in high school, many do, but for Mitch, going off to the show, riding high on a scholarship that took him from there to the pros, he simply got caught up. But it’s not that the world treated him badly and he’s slinking home, tail between his legs; he’s instead returning triumphant, with his kids in tow, because he’s learned what’s truly important—and that’s family and love. He’s learned he was supposed to come home and cultivate his garden, which begins with the man he left behind seventeen years prior.
I’m a big believer in second chances, most of us deserve them.
About You Never Know
Blurb: Hagen Wylie has it all figured out. He’s going to live in his hometown, be everybody’s friend, explore new relationships, and rebuild his life after the horrors of war. No muss, no fuss is the plan. He’s well on his way—until he finds out his first love has come home too. Hagen says it’s no big deal, but a chance encounter with Mitch Thayer’s two cute sons puts him directly in the path of the only guy he’s never gotten out of his head.
Mitch returned for three reasons: to raise his sons where he grew up, to move his furniture business and encourage it to thrive, and to win Hagen back. Years away made it perfectly clear the young man he loved in high school is the only one for him. The problem? He left town and they have not talked since.
If Hagen’s going to trust him again, Mitch needs to show him how he’s grown up and isn’t going to let go. They could have a new chance at love… but Hagen is insistent he’s not reviving a relationship with Mitch. Then again, you never know.
His hands slipped around my neck, fingers entwining in my hair as he held me there, still, gentle but firm, utterly under his control, the blatant display of ownership not lost on me. “Then I’m really not worried about this guy, because you loved me once, so I know you can do it again.”
“Like that mattered to you one bit.”
Quick bark of laughter, brittle and resolute. “I knew this was coming, so g’head, give it to me with both barrels.”
I took a step back. “It’s not necessary. Why do I want to tear you down, to air past grievances?” I asked under my breath. “You made your choice and it was a good one, as you pointed out, because you have your boys. I’m okay to be friends, but that’s it, no more. Not ever.”
It took a moment, and then he said, “Okay.”
He said it matter-of-fact, tone flat, agreeing too quickly, and even though I knew he was humoring me, still, I calmed. “Okay,” I echoed, exhaling, stepping around him only to have him catch my wrist and hold tight.
“It’s not okay, you idiot,” he said, flashing me the sly, sexy smile of his that had made it onto all the magazine covers. “I’m coming for what I want, and you know you always give in.”
“We’ll see,” he said, his voice a silky rumble that rolled right through me.
I was furious and excited, ready to punch him and kiss him. There was no denying I wanted him, but I also needed to run, to get away from him before my defenses came down. It was stupid to spend even a minute more with him and yet…. I’d volunteered to take care of his kids. It could be argued that I was a masochist and that perhaps I didn’t want to get away from the man at all.
“Hey,” he said into my ear, voice breathy and hot, closer than I thought he was. “I will take good care of it, all right? I’m never gonna leave you again.”
“It?” I asked, turning to look at him.
“Your heart. I will treasure it this time, I promise. I was young before, I’m a man now.”
About the Author
Mary Calmes believes in romance, happily ever afters, and the faith it takes for her characters to get there. She bleeds coffee, thinks chocolate should be its own food group, and currently lives in Kentucky with a five-pound furry ninja that protects her from baby birds, spiders and the neighbor’s dogs. To stay up to date on her ponderings and pandemonium (as well as the adventures of the ninja) follow her on Twitter @MaryCalmes, connect with her on Facebook, and subscribe to her Mary’s Mob newsletter.