by Christine Hughes
Genre: Romantic Comedy
Release Date: 2 June 2015
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Summary from Goodreads:
IT'S TIME TO CHANGE HER SEXUAL KARMA
Caroline Frost had it all-until her boyfriend banged the superskank intern, and poof! Caroline's happy little bubble disappeared. Now it's been six weeks of weeping, a mountain of ice cream, and a permanent buttprint on the couch. Enough is enough. She and her ladybits need an intervention-now.
Enter Operation: One Night Stand: Find a man who is hotness personified and have some much-needed sexy time. The only problem is that Caroline is torn between a flirtatious, well-built guy and the ridiculously hot bartender serving her shots. This was supposed to be all fun and no games, but like the perfect scotch on the rocks, no good fling finishes without a twist . . .
“So, need something to drink?” he asked Melody. I noticed she noticed him. I frowned a bit at the thought of her thoughts infringing upon the perverted scenes that ran through my head but I had to remind myself, yet again, that Brian wasn’t the target.
“Sure. What do you recommend?” Melody leaned in and purred the question like she always did. I swear to God that girl was sex in heels.“Body shots.”
“Say what?” I, again, attempted to sit up and once again, Bartender Brian placed his hand on my shoulder and Melody clapped.
“Let me demonstrate.”
I felt like my eyes were going to roll into the back of head as I watched him pour a shot of tequila. With a shot in one hand and a saltshaker in the other, he leaned down and licked my neck. As he did, my eyes fluttered closed and I moaned.
I heard him chuckle quietly.
I wanted nothing more than the floor to swallow me.
Before I knew it he shook the salt onto my neck and leaned back down. Instead of merely licking the salt off, he added lips and teeth and oh my God.
I gasped so hard for air I swore I was drowning. Then he placed a lemon wedge on my lips.
This shit doesn’t happen to me. Ever.
I didn’t see him take the shot but I heard the shot glass hit the bar top.
I held my breath and waited as he raked his fingers through my hair, then he bit around the lemon wedge, scraping his teeth on my lips. He must’ve bit the lemon because drops of juice and tequila fell onto my mouth. He used his lips and tongue to clean it up.
“That was fucking hot!” Melody clapped her hands.
“Thanks. I not only serve the drinks, I use them as entertainment.” With one hand in front of him and one behind, he bowed. Fucking bowed. I was a lick away from orgasm and he’s accepting applause.
“A little help here.” I was not able to sit upright. Melody grabbed my hands and pulled me up.
I whipped my head around. Bartender Brian was across the way chatting up a group of guys who were with my target. A few people sitting next to me at the bar clapped as I came to my senses. A loud chorus of cheers had me ducking my head to avoid the attention.
“What the hell was that?” Sarah asked, laughing.
“Look at you making out with the bartender! Looks like someone jumped off the celibate carousel.”
“I did not! I was not making out with the bartender. He was just, he was just—” I looked to Melody for an answer.
“Don’t look at me. Bartender Boy is hot! I say you focus on him!”
I grabbed my purse and hopped off the barstool.
“No. I made a deal and I picked my target. You’ll see. I’m going to win this bet!”
Turning around, Bartender Brian smiled as he slid another drink my way. “Pink Panty Dropper.”
“What!” How did he know what color my underwear was?
I’ve always wanted to write. Ever since I was little, I would craft stories and poems but the idea to actually do it “for real” never really crossed my mind until last year. After sitting on three paragraphs of what would eventually become my first novel, I decided to expand upon what I had. At the time I had no real idea of where the story would go, I just knew I had the time to do something with it.
I hadn’t researched market trends, I had no idea about query letters or the evil synopsis, and I was green on the idea of agents and editors and all that is publishing, really. I just wanted to write something I enjoyed. I didn’t plot, outline, or character build, I just wrote. And then an author friend mentioned that I should take my writing to a conference.
So with the confidence that my novel would surely be welcomed by all who read it, I signed up for as many seminars and critiques as I could. I knew someone would love it. In those two days, I found out I had a lot to learn.
Funny, but as a former English teacher, you’d think I’d have figured out the importance of editing and revision and revising again. You’d think I’d have known that the first draft is just that, a draft. And when the critiques started coming in, I thought I was done for. Not that the premise wasn’t good (I was told it was), not that the characters weren’t believable (I was told they were), but I used too much passive voice, I tense shifted and there were some holes in the plotline.
A few agents really liked it, but the market trend couldn’t support it. Some were not fond of the way I told the story. I queried and queried my way to 57 flat out rejections and a number of partial and full requests that didn’t pan out. But along the way I got some great criticism and pointers and I made the story better. Then, on a whim, I trolled the SavvyAuthors website and signed up for a three line pitch to editor Lauri Wellington and I did a happy dance when she requested my full manuscript.
A month later, she responded that she loved the story and the concept but it moved too slowly but I could resubmit if I revised. I informed her I sent her a revision that was based on the opinions of agents, authors and peers but I had the original (cleaned up, of course) and I was sending it in to see if it was more of what she was looking for. And guess what? It was! One caveat, I had to revise the manuscript into past tense. Easy peasy, right? Wrong.
Revising into past tense from present is line editing your entire novel. And it kinda stinks. By the end, I thought my eyes were gonna start bleeding and pop out onto my keyboard. But you know what? That little “exercise” tightened up what was loose, filled in any plot holes that might’ve still been there and forced me to realize I could be a better writer.
The road to publication can be long. It can be a hop, skip and a jump from your first query. Nothing in publication is set in stone. The market is always changing. And the biggest thing I learned is that it’s all subjective. Agents A-Y may pass but all you need is Agent or Editor Z to believe in you as much as you believe in yourself. And I believe in my first novel. And I am happy that Black Opal Books does too. I hope you do, as well.