Title: The Absence of Butterflies
Entry Nickname: Madam Butterfly
Word count: 80,000
Genre: Adult Contemporary Romance
Will Kavanagh is the only one who knows the truth about the drug overdose that killed Christy Talbot, the world famous actress who starred in the film adaption of his best-selling mystery novel. It’s a truth that has self-loathing and guilt paralyzing him during the day, and images of a lifeless body plaguing his dreams at night.
Burdened with the knowledge that his actions led to the actress’ death, he leaves New York City to seek refuge in his quiet hometown of Cherrington, Ontario. He’s intent on staying at his family’s cottage, but his best laid plans begin to unravel when his mother reveals she’s getting the cottage ready to sell. And the real kicker? The horticulturist she hired to do the landscape work is Jessica Locke – Will’s ex-fiancée.
Given the way their relationship ended, Jessica is the last person Will wants to be around. Jessica, grieving the recent death of her father, feels much the same way about Will, who broke off their engagement to move to the city. However, when Jessica’s eccentric uncle plays matchmaker, the old attraction heats up between them, intense and undeniable. Will discovers that he’s still in love with Jessica, but he’s worried that his involvement in Christy’s death will scare her away; Jessica wants to give Will another chance, but she’s afraid of getting hurt again. With each of them battling ghosts from their pasts, they struggle to navigate a complex mix of emotions that includes love, guilt, regret and doubt. And Will comes to the realization that unless he’s willing to expose his shameful secret in a very public way, he’ll lose Jessica all over again.
Will Kavanagh had finally managed to forget about the dead body that had lain sprawled at his feet, but when he caught sight of the display in the bookstore window, the image came tumbling back.
He’d just come out of the coffee shop, headed for his car parked at the curb, when the colorful arrangement of books caught his eye from across the street. His legs seemed to move of their own volition, taking him off the sidewalk and over to the wide store window.
He would have been able to spot those red and gold splashed covers anywhere. Some of the books were stacked in neat towers so that their spines clearly displayed the title, Hunter’s Mark, while others were propped up to showcase the front cover. Bold black letters at the top of each one proclaimed Now a Major Motion Picture. Underneath this was a snapshot of the two main stars. The one on the right gazed back at Will, her full lips drawn into a seductive pout.
As he stood transfixed on the sidewalk, the world around him faded away. He didn’t see Christy Talbot with her arm around her leading man. Instead his mind burned with the image of the actress as she lay dead on the floor, a pill bottle upended next to her. With a hand that shook, he’d brushed aside dark brown hair to reveal an ashen face and empty eyes. Eyes that had haunted him every day for the last two months.
Title: Blue Harmony
Entry Nickname: Sit, Stay, Heal
Word Count: 80K
Genre: Adult Contemporary Romance
Typical workday? Hardly. Not only does Mandy get laid off, she comes home to find her husband Joe in bed with one of her best friends. As if that weren't enough excitement for one day, she then meets Nick, a cute but slightly awkward guitarist. With her sanity in question and her heart in shreds, she would be wise to forget all about him.
She never claimed to be wise.
Determined to stay positive while reinventing her career path and plodding through divorce proceedings, she opens Sit & Stay Pet Sitting. Easy as woof-2-3, right? She doesn't count on disappearing dogs, crafty cats and quirky clients. Add to that her chaotic love life: her ex wreaking havoc on her self-esteem while lusty Nick leaves her begging (and panting) for more.
If she could just forgive Joe, and herself, things would be so much easier. Her heart needs time to heel, er -- heal, before she commits to a new love, but her head keeps getting in the way. Especially after her ex delivers once last blow that leaves her wondering if she’s even ready to run with the big dogs or if she’s better off stayingon the porch.
Nick was not a forgettable kind of guy. I just happened to meet him on one of the worst days of my life.
Pushing a clump of black hair off my husband Joe’s forehead, I bent down to kiss him goodbye, lightly. He had a bad migraine and was staying in bed for a while longer. On his nightstand, I’d left him two Advil after swallowing two myself. My period had rolled into town the night before so I felt kind of cruddy as well but I was more nervous about my big work presentation.
Shuffling into work and up to my desk, expecting a quiet, brainstormy morning of last-minute edits, I run smack into the Grim Reaper. John from Human Resources lurked, arms crossed, blank-faced, against the side of my cubicle. With one monotonal, "Mandy, I need you to come with me,” I knew. I just knew. This was not good.
Dread began pouring from my ears all the way to my toes, and by the time we lumbered into his office, where the proverbial ax fell, my stomach knotted. My throat closed up. I blinked hard at the wall. Barely moving, barely breathing, I nodded my head, pretending to understand. Ten minutes of stunted conversation and an unheard explanation of corporate layoff policy later, I was shuffling once more, out the door, my tail wedged firmly between my legs.
The Executioner had escorted me back to my (former) desk to get all my things. Right past all my co-workers. #humbling.