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Mid Week Tease: To My Muse #MidWeekTease #MWTease

MWTease15Hello, lovelies! This week I’m teasing you with a snippet from my very first contemporary romcom, To My Muse. LA tech writer by day and romance novelist by night, Lily Nayar is still recovering from being dumped by her screenwriter boyfriend. When she gets loaded one night with her BFF and tweets to hot British actor Tom Morrison about the romance novel he inspired, hijinks ensue! In this scene, Lily is posing as Tom’s girlfriend (it’s complicated), and they need to get some details straight before they head off to Palm Springs for an important party.

Many thanks to Angelica Dawson for hosting us, and make sure to hit the list after the teaser to see other great Mid Week Teases!

I made it back to the hotel a few minutes before Tom showed up in the lobby. I’d been entertaining myself with spotting various actors and trying to remember the first time I’d ever seen them when he strode in, a classy black wheelie case rolling behind him.

“Good, you’re here,” he said, sounding relieved as he dropped into the chair next to me. “I thought we should take the opportunity to get our notes straight, make it look like we’ve known each other for longer than six hours.”

“Works for me,” I agreed. “Who starts?”

He gestured towards me. “Ladies first.”

“Okay.” What had Kirk known about me (apart from the fact that I was a damn better writer than him)? “Um, I’m Lily Nayar, I’m twenty-seven, I graduated from USC, I live in an apartment in Highland Park, I don’t have any pets, and I write fantasy romance novels as Lilian DeVries, as you know.”

“As I know,” he said, smiling. “Rather naughty ones.”

He had noticed the sex scenes. Damn. “Anyway,” I said after clearing my throat, “I have a younger brother named Derek, and my mom and dad are still together. What else would my boyfriend know?”

He considered. “Ethnic background?”

Good point, and a graceful way of asking. “Mom’s white, Dad’s first-generation American. His parents are from Mumbai, hers are from Pasadena. You can imagine the holiday dinners. What about you?”

He sat back in his chair, scratching his chin. “Well, you know my name. Which is my real one, by the way. Born in Swansea, raised in London. Dad died when I was twelve, after which Mum raised me with Aunt Margery and my sisters.”

I felt a twinge of sympathy at that. I might fight with Dad sometimes, but I’m damned glad he’s here. “When you say Aunt Margery, are we talking an actual blood relation, or your mom’s girlfriend that they gave a familial title to in order to ward off a homophobic society that wouldn’t accept their love?”

His smile turned into a grin. “I like you. No, actual relation, although I suspect Aunt Margery wasn’t adverse to a bit of flannel. Went to a comprehensive secondary school—I think you’d call that junior and senior high over here—before heading off to the University of Manchester, where I studied history with a view towards teaching it until I was seduced by the drama department.”

“So you didn’t go to RADA?”

Ooh, he raised an eyebrow at me. I love men who can do that. “No, I didn’t go to RADA, mainly because I didn’t have the money. Besides, there’s nothing wrong with the University of Manchester’s drama department. Cumberbatch went there, you know.”

Well, if it was good enough for Sherlock, it was good enough for me. “And after you graduated?”

“Went back to London, split my time between being a substitute teacher and acting in anything that would hire me, and finally got my break in a tea commercial, if you’d believe it. Through that and a very clever agent, I sit before you now as one of a number of interchangeable British actors currently occupying Hollywood.” He spread his hands in a “ta-da” gesture.

I pretended to study him. “Got news for you, dude. You’re not interchangeable.”

“Ha. I regularly get mistaken for Ben Barnes, Tom Ellis, and Sam Claflin, and I don’t even have the same color eyes as Sam. English actors of my age and facial type are about as interchangeable as Lego, especially in Hollywood. It’s one of the reasons why I want to do this movie and get some experience in producing.”

I could see that. “Do you want to get out of acting?”

“God, no. I love acting. I want to keep doing it as long as I can. But unless the heavens bless you with a lucky break, the real money and power are in producing.” His expression softened, turning reflective. “That makes me sound like an arsehole, doesn’t it? I’m not in it for the money per se. I just want to make sure Mum and Auntie Margery are taken care of, as well as my sisters. I promised Dad I’d look after them.”

Oh, I heard that. My paternal grandparents came from India with nothing but a cousin willing to sponsor them. Taking care of family was woven into my DNA. “Okay, we’re both driven overachievers who love our families and are determined to support ourselves in a crazy business. No wonder we make such a good couple,” I said. “So that’s personal info done—how long have we been dating?”

“Let’s say two months? Makes it sound like we’re a bit more established that way.”

“Works for me.” And that way I could mentally blank out that last month with the dickhead. “How did we meet?”

“You’re the writer,” he pointed out. “What’s a good meet cute for us?”

Okay, Romance Writer Brain, go to work. “How about … my car overheated on the 110 and you stopped to help me,” I offered.

“Suicidal but very noble of me,” he agreed. “I like it. Go on.”

“And I almost called the cops on you, thinking you were trying to assault me.”

He snorted in appreciation. “But then you recognized me from TV and let me take you out for coffee while the tow truck hauled your car off to a nearby garage.” He pronounced it GAR-aj. “You do drink coffee, yes?”

“I’m a writer. Caffeine makes up seventy-five percent of my blood volume,” I said. “I think that’s a plausible meet cute for LA.”

“Sounds good to me.” Now he looked hesitant. “Er, we’d probably be publicly affectionate by this time. How much physical contact are you willing to engage in?”

A little thrill went through me, until I remembered that he was an actor and had to negotiate this with actresses all the time. “Holding hands, totally fine,” I said, trying to sound casual. “Arm around my shoulders and occasional hugging is cool. Kissing…” Aaaand there went my brain into vapor lock. “Um, I’ve never kissed someone I wasn’t actually dating. What do you think would be acceptable?”

He looked at my mouth, and his own curved slightly. “Let’s make this warm but discreet. The occasional peck on the cheek or temple, and one affectionate kiss with no tongues in front of Nathan. Sound reasonable?”

Kissing Tom Morrison would never sound reasonable to me. Unbelievable, amazing, addicting, yes, but not reasonable. “Yes.”

“Good.” Those cappuccino eyes twinkled now. “Do you want to do it once here, just so that we get the hang of it? Plus if anyone spots us, it’ll help deflect any more sneak attacks from Claudine.”

Crap. I could feel my cheeks heating up. “Um, how…”

“Just lean forward.”

Stamping down on my inner gibbering fangirl, I did as he asked. He mirrored me, cupping my cheek. “Relax,” he murmured, then touched his lips to mine.

It … was not what I expected. I thought it would feel fake, somehow, that I’d be able to tell he was acting. But it felt like I was kissing someone who was genuinely interested in me. Plus he smelled amazing, and his mouth was just the right amount of soft, warm, and mostly dry, definitely not Kirk’s sex beast technique. And there was the strangest little tingle that spread through my lips, like Tom was touching a live wire as our mouths met. Yet another romance trope that turned out to be true.

He held it for maybe two seconds, then pulled back. It was hard to tell with brown irises but I was pretty sure his pupils had dilated, turning his eyes even darker. Maybe he’d felt a tingle as well.

Without a word, we started to lean towards each other again—

“Sorry to interrupt your tête-à-tête, children, but our winged conveyance awaits,” a cultured British voice said cheerfully.

I have never wanted to kill an Oscar-winning actor so much in my life.


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So I have the flu

Or at least I assume I have the flu, judging from the symptoms — stuffy nose, muscle aches, lack of energy, low fever, and every bad thing or decision in my life coming back to haunt me in 4K HD. Whee. So Ramón will be heading off to the shops in a bit to pick up basics so that we can eat today, and I’m drinking lots of water, eating healthy stuff when I can muster an appetite, and trying to add at least a K a day to To My Muse because I’m insane like that. Don’t worry — I’m taking breaks as and when appropriate. Also, ignore the number on the graphic at left — I’m currently up to 23,289 words and I’m hoping to crack 25K by tonight.

The cats are also making it their mission to drive me completely nuts. You know how you get those heartwarming stories of moggies who can tell when their owners are ill and will curl up next to them, providing body warmth and quiet support? Yeah, I have one like that (Jessie, my silver girl). The rest are either yelling at me for food (JJ), running through the house like their tail is on fire and acting like a complete idiot (Jeremy), crawling in between me and my food for pettins’ (Jasmine), or climbing on me because I’m their favorite perch (Jemma). I keep having to go upstairs and hide in my room because Jasmine won’t go up there, Jeremy and JJ will go straight for the space heater and sprawl there, and Jemma prefers to snooze under the bed, don’t ask me why. Only Jessie will come in, check on me, then settle down next to me within petting range (if I’m in the mood, but only then) and take a catnap.

It doesn’t help that the temperature is dropping quickly and we’ll be below freezing by tonight. We just had a plumber come out yesterday to fix one of the outside faucets that had developed a fatal failure during our recent freeze (when you turned it on water started coming out from BEHIND the brick fascia of the house). Luckily it wasn’t too horribly expensive, but I did throw on enough clothes so that I could stagger out and make sure that, yeah, he’d disconnected the hose (which apparently caused the problem). I may go back out in a bit and wrap the damn thing with a towel for insulation. And we still don’t know if the pool pump took any damage from the freeze. I know, first world problems, but that’s still a $600+ expense I’d like to avoid if at all possible.

In other news, I got my hair cut. And since it’s wavy it means that once I’d washed the salon product out of it (shown at right — my hair is never that straight unless a stylist has blown-dry it using one of those big round brushes) and let it dry naturally it bounced above my shoulders. Since it was down to the middle of my back before this is something of a change. Ramón keeps saying I look like I did when we lived in Montreal back in 1994, and it’s nice not to have to keep it in a pony tail all the time.

To My Muse: Day Three

I probably should have started this on Monday but what the heck — I’ve made word quota every day and that’s what counts. So far I’m a skosh over 10% finished, have three chapters, Lily has just gone from “Oh, my God, I’m about to get arrested and thrown into jail for breaking and entering” to “Oh, my God, Tom the cute actor who inspired my fantasy romance wants me to do a spec script for him AND it’s a story squarely in my wheelhouse AND my barracuda of a BFF just negotiated a hella decent contract for me,” and I’m about to throw a wrench into the proceedings with the high-powered actor Tom desperately wants to sign for his film. I’m so happy I got over my reluctance to put my characters through the wringer. I am a dark goddess, and all shall love me and despair.

Also, out of sheer amusement, I would up transferring the text message section I blogged about yesterday into an app that creates fake iPhone 7 text messages. That was fun!

Mid Week Tease: To My Muse #MidWeekTease #MWTease

MWTease15Hello, lovelies! This week I’m teasing you with a snippet from my very first contemporary romcom, To My Muse. LA tech writer by day and romance novelist by night, Lily Nayar is still recovering from being dumped by her screenwriter boyfriend. When she gets loaded one night with her BFF and tweets to a hot British actor about the romance novel he inspired, hijinks ensue! 

Many thanks to Angelica Dawson for hosting us, and make sure to hit the list after the teaser to see other great Mid Week Teases!

I pulled out the various receipts I’d saved up so that I could reconcile my checkbook (yet another ingrained habit from Dad). Supermarket, gas, Starbucks, sushi, Starbucks, Rite-Aid, Starbucks, I really had to do something about my triple venti nonfat latte habit—

Post office. I frowned at the receipt. I couldn’t remember mailing anything. But according to the piece of paper in my hand I had sent a package to…

Beverly Hills.

Why the hell would I send a package to Beverly Hills? For that matter, what the hell would I send to Beverly Hills?

The receipt was from Sunday night. A vague memory of me hunting for a padded envelope drifted into focus. Curious (okay, and maybe just a little worried), I opened a browser and checked the tracking number on the USPS’s website. Whatever I’d sent, it had been received Tuesday morning.

Attached to the receipt was a sticky with an address on it in my handwriting. Google informed me that the address was an agent’s office, Bryce Lambert Talent. I’d heard of them before–one of their main stars had just landed a new series on HBO–but I couldn’t figure out why I’d send something to them.

An image of the shot glasses and the open box of books came to me. Oh, God. I didn’t get loaded and send them a copy of one of my books, did I? Great. Now some junior agent would think I was an unprofessional idiot. Just what I needed. But why the hell would I send something to Bryce Lambert, of all agencies?

There was only one thing to do. I texted Theresa.

Did I mail something on Sunday night?

A minute later the response arrived:

Yup. I got an Uber for us. Don’t you remember?

Uh, no. That’s why I’m asking.
What did I mail to a talent agency in Beverly Hills?

A copy of FEAST OF LOVERS.

Fuck fuck fuck. I wanted to pound my head on the desk top.

Why did you let me do that? They don’t handle writers.

Before she could reply, a drop-down message appeared, telling me that I had a DM on Twitter from—

I stared at my phone. You ever read how a character’s heart stops when they’re shocked by something? That really happens. I literally felt my heart stop as I read that eensy message that said I had a DM from Tom Morrison waiting for me.

Tom Morrison. Tom “British Sex on a Stick” Morrison, who had just walked onscreen at this very moment dressed in tight pants and that gorgeous smile. The actor who had inspired my hero Drake Montmorency in Feast of Lovers. The man I guiltily followed on Twitter because it took my mind off of Kirk being a dickhead. It had to be a prank, some fake account using his name.

It took forever to open Twitter, then hit the little envelope icon, my fingers were trembling so hard. But there it was, with the little blue check mark verifying that my newest DM was indeed from Tom Morrison.

Hey Lilian! Thanks so much for sending me FEAST OF LOVERS. I’m really flattered that I inspired an actual book, and I’m bringing it with me on location to read. I’ll give you a book report when I get back!

It took me a couple of seconds to start breathing again, and I flinched when I saw Theresa’s message pop up.

You really don’t remember?

DID I SEND A COPY OF FEAST OF LOVERS TO TOM FUCKING MORRISON???

Okay, you do remember.

THERESA, THIS IS VERY VERY IMPORTANT.
WHAT IN THE NAME OF GANESH DID WE DO SUNDAY NIGHT?

Well, we were drinking margs and then started doing shots.
Then you checked Twitter and saw that Tom had posted something.
So you pinged him and told him about FEAST.

IS THAT ALL?

Why are you yelling?

THERESA.

Okay. I may have suggested that you send him a copy.
You did dedicate it to him, after all.
And Montmorency is basically him in fantasy baron drag.

WHAT THE ACTUAL FUCK.

Is your caps lock broken?

Oh god oh god oh god. What else did I do?

He pinged you back a couple of minutes later with his agent’s address.
You signed a copy of the book, packed it up,
and we got an Uber to that all-night PO.

Did he get it?

Yes.

Good!

GOOD? GOOD? WHY IS THIS GOOD?

Capslock.

Theresa, there are sex scenes in that book.

I know! Rowr!

Really explicit, filthy sex scenes.
And apparently I told him that he not only inspired my hero,
but the whole damn book.

So?

So he’s going to think I’m a huge perv
who writes jack off fantasies about him!

Well, there’s a plot, too.

You’re. Not. Helping.

Sorry.
Look, did he actually say he was going to read it?

Yes.

Huh. Well, he was probably just being polite.
Actors get this sort of thing all the time.
Don’t worry about it.

I stared at those cool, logical words on my screen. Don’t worry about it. Like I was ever going to do that. I had just outed myself as a sexually perverse fangirl to an actor. But I shouldn’t worry about it. I had made a complete and utter fool of myself to a lovely, polite, and absolutely smoking hot man. But I shouldn’t worry about it. Even though I wrote about him and Clarinda using a—oh, God.

I need to get the book back.

Little late for that, my dear.

They say that desperation is the mother of invention. Turns out they’re right.

No, no it’s not. He said he’s taking it with him on location.
I think GS was supposed to start shooting this week.
All I have to do is find out where he’s staying,
get into his hotel room, and steal the book back.

Are you NUTS?

I can do this. And you’re going to help me.


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