Today, our guest is writer Liz Kelly, whose books are fun rom-com romps with a southern flair. Her new book releases today, so we're celebrating with her! Enjoy her post about the small North Carolina town that is the setting for her Heroes of Henderson series and then click the links to buy her books--they are a treat, I promise! Take it away, Liz!
My Not So Fictional, Fictional Town
My Heroes of Henderson series takes place in the small town of Henderson, North Carolina. Henderson actually exists. In fact, my summertime best friend, Pam, grew up there. I lived in Baltimore, and since half of Pam’s relatives also lived in Baltimore, I hitched a ride with them to Henderson every Thanksgiving for an off-season visit. And then Henderson became my home away from home while attending college in North Carolina.
Pam’s family was social, and a lot of fun. I got to know all of Pam’s friends during the course of my visits. The girls, in turn, would visit us in our summer community near Annapolis, Maryland during the summers. The guys were just too adorable with their Southern drawl. I even got to know all of their parents through the social gatherings that occurred while I was visiting. I attended the girls’ collective debutante party held at a private airstrip in an airplane hanger. I ended up going to college, and becoming sorority sisters with three girls from Henderson.
Some of my best memories, and most romantic dates happened in Henderson. Which is why I can so easily fictionalize it in my brain, in my stories, and imagine the most perfect heroes stationing themselves there, trying to save their dying town.
The Henderson I write about is based on my experiences years and years ago. How it looked to me as an outsider, as a teenager and twenty-something. And it looked like a whole lot of fun.
So my Henderson is that. Fun. A small gossipy town with social tiers. A little too big to know everybody, a little too small to get away with anything. Where romance awaits at every turn. Where the heroes are perfect—they just don’t know it yet.
The first full-length novel in my series, Good Cop is about Brooks and Vance, two best friends who bonded during high school playing together on a state championship winning baseball team, and then again in college at N.C State where they won the College World Series. The two of them are turning thirty and eager to team up once again to revitalize their dying hometown. They’re also eager to revitalize their love lives and seek the advice of a young, pony-tailed firecracker to do it. I characterize this story as a romance, a bromance, and a love triangle. Lots of laughs along with a steamy secondary romance to boot. (Right now you can get a great deal on Good Cop as it’s part of the Passionate Kisses Boxed Set - 10 full length romances for only $0.99. This deal ends soon.)
Bad Cop is the second book in the series (because you know only one of them can get the girl in Good Cop,) and Top Dog has just been released. (Blurb and excerpt to follow.)
All my novels and novellas (Playin’ Cop and Taming Molly) are complete romances and can be read in any order. However, it is more fun to start at the beginning as the characters continue to live in subsequent books. You can read excerpts from them all at my website: www.lizkellybooks.com
Here’s a little tidbit from my latest release, Top Dog.
Crain Carraway slipped inside the luxurious bathroom of his Las Vegas suite and shut the door quietly. Even though he couldn’t sleep, it seemed that his beautiful bride was out cold after a very lengthy, highly energetic, totally off the charts, roll-me-over-and-do-that-again consummation of their marriage. God, she was something. Something fine looking and brilliant and just as sweet as the cherry on top of his old-fashioned. He couldn’t believe she was his. All his. And he couldn't sleep because he wanted the world to know it.
Starting with his parents.
He dialed their number, checking the time on his watch. Dallas was two hours ahead of Vegas and, on a weekday morning, his parents should be up and at ’em. No doubt this would get their day started with a bang.
“Honey Bear!” his momma said in greeting, as if he wasn’t thirty-five years old.
“Momma Bear,” he said back, playing her game. “Put me on speaker and round up Papa Bear. I have big news.”
His mother laughed. “Bigger than when you started CC Dallas, Inc.? Lucius,” his mother shouted. “Your son has Texas-sized news he wants us to hear together.”
“May as well grab a bottle of champagne while you’re at it, Ma. You’re gonna need it,” Crain said.
“I'll bet that luxury suite at Cowboys Stadium came through,” his father’s voice echoed over the phone.
“Even better than that,” Crain grinned at himself in the bathroom mirror. “Dad, do you remember that statuesque blonde I pointed out when you stopped in the office a month ago? The one trying to hide all that beauty under those smart-girl glasses?”
“Do I? That pretty, little gal had you drooling like a bluetick coonhound.”
Crain chuckled. “Guilty as charged. Well, it took some doing, but I finally got that pretty, little gal to agree to a dinner date. I took her to Nick & Sam’s.”
“Best steakhouse in Dallas,” his dad said.
“And she loved it. In fact, the date went so well she agreed to meet me for drinks at the Ice House the next night. One thing led to another very good night, and although I will admit she was a little bit tipsy when I asked her to accompany me to Las Vegas, I assure you she was completely sober when I asked her to marry me.”
“You’re engaged?” his mother exclaimed.
“Better than that. We’re married.”
“Married?” Papa Bear sounded astonished.
“We eloped. Last night. It was just…right. Everything about it was perfect. And I’m sorry you weren’t here, but I know you’re gonna forgive me when you meet my bride.”
“Wha…ah…well of course we’ll forgive you,” his mother stuttered. “But darlin’ boy, this is all so quick. So sudden.”
Crain smiled, softening his voice in an effort to soothe his momma. “I know it seems that way, I truly do. But you know I’ve dated a lot of wonderful women over the years. And every time I figured out what I didn’t want, I knew better what I did want. And this one, this one is the complete package. Underneath her bright and engaging business persona, there’s a bewitching temptress just as sweet as praline pie. She’s the one I’ve been looking for all my life, Momma. She’s the one I want.”
“You sound so certain.”
“Because I am. I was certain the first time we met, and after date number two, all I could think was ‘how fast can I get this girl to the altar?’”
“Any faster and you’d catch up to yesterday,” his father said.
“And now I’m burning daylight, so let me get back to my bride,” Crain countered.
“Wait,” his mother cried. “What’s her name? Who are her people?”
“Well, I don’t exactly know who her people are, Momma, because I’ve been solely focused on sweeping her off her feet. But I’ll tell you what. Anybody who can raise a woman like her can’t be all bad. Now I’ve got to go and talk my bride into a nice long honeymoon in Hawaii, so if you two don’t hear from me for a couple weeks, don’t fret. And in the meantime, Momma, you can start planning whatever extravaganza you’ve got in mind to introduce my bride to our people.”
“I can tell you one thing,” his momma scolded. “It’s gonna look a whole lot like a church wedding and a big fat reception. You tell my new daughter-in-law the first thing I plan to do is to take her shopping for a wedding dress. I love you, but I am not particularly happy about this.”
“Oh, come on,” he goaded. “You know you’re a little happy about this.”
“I’m very happy you’re happy, darlin’ boy. But I sure don’t like missing my own son’s wedding. Now bring that girl home, so I can hug her neck.”
“Will do, Momma. Will do. Papa Bear, I am signing off.”
“I’ll take care of your momma. You go take care of your bride.”
“Over and out.”
Crain hung up. And then he did what turned out to be about the dumbest thing a man with a Texas A&M degree could do. He took the time to text everybody he knew, telling them he had married the cutest Ole Miss Hotty Toddy ever found in Dallas. Yep, he was one happy groom. Right up until he made his bride a cup of coffee just the way she liked it—with a whole lot of cream and sugar—and carried it into the bedroom.
“Sweetheart,” he whispered, until he realized the bed was empty. “Sugar?” he yelled, looking around the room, his eyes coming to rest on the note written with her preferred red Sharpie. “Honey?” he said, moving forward to pick up the note.
Four little words. Four little words Crain Carraway had no idea what to do with. Four little words that left him certain of absolutely nothing.
I’m sorry – cold feet.
Crain Carraway, Dallas business tycoon and sports fanatic, is not from Henderson. But his wife is. No one knows that though, because she managed to get cold feet after their impromptu Vegas wedding. Hiding out in her hometown, she’s sicced her lawyer on him, doing her best to buy his silence and a quickie divorce.
It’s taken him way too long to find the perfect Mrs. Carraway, and now that he’s had the fortuitous luck to stumble into Henderson and his bride, he’s not about to let her go.
Top Dog is available wherever e-books are sold. Here is the link to Amazon.