With: Christi Barth
“A seagull just pooped on my toe.”
Darcy’s eyes popped back open. Trina, her best friend since their matching-pigtail days, sat on a watermelon pink and green towel, surveying the toe in question with a glum look.
Darcy slid a little lower in her beach chair and sighed. “Trina, I’m having a moment here.”
“And you can go back to your magic moment once I rinse off my toe. Come with me.”
Offbeat. Zany. Ditzy. All words I used to describe Trina. A woman who bases her decision to train as a private investigator almost solely on the fact that she’ll get to dress up in different disguises. A woman who gets recognized and hit by the bad guy all because she kneels on her own wig and pulls it off. Great comedic fodder.
But then….it occurred to me that I had accidentally set up a sequel. My hero and heroine both had hot and interesting BFFs who’d flirted a ton. What sort of heartless author would deprive them of their HEA? Especially when contemporary romance readers adore sequels and series?
The problem with the accidental sequel, is that I now had an offbeat, zany, ditzy heroine. A woman who gets excited, rather than scared, at meeting a mobster.
The gold pinkie ring and thick chain around his neck made Trina assume this was Pearl’s gentleman friend she was here to meet. There was enough of a stereotypical wiseguy about his look to give her a thrill. This wasn’t sitting in an office, scrolling through ancient paperwork (which Joe foisted on her all the time). She was mingling with the criminal element. Trina wanted to hop up and down with excitement. It felt like she’d stepped into a television show.
How could I take all the qualities that made her a fun secondary character and still have her be a believable heroine that readers wanted to root for instead of slap? A woman who is thrilled when a mobster says he owes her a favor (not that she’d ever take him up on it, of course)? Yeah, I’d pretty much screwed myself. I had to keep her impulsiveness and offbeat way of looking at the world. But I solved it (after a week straight of telling all my friends there was no way she could carry a book by herself) by making those qualities the very thing that both helped her solve a crime and nab her hot cop hero.
Will I ever, ever, write a book again without giving it a serious once-over in terms of sequel potential? Nope. Lesson learned. But I don’t regret my accidental sequel, as hard as it was to write, for a second. It is full of big laughs and a surprising amount of heart—the kind of wacky caper that Marilyn Monroe would’ve starred in back in the day. Totally worth the head banging on the desk!
LOVE ON THE BOARDWALK
Atlantic City is the perfect place for detective Bradley Hudson to nurse his broken heart. A week of beer and strippers is sure to erase his former fiancée from his memory for good. What he didn’t count on was running into a sassy redhead from his past. Maybe a rebound romp is an even better plan…
Trina Trimble, private eye in training, is thrilled to be reunited with the hottie she almost hooked up with last summer. She’s undercover on her first solo case, but there’s always time to lock lips with a sexy cop. Besides, a fun fling with Brad doesn’t have to last beyond his week in town.
Brad and Trina are supposed to be just flirting, not forging a new forever. Brad’s still healing, and although Trina changes careers the way other women change shoes, she has finally found her calling in her new life of disguises and stakeouts. But when an irresistible job offer threatens to lure her away, Brad will need to decide to let her go or bet it all on love and risk his heart again.
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Christi Barth earned a Masters degree in vocal performance and embarked upon a career on the stage. A love of romance then drew her to wedding planning. Ultimately she succumbed to her lifelong love of books and now writes award-winning contemporary romance. Christi is President of the Maryland Romance Writers and lives in Maryland with her husband.