More Than One Night
Heroes of the Night book #1
By Nicole Leiren
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Crystal: Today I have the pleasure of hosting Nicole Leiren. Welcome Nicole! I'm so happy to have you here today. Would you share a little bit about yourself with us today?
Nicole: What a question to start off with! :) Deciding what to share about me in a short paragraph reminds me of trying to write a hook for a book. You take 65K words or more and try to condense them into one or two sentences (or paragraphs for the blurb) Let me see if I can find a way to give you a blurb for my 46 years. (Like how I shared my age without using a part of paragraphs? LOL)
I’m a Midwest girl, born and raised. While I absolutely love visiting other areas of my country and travelling to locations outside the U.S., I can’t imagine not ever living in the Midwest. After living in a small town, visiting the country and big cities, I discovered that I’m quite happily a suburbanite.
My philosophy about life can be summed up in three simple words: Live. Love. Laugh. While I know the execution of that philosophy in every day isn’t always easy, but I find if I can try to live each moment in the present, love and treat others as I want to be treated, and always…always find a reason to laugh, everything else will work out eventually. J
I love storytelling, both sharing my stories and hearing others. You learn so much about a person by the stories they tell. In our Midwest home, I have a wonderful husband who has been my real world hero for over 26 years now and we have one daughter, age 25, that is beautiful both inside and out. She turned out well, despite the fact her dad and I had no idea what we were doing!
And, finally, I’m immensely grateful to all of you who read those stories and share our love of a world where the stories end with a happily ever after. Thank you for hanging out with me here today and for sharing in my story of this wonderful journey.
Crystal: What are you currently working on?
Nicole: I’m currently writing book 2 in the “Heroes of the Night” series, “Remember the Night.” Writing a series is a lot of fun as it feels like I’m get to hang out with all the characters and play in their world each day when I sit down to write.
Crystal: Where did you come up with the idea for either your current release or the WIP you are working on now?
Nicole: I spend a lot of time in airplanes, traveling for my day job. Though my friends say I’m a social butterfly, when I get on a plane, I love to put my headphones in and zone out. Sometimes I read, write or work, but the headphones are always on. Occasionally, though, I meet someone during the initial pleasantries you typically exchange with whoever will be all up in your personal space for however long your flight is (not a lot of extra room on planes these days! LOL) On a flight from Chicago to New Orleans one time I sat next to a man and we struck up a conversation. For the entire flight, he regaled me with tales from his life, his philosophies on women and love. When we landed, I laughed and told him I couldn’t have made all of that up even if I tried. I then asked if I could use some of what he told me to inspire a character. He agreed. That conversation breathed life into our hero, Daniel. Of course, he needed a woman who could counter and challenge all of his thoughts about love and women and see past the bravado. Who better to do that than Melodie, a children’s librarian.
Crystal: Do you have a favorite snack that like to munch on while writing? If so would you mind sharing what it is with us?
Nicole: Because I almost always write in the evening after dinner, I try to avoid snacking too much (though an emergency chocolate stash is always good to have close by). A large glass of ice water is a necessity though. Wetting my creativity maybe? LOL okay that’s a stretch, but having the water prevents me using the excuse that I’m thirsty and having to leave the keyboard to get a drink.
Crystal: Do you have a favorite scene you would like to share with us?
Nicole: This was difficult as I have a lot of favorite scenes. J I decided to share one from a date night that Daniel and Melodie have. She confesses during dinner that she’s never stayed out all night, not even in college. Daniel offers to take her on an adventure to make that happen for her. This is an excerpt from the scene that follows:
Heaven. Of all the places he'd been in the world, and he'd been to many, nothing compared with watching Melodie's face as the sun set over the lake. Her hair, a blanket of silk resting above her shoulders, now framed her face in wild, sexy disarray from the ride over. Her face registered pure bliss from the first moment the wind started whipping around her face.
First time I've put that look on a woman's face and not been naked.
She looked free, happy even. God help him, he wanted to be responsible for putting that look on her face every day and a look of need every night.
The sky was a beautiful medley of purple and oranges as the sun prepared to skim the water before disappearing for the night. A final streak of yellow, the last remnants of the sun's rays coloring the blue lake, stretched out over the water, almost touching the land.
"So breathtakingly beautiful." Melodie turned toward him. "Thank you for talking me into coming here."
He couldn't stop himself. His hand smoothed wisps of hair from her cheek, tucking them behind her ear. "You're breathtakingly beautiful."
Forcing himself to move slowly, he leaned toward her. He wanted to savor every detail of this moment. First, he kissed her temple focusing on the soft-as-silk hair. One more kiss there before anointing her forehead with the same deliberate attention. He respected her mind almost as much as he did her body. Cheeks, reddened from the hot Texas sun, warmed his lips before he moved to his final destination. Their lips touched. Absent the intensity from last night, warmth infused Daniel—like a pitcher being filled by a slow-running faucet, controlled and satisfying. Plenty of night left. No need to rush and scare her off again. He pulled away and kissed her gingerly on the tip of her nose. The warmth continued as she smiled, taking his hand before resuming her watch of the vanishing sunset. Though he wanted to only watch her, he forced himself to focus on the natural beauty in front of him.
Fifteen minutes later, he squeezed her hand. "Ready to hit the open road?"
Was it possible for her eyes to light up brighter than the setting sun? Not even the most amazing sunset could tear him away from staring into her green, fathomless depths of light. Maybe I'm a hopeless romantic. Damn. Forty-eight hours with this woman and I've gone all soft. "Then let's not waste a single second."
"You're crazy!" Melodie called out over the wind whipping around her face.
"Crazy about you." He pushed the gas pedal a little harder to increase their current speed. Not another living soul or automobile could be found on Interstate 281 this time of night. His need for speed and Melodie's constant smile, as she stared up at the moon hanging brightly in the sky, represented the main explanation for his lead foot tonight. A run-in with a State Trooper wouldn't even dampen his mood right now. He'd gladly pay any ticket for the fun life had delivered over the past few hours.
"Where are we going?"
"San Antonio. We'll take a walk along the River Walk, find a late night diner to grab a quick bite, and then head back to Dallas. Should arrive in time to watch the sunrise. Sound good?"
Her unbridled joy washed over his war-hardened heart, bringing a sense of contentment. Other than honesty and respect, she'd asked nothing of him. Hell, she even paid for a round of drinks last night. He needed to be careful, or he'd lose himself in the worst kind of way in this woman. A way that meant he could never go back to the jaded man he'd become. Four hours later, Daniel pulled off the highway and took an incline ramp before turning into a "Share the Ride" parking lot. Lifting the hand Melodie still held, he kissed hers gently. "Ready to bring in the morning?"
"I'll grab the coffee." She retrieved the two cups of Starbucks, extra-hot, they'd procured a couple exits back, along with some cinnamon scones.
Daniel hurried to the passenger side and opened the door for her. "Your sunrise awaits, milady."
"Where do you want to sit?" Melodie surveyed the limited options.
Daniel opened the trunk and pulled out a blanket. He grinned as Melodie's eyes widened when he threw the blanket across the hood of the car. "C'mon. Best seat in the house."
He nodded. "Seriously. Have I led you astray since our little adventure started yesterday evening?"
Grinning, she handed him his coffee and the bag of scones and crawled up on the hood. Her first attempt almost landed her on the ground as she, along with the blanket, slid down the vehicle. "Oh!" Somehow, she managed to not spill the entire contents of her coffee.
He tossed his coffee and the scones to the ground and caught her just in time to stop her fall straight to the asphalt. Making sure she had her feet under her, he picked the blanket up and repositioned it on the hood. "Let's try this again." This time, he scooped her into his arms, holding her close enough to enjoy the lingering scent of her perfume.
"You really have to stop saving me." Melodie whispered, her body sliding close to his as they settled in for the sunrise.
"I've saved countless people over the course of my life but none I've enjoyed more than you. Besides," he placed a soft kiss on her temple, "you don't need saving. You're a strong woman capable of taking care of yourself." Though true, a tug of protectiveness surged from deep inside. She might not need him to take care of her, but he wouldn't mind doing so.
The bright rays of the sun peeked over the horizon, filling the darkness with radiating light, waking the world to another beautiful day. "Thank you for helping me ace this makeup test. Not only was it my first time to stay out all night, I can't imagine a better evening, and the morning is shaping up quite nicely."
Crystal: When you are not busy writing wonderful stories to keep us lucky readers entertained, what do you like to do? Do you have a hobby?
Nicole: Between writing and a full-time day job that requires a large percentage of travel, there’s not a lot of free time. However, I love playing volleyball with my daughter once a week. We play on a fun league that several of my friends also play. This allows me to get much needed exercise, quality time with my daughter (there’s an hour commute each way to where we play) and time with friends.
My husband and I like to go to movies together (though the ratio of action movies to chick flicks is grossly skewed in his favor! LOL) or take a long drive together. It gets him away from the DIY network and me from my laptop and we can catch up and reconnect.
Crystal: Do you have a favorite background noise you like to having going while you write (TV, Music, kids playing)?
Nicole: I need white noise (usually a fan) going in the background. Otherwise, my tendency to be easily distracted *oooh shiny, sparklies* makes music or TV not conducive to quality word count. Sometimes, I’ll hear a song in the car that I think helps set the tone for a scene I need to write that evening. If so, I’ll listen to it on repeat several times before I start writing to help get my mind in the right place. Though I have to turn it off when I start writing, after a busy day of work, dinner, gym etc. it often helps me get my focus where it needs to be for the next scene.
Of course, my absolutely favorite background noise is the sound of the waves crashing into shore :)
Crystal: Thank you for visiting today. It has been a pleasure to visit with you. Is there anything else you would like to share with us?
Nicole: I can’t think of anything else other than I’m so honored to be here today and sharing a little piece of myself with you. Thank you for taking the time to stop by and I look forward to interacting with all of you today and in the future!
The Few. The Strong. The Brave.
Melodie Alexander, a children's librarian, prefers to live life between the pages of a book. But when the death of her best friend prompts her to step out of her comfort zone, she finds herself directly in the path of self-proclaimed bad boy, Daniel Bresland.
Daniel knew how to be a solider. Life after war? Not as easy. He served his country in Afghanistan, both in the military and as a private contractor, but fighting the war came at high personal cost. Now he's determined to keep his relationships "casual" in order to protect his heart and prevent anyone from getting too close.
A chance encounter between Melodie and Daniel on a flight to Dallas proves that opposites really do attract. But when scars from the past threaten their new relationship almost before it starts, Daniel must decide if he can risk opening his heart again to convince Melodie he wants more than one night.
* * *
If you love men in uniform and believe the night belongs to lovers, then The Heroes of the Night series is perfect for you! Stories of military heroes, sexy and flawed, and the women they love.
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Daniel walked through the doorway promptly at eight. Never early. Never late. Beer, sweat, and women's perfume permeated his senses. My kind of party. He scanned the bar area looking for Melodie. Men in cowboy hats talking up women in high heels occupied most of the seats. Though there were some empty chairs, his date didn't seem to be the "I'll wait for you at the bar" type. Making his way through the hot bodies and large red couches interspersed for the comfort of the patrons who needed a rest from dancing in the lounge area, he searched the faces for a glimpse of her chocolate brown waves. Still no Melodie.
He rolled his neck to ease the growing tension. She didn't strike him as the type to agree to come and then back out. He moved to the center of the lounge area to check out the dancers. Though still early for a Friday night, the dance floor hosted a decent number of people gyrating to the band's rendition of a popular Def Leppard song.
Keen eyes scanned the crowd looking for her dark brown head bobbing in time to the music. Based on what he'd learned about her, it didn't seem likely she'd be hanging out with a bunch of strangers, but he felt compelled to cover all the bases. Still nothing. Where in the hell could she be? His disappointment seemed largely out of place for a woman he'd just met and had only known for a few hours. Time for a drink. Someday soon he'd have to find something besides alcohol and women to mask his pain, but that day was not today.
Moving back to the bar, he ordered a beer and made his way toward the outdoor patio. Maybe he could bum a cigarette off someone. He really didn't smoke, but sometimes he needed to distract himself from his nonstop internal diatribe.
Right before exiting, he caught sight of the brunette beauty, the most beautiful wallflower he'd ever laid eyes on. Melodie. In a denim skirt, white blouse, and red jacket—the picture of patriotism in a curvy, sexy package. He made eye contact and swaggered in her direction. "God bless the USA."
Her innocent look shot arousal through his veins, settling just below his belt. Thirty seconds and already he needed a cold shower. Or a hot time in bed with Miss USA here.
"Do you always make random comments, or do I just bring out the best in you?"
"You definitely bring out the best in me, sweetheart. I was just commenting about how patriotic you look in your red, white, and blue."
"Oh…" her blush matched her jacket.
Wanting to save her from herself, he gulped a few more swigs of his beer before tossing it in the trash can. "Let's dance, eighties girl."
Grabbing her hand, he pulled her away from the wall. His brows creased. She'd looked comfortable essentially fading into the woodwork. His eyes swept over her body. Why wouldn't she be the center of attention no matter what the occasion? Beautiful and smart with a hint of sweetness—a dangerous combination for his heart. Not wanting to delay his body in close proximity with hers one moment longer, he pulled her into the fray of the mosh pit, hoping modesty prompted her to lie about having two left feet. The moment her body started moving in time to the music, he forgot all about her feet as her softer curves begged for attention.
He matched his steps to hers. The crowd of people pressed against them, forcing their bodies closer. This is more like it. Muscles flexed, hips rotating—sharing all his best moves. Her moves were damn good too. Those hips…her breasts…even her legs…moving to Brian Adam's smooth beat. Each subtle sway sky-rocketed his libido to levels for which he couldn't be held responsible for very long.
The guitars strummed while the drums grew louder, feeding off the energy of the crowd. No slow songs from this group. Time to improvise and make his move. Pulling her tighter, he closed his eyes to focus on the warm-blooded woman fate had delivered in the seat next to him. This wallflower possessed curves which, at present, were exactly where he wanted them—pressed against his chest. Lower, the softness led to muscled thighs igniting multiple fantasies about them being wrapped around his hips. Despite his self-proclaimed promise to behave, he lowered his face to the curve of her neck, inhaling softly. Sweet Jesus, not only did she rally every ounce of testosterone in his body to attention, but her sweet smell was capable of bringing any man…this man…to his knees.
Dear God in heaven, he was in trouble.
About the Author:
Nicole is a debut author with her contemporary romance series, Heroes of the Night. She has been an avid reader and lover of books from a very young age. Starting with Encyclopedia Brown, Nancy Drew, and The V.I. Warshawski novels, her love for mysteries grew and expanded to include romance and suspense. A Midwest girl, born and raised, her stories capture the love and laughter in her real world heroes and heroines.
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