Please welcome author Cate Lord to Novel Reflections. Do you love a fast-paced, laugh-out-loud funny contemporary romance? Today Cate is here to talk about her book LUCKY GIRL published through Entangled. Cate and Entangled also come bearing gifts!
Please tell readers a little bit about yourself.
I’m a wife (married to the same tall, dark-haired, and charming Brit for the past 20 years), mother (to a smart and beautiful 11th Grade daughter who is growing up way too fast), and slave to two male rescue kitties. I live in Central Florida, but have also lived in Canada and England.
When did you first consider yourself a writer?
Probably when I realized my dream of becoming a published author—back in 2004, when I sold my historical romance DANCE OF DESIRE, written under my real name Catherine Kean, to Medallion Press. I’d been writing since I was a child, and had won awards for my poetry and my romance manuscripts, but it was the offer of a mass market paperback contract that made me feel that I’d “made it” as a writer. LUCKY GIRL, written under my pseudonym Cate Lord, is my seventh published novel, and I plan to write many more.
Please tell us about your latest release.
LUCKY GIRL is a fast-paced, laugh-out-loud funny contemporary romance. I describe it as “James Bond dates Bridget Jones.” The story’s told from the point of view of the heroine, Jessica Devlin, who is twenty-nine, single, and a beauty editor for the Orlando-based magazine O Tart. She’s also heartbroken after finding out that her fiancé slept with another woman just months before he and Jess were to be married. Overdue for a vacation, Jess flies to England to be maid-of-honor in her cousin’s wedding. There, she runs into James-Bond-gorgeous Nick Mondinello, the one man she never thought to see again–the handsome stranger who comforted her in an embarrassing moment after her grandfather’s funeral years ago. Jess tries to avoid Nick, but she can’t ignore that he’s one sexy, intriguing Brit. Moreover, fate keeps throwing them together. Nick wouldn’t possibly be interested in her, would he?
What inspired you to write this book?
This novel is very loosely based on my own life experiences. After graduating from university with a B.A. in English and History, I flew to England to study fine art and antiques for a year with Sotheby’s, the famous auctioneering firm. I lived with my uncle and aunt in Hertfordshire and took the train to London every weekday to attend classes; on the weekends, I partied with a great group of friends I’d met through my English cousins. I also met the Brit who later became my husband at a Christmas party. Jess isn’t me; she’s purely a fictional character. However, I was able to take elements of my year abroad and use them to create her story.
Was there a character you enjoyed writing the most?
Each one of my characters is special to me, but I will always have a fondness for Nick. Who couldn’t fall hopelessly in in love with an intelligent, sexy Brit with a sinfully delicious accent?
Do you find it difficult to write in different genres?
Actually, no. I find it a wonderful creative challenge. The writing voice that emerges on the page with my medieval romances is very different to that of my contemporary work—and I love that. As a writer, I enjoy exploring different genres and fresh ways of presenting my ideas. Right now, I’m working on a medieval romance, a young adult novel, and a paranormal romance, and I have many more stories in me that I want to tell.
Do you have any interesting writing quirks?
I need a quiet environment when I write, especially if I’m writing an emotionally intense scene. I can’t create while listening to music because it’s too distracting. My favorite way to write is when I have the house to myself. I work on my Netbook at my dining room table, with my two kitties snoozing nearby and a mug of good organic coffee beside me. Maybe some Dagoba organic milk chocolate, too. There’s something very inspiring about chocolate!
Where can readers find you on the web?
Cate Lord, Lucky Girl/Excerpt 3 (End of Chapter Two) 1
A boisterous rendition of Bach’s Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring started up inside the church. I glanced in. The pews were almost filled. I recognized Aunt Prim. She was impossible to miss, even from behind, her curly gray hair poking out from beneath her enormous white hat spattered with fuchsia, yellow, and pink flowers.
The groom, Andrew Castleton, a handsome guy with wavy blond hair, stood with his best man near the altar.
Andrew clasped and unclasped his hands as if he couldn’t keep them still. Yup, I’d say he was nervous.
Anna and Charlotte moved to my side. When Andrew saw them, relief softened his features. He grinned, and I knew exactly what he was thinking: “Tilly, the woman I love, is here.”
My cousins giggled and nodded.
My attention shifted to the best man. Mmm. Tall, broad-shouldered—
Oh. My. God!
My heart jolted like I’d just stuck my pinkie into an electrical outlet.
Nick Mondinello. The man my cousins had whispered about years ago. Sex God. Playboy. Heartbreaker.
He still looked like a younger version of Pierce Brosnan, the actor who’d starred in a couple of James Bond movies. Nick wore his dark hair shorter now and spiked with gel. He filled out his tailored gray suit very, very nicely.
Memories whooshed through my mind. The day after Grandpa George’s funeral. The Creaky Wicket Pub. The potted plant. Heat flooded my face, hotter than if I had yanked open an oven set to ‘broil.’
Aaahhh! How could my mind torture me at a time like this?
Nick glanced at me. Vines seemed to have snaked up from the carpet and locked around my ankles. The heels of my sandals felt rooted to the floor. The murmurs and music around me faded into a weird, Twilight-Zone buzz.
I forced my lips into a stiff, polite smile and adjusted my sweaty-handed hold on my bouquet. It would be just my luck to drop the pretty arrangement on the floor and turn it into a mangled hodgepodge.
Nick looked at someone on the other side of the church, and I exhaled noisily.
Then he looked at me again. He squinted, as though he was trying to place me. Maybe he was wondering why I was blushing so fiercely.
Severe sunburn. Hot flushes. Woman’s stuff.
I hadn’t blushed like this on my first date.
I held the roses tighter to my chest. Thank goodness the big bouquet would draw attention away from my boobs.
My face burned. Scorched, more like it. Embarrassing now, but not quite as mortifying as what I’d done two years ago.
Glancing away from Nick, I watched one of the ushers escort Aunt Cleo to a front pew, where she sat beside Aunt Prim.
I felt acutely alert, as if I was a taut spring, about to uncoil with a loud poing like a Jack-In-The-Box.
Was Nick still looking at me?
I struggled to quiet the desperate squeak rising in my throat. Maybe I was worrying for nothing. Maybe Nick didn’t even remember what had happened.
He’d been drinking that night. We all had. Some of us—specifically moi—a lot more than others.
I dared a glance. Nick nodded in response to something Andrew said. A smile curved Nick’s mouth.
Hushed voices along with the whisper of silk came from behind me. Valerie, Tilly, and my uncle had entered the church.
My belly squeezed tight. Any moment now, the ceremony would begin.
Dread shivered through me.
A countdown began ticking in my head.
Ten. . . nine. . .
Oh no. In the recessional, I would have to walk arm in arm with Nick. Help!
Seven. . . six. . .
Butterflies swooped in my stomach. My hands felt coated in olive oil. The ushers led the last of the guests to their pews.
Three. . . two. . .
When the guys returned, the organist paused for a moment then struck up a vibrant march.
The Wedding March.
Ping. The moment of truth was upon me.
I hadn’t prayed in months. But as the ushers began a slow walk up the aisle, I prayed I didn’t trip, stumble, or make a fool of myself.
Not in front of Tilly and my relatives.
Not in front of gorgeous Nick Mondinello.
Anna, Charlotte, and Valerie lined up ahead of me to begin their graceful stroll up the aisle. As I drew a deep breath, Nick’s gaze locked with mine.
He was still smiling.
In that moment, I knew without the teeniest bit of doubt.