Apr 21 2006
Dear Ms. Jameson:
I am always looking for true contemporary romances and what I mean by that is character driven romances without suspense. It is hard to find this type of book these days. Your book, My Hero, is exactly that type of romance. What is more, it features great, witty and realistic dialogue between the hero and heroine. Because your writing was so good, I will be quoting liberally from your book in this letter. The heroine is a romance author who specializes in beta heroes and southern settings. Miranda Lane was having a bad day. Her last books sales were down and she has been placed with a new editor. The new editor wants a northern setting with an alpha hero, particularly a cop.
“So how much does she love the book?” Miranda asked, pressing her forehead against the cold glass. “Please say ‘lots.’ It’s been sitting on her desk for weeks.”
“She loves it–”"
“We all know that, Miranda, but the numbers are what matter. It’s been a while since you’ve had a book out. It’s kind of like the bakery business, kiddo. Freshness counts.”
Miranda felt her eyes widen. “She said I’m not fresh?”
“What did she really say?”
Amy took a resigned breath. “The other F-word.”
Miranda could swear she heard a death knell sound in the distance. “Formulaic?” she whispered.
So Miranda goes to the north and stays at a friend’s house in Stamford, CT. She requests permission to interview someone from the Stamford PD but is resoundingly turned down. Miranda has a terrible time writing alpha heroes. She doesn’t like them due to her overbearing father, an MP. Miranda meets Detective Chas Casey, first at the paintball range, and then a second time, in a blind date. He blows all of her pre conceived notions about alpha heroes. He can order wine. He’s nice. He’s not overbearing.
“Hey, Hotshot. Do you go looking for trouble or does it just find you?” he asked in a voice she’d have to sandpaper to make it Dirk’s.
“It just finds me, like you seem to,” she replied with soft voice and a silky smile. “Or is this a coincidence?”
Both sets of male eyebrows rose. “Life is full of happy coincidences like this one,” Alpha Cop said, with a glance at the officer who had pulled her over. He gave a curt nod. “Mick.”
“Hi, Chas. So this is Hotshot, huh?”
“That’s right. What’s she been up to? Bank robbery? Drag racing?”
“Ten miles over and expired plates.”
Chas laughed out loud.
Beautiful sound. Beautiful mouth.
“Were you bored?” he asked.
The uniformed cop smiled, not at all sheepish. “It’s been a slow day. Besides, she’s cute.”
“I know,” Chas replied meaningfully.
“It figures.” With a defeated smile, the young cop returned the paperwork to Miranda. “Have a good day, ma’am. You should take care of those plates as soon as you can. See ya ’round, Chas.”
Despite her best intentions, a fresh splinter of annoyance slid under Miranda’s skin and began to fester at the easy assumptions that had just been made by both men. “Excuse me, Officer,” she said in the softest, most polite, most Southern belle-like voice she could manage under the circumstances. Both men looked down at her. “I’m just tickled that I’ve provided y’all with an opportunity to catch up, but weren’t you going to give me a ticket?”
The patrolman glanced meaningfully at Chas, who shrugged; then they both looked back at her.
“You want me to write you a ticket?” Mick asked.
She gave him a couple of wide-eyed blinks for good measure. “You pulled me over because I broke the law; isn’t that right? Two of them, in fact?”
“Then it just wouldn’t be right if you didn’t write me a ticket.”
He smiled. “Nothing says I have to write you a ticket, ma’am. Besides, you know Chas.”
Not nearly as well as he’s willing to have you believe. She smiled. “Actually, Officer, I don’t know Chas, and he doesn’t know me. We met once. Briefly.”
Miranda is a take no guff kind of woman and she tries to resist Chas and does so but Chas is unresistable and he’s relentless in his pursuit. I think that some readers may be put off by the lack of sex in the book and the fact that the sex is realistic. Miranda has alot of hangups and one of them is sex. Chas, on the other hand, likes sex alot and eventually convinces Miranda that he should “drive the bus.” The interactions between Chas and Miranda were simply wonderful. They would be the reason for re-reading the book. Chas is a confident male but Miranda is quite strong willed and reading their verbal battles, their flirting, Chas’ maneuvering, Miranda’s futile attempts at resistance, was great fun.
“I’m being serious. We’re talking about love scenes.” He folded his arms and tucked them underneath the back of his head to give himself a better viewing angle. The atmosphere was definitely changing, and he wasn’t about to miss out on an opportunity should one arise.
“No, I’m trying to talk about love scenes. You just want to talk about– ” She looked down at her notes. “Actually, I wasn’t talking about love scenes at all. I was talking about police procedure. You started this conversation.”
“We’ll call it hero procedure. How does he kiss?”
She kept her eyes trained on her notes. “Nicely.”
“Well, there’s another problem. He needs a decent name and he has to be a great kisser.”
“He has a decent name, and there’s nothing wrong with kissing nicely. You kiss nicely.” She glanced up at him, and if she’d been any other woman, he would have sworn she was flirting. But Miranda wasn’t just any woman, and he knew he was pushing her limits.
He raised his eyebrows at her in mock disbelief. “Excuse me? Twenty-five years of practicing every chance I get, and I only kiss nicely? Are you deranged? I’m a great kisser.”
She started laughing and put down her pen. “Well, okay, your kisses–”" She stopped and laughed again. “They were innocent kisses, not anything– I mean, they were nice, Chas.”
“I think ‘nice’ falls a bit short of reality, but there’s no way I’d describe them as innocent. There was nothing innocent going through my head either time I kissed you, Miranda. Or the many times I’ve thought about it. What was going through your mind?”
The problems in your book were a) the secondary characters – too many of them who didn’t provide much to advance the plot and b) the resolution of Miranda’s situation with her father. Her interpretation of what happened when her mother died seemed a bit improbable. But I belived in this love story. I believed that Miranda and Chas would live happily ever after. This was an excellent debut novel and I will be buying your next book. B for you.