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About the author:
My love of reading started in elementary school. When everyone groaned about finishing their reading lists, I was already halfway through mine. It wasn’t until I was about thirteen when I picked up my first romance novel. That was all it took. I was instantly hooked on the genre. My love for it grew so much that one day, many years later, I decided I wanted to write my own stories. It has been one crazy, scary, rollercoaster ride, and I hope it never ends.
When I’m not staying up until the crack of dawn writing, my husband, three children, and I like to spend as much free time as we can outdoors. Whether it’s going to parks, the zoo, or just hanging out in the driveway blowing bubbles, we always have a great time. And when we aren’t hanging with the kids, my husband and I like to get out to see as many music concerts as we can. My love for music ranks right up there with reading and writing.
What inspired you to write your book?
This book was actual inspired by a radio commerical, lol. It was advertising a organization fir singles to meet singles. My author imagination just kicked into gear and The Real Me was born. I had so much fun writing this story. All the characters are very dear to me, and hopfully more of their stories will continue in the future.
Here is a short sample from the book:
Dr. Lexi Monroe read over the brochure she’d received in the mail from WanderLust again, as she stood outside Whispering Falls Hotel and Resort. She couldn’t believe she was actually going through with this.
One drunken night out with her two best friends had left her with a hangover from hell and a paid ticket to WanderLust’s next singles outing in Hawaii. When the alcohol induced fog lifted from her brain the next day, she realized what a big mistake it had been. Unfortunately, the ticket was nonrefundable. At least she had purchased the regular package. She would have seriously hurt someone if she had charged the VIP package.
It wasn’t as if she couldn’t afford the VIP package, which her friend Olivia teased her about the next day. It was the fact that she bought the ticket as a spur-of-the moment thing. She was never spontaneous, something she was reminded about constantly. It just wasn’t in her nature. Her life had been mapped out for her from the minute she was born. Both of her parents were psychiatrists, and she was going to follow right behind in their footsteps. And she did.
Lexi had opened her own psychiatric practice three years ago, and business was great, so much so she was now working 24/7, which was great financially, but not so great for her social life. And socially, she was as awkward as they came. Never once could she say, “I played that real smooth,” unless she was being sarcastic or berating herself. Professionally, she had it all figured out. Every other aspect of her life needed a bit more fine tuning.
So on her one night out a month, she had just heard the commercial for WanderLust for the millionth time, and with the margaritas flowing, she gave into her curiosity. It was an organization set up “for singles to meet other singles” in exotic places all over the world. Since she had no social life whatsoever, her happily married two best friends egged her on.
And here she was, about to embark on the stupidest idea she had ever had. I’m just going to try and make the most of this. If anything, it’s a trip to Hawaii. Four sun-and-fun days in beautiful Hawaii. The last night was on the Fourth of July. Fireworks by the ocean?
This would definitely beat the previous Fourth of July’s, looking out from her high-rise, alone, and just seeing glimpses of colors in the sky… No. Not the time to feel sorry for yourself.Nodding her head, she squared her shoulders, and pulled her luggage behind her toward the hotel doors.
The doorman greeted her with a tip of his hat as he opened the door for her. Cool, sweet air engulfed her as she entered the lobby. Ever since she’d landed in Hawaii, she had been enveloped in such a sweet smell. She definitely had to find out what it came from.
The immediate crashing of water caught her attention as she stared at the magnificent sight before her. In the middle of the lobby was a waterfall. It cascaded right off a ledge on the second floor into an illuminated blue pool on the ground.
“I had the same reaction the first time I saw it,” a deep voice next to her said. The shock of it made her jump and release her hold on her suitcase, which hit the floor with a thud. She bent down and scrambled for the handle. As she looked up from her squatting position, her gaze travelled up the tan and very toned legs of the man standing next to her in khaki cargo shorts.
“I didn’t mean to startle you,” the man said as he offered her his hand. She smiled and accepted his help back up. A warm tingle spread through her hand. Her view stopped right at the middle of his chest. She was about 5’ 7” with her heels on, so he was easily over six feet tall. Craning her neck, she looked up into his pretty gray-blue eyes and took a step back. His hair was sun-kissed blond and looked like he had just run his fingers through it. A five o’clock shadow, the same light color as his hair, peppered his chiseled features, giving him a handsome yet dangerous look. On gorgeousness scale of one to ten, he was definitely an eleven.
“I…you didn’t,” she finally managed to say. Pulling her hand out of his, she smoothed down the front of her button-down blouse, a wrinkled mess from the flight. God, she probably looked a wreck, while he looked like he’d just stepped out of a magazine. She needed to stop staring before he thought she was a creeper.
“Is this your first time here?” He crossed his arms and studied her. His intense stare was making sweat start to bead up on her upper lip.
“Yes. I’ve never been to Hawaii before. It’s beautiful, what I’ve seen so far.” A crooked smile played on his lips. They looked so kissable…she shook her head and rubbed the back of her neck. “Have you been here before?” Man, what was wrong with her? She was acting like a teenage girl with a crush instead of an independent woman with her own business. And at thirty-five, she was far from being a teenager.
He continued to study her for a second longer before turning back to the fountain. “I grew up here but haven’t been back in a while.”
“Wow. I don’t think I would ever leave if I grew up here. What made you go?”
“My career took me away from here.” He shrugged and then reached out his hand. “I’m A.J.”
For the second time, she slipped her hand into his warm one. Another tingle shot up her arm. “Lexi.”
“So, Lexi, are you here on business?” His gaze travelled over her body. She had to hold back a shiver as he assessed her from head to toe. She dropped his hand and smoothed down the front of her blouse again. Olivia and Elle had both made fun of her for her travel outfit choice of short sleeve blouse and a black pencil skirt. But her wardrobe mainly consisted of business clothes, and she hadn’t had time to get a whole new wardrobe for her trip. She did manage to buy a swimsuit and a couple pairs of shorts and tanks, but that was it. The majority of her shopping was going to be done when she was in Hawaii.
“No, I’m—” The WanderLust sign, visible over A.J.’s left shoulder, with its big bold letters, made her freeze up. I can’t tell him I’m here with WanderLust! He would think I’m a huge loser. “I’m on vacation.” It really wasn’t a lie.
“Great place for a vacation.” He smiled a brilliant smile and looked down at his watch. “Shoot, I have to go. It was nice meeting you, Lexi.”
“You too.” She waited until he was out of the lobby and on an elevator before taking a deep breath. The line for WanderLust was only a couple people deep. She hoped she could check in and head up to her room without A.J. seeing her.
At the counter, the perky receptionist checked her in and handed her a folder along with her key card.
“What’s this?” Lexi opened the folder and thumbed through the pages.
“It’s your itinerary.”
“Oh?” Lexi looked up from the folder.
“When you signed up for your package, you picked the activities you wanted to experience while here.” The receptionist tapped her pink finger nail on the folder in Lexi’s hands. “This has all the days and times the activities will be taking place. Don’t worry,” she said as she smiled at Lexi. “It looks overwhelming, but the first meeting tonight at five will be to explain how this all works.”
“Oh, great.” Lexi tucked the folder under here arm and grabbed her bags. “Thank you for your help.”
“No problem. But before you go, I need to put on your bracelet.” She opened a drawer and pulled out a sheet of plastic pink bracelets. “Give me your left hand, please.” Lexi did as she was told and the plastic band was fastened around her wrist. “You must have this on at all times. It helps the associates of WanderLust know which travel group you belong with.”
Lexi nodded her head. “How many groups are there?”
“Just two. Regular and VIP.”
Lexi could almost hear her friends laughing at her. “Right. Well, thanks again.”
“Do you need help with your luggage?”
“I can handle this, thanks.” She headed toward the elevators and checked her keycard. Room 205 was printed across it, so she headed up to the second floor. A short walk down the hall brought her to her door. As she slid in the key, the door clicked and she pushed it open. Her eyes swept over the grand room, taking it all in. But when her sight zeroed in on the balcony, her breath caught in her throat. She dropped her bags at the door and walked across the plush beige carpet, past the king-sized bed, to the balcony doors. The turquoise ocean water peeking from behind the curtains had caught her attention. As she slid the door open, a gentle breeze lifted the thin curtains next to her sending them into a crazy dance. She closed her eyes and inhaled the clean, salty sea air. When she opened them, she walked out onto the small patio and it was all crystal blue ocean and white sandy beaches as far as the eye could see. The beach was packed with people. Umbrellas in all different colors peppered the sand. The scene before her looked like it was taken right off a post card.
With a sigh, she turned around and headed back into the room. Now that she wasn’t completely distracted by the ocean view, she focused on all the other luxuries the room had to offer. The four-poster bed was huge, with big red pillows piled high on top of a white comforter. A sheer cloth was draped from one pole to the other, leaving a sloping canopy over the top.
Lexi turned around, flung herself backwards on the plush bed, and sank right in. Maybe this wasn’t such a bad idea after all.
Officer Anthony “A.J.” Owens sat with his partner, Dane Brooks, in front of the hotel security monitors. The hotel had signed up to host WanderLust three years ago and there had been rumors circulating regarding illegal activities, prostitution being number one. The police department had only gotten anonymous tips about the illegal activity, but in the past year, more and more talk had been going around. And since they needed more than just tips, it was time to get down to the bottom of things. Time to find out whether the company was legit or just a cover up.
“Okay, so you and Dane have been briefed about the case.” A.J. and Dane nodded in unison as they waited for their boss, Lieutenant Green, to continue. He was a huge man with an old-fashioned thick black moustache that completely covered his upper lip. Reminded A.J. of the police officers from the horrible seventies shows his mom use to watch when he was a kid. It was unusual for A.J. to see his boss out of his black uniform. The wildly printed blue and green Hawaiian shirt and khaki pants made him look like a normal tourist, which obviously was the idea.
With his hands crossed over his protruding belly, Lieutenant Green leaned against the wall in the tiny room. “The hotel has given us permission to use these security camera as we need and we have their full cooperation. Sergeant Holfeld,” the Lieutenant added, nodding his head in the direction of the woman who hadn’t said much since they arrived, “will be covering the monitors while you both blend in with the singles.”
Sergeant Holfeld stepped forward and shoved at a couple of red curls that had slipped from their binding onto her forehead. A.J. hadn’t met her yet. He knew she’d transferred from Washington and just made Sergeant. A lot of the men in the department had their panties all in a bunch about it. A.J. wasn’t sexist, and he didn’t pay attention to the work gossip. Especially when it was about himself, which it usually was. He’d heard the rumors. How could he not? Just because his parents were wealthy, people in his unit assumed he was just here to “play” officer. They didn’t think he took the job seriously, so he had to prove himself over and over again. It was becoming tiring, but he loved being a cop, and was willing to put up with all the bullshit.
Opening a briefcase, Sergeant Holfeld handed them each a set of ear pieces. “These are new so we haven’t worked out all the bugs yet.” She opened a laptop next to the monitors, and typed for a few minutes. “I need for you to wear these at all times.”
“All times?” Dane smirked. “Showers and everything?” Dane was one of A.J.’s best friends and the biggest player he had ever met. He didn’t even have to try; with his dark and dangerous looks, women threw themselves at him. It was all about fun with him. Unless it was about his job. Police work was the only thing he took seriously.
Sergeant Holfeld’s cheeks were tinted pink as she straightened her spine. “Contact with me ends once you take out the earpiece, officer.”
“Good to know.” Dane winked at her and A.J. stifled a laugh.
A.J. and Dane had picked right up from where they had left off. Damn, he couldn’t believe he had been gone for two years. But the woman he loved had followed her career to New York and he followed right behind. The ache in his chest reminded him to get his head out of the past. With a deep breath, he focused on the here and now.
“Alright.” Lieutenant Green pushed off the wall and looked at his watch. “You have about an hour before you’re to go to the meet and greet in the conference room. We’ll meet back here this evening.”
“Time to get dolled up.” Dane slapped A.J. on the back as they exited the security room. “See you in an hour Mr…” He raised his eyebrow, waiting for A.J.’s response.
A.J. thumbed through the folder, looking for his undercover persona. “Devlin.” He extended his hand to Dane. “Scott Devlin. Pilot.” Which wasn’t far off, seeing how he did have his pilot license.
Dane nodded as he pumped A.J.’s hand. “Brad Cooper. High school football coach. ”Dane fit that persona to a tee. Back in high school he had been the all-American quarterback. He would have gone professional if it hadn’t been for the badly broken arm. He was never the same after the surgery.
Dane saluted him and took off down the employee stair well. A.J. snuck out the back door, the evening sun blinding him as he rounded the back of the hotel toward the indoor pool. From here, he could sneak back in and head up to his room without being noticed too much. The pool wasn’t usually occupied during the day. Everyone was out on the beach. He couldn’t blame them. The day was perfect and the sound of the waves hitting the shore made him itch to grab a surfboard and let his mind go for awhile. But, he wasn’t just having fun in his childhood home. He was on assignment.
With the details of his case contained in the folder he held under his arm, he ducked through the hotel doors to head up to his room. He had a little less than an hour to become Mr. Scott Devlin.