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Archive for November 18th, 2011

He left all he loved behind…

Will he be able to return and win her heart?

Elle Beaumont has learned life’s lessons the hard way–by foolishly exposing her youthful heart to love, only to have it broken when her true love fled Pilot Island, North Carolina. Now Noah Garrett is back, rekindling dreams she’d given up for lost, and turning her world upside down. Elle’s girlish yearning for him has become something more powerful than she’d ever imagined.

A man dedicated to science and rational judgment, Noah rejects all notions of romance…until the girl who used to cling to him like a shadow begins haunting his every thought. But even as he struggles to resist Elle’s sensuous beauty and the wildfire attraction erupting between them, Noah cannot deny that their passion is as irresistible and endless as the tides of love.

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Hello everyone! I’m thrilled to be a part of Novel Thoughts!

I’m here today to discuss setting. Our characters not only require a stage to perform on, setting is a wonderful way to guide the theme of the story and enhance emotional drama. I didn’t really think I had a strong command of setting when I first began writing romance. I wasn’t even sure I liked added the layers that make up setting. Then, reviewers and readers kept making comments about “lush description” and “compelling setting detail”, and being immersed in the locale. I was “writing what I knew”, the North Carolina (Outer Banks) coast. Though in 1898, which I did not know! 🙂

I began to see that I used my settings to up the emotional stakes in key scenes with my characters. To intensify the drama. Take, for example, a excerpt from the newly released TIDES OF PASSION. The setting is the Outer Bank (NC) in 1898, and I found the setting (sand, sun, sea) very easy to romanticize.

Later that night, Savannah tiptoed from the makeshift campsite, following the path leading through the break in the dunes. Tilting her head, she counted until she lost count of the twinkling lights sheltered in the black velvet sky. An owl hooted nearby, a gull somewhere beyond that. A respected marine biologist, Noah had identified every sound for them after supper while Elle looked on with her own stars in her eyes.

Savannah had left them sitting so close their heads touched, their hands linked as if they couldn’t bear to let the other go. Pushing aside the pang of envy she hoped was a natural reaction to witnessing such devoted adoration, she trudged across the warm sand, the occasional chip of quartz—another bit of information from Noah—glittering in the moonlight.

They were due to sail back to Pilot Isle in another hour, when the tide rolled in or out, whichever made it easier, or safer, to get home. Home. A misstep to use that word. She had not had a true home since those ragtag Brooklyn days. Or certainly not since her mother’s death, anyway. Her father had not had the heart to provide a home for the daughter he always wished had been born a son.

She wiggled her toes, relishing the freedom of bare feet, and, too, the freedom of being Savannah Connor and nothing more for the summer. She wasn’t sure when she would put on another pair of pinching boots or form another picket line and spend the night in a filthy jail cell for her dedication.

Maybe never.

Peering through the shadowy moonlight, she found him sitting beneath a copse of sea oats, his back against the dune, hands stacked behind his head, bare feet propped upon a massive piece of driftwood. The wind tugged his shirt wide and pitched his crow black hair into his eyes. He looked vulnerable, sitting there in the darkness, alone and silent.

Sitting nearby, but not close enough to tempt either one of them, she pulled her skirt to midcalf and wormed her feet into the silken sand. Humid air whipped in from the east in gusts, and with an exhalation of surrender, she released her hair from the loose knot on her head.

“Lost, Irish?” His deep voice cut through the sound of the pounding surf.

So he did see her. Settling back against the dune, she gathered her thoughts. “Your family thinks we hate each other.”

“Good. That’ll keep them from asking questions.”

“Do you, I mean, is this….” She shrugged, sending grains of sand down the back of her dress.

She had to ask.

“Wanting to wring your pretty little neck every other minute isn’t enough to keep me from wanting to touch you, if that’s where you’re headed.” He sighed, kicking at the driftwood. “Nothing seems to be enough.”

“I’m sorry.”

“For what?” Scooting close, he captured a strand of her hair between his thumb and finger. “For making me angry or making me yearn?”

Averting her gaze from the breadth of skin exposed by his unbuttoned shirt, she released a pent-up breath. “For my histrionics earlier this evening.”

He seized her chin in his palm and directed her eyes to his face. “Say it again.”

“I’m sorry,” she whispered, stomach doing the familiar dance that must be what he called yearning.

He shook his head. “No. The big word.”

She frowned, puzzled. Big word? Oh. “Histrionics.”

His attention centered on her mouth, recording every movement of her lips. “I love watching you talk, Irish. When we’re in bed the first time, I want you to whisper one of those big words you love every time I slide inside you.” He wrapped the strand of hair around his finger in a lazy rotation. “I don’t care what they mean.”

Her face colored; she felt it flame. Her lips opened, closed, her brain powerless to string together a sentence, big words or small.

“You’re afraid.”

She shook her head. It didn’t feel like fear.

It felt like excitement.

“There’s no need. We’ll take it at your pace. You tell me when, where, and how much. Or how little.”

“We’ll be friends when it’s over?”

A stray beam of moonlight spilled across his face in time for her to see his pause, his thoughtful deliberation. It made her feel good to know he tried to answer honestly. “I think so, yes.”

Her eyes again dropped to his chest, the sprinkling of dark hair glistening. With perspiration or perhaps salt water.

Releasing her chin, he slipped his shirt from his shoulders and shook it from his arms. Lifting her hand from its mired position in the sand, he placed it palm-flat on his chest. “Go ahead. I think you want to. Hell, my good sense dissolved like mist the moment you stepped off the ferry. You might as well lose yours.”

His head dropped back, his lids sliding low as she began to explore; the sand coating her fingers an oddly pleasurable abrasion.

To read excerpts of both novels in the Seaswept Seduction Series: TIDES OF PASSION and the just-released-this-week(!), TIDES OF LOVE, please visit my website at www.tracysumner.com or visit me at Facebook.com/TracySumnerRomanceAuthor or @SumnerTracy. Everyone who signs up for my newsletter or comments on Novel Thoughts will be put into a drawing for a Kindle!

Happy reading!

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In addition to the Kindle giveaway, Tracy is also giving away two TIDE sets. For a chance to win both Tides of Passion and Tides of Love, just leave a comment below. Two winners will be drawn on Sunday. Good luck! 😀

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