Message From The Author
When I first told people the idea for BREATHLESS, the general reaction can
be summed up by the words of my friend, Marie, who is known for her tact and diplomacy: Youre writing about a hero whos a lawyer? Are you crazy?
Ive always had a tendency to do things people call impossible. While I call this tenacity, my family and friends call it crazy. I decided to make things even tougher: I made the hero the lawyer for the heroines husband in his divorce, and I set the book at the turn of this century, when a divorced woman was considered as bad as any prostitute. Needless to say, getting the sparks flying between the hero and heroine was not a problem. Getting them to fall in love, however, was not so easy.
BREATHLESS is set in Shivaree, a small, sleepy Southern town. Its only
claim to fame is its Social Club, the most famous whorehouse in Georgia. Lily Morgan, the town librarian, manages to
get the notorious gentlemens club closed down, but Lily is no innocent flower of Southern womanhood, nor is she a prudish, repressed librarianLily is Shivarees most scandalous resident. She plays band music on her piano, allows shocking novels in her library, and even has a statue of a naked man in her foyer that she uses as a hatrack. Worst of all, she is divorced.
Daniel Walker, a tough and ambitious lawyer, is the man responsible for Lilys scarlet reputation. Five years after representing her husband in divorce proceedings against Lily and shredding her respectability in the process, Daniel is back in Shivaree. His purpose this time is to get the Shivaree Social Club reopened, and not even a strong-willed, red-headed librarian is going to stand in his way.
But Daniel knows full well he has a tough fight on his hands, because Lily is not only beautiful, stubborn and desirable, she is also capable of wreaking more havoc than General Sherman.
Heres an excerpt from BREATHLESS:
When she entered her bedroom, all thoughts of sleep vanished at the sight that met her eyes. Framed in her open window was the window of Daniels bedroom in the house next door, and Lily could see him clear as day. He
Fascinated, she watched Daniel as he removed his shirt. The lamplight spilled over his bare chest, and the sweat of the hot summer night glistened on his skin. Her throat went dry. The only undressed man shed ever seen had been her husband, and he had not looked like this, like a wall of sinew and muscleand power. Without his expensive jacket, without his tie and white linen shirt,he seemed even more dangerous, more predatory than before. He reached for the flap of his trousers, and she made an inarticulate sound of shock.
Hearing the sound, he paused and looked up to find her watching him. He smiled at her, a heated, knowing smile. Sure you dont want of pair of opera glasses, sugar plum? Youd get
a better view.
His words brought her to her senses. Horrified, Lily ran to the window, her only thought to close it and draw the curtains, mortified at having been caught watching him. But his voice stopped her.
I wouldnt do that if I were you,
he advised. Belt unbuckled, trousers
half-undone, he walked toward her.
In this weather, your roomll get
She averted her eyes from his naked chest and reached up to close her window.
He lifted his arms, curling his hands around the sash of his own window. Between his upraised arms, he stared at her, and his smile widened. Whats wrong, Lily? Afraid Ill breathe the same air you do?
I didnt know leeches could breathe.
He laughed at the insult. Youre a worthy opponent. I dont think Ive ever met a woman with a quicker wit than you. If you were a man, theres no telling what you might have accomplished.
If I were a man, Id have called you out in the fine old Southern tradition five years ago and shot you. That would have been a fine accomplishment. She slammed her window shut and closed the curtains.
Daniel was right, of course. Within minutes, the room became suffocatingly hot. She wanted to open the window again, but she did not want to give him any victory, no matter how small. So, she laid in the dark as her bedroom became an oven, waiting until she was sure he was asleep, before she got out of bed and walked back over to the window. She slipped the curtains open, and, as quietly as possible, she raised the sash.
Told you so, a sleepy male
Lord, she hated him.
I love hearing from readers. Please feel free to e-mail me at lauralee
@micron.net, or write to me at
P.O. Box 1143, Eagle, ID 83616.
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