Message From The Author

Author's Message

Sometimes a story comes to you when you ask it to. Sometimes a story hides in the greenery, refusing to come out. And sometimes, when the muse is being particularly perverse, that story comes to you while youre happily, blissfully writing another book, unaware that the muse is about to rise up out of nowhere and slap you upside your head. This is what happened to me when the story for Come Near Me burst into my brain without warning and wouldnt let go.

I was in New York City, visiting my editors, when I attended the theater one night to see Jekyll and Hyde. If you havent seen this Frank Wildhorn show, I highly recommend it. Anyway, there I was, lost in the night and the music, when suddenly Linda Eder (Wildhorns wife and a marvelous singer) came on stage to sing a little ditty called Good N Evil.

This upbeat song hit at me with the power of a mental sledgehammer. Good versus evil. How easy evil is, how boring good can be. Temptation was in every word, every movement, as Eder whirled across the stage. And she made evil seem most wonderful. Alluring. Tempting. Nearly impossible to resist, while good just sort of sat there, beingwellgood.

How do we pick? How do we choose? Do we even have a choice? Or is life simply a gamblea roll of the dice for evil, another roll for good? Are we alone in our decisions, our gamble, or is there someone out there, somewhere out there, loading the dice? And as she sang, Heaven N Hell is a helluva a gamble to lose.

Well, needless to say, I went back to my hotel and grabbed every piece of stationery in the desk drawer. I scribbled most of the night, ideas coming to me, questions coming to me, the clash between good and evilHeaven and Hell if you willforming into a story that grabbed me, held on, wouldnt let go.

The next evening I dined with Claire Zion, my editor at Warner Books. Over dessert, I finally broke the news to her. I wanted to write another book, and put the one I was writing on the side until it was done. NoI didnt just want to write this book. I had to write this book.

Being a most wonderful editor, and because she liked the idea, Claire gave me the okay and I went home to write COME NEAR ME. And so were born Sherry Victor and Adam Dagenham, two of my very favorite characters of all time. Sherry is young, innocent, very beautiful, and when she comes into Adams sight he is instantly lost in love for her, proposes to her, cant wait for the wedding day to arrive. Yet, when it does, they both have second thoughts that send them, separately, back to the stream on Adams estate, where they first met:

Sherry bent her head, plucking at the flowers in the nosegay she carried. What are you doing here, Adam? she asked as a single tear splashed onto one perfect rose.

Fighting with myself, he answered.

She raised her head, looked at him through her tears, felt the living pulse of power leap between them even as she knew she didnt understand that power. Only that it frightened her.

I cant let you go, Sherry, Adam said, stepping closer, bending his head so that his lips brushed her throat. You overrun my head, my soul, my reason. I should wait, be patient, give us both time. But I cant. Not when I look at you, not when you look into my eyes, not when I know that my entire life changed the moment
you entered it. And, after today, it will change again, for both of us. Youre frightened, arent you, darling? Im frightened.

There were words, thousands of words, tumbling over themselves inside Sherrys head, but she couldnt seem to force any of them past her lips. Instead, very simply, very honestly, she lifted Adams hand, kissed it, pressed it against her cheek.

A moment later she was crushed inside his embrace, and all her misgivings closed themselves away behind a locked door in her mind.

Perfection. Theirs was a perfect, innocent, idealized love.The question they have to ask themselveswe have to ask ourselvesis if we really want perfection. Remember, good is awfully boring.

When trouble comes into their private paradise Sherry and Adam have to ask themselves if their love for each other is real or just the dream of the moment. And, when tested, will their love prove up to resisting the very opposite of good: evil?

Kasey Michaels did return to the book she had been writing, WAITING FOR YOU (a very apt title, as it turned out!), which will be a Warner release in September of this year. Also look for her first big, rollicking single title contemporary romance from Zebra, CAN'T TAKE MY EYES OFF OF YOU, in bookstores next month.

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