About All She Wanted (released May 2013)
They determine how we live, who we are, and what we want. Some choices are made for us.
Others we must make for ourselves.
Charlie Lexington is a living consequence of both. Everything about the feisty redhead represents a second chance—even her name. Though she was rescued at the age of five, her past is a lingering reminder of what she longs for most.
And the one thing she has spent a lifetime trying to find.
After a series of less-than-stellar choices, her Performing Arts Scholarship now hangs by a thread. Her sudden suspension has not only resulted in her father’s disappointment, but in the loss of her freedom as well.
She is forced to face the music: four weeks house arrest.
Briggs is the carefree, charming, yet all-too-mouthy fireman who is asked to keep an eye on the pretty little spitfire. He quickly learns, however, that his first assessment of her was off—she’s tougher than she looks. When her stubborn resolve pushes his sanity and intercepts his heart, his loyalties are put to the test.
Sometimes the hardest choice we make, is the one we must make for love...
Excerpt from All She Wanted ***
*** For the record, I bookmark potential excerpts that really highlight an orange hero as I read. When I finish I usually have between eight or a dozen to have to pick from. With Briggs, I had FORTY-EIGHT bookmarked passages where he was popping orange from the page. I managed to cull them down to this one but it was SOOOO hard.
Charlie knocked on my door a tad after eight, and for a second, I hesitated.
Is this really a good idea--Charlie and I alone together in my apartment?
I swallowed hard and reassured myself that it was fine. We were just friends.
Friends watched movies together all the time, right?
"Hey, Manny." She walked past me, placing a bowl of popcorn on the coffee table. But it wasn't the fragrance of popcorn that overpowered my senses. It was the smell of fresh peaches--coming from her wet hair.
Charlie--recently showered--was clad in flannel pj's and slippers.
Get a grip, Briggs.
Why does she have to look so good in flannel? I mean, who looks that good in flannel?
As my inner-dialogue progressed, I suddenly realized she was talking to me.
"What?" I shook my head slightly.
"I asked if you wanted the recliner?"
"Uh no, go ahead. I'll sit over here," I replied, not-so-smoothly.
"Okay." She shrugged.
Just put the movie on, Briggs.
... although, I doubt even Harrison Ford could smell that good after a shower.
She curled up on the recliner, pulling her legs beneath her like she was some sort of carnival pretzel.
"When was this movie even made?" she asked snottily as I made my way over to the couch.
"I don't know--the 80's I think?"
"Awesome." She rolled her eyes.
I picked up a handful of popcorn and threw it at her. She laughed.
That laugh was my favorite. I had learned that Charlie had many laughs--at least a dozen. Some were soft and airy, some were strong and showy... but this one, this one was completely unabashed. When she laughed like that, her defenses were down. Her pride was gone, and it was just her--raw and open.
I sat on the far end of the couch--the end farthest from the recliner. I grabbed the remote and put my feet up on the table.
I pressed play.
"So where does your sister live?"
I pressed pause.
"About an hour north."
I pressed play.
"Do you get to see her much?"
I pressed pause.
"About once a month, sometimes more."
I pressed play.
"What's your nephew like?"
I pressed pause.
"Charlie... we will be here till three in the morning if you don't shut it," I said.
"Oops, sorry," she shrugged, "I'm not a very good movie watcher."
"Gee, I couldn't tell."
For the next two hours Charlie stayed relatively quiet, except for her snarky remarks about fashion or special effects. To which I told her to shove it. To which she would hurl more insults my way. It went on like that till the end credits rolled.
When she stood and stretched, it was difficult to find something equally distracting anywhere else in the room. Her hair was a wild mess of waves as it had dried while being pressed against the back of the recliner. Yet somehow it still looked amazing.
I swallowed hard.She walked over to the sink to get a glass of water, stopping in front of the fridge.
"Cute--is this from Cody?" she asked, looking at the picture I had put on the freezer door.
She remembered his name?
It was a drawing of a fireman that he had done last year after I spoke to his class during safety week. It was one of the few things I treasured. I had brought it over with me when I picked up the poker paraphernalia from my apartment last week.
"Well, I can tell it's you," she said, her words dipped in mockery.
"How's that?" I asked, too curious to let it slide.
"Toothy grin, broad shoulders--but what really tipped me off was how he nailed your big, fat head." With that, she flashed me a smile and laughed heartily.
I made a beeline for her as she shrieked, running to the other side of the kitchen. She realized a second too late that she had nowhere to go. She had boxed herself into a corner. I put my hands on either side of her, gripping the counter.
"Take it back," I said.
I inhaled. She smells so good.
I was so close--closer than I'd ever been to her.
Her laughing eyes changed then, our smiles fading-out at the same time.
I wanted to kiss her. No, I needed to kiss her.
But with some supernatural strength unknown to me, I released her, taking several steps back. She seemed just as dazed in that moment. I cleared my throat, turning to walk her to the door. She followed behind me, quietly.
At the bottom of the stairs, I shoved my hands into my pockets and watched her walk toward the house. I wanted to make sure she got inside okay, but as she passed, a familiar urge crept up into my throat again, begging to be released.
And this time, I didn't hold the words back.
"Yes?" She stopped, turning to stare at me.
"He was a fool."
"Who?" she asked.
"The idiot who left you. He didn't know what he had--if he did, he wouldn't have let you go."
Thought it had been dark all around us, the motion light came on in that instant--illuminating her in its spotlight. She stared at me, as if contemplating my words. Finally she spoke, in a volume that was practically soundless. "Thanks."
She disappeared beyond the light a second later.
Excerpt used with permission. All rights reserved.
Gallant ScoreBriggs is a good man. A really good man. The nature of the story gives him some incredible opportunities to show this gallantry. For those who know this story, can we say TUESDAY!!!, or the four hour drive after issuing the no phone call edict, or the not taking physical advantage of Charlie's emotional wounds, or his relationship with his sister and nephew, and that's before we even get to the fact that HE IS A FIREMAN!
Wounded ScoreBriggs has some history and it's not a good history, except for the part where he came to Jesus and turned his life around. After as much as he'd made me laugh it was so poignant when he turned down Charlie's "friend" because... I wasn't into meaningless sex. Not anymore. That hinted at pain which was later explained, as well as the night that changed his life when he went back for his wallet. The self-inflicted wounds of his past gave depth to his gallantry, more meaning to his humor, especially the way he refers to "The Dive" as a booty-call club, Charlie's choice of footwear as hooker-boots and gives substance to his good intentions when he orders her back up the stairs to change from the "black saran wrap". That was one of my favorite parts. As Charlie tries to convince him that leggings are pants and he's not having it in a firehouse full of guys and wants her in pants, HIS definition. =)
Softie ScoreBriggs is a total softie. Not a marshmallow though, as no one as shredded as he is could be considered a marshmallow. I wanted to see the scenes from his nephew's birthday party and their water balloon war as a movie SO MUCH. He's cute and funny, and I won't spoil it for you, but you will bust a gut laughing when you find out how he put his contact info into Charlie's phone. I still laugh when I remember it.
Stupid StrikesNo way. You would think so, with his personality, but no way. Briggs is someone who understands my life verse, Galatians 6:9 which says "Do not get tired of doing the right thing. In due time, you will reap the reward if you don't give up."
Swoon ScoreTruthfully I'm still swooning. I've been unable to read another book because I know when I do, Briggs is going to slip a little further into my memory and I don't want him to. There's really no way to fully explain how Briggs is EXACTLY what this blog is about except to get him in your hands. Yes, he's hot. Or "hottie" as he prefers, LOL, He's fireman hot. He's redeemed by Jesus and choosing the better path hot. He's giving hope and life and love and healing to Charlie kind of hot. If you enjoy contemporary romance at all, this is a must-read for you. If you don't usually do contemporary but can dip your toes in this story to be able to experience Briggs, you should. I'm never wrong about an orange-head hero. Briggs is orange. Well actually, here's a good place to put this other great quote of his I have to share and haven't gotten to yet. Kai tells him he is losing his edge. Briggs's answer?
I AM EDGE.
And he is.
Nicole Deese is the self-published author of the Letting Go series, a mother of two rambunctious boys, and a wife of ten years. She loves reading, writing, snacking, chatting (mostly about books) and planning pretend vacations. Her family lives in Frisco, Texas.
The FHF Exclusive Directly from the AuthorAfter I wrote All for Anna, book one of the Letting Go series, I knew I just had to write Briggs’ story next. However, liking Briggs from afar is very different than being inside his head. Talk about intimidating. My husband actually laughed at me when I told him I was going to write this witty fireman from first person point of view. I mean, Briggs is so cool, and tough, and well…HOT. Okay, enough said on that. (I blush easily.) But interestingly enough, the voice of Briggs was the clearest character voice I’ve heard to date.
I love a flawed hero. But more than that, I love a hero who is not afraid to be raw.
Volunteering in several recovery ministries at church has exposed me to some gut-wrenching stories of failure, addiction, and heartache. But within each of those stories, I’ve also heard the inspiring testimonies of life-change and transformation through Christ.
I wanted Briggs to be that man. The one who was lost. The one who was damaged. The one who was hopeless. Ultimately, that’s a man who can measure the distance between regret and redemption and love deeper, stronger, and richer because of it.
Nancy here hero-girls and I couldn't have nailed the heart and soul of Briggs and why he is here any better than his author just did.
The giveawaysI love Briggs SO MUCH that we're going to give away 3 copies of All She Wanted. Please note at this time this great story is only available in ebook for Kindle (which you can read on your computer, tablet, ipad, etc.) not in Nook. So let me know in the comments what about Briggs makes you want his story and we'll get you in the book drawing. As always, drawing winners choose their format of choice--ebook or paperback.
If you have already read (and therefore LOVED) All She Wanted and Briggs, or you went ahead and spent the $3 to get his story now (GOOD FOR YOU!) give me a character from the novel by name that is not Charlie or Briggs or Kai and we'll get you in the $10 giftcard drawing.
Please remember to leave your email address in a spam fighting format so I can contact winners. Something like email@example.com =) Drawings will be on November 14th so let's play!