Jen: Today we are happy to welcome Petie McCarty to Romancing the Book. Petie, will you share a short bio with us!
Petie: Thank you for allowing me to spend time today with your Romancing the Book readers! My name is Petie McCarty, and I write contemporary romance with elements of action/adventure or suspense. An aquatic biologist by profession, I often color my stories with an environmental hue as well. Like most writers, I have a “day” job, which I’m fortunate enough to perform at “The Most Magical Place on Earth” — where fairy tales reign — and I spend my night job creating fairy tales of my own.
Jen: Please tell us about your newest release and where the idea came from.
Petie: My recent release, No Going Back, is the first of the Rescue Angel Romances — action/adventure love stories with an angel hidden in the plot. The angel’s identity is not revealed until the finale — unless you figure it out first.
In No Going Back, Kellen Brand’s inheritance turns out to be a whopper — one dilapidated farm in West Virginia and one guardian angel! Since Kellen is convinced no sane woman would choose to live in Riverside, she vows to sell her farm and quick.
Her handsome and reclusive neighbor Luke Kenyon must block the farm sale or risk exposure of his family’s secrets. While Kellen has located one potential buyer, she faces a town full of objectors. Someone is trying to frighten her off, and Luke is forced to step in and rescue her more than once.
Unfortunately, Kellen can’t seem to stay out of trouble. She stumbles onto a clandestine hazardous-waste-dumping operation next to her farm, and she prays Luke has one more rescue up his sleeve. It’s her only hope of staying alive.
Unless her mother really did leave her a guardian angel…
The idea for this series hit me one Sunday morning in church when the New Testament lesson was Hebrews 13:2 — Do not forget to show hospitality to strangers, for some who have done this have entertained angels without realizing it. My imaginative side immediately wondered, “If some angels walk among us, waiting to be entertained by the unknowing, maybe other angels walk among us waiting to assist the — as yet — unloved.”
What a great love story that would make if there really were angels assigned to guide some of us – those who require special assistance because we choose poorly on our own – toward our one forever love! Better yet, I could hide the angel in the love story, so no one finds out their identity until the grand finale. How cool would that be? The reader gets to guess who the angel is, and I get to leave red herrings to throw the reader off. A match made in heaven, so to speak!
Jen: How do you remember ideas that come to you at odd times?
Petie: Two words — index cards. I never leave home without them. They’re cheap [100 for <$1], fit in a shirt or jeans pocket, and can be filed with dividers in an index-card box. I used to write story ideas or scene/dialogue snippets in a steno pad or pocket pad, but then I had to flip through the whole pad each time to find what I wanted. Index cards can be laid out all over a table or desk or pinned to a bulletin board. My sweetheart is addicted to index cards now, too.
Jen: Is there a genre you’d like to write? Is there one you’ll probably stay away from? Why?
Petie: The genre I’d like to try is western romance. I’m a huge John Wayne fan and have most of his movies, even the older ones. As a child, I loved watching Roy Rogers, Sky King, Gene Autry, and the Lone Ranger on Saturday mornings.
The genre I’ll probably never try is Sci Fi romance. I don’t think I have it in me to create a whole make-believe culture or tougher yet, make-believe planet. It’s a definite given that I’ll only be writing romance.
Jen: If Angel to the Rescue was made into a movie, who do you see playing the main characters?
Petie: My imagination would cast Ben Affleck or Colin Farrell as Lt. Jake Dillon since he’s in his mid-thirties. The first actress to pop in my head as a choice for Dr. Rachel Kelly was Kate Winslet, and first runner-up was Liv Tyler.
Jen: Do you have a favorite character or one you most identify with?
Petie: That’s easy! The character I most identify with is Kayli Heddon in my debut novel Everglades. I spent two years of my career surveying Florida lakes and streams by airboat. All the wild and crazy things that happen to Kayli on her airboat safari in the Everglades happened to me at some point in my career — the bug storm, the banana spiders, getting stuck on a floating island — all except having the hunky airboat guide. I was never lucky enough to have one of those, so I wrote my own.
Jen: What’s been the highlight of you career to this point?
Petie: Thus far in my career, the highlight would be having my newest release No Going Back selected as a 2014 EPIC [Electronic Publishing Industry Coalition] eBook Award Finalist for the category of Contemporary Romance. The winners will be announced at the EPICon Convention in San Antonio in March 2014, so wish me luck!
Jen: What do you do in your free time?
Petie: Working two full-time jobs doesn’t leave a lot of free time, but I like to play golf. I stink at golf, but who cares? My sweetheart loves golf and believe me, you can get in some quality snuggle-time in a small golf cart for three or four hours, especially in the winter when it’s cold. Did I say I loved golf?
I also love to read if I have a spare minute or hour. My favorite time of day comes somewhere after ten at night. That’s when I call it quits for the day — weekday or weekend — and get to have my treat. I spend the next hour or two suspending disbelief and wrapping myself up in a novel or romance written by someone else. I think of reading as my literary CEUs.
Jen: What’s next for you?
Petie: I am really excited about my December 11 release — Angel to the Rescue — the second of the Rescue Angel Romances. Mainly because my content editor called it a Wow!
In Angel to the Rescue, child psychologist Rachel Kelly isn’t quite sure how to handle her newest client — a six-year-old boy who says he can talk to angels and one is coming to help Rachel. She already has her hands full of trouble this Christmas season, and things quickly take a turn for the worse when a stalker crashes Rachel’s Christmas party and takes her young clients hostage.
Police negotiator, Lt. Jake Dillon, walked away from his fiancée Rachel when she suddenly balked at having kids. His kids. Yet when the hostage crisis erupts, Rachel calls Jake first. Now he has a choice to make — stand back and wait for the cavalry to save Rachel or step in quickly and try to save her himself. Time is running out, and Jake may be their only chance for rescue.
Rachel slid into the Publix parking lot on her way home from work. She’d picked the store close to her office rather than the one near the cottage, anxious to get the chore over with as soon as possible. She pulled out her list and collected the items on it in regimented fashion, aisle by aisle, doubling back only twice.
She checked her voicemails while waiting patiently in the long line at the checkout counter. Breathing a sigh of relief when the bag boy put the last sack in her cart, she wheeled toward the exit and froze.
Jake stood right next to the exit, plastic bag in hand and staring at her with nary a smile.
There were dark circles beneath his eyes. Hadn’t he been sleeping? His hair looked tousled like he’d just run his fingers through it, and his clothes had a five-o’clock-mussed look to them.
He looked spectacular to Rachel.
His eyebrows rose. He was waiting for her.
She pushed her cart slowly forward, taking deep breaths to steady her heart rate.
“Since this isn’t our Publix, I’m assuming you stopped on your way home from work,” he said when she reached his side.
Our Publix? Had he even realized he’d said that?
“You’re right,” she replied. “So why are you here?”
“My apartment’s just around the corner.”
That simple statement shouldn’t hurt — she knew he had an apartment around here — but it did. She nodded.
“I’ll help you out.” He gently nudged her hands off the cart handle and took over, setting his own bag on top of her stack.
Rachel paced alongside the grocery cart as they moved through the electronic door and was suddenly thankful for her parking spot at the end of the far row. She would have a few extra moments to be with him. How pitiful was that? She eased a step closer, anxious to inhale his unique scent of soap, aftershave, and pure Jake.
He glanced over and caught her staring. She felt her cheeks flush and hoped he didn’t notice.
“Jake, look out!” She grabbed the cart to stop it just short of a car backing out.
He smiled his sexy crooked Jake-smile. “Guess I should keep my eyes on the road.”
Her heart ka-thumped inside her chest. “At least till we get to the car.”
Had she just flirted with him? Had it been that easy to get past the trauma for a few brief minutes?
Sooner than she would have liked, he pulled the grocery cart up at her Honda and helped stow her bags in the trunk, leaving his in the cart.
“Thanks for helping me,” Rachel said.
“I’m glad you decided to stop at this Publix tonight.”
“Yeah, I’m glad I got to see you.” Jake brushed a knuckle gently across her cheek leaving a streak of tingly nerve endings in its wake.
“But I thought you wanted… I mean, I haven’t heard from you in…” She cleared her throat. “…a long time. I thought you might’ve… ”
Why couldn’t she manage to finish a sentence tonight? Bad enough she felt pathetic, now she sounded pathetic.
“You thought I might’ve what?”
She swallowed hard. “Might’ve found someone else by now.”
He stared intently for a long moment. “After all we meant to each other, you thought I’d go right out and grab a new girlfriend, just like that?” His mouth hardened to a thin line.
She hadn’t meant to rile him. The last thing she wanted to do was fight with him. Without thinking, she reached up and brushed two fingers gently across his lips, wanting that sensuous mouth to smile at her again.
She startled him, and he jerked at her touch. She whisked her fingers away. “Sorry, I didn’t want you to be mad.”
His gaze trapped hers, his pupils expanding until little of the brilliant green remained. “There’s no new girlfriend, Rachel,” he said gruffly.
He slowly shook his head, his now-dark eyes tracking hers. He seemed closer than he’d been a minute earlier.
She exhaled hard. “Not yet anyway.”
Why had she said that?
“No, not yet,” he said flatly.
“I’m glad,” she said quickly.
He was definitely closer now. If she eased forward just a few inches, she could press her lips to his, feel that certain sizzle that always flared when they touched. But Jake had walked out on her. His move — though she ached with the want to hold him, if only for a second.
“Yes. Very glad. I don’t want you to find someone else–”
His lips brushed hers into silence, sweeping gently across as though seeking permission, the touch just light enough to make her lean in for more. He didn’t miss the movement and kissed her again, his lips settling against hers and nibbling at her lower lip.
The sensuous teasing had her knees growing weak, and she grabbed the placket of his dress shirt to steady herself.
He didn’t miss that movement either, and he put his palms to her cheeks to deepen the kiss.
Rachel felt dizzy and twisted her knuckles into his shirt to keep him close. She didn’t care if they were kissing in front of God and everybody. If Jake wanted to throw her down here in the middle of the Publix parking lot, she was ready. She could always shop at Winn Dixie.