Deborah Kinnard started writing at age ten, frustrated because there was no preteen girl with a horse in Bonanza. Between raising two active girls and a delusional cat amongst the books, cherishing a husband, pursuing a couple of college degrees, and a career in health information at a big Chicago teaching hospital, I’ve been writing nonstop ever since. I’m a member of ACFW and the HISWriters subsection which includes people who are crazy enough to write historical romances. To date I have twenty finished manuscripts, five of which are published. ANGEL WITH A RAY GUN, my “fun book” was released in 2006 by By Grace, then came the BRIDES AND BOUQUETS 2007 anthology with my story “Something Borrowed.” MY SILENT HEART is a November 2006By Grace release. Please see my website for information about my other published works. My web site is currently under construction for the 42nd time, just like the potholes in Chicago streets. My blog is at www.justtellthestory.blogspot.com
Matt Greenlee mixes an active ministry with science fiction writing under a pen name. When he’s assigned a new—female—editor, Matt scents disaster. What sort of damage will she do his next bestseller? Secretly he fears attraction, considering himself poor husband material. How can he risk his heart?
AJ Mercer edits books for a living, and she’s good at it. Matt as an author is a challenge. As a man, even more so. Her wingy, crystal-power, anything-goes mother advises her to go with the flow. AJ’s offbeat upbringing has left her wary of both Christianity and men, but she’s attracted to her client. The gloves are off—his biases versus her need for success.
When these two mix it up over a book, can they find happiness, either loving or literary?
The appointment was set for Tuesday at three. Matt found many ways to keep busy, gulping analgesics to keep a pounding tension headache at bay. Tuesday morning he found respite in repainting the teenagers’ meeting room with some of the other guys. Tuesday afternoon crept by more slowly than college chemistry lab. The clock hands didn’t crawl toward three, they oozed. Matt prayed she’d be late, then chastised himself as a stupid kid. Best to get the ordeal over with.
At two minutes after the hour, he heard a car door open. Certain that it was unseemly for a minister to peek through the windows, he put his eye to the open casement anyway. She put one leg out the car door. A slender, dainty leg, encased in black to the toe of the chunky, stylish shoe. Then the rest of her emerged, a sight that made Matt’s jaw drop.
She was built like original sin.
He gaped. The female, presumably AJ Mercer, put both hands behind a swan-like neck and took her time stretching the kinks out. With her short black skirt she wore an amber turtleneck, the sort of shirt nobody with a spare pound could manage. Her height was below average, though perfect proportions made those dancer’s legs appear longer than they could possibly be. Her hair was worn short, not long as he liked it on women. A sleek, trendy haircut for ebony-brown hair that shone like mink in the sun.
His mouth went dry with a sudden burst of interest. Now where on earth did that zip of awareness come from? “Relax,” he muttered, flexing tension out of his arms. “Twenty-nine, single, normal. People get attractions from time to time. Chill.”
The impossible editor grabbed a brown leather attaché and approached the church doors. Lloyd Daviess could bluster and boom until the Second Coming. Matt would not, could not court catastrophe like this. “Aw, c’mon, Greenlee,” he scolded himself. “Get real. You sound like a Dr. Seuss storybook.”
He glanced around. His office was its usual tidy self, courtesy of his faithful secretary Jeri and disposable dust rags. A few books, of course, piled on the flat surfaces, but nothing out of the ordinary for an SF writing preacher.
He prepared for this affront of an editor with the jazz dancer’s walk. Matt made sure his plaid shirt was tucked into his jeans all the way around. He scrubbed his front teeth with a frantic tongue, trying to recall if he’d eaten broccoli for lunch. He thrust both hands through his hair to finger-comb it, and fled his office. There wasn’t time for more.
Wrong again, Jake Starborn whispered just behind his left ear. It’s the Warrior’s duty to approve the female, not the other way around. “Shut up, Jake.” He forced himself to descend the stairs toward the parking lot.
His footsteps on the pavement didn’t make her glance his way, so he cleared his throat. “Hello.”
Her dark head snapped up. “This is a church.” She didn’t spit the word, not quite.
Matt feigned shock, glancing around at the big two-story sanctuary, the attached classroom and office wing, the day care center’s fenced play area. “You know, you’re right. Now when did they put this up? There was a perfectly good diner here a few years ago.” He grinned to show her he was kidding, watching as a rosy glow spread over a pale porcelain complexion. Did the woman never get out into the sunshine?
“Sorry. Of course it’s a church. I’m looking for Mor—Matt Greenlee.”
“You found him. Both of him are me.” He stuck out his hand. “And you would be AJ Mercer.”
She nodded. Her clasp was firm and yet feminine, her hand less than half the size of his. Peered at through an office window, AJ’s appearance was, well, interesting. Viewed up close, the correct term was ‘stunning.’
Hold on, Buster, said Jake, she’s too short. And don’t you prefer blondes?