(Crossed & Bared Book 1)
(Crossed & Bared Book 1)
by Misty Provencher
Hale Maree, the first book in Misty Provencher's Crossed & Bared series, will be FREE for a limited time. Also available: Full of Grace.
Hale Simmons’s life is already bottoming out and she’s only eighteen. Struggling on welfare, while trying to keep her alcoholic father on track, her dreams of having a better life fade a little more each day.
But, when her dad witnesses a brutal accident at the bar one night, it changes the entire course of Hale’s future.
Thrust into an arranged marriage with Oscar Maree, the playboy son of a wealthy man, Hale must learn to trust a stranger to give her the life she’s always wanted.
First, Hale needs to figure out if love can ever happen by accident.
Note: This is a new adult contemporary romance not suitable for young adult readers.
He told me before he wanted me to cook for him and I walked right into it. As he turns to get a spoon from the silverware drawer, I walk across the room to the door leading out to the beach. My fingers are on the handle when Oscar says, “Stay and talk to me.”
“About what?” I ask with a sigh.
“Anything,” he says innocently. “Tell me what you want from me.”
“I don’t want anything from you.”
“You’re aiming kind of low, don’t you think?” he asks. “Give me something to shoot for. To impress you with. I could be a pretty impressive husband, if I’m motivated.”
“Why do we have to keep talking about this stuff? It’s boring.” I say. Oscar just lifts his spoon to his mouth and takes the first bite of his egg. He closes his eyes and hums, mmm.
“You really know how to cook,” he says. Cooking. That was on his list of what he wanted me to do for him, and it annoys me. So, if he wants something to shoot for, I figure I’ll make it impossible.
“I want you to worship me,” I say. Oscar’s entire forehead wrinkles up with amusement as he chews.
“Worship? Seriously?” he asks, his mouth full.
“You mean like bowing when you walk in the room? Making altars? That kind of thing?”
I roll my eyes. “No. I mean that if I call for you, I want to know that you’ll come running. I want to know that, when I walk into a room, you’ll notice. That if I burn dinner or turn your t-shirts pink or gain five pounds, you’ll still feel lucky to have me. When we talk, I want you to really hear what I’m trying to say. That’s what I want from you.”
Oscar puts the mug on the counter. I think he’s going to tell me I’m a spoiled brat, or that I don’t know a thing about how relationships work, but he leans on the counter with one hand and gives me a long stare before he says, “Done.”
I drop my fingertips from the door handle.
“I would notice you, Hale,” he continues, “if you walked into a room behind a 500 pound lion that was charging straight for me. I would notice you if the room were full of naked women, and I was in deep conversation about my own death. I will always come running, I’ll eat the dinner and wear the shirts and I’ve already thought that if you put on ten more pounds, it’d be a sure bet that I would never let you out of my bed. I’ve been trying to soak up every word you’ve said since the first time we spoke, so I think it’s only fair that you try just as hard to hear me now. I think you are perfect for me, Hale, and I’m just waiting for you to realize that I’m perfect for you too.”
It’s like the entire room disappears and all I see is Oscar with his level gaze, as he drops his voice to a whisper and says, “Come here.”
But I stay where I am, with the sun warming my back through the windows, and I shake my head at him.
“No,” I say. “Come running.”
Hale is a young girl who finds herself in an impossible situation. A day that started out like any other day ended with her finding out that her father had arranged for her to marry the son of an old friend in exchange for protection and a new business. Her father sees this as a chance for to have a better life while Hale sees it as something totally different.
The twists and turns that take place have to come from a place in Misty's brain that scares me just a little. Who comes up with this stuff?
I truly enjoyed reading this book. The book is written well, and I adore the characters (especially Oscar!); I was frustrated with Hale on a few occasions, but considering all that she went through, I cannot blame her for some of her reactions.
This was my first Misty Provencher book, but it will not be my last.
Guest Post by the Author
The Art of Plotting
Thank you for having me over to your blog!
I don’t know about you guys, but I began as a pantser and I’m constantly trying to perfect the art of plotting. I like the idea of it increasing the amount of writing I can produce in a day, creating a tighter book, and helping me to catch the loose ends even before I go into edits. I’ve been reading goobs of books on plotting and I’ve learned a few things that might help you too, if you’re on the same path.
Know this: index cards take the fear out of what can be an overwhelming process. I start each book by scratching down ideas on index cards. It doesn’t feel like plotting—therefore, it must not be. That little lie relieves the pressure of plotting on a big ol’ sheet of paper, knowing I’ve got to fill up the whole thing.
I collect index cards the whole time I’m writing my current book, because I never want to be writing my current book. (Insert my whine: it’s hard!) I’m always uber excited about the next though, and this gives me a way to have some work done on that next book when I get there. (Less whining!)
When I finish up the last book, I finally pull out my pile of index cards. Now’s the time to shoo the dogs and kids out of the living room or do the tablecloth trick to clear the kitchen table. I lay out all the cards and try to put them into a logical order. Some cards will be silly ideas of character traits or details about a setting, so they get stacked beneath the cards that depict the action that furthers the plot. Other cards will be duplicates (I let Larry Dog eat those). Everything gets sorted until I have a line of plot.
Once the cards are in order, now comes the ominous paper with the printed grid. I made the grid on Excel and there is absolutely nothing fancy at all about my grid—you can do the same with a ruler.
I put the number of chapters I want to have in the book into the blocks of my grid and, using my cards, I fill in the grid boxes. There are always empty spaces (sigh) but usually it is easier at this point in the game to see the spaces and figure out what needs to bridge the gaps.
Once I’ve got my grid filled up, I staple it into a notebook. Because I like procrastination? Why, yes, indeedy, I do. However, my notebook does serve a useful purpose too. If I feel like the story isn’t fleshed out enough still, I mess with it in the notebook. It’s a paper playground. I draw pictures and use crazy inks and don’t stay in the lines. I CANNOT BE CAGED BY BLUE LINES!
Although I’m usually ready to start writing the story at this stage, there are always more notes that pop up. Ideas about characters. Changes. That goes into the notebook too.
When I head out anyplace, where I’m going to have down time (waiting for the kids, waiting for my oil change, waiting for a hair cut … do you know how much time you spend waiting? You can write a book!), I take the notebook and play with the ideas inside. My purse weighs about 800 pounds with notebook, pens, highlights, clips, stickies, etc. Ridiculous, really.
I also have used waiting time for doing what I think of as NEXT writing. It’s fast and meant to be quick. To do it: I think of where I’m at in the story and start writing some of what comes next. Sometimes it is in bubbles, sometimes it is a list, sometimes it is simple lines. Whatever it is, the whole point of NEXT writing is to get me from one spot to the next in the story. It might look as simple as this:
Nalena argues with mother. Needs to take a break, get out of house. Nalena goes to library, sits in back corner. Popular jock comes walking down aisle toward her. What does he want? Table? He sits. Talks. Steam between them. She freaks out, can’t take the pressure, leaves.
So, that’s the process for my plotting right now. I play around with Scrivener too, fill up my notebook with character photos, sketches of floor plans, maps, timelines, etc., and make story boards. I do a LOT of pre-work, but it is also some wicked fun because I can use all kinds of sticky notes, fancy paperclips, highlighters, and all sorts of gimmicky office supplies that feed my fetish.
If you’d like to check out some amazing books on plotting, I have three to share:
Save the Cat by Blake Snyder
Plot & Structure by James Scott Bell
The Plot Whisperer by Martha Alderson
Oh, and check out Chuck Wendig’s post on plotting! The guy is seriously got the best writing voice around and my fave tip is "just yarf it up". You can’t lose if you’re yarfing.
I hope this helps you a bit with the plotting leg of your journey! Thanks again for having me over to the blog!
About the Author
Misty Provencher is a long-term wife, mama, and author. The first two are a bit more recent, but Provencher's writing roots date back to the hieroglyphics she left in her mother's womb.
While Provencher can ride a motorcycle, knows how to Karate chop, and has learned enough French, Spanish, and Sign Language to get herself slapped, Misty's life is actually just the ruse she uses to connect with people. She is totally enchanted with them and spends her days trying to translate the soul bouquets of her muses into words.
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