Hello and Welcome. So here we sit on the eve of the most under-appreciated holiday of the calendar, April Fools’ Day. Every year, I do my best to bring attention to this neglected and much maligned holiday. The myth persists that April Fools’s Day is an occasion for playing cruel jokes on others to make them look foolish. C’mon folks, no one needs help looking foolish. The true purpose of April Fools’ Day is to celebrate laughter. I’ve celebrated in many ways; Comedy Central marathon’s, Funny movie marathon’s (among my favorites are My Man Godfrey and It Happened One Night), reading jokes on-line, and best of all reading romantic comedies (can anyone say SEP?). I like romantic comedies so much that I wrote two, The Catnapped Lover and Devil May Clare then tied them both to this wonderful holiday that celebrates laughter. I’ve included a short excerpt from The Catnapped Lover, below. But before we get to that, I’d really like to hear from you about how you celebrate April Fools’ Day. I’ll send swag to anyone with a US postal address who leaves a comment and tells me about his/her ideal April Fool’s Day celebration (real or fictional I don’t care). Don’t forget to leave an e-mail address where you can be reached so I can contact you with details about where to send an SASE.
Now a little set up and then the excerpt: Our heroine, Rue Clancy has just startled our hero, Adam Talcott out of a sound sleep. Concerned because, she found him dreaming in the hammock on her aunt’s front porch and her aunt is nowhere to be found, Rue and thought Adam was a vagrant. He was so startled when she woke him that he tumbled from the hammock and broke the plate of sandwiches that her aunt had given him to snack on when he first arrived asking for work. (If you’re worried about Rue’s aunt, don’t be, she had to run an urgent errand.)Rue found herself caught in a deep blue stare that soothed and frightened at the same time. For some unfathomable reason, she wanted to strip naked and swim in that clear shining light. Her thoughts rambled. I’ve never reacted to anyone this way. This man is dangerous. She shook herself. “Sit, Mister…?” “Talcott,” he said slowly. “Adam Talcott.” Hold still, Mr. Talcott, so I can look at your head.” He did as she asked. “I’m Rue Clancy. My aunt owns Shea D’s Rest.”Rue dipped a corner of the towel into the water, then moved around in back of the chair where Adam sat. Gingerly she moved her fingers through his hair until she located a slight swelling behind his ear.He flinched when her fingers brushed the tender spot. “I’m sorry.” She applied the cool cloth.
“I don’t think it’s bleeding.”
“Really?” Adam put his hand up to his head.
At the same moment, Rue removed the towel and leaned past him, stretching to soak the towel again. The movement caused her breast to brush against his fingers. Startled, she jumped backward, pulling the bowl of icy water over the edge of the table and into Adam’s lap.
He snatched his hand away and leapt up from the chair.
Rue let out a gasp. “Oh, my lord, look at you.”
“I don’t think I’m all that impressive right at the moment.” He bent his head, peering at his soaked jeans.
“No, your back.”
“Despite my earlier performance, I’m not a contortionist.”
“I’m sorry. I know I’m not making myself clear, but your shirt is stained with red. You must have fallen on the plate.”
She watched as his head swung in the direction of the shattered plate and glass. She probed his back gently. “Does that hurt?”
“I’d better take a look at your back too. Can you take your shirt off? Here, let me help.”
She moved around in front and unbuttoned his cuffs, while he unfastened the placket of the shirt. Then she eased the cloth down past his elbows. His skin was smooth and tanned, the revealed flesh firm and taut. The aroma of warm male surrounded her. She hadn’t been this near a man since…since she’d made a fool of herself.
Briskly, she stripped the shirt off of his arms and dropped it on the floor. She marched around behind him and stared at the unmarred expanse of his back. She touched the marble smooth surface and felt heat. The muscles beneath her hand shifted. Adam sat down, turning his head and shoulders so he looked at her. A jolt prickled her skin.
“Your back is fine, just fine.” Uncomfortable under his steady gaze, she bent, reaching for the discarded shirt.
Adam grabbed for the shirt at the same time.
Rue yanked herself backward, avoiding the dangerous lure of his touch.
Adam held the shirt up so that both of them could see the large red splotches spread over the back. Adam sniffed. “Strawberry jam.”
She smothered a nervous chuckle. “Aunt Shea is very vain about her homemade preserves. I wonder how she’d feel about you wearing them instead of eating them?”
“You know your aunt best, but somehow I don’t think she’d mind, given the circumstances.”
Rue lifted her head and risked meeting his gaze. The small smile that she’d seen when he slept reappeared as a face splitting grin. She bit back an answering smile. There it is again, that sense of falling—or diving—straight into his bluer than blue eyes. Careful Rue, you can’t afford to fall for another charmer.
She forced her attention to the mess near the hammock. “Speaking of the circumstances, we’d better get them cleaned up before….”