Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Summer Lovin'

posted by Nancy
Remember when you had time to lounge around in the summer? To hang with your friends, slather on suntan oil, and maybe, just maybe, meet a new crush you knew you'd never see after vacation? Today, author Kathleen O'Reilly joins us to talk about the days of summer love.

Summer Lovin'... had me a blast!!

One of my favorite movies when I was a kid was Grease. The music was catchy. I liked the spin on the romance: the bad boy gets tamed, yet in a nice twist, the good girl also undergoes a vampy transformation. The story opens in summer, when Danny and Sandy fall in love, but then school starts, the reality of their identities kicks in, and the real romantic hijinks begin (accompanied by much singing, dancing, and the trademarked John Travolta strut.)

There is something very freeing about summer romance. Everyone can abandon their traditional roles and identities and take on the person that they want to be. In a summer romance, no one assumes that it will last, so if you want to be a vamp, hey, go for it. If you want to be an intelligentsia, or a geek, or a shy person or a jokester, all are possible because summer lasts three months, which is just long enough to fall in love, but not long enough to deal with any of the messy realities that come later.

Summer, when done right, is slow dancing under the stars, listening to the water lap on the shore, watching the fire flies at dusk, and sipping cold beer on a weather-beaten porch. Time slows down a bit and you can spend more time *chatting* about whatever strikes your fancy, as opposed to having to deal with schedules and alarm clocks, neither of which do much for me (both literally and emotionally as well).

My latest book opens in the summer. Our hero and heroine meet. She falls for him, but then, when she has to leave, he finally reveals his secret, and in a very Gregory House move, gives her the ammunition to salvage her career, but ruin his life in the process. I've included a short teaser:

"Who are you?" she asked, thinking that if he was going to break her heart, she wanted to know his name.


"Aaron who?"


"Really?" she drawled, not bothering to hide the sarcasm.

"It's actually Jenkins-Smith, but that seemed pretentious, so I just use Aaron Smith."

"Pleased to meet you, Mr. Smith. I'm Jennifer Dade, and from now on, I'll try to stay out of your way."

It was a desperate hint that she wasn't in his way, that he was sitting on her rock, and if he truly wanted all that solitude and privacy that he kept blustering about, then he'd have to act a little less - stimulated. Not that she was complaining. Much.

"I should go," he repeated, but he moved closer, and his eyes were on her mouth, and Jenn felt herself go hot, then cold. "Normally, I like to ignore everyone else. It makes my life much more comfortable."

"Why can't you ignore me?" she asked, because she needed him to ignore her. She did not need this, but she couldn't ignore it. She couldn't ignore him.

He brushed a gentle finger across her brows. "You look at me with those busy eyes, always digging for your version of the truth, but grasping for the first clich├ęd insights into the psyche because it's easy and it makes your deadline, and it doesn't matter that there isn't always some three-point paragraph that explains who we are. You think there's always an answer, always a reason, but sometimes people are simply the way they are."

Not what she wanted to hear, not what she had hoped to hear, and all those roiling emotions finally erupted. "And that's why you can't ignore me, because you just can't? The Twinkie defense? I had to be me. I was born to be bad. No, there's always a reason. You just don't want to tell me."

She thought he was going to leave. Thought she'd finally done it. Finally chased him away, but instead he looked with all the wretched want in his eyes. All the lonely hunger, combined with the same painful recklessness that she felt in herself.

"I wrote about you. This afternoon, I came home and spewed out reams of pages about someone with your face, your eyes, your hair."

"How did it end?" she asked breathlessly tempted by the drama of it.

"You threw yourself in front of a train."


"You are the mariner's albatross, Ahab's white whale, the magnificent obsession. In the end, there was no alternative. You had to die," he said, sounding miserable and baffled.

But then his fingers reached out, touched her hand, such a small gesture, such a telling gestured. Sometimes sex was scratching an itch, and sometimes sex was the very human need to touch someone. All the phones, all the gadgets, all the machines in the world that mimicked human contact, and yet nothing came close to the absoluteness of sex.

"You like me, don't you?" she asked, twining her fingers through his, locking them there.

"I don't want to like you," he admitted. "You're very happy and sure of yourself and you like machines without souls."

"I don't want to like you either," she admitted as well.

"But you do?" he asked, his eyes met hers, uncertain and unhappy and still hoping that she would say yes.

"Women don't like men like you," she said, because she knew that unhappily hopeful was bad. Very, very bad. It spoke of vulnerabilities, and wounds, and manly suffering that had plagued women for thousands of years.

"What sort of man is that?"

If he were any other man, she'd have thought he was fishing, needing a stroke to his ego, but he didn't have those insecurities. He was both clueless and clever, and yet still unable to resist her. Tragically, like every other woman before her, she was falling for it in spades. "You want some three-point analysis that sums you up in fifty words or less?"


She chose the less dangerous answer. "You're brilliant and hurt and your writing draws you into humanity, but humanity repels you at the same time, and you can't reconcile those two aspects and it frustrates you."

"Do you know what frustrates me?" he asked.

"How badly I want to kiss you. I hate your mouth. I love your mouth. When you talk all that blather, it's the sexiest thing I've ever heard."

"Why don't you kiss me?"

"Because it won't stop."

"I know," she said with a smile.


There's a longer excerpt on my website.

Summer time is a great time for having romance or just kicking back and reading romance. I love to dive into my Pile O'Books and find something that's slow and sizzling and reminds me that sometimes I need to stop and smell the roses (or in this case, read more romance!) Since we're now at the first blush of summer, I'm looking for books to read. I've just started Rachel Gibson's latest (she always cracks me up!) and I'm waiting for Nora's third book in her wedding trilogy to come out for the Kindle. I love all her stuff, but her straight romance is the Bomb. So, since I have a huge audience of romance readers, now's the time to shout out, and let me know what else I should be diving into!

Did you ever have a summer romance? What's your favorite summer reading? What book on your TBR stack would you consider perfect for a lazy summer day? Kathleen's giving books to two commenters today!


limecello said...

Hi Kathleen!

limecello said...

I know it doesn't make sense, really, but I think of classics when grouped with summer reading. (Or maybe it's all that residual schooling...) That, and I like reading books set in winter. I'm hoping to trick my mind/body into believing it's cooler I guess.
But as for something in my TBR that would make for fantastic summer reading? Hmmm... HelenKay Dimon's upcoming Brava book comes to mind first :) Or, any number of Harlequin Blaze books or Silhouette Desires - I'd need a stack of them though, for a long lazy day of reading.

Unknown said...

Congrat lime on getting the rooster!

Hi Kathleen, great post! When it come to reading I don't think I read anything any different in the summer then in the winter! I just grab what I think looks good and go with it. I know last summer I read Toni Blake's One Reckless Summer and it was an awesome summer read! It just worked out that way. Any good book to me is a great summer read!

Anna Sugden said...

Hi Kathleen - great post! I LOVE Grease. It's such a fab movie (and not just for the wonderful songs - like 'Look at me, I'm Sandra Dee') with so many layers. I must admit, I was always more of a Rizzo fan than a Sandy fan - Stockard Channing was awesome!

I was at boarding school in the UK during my teen years, though my parents lived in the US, in Virginia. So, I'd come home for the various vacations. In the summer, I'd head straight for the pool ... and yes, some summer crushes.

The summer means Nationals for me and a couple of long plane trips to the US - so I tend to save up the books I want to read in one sitting for those journeys. If I can hold off long enough, that is *g*. I tend to read either the gritty romantic suspenses or the fun romantic comedies/contemps, so Karen Rose, Tess Gerritsen, Lisa Gardner, JD Robb and SEP, Kate Angell, Rachel Gibson, Deirdre Martin, Susan Mallery.

This year, I'm catching up on some historical authors' backlists - like Loretta Chase, Liz Carlyle and some older Eloisa James.

Helen said...

Well done lime have fun with him

Great excerpt your book would certainly make good summer reading, here in Australia it is getting nice and cool and I also think that it is great reading weather I have just finished Christine Well's Sweetest Little Sin and WOW I loved it a fantastic story I love Jardine LOL, I am now reading a Mills & Boon Desire by Australian author Maxine Sullivan called His Ring Her Babay and it is the first in a trilogy called Billionaires and Babies very good. Next up I will be reading Beth Andrews new one Do You Take This Cop and I am looking forward to it as well.
And no I have never had a summer romance I think I must have missed out on a lot LOL.

Thank you Nancy for inviting Kathleen along today

Have Fun

Nancy said...

Limecello, that's an interesting idea, reading wintery books in the summer to trick your body. I'll have to try it sometime.

Congrats on the rooster.

Nancy said...

Hi, Virginia--I don't know that I've ever sorted books out by season either. The whole idea of a "beach book" seems to encompass most of what I read anyway, which is to say genre fiction of one sort or another. But I do tend to stay away from the potentially grimmer ones when I'm on vacation.

Except I discovered Elizabeth George, whose books can have a dark undertone, on a driving trip through New England years ago. The dh drives. Always. So I read when I don't have to do any route-plotting.

Nancy said...

Anna, I think Stockard Channing is great, too. I loved her on The West Wing!

Long airplane trips are a problem for me. I want one book per leg of the trip, so if it's a long flight (like the one I thought I was going to be taking in your direction), I want a single book that will sustain me. Hard to judge sometimes. :-)

Nancy said...

Hi, Helen--I never had a summer romance, either. I had a summer crush one year, but it never went anywhere. I think it probably has to be at least reciprocated to count, alas.

Glad you enjoyed Kathleen's post.

pjpuppymom said...

Hi Kathleen! Congrats on grabbing the rooster, Lime!

For me, summer books are the ones that make me smile, laugh and always leave me happy. I don't want to have to think while I'm stretched out in a beach chair with my toes trailing in the surf. I just want to enjoy. :)

Rachel Gibson's latest is a perfect summer book. So are Toni Blake's Sugar Creek, Julia Quinn's Ten Things I Love About You, Crush on You by Christie Ridgway, and Home Is Where The Bark Is by Kandy Shepherd. Several Banditas have new books coming out that will definitely be on my summer reading list!

::Sigh:: Summer loves. It's been 43 years and the sweet memories of that summer are as fresh in my mind as if it had happened yesterday. :)

Nancy said...

Hi, PJ--Stretching out and the beach and baking isn't an environment that makes me want heavy, thought-provoking material, either. I want to know I'm getting HEA, a resolution of the mystery, or a step up in a series arc at the end of a book.

Kathleen said...

Hi, Lime! Glad to see you here. I like the idea of the winter books. I'm going to try that when August hits (we're going to TX, so cool will be good). I haven't read HelenKay's books, but I've heard a lot of good things about them. Thanks for the rec.

Kathleen said...

Oh, Virginia, I LOVED One Reckless Summer. Thought it was a great combination of steam and romance. As a Blaze writer, I can say this with authority, sometimes the really steamy stuff overlooks the romance, and I want to see people fall in love. i thought Toni did that really nicely.

Christie Kelley said...

Hi Kathleen, welcome back to the lair.

I never had just a summer romance. But as far as reading, when summer comes, I tend to reach for the Harlequins. I like the shorter books when I'm busy with so many other things. I can't wait to read yours!

Trish Milburn said...

Hey, Kathleen. Fun post as we head into summer. Man, a carefree summer of kicking back and reading, listening to the ocean waves, sounds awesome. Alas, my view is of the neighbors' houses, and I'm listening to my washing machine dance on the spin cycle. :)

I read a bit of everything, so it's all summer reading to me. Though now that I think about it, YA romance would make sense because it could take us back to when we were sitting out in the sun, crushing on a boy, hanging out and giggling with our friends.

Laurie G said...

I had one summer romance between my sophomore & junior years of college. I thought Tim and I were an item and in love... only to find out in October that he was dating someone closer to home. I went to college 2 1/2 hours away from him. At first I was crushed. I had no clue he was interested in someone else. Then I felt lucky to be rid of the cheater. A year later he wanted to get back together. NO WAY!

Summer reads...I take anthologies to the beach or quick reads that you can pick up and put down without feeling lost.

Kathleen said...

Hi, Anna!

I loved grease, too. I owned the soundtrack and could sometimes be found late at night crooning to Oh, Sandy,Ba-ha-by!.

Did you really go to boarding school in the UK? This is so.... Hogwarts!

You have some great names on your catch-up list. I haven't read the latest Loretta Chase. I'll have to put that one on the list. Sometimes I forget the books that I mean to read. :)

Kathleen said...

Hi, Helen,

Putting Christine Well's on the list!

Kathleen said...

Nancy, long plane trips are how I discover the Stieg Larsson books. I have read the first two and loved them and can't wait for the next one. They're interesting books, slow to get going, but he tells a great story. I'm very sad that their won't be anymore.

jo robertson said...

Hi, Kathleen! Welcome to the Lair! I love that excerpt. So fraught with tension and angst.

Kathleen said...

PJ, Great list. I had forgotten about the Quinn book (I ADORE JULIA QUINN). Love the wistful tone about that summer love of yours. I never had a real summer love (or a fake one either). All my summer loves were merely a product of an active (or overactive) imagination.

jo robertson said...

Also wanted to say that GREASE is an all-time favorite, love the music, the story, the dancing.

Summer for me, too, is trying to catch up on my reading. I love sitting on the glider swing on my back patio before the weather gets too hot -- this week it's a pleasant low to mid seventies in northern California.

Kathleen said...


Harlequin's are great for the short reads, aren't they? They're my books I read in the bath-tub. By the time the water gets cold, I'm already at the end!

jo robertson said...

LOL, Limecello, on reading the classics during the summer. I was one of those AP teachers who ASSIGNED those books. Although I did try to choose high interest books like "The Road" by Cormac McCarthy or "Blind Assassin" by Margaret Atwood.

jo robertson said...

No summer romance, Helen? I remember getting involved with guys because I knew come fall I'd be 2400 miles away going to school. It's kind of forbidden LOL.

PJ, I used to love stretching out on the beach with a good book too, but that's caused too much damage to my skin, so I avoid it now.

jo robertson said...

Smart choice, Laurie, you ARE lucky to have gotten rid of that cheater!

And YES, Julia Quinn is always on my faves list!

runner10 said...

No summer romances here. Hard to remember back that far.
I love GREASE. One of the best movies ever.
I love romance books for summer. I want to read Anna Campbell's My Reckless Surrender.

Kathleen said...

Oh, Trish.... Listening to the music of the washing machine. Talk about spinning a fantasy. :)

Ah, BTW, I saw your pics with Julia London at the conference this past weekend. She's a hoot!

Pat Cochran said...

For me it is lighter reading such
as the Mills & Boon Moderns, the
Harlequin American Romances,
Sherryl Woods's Sweet Magnolias series and any Debbie Macomber's
sweet novels!

Thanks for visiting with us today!

Nancy said...

Christie, that's a good point about the shorter books being very handy when life is nuts. It's nice to finish a book and not keep searching for time to get back to it!

Nancy said...

Laurie, I'm sorry your summer romance didn't turn out better. I like the idea of anthologies, though. I don't read them a lot, but they do work well on trips.

Nancy said...

Kathleen, that's another recommendation for Larsen. I haven't read those yet. As I was just saying to Laurie, though, anthologies make particular sense if I'm on a trip--out and about all day, running around with not much time to read.

Nancy said...

Hi, Jo--We have a back patio, but the weather has been weird. Now it's warming up and mosquitoes are already here. Not great reading companions!

Nancy said...

Hi, Runner10--I want to read My Reckless Surrender, too. I think Anna's planning a blowout party here in the Lair to launch it, too.

Nancy said...

Hi, Pat--Another vote for shorter books!

Kathleen said...

Laurie, Sometimes the ones that we think are special are the worst sorts of cads and the ones that sort of sneak up on you (in a good way, not an ax-murderer way), are the ones that we're meant to be with.

Denise said...

I don't know if you've read any Harlequin Presents, but it's one of my favorite Harlequin lines! Some HP authors whose books I personally love, off the top of my head, are Kate Hewitt, Jane Porter, Anne McAllister, Natalie Anderson, Lynn Raye Harris, Kimberly Lang, Abby Green, India Grey, Jennie Lucas, and Ally Blake!

A Rachel Gibson book that I absolutely love, which you may have already read, is Truly Madly Yours. And oh, if you haven't read Susan Elizabeth Phillips' novels, I highly, highly recommend those as well! My favorite SEPs are the those in the Chicago Stars series, and also Kiss an Angel.

Hope these are helpful!

Nancy said...

Hi, Denise--I love the Chicago Stars books, too. The shorter books are getting a lot of recommendations for vacation reading today!

Linda Henderson said...

I find myself reading shorter books during the summer. When it's nice outside it's harder for me to get into a big long book.

Unknown said...

Hi Kathleen!

Welcome back, and thanks for the fabulous excerpt. Now I must add this one to the TBR pile. *grimaces at how it's already leaning to the left*

I really want reading time this summer too. I generally re-read in summer. Re-reading old favorites is so much easier emotionally I think, and yet still satisfying. Re-reading allows me to fall asleep in the swing if I feel like it, with no guilt because I've been there before and I don't have to worry about the ending quite so much.

That's probably crazy to most people, but I get so engrossed in a great new read that I tend to stay up too late (or all night) and can't relax until I get to the end. In summer, I'm about trying to find time to relax. Old favorites do that for me. I actually have a couple on my nightstand righ tnow that I'm planning to re-read when I get a few free hours (like THAT's going to happen) One is Beth Patillo's first book, Princess Charming. I dunno if you can still find it, but if you can, it's a fantastic historical.

Nancy said...

Hi, Linda--Since it's hard for you to get into a longer book when the weather's nice, does that mean you don't read outside? Or that there are too many other fun things to do?

Nancy said...

Cassondra, Princess Charming was, indeed, a fabulous book!

I know what you mean about falling into old favorites. I used to re-read LOTR every couple of years, until time became an issue. No way all those pages go fast!

Christine Wells said...

Hi Kathleen, welcome to the lair! Thanks for hosting Kathleen, Nancy.

Wow, that excerpt blew me away! I can't wait to read this one. I love your books, Kathleen!

I'm sitting here in Australia, shivering at the moment as we move into winter, but I *think* I remember what summer was all about. I think something like Lisa Kleypas's contemporaries are perfect for summer. They're fabulous!

Congrats on the GR, Lime!

Nancy said...

Christine, as you shiver, I'm sitting here glad the humidity isn't rising with the temperature. :-)

I love Kathleen's books, too.

Deb said...

Hi, Kathleen! I have a lot of books that I want to read this summer. My TBR pile is a mountain!

I think a perfect summer's day is different on my mood. Some days I just want to stay inside where it is cool. Others can be spent on my front porch in the glider. Then there are those summer days when my husband, daughter, and I go fishing and just enjoy sitting by the lake.

I had a summer romance when I was 21.
Cousins had come over from Denmark for my sister's wedding and stayed 6 weeks. One was a nice looking guy named Finn who was my age and we clicked right away. It was hard to resist his accent--a British-Danish combo. It was a sad day when he left, but we had so much fun in the time he was here.

PinkPeony said...

Hi Nancy & Kathleen!

You've got me thinking about those beachy movies from the sixties..."Where The Boys Are" and all of the Gidget movies I loved to watch when they aired them on t.v. Summer romance...a lifeguard during an exchange program in Taipei. :) Couldn't pronounce his name but he was nice.

Summer reads...well, there's a pile on the shelf...I can say for sure Anna's book will be one book I'll be reading. Do back issues of Bon Appetit and House Beautiful count? I rarely have time to read anything anymore.

Nancy said...

Deb, Finn sounds extremely cute! What a fun summer.

I envy you sitting outside in the summer. The mosquitoes get so bad here, even in the daytime, that we just can't.

Deb said...

You know what, Nancy? I think it's going to be a buggy summer here because they have been bad the last week or so. I'm going to have to keep bug spray in the car, I think. :(

Nancy said...

Deb, sorry the bugs have been bad. What a nuisance!

Karyn Gerrard said...

No, unfortunately, no summer romances here, well, except for the one with my hubby when we were dating, and I suppose, we still have a summer romance, he is a teacher and has the summer off, so we spend a lot of time together, traveling etc.

I always pick up romance books in my summer travels, new and used, heck, I have some from last summer I haven't even read yet!

All the best for your release!

Kathleen said...

Hello, Jo!

Thanks for the kind words on the excerpt. Sometimes the road to love is gentle and sweet, and other times, it's not so pretty. :)

Northern California sounds awesome. We spent a week there when RWA was in San Fran. Did Napa and the redwoods. It's a beautiful area.

Kathleen said...


I LOVE Anna Campbell's books, too. I'm eagerly awaiting the next one. Sigh. Now those are great summer, winter, fall, or spring reads. :)

Kathleen said...

Thanks for the recs, Pat.

It's great to be here today. The lair is such a very welcoming and friendly place.

Kathleen said...

Denise, I love the Presents. I tend to go on Presents-feeding frenzies (as opposed to glom, which is too mild-mannered of a word). Jane Porter is one of my favs, as is Annie West.

And yes, I have read every SEP. Heaven, TX was the first one I read, but It Had to be You is my favorite. She's such a fanny lady, and her characters are such sweethearts. What's not to love?

Kathleen said...

Hello, Linda!

The long books are tough during the summer. I usually do long books on plane rides, and also I usually pick a long one to read in December over the holidays. I read Lonesome Dove one December and I realized that this was a book that I would not have ordinarily read because during most of the year, a book gets picked up, put down, picked up (where was I?), put down, picked up (what happened here? Why can't I remember that? And who is this character?). Is was after that experience that I started carving out special times for special books that I need I needed to make time for.

Kathleen said...

Hi, Cassondra!

As for those leaning tower of pisa TBR piles, I highly recommend an e-reader. :)

Love the idea of reading on a swing and falling asleep. We're going to Disneyworld a few days before RWA and staying at this hotel that has these great hammocks.... Hmmm.... I'm taking my list with me!

AND I'm putting Princess Charming on this list. :)

Kathleen said...

Now see, Nancy, LOTR is one of my "really need to read this set but never quite get into it because I don't have the time" books.

Do you think we'll have more time when we're older? I would love to be able to read all weekend like I used to do when I was a kid.

Kathleen said...

Hi, Christine,

And thank you for the nice words. I didn't realize you were an Aussie! The seasons fascinate me. Being May and being cold. I have never been to the land down under, but I'd really like to visit... in December? When IS tourist season in Australia?

Kathleen said...

Ahhh, Nancy.

It's great to have friends like you. I knew there had to be some good reason I was chapter pres. :)

Kathleen said...

Hi, Deb!

Slowly catching up. The kids were a demanding bunch today. Wanting food? Can you imagine???

A dane named Finn, aye? Sounds like a romance hero. Probably in a Presents. Although someday I AM going to write a British hero. Just now sure how to work him into a Blaze. :)

Kathleen said...

Hi, Pink!

I used to watch the Frankie Avalon, Annette Funicello movies. How to STuff a Wild Bikini! How do I remember this stuff? Why do we remember this stuff?

And I just realized that Anna's book is right about the corner! Wow, this year has flown. I pre-ordered from Amazon, delivered right to the Kindle on release day! I don't think I can read it until after current WIP is complete (ANY DAY NOW!!), but ah.... makes the idea of finishing that much sweeter. :)

Kathleen said...

And Pink, I do a lot of mag reading, too. That seems to fit my pick up/put down/pick up/put down lifestyle very well. I think those definitely should count.

Kathleen said...

Deb, Nancy,

There has been a lot of rain this year. So far, we have dodged the mosquitoes, but I don't know how long that can last.

Nancy said...

Deb wrote: I'm going to have to keep bug spray in the car, I think. :(

What a drag! I'm sorry.

Nancy said...

Karyn, you got the summer romance of all, a permanent one. :-)

The dh also teaches, but we don't travel as much as we once did.

Nancy said...

Kathleen wrote: It's great to have friends like you. I knew there had to be some good reason I was chapter pres. :)

Same here, amiga. But think about it--the coincidences go farther. Not only were we chapter pres. the same year, but we both went to the same conference and both accepted the invitation to the officers' table and ended up sitting next to each other at a twelve-top, both of writing historicals and the only two Southerners there.

Fate. . . . *g*

Nancy said...

Kathleen wrote: And I just realized that Anna's book is right about the corner! Wow, this year has flown. I pre-ordered from Amazon, delivered right to the Kindle on release day! I don't think I can read it until after current WIP is complete (ANY DAY NOW!!) . . .

LOL! Just FYI, she's having a huge bash of a party here to launch the book on 5/27, so you might want to pop in and say hi. Because you'll SURELY be finished with the wip by then. . . .

Nancy said...

PinkPeony, I remember Gidget movies! They were a lot of fun.

Kathleen said...


I'll be back on the 27th, because I don't want to miss the launch! Thank you all for having me. A lovely, lovely group that is always welcoming to someone who doesn't get out as much as they should.

And yes, the friendship must be fate. We will discuss in Orlando. :)