In Flames Jessica Jayne
Genre: Contemporary Erotic Romance
Publisher: Evernight Publishing
Number of pages: 110
Word Count: 42,780
Cover Artist: Sour Cherry Design
Gracelyn Riley married a firefighter. She knew that came with risks. But she never imagined herself widowed in her early thirties with two children to care for on her own.
As a fireman, Matt Riley was at the scene when his brother, Chad, was killed. He suffered greatly from survivor’s guilt and depression after the accident.
The last year has been difficult for both Gracelyn and Matt. They’ve relied on each other to get through the tough times. With the anniversary of Chad’s death upon them, Gracelyn and Matt once again turn to each other for comfort and support. They find it in each other’s arms (and bed). Will their desire for each other consume them? Can they overcome the guilt and scrutiny to find love again…together?
“He wasn’t the perfect husband,” Gracelyn said. “I learned about the women. I was so angry with him. So angry. He risked our marriage and our family for a few hot fucks. One of the hardest things I ever did was tell him to leave our home… that I needed to separate from him so I could sort it out on my own. And then, a week later he is gone… for good. I felt so guilty. I loved him. I really did. And he was a great father. I miss him.” Tears started to flow down her face.
“I miss him too,” Matt said. He gave her hand a squeeze. “Gracey, I know you loved him. He knew you loved him. I know he made mistakes in your relationship, but he did love you… a lot… even if he didn’t always show it properly. And he was going to work his ass off to save your marriage.” Matt wiped her tears away with the back of his hand.
“This is just so hard, Matty. Raising Jenna and Josh on my own. It’s a big responsibility when both parents are around, but on my own… I feel like I am screwing everything up,” she cried. “Shit around the house that he would normally take care of sometimes falls by the way side because I forget about it… like the trash. And then I see it sitting there and get mad that he isn’t here to take the trash out or mow the lawn or help the kids with their math homework. He was always better with math than I was. Not to mention, I feel so damn alone.” She looked up at him. Her blue eyes sparkled through her tears.
“You know you can always count on me,” Matt said. He put his arms around her and cradled her. “I’ll help with Jenna and Josh as much as I can. And you know Mom and Pop will always be here to help too. And when I don’t have Brian on the weekend, I can be here to do whatever you need…like I have been.”
“I can’t ask you to do more than you already do,” she said. “You already do so much… too much. You attend the kids’ events and games. You help take care of the yard… fix the little things around the house… make sure my car is always up and running. You need to have a life. You can’t spend your free time taking care of your brother’s widow all the time.”
“Gracey, you are more than just Chad’s widow. You’re family. And you have always been a friend. You’ve been a tremendous support for me. I wouldn’t have made it through this last year without you. I will do whatever I can to help you. You know that. We’ve helped each other through this last year and I’m not abandoning you now. I’ll always be here for you.”
“I just don’t want to be alone anymore,” she cried into his shoulder. Her hands gripped his t-shirt desperately. Matt held her tight. Tears welled in his own eyes. The past year had been difficult for everyone, especially Gracelyn. But she’d always stayed strong…whether for the kids, for everyone else or for herself.
They had shared tears together over the last year, but he had only witnessed her completely break down twice. First, when she found out about the accident. Matt wouldn’t let anyone else break the news to her. He had been at the scene when the accident happened. Several firefighters had to restrain him to keep him from rushing back into the collapsing building to get to his brother. The fire chief wanted to tell Gracelyn about Chad’s death, but Matt refused that as an option. He and Gracelyn were close and he did not want her to find out from anyone other than him, so he rode with the chief to her house. She knew the minute she opened the front door and saw him standing in his turnout pants, t-shirt and suspenders with his face all smudged black from the smoke and his own tears. She collapsed in his arms when he confirmed it. And then when they buried Chad, Gracelyn broke down for the last time… at least in front of anyone else. Maybe she sobbed every night in the shower or lying in bed by herself. But he had not seen it. The sight of her in his arms now… it just broke his heart.
Gracelyn lifted her head and looked at him through her tears. Matt gently touched her face with the back of his hand, in an attempt to wipe away her tears and soothe her. Leaning into him, she pressed her lips to his. At first, Matt didn’t comprehend what was happening. Her lips were soft against his, yet she kissed him so confidently. Her fresh strawberry scent enveloped him… so sweet… so intoxicating. She smelled like summer despite it being the end of September.
Matt’s mind told him to stop the kiss. Stop it before it went any farther. But her tongue slid against the seam of his lips and his head jumbled with a mix of thoughts—none of which were coherent.
About the Author:
I am a born and raised small town Ohio girl, who moved to the Sunshine State after graduating from college. I graduated with a bachelor's degree in English because I could not imagine doing anything else but reading and writing. It is such a pleasure to be able to share all the stories in my head!
In the journey of life, I also became a wife and a mother of three children. So, life is always an adventure. But the love of writing has never died.
My favorites: I love to read and write... obviously! But I also enjoy all sports, especially college football and the Ohio State Buckeyes! Go Steelers! Go Rays! I LOVE to travel... LOVE, LOVE, LOVE to travel. And I love sharing my love to travel with my children. I love to drink Teavana teas! I love a good glass of wine, especially if it comes from a bottle made by the FOOLS wine club… yep, I’m a member of that! I love hanging out with my family and my friends! Big fan of music, but love nothing better than putting on my jean shorts, tank top, cowboy boots and hat and watching Tim McGraw belt it out! I’m a sucker for a cowboy hat!
Favorite quote: “If nothing ever changed, there would be no butterflies.”
How long have you been writing?
Jessica, please tell us about yourself and your writing.
Hmmm… let’s see! I was born and raised in a small town in northeast Ohio. Went to the same high school (and scarily had some of the same teachers) as my parents. Grew up loving football, playing cops and robbers outside with my friends and dodging broken hearts while I dealt out a few of my own. ;) After I graduated from college, I moved down to the Sunshine State. Yep, there’s a lot of sun here and a lot of humidity, but if you have all day to spend at the beach, life is easy breezy! In between some travel adventures, I met a wonderful man that I married and we now have three amazing children. My days at the beach are not as frequent or as long, but I will admit nothing quite calms my soul like a beautiful sunset and the sound of the ocean.
And through all this time of growing up and maturing, I have been writing. Since I was able to spell words and could form coherent sentences, I’ve been writing. For the most part, I’ve always written something that had an element of romance. I’m a romantic at heart and nothing ever really compares to that feeling of being in love or lust (hehe). When I initially started taking my writing more seriously, I noticed that I had a hard time keeping the sex out of the stories. I had people tell me it was better to keep the sex to the reader’s imagination. Really? So, I tried to carve out the intense build ups to sex because those would only lead to intense sex and well, that is better left to the reader’s imagination, right? I struggled for a few years because I thought I’d never get anything published. My writing was too sexy for mainstream, so I didn’t submit it. Then I found the erotic romance genre and I found a home. J I found that some people do actually enjoy the erotic element of the stories. The readers still want the romance, but they want to hear about how things unfold in the bedroom or on the kitchen counter or in the backseat of the car or on top of the desk or in the elevator… if you know what I mean. ;)
How long have you been writing?
I kind of answered this one above. (Looks sheepish)
Do you have a process for coming up with character names and book titles?
I don’t really have a process. I keep a running list of names that I like. When a character comes into my head, sometimes he or she already comes with a name and my job is easy. Sometimes not. Then I consult my list of names to see if there is anything that strikes me as fitting for the character running rampant in my head. I have had stories where the character’s name changed midway through the book because the name just wasn’t working for me. It doesn’t happen often, but it has happened.
The more interesting question is how does one come up with the title of a book. And I will admit, I have no flipping idea. I have zero process for this. For me, this is the hardest part of getting my stories ready for submission. On a few occasions, the title was there. But most of the time, I find myself brainstorming with friends (some authors… some not) trying to pull together some words or phrases to start jarring a title together. It needs to be catchy. It needs to stand out. By the time I’m ready to submit the piece, I’ve come up with something that I feel best describes my thoughts on the book as a whole.
What inspired your current book?
This book was inspired by a scene. And that scene was inspired by a friend’s experience. I had a male friend that was involved with a married woman. (I know… I know… but reality is that affairs do happen.) And he confided in me about a situation wherein he and the woman met for dinner. They decided to stop seeing each other and agreed to go their separate ways, except once he walked her to her car and she kissed him goodbye on the lips, he couldn’t stop what happened next. I thought… hmmmm… there’s a story in there somewhere!
I’ve been told that my writing style is a bit odd. Whether that’s true or not, I have no idea. But I get a scene and characters in my head. It just sort of takes over my brain and I have to get it out. Everything is in pretty basic form and gets more developed as the story, itself, develops.
For In Flames, the scene when Matt and Gracelyn leave the restaurant and one thing leads to another in the backseat of Gracelyn’s car is what started this story. I had two characters that couldn’t be together for some reason, but yet couldn’t keep their hands off each other. Affairs are frowned upon in the romance genre… well, because a lot of people read them to find the happily ever after. I drafted the bare bones scene and let the characters live in my head for a while. I played around with a few different scenarios. But what got me emotional was the idea that Gracelyn had been married to Matt’s brother, Chad, who passed away while fighting a fire. Bam! There it was. I built the story around that!
Thank you so much for the great interview questions. And thank you for hosting me and my latest release, In Flames, on your Snarkology blog! I appreciate it!
Where to find Jessica Jayne on the web:
Tour Wide Giveaway
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