Zinnia Hope, author of multi-genres and erotic romances; also writing as J. Emberglass
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Wednesday, January 10
I've sold a new title to Amira Press!!!
When Regina’s boss gives an ex-con a job at the bookstore and an apartment across the hall from hers, she expects the worst. Arnold has served 50 years for murder, but Regina isn’t so sure he’s guilty.
Over the course of a week, and throughout the torrential downpours of hurricane rains, Regina and Arnold discover that age and time has no bearing on true love.
Purchase Link: http://amirapress.com/donnadee.htm
The excerpt isn't available on the site yet, so I'm posting the opening scene here.
Visiting Donna Dee
Regina hated rain.
The radio droned on about Hurricane Ivan's impending arrival to the Ohio Valley that September weekend. Gazing through a plate glass window, Regina studied the expanse of cornflower blue stretched over New Martinsville, West Virginia.
She glanced at the clock. The man was late. She still couldn't believe her employer, Mr. Todd, had agreed to house and employ an ex-inmate, a Mr. Arnold Cuttshaver. Her boss had said little about the man. Her only instructions were to show Mr. Cuttshaver around the store, train him, and settle him upstairs in his efficiency apartment.
Legends In Print enjoyed good business, but Mondays were the slowest day of the week. At noon, Regina locked the door and hung the OUT TO LUNCH sign before accessing the stairs to her apartment. She made a sandwich and grabbed a can of Diet Coke before moseying back downstairs. She locked the door again and sat down behind the counter.
The cold, fizzy Coke refreshed Regina’s mouth. She closed her eyes as she gulped. Upon opening them again, an elderly man stood inside the vestibule, his forehead pressed against the glass, hands cupped around his eyes.
They stared at one another.
"We're not open for another forty minutes," Regina announced.
"I'm Arnold Cuttshaver," he called through the glass. "I'm supposed to meet a young woman here by the name Regina."
She studied the old man, her mind scrambling to re-assemble the mental picture she had constructed of him. Where was the forty-something guy with a long ponytail, acid rock insignia tee shirt, hole-riddled jeans and deviant smile?
The fellow stepped out onto the sidewalk and looked up at the Legends In Print sign over the door. Brown trousers a size too large for him hung upon narrow, bony hips; clownish wing tip shoes peeked out from the cuffs of his pants. A black leather belt kept his shirt tucked neatly in his waistband; the shirt’s blue material gleamed dully in the afternoon sunshine giving the impression of cheap, over-pressed polyester. He peered up at the awning, a brown fedora shading his eyes.
Nodding, he stepped into the foyer and pressed his face to the glass again, his large nose creating a flat oval, and asked, "Is Regina here today?"
She grabbed her keys and walked to the door, unlocking it. "Come in. I'm Regina. Regina Mayse."
He held out a large, gnarled hand. "Arnold Cuttshaver."
Regina placed her hand in his warm, dry one. He gripped it snugly, and a strange sense of familiarity soughed through her like a summer breeze. Her gaze flew up to meet his blue eyes.
“How old are you?” he asked abruptly.
“I just turned nineteen a couple weeks ago—why?”
“No reason. You just look terribly young to be managing a bookstore.”
Not sure whether or not she should be offended, Regina studied him for a moment and said, “Well, I’m attending Wheeling Jesuit University two nights a week for my business degree. Besides, Mr. Todd gave me a trial period and was impressed with my management ideas and how well I work with the customers.”
Arnold nodded. “Well, let’s get this show on the road.”
It took Arnold a couple minutes to navigate the staircase leading to the upstairs apartments. At the top, waiting patiently, Regina wondered how an elderly inmate had ended up here. Slightly winded, Arnold reached the landing and his pale blue gaze met hers. She saw doubt in his eyes wrapped in a blanket of despair, and in the center of it all, a profound sadness that pricked Regina's heart. Regardless of his past imprisonment, she saw volumes of history archived in Arnold's eyes. She smiled nervously, feeling a bit of her own uncertainty.
"Your apartment is on the left," she said. "It's not fancy, but it's clean, and there’s lots of shelving and cabinet space."
"I have nothing to fill it with," Arnold stated.
Embarrassment washed over Regina. “I’m sorry. Do we need to call someone to bring things that you might have in storage?”
“I’ve been behind prison walls for fifty years,” the old man replied. “Everything I own is hanging on my bony frame.
"Then maybe you'll enjoy filling your room with new things," Regina added in an attempt to soothe the tension.
"Maybe I will, maybe I won’t."
Visiting Donna Dee is available now for pre-ordering. The grand re-opening of Amira Press is Valentine's Day, and right now, if you pre-order one title, you get a second title of your choice for half off between the dates of 2/14/07 and 2/28/07.
Visiting Donna Dee is priced at $5 on the purchase page, but that is an error. The title is only $3 and it WILL be only $3 should you click to pre-order it.
If you missed yesterday's post, contest update and joke, you can find them in the post below.