What's more fun than a heroine who can bring an alpha-male, tough-guy to his knees – and not even realize she's doing it – nothing! That's the type of romantic comedies I write – and Double Occupancy is a perfect example.
Casey Reynolds was a fun character to create: she's sharp, witty, and totally burned out from her job – she just won a Pulitzer Prize for local reporting…but of course it wasn't 'big' enough to be important, oh…and there was very little money either. But at the Boston newspaper she's worked at since she was sixteen – even if she'd won the Nobel with its million dollar prize, she would still be viewed as the go-fer.
She also has low self-esteem. She's six feet tall, average looks, an okay body but it doesn't match up with what's fashionable. Her mother died when she was a baby, her father was a famous sportscaster who wanted a son – and was ashamed of his 'giant-size' daughter. He died just before she won the Pulitzer. But as she is fond of saying – 'local isn't the big leagues.' At work, her anger at herself and her lack of a personal life equals arguments with smart phones, computer mice sail across the room and into walls, and then she kills the Keurig!
When her boss breaks his leg and can't get to his Mexican villa for a vacation, he forces Casey to go instead. And she takes him up on it. She also decides this would be a good place to start a new phase in her boring personal life. Maybe try for a little romance. A little excitement.
Enter Travis Craig. He's been offered the Mexican villa for a vacation too! And is delighted to find he's going to share a double occupancy with the nubile Miss Reynolds.
Casey's not too sure about this – and tells him he's going to have to pull his own weight because she's there to write a novel not be his maid. She agreed with this plan to share the house – but on her terms. Soon rest and relaxation were a thing of the past when their double occupancy proved too erotic to control.
For Travis, lust-at-first-sight quickly becomes – more. As he gets to know Casey, he finds a soul mate and wants to take their relationship up a notch. Way up a notch! And who wouldn't fall for a man who does the cleaning, the laundry and who cooks – in more ways than one!
Casey's guttural sounds of discontent had accompanied Travis while he mopped the kitchen floor. Her angry paper-crunching and impatient toe tapping had punctuated his lunch. Her huffing and slamming of the typewriter carriage had serenaded him through yet another solitary dinner of scrambled eggs. Now her mumbled, unladylike expletives and snorting were providing Travis with music to fold laundry by.
This had been her routine for the last five days. It was almost as if she had retreated into a shell and gone into hiding. No matter how early he woke, she was already up, had had breakfast, and gone for a solitary swim. She ate lunch over her typewriter and scratched notes on a legal pad during dinner, making little attempt at conversation. She acted as if she were alone in the villa, totally ignoring his presence and concentrating all her efforts on her writing.
Travis wasn't jealous of her work, but he was concerned about her health. Physical and mental strains were taking their toll on her. The sparkle in her eyes had been replaced by a dull vulnerability. Her complexion had turned wan and fragile from a lack of fresh air and sunshine. Her shoulders sagged under some invisible Herculean weight and she just picked at her food.
It was the tenth pulling and crumbling of paper that snapped Travis's tightly leashed composure. He peeled a pair of apricot bikini briefs off his arm, the dark curls of hair snapping under the static electricity, and threw them back into the laundry basket.
"All right! That's it! I've had enough." He stomped up the three steps that separated the living room from the dining room.
"What is your problem?" She automatically rolled another sheet of paper into the machine.
Travis yanked the plug from the outlet, totally ignoring her shocked cry of protest. "My problem is I'm getting to be an expert on static cling, waxy, yellow buildup and dishes that shine." He rocked back on the heels of his bare feet as he towered over her. "My problem is you."
Casey stared at him in stunned silence. He looked larger than normal, his gray twill shorts and black T-shirt emphasizing the broad lines of his physique. She pushed back her chair, stood up and looked him straight in his glittering eyes. "I am very sorry that you've had to do all the household chores," she responded with stiff formality, "but I warned you about that from the beginning and I think it's very selfish of you to –"
"I'm only selfish about one thing and that's you." Travis grabbed her arm and dragged her over to the ornate mirror that hung on the wall over the buffet. "Look at yourself," he ordered, his long fingers clamped around her chin, forcing her to comply. "You are a mess. You look worse than when I arrived. You're on the verge of total exhaustion."
"Complimentary to the end, aren't you." She pulled herself out of his grasp and turned away.
"I am not trying to denigrate you." His voice was quiet, his tone softer. "I am damn worried about you. I care." He slipped his arms around her waist and pulled her body against him. "You are pushing yourself harder than ever and I don't understand why. And, honey, I hate to tell you this but nothing you've written in the last week is any good."
Casey sighed, closed her eyes and nodded. "I know it stinks and I feel so guilty for using all that paper and probably a whole forest died." She sniffed and leaned back, enjoying the feel of his hard length pressed intimately against her. Her head lolled against his shoulder, the soft skin of her face brushing against the rough stubble on his cheek. She sighed again, allowing herself to enjoy the intoxicating sense of well-being.
"What you need is to succumb to the lure of the tropics." Travis's low-pitched husky voice was like a physical caress. His breath felt warm against her ear. "Tomorrow, I'm going to take you away from that typewriter and carry you off into the jungle on a little safari."
She giggled. "You've had too much sun and Edgar Rice Burroughs. I saw you reading those Tarzan stories."
He laughed and hugged her tight. "As intriguing as that sounds, I do not have a Tarzan complex." His hands slid up her arms to the bare expanse of shoulders revealed by the strapless top of her navy romper. "I have learned about a very interesting place not too far from here complete with plantation ruins, cascading waterfall, and a secluded lagoon." His fingers began to knead the tight muscles of her neck and shoulders.
"Hmmm…that feels so good." Casey exhaled a deep sigh of pleasure and moved her head to one side, silently encouraging him to rub the strain from her neck. "Jungle lagoon, huh? Well before I left home, the Syfy Channel had a weekend of Amazon jungle monsters. So…are we talking giant piranhas that will strip our flesh off; or eight foot leeches or snakes and 'gators that can swallow a jet plane or –"
His hand stopped her tirade. "Oh, my god, you are worse off than I thought. Come on, you are going to get a head start on relaxing right now."
Meet Elaine Raco Chase
I love reading. And that’s how I became a writer. It started in high school with a serial for the newspaper, and then I moved on to writing radio/TV programs and advertising copy. I was sure short stories would be perfect for me, because I could create the most vivid scenes in under 60 seconds!
But – I found I needed more time to write compelling characters and their stories – be it romances or mystery/thriller and suspense novels. Whatever genre I write, my stories are funny, sarcastic, and loaded with fast-paced, bantering dialogue. My books feature confident, strong women – who have a wicked sense of humor and aren’t really looking for a man – until the perfect one appears.
I have published eighteen novels and non-fiction as well – all of the novels hitting assorted bestsellers lists – and have over 4 million books in print, in the US and 27 other countries and 17 languages. It’s been fun!
Now, I’ve entered the world of eBooks and am delighted to be acquiring new readers and renewing connections with previous fans. All my books have been updated, but as one reader wrote – “wow, they are just as fresh today as when they were first written.” That’s quite a compliment.
I’ve always believed in love at first sight. Well…maybe not quite love but instant attraction. Why? Because my dad told me he fell in love with my mother while she was chasing her dog down the street! I told him that was impossible, he hadn’t even talked to her. He just grinned and said, “sometimes you just know.” They were married for 57 years…and their lives were full of love and laughter. My husband claims he was ‘intrigued at first sight…maybe with a bit of lust thrown in.” Well we’ve been laughing and loving for the last 42 years!
I also teach of creative writing – and do online classes. I have some very talented students that I know you’ll be reading quite soon.
I hope you enjoyed the excerpt for Double Occupancy - because love and laughter make perfect bedfellows!
Where to find Elaine:
www.trianglevarietyradio.com Every Thursday from 8-11 PM ED on the Author's Corner!