Some of you know that my recent release, Just For Fun, is book 4 in the Bradford series. Some of you also know that when I wrote the first book, Just Right, I didn’t intend for it to be a series at all. The characters took that first book and ran and I’ve just been trying to keep up ever since.
But I’m thrilled that it is a series. I’ve loved writing these books. It’s been fun knowing these characters this long and this well. It’s been fun finding them all true love. I’m especially thrilled by the reception that Just For Fun is getting and the new covers for the original three books and how excited everyone is about the fifth book, Just A Kiss, which will be out in October.
But I will say that I would recommend planning a series versus having it just happen. Because, well, everything you put in that first book has to stay true through the other books. You’re not only stuck with the people, but you’re stuck with their actions and the things they say. And the thing is, in that first book, you are so focused on the main couple that you develop the secondary characters around them, not thinking about how that might come back to bite you in the butt if you were to make him or her the star at some point.
I’ll give you some examples. Dooley (Doug) Miller is the hero in Just For Fun. He’s been a part of all the other books and he’s been a distinct character. I’ve needed him and I’ve enjoyed the hell out of him. He’s been a great source of trouble for the other guys, some light moments, and even a couple of pieces of great advice. But now that it was his turn to be the hero, I had a few things to contend with.
1. His name. Dooley fits him, I won’t lie. It’s a goofy name for a goofy guy. But I think I might have chosen differently if I’d known he’d eventually be trying to win a classy girl over. Then again, it kind-of works for him anyway. Or he makes it work.
Morgan sucked in a quick breath as he leaned in. “I don’t think I can call you Dooley in bed. Is that what most women call you?”
“That or ‘oh, God’. I answer to both.”
2. His irreverence for… almost everything. Even, or maybe especially, when his friends fall in love.
(Talking about Danika, his friend Sam’s new love interest, in Just Like That)
“I could date her,” Dooley volunteered. “I’m not completely opposed to commitment.”
Sam scowled at him. “Excuse me?”
“I’m just saying…if you think she should date someone else, then maybe it should be someone you know and can trust to
be good to her.”
“Your idea of a romantic dinner is buying her two hot dogs at the baseball game instead of one,” Sam said.
“And the last time you bought a woman something to wear it was a tattoo,” Mac added.
“Didn’t you once tell me that your biggest turn-on is a woman who can drink straight Jack Daniels without shuddering?” Kevin asked.
“I’m not good enough for her?” Dooley asked, feigning offense, but grinning as he said it.
(From, Just My Type, with Sara his friend’s little sister and another’s friend’s new wife)
“Hey, Sara, tell me more about this body powder,” Dooley said, stepping close to her.
“What about it? You put it on. Easy.”
He took her hand and turned it palm up. Then he bent and licked the skin just above her wrist.
Sara giggled. Mac saw red.
He shoved Dooley back, pulling Sara behind him. “What the hell was that?” He glowered at his friend.
Dooley looked at him and licked his lips. “Yum.”
Mac leaned toward him menacingly and Dooley had the nerve to smile. “Knock it off.”
“Hey, a girl doesn’t wear edible body powder if she doesn’t want to be licked. Right, princess?”
But that was also kind of fun, actually, because then Morgan comes along and suddenly Dooley is in the same type situation he’s enjoyed seeing his friends in so much.
“So let me get this straight,” Mac said, leaning in on his elbows. “You got her arrested for suspicion of solicitation, which didn’t stick, and then for indecent exposure, which almost did. In fact, if Judge Rickman hadn’t been such a good friend it might have been a different story. And she still wants you to go to Chicago with her to a work thing based on how you look in a tux and what you can do in bed?”
“Elevators anyway,” Sam said.
Yeah, they’d never made it to a bed. Dooley took a long swig of beer and shrugged. “Guess so.”
“You’ve known her for what? About an hour total?” Ben asked.
Four and a half. Not that it mattered. “I guess it doesn’t take long for me to make a good impression,” Dooley said.
The more they talked about it, the better he liked the whole thing. She’d remembered him. For over a month. She wanted him enough to track him down, even with a fake name.
Women like Morgan James didn’t have to work for what they wanted very often. She was gorgeous, confident, and damned classy herself. That she’d tried to find him rocked.
He grinned and tipped onto the back legs of his chair.
“Then there are only two questions left,” Mac said.
“I’m ready.” He was feeling strangely full of himself.
“When’s the plane leave?”
“And are you Richard Gere or Julia Roberts?”
3. His tendency to always say exactly what he’s thinking, when he’s thinking it, no matter the subject or the audience.
(To Jessica, his friend’s older sister, in Just Right)
“Damn, girl, you look like a wet dream in that dress.”
(About Danika, his friend’s new girlfriend, in Just Like That)
“She’s definitely ogle-worthy,” Dooley agreed. “And as long as you’re just friends you don’t get to put up anti-ogle rules.”
But it turns out that Morgan really likes that about him.
(From Just For Fun)
“On the bed, Sugar. Naked and spread out. You have fifteen seconds.”
She wanted to ask or what? but her body was throbbing and she wanted him to make her beg as promised.
She shed her dress the moment the door opened and she was on the bed ten seconds later.
Doug came toward her, his eyes roaming over her greedily. “I didn’t think it was possible to get even harder, but I just did.”
Morgan smiled. It wasn’t flowery and romantic but it was the gritty real stuff Doug made so damned sexy. There were no practiced words, nothing to infer—he just laid it all out there.
4. The fact that he can’t help but give his friends a hard time, any chance he gets.
(from Just My Type)
Mac breathed a sigh of relief. Apparently his taking Sara to bed last night had been monumental only to him and Sara.
His peace lasted until four minutes after they stepped into the locker room at the hospital to change into their uniforms.
Which just happened to be when Sam came in.
“Oh, hey, Mac, I found this on the steps and forgot to give it back to Sara. You better take it home tonight.” Dooley tossed Mac a hot pink thong.
She’d probably dropped it on the way into the house last night.
It wasn’t a big deal. Except that the tossed thong nearly hit Sam in the face.
Mac caught the scrap of lace and put it in his pocket, bending to tie his shoes without a word. He was going to kill Dooley. He was pretty sure Dooley knew it so it didn’t need to be said out loud.
But, again, that really did make writing his book a lot of fun, because the guys owe him… big. Of course, nothing goes exactly according to plan with these guys.
(From Just For Fun)
He scowled at the TV and chewed harder. In the past when Sam and Mac had been idiots about Dani and Sara they’d all made sure the guys knew how they all felt. They’d all known Sam belonged with Dani and they’d made sure he faced how he felt. Dooley, in particular, had seen how Mac was screwing up with Sara and he’d been sure to let Mac know.
Because he cared about them and wanted them to be happy.
So what the hell was this?
Did they think Morgan wasn’t the right woman for him? They were stupid if they thought that. She was definitely the right woman. Did they think he didn’t love her? That was even more ridiculous. He’d never felt, or acted, this way for anyone else. What did they think that was? Was it that he wasn’t good enough for her? That was… Well, that was possible.
“Dammit, I thought you were my friends,” he finally said, smacking the arm of his chair with his open palm.
Mac reached for a handful of popcorn, seemingly unfazed by Dooley’s outburst. “Hey, man, we’re good as long as you don’t cry or sing.”
Dooley raised an eyebrow. “If I did, real friends would sit through it.”
Mac seemed to think about that for a moment. “’Wind Beneath My Wings’? I’m not sitting through that. Unless I had my phone so I could record it and put it on YouTube.”
“How about ‘Lean On Me’?” Sam piped up. “That’s a good one.”
“Okay, I might listen to that,” Mac said.
“Or ‘Friends in Low Places’,” Sam said.
Dooley groaned. Country music gave him hives.
“At least go with the Beatles,” Kevin said and launched into
“With a Little Help from My Friends.”
Dooley waited as Mac and Sam joined in for a verse. When they finally shut up he asked, “None of you are concerned about it at all?”
“Concerned about what?” Mac asked, tossing popcorn into his mouth. “Sam’s singing voice has always sucked.”
“Oh, yeah, and you’re American Idol material,” Sam said.
“Me and Morgan breaking up,” Dooley said through gritted teeth. Seriously? Why did he hang out with these guys?
“Oh, that,” Mac said.
Dooley waited. No one said anything more. “Yes, fucking that. Where’s the ‘hey, sorry buddy’ or the ‘I’ve got a cute girl you should meet’ or the ‘what the hell are you thinking’? You’ve got nothing to say about it at all?” he demanded.
Sam shrugged indifferently. “We figured you knew what you were doing.”
Dooley scowled at them. “Since when has anyone in this room known what they were doing where a woman was concerned?”
So, I guess looking at it now, I didn’t mind dealing with this guy after all. Maybe I wouldn’t have done any of it differently. Dooley was a great secondary character in those first three books but, you know what? He made a pretty good hero too. And thank goodness I found Morgan. Not just any girl could handle a guy like Dooley!