Elaine Cantrell writes romantic tales that will pull at your heart strings. Let's give her a warm welcome.
Ms. Cantrell is offering a chance to win an e-book copy of Purple Heart. All you have to do is leave a comment or ask her a question.
Tell us a little about yourself:
I was born and raised in a little town in upstate South Carolina. I have a Master’s Degree in Personnel Services from Clemson University and am a member of Alpha Delta Kappa, an international honorary sorority for women educators. I’m also a member of Romance Writers of America and EPIC authors. I’m married to my college sweetheart and have two sons and three grandchildren. Besides writing I enjoy quilting, gardening, collecting vintage Christmas ornaments, and discovering new restaurants with my friends.
What were some of your favorite books growing up? What inspired you to write your first book? Oh what fun! I love remembering my childhood favorites. Let’s see. Little Women was one of my favorites. I cried and cried when Beth died. I was horse crazy so I liked Black Beauty and the Black Stallion books. I read the Trixie Belden mystery series, and absolutely adored the Anne of Green Gables books.
As to what inspired me to write that first book, well, you can blame it on my son. He came in one day and said that he’d written a book. ‘I always made up stories in my head to amuse myself,’ he said, ‘so I thought I’d write them down.’ Amazing. I had always done the same thing. About that time, a teacher friend of mine said we should both write a book, and we’d critique each other’s work. I gave it a shot. My first book had lots of flaws, but I wrote a second and submitted it to the Timeless Love contest sponsored by Oak Tree Books. To my great and utter surprise, I won the contest, and my book was published the following year. I’ve been hooked ever since.
Tell us a little about Purple Heart and what inspired you to write the tale.
I wrote Purple Heart after my nephew came home from Iraq and talked to me about things that happened over there. I started thinking about the ramifications of war, and Purple Heart was born. The book is the story of veteran Mike Hightower and young widow Jenna West. When Mike gets out of the army he rents an apartment from Jenna even though he doesn’t like her. She’s Lebanese. People like her killed his friend Ramirez when the army sent them to Iraq. As time goes on Mike can’t help but see the goodness in Jenna. His feelings start to change, but he doesn’t know if he can overlook her ethnic background or not. If he does, wouldn’t he be betraying Ramirez? Purple Heart is available at: http://www.thewildrosepress.com/purple-heart-p-404.html
Tell us about your upcoming release due out in July, Return Engagement. What might have been has probably haunted everyone at one time or another. I’m curious to know why Elizabeth Lane is willing to take the risk of finding out.
Elizabeth is willing to take a big risk. She has everything she ever wanted: fame, wealth, and the love of a good man. She’s willing to risk it all because Richard Lovinggood is unforgettable. They fell in love ten years ago, but Richard’s father Senator Henry Lovinggood broke them up. He didn’t think Elizabeth was good enough for Richard. He wants Richard to be the president, and Elizabeth’s family isn’t the kind you want to brag about. But how could she ever forget Richard? He’s gorgeous, impulsive, brilliant, hot tempered, and probably a little dangerous. He also has a romantic side. When she’s with him the whole world sparkles. He makes her feel alive in a way she’s never felt before. Ten years ago she lost him, but when she gets another chance at happiness her heart won’t let her turn it down.
Return Engagement will be available in July from Whiskey Creek Press at: http://www.whiskeycreekpress.com
Can you share a little of your current work in progress with us?
I’m currently working on a fantasy. Let me share the first few paragraphs with you. As you can see, my hero, Alan, has a big problem.
King Bowdyn sprang from his throne and paced around the room like a crazed tiger as his son knelt before the huge golden chair studded with crimson and emerald stones. “Perhaps you did not understand me, Alan,” he snarled. His hands clenched into fists held rigidly to his side. “This is not a request, but a command. You will marry Lady Maybina before the next full moon has passed.”
Alan dared not raise his eyes from the floor. “Father, I do not…”
“Silence!” the king roared. “I have respected your wishes for three years now, but my patience is at an end. You will wed Lady Maybina as I have commanded.”
“Father, having married once for love, I have no desire to marry a woman whom I have never met! Can you not understand? Think of the love you share with my mother. Is it so bad that I desire the same kind of relationship?”
Do you have a favorite research book?
No, not really. I do most of my research online, though.
Tell the readers where they can find you:
My website is http://www.elainecantrell.com
My blog is http://www.elainepcantrell.blogspot.com
My My Space page is http://www.myspace.com/elainecantrell
My Facebook page is http://www.facebook.com/home.php?#!/profile.php?id=100000153041486
Is there anything else you’d like to tell the readers?
Yes, I’d like to say that I like Return Engagement better than any book I’ve ever written. My characters captured my imagination to the point that I have two others books featuring the same family. If Return Engagement does well, I’m hoping Whiskey Creek Press who’s publishing Return Engagement will want them too. The book is coming out in July, but they haven’t told me if it’s the first or the middle of the month. When it does, if you buy a copy of the book, email me your receipt I’ll send you a free PDF of my second novel Grandfather’s Legacy. This offer is good for the first 50 people or 48 hours whichever comes first. I’d sure appreciate any support you can give me. Go to http://www.whiskeycreekpress.com
Elizabeth Lane has heard the call of the four most seductive words in the entire English language: what might have been. Would you risk everything you hold dear to find out what might have been? That’s the choice which Elizabeth has to make.
Elizabeth is lucky, for she has it all, money, fame, a satisfying career and a devoted fiancé. Her humble beginnings are all but obscured, but she isn’t the kind of woman Senator Henry Lovinggood wants for his son, Richard. Senator Lovinggood plans to make Richard the President of the United States; he’ll need a woman from a wealthy, powerful family by his side. Ten years ago he broke Richard and Elizabeth up, but this time it won’t be so easy, for Elizabeth wants to know what might have been. This time she’ll fight back, a struggle which ultimately leads to kidnapping and attempted murder and alienates her from the man of her dreams.
In this excerpt my hero and heroine have met each other on the beach ten years after they broke up.
They picked up their trash, threw it in the garbage can, and continued their walk down the beach. They hadn’t gone ten steps before Richard took her hand. Elizabeth tried to breathe normally. Okay, why not hold hands with him? Why, she might turn her ankle walking in the sand! Richard had always tried to protect her and keep her safe. How nice that he still wanted to take care of her.
They had only gone a little way when he drew her against his side and put his arm around her. Really! I shouldn’t have held hands with him, she thought. What was I thinking?
Before she could scold him Richard came to a stop. Her knees started to shake as his eyes bored into hers. “Are you going to slap my face if I try to kiss you? I hate getting slapped, but I’m having a hard time keeping my hands to myself.”
A heady sense of feminine power rose up in Elizabeth and almost made her heart jump bounce out of her chest. Richard Lovinggood wanted to kiss her! Richard Lovinggood. Sexy, wonderful Richard Lovinggood! Shame abruptly flooded her. For some reason her thinking seemed muddled and messy tonight. I have a wonderful life. I have everything I ever wanted-wealth, fame, a great job, and they don’t make men any better than Alex Crawford. How can I risk my happiness by cheating on him, especially with a man like Richard? There’s no possible hope of a future with him.
From under lowered lashes she caught sight of the amusement park in the distance. “Look, Richard. I see the merry-go-round. Let’s hurry.” She broke away from him and sprinted down the beach with Richard right behind her.
They rode the merry-go-round first, and after that Elizabeth gave up her attempt to keep things impersonal. Richard made such an adventure out of this visit to the carnival that she had too much fun to worry about Alex. I’ll probably have to pay for it later, but darn it, tonight I intend to enjoy myself.
They rode the Ferris wheel and the tilt-a-whirl two times each. Then they went through the haunted mansion which gave Elizabeth a great chance to scream and cling to his side. She hid her face against his shoulder, savoring the male scent of him. When they left the haunted mansion, they found a place that sold cotton candy and funnel cakes. They bought a huge amount of both and devoured the sugary treats as if they’d never had anything so tasty. I shouldn’t flirt so brazenly with him, Elizabeth thought but who cares? Her obvious joy caused some bystanders to smile as they remembered their own courtships.
She paused when they passed a shooting arcade. “Richard, you’re FBI, so I guess you’re supposed to be a good shot. Win me a stuffed animal.”
Richard groaned. “Those guns are probably all sighted wrong so you can’t win. Couldn’t I just buy you one instead?”
“No, that won’t do at all. Never mind. It’s okay if you don’t think you can do it,” she replied with no hint of a smile whatsoever. Would he try to win a prize for her or not?
Richard stepped up to the counter and inspected the row of guns provided by the arcade. “Okay, I know a challenge when I hear it. I’ll win you an animal if I have to stay here all night.”
The attendant, a wizened gnome of a man with a sour expression on his face, wandered over to them. “Win a prize for the lady, mister? Dollar a shot.”
“Yeah, I’ll give it a try.”
He selected the gun he wanted and shot, but he missed. “Just as I expected, the sights are off, and it pulls to the left.” He adjusted for the bad sights, aimed, and squeezed the trigger. This time he hit the target dead center.
“Hooray,” cheered Elizabeth. “I want that big white cat over there. How many does he have to hit to get it?”
“Ten in a row,” the man sourly replied.
A few minutes later Richard and Elizabeth walked away carrying the big cat with them.
Elizabeth tucked her arm through his. “This is so exciting! Nobody ever won anything for me before. You are such a good shot. I bet you’re one of the FBI’s best marksmen.” Is he blushing? thought Elizabeth. I bet it’s been a long time since a woman made him blush.
She couldn’t resist the urge to tease him. She came to a halt and looked intently into his face. “Why, Richard, are you blushing?”
The color in Richard’s face deepened. “I don’t think so. It’s just the lights.”
“Oh, yes you are! You always used to blush when I teased you. Did I embarrass you?”
Richard ducked his head, a little gesture that probably sent her blood pressure sky high. “All right, my face does feel a little warm” he admitted, “but no, you didn’t embarrass me. It’s… well it’s kind of nice to have you flirt with me and brag on me. I’m surprised how bad I wanted to show off and win that damn cat for you.”
“You are so sweet,” she declared, giving him a warm smile.
“I don’t believe it! Is that what I get for winning the cat? Sweet? I don’t want to be sweet.” Ignoring the crowds of people all around them, he jerked her close which made her breath leave her in a little woof. “I want to be your lover. I want you to say I’m sexy and that you want me. I can’t believe you think I’m sweet.”
Elizabeth willingly threw both discretion and Alex to the wind. What did discretion or Alex matter at a time like this? “Oh, that’s what you want, is it? I’m glad you made your intentions clear, Mr. Lovinggood.” She took a small step toward him and obligingly tilted her face upward.
She had known Richard wouldn’t waste his chance. His eyes darkened as he bent his head. Elizabeth gasped when his lips touched hers. She had forgotten how his kisses made her knees shake, her heart pound, and almost burned her up from the inside out.
Richard finally lifted his head. “You have a lazy, satisfied smile on your face,” Elizabeth breathlessly observed.
A smile crossed his face. “Yeah, I do.” His voice dropped. “You held me so close, and you kissed me like you’d never get enough of me.” He gently stroked her cheek with his fingertips. “That kiss thrilled me from head to toe. I…I don’t ever want to let you go.”
Elizabeth looked around at the crowds of people everywhere and blushed herself. “It’s one thing to kiss an actor in front of a camera, but I don’t like to be too affectionate in public. No more kissing right now, please.”
“Can I kiss you later when we’re alone?”
Alex! Elizabeth came down to earth with a thud. “No. We shouldn’t have kissed at all. It’s my fault, and I apologize.”
Richard laughed as if she’d said something hysterical. “You don’t have to apologize for that. You won’t hear any complaints out of me.”
Oh, lord! What time was it? She glanced at her watch. It was time to go home. Maybe Mother and Alex are worried about me. I haven’t behaved very well tonight. It isn’t fair to Alex for me to go out on a date with Richard. Oh, but you can’t call this a date! Yeah, right, and maybe the sun won’t come up tomorrow. She picked up her cat, and they started the walk back to their cars.