We continue today with Brenda Whiteside, author of Sleeping with the Lights on, which is available now from The Wild Rose Press....
After two failed marriages and countless relationships, Sandra Holiday thinks she’s met the man to end her years of less than perfect choices; choices that not only derailed her travel-related career plans but also left her single and broke.
Carson Holiday, a Las Vegas country crooner with swoon-inducing good looks, spent his adult life pursuing a recording contract and love, never holding on to either. After eighteen years, he drops back into Sandra’s life, reigniting an attraction he can’t deny.
When Carson reappears, Sandra must choose again. Only this time, nothing’s as it seems. A secret admirer, a redheaded stalker and an eccentric millionaire throw her on a dangerous path, with Carson her only truth.
As life confronts her with yet another turning point, will her decisions find her eternally sleeping with the lights on – or will she finally discover a way to turn them off?
Excerpt from Sleeping with the Lights On:
“Carson, have you ever considered dating?” I couldn’t get over the six marriages.
“Dating?” He looked at me and smiled. “You mean instead of marrying.” He shrugged. “I’ve been rethinking it…since Melanie, who next to you was the best marriage I’ve had and even then she didn’t compare. You’ll always be the best. Special.”
He melted me with his choice of words. I couldn’t speak. Carson told me I had been one of those really good things about his life. The adage came to mind – you don’t know what you have until it’s gone.
“Man, this weather is good chili weather.” He stretched his arms in appreciation of a nice spring Minnesota night. The phrase rang pure Texan. I guess you can’t take Texas out of the Texan no matter how long it’s been. “Let’s do this again tomorrow night, Sandra.”
“I can’t. I have plans,” I said relieved. Sort of. This evening, supposedly a one-time meeting should be a brief hello. I had a life.
He actually said good. Why did he find every aspect of my life so pleasing?
“Then lunch?” He reached out and took my hand. “We haven’t had nearly enough time to talk. Unless, we extend this night some more.”
“I don’t think that would be such a good idea.” Actually it would be a great idea for all the wrong reasons. “I have to get up so early for work.” I needed to call Wesley and put Carson out of my mind. Carson Holiday needed to slip back into my past.
“Then I’ll take you to lunch.” He nudged me with his shoulder affectionately.
“When do you go back to Vegas?”
He hesitated. “In a day or two.”
“You sound rather vague.” And still allusive. What could be the big secret about this charity gig he couldn’t divulge?
“I have a few more things to find out. I’ll be out of here as soon as I get all my questions answered. It’s complicated.”
“Carson, honestly, how complicated can a gig –”
He stopped walking when we reached the edge of my apartment complex and pulled on my hand so we faced each other. My head said turn and run but my legs wouldn’t respond, mushy from wine or Carson and moonlight. I couldn’t be sure which.
“Have lunch with me tomorrow, darlin’.” He looked at me, not smiling. His hand let go of mine and his fingers gingerly brushed along my forearm while I couldn’t break the connection between our eyes. “Another hour of your time with a long lost friend?”
“Yes.” My voice went all husky and come-hither. I wanted to kick myself for being so easy.
“Good. What’s the address of your office?” He turned and took my hand again, leading me toward the door of the building. I struggled to shake off the moon shadows and to remember where I worked. Once inside the building, I took a scrap of paper from my purse and wrote the address.
“And now I’ll walk you to your door and say goodnight,” he said tucking the scrap of paper in his pocket. “Unless you want to have me in for a goodnight drink.” I didn’t answer. If he’d only known my uncertainty about my renewed attraction to him, a little persistence might have made me cave. He took my hand again. “Okay, then –” His mouth gaped. I followed his bewildered look to my apartment door.
We both stared at an ordinary piece of white typing paper, taped to my door, with no other marks or writing other than the one word, and then looked at each other. He gave me one of those arched-eyebrow-quizzical looks, but I couldn’t find my voice. We looked back at the paper like maybe we missed part of it. The black block letters couldn’t be mistaken for anything other than what they said. And I knew whose artful hand had branded me.
“What have you been up to since we last saw each other, darlin’?”