I have Leanna Sain in the Round Pen today. I’ll let her tell you a bit about her book, Red Curtains.
I saw ‘Lily’ while my husband and I were visiting Savannah for our 26th anniversary. We were waiting for a tour bus when she strolled past us, wearing a court jester hat and talking to herself. She walked up to a mailbox by the bus stop proceeded to sprinkle some invisible substance around its base. I cocked an eyebrow at my husband and quipped, “Fairy-dust?” He shrugged, waiting to see what she did next.
She was obviously homeless, and the moment I saw her, my mind started creating her story. As soon as we got on the bus, I began scribbling ideas as fast as my pen could write. Red Curtains is the result.
I know the homeless issue isn’t a comfortable subject, but unfortunately, it’s reality and I hope my book raises awareness. Homeless statistics are staggering, so to help in a small way, I’ll be donating a part of book sales to the “Stand Down” program mentioned in the story.”
“Cleo!” she greeted me joyously, as if we were long, lost friends instead of mortal enemies. “It’s so good to see you!”
“Ellie.” Her eyes narrowed at my mispronunciation, but she didn’t correct me. I gave her a cold stare. The only thing that kept me from yanking her out of my seat by her dark rooted, bottle-blond hair was sheer, iron will.
“I saw you come in earlier,” she trilled in her fake- friendly voice. “I wanted to be sure to come tell you ‘hi.’ Imagine my disappointment when I finally made it to your table and found you were gone. But luckily…” she gave Jonas an impudent smile. “…this nice man was good enough to let me sit here and wait for you.”
Finally made it to my table? Yeah, right. I was sure she’d waited—on purpose—for me to leave before she swooped in. I’d seen this act before, and I thought I was ready for it, but I guess I wasn’t. When she finished her little performance with a wink, I think I may have growled.
“Well, that worked out well for you, didn’t it?” My smile was brittle. One false move and my face might shatter into a thousand little pieces. I waited stiffly for her to vacate my seat. Could a person’s blood actually boil?
Jonas was casting an uncertain look between the two of us. I’m sure he was astute enough to feel the undercurrents. He might not understand them, but he had to be aware of them.
Then he sort of jumped, shoulders stiffening, eyes widening in shock as he stared across the table. What was that about? I glanced at Ellie, looking for an answer. Uh-oh. I knew that look. I’d seen her use it often enough. It was her “come and get me” expression—gazing up through her mascara thickened lashes, a seductive smile curving her lips, promising things I didn’t even want to know about—the look that reduced men to puppy-like creatures, eager to please. A movement under the table caught my eye and my jaw dropped. Ellie’s stiletto-clad foot was rubbing suggestively up and down Jonas’ leg. Obviously, Ellie had no intention of relinquishing her spot at the table.
Oh, no you don’t, girlfriend! Not this time! I made a totally out-of-character and utterly rash decision, praying that Jonas would just go with it and that it wouldn’t backfire. I slipped into the seat beside him, snuggling up close. “I like it better on this side, anyway.”
I’ll have to hand it to him. It only took him a split second of startled uncertainty before he dropped his arm around my shoulder, pulling me even closer. He put his lips to my ear, whispering, “I guess you’ll explain what’s going on later?”
His warm breath against my ear caused goose bumps to shiver along my arms and down my legs, but I dimpled up at him and answered, “You know I will.”
Turning to Ellie, I almost shouted over an explosion of laughter from the bar. “Isn’t he a sweetheart? I just love him to death!”
Ellie’s expression had become a bit frosty and I almost giggled with delight. It felt wonderful to be vindicated. Not to mention, it was very, very cozy to be snuggled up against Jonas like this.
She slid toward the outside edge of the seat. “It was good to see you, Cleo. Happy holidays. Nice to meet you, Jonas. Maybe we could meet for a drink sometime?”
“Sounds good,” he said. “I’ll let you set it up with Cleo.”
Ellie’s jaw tightened. “Of course. See you later.” She spun around and stalked away, swaying a little on her four-inch heels.
North Carolina native, Leanna Sain, earned her BA from the University of South Carolina, then moved back to her beloved mountains of western NC with her husband. Her “Gate” books have stacked up numerous awards, from Foreword Magazine’s Book-of-the-Year to the Clark Cox Historical Fiction Award from the North Carolina Society of Historians. Sain’s fourth novel, WISH, is a stand-alone, YA crossover.
Her Southern romantic suspense or “GRIT-lit,” showcases her plot-driven method of writing that successfully rolls the styles of best-selling authors Mary Kay Andrews, Nicholas Sparks, and Jan Karon into a delightfully hybrid style that is all her own. Regional fiction lovers and readers who enjoy suspense with a magical twist will want her books.
She loves leading discussion groups and book clubs. For more information or to contact her, visit: www.LeannaSain.com
Twitter: Leanna Sain@Leannasbooks
Website and blog: http://leannasain.com
Thank you for sharing Red Curtains with my readers, Leanna! I think it’s a wonderful thing for you to donate a portion of sales to a good cause most of us don’t even think about in our own daily lives.