Why dogs make great sidekicks...

Why dogs make great sidekicks.

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 1. Because when you’re on the mountain trail and you come across an angry mama bear and her baby cubs, your dog will run like hell.  This will warn you to run like hell as well.  Just be careful because if your dog is like my dog, he will throw you under the bus (or in this case bear) to get home before you do.

2. Because when all the cookies are gone you can totally blame your cookie loving dog.  No one has to know that you ate all the cookies yourself.  And your dog can give you dirty looks for blaming him but he can’t actually talk and dispute your story.  Solid alibi.

3. Because if you’ve eaten in a way that disagrees with your stomach, there are never any worries.  Your dog will always, ALWAYS, out stink you.  And if he doesn’t, you can still point the finger at him.  Again, he can’t talk and dispute your story.

4. Dogs are not just great sidekicks but they also make great a really great wingman.  If you’re single, you can totally put your dog to work at charming the person you’re interested in.  Just make sure that person likes dog drool and dog hair all over everything first.

5. There is never a need for a pillow or extra blanket because your dog will always be willing to get into bed with you and share body heat.  Always.  Just be forewarned.  Being a great sidekick is not the same thing as a good bed partner.  They have a habit of being a total bed hog.

Who’s your favorite sidekick?

Jill Shalvis Comments
Almost Just Friends

I keep forgetting to tell you about my upcoming book ALMOST JUST FRIENDS. I loved writing this book and thought I’d give you a teasing peek at the opening of the book:


Chapter 1

“Chin up, Princess, or the crown slips.”

Piper Manning closed her eyes and plugged her ears against the horror. She’d known this would happen even as she’d begged against it, but sometimes there was no stopping fate. She shook her head. You’ve survived worse. Just push through it. Pretend you’re on a warm beach, and there’s a hot surfer coming out of the water. Wait, scratch that. A hot Australian surfer coming out of the water, heading for you with a sexy smile and that accent—

Someone tugged her fingers from her ears. Her best friend and EMT partner, Jenna. “The torture’s over,” she said. “You can look now.”

Piper opened her eyes. No warm beach, no sexy surfer. Nope, she was still at the Whiskey River Bar and Grill, surrounded by her coworkers and so-called friends and way too many birthday streamers and balloons, all mocking her because someone had thought it’d be funny to do up her thirtieth in gloom-and-doom funeral black.

“You do realize that turning thirty isn’t exactly the end of the world,” Jenna said.

Maybe not, but there was a reason Piper hadn’t wanted to celebrate. She’d just hit a milestone birthday without being at any sort of milestone. Or anywhere even close to a milestone. Certainly nowhere near where she’d thought she’d be at this age.

“Hey, let’s sing it again now that she’s listening,” someone called out. Ryland, no doubt. The hotshot firefighter was always the group’s instigator.

And so everyone began singing again, laughing when Piper glared at them and tried hard not to crawl under the table. She’d rather have a root canal without meds than be the center of attention, and these asshats knew it. “It’s like you all want to die,” she muttered, but someone put a drink in her hand, and since she was off duty now for two days, she took a long gulp.

“I was very clear,” she said when the alcohol burn cleared her throat, eyeing the whole group, most of whom were also first responders and worked with her at the station or hospital in one form or another. “We weren’t going to mention my birthday, much less sing to me about it. Twice.”

Not a single one of them looked guilty. “To Piper,” Ryland said, and everyone raised a glass. “For gathering and keeping all us misfits together and sane.”

“To Piper,” everyone cheered, then, thankfully, conversations started up all around her so that she was finally no longer the center of attention. Everyone was well versed in her ways, which meant they got that while she was touched that they cared, she didn’t want any more attention. Easily accepting that, they were happy to enjoy the night and leave her alone.

“So, did that hurt?” Jenna asked, amused.

“What?”

“Being loved?”

In tune to the sounds of the bar around them—someone singing off-key to “Sweet Home Alabama,” rambunctious laughter from a nearby table, the clink of pool balls—Piper rolled her eyes.

“You know one day those eyeballs are going to fall right out of your head, right?”

Ignoring this, Piper went back to what she’d been doing before being so rudely interrupted by all the love. Making a list. She was big on bullet journaling. She’d had to be. Making notes and lists had saved her life more than once. And yes, she knew she could do it all on a notes app on her phone instead, but her brain wasn’t wired that way. Nope, she had to do everything the hard way and write that shit down by hand like in the Dark Ages. She flipped through some of her pages: Calendars, Grocery Lists, Future Baby Names (even though she didn’t plan on having babies), Passwords (okay, password, singular, since she always used the same one—CookiesAreLife123!).

And then there were some random entries:

Life Rules

■      Occasionally maybe make an effort to look nice.

■      Don’t cut your own bangs no matter how sad you are.

■      Never ever, EVER, under any circumstances fall in love.

She also had a bucket list of wishes. Oh, and a secret secret bucket list of wishes . . .

Yeah, she clearly needed help. Or a little pill.

“New journal?” Jenna asked.

“Maybe.” Piper’s vices were simple. Basically, she was an office supply ho—a never-ending source of amusement to Jenna, because Piper was also a bit of a hot mess when it came to organization and neatness. Her purse, her car, her office, and also her kitchen always looked like a disaster had just hit. But her journals . . . those were pristine.

“How many journals have you started and either lost or misplaced since I’ve known you—a million?”

Piper didn’t answer this on the grounds that she might incriminate herself.

Jenna pulled out the pack of stickers that were tucked into the journal. They were cute little thought bubbles with reminders like doc appointment, empty dishwasher, and caffeinate.

“I feel like stickers are cheating,” Jenna said.

“Bite your tongue, woman. Stickers are everything.” So were pens. And cute paperclips. And sticky notes . . .

“Come on. There’re far more important things than stickers.”

“Like?” Piper asked.

“Like food.”

“Okay, you’ve got me there.”

“And sex,” Jenna said. “And that should go above food, actually.”

“I’m going to take your word on that since it’s been a while.”

“Well, who’s fault is that?” Jenna leaned in, trying to get a peek. “What’s today’s entry?”

“A list for figuring out what’s next on fixing up the property.” Piper and her siblings had inherited from their grandparents a house and some cottages on Rainbow Lake. “It still needs a lot of work. I’m in way over my head.”

“I know.” Jenna’s smile faded. “I hate that you’re going to sell and move away from Wildstone.”

Wildstone, California, was Piper’s hometown. Sort of. She’d moved here at age thirteen with her two younger siblings, Gavin and Winnie, to be raised by their grandparents. But in the end, Piper had done all the raising. It’d taken forever, but now, finally, her brother and sister were off living their own lives.

And hers could finally start.

All she had to do was finish fixing up the property; then she could sell and divide the money into thirds with her siblings. With her portion, she’d finally have the money and freedom to go to school and become a physician’s assistant like she’d always wanted.

So close. She was so close that she could almost taste it. “I plan to come back to Wildstone after school.”

Because where else would she go? Her only other home had been following her parents all over the world, providing healthcare wherever they’d been needed the most. But her mom and dad were gone now. Her family was Gavin and Winnie, and everyone in this room.

“But why the University of Colorado?” Jenna asked. “Why go so far? You could go thirty minutes up the road to San Luis Obispo to Cal Poly.”

Piper shook her head. She’d been stuck here for seventeen years. She needed to go away for a while and figure some things out—like who she was if she wasn’t raising her siblings. But that felt hard to explain, so she gave even her BFF the ready-made excuse. “U of C is one of the really strong schools for my program. And I think I’ll like Colorado.”

Jenna looked unconvinced, but she was a good enough friend to let it go.

“Don’t worry,” Piper said. “I’ll be back.”

“You’d better.” Jenna took another look at Piper’s list. “I can’t even make a shopping list.”

“That’s because you don’t go food shopping. You order in.”

Jenna smiled. “Oh, right.”

Outside the bar, they could hear a storm brewing. The news had been talking about it all week. Wild winds pushed against the building, making the lights flicker and the walls creak, but nobody even blinked. Wildstone people were a hearty bunch.

“Paint samples!” Piper remembered suddenly, and wrote that down.

“You know you’re a bit of a control freak, right?”

When you ran your world, everyone in that world tended to depend on you to do it right. That’s how it’d always been for her. She’d been in charge whether she liked it or not. Piper chewed on the end of her pen. “I’m forgetting something, I know it.”

“Yeah,” Jenna said. “To get a life.”

“What do you think I’m trying to do here?”

Now it was Jenna’s turn to roll her eyes. “Everyone else is talking about the new hot guy in town, and you’re over here in the corner writing in your journal.”

“Hot guys come and go.”

Jenna laughed. “Yeah? How long has it been since you’ve had a hot guy in your life, or any guy at all?”

Piper looked across the bar to where Ryland was currently chatting it up with not one but two women. Her ex was apparently making up for lost time.

“And who’s fault is that?” Jenna asked, reading her mind. “You dumped him last year for no reason, remember?”

Actually, she’d had a really good reason, but it wasn’t one she wanted to share, so she shrugged.

“What you need is a distraction. Of the sexy kind,” Jenna said. “You carry that journal around like it’s the love of your life.”

“At the moment, it is.”

“You could do a whole lot better.” Swiveling her barstool, Jenna eyed the crowd.

“Don’t even think about it,” Piper said.

“About what?”

“You know what. Fixing me up.”

“And would that be so bad?” Jenna set a hand on Piper’s writing arm. “You’re the one always fixing everyone’s life, everyone but your own, of course. But even the Fixer needs help sometimes.”

It was true that she’d gone a whole bunch of years now being the one to keep it all together. For everyone. Asking for help wasn’t a part of her DNA. But Jenna did have a point. Today was her birthday, a milestone birthday at that, so she should do at least one frivolous thing, right? She turned the page of her journal and glanced at her secret bucket list.

■      Take a cruise to Alaska.

■      Get some “me” time every day.

■      Learn to knit.

■      Buy shoes that aren’t nursing shoes.

“Okay, no,” Jenna said. “You’re not sitting at your birthday party eyeing a list about buying nursing shoes.”

“About not buying nursing shoes,” Piper corrected. “And this isn’t my party.”

“It’s your party. And if you’d told Gavin and Winnie about it, they’d be here helping you celebrate too.”

Just what she needed, to give her twenty-seven-going-on-seventeen-year-old brother and her not-quite-legal-to-drink sister a reason to party. “I told them not to come. Gavin’s busy at his job in Phoenix, and Winnie’s working hard on her grades at UCSB.”

“They’re lucky to have you, I hope they know that,” Jenna said genuinely. “Look, you work so hard keeping all of you going. But today, at the very least, you should have some fun.”

“I hear you. But keep that in mind.” She pointed to the sign hanging above the bar:

Warning:

Alcohol may make the people in this place appear better-looking than they really are.

Jenna laughed but wasn’t deterred from taking in the closest table to the bar, where three guys sat drinking and talking.

“Don’t you dare.”

“Who here is single?” Jenna asked the table.

Two of the guys pointed to the third.

“You?” Jenna asked him, clearly wanting confirmation.

He took a beat to check Jenna out. She was channeling Beach Barbie tonight, with her wild blond hair rioting around her pretty face, her athletic build emphasized by tightly fitted fancy yoga gear.

“Yeah,” the guy said. “I’m most definitely single.”

“Good. Because it’s my friend’s birthday.” She turned to gesture at Piper, who froze in the act of trying to sneak off.

“Why is she hiding in the corner writing in a book?” Single Guy wanted to know.

Jenna looked at Piper. “Well, we’re not all perfect. But she’s got a lot going for her. She’s friendly . . . ish. And she’s got all her shots, and is potty-trained to boot. I mean, yeah, okay, sometimes she hides out in bars writing in her diary. But hey, who doesn’t, am I right?”

Looking alarmed, Single Guy turned back to his friends.

“Gee,” Piper said dryly. “And you made me sound like such a catch too.”

Jenna shrugged. “Maybe he’s not a diary fan.”

“Yeah. That’s definitely it. And it’s a journal.”

“Don’t you worry,” Jenna said. “I’m not done.”

“Please be done.”

But Jenna was now eyeballing the man who’d just taken a barstool a few seats down. Ohmygod, she mouthed. That’s him. That’s New Hot Guy!

He was in military green cargos and a black Henley that hugged his long, leanly muscled body. He had dark hair, dark eyes, and dark scruff, all of which went with his quietly dark expression that said not feeling social.

Jenna started to stand up for round two of Let’s Embarrass Piper.

“Don’t you dare!”

“Hey,” Jenna said to the man, who nodded in return. “So . . . you’re a guy.”

“Last time I checked,” he said.

Jenna jerked a thumb toward Piper. “It’s my best friend’s birthday.”

Hot Guy’s gaze locked on Piper, who was wishing for an invisibility cloak.

“She’s made herself a list,” Jenna said, and helpfully turned the journal his way.

Honest to God, Piper had no idea why she loved this woman.

Hot Guy read the list, rubbed the sexy scruff on his jaw, and then spoke to Piper. “Is this for you or your grandma?”

Jenna snorted. “That’s actually her nickname. Grandma.”

“Some wingman you are.” Piper snatched up the journal and closed it.

“What does the ‘me time’ entail?” Hot Guy asked.

“Pretty sure it involves batteries,” Jenna said.

“Okay.” Piper pointed at her. “You know what? You’re cut off.”

“Notice that she didn’t answer the question,” Jenna muttered.

“It doesn’t involve batteries!” Jeez. No way was she going to admit what it involved was a nap.

Jenna took the journal, flipped to the right page, and added something to her list:

■      Get laid.

Then she drew an arrow pointing at Hot Guy.

The guy nodded in approval. “Now you’ve got a list.”

“Keep dreaming, buddy.” Piper shook her head at Jenna. “And you. Are you kidding me? You wrote that in ink.” Which meant it couldn’t be erased. And Piper couldn’t rip it out either. You couldn’t just rip out a page from a bullet journal; it went against how she’d been coded. She supposed she should just be grateful Jenna hadn’t turned to the next page and revealed her secret secret bucket list.

Jenna turned to Hot Guy. “Listen, don’t let her bad attitude scare you. She’s all bark and no bite.”

He shrugged. “I like bite.” And his and Piper’s eyes locked. His were an intense, assessing hazel, a swirling, mesmerizing mix of green, brown, and gold. He was good-looking, but so were a lot of men. He was clearly in good shape—also not all that uncommon. But there was something else, something intangible that created an odd fluttering in her belly, and it took her a moment to recognize it for what it was—interest. Which made no sense. She wasn’t looking for anything, and he . . . Well, in spite of his easy engagement in their conversation, his eyes seemed . . . hollow, and he hadn’t cracked a single smile.

Maybe they were kindred perpetually-pissed-off-at-the-world spirits, she didn’t know. But one thing for sure, he didn’t seem uncomfortable in the least as she studied him. In fact, he didn’t seem the sort to be uncomfortable in any situation.

Around them, the bar was in full nighttime fun mode. Music, talking, laughter . . . Everywhere came the sounds of people having a good time, not a one worried about the storm building. When someone called out for Jenna to join a dart game, she slid off her stool. “Okay, so, I’m going to abandon her now,” she told Hot Guy. “Feel free to play the gallant gentleman swooping in to save the birthday girl. ’Night, Piper.”

“That’s Grandma to you.”

Jenna just laughed and kept walking, and Piper pulled out her phone to thumb in a text.

“Bet you’re telling your wingman that you’re going to kill her.”

Okay, gallant gentleman her ass. More like dark and dangerous . . . She hit send and looked up. “I might’ve mentioned she shouldn’t close her eyes when she goes to sleep tonight. But you know what? Yours is better. Hold please.” She typed a new text: Don’t forget, thanks to my dad, I know a ton of ways how to kill someone with my pen.

He read over her shoulder. “Nice.”

“You find violent tendencies nice?”

He shrugged. “Being able to defend yourself is smart.”

“You know I was just kidding about the pen thing, right?”

He cocked his head and studied her. “Were you?”

About the killing Jenna thing, yeah. But not about knowing how to do it with a pen. And yet no one had ever, not once, called her out on that threat as being real.

“Your dad military?” he asked.

“Was. He’s gone now.”

He gave a single nod, his eyes saying he got it at a core level. “I’m sorry.”

She supposed it was his genuine and clearly understanding reaction that had her doing something she rarely did—saying more, unprompted. “We lived overseas in some seriously sketchy places. He made sure I knew how to defend myself and my siblings.”

He gave another nod, this one in approval, and it had her taking a second look at him, at the calm, steady gaze that withheld any personal thoughts, at the way he sat at rest, but with a sense of tightly harnessed power. And then there was his build, which suggested he could handle whatever situation arose. “You were military too.”

He studied her right back for a long beat, assessing. “Still am.”

When he didn’t say anything else, she arched a brow, waiting for more, but it didn’t come. “Let me guess,” she said. “It’s a secret. If you told me, you’d have to kill me.”

The very corners of his eyes crinkled. Either she was annoying him or amusing him. “I’m actually a DEA agent,” he said. “But also Coast Guard.”

“How do you do both?”

“I was active duty for twelve years. Been in the Reserve for two. My DEA job schedule allows for the times I’m in training , activated, or deployed.”

Man. She thought her parents had lived dangerous lives. This guy had them beat. And considering what had happened to her mom and dad, she decided then and there that she had less than zero interest in him, no matter how curious she might be. Because seriously, where was a hot easy-going surfer when you needed one? “How often does any of that happen? The training, activation, or deployment?”

“My unit trains three days a month in Virginia. We get activated at will. Deployed less often, but it happens.” He shrugged, like it was no big deal that he put his life on hold at what she assumed was short notice to go off to save the world.

“The DEA doesn’t mind you leaving at the drop of a hat?”

“They knew that when they signed me on. I had the skill sets they needed.”

“And what skill sets are those?”

He gave her another of those looks, and she smiled. “Right. Now we’re at the ‘you’d tell me, but then you’d have to kill me’ part.”

With a maybe-amused, maybe-bemused shake of his head, he lifted his drink in her direction. “Happy birthday, Piper.”

She blew out a sigh. “Yeah. Thanks.”

He gave a very small snort. “You’re really not a fan of birthdays.”

“No. Or parties.”

“I’m getting that.” He was looking at her list again, and she put a hand on the journal to prevent him from flipping to the next page, which was even more revealing, and braced herself for the inevitable comment about the getting-laid thing.

But he surprised her. “It’s way too cold in Alaska,” he said. “If that were my list, I’d be aiming for a South Pacific island.”

“Preferably deserted?”

He met her gaze. “Maybe not completely deserted.”

Her stomach did a weird flutter, and that scared her. She didn’t want to feel stomach flutters, not for this guy. “If you’re flirting with me,” she said slowly, “you should know I’m not interested.”

“Good thing, then, that I’m not flirting with you.”

How crazy was it that she felt just the teeniest bit disappointed? Plus, she didn’t know how to respond. Reading social cues were not her strong suit. Feeling awkward, which was nothing new for her, she slid off her barstool and tucked her journal into her rain jacket pocket, surprised to realize they were still surrounded by people, her people, along with music and talking and laughter, and yet . . . for the past few minutes it’d felt like they’d been all alone.

“You out?” he asked.

“I think it’s best if I call it a night.”

He rubbed his jaw again, and the sound his stubble made did something to her insides that she refused to name. “Let me at least buy you a drink for your birthday first.”

“Thanks, but there’s the storm blowing in.” As she said this, the power flickered but held. “I should keep my wits about me.”

“Doesn’t have to be alcohol.” He glanced around them at the full, rowdy bar. “Are you a first responder like all your friends?”

“Yes. I’m an EMT.”

“Well, I’m the new guy,” he said. “Zero friends. You going to desert me like Jenna deserted you?”

She actually hesitated at that, until she caught that flash of humor in his eyes. “You’re messing with me.”

“I am.”

She wasn’t sure how to respond to this. It’d been a long time since she’d felt . . . well, anything. Just beyond him, she could see a group of her friends playing pool. CJ, a local cop, was winning. After Jenna, CJ was one of her favorite people. He glanced over at her, caught her eye, and gave her a chin nudge.

Guy speak for Are you all right?

She nodded and he went back to pool. Ryland was still flirting with two women, and she had to wonder: What was the worst thing that could happen if she let her hair down and enjoyed herself for a few minutes? After all, it was her birthday. “Maybe just one drink.”

Hot Guy nodded to the bartender, who promptly ambled over. “A Shirley Temple for Grandma here on her birthday.”

Piper laughed. She shocked herself with her reaction, making her realize how long it’d been.

Hot Guy took in her smile and almost gave her a small one of his own. “Or . . . whatever you want.”

She bit her lip. What did she want? That was a very big question she’d tried very hard not to ask herself over the past decade plus, because what she wanted had never applied. In her life, there were need to do’s and have to do’s . . . and nowhere in there had there ever been time for what Piper wanted’s.

Which was probably why she made lists like it was her job.

The bartender’s name was Boomer, and she’d known him for a long time. He was waiting with a smile for her to admit the truth—that she loved Shirley Temples. But she didn’t admit any such thing. She just rolled her eyes—honestly, she was going to have to learn to stop doing that—and nodded.

When Boomer slid a Shirley Temple in front of her, she took a big sip and was unable to hold in her sigh of pleasure, making Hot Guy finally really smile.

And, oh, boy, it was a doozy.

Just a little harmless flirting, she told herself. There was no harm in allowing herself this one little thing, right?

The lights flickered again, and this time they went out and stayed out.

She wasn’t surprised, and by the collective groan around her, she could tell no one else was either. Boomer hopped up onto the bar. “Storm—one, the bar—zero!” he yelled out to the crowd. “Everyone go home and stay safe!”

In the ensuing mass exodus, Hot Guy grabbed Piper’s hand and tugged her along with him, not toward the front door with everyone else, but through the bar and out the back.

Where, indeed, the storm had moved in with a vengeance, slapping them back against the wall.

“How did you know about the back door if you’re new here?” she asked.

“I always know the way out.”

That she believed. She took in the night around them, which was the sort of pitch black that came from no power anywhere and a dark, turbulent sky whipped to a frenzy by high winds.

“The rain’s gonna hit any second,” he told her, not sounding thrilled about that.

This tugged a breathless laugh from her. “Chin up, Princess, or the crown slips.”

The look on his face said that he’d never once in his life been called a princess before. “Sorry,” she said. “That was an automatic response. My dad used to say that to me whenever I complained about the rain. Do you know how often it rains in Odisha, India?”

“I’m betting less than Mobile, Alabama, where I once spent six months with my unit training the Maritime Safety and Security Team, and we never saw anything but pouring rain. Emphasis on pouring.”

“Six months straight, huh?” she asked sympathetically. “Okay, you win.”

His lips quirked. “Ready?”

“As I’ll ever be.”

And with that, he took her hand and was her anchor as they ran through the wind to her beat-up old Jeep. She was actually grateful since the gusts nearly blew her away twice, saved only by his solid, easy footing. The man moved like he was at the top of the food chain, with quiet, economical, stealthy movements that if you knew what he did for a living made perfect sense.

She and Jenna waved to each other from across the lot, and when Jenna gave her a thumbs-up, Piper shook her head.

“Thanks for the drink,” she said, having to raise her voice to be heard over the wind.

“I’ll follow you to make sure you get home okay.”

“Not necessary, I’m fine.” Because no way was she falling for that line. There was flirting, and then there was being stupid. “And anyway, as a local, I should be checking on you to see if you get home okay.”

He laughed. And as it turned out, he had a great one, though she had no idea if he was so amused because he was touched by her worry for him, or because it was ridiculous, since clearly he could handle himself.

“I’m good,” he finally said. “Drive safe.” And then he stepped back, vanishing into the darkness.


So … what do we think? Worth ordering and keeping an author employed? All buy links are HERE.

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Jill Shalvis Comment
A new fur baby!!!!!
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So … Middle and the soon to be Mrs. Middle had a hole in their hearts to fill, and look who they’re going to fill it with!!! This sweet little thing is 7 weeks old and the most precious little sweetheart. I mean, the cute. I can’t even… Tell us about YOUR precious fur babies!!

Jill Shalvis Comments
Happy Hump Day
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Okay, so I went looking for today’s writing inspiration and I didn’t get further than this guy, an old favorite of mine. Jeffrey Dean Morgan is still on my five list of pretend boyfriends.

So you know what today’s question is, right? Who’s on your list of pretend boyfriends???

Jill Shalvis Comments
20 Questions!

Hi! Happy Monday! What are we doing here today? Well, besides wishing it was a Saturday, I recently had to answer these questions for a publication and thought you might all enjoy them!

1.       Your best virtue as an author.

Thick skin.

2.       Your most quirky author habit.

I can’t write at a desk. I use a laptop and have to migrate around, from my bed to the couch to the deck, to the woods, to the lake… to the kitchen, where I’ll stop and eat way too many chips or cookies…

3.       Your favorite quality in a protagonist.

Just one? Gah. Okay, let’s say integrity.

4.       Your favorite quality in an antagonist.

For them to be flawed in a compelling way.

5.       If you could ask any other author, past or present, a question who would it be and what would you ask?

I’d ask Janet Evanovich why Steph can’t have a HEA, at least for now, WITH Ranger. J

6.       When you aren’t writing, you are____

Reading, hiking, chasing the dogs, paddle boarding, sitting at the lake and dreaming, eating … J

7.       Your easiest book to write.

WRAPPED UP IN YOU, because how can you not love a cowboy and a taco truck girl falling in love? Anyway, there’s much more to it, and  I had been carrying that story around for a long time so I’d been able to percolate on it and really nail it down before I ever started writing.

8.       Your hardest book to write.

ALMOST JUST FRIENDS. Funny enough, I’d been carrying this story around for a long time too, but I getting into Piper’s head and putting her through all I put her through, was harder than I thought it would be.

9.       Your ideal writing place.

Outside. There’s something about the air, the lack of internet and the inability to hear anyone inside the house… J

10.   Your favorite childhood book.

So many. Charlotte’s Web, The Phantom Tollbooth, Where The Wild Things Are, A Wrinkle In Time, Matilda, Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler…

11.   The book you’ve reread the most.

Probably the Harry Potter series. I’m still waiting for my acceptance to Hogwarts letter.

12.   Your favorite hero from literature.

Hermoine Granger from the Harry Potter series. J

13.   Your favorite villain from literature.

Professor James Moriarty in Sherlock Holmes

14.   The name of your autobiography.

Where are the cookies?

15.   You favorite comfort food.

See answer to #14. J

16.   First thing you do when you finish writing a novel.

Tell myself I don’t ever have to do that again. Then I take a long nap. Then I wake up and start another book.

17.   A secret talent you have.

I can eat a whole box of lemon Oreos in one sitting.

18.   Where have you always wanted to travel?

I want to see the castles in England and Scotland. Could it be I have a highlander waiting to be written…? J

19.   One tip for aspiring authors.

Keep writing through thick and thin, through rejections and questionable reviews, through the doubts, through the highs and lows, never stop.

20.   Puppies or kittens?

Are you kidding me? BOTH! All the puppies and all the kittens! If you made it to the end, THANK YOU, and one of you will randomly win the Shalvis book of your choice!

Jill Shalvis Comments
Um, what's this outside my window?

This is the view from my deck. But no. It can’t be. I won’t allow it.

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I’m not ready, winter, do you hear me? Go away and bring back fall!!!!!! I need my fingers nice and warm and toasty to type the finishing touches on ALMOST JUST FRIENDS! (I’m so ridiculously excited about this book, can’t wait to get it into your hands!)

Gah. Where are you and what’s your weather?

Jill Shalvis Comments
Happy Hump Day!

Anyone miss my Happy Hump Day posts?

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Yes? No? Just me…? :) Either way, I’m going to pretend he’s reading one of my books. Don’t ruin this for me. Also, there’s a man cold in the house so if you could all send healing thoughts Alpha Man’s way, preferably before I kill him, that would be great, ‘k, thanks.

p.s. What celebrities are your pretend significant others or crushes right now?

Jill Shalvis Comments
Hi, remember me?

I know, it’s been a minute since I blogged. I’d give you the all the long list of what has kept me busy, but it boils down to a little thing called Life. But the good news is that I’ve been saving all the I Love Lucy stories and some pretty great pics for you. For instance, a few days ago my laptop died. I called Apple, they walked me through all the possible fixes, but we couldn’t find a single one. So I bought a new one (Sob! I loved my old one! AND my credit card now hates me…) ANYWAY, I migrated all my info over from my external backup and guess what I did? I migrated the virus of my old laptop over to my brand spanking new laptop.

Yep. I’m a rocket scientist, alright. No, wait. That was my dad.

Sigh…

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So after MUCH drama on my part (ate a whole loaf of Youngest’s amazing pumpkin bread with cream cheese frosting, omg the BEST bread ever!!!), and a nap born of the exhaustion that came with all the drama, I called poor Apple again. This time they helped me fix the new laptop all up, and I might have offered my first born to the tech guy in gratitude. Let’s not bother Oldest with that information…

I have some fun stuff to tell you in the month ahead. So I hope you’ll come back! But before you go, can you say hi and tell me what you’re all reading? (p.s. it doesn’t even have to be my new book WRAPPED UP IN YOU, out now!)

Jill Shalvis Comments
TGIF

I’m writing away, working on last minute touches on The Lemon Sisters and thought you might want to see my writing view.

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Of course what you missed seeing is how a teeny tiny baby spider somehow CRAWLED UP MY LEG AND ALMOST KILLED ME. How? By heart attack, of course. I leapt out of my beach chair, sent my laptop flying, screamed like a banshee, and all around provided some entertainment for the guy fishing on the next dock over. He laughed so hard (RUDE, sir!!!) that he nearly fell into the water.

But I digress. The spider is gone, but I have no yet recovered. It might take an entire box of Girl Scout cookies. Which I have because when they were on sale, I bought 20 boxes. Hey, it’s called supporting young entrepreneurship. :)

p.s. three random commenters will win the Shalvis backlist of their choice!

Jill Shalvis Comments
Happy Hump Day

Today’s Happy Hump Day post is also an Aquaman/Jason Momoa appreciation post. And I’m not even a little bit sorry…

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I haven’t yet figured out how to write him into one of my stories. Ideas are welcome. :)

p.s. What movies have you all seen lately, and what are we loving?

p.s.s. I ALMOST FORGOT TO TELL YOU! Rainy Day Friends is on digital sale for $1.99! This deal won’t happen again for a very long time, so run don’t walk to your favorite digital bookseller! Amazon, BN, Applebooks, Kobo, Google

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Fun Shalvis news!

Hey everyone! I’ve got some fun news! For anyone interested in a personalized signed copy of THE LEMON SISTERS, (or any of my recent books!) we can now make that happen here! Just be sure in the final checkout, in the comment section, to let me know who you want the book signed to! XOXO!

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Jill Shalvis Comments
My co-writer...

This writing gig is pretty hard. Requires a co-writer on most days…

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I know, he’s adorable, and quite the lap warmer. And as a bonus, he’s not nearly at farticious as Cali or Frat Boy. :) Please feel free to caption Coop The Poop’s thoughts, and three of you will win the digital Wildstone or Heartbreaker Bay book of your choice!

Jill Shalvis Comments
I'm back!!!

So I’m back! I know, it’s been a ridiculously long time, but I got swamped with the writing and life. And also, a brand new site! Have a seat, make yourself at home, stay a while! I’ve got a printable book list, excerpts of all my books, fun bonus scenes and other various extras, and also a way for you to now buy personally signed print Shalvis books! Yay! :)

Oh and before you go, if anyone’s wondering if we still have snow in our yard, don’t you worry, we still have a tiny little bit…

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Jill Shalvis Comments
TGIF

So I have this odd soapy taste in my mouth which is annoying the heck out of me, and I went to the source of all truth to figure it out. The internet.

Anyway, Mr. Internet had two reasons for this weird phenom. One, I'm allergic to cilantro. Or two...

I'm being slowly poisoned.

I asked Alpha Man if there was anything he wanted to tell me. He said yes, he'd eaten the last of the Mint Milanos.

So probably I'm just allergic to cilantro...

Monday's musings...

So I was just sitting there writing when a HUGE spider ran right across my feet. Of course Frat Boy ran away faster than I did and the cat couldn't be bothered so I did the only thing I could.

I put a Tupperware over it and sent this text to Alpha Man:

I HAVE CAPTURED A LARGE SPIDER WHO IS ON DEATH ROW AWAITING YOUR ARRIVAL. IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO NOT HAVE TO MOVE, I'D HURRY.

To his credit he did come home and banish the spider. Not that he's ever going to let me live it down... Oh and that Tupperware? Dead to me.

Bromances

People often ask my my favorite part of romance, and hands down, writing or reading, it’s a good, solid bromances. To me, there is nothing sexier than a close, solid (nonsexual) relationship between two guys to hit me right in the feels. I mean, don’t get me wrong, there’s nothing wrong with sex, but that’s another article entirely. ☺ The fact is that I just can’t get enough of the love and affection that comes out of a solid emotional bond between male characters, especially if it makes me laugh and sigh in sheer delight.

Maybe this is why I love the Avengers so much, all of them. I mean you’ve got Stark and the big green guy. Bucky and Cap. Love ‘em or hate ‘em, you can’t deny their chemistry.

One of my all-time favorite bromances was on the TV show Friends. This was was a three-way between Ross, Chandler, and Joey, although I loved Chandler and Joey best. These two could finish each other’s sentences, share a cardboard box fort (by choice), a girlfriend (not by choice), and let’s not forget that they raised a chick and a duck together. Better than most marriages… ☺

And I’d be hugely remiss to not mention Dean and Sam and Castiel from Supernatural. But today we’re going to concentrate on Cas and Dean because their genuine love for each other never failed to make my heart roll over in my chest. It began when Castiel saved Dean from hell, literally. But watching Dean teach Cas how to be more human had me glued to the TV every single week. (Okay, that was a lie, I inhaled the first nine seasons on Netflix after my spine surgery over a period of two months.) These guys would do anything for each other, and have.

Oh! How could I have almost forgotten Paul Walker and Vin Diesel in The Fast And The Furious franchise? (It’s been a long day without my friend but I’ll tell you all about it when I see you again…) Don’t get me started, I’ll need tissues.

One of my most recent faves is Adam and Blake from The Voice. I love that show ridiculously and it has absolutely zero to do with the contestants, although I do enjoy the music very much. It’s all about Adam and Blake and their bickering back and forth over Adam’s silly hair-do of the week and Blake’s red solo cup. Can’t get enough.

So trust me when I promise you, there are plenty of bromances in the Heartbreaker Bay series, including Hot Winter Nights, which is out wide everywhere right this very minute. :)

Here’s some more of my faves: Sherlock and Watson (BBC version with Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman, of course!) Blake and Adam from The Voice Nick and Schmidt from New Girl Scott and Stonebridge from Strike Back The Avengers, all of them Turk and JD in Scrubs Spock and Kirk in Star Trek (no, really!) Sully and Mike from Monsters Woody and Buzz from Toy Story Cory and Shawn from Boy Meets World

Who’s your fave bromance pair?

It's here, it's here!!!

HOT WINTER NIGHTS HAS ARRIVED! Oh, sorry, did I yell that? :) What's it about? Well, our sexy hero wakes up with a woman in his bed and no memory of how that happened. Did he miss the good stuff? I'm not telling. Read first chapter here.

Need more? Ask and ye shall receive:

“I’d go on the naughty list if it’d make you smile at me like that.” She jerked around and found Lucas propping up the doorjamb, arms crossed, watching her. “What are you doing here?”

“We’ve got a date, remember?” he asked, voice low and sexy and … teasing.

If he only knew. She turned back to her computer and saved everything she’d found, all while incredible aware of the man watching her every move.

“What did you find?” he asked.

“Crazy Nick’s address. Maybe.”

He pushed off the wall and came over. Reaching out, he opened her laptop and leaned over her to read her screen.

She stilled. He had a hand flat on her desk on either side of hers. If she turned her head, her mouth would brush against his inner biceps, a fact that did something quivery to her belly. And how was it that he’d been working since before the crack of dawn and he still smelled disarmingly delicious?

Long before she could gather herself to push him away, he straightened and looked down at her. “What’s your plan?”

“To go check out the village.”

He nodded. “With me.”

Here was the thing. She knew it was smart, and she really had no intention of going without him. But it rankled that he felt like he had to remind her, like maybe he believed she would be stupid enough to sneak off and go it alone.

“Molly,” he said into her silence. “It’s my way on this, or I hand you over to Archer and Joe and let you all fight it out.”

She refused to be intimidated. “We have a damn deal and I don’t go back on my word so see that you don’t. You don’t tell them I’m on this case, and I don’t tell anyone we slept together.”

A muscle in his jaw ticked, which was fascinating. She’d never seen it do that until the other night. Clearly she was on his last nerve.

“We didn’t sleep together,” he finally said.

She just smiled. “You keep telling yourself that.”

He dropped his head and rubbed the back of his neck. “Look, I’d rather ‘fess up than have you in danger.”

“Okay,” she said agreeably. “So you’re going to tell them what happened the other night?”

“Nothing happened.”

“Uh huh. And you’re willing to bet your balls on that?”

He blew out a breath. “I really wish I knew what you have against my balls.”

She had to laugh. “For the record, I was working here at my desk, waiting for you. So you can stand down, soldier.”

He narrowed his eyes and searched hers as if looking for signs of deceit. “We’re doing this together,” she said and a thrum of adrenaline went through her at the thought of her first real case.

At least she told herself that was what her excitement stemmed from.

Hot Winter Nights

Quicklinks: Excerpt | Ordering Links | all about Heartbreaker Bay Series

I Love Lucy

So last week I was out on the patio in the sun, spreading out my printed pages for my manuscript because I accidentally wrote a few scenes out of order and needed to SEE it to get it in the right order … and naturally the winds kicked up. I wish you could have seen me running through the woods, yelling at my pages as they danced away from me in all directions. I’m missing page 69, which ironically is a rather … um, hot scene. So if anyone finds page 69, please send it back to its owner. Oh and regarding what’s on the page, I swear I can explain…p.s. DON'T FORGET HOT WINTER NIGHTS IS OUT TOMORROW!!!