ALL I EVER WANTED Description
ALL I EVER WANTED, a new adult winter anthology
Winterfest is heating up in Abbott Springs...
As the town’s yearly festival kicks off, cold days turn into steamy nights, new flames will be ignited, and old romances will be rekindled.
All About Us by Marilyn Brant—All Sami Abbott ever wanted was permission to be herself. At home, she aims to be the perfect daughter but never measures up. At college, she’s the bold girl who had a one-night stand with sexy musician, Alex Hamilton. When he arrives unexpectedly in Abbott Springs, her worlds collide and she must reconcile the girl she tries to be with the person she really is.
All I Need by Caisey Quinn—All pink-haired rocker chick Everly Abbott thought she wanted was acceptance in her straight-laced hometown. But her best friend and bandmate Justin Cohen is about to show her that what she thinks she wants isn’t necessarily what she needs.
All for Love by Rhonda Helms—All Maya Monterey ever wanted was to belong. Happiest with the Abbott family, Maya’s been secretly in love with sexy pastry chef Oliver Abbott for years. With a flirty new look, she’ll pull out all the stops to get him to notice her. And if her plan fails, she’ll walk away from the only home she’s ever known—and Oliver—for good.
All or Nothing by Lexi Ryan—After years of placing the wrong bets, all Aubree Baxter wanted was someone to take a chance on her. Golden boy Kennedy Hale plays it safe in life and love, but to keep Bree in Abbott Springs, he’ll have to go all in.
Marilyn Brant is a USA Today bestselling and award-winning author of eight novels to date, writing in the genres of contemporary women's fiction, romantic comedy, and new adult/mystery. Recently, the Illinois Association of Teachers of English selected her as their 2013 Author of the Year. As a former teacher, library staff member, freelance magazine writer, and national book reviewer, Marilyn has spent much of her life lost in literature. Her books have been featured by the Doubleday Book Club, Book-of-the-Month Club, Literary Guild, BOMC2, and Rhapsody Book Club, and they've won awards such as the Romance Writers of America's Golden Heart, the Booksellers' Best, and the Aspen Gold Reader's Choice. She lives in the Chicago suburbs with her family, reads a lot of Jane Austen, and loves chocolate, old movies, and road trips with music blaring and the windows rolled down. Please visit her online at www.marilynbrant.com or find her on Facebook http://www.facebook.com/marilyn.brant and Twitter @marilynbrant
Caisey Quinn lives in a suburb outside of Birmingham, Alabama with her husband, daughter, and other assorted animals. She wears cowgirl boots most of the time, even to church. She is the bestselling author of the Kylie Ryans series and writes New and Young Adult books about country girls finding love in unexpected places. She can be found online at www.caiseyquinnwrites.com or on Twitter as @CaiseyQuinn where she spends entirely too much time chatting with readers, writers, and anyone who’s willing.
Rhonda Helms started writing novels several years ago and loves teen and New Adult romance. She has a Master's degree in English and a Bachelor's degree in Creative Writing. She also freelance edits (visit rhondaedits.com to learn more about her services). When she isn't writing, she likes to do amateur photography, dig her toes into the sand, read for hours at a time, and eat way too much cheese. Rhonda lives in Northeast Ohio with her family, dog, and a very loud cat. Visit her at rhondahelmsbooks.com for details about her and her books. You can also find her on twitter @rhelmsbooks or Facebook at facebook.com/rhondahelmsbooks.
A New York Times and USA Today bestselling romance author, Lexi Ryan considers herself the luckiest chick she knows. Her books have been described as intense, emotional, and wickedly sexy. When not writing, she enjoys watching football, perfecting her chocolate martini, and reading her way to the title of Biggest Romance Fangirl Evah. A former college professor, her biggest fears include faculty meetings and large stacks of ungraded freshman composition papers. She now writes full-time from her home in Indiana, where she lives with her husband and two children and their neurotic dog. You can visit Lexi at her website www.lexiryan.com or find her on Twitter @writerlexiryan or Facebook at facebook.com/lexiryanauthor.
ALL I EVER WANTED is a winter anthology, complete with sledding races, spiked hot cocoa, and ice skating. Are you a winter lover?
Marilyn: I grew up in Wisconsin and now live in Illinois, so I’ve had to make peace with shoveling snow and scraping ice away every winter, LOL, but I can’t say I love the cold temps. I am very, very fond of hot cocoa (both spiked and unspiked), however, and I’ve always enjoyed ice skating and watching the Winter Olympics when they’re on.
Caisey: I love winter clothes, but the actual cold part, not so much!
Rhonda: For the most part, yes! But usually when I’m inside, sitting by a deliciously roaring fire. lol. I hate being super cold, but I do enjoy making snowmen, sled racing, and ice skating. I also like taking outdoor pictures.
Lexi: Maybe I’d say yes if it were a sweltering Indiana summer out my door right now, but instead it’s twelve inches of snow and negative windchills and I’m feeling like I really, really don’t like winter. But I sure don’t mind writing about it.
This anthology is really unique in that all the stories are connected and scenes from one story might appear in another. What was your favorite part about working on this anthology?
Marilyn: I loved the experience of getting to see a scene told in multiple viewpoints by our differing main characters. And it was fascinating to work so closely on a writing project with three authors whose stories I admire so much.
Caisey: Getting to see the many differences and similarities in each of our writing processes.
Rhonda: There was a community created by working so closely together that I’ve never experienced before. It really made me connected to my story and to the others. We were all vested in each other’s novellas, which I loved.
Lexi: We spent a weekend in Louisville to really nail down some of the continuity issues on the anthology. We worked a lot, but we also laughed more than I think I’ve ever laughed in my life. We writers spend an awful lot of time in solitude. It was wonderful to laugh with people who “get” the business like you do..
What was the most difficult part about putting it together?
Rhonda: Oh, all those nitpicky touches, the back-and-forth exchanges of scenes, then going over and over and over it all to make sure we didn’t mess up the timeline. FUN. lol
Marilyn: Yeah, Rhonda nailed it. There were a lot of details!
Caisey: What Rhonda said!
Lexi: To echo what Rhonda said...When we were in Louisville, we sat down at about 10am to start nailing down some of the details. We went page by page through each of our stories. “Oh, here your character says this.” “No, he wouldn’t change it quite like that. Change it to this.” “What’s Maya wearing that night?” “How would Kennedy be acting at the opening address?” Yes! Tons of details! But it was worth it to create what I think is a really unique product.
Obviously, a love of new adult romance brought you four together for this anthology. Name two of your favorite NA reads.
Marilyn: Aside from Lexi’s, Caisey’s, and Rhonda’s stories, which are awesome, I’ve also really enjoyed The Edge of Never by J.A. Redmerski and Violet Duke’s Resisting the Bad Boy.
Caisey: Oh gosh. There are so many good ones it’s hard to pick just two! My two faves of 2013 were probably Escaping Me by Elizabeth Lee and Break It Up by E.M. Tippetts.
Rhonda: Well, I love all of my fellow anthology authors’ works, lol. Seriously, they’re brilliant--make sure to check them out. But if we go beyond those, I also adored EASY by Tammara Webber and TANGLED by Emma Chase. So good!
Lexi: Oh, yes, I echo what everyone else said. Read them first! Obviously we enjoy each other’s work and that’s why we decided to do this together. After them, definitely EASY by Tammara Webber and ONE WEEK GIRLFRIEND (well, the whole series) by Monica Murphy.
Since this anthology is a collection of 4 novellas, each excerpt package includes an excerpt from each of the four and should be used in its entirety. You may choose between the three packages (found in separate files).
From ALL ABOUT US by Marilyn Brant
Alex slipped through the swinging door off to the side of the counter and joined me. I was still holding the plate with the scone out for him. He took it from me this time…and immediately set it on the counter.
“Oh, sorry! Did you want a fork?” I asked, reaching toward the drawer with the silverware.
But he put his hand on mine, stopping me. “No, Samantha,” he whispered. “That isn’t what I want.”
He swallowed again and nudged me toward the kitchen wall nearest us until my shoulders were touching it. Until the zipper of his leather jacket pressed against the red Abbott’s Sweet Confections apron I was wearing. Until I could feel his breath on my forehead.
He looked into my eyes and waited. Waited until I’d tilted my head up toward him and licked my lips and leaned a little closer. Then he smiled and brought his mouth down on mine.
Everything about our kiss said hunger to me. We were in a place filled with heaping platters of food, but Alex was the only thing in the whole building I wanted to devour. It was like my dream from this morning, only better because it wasn’t a simple dream. Because I could really feel the roughness of his stubble on my cheek, smell the crisp January air when he exhaled, taste the warmth of his tongue as it mingled with mine and left me wanting more. More of him. All of him.
From ALL I NEED by Caisey Quinn
Somehow it had become bigger than us. Bigger than a couple of kids playing around in the garage. At our last few shows, we’d been approached by managers and even a few small record labels.
I gripped the steering wheel so tight to keep from reaching over and putting my hand on her knee that my knuckles ached. As much as I wanted to comfort her, I knew if I ever touched her like that I wouldn’t be able to stop. A hand on the knee would turn to a hand on her inner thigh. Which would turn to… Jesus. I could not go there while operating a motor vehicle. Think of the band, dude.
We were on the brink of something huge, and in a way, it was fucking terrifying. What was even more terrifying was that every second of the day I knew I was one wrong move from ruining all of it. From destroying Ev’s dream of the band making it big before she’d even had a chance to live it.
From ALL FOR LOVE by Rhonda Helms
With her eyes fixed down at the table, Maya’s voice was soft as she began to organize the trays for easy carrying. “I’m not a little kid anymore, Oliver.”
No, she wasn’t—she was nineteen now, no longer that scrawny pre-teen girl our family had unofficially adopted. My gaze was drawn to her face, and I studied her like it was the first time I was really seeing her. Her high cheekbones, the bridge of her small nose, the proud thrust of her chin.
My focus moved to her mouth, and I detected a slight sheen of pink gloss on her lips. Funny, that color made her mouth look more plump than usual.
My throat tightened.
“What are you thinking about?” she suddenly asked as she turned to face me. Her intense brown eyes locked on mine.
I swallowed; my heart gave a knock against my ribcage. “Um, what?”
Maya took a step toward me, and her tongue darted out to lick her lower lip. My eyes darted down and I noticed her coat was unzipped a touch. Enough for me to see right into the curves of her cleavage.
A strange stirring pumped through my torso, a throb that ended at my crotch and caused my back to stiffen. I ripped my attention away from her chest and looked back into those eyes that were staring so innocently up at me. What the hell was my problem today? Was I seriously just checking out Maya—my friend?
From ALL OR NOTHING by Lexi Ryan
“So, are we going to pretend it didn’t happen?” he asked. His voice was low and rough, and I wanted to rub against it, nuzzle it like a cat. You’ve lost your mind, some sane part of my brain told me. “Because I think we should talk about it.”
My head snapped back and my eyes went wide. “Talk about what?”
“October? You showing up unannounced? Naked in my bed? Ring any bells?”
This was not the conversation I’d expected to have tonight. Didn’t he want to pretend it hadn’t happened even more than I did?
His dark eyes softened as he studied me, and I stiffened at his pity. I hated that he felt sorry for me.
“Yes,” I finally said. “Yes, we’re going to pretend it didn’t happen. I hardly remember it anyway. You know me. I get drunk and do stupid things.”
“And then you avoid my calls for months? Fuck that, Bree.” I tried to escape his embrace, but he drew me tighter against him and whispered in my ear, “I’m not going to let you throw this friendship away just because you’re embarrassed by some dumb drunken mistake.”
Dumb drunken mistake? Five years of unrequited love and he thought the night I found the courage to act on it was a drunken mistake?