(HaleStorm Series, bk #1)
By Elisabeth Staab
HE HAS A LEGACY TO SAVE…
Michael Hale’s company is in jeopardy. In the wake of his father’s death and transitioning to CEO, projects are circling the drain and that may cost him everything. Come to find out, the consultant hired to fix things is the “one who got away” many years ago. This time he’s playing for keeps, and he intends to win.
SHE SHOULD NEVER SAY NEVER…
Elise Jackson swore she wouldn’t come near Michael Hale again. He sucker punched her professionally, and he broke her heart. Still, a job’s a job, and they can both be adults. But high emotion and late nights working lead to passion neither of them can deny.
They have one week. Can the two of them pull Michael’s company out of the fire and heal their old wounds?
Is Insta-romance a Real Thing?
I’ll let you all in on a secret: I do believe in love at first sight. No, not just in the werewolf sniffs his wolf-mate on the breeze, and -bam!- they know they are destined to be together kind of way. Underneath my glasses and BCBG boots, from the top of my head to the tips of my toes I am one of those insanely hopeless romantics who really does believe in things like fate and soulmates.
I met my husband at work. He was a manager, it was my first week on the job, and I saw him walking down the hall carrying–of all bizarre things–an enormous pad of Post-it Notes. I know, I know. It’s not the size of man’s Post-its that counts, but nevertheless I was transfixed. I believed, wholeheartedly, I was meant to get to know that man. He was special. He and his prodigious notepad and I, we were going to be very happy someday.
Nearly a decade later, we have a house, some kids, and that big pad of Post-it Notes hangs on a hook in our basement as a reminder of the day we met. Was it fate? Love at first site? Was the notepad magical somehow? All of the above? I like to think so.
What’s my point? Unless my husband has been keeping a secret all these years, I’m not a vampire and he’s not a werewolf. No paranormal creatures were involved in us falling in love as fast as we did, and yet somehow I felt so sure about our future together as soon as I first saw him. You can’t make that shit up. And yet, putting our story into a romance novel wouldn’t quite be believable, would it?
We saw each other down the hall. He held up the magical Post-It Notes of LOVE. We lived happily ever after. The end? Uhm….
When I wrote One Week, I set out to do a couple of things: I’d been deep into editing my upcoming novel, Hunter by Night. I’d been reading shorter, category-length romance novels by awesome authors like Katee Robert and Robin Covington that were steamy and fast and easy to finish when I needed a sanity break but didn’t have a lot of time. I wanted to write a book similar in feel and length to the ones I’d been enjoying reading, and I wanted to write an office romance because I’d been reminiscing about my own past love stories.
Now, to be clear, Michael Hale and Elise Jackson’s love story is not mine. Yes, I did meet my husband at work. That’s pretty much where the similarity ends. Their story is their own. Michael and Elise had a history, and the fact that they’d know each other in the past helped when it came to writing a story that could be paced quickly. I put them back together in their old high-pressure work environment and turned up the heat by giving them a critical project with a tight deadline. This didn’t only put them together for long stretches of time, it put them back in time, mentally. Five years before they had been young, attracted to each other, friendly coworkers who wanted more but were hampered by their work situation. Being thrown together in the same environment and situation again brought back old feelings for Michael and Elise. Old tensions.
I think it’s those tensions and emotions that make a love story work. I read a book once that involved a couple falling in love over the course of a few days while they were on the run, and I enjoyed the story, because the the author made the emotions and the high-pressure situation believable. Conversely, if I read for four hundred pages and never get a hint of the main characters’ internal struggles, I might not buy their happy ever after, either.
You’ve heard the phrase, “I’ll believe it when I see it?” I think we need to see the inner conflict and emotion between two (or more) people to buy into a love story. I need to see weak knees and sweaty palms, not just be told they’re in love. Whether it takes 35 pages or 350, we wanna feel the push and pull (metaphorically) between two lovers, on top of the steamy kisses and hot bow-chicka-wow-wows. Realistically, I think if you do it right, two people can fall in love in any time span or number of pages, it’s just a question of how the story is told.
What do you think?
Elisabeth Staab still lives with her nose in a book and at least one foot in an imaginary world. She believes that all kinds of safe and sane love should be celebrated but she adores the fantasy-filled realm of paranormal romance the best. She lives in the Washington DC area with her family and one big scaredy cat, where she loves to spend time with good friends, go dancing, collect wacky coffee mugs from which to drink her favorite beverage, and sing off-key in her kitchen (when she isn’t making characters fall in love, that is).
One winner will receive a signed paperback, a tote bag, some swag, and a Starbucks gift card