by Emily Mims
GENRE: Contemporary romance
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Thirty-year-old musician Leilani Mahuiki is in Tennessee to find Joe Barstow, the birth father whose bone marrow might save her daughter’s life. She finds Bradley, too, Joe’s adopted son. Against all odds, she and Bradley make wonderful music together, she on the ukulele, he on the banjo. And Bradley is everything else she’s ever wanted in a man.
Bradley wants her, too. But is that enough? He needs a family of his own. Having grown up an outsider, he’s always dreamt of something simple and old-fashioned. No entanglements. No complications. Just mom, dad, and the kids. Not something Leilani can ever offer. She already has the very complications and entanglements that he so desperately wants to avoid, and that are not going away any time soon. And yet, as he and Leilani pull out all the stops to save her daughter’s life, he knows Leilani is the only woman for him. The most beautiful music in the world can sometimes happen when disharmony resolves—and a lonely Tennessee winter can become a tropical paradise.
“I see.” Bradley thought a minute. “It’s a good deal for them and a good deal for Nalani. But is it really all that good a deal for you? What’s this done to your life, Leilani?”
“My child has three parents raising her and I have an incredible support system in George and Kekoa. And they have an incredible support system in me.”
“But what about the possibility of your ever finding love again? What has this cockamamie arrangement done to that?”
Leilani felt herself bristle. “It’s not cockamamie. It’s working well, thank you very much.”
“If it’s working out so damned well, why are you still single? Is it because your boyfriends are put off by the total and complete weirdness of whole thing?”
Leilani looked at Bradley with disdain. “Actually, this is the first time I’ve given a damn what my boyfriend thought of my totally, completely weird life. This is the first time since Bruce died that I’ve really cared about a man.”
“I didn’t realize.”
“You did, too. I told you a while back that I haven’t been serious about anyone since Bruce died. Congratulations. You’re the first one in ten years. The first damn man I’ve cared about since I put Bruce in the ground. You want to know why I didn’t tell you about Kekoa and George? Because even though I tried to warn you that I couldn’t give you the fifties sitcom family of your dreams, I thought way down deep that maybe you could get past that unrealistic dream a little and look at my admittedly unconventional family and visualize yourself a part of it. I thought that maybe, just maybe, you might come to love me enough to loosen the tight parameters you’ve set up in your mind and think outside that box. But that was damned stupid of me, wasn’t it?”
“Yes, it was,” Bradley said with a snap. “You’ve known from the beginning how I feel and what I want in a family. Unrealistic or no, that’s what I’m looking for. As much as I care about you, I’ll never be able to have that with you. You will always have other loyalties, other allegiances. It will never be just me and mine. I understand that now. I just wish you’d told me earlier. Maybe I wouldn’t have fallen for you the way I did. Maybe I wouldn’t hurt so much tonight.”
Or maybe you wouldn’t hurt so much if your mind was a little broader,” Leilani snapped.
Q & A with Emily Mims
What inspires you?
All kinds of things inspire my stories. The first series, the Texas Hill Country series, were inspired by my love of the Texas Hill Country and the little community where we have a lake home. The second series, Smoky Blue, was inspired by my love of Appalachia and more specifically the mountain music of the region. For Evergreen I also tapped into my love of all things Hawaiian, particularly the ukulele (which I play pretty well for a Texan).
Who are some of your favorite authors that you feel were influential in your work?
Hmm. I learned a lot from my fellow writers at Candlelight Ecstasy (I wrote my first eighteen books for them under the name ‘Emily Elliott’. Some of those ladies include Heather Graham, Linda Lael Miller and Jane Ann Krentz. More recently I’ve gotten into Nora Roberts.
What do your plans for future projects include?
I just finished ‘Indigo’ the sequel to ‘Evergreen’ in which I tell Timberlynn Barstow’s story. I have four more planned for Smoky Blue, and then I’m not sure where I’m going…but I have plenty of story ideas rattling around inside my head.
Do you ever get writer’s Block? Any tips on how to get through the dreaded writer’s block?
The only time I suffer from writer’s block is when I’m writing the plot. I am a serious plotter and sometimes writing those plots feels like giving birth without anesthesia. Once the plot is on paper, I’m good because I know right where that story is headed.
Have you ever had one character you wanted to go one way with but after the book was done the character was totally different?
No, I haven’t, because of the tight plotting I do ahead of time. What does happen all the time, though, is that a secondary character in one book cries out for their own story to be told. (Me, me, me! I get a story, too!) So the next book is their story.
AUTHOR Bio and Links:
Author of thirty romance novels, Emily Mims combined her writing career with a career in public education until leaving the classroom to write full time. The mother of two sons and grandmother of six, she and her husband Charles live in central Texas but frequently visit grandchildren in eastern Tennessee and Georgia. She plays the piano, organ, dulcimer, and ukulele and belongs to two performing bands. She says, “I love to write romances because I believe in them. Romance happened to me and it can happen to any woman-if she’ll just let it.”