A Rose By Any Other Name, a story with zombies and romance, not ideal for my first paranormal romance, but I’m anything if predictable.
My twist on Sleeping Beauty came to me as the perfect way to really turn a fairy tale grimm. One where Beauty doesn’t save the day. The idea, and the chance to submit it came up by mere chance. I didn’t plan this project. Nope, it got handed to me.
There are other unplanned stories. Sequels to a previously published book because the muse says you have to write one more or simply because a couple secondary characters jump up and want a chance. Then there’s the opportunities strung on the path that if you reach out and grab them they will turn into a full-blown ebook and audio book, which is what happened with my latest release. Allowing a story to take it’s natural course, even when you don’t think it should, is following your gut at it’s finest.
I highly encourage watching the open road for opportunities, even when it appears like sticking to the course is the best bet. The story you weren’t expecting might just be the one that breaks through all those barriers.
Jason Prince, Charming’s once-upon-a-time star jock, only attends his Charming high school reunion to find his way into the heart of a certain wallflower who had no date for the prom.
Shy, geeky, chemical engineer, Emma Fay has been keeping her love for Jason a secret because she knows Jason and Rose belong together. But, when Rose Briar pricks her finger, fulfilling a prophecy about death and a plague, she throws a wrench into the class reunion that not even the best planning committee can tackle.
Can Jason and Emma stop Zombie Beauty Rose before she turns their loved ones into her undead court and sends them forth to spread the infestation to the rest of the world? Or will human flesh become the daily special at diners everywhere? And will there be enough left of Jason and Emma for romance to blossom?
That’s when she saw him, and, damn—he looked better than he had in high school. Back then, he’d been equal proportions of muscle on top and bottom, but since then his shoulders and upper body had filled out. He looked like a bronzed god. Even though it was fall, he still sported a tan, his blonde hair a shade lighter than she remembered, most likely from time spent outside. Seeing him sparked errant thoughts of finding out what he was doing now. His eyes connected with hers.
His lips moved, but she couldn’t hear anything as he walked her way. She rolled down the window when he reached her door and angled down to lean against it.
“Emmaline Fay, what are you doing? Hiding in the car like a scaredy cat?”
The rich, deep sound of his voice coupled with his childish taunt made her feel self-conscious, and a flush of heat and anger coursed her skin. She’d forgotten about his ability to aggravate her at the drop of a dime.
“No, just trying to decide if this is a good place to park. You know how you country boys tend to scuffle your way over and around cars after a few too many.”
“True, but we’re men, and we have to impress the ladies somehow. You can’t tell me a scuffle doesn’t make you smile.”
She tried to keep her expression civil even when Jason’s familiar scent found her nose, inspiring a fresh round of stomach squirminess. “The only time I feel like smiling is when the cops show up to make an arrest.”
Jason grinned. Even his teeth were perfect. Rose had definitely picked a winner. He took a step back and winked. “Come on out of the car, kitty claws. Maybe we can find a scuffle together if you’re that excited about the law.”
“Always the jokes and nicknames. You haven’t changed.” She rolled up the window and removed her keys from the ignition. Hilarious how he riled her up and got under her skin with only a few sentences. Keeping her distance should be her key objective of the night. Otherwise she might lean in and sniff him or, worse, engage in one of those arguments she loved to start. Pathetic. Maybe her decision to stay out of the dating game was a liability.
She walked to the curb, Jason trailing behind. Glancing over her shoulder, she saw him jerk his head up, and she stumbled on a piece of raised sidewalk.
“Whoa there. Everything okay?” He put a hand to her waist, and she barely kept herself upright.
Her skin went hot. Everywhere. “I’m fine.” But she wasn’t.
Author Bio: Landra Graf consumes at least one book a day, and has always been a sucker for stories where true love conquers all. She believes in the power of the written word, and the joy such words can bring. In between spending time with her family and having book adventures, she writes romance with the goal of giving everyone, fictional or not, their own happily ever after.