Award-winning and New York Times bestselling author Denise Swanson writes both romance and mystery featuring small-town heroines with lots of heart. Learn more about Denise and her books at her website. Today Denise joins us to talk about one of her favorite things.
The contractor who built our new house asked me what feature was my favorite. Without even thinking about it, I said the screened porch facing our woods. While I loved the hardwood floors, the fireplace, and the pantry, I had always dreamed of having a screened porch.
My husband and I grew up in a small rural town, but due to his job we spent most of our marriage in urban and suburban areas. For me, the convenience of stores and restaurants didn’t make up for the noise, crowding, and pollution. And when I started to write, the environment was even more aggravating.
Our dream house, the one we designed and redesigned over the years, was always meant to be in a country setting, which meant we had to wait for my husband’s retirement. Three years ago we finally started looking at property. It took us a year to find the perfect wooded lot, and another year to design and build the house.
We moved in on Valentine’s Day and celebrated in front of our first ever fireplace. Throughout the next months, I monitored the weather hoping for an early spring. Finally, in May the temperature was warm enough to sit in the screened porch without needing a space heater and a blanket.
Maintaining my writing discipline, I finished my two thousand words, grabbed my e-reader and a glass of Diet Coke, and headed to my screened porch. My mom had bought me outdoor furniture for Easter and I had found the perfect area rug (it has miniscule holes in the center of the flowers that are a part of the design for drainage).
Settling into my cushy chair, I powered up my e-reader, and took a sip of my soda. I glanced at the bird feeder just outside the screen and there was a cardinal and a squirrel peacefully eating together. My father loved squirrels and my Grandma Swanson love cardinals. Seeing the squirrel and cardinal the first day that I sat in the screened porch felt as if my late father and late grandmother were sending me a warm hug.
Yep! The screened porch is definitely one of my favorite things.
Good Girl Overboard
Take a smoking-hot captain with a secret and an undercover cruise reviewer determined to change her sex life from flat to fiery. Shake well over rough seas. Serve on a king-size bed for a sizzling good time.
For twenty-eight years, cruise critic Darcy Simons has followed the rules. And what did it get her? A broken heart, an unfaithful fiancé, and a pile of bills taller than her uneaten four-tiered wedding cake. Clearly, it’s not blondes, but bad girls, who have more fun, and she is determined to become one of them.
While Darcy is on the maiden voyage of the Ocean Starr cruise liner to write a snarky review that will earn enough money to pay off her canceled wedding, she’s determined to break some personal rules and have a wild sexual adventure—she just needs to find the perfect man. When she bumps into Captain Mitch James, and both his briefcase and sparks fly, she knows Mitch is just the guy for the job.
Too bad Mitch has a firm no-messing-with-female-passengers rule. But when he discovers Darcy’s true reason for taking the cruise, he decides to use his charm to get a thumbs up for his ship. Breaking his own rules, he sets out to seduce her. Now, if he can just convince himself that his only interest in Darcy is a good review, he might make it back to port with his heart intact.