Years ago, my husband and I were out for a day of fun on our Harleys. We pulled into a gas station to fill up, and next to us was an SUV towing a sleek sailboat. The female passenger glanced over at me, then jumped out of her car and approached.
“Will you trade lives with me?” she asked.
Since then, I’ve often thought about her question. I’m something of a thrill seeker and daredevil. I have done some awesome things in my life such as parachuting out of a plane, flying upside down in a stunt plane, taking to the air in an ultra glide powered by a lawnmower engine, and riding a motorcycle for many years. Nothing anyone else couldn’t do if they wanted, including the woman at the gas station who apparently wanted to be me.
Why wasn’t she satisfied with her pretty sailboat? Perhaps, as a female on a motorcycle, I represented a sense of freedom that was missing in her life. Or, maybe it was the thrill of danger she envied. I don’t know and never will, but here’s the thing.
No one’s days consist solely of beautiful Saturdays spent with the man you love while doing your favorite thing. There have been times when I might have been tempted to take her up on her offer to trade lives. The day I lost my mother to brain cancer might have been one, or the day my only brother committed suicide, or the day my beautiful niece died of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome. Bad things happen to good people, but somehow, we soldier on.
In each story I write, there is a piece of me. Sometimes it’s intentional, other times I don’t even realize it’s there. Without those past experiences—both good and bad—my stories would have no heart, nothing to make a reader catch their breath as a sentence, a phrase, a paragraph resonates to the depths of their soul. That is storytelling at its best, and what every author strives for.
When my two-year old niece, Stacy, died of SID’s, my sisters and I each took a dove from a wreath someone had sent. Six months later Christmas rolled around, and I decided to put the dove on my tree. When I took it out of the box, the glue in one of the eyes had melted and it appeared the bird was crying. I grabbed my laptop and wrote a short story called A DOVE’S TEARS. It won a short story contest, but in the back of my mind, I have a story brewing for a novel of a young mother who loses her daughter to SID’s. One day, I will write the book.
In CRAZY FOR HER, very bad things happened to my hero, Logan Kincaid, during his youth. As a means of escaping home, he joined the military and became a SEAL commander. When he returned to civilian life, he started his own business, K2 Special Services, a highly successful security company. You could certainly say he soldiered on, making a productive life for himself.
Even so, he would have traded it all for the love of a woman he didn’t believe he deserved. As Logan learns, sometimes fate will dangle a set of keys in your face and you can dare to grab them for the ride of your life.
So, to the woman who wanted to trade lives with me, no thank you. Get your own damn motorcycle.
Buy Link: www.amzn.com/B00ISCXNO2
CRAZY FOR HER excerpt
Dani held on to Logan for dear life. For the first ten minutes, she had kept her eyes squeezed shut. He’d elected to ride south on the Blue Ridge Parkway to the Pisgah Inn for lunch. Once on the parkway with its gentle curves and slow speed limit, she ventured to open her eyes and, surprisingly, began to enjoy the ride. She didn’t loosen her grip on Logan’s waist, however, but stayed pressed against his back so tightly their helmets kept bumping.
Even during the summer, it was chilly on a motorcycle at that altitude, and she was thankful for the jacket he had insisted on buying her, along with the helmet. She also thought the black leather looked badass cool on her.
They rode past a lookout, and although she’d driven on the parkway before, she had to agree it was different on a bike. It was better. It was beautiful with the blue-tinged mountains rising above her—no car roof to block the view—and the many shades of green on the valley floor thousands of feet below. Taking in a deep breath, she inhaled the spicy scent of the spruce pines. As they came out of a curve, a waterfall appeared and she grinned in delight, craning her head to look at it until it disappeared from sight.
Heaven on earth, she decided.
She braved letting go of Logan with one arm and lifted the visor on her helmet so she could feel the cool wind on her face. For the first time since her stalker appeared, she felt free, even if it was only for a few hours. Laughter bubbled up and escaped.
Logan reached back and squeezed her knee. “Having fun?” he yelled over the roar of the bike and wind.
Yes. Yes, she was having fun. She nodded, bumped his helmet with hers, and realized he couldn’t see her. “Yes!”
He gave her knee one more squeeze, then put his hand back on the handlebar. At the next curve, she leaned with him, growing more confident and no longer resisting by trying to keep her body upright.
“There you go, you got it now,” he said.
Dani grinned big and wide. She was a certified biker chick. Logan slowed the bike and pointed. A mother deer and her spotted fawn stood at the edge of the tree line staring back at them.
Could this day get any better?
Question for you: What is the most daring thing you’ve ever done, and did it change your life in any way? It doesn’t have to be something like jumping out of a plane. I want to know something you did that made you happy you were you.
Trivia Question: What did Dani feel for the first time since her stalker appeared? (Hint in the excerpt.) Enter your answer here