By Christi Barth, author of ALL FOR YOU
When I came up with the idea for All For You, I knew right off the bat that I wanted the heroine to be a park ranger. Lots of tromping down trails, communing with nature and breathing fresh air. ..all while exchanging brisk banter with the hero.
Except….that’s not what actually could happen. I went to Watkins Glen State Park and interviewed the park ranger – who happens to be the office manager. Because she’s the only full-time employee. When I heard that, my whole plot just thudded to the floor. Gulp. I heard more than I wanted to about paperwork (nope-boring), training at other parks in the off-season (nope-she needs to stay in one place to be wooed by the hero) and budgets (come on – was I being pranked? Budgets aren’t sexy!).
What’s a writer to do when research tanks her best laid plans? Pump up the few things that DO work for you, and gloss over the rest. Instead of showing Casey frowning over spreadsheets, I open the book with her leaving work and discovering a half-naked man emerging from a lake.
What was she supposed to do with a six-foot-tall mansicle frozen in place at the edge of the lake? Knowing body heat was the quickest way to deal with hypothermia, she wrapped her arms around him, too. Tried not to notice that it brought her flush against ridged abs. Or how well her head tucked into the hollow of his collarbone.
This was strictly basic first aid. If he were a woman, or a sixty-year-old guy with a pot belly and a bad comb-over, Casey would still be responding the same way. His core temp had to be raised ASAP. But still, it didn’t suck that he was a wall of sheer, solid muscle against her torso.
My portrayal of the park ranger is correct….I just pick and choose which parts to show. Has reality ever crept in and ruined part of a book for you?
Small-town park ranger Casey Hobbes has spent her life under the radar, carefully guarding a secret. “The forest flirt,” as her best friend calls her, keeps things casual with men. That way she’ll never care enough to be tempted to share the truth about her past. But when she spots a half-naked stranger on the lake’s edge, Casey can’t resist his muscles or his charm and she’s all-in for enjoying both, while keeping emotion out of it. What could be the danger of one summer fling?
Professor Zane Buchanan has built his entire career on exposing the dark realities of cults, but one—the Sunshine Seekers—remains infuriatingly impossible to crack. Zane’s shocked to discover its sole anonymous survivor is hiding in his new hometown. It’s nearly impossible to concentrate on work, however, when he’s derailed by his attraction to the beautiful blonde in khaki uniform shorts.
As things between Casey and Zane heat up, she struggles with keeping her past from him. And Zane’s on a quest to expose the truth, no matter the consequences. Will their growing emotions finally unseal Casey’s big secret? Or will she turn her back on love to keep the past safely buried?
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Christi Barth earned a Masters degree in vocal performance and embarked upon a career on the stage. A love of romance then drew her to wedding planning. Ultimately she succumbed to her lifelong love of books and now writes award-winning contemporary romance. Christi is President of the Maryland Romance Writers and lives in Maryland with her husband.