When I create a heroine, I try to fashion a woman with compassion in her soul. If my readers are going to care about my characters, my characters have to care deeply about something…or someone. ABIGAIL AND MISTLETOE is a retro romance. I wrote it in the early nineties and it was the first in which my heroine had a therapeutic profession. Abigail is a trauma makeup artist and she plunged herself into her profession for a very good reason.
I like to choose professions for my characters that impact the plotline of the novel. I had watched a talk show about the trauma makeup profession and I thought—”What a terrific career for a heroine.” From there I established the plotline. For my heroine to be affected deeply by the clients she helped, I felt she had to be touched by her profession in some way. Envisioning Abigail, I gave her a port wine stain on the side of her face. It affected her childhood. That stain made her feel different from everyone else and isolated her from the rest of the world. There is no doubt she understands everything about feeling different and being rejected. Feeling inferior touched her heart and her soul, and still now it’s sometimes difficult to shake those feelings off. She doesn’t want anyone else to ever experience that desolation. She knows first-hand the heartache and devastation that isolation and curling up within your own shell can cause.
Readers might say the theme of ABIGAIL AND MISTLETOE is “Beauty is in the eye of the beholder,” or “Beauty isn’t only skin-deep.” But I intended a deeper theme for the book. When you love someone unconditionally, you only see their beauty, not their flaws. When someone loves you unconditionally, you can forget your flaws and concentrate on your purpose and others you can share your life with.
The pristine setting of a snowy Colorado Christmas seemed to be the perfect backup for this book. A lodge owner is a long-time friend of an actress who’d experienced a disfiguring accident. She won’t come out from behind her veil. Abigail’s expertise with makeup can give her back her life. Abigail has first-hand proof of how it changed hers.
But Abigail’s port wine stain is a secret to everyone but the closest friends. When she meets the sexy former stuntman who owns the lodge with his dad, she feels she must keep it a secret from him. But secrets and trust issues hinder a budding romance. The question Abigail constantly asks herself is—Can Brady love the woman she is, rather than the woman he sees when she’s wearing makeup? Can she show him the person she is underneath the veneer? In the past, someone rejected her when he found out about her “imperfection.” Will Brady be the same?
I believe what women want most in a relationship is to be loved for ourselves without any pretense. Only if Brady can love Abigail unconditionally will they find happily ever after.
In many ways this is a book about redemption. Brady has his own wounds to heal. But it’s mostly about trusting others enough to show them your heart.
Excerpt from ABIGAIL AND MISTLETOE:
“Brady, I need to tell you something. I—”
He brought her tighter against him on the small dance floor. “You feel so good in my arms.”
His voice floated around her, caressing her as his green eyes had. A voice whispered, Tell him, but a louder voice said, A little more time won’t matter. Take this moment and hold on to it.
He brought her hand to his chest and smoothed his thumb over her knuckles. “What did you want to tell me?”
His hand on her back scorched through her sweater. His thumb on her hand created a rippling pleasure throughout her body. His shirt under her fingers, the scent of clean soap, his beard almost brushing her chin intoxicated her. “Nothing. Not now.”
His nose grazed hers as he murmured, “Good thinking.” He dropped the lightest of kisses on her lips, locked his hands at her back waist, and pulled her flush against him. All the air whooshed from her lungs as she laid her cheek against his shoulder and let his thighs guide their movement.
His lips brushed her ear and a shiver zipped up her spine. He must have felt it because he whispered into her ear, “You’re a very sensual woman, Abigail Fox.”
She lifted her head. “Are you trying to seduce me?”
Amusement mixed with passion in his deep green eyes. “Here? In the midst of this crowd?”
Several other couples had joined them on the dance floor, and most of the tables were filled. She wrinkled her nose at him. “I think I accepted a date with a wolf in sheep’s clothing.”
His amusement faded away. “My intentions are obvious. I want you. I’m not pretending differently.”
Award-winning and best-selling author Karen Rose Smith will see her 80th novel published in 2013. She writes happily-ever-after relationship romances about love’s power to heal. Relationships will also be the basis for her mystery series about a home stager sleuth beginning next year.
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