The lovely and always funny Liv Rancourt is here today to talk about her new release, King Stud. I beta read this fun, contemporary romance (the final copy is waiting patiently on my kindle) and I can tell you it was a good one.
It also reminded me of a fun phrase that I liked to refer to Ryan as (and tease Liv) and how it came about. After a few drinks on Monday night poker games that my husband and I and two other couples used to play while watching Monday Night Football - yes I used to be able to stay up past 9:30 pm - we came up with a term of affection for 7 Card Stud**
Oh, and I still can't walk into Home Depot with thinking of Ryan...
Well over a year ago, when I thought my novel King Stud was ready for public consumption, I asked my friend Debbie to give it a read. She was generous with her comments and with her encouragement, and she said one thing that’s stayed with me and kept me going through all the rewrites.
“That Studly Hungwell,” she said. “You know, I like him a lot.”
So, for women everywhere, I felt compelled to continue working on King Stud so I could share Studly Hungwell….er….Ryan’s story. Because I’m conscientious like that. And when it came down to putting together this post, I realized you could learn quite a bit about Ryan in the novel’s first chapter. Let me give you a few examples…
Danielle’s at the Home Depot, trying to figure out where to start with a ginormous home remodel, when she runs into this (incredibly handsome) guy. Turns out he’s her best friend’s younger brother. Oops…
Ryan’s direct, the kind of guy who goes for what he wants.
"Must be bad to get you into Home Depot on a Sunday evening." Mr. Sideburns leaned on his cart and gave her an appreciative once-over, his almost-cocky baritone mellowed by a hint of laughter.
Hitting on me? Not until I’ve had a shower, dude. Danielle jumped up from the ladder, ready to run. "I’m good, thanks."
“Got that right,” he said, mostly to himself. “Sounds like you need a carpenter.” A wry grin tweaked the corner of his mouth, just enough to show a dimple. “Ryan O'Connor."
He’s effortlessly cool and incredibly hot at the same time.
He smiled wide enough to show both dimples. Yep. Definitely related to Maeve. As a kid he'd had freckles and a snub nose. His nose was still rounded at the end and it looked like he'd broken it at least once, and his jeans had the kind of shredded wear at the knees that L.A. hipsters paid big dollars to copy. Her reserve melted until it warmed parts of her anatomy that had no business heating up in a Home Depot store.
He’s got a helluva sense of humor and he’s kind of a flirt.
Finally a huge black pick-up pulled into the driveway. Ryan climbed out of the cab and surveyed the yard as if he’d already started a to-do list. “Nice pink Mini.” He gave her car a careless nod on his way to the front door.
Her eyes narrowed. Was he really going to make fun of her car? That was asking for trouble. “It’s cream.”
“Looks pink in this light. Only a real princess would drive a pink Mini.” He stood with his arms crossed and grinned up at her from the front walkway.
She squashed an answering smile. The O’Connors valued teasing more than anything, and if she didn’t dish it right back to him, she’d be in trouble. “And I suppose only a real man would drive a monster truck.”
“Don’t you mean F150? I’ve never heard of a 250.”
His half grin hinted at all kinds of inappropriate thoughts. “It’s bigger.”
Her stomach did a triple flip, and in self-defense she reached for the doorknob. I guess he’s old enough. “Compensating?”
“Don’t need to.” He put his foot on the lower step, his tone casual, his eyes hot.
She jerked her gaze away, convinced her blush would leave permanent burns on her cheeks. “Come on.”
Ryan didn’t move right away. Danielle gave him time to get a good look at the cracked 1930’s siding, the grass sprouting from the gutters, and the moss clinging to the shingles.
“Have you thought about tearing it down?” he asked.
“Come on, now,” she said, halfway laughing. “This place has great bones.”
His gaze worked her over with the same intensity he’d given the house. “Can’t argue with that.”
And did I mention he’s kind of a flirt? He’s also quite a bit younger than Danielle.
“This place ever get hit by a slide?”
Ryan’s question jerked Danielle back into the grubby basement. “A what?”
“Yeah, a few years ago. The road was closed for a couple weeks.” Danielle tried to remember the year by linking disaster with her favorite heels, favorite hairstyle, favorite song. “I was, like, a sophomore in high school.”
Ryan thought for a minute, frowning. “I would have been about second grade.”
Oh. Right. Good to remember. Not something to dwell on. Instead, she made a mental note that Ryan was cute even when he frowned.
Finally, and most importantly, Ryan takes care of people, even women he meets at the Home Depot.
He flipped a toggle at the bottom of the row of fuses and shifted to meet her eyes, though in the limited light she couldn’t read his expression. “You want the bad news first, or the good news?”
“That’s no fun.” The flashlight cast shadows in his dimples as his smile broadened. “The good news is, the foundation’s solid and the woodwork rocks.”
Okay. Things weren’t hopeless. “And…”
“The bad news is, I just cut the power, and you cannot stay here until you get an electrician to pull a permit and rewire the place.”
“Damn it.” Aggravation punched through her momentary peace, tightening the headache around her temples.
Ryan took a couple steps in her direction, and Danielle had to stop herself from putting her hands on his chest. She fought the uncharacteristic urge to lean into him and let him take over. Even more ridiculous, she had to cope with a gut level clench at being close to him. I don’t have time for this kind of bullshit.
“C’mon. We’ll go find some dinner and come up with a plan.”
She took a deep breath and blew it out loud. “We, as in you’re joining Team Jacobson?”
“Yep.” He rubbed his hands together, cracking the knuckles on one hand in the palm of the other. “All the original trim in this place it’s making my dick hard.”
Relief disabled her filter. “Dude, you’re what? Twenty-five? A gust of wind makes your dick hard.”
He shot her a sly grin. “Twenty-four, and, well…”
Maeve was so going to kill her.
And yeah, a flirt. But that’s okay, because he’s had a crush on Dani Jacobsen since he was old enough to know the meaning of the word. They’ve got some kinks to work out, but it’s a romance. Eventually they get it together. I mean, I couldn’t leave a guy named Studly Hungwell with anything but a happy ending, right?
Danielle’s got three months to make her Grandmother’s rundown Craftsman house livable. Her game plan is to get in, get grubby, and get back home to L.A. She needs a carpenter, and her best friend’s younger brother is a good one. It’s hard to ignore the buffed body under Ryan’s paint-splattered sweatshirts, but her friend declares he’s off-limits so Danielle reluctantly agrees.
Ryan doesn’t have the cleanest record, anyway. His recently ex-ed girlfriend wants him back, and he has a reputation for brawling. He’s also had a crush on Danielle since he was a kid. Despite their nine-year age difference, he knows she’s worth pursuing.
Soon the paint under Danielle’s fingernails starts feeling more natural than the L.A. sunshine. She’ll have to navigate plumbing disasters, money problems, and one seriously cranky best friend to find something she hasn’t had before: a real home, and a man who loves her.
I write romance: m/f, m/m, and v/h, where the h is for human and the v is for vampire…or sometimes demon, and I lean more towards funny than angst. When I’m not writing I take care of tiny premature babies or teenagers, depending on whether I’m at home or at work. My husband is a soul of patience, my dog’s cuteness is legendary, and we share the homestead with three ferrets. Who steal things. Because they’re brats.
I can be found on-line at all hours of the day and night at my website & blog (www.liv-rancourt.blogspot.com), on Facebook (www.facebook.com/liv.rancourt), or on Twitter (www.twitter.com/LivRancourt). Come find me. We’ll have fun!