. . . Rayne Tucket, a photojournalist, is haunted by the death of his best friend in Afghanistan, a death he thinks is his fault. He survives day to day. Forever is not in his vocabulary. Swearing off photography, he answers an ad for a handyman—mindless, no emotion involved.
. . . As the two of them renovate her house, can Cassie show Rayne that love is strong enough to heal all wounds?
Wild Women Authors is pleased to welcome Jennifer Wilck and Rayne Tucker from her latest release from Wild Rose Press, In The Moment.
Where are you from, Rayne? I’m originally from Vermont.
Tell us a bit about In the Moment. I’m on a mission to deliver something to the parents of one of my best friends. He and I met when I was embedded with him and his buddies in Iraq. On my way to his parents, I met Cassie and despite all my attempts to keep away from her, I couldn’t.
What did you think the first time you saw Cassie? I thought she was a spitfire. She was trying to start this old lawn mower and she was yelling at it and kicking it. It was hilarious.
Yelling and kicking is always a good ice breaker. What was your second thought? That there was no way I was good enough for her and I was an idiot for offering to help her fix her place up.
Was it love at first sight? I don’t know, because I fought really hard against feeling anything for her. I was convinced I’d end up hurting her, so I pushed all those feelings away.
What do you like most about Cassie? She sees who I am, deep down, and it doesn’t scare her. She seems to understand exactly what I need and is generous enough to give it to me.
How would you describe her? She’s braver and more independent than anyone I’ve ever met. She grew up without a family and that would make some people wary of forming attachments. But not her. She takes what you can give and gives it back tenfold. And she’s beautiful—both inside and out. Her love just glows from her eyes.
That is so lovely; most guys would get into the physical attributes but you didn't. So, then, how would Cassie describe you? Ha! I’m not sure I want to know. I hope she’d describe me as honorable and trustworthy. I’ve tried doing what’s best for her, although I’m not sure I succeeded.
What made you choose photography for a career? I’ve always loved photography and the stories photos could tell. I wanted to go to Afghanistan and show people back home who was fighting and why. I got a lot more than I bargained for, though.
What is your biggest fear? Hurting the people I love. Because of me, the unit I was embedded with died. I came back changed, and hurt my family with the way I was acting. I don’t want to hurt Cassie too.
How do you relax? I fix things. That’s one of the reasons why I offered to work for Cassie—she had a ton of equipment that came with her house and it needed repairs. Plus her yard was a mess. That kind of labor lets me relax and get out of my head.
What is the best piece of advice you ever received? The best advice came from the parents of my best friend. I delivered photos I took of their son in Afghanistan and I told them how guilty I felt for surviving. His dad told me not to waste my life consumed by mistakes I think I made. He said doing that doesn’t honor his son’s life. It took me a while to let that sink in, but he was right.
Can't follow that one, so we won't try. Let's talk with Jennifer for a moment. Thanks, Rayne, for showing us the type of man you are.
Jen, what movies or books have had an impact on your career as a writer? I love reading Lynn Kurland. She writes Scottish time travel and they are filled with so much emotion. Her characters just leap off the page, and I want my characters and my books to give that emotional satisfaction to my readers. I also love the Gilmore Girls, and the snappy dialogue.
What event in your private life were you able to bring to this story and how do you feel it impacted the novel? There was this big Victorian mansion for sale in the town next to mine and my daughters and I went to the open house. I fell in love with this house and the history that just seemed to ooze from its walls. Since I couldn’t buy the house, I decided to make it the setting of my book. It’s the perfect house to raise a family, and for Cassie, a foster child who is longing for a place to call home, it was the best place to have her live.
Tell us a bit about your publisher: how did you hear about them and what influenced your decision to submit to them? I have a number of writer friends who are published with The Wild Rose Press and they all had positive experiences with everyone involved there. I knew I wanted to be a part of their team and I was lucky enough to have them say yes to my query. It’s been a fantastic experience and one I hope will continue for a long time.
What book[s] currently rest on your TBR pile? I’m currently reading Secret Daughter by Shilpi Somay Gowda for my book club. Fantastic story! And I have a variety of romances in my TBR pile that were written by author friends, which I can’t wait to get to.
Lastly, what's up next and when can we expect to see it on the shelves? I’m working on the sequel to Addicted to Love, which was published in July by The Wild Rose Press. It was recently contracted and we’ll be starting edits soon. Hopefully it will be available in the spring. Titled Five Minutes to Love, it’s a contemporary romance with a hero and heroine who fail at speed dating, but meet anyway.
Here's an excerpt from In The Moment:
“Cassie?” He let go of her hand.
His voice startled her. She turned to him. If she hadn’t witnessed his reaction to the storm, she’d never know it now. Well, maybe she would. There were fine lines between his brows and shadows beneath his eyes. But otherwise, he looked no different than usual. They sat next to each other, legs touching.
He took her face between his hands. They were rough and calloused against her skin. He ran his fingers over her cheeks and pushed her hair behind her ears. She stared into his eyes. In the dark of the porch, she couldn’t see their color, only their glimmer as he traced her jawline. The heat from his body warmed her; the pressure of his fingers anchored her to this spot, with him, right now. They were close enough for his breath to feather on her cheek. Each inhalation and exhalation sent shivers down her spine. For the first time, she remembered she wore a threadbare T-shirt beneath her cotton robe.
His thumbs brushed her lips, and she opened her mouth. His nose bumped hers. He bent to kiss her. Their lips touched. She sighed as he dragged them back and forth across her mouth.
The Wild Rose Press: https://catalog.thewildrosepress.com/all-titles/5219-in-the-moment.html?search_query=jennifer+wilck&results=4
Barnes & Noble: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/in-the-moment-jennifer-wilck/1126972509?ean=2940158847929
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