I’m delighted to welcome author Audrey Wick to the blog today. Audrey is a full-time English professor at Blinn College and an author of women’s fiction/romance. Her writing has also appeared in college textbooks, and she is a guest blog columnist with Writer’s Digest. Wick believes the secret to happiness includes lifelong learning and good stories. But travel and coffee help. She has journeyed to over twenty countries—and sipped coffee at every one. See photos on her website and follow her on social media.
Hiya, Audrey, so happy you could be here!
Hello, Nan! It’s a pleasure to be on your blog!
Are you getting ready for a summer vacation? I love being able to escape during summertime, and that is part of the reason I wrote my latest book, ISLAND CHARM. I’m excited to share this standalone novel with readers that’s a perfect beach book—so even for people who can’t physically travel, they can enjoy a getaway through this book!
ISLAND CHARM is a contemporary romance set mostly in Key West, Florida. In it, Anna Worthington takes the tropical honeymoon intended for her twin sister and her fiancé . . . because her twin has been jilted at the altar. An airport mix-up leaves Anna alone in this island paradise, and that’s where she meets handsome Gunnar Lockhart, an island local with a heart of gold. Romance is the last thing on her mind, but when she starts falling for Gunnar, she has to untangle her feelings to learn whether this romance with an expiration date is real or if, like her twin sister, she is setting herself up for heartache.
Here’s an excerpt to give everyone a sneak peek. This scene focuses on something Key West is known for, which is Key Lime Pie!
She was dressed Key West casual, with the chic look of a tourist but the carefree attitude of a local. Yet she was alone. No gaggle of girlfriends, no boyfriend with whom to walk hand in hand, not even a dog at the end of a leash. She had a crossbody purse slung across her torso, making her hands free to accept the offer from Gunnar, who froze in silence at this impromptu crash with a woman who took his breath away.
“It’s got a thin crust. Homemade. And just the right amount of tart in the base.” Jack rattled off the merits of Kermit’s key lime pie like a food critic.
Or like a man who just polished off a slice himself. At Gunnar’s expense.
Gunnar shook his head to shake away the negative memory of why he has been called to the shop in the first place.
“This is really kind of you.” She nodded in the direction of Jack before turning her head back to face Gunnar. “Are you sure this is okay?”
“Fine, fine.” Gunnar, who never searched for words and had been afforded his job for the Chamber of Commerce on account of his talkativeness alone, was struggling to choke out more than two words at a time. He cleared his throat to try again. “I mean, yes, the pie. Enjoy it. I don’t need this many slices.”
“Then maybe you shouldn’t buy so many,” Jack ridiculed.
At that, the woman’s laughter lifted the mood, easing Gunnar’s stress as he realized the humor of the situation. To any onlooker, he must have appeared to have an intense sweet tooth. And it looked like he was hungry to dig in, based on his speed of movement. Realizing the irony, he couldn’t help but let out a huff of his own, followed by a lighthearted chuckle in tune with the woman. Shared laughter was a beautiful gift, something simple yet striking that served in place of further conversation. Their spontaneous melody carried on the perpetual breezes that wafted to and fro in every spot on the island.
This woman had created a song. Spellbound, Gunnar had been captured by it. But before he knew it, Jack was racing ahead, and Gunnar’s sense of responsibility willed him to follow the man who needed him. The woman waved before disappearing into the heart of the shop, leaving the melody they shared as little more than a memory.
This book was so much fun to write, especially with the island setting. I hope it whisks readers away in a similar sense and lets them be armchair travelers for a while.