This is the story I sat down to write. What happened on the page was, as usual, a total surprise to me.
His father had failed first.
And then, according to his mother, she’d failed, too.
Brett didn’t agree with her assessment, knowing that when she’d lashed out at him the afternoon of Livia’s funeral, beating him on the chest with blows that didn’t even leave bruises, she’d been railing at life, distraught with grief, and clinging to him as much as pounding her fists against the wall he presented between her and her need to die…
“The characters are so realistic and lovable, I mean how can you not love them with everything that they have been through.”
In every good story there has to be ‘that’ moment. The one in which the reader can’t see how the characters are going to get past their hurdles. The one that keeps the reader turning the page to find out…
Still in the navy blue suit he’d worn to attend the morning board meeting, he’d loosened the knot of the red tie a bit. His one concession to relaxation. His wing tips were shined. His smart watch in place.
Brett’s life was a mission—and all pieces were accounted for.
When my story went public, my editor gave me another purpose. She wanted me to write a series of books revolving around a domestic violence shelter. I’d never felt more in commune with a project in my life. And so The Lemonade Stand was born. The Lemonade Stand, Where Secrets Are Safe. It’s a very unique women’s shelter. One that I wish so badly had been there for me to run to all those years ago. One that I wish existed today.
“Tara Taylor Quinn weaves a story here that grabs you and doesn’t let go until well after you turn the last page. The characters are compelling and realistic, their motives clear, and the conflict is high stakes and seems insurmountable. Ms. Quinn doesn’t shortchange the reader by giving us a pat ending that doesn’t take into account all that has gone on before, but gives the reader both a satisfying and realistic ending that makes the ride worth it–just like she promised.”
He’d been celebrating. Ten years since he’d sold the dot-com he’d started his junior year in college. A decade of his life had passed, and here he was. Standing alone in the walk-in shower in his elegant, historical, two-story walk-up across a quiet street from a flowered lot that led to the ocean beyond.
The books revolving around The Lemonade Stand are not all interrelated. Many of them don’t even feature characters who lived and breathed in previous books. The books are connected by a place. The Lemonade Stand. The series started out with ideas for three books. I am currently working on an eighth one and number nine is on its way, too. So for anyone who is new to the series, and for those of you who want a reminder, I’ll give you a one liner look at the first five books.
“I really loved this story, I loved that it shows there are help for women out there and there is also love out there, even when it is hard to realize.”
It was right then that Brett told me about his favorite meal. He told me, not to fill in background noise, but because it showed me the conflicted man he was. His favorite meal was a peanut butter and bacon sandwich. He loved them. And as he scarfed one down, he was angry with himself, too. Because his father had introduced him to the delicacy when Brett was a young boy. And Brett, the adult, hates his father with every dark crevice in his being.
I sat down to write the first book in the Where Secrets Are Safe series, Wife By Design, and the hero shows up at The Lemonade Stand – the unique women’s shelter around which the series is revolving – as a landscaper. Kind of threw me for a loop. I know very little about landscaping. I tried to convince him he was something else. He kept coming back as a landscaper. So I did some research.
by Tara Taylor Quinn
Paperback & ebook, 384 pages
June 1st 2015 by Harlequin
It seems a lifetime ago that Brett Ackerman wanted to share his life with Ella Wales. He really believed he could put his abusive family history behind him…until he realized it would always be part of him. Then he pushed her away. Hard.
Now Ella’s back as part of the High Risk Team at The Lemonade Stand, the unique women’s shelter Brett founded. And she needs his help with a family crisis. But even now, Brett can’t admit he still loves her. Until one night of passion with Ella turns Brett into the one thing he fears the most—a father.
Tara is a supporter of the National Domestic Violence Hotline. If you or someone you know might be a victim of domestic violence in the United States, please contact 1-800-799-7233.