Preachin’ to the Choir: A love story of “heavenly” proportions!
Jonathan could do nothing to aid his wife’s losing battle with cancer. With twenty years into the ministry, he can’t believe the Lord would leave him suddenly with both an empty nest and empty spot on the other side of the bed.
Kat, music teacher and mother of grown twins, feels “settled” in small town Texas. Life may be dull, but at least it’s predictable–unlike her life with her late ex. Kat has come to the conclusion that a happy, committed relationship with a male is impossible thing, so she makes peace with herself and with God. If nuns can live celibate for years, then why can’t she make it the next fifty?
One Sunday Jonathan sees a golden beam alighting upon a radiant Kat as she directs the singers… Why hadn’t he noticed how beautiful she was before? From here on out he knows that he’ll be preachin’ to the choir. But will Kat—and his congregation—let him?
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In this excerpt from Preachin’ to the Choir Kat goes jogging to get away from her thoughts about Jonathan, but somehow she can’t escape them…
“Get over it,” Kat muttered as she jogged across the field toward the entrance of the walking trail. Nestled in a small valley along scenic limestone ledges in a grove of live oak and ash juniper, the track had quickly become the favorite pathway for
pedestrians. She fell into an easy loping stride and allowed her mind to wander.
Tuesday’s piano lesson had had a mesmerizing effect on Kat. The feel of Jonathan’s arms around her waist, his hands touching hers, his breath warm and sensuous against her neck… She shuddered. Here it was ninety-plus degrees, and she was actually
shivering. Shivering with desire at the recollection of how Jonathan had made her feel Tuesday evening.
No man had ever made her feel so keenly aware of her body’s responses Kat realized, not Dirk, not B.B. not anyone. What was it about Jonathan that made her feel so alive? She had never seen Jonathan Rawlins in such a light before while Ruth was alive.
Now he was practically all she could think of.
Kat halted and grabbed her knees, gasping for breath, at the first park bench located a dozen yards along the trail. God should strike me dead for such wicked thoughts, she moaned inwardly. She was lusting after a man who was still mourning his late wife, his late wife who was a saint by anyone’s standards, and was still sorely missed by one and all. She should feel ashamed of herself. Really she should.
Yet, somehow, she didn’t.
Kat started jogging again. The exercise would purge her of these impure thoughts or at least make her too tired to act on them.
“You know, it wouldn’t be too forward of me to ask him over for dinner some night,” she reasoned aloud. “I could just tell him I wanted to make sure he was eating right.”
You could tell him that he’d never have to eat another meal alone. Ever.
Kat gulped and blinked hard, hastening her pace.
Good Lord, her estrogen levels must be completely whacked. She was acting like a silly teenager who harbored a secret crush on her teacher. She was fantasizing about becoming Jonathan Rawlins’s main squeeze.
“I’ve got to get over this.”
Kat tilted her head back and let the rays of dying sunlight streaming through the trees bathe her face with their warmth. She focused her concentration back into the tempo of her footsteps falling on the path… Right, left, right, left, right, left… Up, down,
up, down over the rolling hillsides…
Her breathing slowed. Presently, she felt a calming blanket of sanity wrap itself around her raging hormones. Her mind began to solve her present dilemma. It was all so simple. She was an adult—he was an adult. Two adults having the occasional dinner together was a perfectly natural, perfectly wholesome activity. Hadn’t he invited her out to eat once before? She could say she was returning the favor. It wasn’t anything to be ashamed of.
“Look out!” a familiar male voice shouted, rousing her from her daydreaming, but it was too late.
Kat tumbled top over bottom over the large, man- shaped obstruction in her path. Sliding and tumbling in an unladylike jumble of limbs and legs among the carpet of woodchips, only to land spread-eagle on her well-bruised backside.
“Kat? Are you all right?”
Jonathan’s voice sounded like it was coming from somewhere near her right temple, but Kat couldn’t be too sure. Was she hallucinating? After all, hadn’t she been thinking about Jonathan a moment before she fell?
A large hand tenderly caressed her cheek. “Kat? Speak to me, please.”
Kat slowly opened her eyes and looked to her right. Jonathan Rawlins’s face hovered mere inches from her own.
Cynthianna grew up watching Star Trek and reading the science fiction classics and Harlequin romances by the bushel. Somewhere along the line she figured it was just as fun to write stories as it was to read them. She has published both contemporary romances and fantasy romantic-comedies and also writes SF/paranormal erotic-romance under the pen name of Celine Chatillon. Her screwball fantasy romance series inspired by the hit TV series Doctor Who is entitled Loving Who. You can read excerpts from her novels at her web sites: http://www.cynthianna.com and http://www.celinechatillon.com .
When she isn’t living the exciting life of a romance novelist, Cindy evaluates manuscripts for a literary listing service and reviews books. Her funny writers’ guide, Defeating the Slushpile Monster, is now available in both Kindle and print formats. More about her non-fiction can be found on her Confessions of a Blonde Writer blog at http://www.cindyamatthews.com . Cindy is happily married to the multi-talented artist and fellow author A. J. Matthews. They enjoy attending historic re-enactments and science fiction cons and chatting with friendly folk. Feel free to drop her a line or meet up with her at an author’s chat.
Her social media links:
Web page: http://www.cynthianna.com
Confessions of a Blonde Writer Blog: http://www.cindyamatthews.com
Cynthianna’s Amazon page: http://www.amazon.com/author/cynthianna
Also by Cynthianna
Contemporary Romance Novels (PG rated)
Preachin’ to the Choir
Coming soon: Country Boy, City Girl
Holiday short story: The Stocking
Fantasy Romantic-Comedy series inspired by Doctor Who
Coming soon: Losing Who
SF Romance novella
Interview with Holly Hewson
HH: Cynthianna, thank you for talking with us at The Romance Studio. Your featured book is Preachin’ to the Choir. Where did you get the idea for this heavenly romance?
Cythianna: I’m not absolutely certain, but I think the phrase just kept repeating in my mind one day, “Preaching to the choir, preaching to the choir…” I thought, “What does it mean?” Well, it means to tell something to others who are already on your side so they are in agreement with you, essentially. But what would happen if a hero fell in love with a heroine (and vice versa) but she thought it would be better for him (and his career) to stay apart? There would definitely be some conflict in the romance! Once I had that idea, the characters and their situation evolved organically, until I had Kat and Jonathan and the small Texas Hill Country town where they both live.
HH: What do you like best about Kat and why will readers like her?
Cythianna: Kat is independent and talented. She’s raised two kids on her own, and she knows her own mind. Having said that, Kat feels insecure when it comes to falling in love again, especially since she’s been emotionally wounded by her ex-husband and some bad choices in boyfriends over the years. She tries to do what is best for those she loves and cherishes, so she really tries to resist falling for Jonathan–for “his sake” she tells herself. Even if she acts tough, her vulnerability and her courage makes her a worthy heroine readers can cheer on.
HH: What do you like best about Jonathan and why will readers love him?
Cythianna: I like how there’s a lot more to him than at first meets the eye. Jonathan is a decent man, and he understands how he’s a role model in the community, particularly his church, but he understands that God doesn’t want him to be alone any longer. He’s found Kat, and he knows that she is a worthy person, and they both could very happy together. He fights off the pressures and rumors and defends the woman he loves. That makes him more than heroic–all without bulging biceps and super-powers! A strong, quiet man who loves his beloved without condition is the best kind of hero there is.
HH: What makes this work different from your other stories?
Cythianna: I’d say it’s a love story that involves a lot more than just the hero and the heroine–it involves their families and their community as well and how they perceive the romance developing. Jonathan is a public figure and has a reputation that Kat is all too aware of. She wants to protect it at all costs. Jonathan knows that Kat has been hurt in the past, and she’s been willing to sacrifice her own happiness for the well-being of others. It makes for a tangled web that the two of them have to unwind in order to see that perhaps God has brought them together to find the genuine love and healing they both deserve.
HH: What else do you have in store for lucky readers?
Cythianna: About the same time this interview popped into my e-box, my contemporary romance Country Boy, City Girl was released, also from Mojocastle Press. Here’s a quick blurb:
Veronica “Ronnie” Hawthorn has found peace at last in the Missouri Ozarks town of Green Springs, excited at the prospect of running her own arts-and-crafts store in an old farm house. But when city girl Ronnie “falls” into her handsome neighbor’s arms, she is surprised to discover that country boy Dave Darden is one of the most eligible bachelors in America. An earthquake rumbling brings the two of the together–but will Dave’s meddling in Ronnie’s business matters drive them apart?
From Mojocastle Press:
In between life interruptions, I’m also working on the third book in the time-travel Loving Who series. Tentatively entitled Losing Who, our heroine Cici Connors begins to remember all she’s forgotten about her time-traveling adventures with her alien lover. It will have a happy ending, of course!
HH: What do you enjoy most about being an author?
Cythianna: I enjoy what most writers enjoy about being an author, in that you can create your own “worlds” and create “people” you enjoy being with in those worlds. You can always create a happy ending, too! I also think it’s the best way to communicate your feelings and dreams. Once you’ve started writing, it’s hard to stop creating worlds and characters, so perhaps I really don’t have a choice in the manner after all?
HH: What experience or experiences in your writing career have defined you to this point?
Cythianna: I’d have to say that I’ve had my share of unhappy experiences in my writing career, with a couple of my publishers going out of business and also discovering that some readers rather pirate your work than pay for it. I’ve struggled financially and emotionally, but I’ve never been able to put writing aside and say, “That’s it! I give up!” At least not more than a few days at a time. It seems I’m in it for the long haul.
I’ve had a lot of good experiences, too. My manuscripts have been accepted by respectable publishers, and I’ve grown my business as a freelance editor and manuscript evaluator over the years. Recently I’ve joined Shades of Romance e-zine as an editing columnist. I’m optimistic that eventually I’ll achieve a modicum of respect from the world at large for having stuck with writing this long!
HH: What goals have you set for yourself at this point in your career?
Cythianna: My goal this year is to finish any and all manuscripts I’ve started and haven’t had the chance or inclination to finish. I want to finish the third book in the Loving Who trilogy, finish up a YA manuscript I began a couple of years ago (possible series there), and then write a few more vampire tales (as Celine Chatillon). After those goals are met, I hope to 1) Be making a decent living at writing fiction and/or 2) Feel confident that I’ve met my personal goals and set some more to strive for in the following years.
HH: What do you enjoy reading?
Cythianna: I enjoy reading just about anything and everything. I particularly love reading historical biography and science fiction adventures. I enjoy studying humanity through peering deeply into our past and gazing far into our future… There’s so much to learn, and reading can take you to any place, any time. Who needs an actual time machine when you have a book?
HH: Where can readers find you online?
Cythianna: Almost everywhere! I have a precense at most of the big social media sites, so here are some links where you can find me. Please like, follow or befriend me at any and all of them. I enjoy hearing from readers, so don’t be shy–leave comments or ask me questions. Thank you!
Confessions of a Blonde Writer Blog: http://www.cindyamatthews.com
Cynthianna’s Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/author/cynthianna
Google Plus: https://plus.google.com/u/0/113175714057950475376/posts
Authorgraph page: http://www.authorgraph.com/authors/cynthianna3
Tumblr blog “Loving Who”: http://cynthianna.tumblr.com