Hello and welcome to my blog for another round of Meet the Characters! Today I am featuring a guest blogger who has graciously agreed to let me do a character interview, which is my favorite kind of interview. Join me in welcoming author, Jessi Gage, and her characters from Road Rage (Blue Collar Boyfriends #1). It’s a fantastic paranormal romance with wonderful characters so without further ado here is the interview with Derek and Cami.
Did you ever think that your life would end up being in a book?
Derek: That would be no. I’m not that interesting. I work construction and live alone—except for weekends, when my daughter, Haley, stays with me. I’ll be the first to admit I’ve got anger management “issues”, so I never in a million years figured I’d show up as a hero in a romance novel. Not complaining, though. I wouldn’t have met Cami if my writer didn’t literally have us crash into each other.
Cami: *Snorts* No way did I think my life would appear in a book. But I’m glad it did, because since meeting Derek, I’ve faced down a lot of baggage that’s been holding me back. I’m still not ready to drive on the freeway, but with Derek’s help, I’m gaining confidence behind the wheel every day. What I’m most thrilled about is how much more love I have in my life now. There’s Derek *blows him a kiss*, Haley, and even my relationship with Cade—that’s my brother—has grown. After eight years of hardly speaking, Cade and I now making up for lost time. So, yeah, glad my life appeared in a book.
What do you like to do when you are not being actively read somewhere?
Derek: I used to drive out to the coast and do a lot of deep sea fishing with the guys, but lately, I’ve started taking the boat out on Shasta Lake with Cami and Haley. When I’m not at the job site, I’m with my two girls, soaking up the California sun and being thankful.
Cami: I spend a lot of time in physical therapy since the accident that brought me and Derek together, but Derek comes with me whenever he can, and Haley helps me with the exercises I’m supposed to do at home. Pretty soon I’ll be strong enough to get back on my bike! YAY! In the mean time, I’m chomping at the bit to get back to my students at Enterprise High School. Life is full and good, but I’ve learned you’ve sometimes got to take risks to make it that way.
What is your greatest fear?
Derek: Something bad happening to someone I love. Wouldn’t you know it, my writer made me live my worst nightmare not once but twice. I still have to count to ten every time I think about seeing Haley in the hospital with a soft-ball camp injury. But what happened to Cami was even worse than that. Broken bones caused by a stupid ladder hiding in the overgrown grass is one thing. Seeing Cami in the hospital with all those bandages and tubes and knowing it was ME that put her there? I could count to a million and still be pissed at myself over that. But she loves me anyway, and that’s the greatest gift a man could ever receive.
Cami: Biggest fear? Driving on the freeway, at least that’s what I thought it was until Derek helped me see that was just the surface fear. Turns out letting down the ones I love is the bigger issue. When I learned it was Derek that caused my accident, I forgave him easily. Forgiving myself for the mistake that shattered my family, that hasn’t been so easy.
Derek: *holds her hand* But you’re making progress. We both are.
Cami: *Smiles and touches Derek’s face* Yeah. Together.
He has anger issues and she has amnesia, but together they have amazing chemistry.
Lashing out in anger, construction worker Derek causes an accident on the freeway. His truck escapes unscathed, but he can’t say the same for his conscience. Plagued by nightmares of the wreck, his only comfort comes in the form of nightly visits by a mysterious woman who interrupts his dreams with sensual caresses and words of solace. Cami has no idea who she is, until she wakes in a hospital bed and learns she’s been comatose due to a car wreck. Her visits with Derek must have been a dream, so why can’t she shake the feeling he was a real man who truly needed her help?
When Derek learns his mystery woman is none other than the driver of the car he cut off and she is fighting for her life, he must decide: Is he man enough to face her and ask forgiveness, or will he run away and avoid the consequences of his anger, yet again?
CONTENT WARNING: Sex with a perfect, imaginary dream girl who really isn’t imaginary
She had to be dead. There were too many checks in the column to keep denying it.
After spending the night on the edge of the man’s mattress, soothing him through his nightmares, she’d found herself back in the fog. Interminable hours later, it still held her prisoner.
She could move her limbs, but had nothing to move against, no foundation, no gravity. She didn’t know whether the person she’d been had believed in heaven or hell, but the fact that this disorienting nothingness clearly wasn’t heaven felt like a betrayal.
“Was I that bad?” she asked the fog. It didn’t answer. “Do you hear me? Anyone? Please!”
Frustration and desperation were her only companions.
“I hate this!” she yelled. The fog swallowed her protest without so much as an echo.
She felt abandoned. Worse than alone. A lonely person at least had a sense of self. She didn’t even have that.
But she’d had the blond man for company, even if just for a night. And she’d had the feeling he’d needed her. Maybe she had some kind of weird commission to comfort people having nightmares, and if she did a good enough job, she could earn her way into heaven. Since that hope stood between her and despair, she clung to it like a lifeline.
Suddenly, the fog thinned. A solid surface came up to meet her feet, and the last of the smoky wisps parted to reveal the man’s room. She was back in her corner.
“Oh, thank God!” She fell to her hands and knees in relief. Being somewhere, anywhere, beat that nothingness. But she had to admit, this room made her feel safe.
As she regained her composure, she noticed the man doing push-ups between the foot of the bed and the dresser, in nothing but a pair of tight, black boxer briefs.
His toes braced on the floor mere inches from her hands. Directly in front of her, his calves and thighs made a long, muscular line to a cotton-hugged rear end. His tanned back flared from a narrow waist to broad, muscular shoulders. Powerful arms bunched deliciously as he pumped the plank of his body up and down. The hair at the nape of his neck curled with perspiration. She had an urge to plant her nose in that moist hair and draw in his scent of Irish Spring soap and summer sunshine.
Virile, masculine flesh filled her vision, and the rhythmic rush of heavy breathing bathed her ears with a sound of life so welcome after the deathly silence of the fog. After hours of sensory deprivation, she greedily feasted her senses.
Before she could think better of it, she extended her hand toward the man’s right foot and stroked a finger down his sole, tracing the arch from heel to ball. His skin was warm and taut, slightly pink, and toughened with every step he’d ever taken. The touch sent a thrill of connection through her while at the same time she cringed back, fearing his response.
He gave no sign he’d felt anything.
Disappointment settled in her belly. Some sort of reaction would have been nice.
She thought about attempting something more insistent, like a pinch, but the man finished his push-ups and got to his feet. He moved out of reach and bent at the waist to stretch his hamstrings. On the one hand, being dead sucked. On the other hand, if she got to drool over buns like that as part of her afterlife, she supposed she could make peace with it.
Buy the Book:
Jessi lives with her husband and children in the Seattle area. In addition to writing paranormal romance, she’s a wife, a mom, an audiologist, a church-goer, a Ford driver, a PC user, and a coffee snob. Her guiding tenet in her writing is that good triumphs over evil, but not before evil gives good one heck of a run for its money. The last time she imagined a world without romance novels, her husband found her crouched in the corner, rocking.
Thank you for joining us today! I hope you enjoyed this round of Meet the Characters and will join us again next week!