Long and Short Reviews welcomes Charlene Keel
By Charlene Keel
How sad that boys learn (practically from birth) to guard their emotions, and to express their feelings only as a last resort to getting what they want. Most girls grow up without a clue as to what goes on in the minds and hearts of men. As women, we quickly learn the unspoken, unwritten, primal male directive: keep your feelings secret for as long as you can. As women authors, this can make it difficult to get into the minds and hearts of our heroes in order to accurately represent them on the written page.
That’s why I find it so wonderful to work with a male co-author—it gives me a look behind the elusive male mystique. Arie Pavlou, with whom I wrote The Congressman’s Wife, is an exception to the typical closed-off man. Not only is he open about his own feelings and motivations, he lets me in on how men talk to each other about women, politics, sex, love and even about nothing in particular.
Seeing Paris, New York’s Hunter Village, Cyprus, Jamaica and Jackson Hole through his eyes, as the eyes of Kaleb, the chef who’s falling in love with a congressman’s wife, was an energizing experience. It was almost like being there. Arie knows how to express a male character’s emotions (and how to hold them back), and he lets me know that the hero can ache as much as the heroine when circumstances keep them apart.
Not only that, the man can cook!
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Please take a moment and enter to win a free copy of The Congressman’s Wife (first book in a trilogy). We are giving away an e-book and one printed copy.
The Congressman’s Wife . . .
All Eden Bancroft has ever been to her high-profile politician husband is a trophy wife, born and bred for the part. She believes she has no choice but to play it—until she meets a talented chef and restaurant heir who makes her feel loved for herself alone.
The more her husband uses and belittles her, the more deeply Eden falls for Kaleb. Even with Mitchell’s congressional campaign in full swing, the lovers manage to find brief stolen moments together. When her husband is wounded by a bullet from an angry lobbyist, Eden must stay by his side. What she learns can set her free, if she has the courage to take a stand.
“The beautiful wife of a would-be congressman falls for a sexy chef in this steamy debut novel . . . A spicy outing that should feed readers’ hunger for romance.”
“The Congressman’s Wife is a thrilling roller-coaster ride from beginning to end: fast-paced, sizzling with sex, yet constantly balanced on the edge of disaster . . . This is unquestionably one of the best books I have read . . .”
Enjoy an excerpt:
Kaleb had been standing close enough to hear it all—not that he’d intended to eavesdrop. He only wanted to try and give her some kind of signal—to beg, if necessary—to get a moment alone with her. When he heard her husband’s caustic words, Kaleb wanted to punch him. He wanted to take Eden’s hand and lead her out of there, away from the complete jackass her husband seemed to be.
Instead, he followed her into the room where coats were checked for the evening. The maid who’d taken them was nowhere about, and Eden was digging through the racks when Kaleb walked in. She looked up, surprised.
“We need to talk about it,” he said.
“About what?” She found her wrap and Mitchell’s Brooks Brothers overcoat, draped them over one arm and turned to face him.
“About this thing between us.”
“That’s not very original.”
“I feel it and I know you feel it.”
“Look, I’m very flattered,” she began but he cut her off.
“We don’t have much time.” He moved closer, aching to touch her. “Your husband will come looking for you any minute. Just tell me when and where I can see you again. Alone.”
“You can’t,” she said. “My husband is running for congress. It’s . . . it would be impossible.”
“No,” he insisted. “You want me as much as I want you, Eden, and that’s a fact. I don’t know why we met or how we’re going to pull this off but I do know one thing.” He was speaking so softly now that she had to move closer to hear him.
“What?” she asked, her lips just inches from his own. They were of equal height and he could see how well, how perfectly, they would fit together.
“I won’t give up. I want to make love to you.”
“At least once?” she countered.
He moved closer still. “Once will never be enough for us. You know that, too.”
She sighed, lightly, and her sweet breath lingered on his cheek for a moment before she moved away and broke the spell.
“My husband is waiting for me,” she said. “You’re a little crazy, you know? You need to forget about this. I’m married. I have kids. I don’t have time for an affair.”
“Have lunch with me.”
“Just let me talk to you. Give me two hours, if not during the week, how about the weekend? Then if you never want to hear from me again, that’ll be it. I swear.”
She didn’t say anything for a moment, as if she was considering it. “As intriguing as that sounds, I’m afraid it’s impossible. I’m going to the season opening at the Village Resort up in Hunter next weekend, with my best friend.”
“Your husband going too?” Kaleb persisted.
“No. He has a previous engagement. Not that it’s any of your business.”
He opened his mouth to answer but Mitchell’s voice rang out in the foyer. “Edie—let’s go. Where are you?”
She flashed Kaleb a warning look and called out softly, “Coming, Mitchell.” Then she left, quickly, before her husband could see Kaleb standing in the shadows.
He rounded the corner of the reception desk and stopped abruptly as the elevator doors slid open. There, bathed in a florescent glow, was a beautiful woman wearing jeans, stylish boots, a soft cashmere sweater and designer sunglasses. She tilted her head slightly, took off her shades and looked into his eyes.
It was Eden.
For a moment he couldn’t move. Words froze in his throat. He could tell she was surprised, too, and for a moment—a split second—she looked happy. She almost smiled but then her expression went cold as she walked to him.
“So now you’re following me?” she asked.
“Are you some kind of stalker?”
“If that’s what it takes.” His heart was pounding. He couldn’t believe his luck. Or maybe it truly was destiny.
“Seriously, Mr. Stavros. What do you want?” She was standing so close he could smell her perfume.
“You,” he said simply. “I want you.”
About the Authors:
Charlene Keel has written over a dozen novels and how-to books as well as multiple episodes of popular TV shows such as Fantasy Island and Days of our Lives. Her Dell book, Rituals, was the basis for the first made-for-syndication soap opera. Recently she co-authored The Tracks, a YA supernatural trilogy. Shadow Train, the final installment, won a Paranormal Romance Guild Reviewer’s Choice Award. Keel has also written screen adaptations of novels by bestselling authors, and has worked as editor or managing editor for a few international magazines. In her spare time she ghostwrites books and screenplays for celebrities, doctors, corporate moguls, spies, strippers and anyone who has an interesting story to tell.