Draft Number One
A few years ago, I was offered a contract for Glad Tidings as a short story when something told me this romance had the makings of a book. So with my editor’s okay but no promises she’d take the book, I embarked on creating a 75,000 word romance novel. Which I ultimately ended up having to cut down to 40,000 words, in order to sell it—again.
Draft Number Two
In the original short story, a man and a woman become acquainted walking to the parking lot as they leave a place they both work. Since employment was the starting premise, in the longer version this man and woman needed more defined jobs. Which led to the development of Jake Holbrook, CEO of a major hospital system and Bethany Andrews Thomas, a doctor who worked there.
Draft Number Three
As the story progressed, I brought in two self-involved antagonists, one each for Jake and Bethany to have to deal with and added a bunch of individual conflicts for them to solve. All of which, as it turned out, did nothing to bring Jake and Bethany together or, believably keep them apart. Plus, the story began to drag. And so began some major word, scene and character cutting.
Draft Number Four
It was back to two people, a man and a woman and their jobs. But, this time, they had to have more defined jobs that would invite necessary conflict. As a result, Jake became a by the book and numbers because I have to pay the bills hospital CEO and Bethany an I’ll take care of my patients regardless of the circumstances or the costs family practitioner. Now their philosophies about their work put them at odds with each other. But so what? They also needed to have a reason to want to rise above their differences.
Draft Number Five
To make their working together struggles, well, work in their story, they each needed a history that made who they were blend with who they had become. Jake and Bethany each needed experiences in their pasts that would also give them philosophical similarities, a common ground. To soften Jake up a bit, he became a former Peace Corps volunteer who had reluctantly abandoned his I’m going to take care of the world attitude for one which is more realistic. To toughen Bethany up, she became recently widowed after her husband died of an illness she failed to diagnose in time to save him. And her self confidence is a little shaky.
Draft Number Six
Jake and Bethany also had to be at some turning point time in their lives when their story was told. For Bethany, she realizes she was married to the wrong man for twenty some years. And Jake never married because Bethany was no longer available he realizes now. Both feel they’ve missed out on so many things in their lives those twenty some years they’ve been apart.
Plus, they now have a reason for coming together after all these years. Her late husband’s funeral. From there, theirs became a forever friends turned lovers story line.
And that’s how I opened the book, as Bethany asks herself: What kind of woman buries her husband in the afternoon and sleeps with his best friend that night?
His twenty-fifth high school reunion leaves hard-driving hospital CEO Jake Holbrook feeling he’s missing something in life. So when a special woman from his past tumbles back into his life—and his bed—Jake is determined to keep her, even if it means recruiting her to work for him.
Family practice physician Bethany Thomas knows it’s a bad idea to sleep with her late husband’s best friend—even if he is the only man she’s ever loved. Recently widowed after twenty years of marriage to the wrong man and haunted by guilt over his death, Bethany isn’t looking for an entanglement. Especially not with her future boss.
Working together makes Jake and Bethany confront their clashing philosophies to patient care, and as the holidays approach, Bethany unknowingly betrays Jake. Now Jake’s job is on the line—can they overcome their lack of trust to find their own holiday miracle?
“Doctor Thomas.” He hurried after her as she stopped to retrieve her coat from an outside rack. “Doctor Thomas, wait.”
“Doctor Thomas?” she whispered as a smile played onto her features. “How very formal, Mr. Holbrook.”
Halted mid-stride, he couldn’t stop a flush which crept up his neck. “You know what I mean,” he answered, his tone low. “You did a good job in there.”
He watched surprise, with maybe a touch of hurt, flare in her eyes. “Did you think I wouldn’t?”
The blush struck again. “Of course not. I was sure you’d do fine. I’m just pleased—for you—that it went well.”
The eyes studying him tapered, the edges of her mouth drew down. “Thank you. I think.”
He fell into step beside her. “Give me a break. I’m a little nervous here.”
“You?” she asked as they made their way to the elevators at the end of a wide corridor. “The always in control, eternally professional, reserved yet outgoing Jake Holbrook is nervous?”
“Yeah. Yeah.” Damned if he could stop the freaking blushing she seemed to enjoy.
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