Fresh FIction Box Not To Miss

Suzanne Forster | The Private Concierge

October 20, 2008

Hello to all the Fresh Fiction readers! I’m also an FF fan and have visited many times, commenting on blogs by readers and authors. But this is my first trip here as a blogger and it’s a privilege to be in such great company! Plus, I very much appreciate the opportunity to tell you about a book of mine that’s just been released—and is very dear to my heart, The Private Concierge.

Some story ideas are called gifts. Ask any writer of fiction and odds are they’ll tell you they’ve had at least one gift book in their career—and they’ll probably smile wistfully while remembering the experience. With a gift book, the idea comes to you fully formed, almost as if the patron saint of writers had whispered it in your ear. This doesn’t happen often and it always feels like an unexpected blessing. The Private Concierge is one of those stories.

Here’s a peek at the original idea:

She was a runaway who was forced into the oldest profession at a tender age. He was the vice cop who posed as a customer and put her in juvenile hall. He’s been haunted by her ever since. And she will never forget the humiliation of handcuffs, police cars and jail cells.

Or the man who changed the course of her life.

Today she is a new woman and legitimate business tycoon. Her private concierge service is prized by high-profile clients across the country. Today he is a ruined man. And destiny is about to put them on another collision course.

His best friend, an all-star pitcher, dies mysteriously and scandalously, and three other prominent personalities are embroiled in scandals that ruin their careers and their lives. The police dismiss the incidents as unrelated. But he sees what the police cannot. The one thing that links them is her … the private concierge.

The concept came to me in much the same way that the blurb above unfolds. One situation led to another, one character to another, heroine to hero, past to present, as if the story couldn’t be told any other way. It was all I could do not to start writing immediately and let the story flow through my fingertips and onto the computer screen. But my life was complicated with family concerns at the time, and I was working intensively on another project, so I tucked the scribbled blurb away and in the course of time, forgot all about it.

I found it years later as I was going through a laundry basket of material to be filed. Yes, a laundry basket, years later! You read that right. My filing system needs some work.

All I could think as I read the blurb was wow, this is good. The characters were jumping off the page, begging to have their story told. Only one thing stopped me. I already knew the characters’ history in some detail. It had unfolded like a photo album of the past as I wrote the blurb, but who were these two people today, as they were about to meet again for the first time in fifteen years? And how would they feel about each other after such a turbulent past? With that question, Rick Bayless and Lane Chandler were born.

I wondered if Rick and Lane had put the past behind them and moved on, or if the fires of betrayal—and antagonistic attraction—still burned. I needn’t have worried. Time had made their feelings more intense and the death of Rick’s friend had once again made Lane a suspect in his eyes, although she wasn’t called Lane when he arrested her for prostitution all those years ago.

Part of Rick’s turmoil was the attraction he’d felt to the teenage girl he was arresting. In his own words:

“He’d taken her for older, eighteen at least. She’d stared right through him with her chilly azure eyes. They were as blue as jewels, and she was as bold and wary as any professional streetwalker he’d ever come across. She’d promised him his money’s worth, anything he wanted, things he’d never dreamed of, whatever that meant. As he’d moved closer, he’d spotted her lean, wiry frame and gamine features—and realized he was dealing with a kid.

A kid? It had hit him like a bucket of ice water. He’d thought she was legal. And worse, maybe he’d wanted her to be legal because if he was being honest, he’d felt a flash of desire that was almost painful. No kid should be out on the street having that effect on grown men. Maybe that was why he’d been a little more forceful than necessary when he put her in the cuffs.

When she’d realized she was going to jail, the color had drained from her face. She’d begged him not to take her. She’d even tried to make him believe her sad story about a sick friend. Sad because they all had a sick friend. She’d put up one hell of a fight when she realized she couldn’t talk her way out of it. Ferocious didn’t cover it, all the time shrieking that her friend was going to die. He used Tasers only to disarm kids with weapons, but he wasn’t sure a Taser would have contained her.

Lane Chandler had grown up, but Rick’s brain had no trouble making the transition. She’d been thirty-five at fifteen. The changes he saw now were all physical. He remembered a lean, starved, ready-to-spring body and a thick mop of dark brown hair that completely covered her face when she looked down. She could have set up housekeeping under that curtain of hair. But when her head came back up and the curtain opened, her gaze had scorched him.”

As with all gift stories, The Private Concierge seemed to write itself. And perhaps the fact that I rediscovered the blurb after several years and immediately saw the potential means the fine hand of fate played some part in the idea finding its way into print, just as fate seems to intervene in the lives of Lane and Rick.

Thanks for letting me share the story of my story! I hope you find Rick and Lane’s reunion as moving and compelling as I did. If you’d like a chance to win a hot-off- the-press copy of The Private Concierge, just enter my One Day Blog contest. Two names will be chosen to receive a personally signed book.

Thanks so much for stopping by—and good luck to all!

Suzanne Forster

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