Dog wrangler Preston Echo has been in love with his brother’s best friend, copilot, and business partner since high school—and Damien Ward knew it. As Preston grew into a stunning, hard-willed man, Damien began to dream of Preston too.
Then Damien almost died in a helicopter crash. While his physical wounds are slowly healing, the blows to his self-confidence and goodwill are almost worse. His body is broken and he’s afraid to fly—how can Preston love him now?
When Preston’s brother goes on a search-and-rescue mission and disappears in an earthquake zone in Mexico, Preston and Damien are thrown together in an effort to find him and bring him back. Preston’s merciless honesty—and relentless passion—may leverage Damien into his bed, but can Damien overcome his fears to allow himself to stay there?
Setting the Table for Diner By Amy Lane
I give a class in short-novel structure—in fact, I sort of wrote a book about it. One of the concepts in the class is “setting the table for dinner.”
The idea is that whether your book is long or short, you introduce the ingredients you will need for the entire dinner in the first couple of chapters—and you don’t put anything notable on the table that you don’t intend to use. For example, if I put out a couple of juicy, seasoned steaks on the table, while I was serving a vegetarian repast, my dinner guest might be a bit put out.
Translated into book-talk, you don’t write a policeman or a doctor or a witch into your book if they don’t get to chase criminals, fix boo-boos, or cast spells.
And you definitely don’t put a dog on the table if he’s not going to rescue people for our entertainment.
Given that, when we see Preston walking up with Preacher, his best trained dog at his heels, we get the feeling Preacher is going to have a role to play. When Preston has an entertaining conversation with a clerk in Wal-Mart about how Preacher’s best job was finding people—mostly alive people, but also dead, if that’s who needed to be found—we start thinking, “Buddy, that is one literary steak.”
And when we find out that an injured pilot is flying Preston and Preacher into an earthquake zone to find Preston’s brother (and Damien’s best friend) we think, “That steak had better be tasty.”
Well, I hope so—I truly do—but the truth is, I wrote that class about setting the table for dinner because, so very often, I don’t remember what I’ve put on the table until I’m in the middle of the book and it hits me: I’ve spent pages talking about the damned dog. Hell—I need to give him something to do. Also, Damien needs to have a confidence test, doesn’t he? Well, shit. What to do… what to do…
And I’ll leave it to you to see if I’ve done it in a satisfactory manner, but I need to tell you, figuring out how you’re going to combine all those ingredients on the table may sound like an impossible brain puzzle—and sometimes it is—but it’s also an incredible amount of fun.
In fact, setting the table for that big, juicy, tasty imaginary meal is part of what makes writing worth the agony of cooking it up!