Want to know what I’m working on? Several things! All of the stories on this page are strictly Works in Progress (WIP) for the moment. As soon as I have something finished and ready to join the world as a book, it’ll move from here to the Books page.
I’d love to hear what you think of these unpolished excerpts. Feel free to ask me questions or tell me which book you’d like me to hurry up and finish. 😉
All content on this page © Karla Doyle, 2013-2016, and may not be reproduced or distributed without my written permission. Thank you.
Close to Home Series, Book 3
◊ hot contemporary romance
◊ current word count: 20k ◊ target: 55k
◊ Coming Soon: Spring 2017
Lindsay could write the book on falling in love—with the wrong guy. From bad boys to a married man, she’s made one bad choice after another, gravitating toward men destined to hurt her. Except at her brother’s wedding. This time, she’s drawn to a good guy—the pastor. Ben is handsome, single, and definitely interested. But with her past mistakes, maybe Ben is too good…
After two tours in the Middle East, Ben returned home needing peace and purpose. He found it as pastor of a laid-back, small-town church. There’s just one thing missing from his life—love. In a community of a couple thousand, his options are limited. Until Lindsay comes to town for a wedding. Sparks fly between them, but she’s skittish. If Ben wants her to stay, he’ll have to convince her that he’s more than a man of God—he’s the right man for her.
Lindsay hadn’t spent any significant amount of time in a church in, well…awhile. After some of her life choices—namely the mega mistake she’d made getting involved with Michael—God probably didn’t mind that she’d kept her distance.
Now here she was in a small-town church, standing so close to the pulpit she could reach out and touch it. But it wasn’t the ornately carved podium she wanted to run her fingers over. Oh no. Apparently she really wanted to test God’s forgiving nature, because she was ending her hiatus from holy ground by thinking wholly unholy things about the church pastor.
Seriously, though, look at the guy. With his caramel-colored eyes, short, brown hair and hint of a beard, Pastor Ben had been blessed in the looks department. He had a warm smile and enough laugh lines to prove he did it a lot. Well-muscled arms filled out the short sleeves of his casual shirt.
Honestly, if the Lord didn’t women lusting after this guy, He shouldn’t have made Ben so attractive. Since when were clergymen tanned, buff and ruggedly handsome, anyway?
Maybe she ought to start attending church again. Or stay far, far away—so she didn’t chalk up another mistake in the “men” column.
Staying away would be easy. After her baby brother’s wedding tomorrow, Lindsay would make the six-hour drive southward and never lay eyes on Ben again. Worrying about her self-control was pointless anyway—he was probably married. He didn’t have a ring on his left hand, but that didn’t mean anything. Lots of men didn’t wear a wedding band. She knew this all too well.
“After the kiss, I’ll present the newly married couple,” Ben said to the small group assembled for Conn and Nia’s rehearsal.
At thirty-six years old, Lindsay had attended and participated in plenty of weddings. She didn’t need to listen to the instructions for a straightforward, by-the-book ceremony, yet she hung on every word Ben said as if it were her first time standing up with a bride. Because his voice…heaven help her, indeed. It was deep, rich and smooth, like the best chocolate money could buy, only better. He probably held his Sunday congregation in thrall with that voice. He certainly had that effect on her.
“All that’s left at that point is the recessional out of the church, beginning with the bride and groom, followed by the maid of honor and best man, and then you, Lindsay.” Ben’s gaze landed and lingered on her face. Zero inappropriateness, yet his attention ignited a warm, humming sensation that rippled through her body.
Her cheeks heated from the attention, and his lips curved into a smile. Maybe God had sent him a heads-up.
Watch out for bridesmaid number two, she hasn’t had a date in months and is currently wondering if you’ll still look hot while wearing your clerical collar.
Close to Home series, Book 4
◊ contemporary erotic romance
◊ current word count: 32k ◊ target: 55k
◊ Coming Soon: Spring 2017
WIP — Christmas story
◊ hot contemporary romance
◊ current word count: 17k ◊ target: 50k
◊ scheduled for release: December 2016
◊ contemporary erotic romance (reunited friends-to-lovers)
◊ current word count: 37k ◊ target: 70k
◊ possible release date: TBD…Spring 2017
Matthias got the hell out of Hoover Mills the day after high school graduation, determined to put poverty, nerdy unpopularity and Caroline behind him. And he did, or so he thought. When Caroline’s email shows up in his inbox, an emotional letter about her troubled life and how much she’d like to reconnect, the opportunity to face-off with the town princess who broke his heart all the years ago is too good to pass up. But when he sees her again, the successful scientist’s careful calculations are as good as gone.
Thirteen years ago, Matthias disappeared from Caroline’s life without taking the time to sign her high school yearbook. She’d grown up with every advantage — except the courage to tell her best friend that she loved him. After spilling her regrets into an alcohol-fueled email, and getting no reply, Caroline has resigned herself to never seeing Matty again. To a loveless existence of working multiple minimum-wage jobs to pay for her mentally unstable mother’s care, rather than living life for herself. Until a winter storm — and fate — blows a handsome stranger through the door of the diner. Only he’s no stranger. And Caroline’s done racking up regrets.
Rough (unedited) Excerpt
A gust of wind hit her in the back, giving her the perfect excuse to press against him. She’d contacted half a dozen old friends until she hunted down an email address for Matthias, in hopes of rekindling some of the warmth and realness of their past, if only via the internet. Now here he was, in the flesh, making her warm in some very nice places. Making her bolder than she’d ever been, especially with him.
“A girl remembers her first kiss, and you were mine.” She faked a chill, using it as an excuse to snuggle closer. “Eighth grade graduation party in Dawn Montgomery’s backyard. Everybody was pairing up and—”
“Going to the shed to make out.”
“So you do remember.”
“Following you into that musty shack,” his eyes slid to her mouth, then back to her eyes, “putting my hands on your waist, giving you a peck on the lips—I remember. I had no idea that was your fist kiss, though. Sorry you got stuck with me. Bad luck on the draw.”
She’d never told anybody the truth about that day. Dawn had written all the boys’ names on slips of paper and put them in a paper bag. Caroline got the third pick because they’d gone alphabetically. She’d held her breath when Annie and Brenda had drawn names.
Then it’d been her turn. She’d said a couple of quick prayers, even though she’d never set foot in a church and didn’t know if anybody was listening. She’d stuck her hand into the bag while her hormone-charged classmates watched and listened for her to announce a randomly chosen boy’s name.
“I got Joey MacLean,” she said, looking Matthias straight in the eye.
“The paper I pulled out of the bag that day had Joey’s name on it, not yours.”
Matthias’ eyebrows bunched together again. “I don’t understand.”
“Some genius you are, not even putting one plus one together. I didn’t want to go in the shed with Joey.”
“Ah. Got it. He was kind of an octopus, even back then. You lied and said you got my name to be safe.”
She rolled her eyes at him. “Mensa called—they want their membership card back.”
His deep laugh carried in the night air. “I missed this. You. Your sense of humor.”
She’d been an idiot in so many ways when it came to Matthias. The worst was letting him disappear from her life. She purposefully cleared her throat. “Back to the shed.”
“I’m there. In spirit, unless you want to get in the car and take a drive up the hill, sneak into somebody’s backyard and see if it’s still standing.”
“Refresh my memory, were you always this difficult?” A softer chuckle sent another shiver through her body, the good kind. He didn’t need to answer—she remembered very well how hard it was to get a straight answer out of Matthias about personal matters. Used to frustrate the crap out of her. “We went into the shed and—”
“And I thought about how pretty you were in that yellow dress, how your hair smelled like strawberries.”
Oh wow. “I can’t believe you remember that stuff from nearly twenty years ago.”
“Guys remember their first kiss too.”
Maybe so, but she doubted the majority of them remembered what the girl had worn or which variety of Herbal Essences shampoo she’d used. Then again, Matthias had never been like most guys. He’d always been better.
“After I shut the door, I stepped closer to you, like, really close. Do you remember what happened next?”
“I do, but I’d rather not say.” His grin didn’t look embarrassed in the slightest.
“Oh really. You were, um, excited?”
“Nerds do get stimulated in places other than their brains.”
She nestled her hips against him. Too many thick, winterized layers kept her from finding out if the same thing was happening to him at this moment. “What about after that, do you remember the conversation that led to the kiss?”
“I asked if you were having fun at the party and what teacher you wanted for homeroom the next year.”
“Uh-huh, you were all about the small talk. And my answer was…”
“You ignored the questions and instructed me to put my hands on your waist.” He mimicked the move on her overcoat. “And I said we didn’t have to kiss on account of Dawn’s dumb matchmaker game.”
“Such a nice boy. Didn’t take you up on the offer, though, did I?”
“You told me to shut up and kiss you.”
An icy wind blasted them from all directions. Didn’t matter, she’d never been cozier. “What happened next?”
Eyes that used to hide behind horrible glasses roamed her face as though committing it to memory for the first time. “I think it went something like this…”
There are *a few* more partially completed books on my desk, too. Wish me luck to finish them all up!