Saturday, July 13, 2013

SPOTLIGHT & GUEST POST ~ Zoe York's What Once Was Perfect

Heading home always stirs up mixed emotions for Laney Calhoun. Twelve years ago she left for graduate school, broken-hearted. She’s found professional success, but positive personal relationships have proved elusive. Running into her ex-boyfriend fans flames she thought long extinguished, and causes a renewed interest in love. Not with Kyle, of course. Never again. But as sparks fly and items of clothing disappear, she scrambles to keep her emotions in check.

Kyle Nixon let Laney slip away once. Their chemistry together is undeniable, but steamy sex is not enough to convince her to let him back into her heart. Even if she did trust him again, her medical career is five hundred kilometers away from the hometown that he loves, and the life that he once chose over her.

We’re friends, right? Friends can talk about anything.”

He barked out a laugh. “Okay. Let’s talk about your last boyfriend.”

She pretended not to hear him as she started to rinse off the dinner plates. He stalked over and placed his hands against the counter on either side of her, trapping her next to the sink. He flicked off the tap and nudged his head against hers.

“I thought you wanted tonight to be honest.” Laney’s voice was quiet, but the hurt rang loud and clear.

“There’s honest and then there’s too much. Getting into twelve years of sexual history falls into the latter category. “

“I don’t want to know about your sex life,” she whispered. “I just … we didn’t do anything like that. Couple stuff. I’ve never done that, with anyone. I’m curious.”

“I’m not a great example of relationship success.” That was an understatement. He didn’t know how they’d ended up on this topic, and he couldn’t see a way to navigate past it. Every muscle in his body was taut with tension, and he felt like a fight was just around the corner.

“Humour me.” She pressed against him, making a pocket of space in which to turn, and then she was sliding her hands under his shirt. “Let’s go sit by the fire and talk.”

“I have a better idea. Let’s go lie down by the fire, and I’ll convince you that talking is overrated.”

“That’s been my line, hasn’t it?” She laughed and twisted away from him, swaying her hips in the process. He groaned, wanting to grab those hips and slide her beneath him, kiss her until they both forgot how much was still left unsaid between them. He felt restless, like a boxer before a match, and he followed her, wondering if that feeling of discordance maybe couldn’t be separated from the passion sparking between them. That this fling was actually makeup sex, delayed a decade.

Laney knelt on the rug and pulled off her top. He stood in front of her, taking in the glorious sight in front of him. Her blond hair flowed loose down her back in gentle waves, cascading over the delicate curve of her shoulders. She wore a black pushup bra, her pale skin glowing in stark contrast despite the dim light in the room. She looked up at him with a gentle smile, but there was a faint tremble to her bottom lip.  He stroked her cheek, and she rubbed her face back against his hand.
“Come down here,” she whispered, tugging on his hand.
He pulled off his own shirt and joined her, pressing their bare torsos together, warming her on both sides as he dragged his hands up and down her spine. He dipped his head to capture her mouth and she pulled away.
“Not yet. Let’s talk.”
Kyle groaned and ground his pelvis against her. “Feel that? He doesn’t want to talk.”
She grinned. “We have all night, remember?”
That earned her another groan, and he tucked his thumbs inside the waistband of her jeans. “Then why did we start to get naked?”
She tilted her head to the side and blinked as if just thinking about that question for the first time. “It seemed like a good idea. Like taking off armor. Plus I like it when you touch my breasts.”
He stroked his thumbs around her hips, sending a shiver across her tummy, and then swept his hands north, mimicking the shape of her bra, his fingertips stroking the bare skin swelling over top of the cups. “Mmmm. I like that too.”
“So you keep doing that, and let’s talk.”
“About what? It’s a challenge to think when you’re this close to me.”
“I want to have healthy relationships.”
“Do I look like Dr. Phil?” He slipped one bra strap off her shoulder, then the other. He left a trail of little kisses across her collarbone as he reached around behind her to do away with the undergarment completely. She gave a hitching little sigh when he sat back on his heels and pulled her up to straddle his lap. “Do you think I’m going to help you figure out how best to date other guys?” He thrust his hips hard against her and strummed across her nipples with thumbs.
She swallowed hard. Two pink spots decorated her porcelain cheeks and her eyes dilated wide. “Why wouldn’t you?” she gasped, arching her breasts toward his mouth.
He growled and flipped her over, his body pressing between her legs. He reached between them and undid the button of her jeans. “That’s a good question,” he said, sliding the zipper open. “Why don’t you answer it while I make you come.”
She gasped and pushed on Kyle’s shoulders, wriggling out from underneath him. She held out a hand, as if to stop him from advancing again. “Wait,” she panted. “Just … stop for a second. This feels angry. Why does this feel angry?”


I gave author Zoe York the assignment of interviewing Laney Calhoun and Kyle Nixon, the heroine and hero from her book WHAT ONCE WAS PERFECT.  These two have been separated from each other for twelve years.  In fact, Laney left their hometown of Wardham heart broken.  Kyle has spent that time regretting his actions.  It appears the two have reconnected and are in good places in their lives.  Here is Zoe’s journal from her interview with Laney and Kyle.

The rain had let up by the time I found a parking spot outside Wardham’s latest hotspot, the bakery/coffee shop A Bun In The Oven. I was a few minutes early for my interview with Laney Calhoun and Kyle Nixon, so I dashed inside and grabbed an Americano and a morning glory muffin. It didn’t take long for the barista to discover that I’m a writer, and my purpose for visiting her sleepy little town that morning. Her lips quirked in a secretive smile as she passed my drink over the counter, and wished me luck.

I stepped outside just in time to catch Kyle helping Laney out of his pickup truck. After she brushed the front of her skirt flat, he laced his fingers into hers and tugged her into the front of his body, as if to reassure her that however this interview went, they were a team. It was a private moment, one that I didn’t want to intrude on, but it was over with a quick, hard kiss and then they were in front of me, and we were making introductions. We decided to head to the park behind the Town Hall. We settled at a table in the picnic pavillion, and I launched right into the purpose of our meeting.

Zoe York: All of Essex County is buzzing about you two. Any comment?

Kyle Nixon: Nope.

Zoe: That’s going to make for a short interview! 

Laney Calhoun (elbowing Kyle in his side): We appreciate the interest. I’ve only recently discovered just how much people cared about our relationship.

Zoe: Because you were away for a long time - ten years?

Laney: Twelve, actually. I went to Boston, then Halifax, and Calgary, and now I live in Chicago.

Zoe: And Kyle, you still live here in Wardham?

Kyle: Yep. (He looks at Laney. It’s obvious he’s got conflicting feelings about something). We’re committed to making this work though. Racking up the frequent flier miles.

Laney: It’s nice for me to spend more time in Wardham, too. I didn’t realize how much I missed this place until I came home for Christmas and opened up my heart.

Zoe: That’s pretty romantic for a self-proclaimed die-hard pragmatist.

Laney: What can I say? (She grins). Kyle’s a good influence on me.

Zoe: So what happened over Christmas?

Kyle: Uhhhhh...

Laney: Are you blushing? He’s blushing. (She pauses for a minute). Well, maybe you have good reason to blush.

Zoe: Okay, then! So I shouldn’t ask the boxers or briefs question?

Kyle: No comment.

Laney: Boxer briefs.

Kyle: Hey!

Laney: We gotta give them something, sweetie.

The conversation broke off at that point, while they shared a sweet kiss and a decidedly un-sweet heated look. I took a sip of my coffee and tried to make myself invisible.

Laney: Sorry, we don’t see each other nearly enough.

Zoe: It’s okay, I get it. Okay, next question--how are you similar? How are you different?

Kyle: We’re both morning people. Comes from growing up on the farm, I guess.

Laney: And we’re both big fans of good food.

Kyle: And good coffee.

Laney: But Kyle’s more of a reader than I am. I still study a lot, so I don’t read for pleasure as much as I should.

Kyle: Laney’s healthier than I am. She runs and does Pilates.

Laney: Only when I’m in Wardham. My sister has a little studio on the main drag. But you swim...

Kyle: That’s something I like about both Wardham and Chicago. Being on the lake is great in the summer.

Zoe: Long drive between the two places.

Laney and Kyle exchanged a different kind of look when I said that, and I got the impression that there was a story there, but a darker one that I could touch on in my short profile piece. I let it go.

Zoe: Last question. You’ve got a weekend together now, what’s on the agenda?

Kyle: Time together at my place. Probably dinner at my parents’ tonight, brunch at Laney’s mom’s tomorrow.

Laney: A long walk with our dog Buddy in the bush that runs behind my mom’s farm.

Zoe: Thanks! Sure you can’t share any details of how you got back together?

Kyle: Well...

Laney: Was it the peanut butter and Altoids?

Kyle: Or maybe the barn?

Laney: Or when we stopped talking?

Kyle: Yes. Definitely when we stopped talking. (He pulls Laney close and kisses the top her of head)

What Once Was Perfect is now available at:

Wanna see a video trailer for What Once Was Perfect?  Here you go!


I’m a busy working mom of two young boys, and for as long as I can remember, I have been a voracious romance reader. In early 2012, I got an idea for a novel. Then another, and another. My Google Drive account exploded with outlines and chunks of text and character bibles.

Over Christmas, I started a holiday novella. By the end of January, it was clear I was going to wander past novella length, and the story wasn’t limited to the holiday season. And it wasn’t just one book, anymore – it was also an introduction to a small town, Wardham.

Right now I’m hard at work on book no. 2 in the series. The first one, What Once Was Perfect, will be available July 1, 2013. I can’t wait to share Laney and Kyle with you! 

Places to find Zoe York:

Zoe is doing a Goodreads giveaway of WHAT ONCE WAS PERFECT.  The contest ends on July 31, 2013.  Click here to enter.
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