Monday, February 6, 2017

Valentine #6 - Jake Dalton. My original Prince Charming.

What is the name of today's Valentine?

Jake Dalton

How old is he when we meet him?


What stands out most about him?

He's an old soul. He sees world in a deeper way than most.

Nice guy or douche?

One of the nicest guys I've had the pleasure of writing. He was the first of my romantic heroes that broke through the traditional romance standard and fell for the Rubenesque heroine, even when he had a whole field of more socially acceptable beauties to choose from. He had to be the best of the best.

Favorite moment with him?

Jake and Shannon were the best of friends. They had a certain intimacy between them that only best friends can. It's a safe place where you know what the other person is thinking or feeling, you don't even have to question. See, that's what is missing out of a romantic relationship in the beginning. There's always will they or won't they? Do they or don't they? That's where the butterflies come in, when you have that glimmer of hope they feel about you the way you feel about them, but you don't really know for sure. Every now and then, though, there's this spark of something more as the friendship tries to catch fire. This was the first real moment I truly felt Jake go from her best friend to something more, because he gave ME the butterflies. It was only a split second, but it resounded inside of me like a thousand bells. Kind of like any other "first spark" moment I've ever had in real life...

They ducked inside the limo and were alone at last.

Except for the camera, but Shannon was quickly learning how easy that was to forget.

They sat close together, comfortable old friends.

“I’ve missed you,” he said. “I don’t know what to do with my nights without my favorite IM buddy.”

She laughed. “I’ve seen the video. You have plenty to keep you busy.”

He chewed the corner of his mouth to conceal his embarrassed grin. “Well, you know.”

She nodded. She knew. As much as he’d begun this journey to help her reclaim what Rex stole, he was still human.

“So what’s it like for you? I don’t get to see any tapes,” he reminded her.

Purple feathers and misplaced underwear flashed in her mind. “Thank God.”

That got his attention. “Okay. Now you have to tell me.”

Her entire face turned red as she shook her head. “No way, buster. That’s not how this game is played.”

“You know,” he said, donning his best German accent, “ve have vays of making you talk.” He held up two hands in prime tickle position, which made her giggle before he even touched her.

“You wouldn’t dare!”

He dared. He dove right in and tickled her until she was laughing so hard she could barely breathe. “Okay, okay!” she gasped. “Uncle!”

Mercifully he stopped, but he didn’t move. As she caught her breath she realized that he had her pinned against the seat, their faces mere inches apart. Time stood still as she stared into those baby blues up close. She had dreamed of being in his arms like this, but nothing compared to actually being there. She could feel every muscle as his warm, hard body pressed against her.

“Well?” he whispered with a crooked grin.

“Well what?” she whispered back, having completely forgotten the original line of questioning.

Jake seemed extremely amused. He didn’t move an inch. “What goes on at the Bachelorette Pad when I’m not around?”

“Oh,” she said. She licked her lips which drew his gaze that direction. The butterflies in her stomach clog danced their way to her feet when his eyes briefly glanced down at her mouth.

“Gossiping. Grooming. Sacred shaving rituals. You know. Girl stuff.”

He nodded, but he didn’t look as if he believed her.

And he also didn’t look like he had any intention to let her go. He held her so close she knew he could feel her tremble. Minute by minute, she grew more and more visible, not only as a woman, but as a woman who was developing feelings for a man.

“Jake,” she said softly, almost pleadingly.

His gaze drifted to her mouth and voice was warm like butter when he said, “Shannon.” She had never heard her name said like that before, from anyone, especially her best friend. It promptly turned her insides into goo.

Shannon couldn’t take it anymore, even if it had been part of their overall plan. She scooted out from underneath him to open the tiny refrigerator. “Soda?” she asked without looking him in the eye.

What do you love about him?

He's completely swoon-worthy. An homage of every romantic hero I'd ever read about or watched in a movie.

What do you hate about him?

Like many men, he's thick as a post. He's not stupid, he just has a problem getting a clue. But he has his reasons. We see what we need to see to protect ourselves.

If you went on a date, where would you go?

The great thing about this book was that we got to go on a lot of dates together, and one thing always proved true: No matter where you went or what you did, it was better because he was completely present in the moment.

Who inspired him?

My husband mostly, because I consider him one of my best friends. He brings that humor to my life and he also never lets me get away with the bullshit, like any great friend. And, like Jake and Shannon, my relationship with Steven took me by surprise. I wasn't looking for forever when I met him, but somehow forever found me.

But there were some other influences written in. Hal inspired a lot of Jake's "zen" side. That completely in the moment thing is totally Hal.

Who might play him in a movie?

Hum, good question. How about...?

Do you have a special song that reminds you of him?

I have a song that reminds me of them.

Any "Easter Eggs" planted with this book boyfriend?

One of my favorite scenes in the book is when they head to Vegas for one of their dates, and stand out in front of the Bellagio Fountains. They are at a point where neither can tell the other how they really feel, so they think they need to be apart because that's what the other wants. I deliberately set the scene in this exact spot because standing in front of the Bellagio and hearing this song touched me so much it made me cry. The longing and agony of unrequited love.

Where can we find him?

You get to know Jake in LOVE PLUS ONE, which is free today only. He has also cameoed in the FIERCE
trilogy and in ENTANGLED
. Since he is Alex Fullerton's best friend and Shannon went on to produce a reality TV show with Graham, he's bound to show up anywhere, like any of my best characters.

Enjoy getting to know Jake. (I know I did.)

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