Fringe Benefits by Sandy James

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Romance Junkies Q&A

 I am so glad you could join us here at RomanceJunkies. To start, will you please tell us a little bit about your current projects?

I just finished a romantic suspense. The hero is an FBI agent who’s hunting a serial killer. Since my bachelor’s degree is in criminology, the story allowed me to explore a subject I love to learn about. It was such fun to write!

When was the moment that you knew you had to be a writer?

After I finished writing my first book, I was hooked. It was as if voices suddenly popped in my head as I worked on that first story, and they’ve never stopped since. There are times when I’m working on a story that it feels as though magic is flying through me. It’s hard not to enjoy that.

Who gave you the one piece of writing advice that sticks with you to this day?

 My father-in-law, M.R. James. He’s a successful writer/editor, and when I finished my first books, I begged him to read it and give me some hints. He not only read it, he devoted weeks to helping critique the story. I learned more from that critique that I can ever express. When he handed me back the binder full of my writing, he gave me a great piece of advice that I know would benefit every writer. Grow skin as thick as a rhino. And he was right! A writer can’t let things like bad reviews or tough edits discourage her. Learn from the constructive criticism and move on.

Describe the “perfect” hero. What about the “perfect” hero for you?

My perfect hero always has some baggage. To me, a person’s character is formed by the hardships he endures. By having some bad experiences, a man has a chance to grow and become a true hero.

As far as the perfect hero for me, I’d have to say a guy with a great sense of humor who doesn’t let me boss him around. Which means the perfect hero for me is my husband Jeff. <g>

What are some of your favorite pastimes? Do you have any hobbies or collections?

I love to listen to music, especially Broadway. I’m also a voracious reader. My husband and I usually own at least one Standardbred racehorse. Between writing, teaching, and the horses, I don’t have time for other hobbies!

I didn’t start out planning to acquire one, but I’ve got a nice collection of Willow Tree figurines. My sister gave me the first—two little girls playing patty cake. Since then, I’ve acquired more, usually as gifts.

 What has been your biggest adventure to date?

A couple of years ago, Jeff surprised me with a trip to New York for spring break. It was so spontaneous, and we had such a great time. He even let me drag him to see Mama Mia on Broadway!

If your fairy godmother waved her wand and whisked you away to the location of your choice, which place would you choose, and why?

Since Indiana has miserable winters and springs, I’d want to go to some white sand beach with warm water. As long as that beach wasn’t too crowded—and if I had a pina colada in my hand—I wouldn’t really care exactly where it was.

When it comes to food, are you the adventurous type who will try anything once, or do you prefer to stick to tried and true foods and recipes?

I’m definitely a “repeater.” I like to eat the same stuff over and over to the point it’s almost OCD. <g> Jeff and I like to watch the food shows on the Travel Channel, and most of the time we tell each other how we’d never eat some of the stuff the hosts eat. I have a really good friend who’s been cooking for us once a week as Jeff goes through chemo. She finally stopped asking what we’d like and just brings us chicken-and-dumplings because we like it so much. (Thanks for being a good friend, Tia Catalina! Love you!)

What is your favorite comfort food?

 Cheesecake! With raspberries. With blueberries. Or just plain. Cheesecake rocks.

What project are you working on next?

My next project is the fourth book in my bestselling Safe Havens series. I also have some proposals on submission, so at any time, I could be writing a western historical, a romantic suspense, or a contemporary romance!

Any place we can find you in person or on the net this month or next?

In person is rough right now. Jeff is fighting colon cancer, and I’m at his side until we win this battle. However, I’m always hanging around online! I’m on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest as “sandyjamesbooks.” I’m also very happy to answer any emails. Write me at sandy @ sandyjames dot com.

James_Fringe Benefits_E-Book

FRINGE BENEFITS by Sandy James

(April 21, 2015; Forever Yours E-Book; The Ladies Who Lunch Book #4)

When life gets tough and love is hard to find, four friends take their troubles to lunch. High school teacher Danielle Bradshaw deserves a happily ever after, and the Ladies Who Lunch are determined to deliver Mr. Right.

HOT FOR TEACHER

As the new head of the English department, Dani doesn’t have much time for anything but lesson planning and literature. Romance–or even sex? Forget about it. But then the principal introduces her to last-minute hire Nate Ryan. Finding time to mentor a new teacher won’t be easy, especially when his incredible body and equally disarming charisma are enough to make her heart skip a beat . . .

Nate may be fresh out of school, but he’s confident in his teaching skills–and in his feelings for Dani. But while she’s everything he’s ever wanted, he knows his place on her staff–and his age–may be problematic for his sexy boss. How can he convince her to ignore the gossip mill currently in full swing in the teacher’s lounge and surrender to what’s meant to be?

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Read An Excerpt:

This will be a great story to tell the kids one day.

Why that ridiculous thought kept tumbling through Nate’s head was beyond him. But it did.

Your mom and I got locked in a supply closet together. That’s when we decided to start dating.

There was a stack of papers they’d used to play what seemed like a million games of tic-tac-toe, which had been followed by hangman. Over an hour had passed, and there was no sign of the custodian.

Funny, but he no longer minded losing all that time to get things ready for the first day of school. Instead, he found himself drawn to his pretty, witty boss.

He recognized her perfume. Angel. Once, he’d gone to the trouble of picking a perfume he thought was the perfect scent and bought his fiancée what the salesman called a “recruitment set.” The bundle of Angel products had everything from the perfume in a star-shaped bottle to body lotion.

Kat had hated it.

Obviously Dani liked it as much as he did. Everything about her appealed to him and—Jesus have mercy. She was his boss. So why did he keep forgetting that?

“My legs are getting stiff.” She struggled to stand, groping for one of the shelves. A hiss fell from her lips. “Shit.”

The pain on her face hit Nate hard, and he grabbed her arm to help steady her. “What’s wrong?”

“Cramp. Leg cramp.” She leaned heavily on him as she got to her feet and immediately stuck out her right leg, pointing and flexing her foot. “Damn, that smarts.”

“Where?” He didn’t want to start pawing her leg, but he wanted to help.

“Calf.” Dani’s face tightened into a grimace again.

Nate eased down on one knee and started rubbing her leg.

“Nice knot you’ve got there.”

“I think I’m dehydrated.” As he kept working on the knot, she flexed and extended her foot. “Left my water in my room.”

“Yeah, well, neither of us expected to be here so long.” The muscle relaxed under his kneading fingers. “Getting better?”

“Much.”

So why couldn’t he stop touching her? When it dawned on him that he wanted to trail his fingers up her leg, to her slender thigh and beyond, he slowly stood. Her eyes were locked with his, and tension rose between them as he gently put his hands on her waist, easing her forward.

Her head cocked just enough to show that she would allow him to kiss her. With a smile, he lowered his face to hers. With a loud rattle of the lock, the door suddenly swung open, and the sixty-something custodian stared at them wide-eyed.

“What in the hell are you two doing?”

Sandy James

About the author:

Sandy James lives in a quiet suburb of Indianapolis with her husband. She’s a high school social studies teacher who especially loves psychology and United States history. Since she and her husband own a small stable of harness racehorses, they often spend time together at the two Indiana racetracks.

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THE BOTTOM LINE by Sandy James (May 6, 2014; Forever Yours E-Book; The Ladies Who Lunch Book #1)

When life gets tough and love is hard to find, four friends take their troubles to lunch. Surviving a failed marriage and an illness that almost takes her life, high school teacher Mallory Hamilton needs the Ladies Who Lunch more than ever . . .  After a year of upheaval, Mallory has had her fill of change-with one exception. Her house is a disaster, and she wants it fixed. Hiring a contractor to finish the projects her ex-husband started will help her banish the past so she can return to the life she had before everything went awry. But her contractor is sexy, sweet, and single, which threatens the peaceful, solitary life Mallory has planned for herself.

Ben Carpenter has had a hard time raising his daughter without his ex-wife’s help. His new client’s projects will give him the extra income he needs, not to mention afternoons alone with a gorgeous woman. Though their attraction is  undeniable, Ben sees the fear and pain hiding in Mallory’s beautiful eyes. But how can he help her if she won’t let him in? Ben can fix just about anything-but can he fix Mallory’s broken heart?

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SIGNED, SEALED, DELIVERED by Sandy James (July 1, 2014; Forever Yours E-Book; The Ladies Who Lunch Book #2)

When life gets tough and love is hard to find, four friends take their troubles to lunch. High school teacher Juliana Kelley tells the Ladies Who Lunch that her life needs an overhaul . . . and gets a whole lot more than she wished for. Juliana has spent thirteen years in the same teaching job. She’s ready to dive into a new career with both feet . . . when a run-in with the hottest man she’s ever seen knocks her head over heels. But with her failed marriage to a fellow teacher fresh on her mind, Jules can’t afford to lose herself in a relationship-no matter how perfect it may seem.

Connor Wilson has hit rock bottom when he loses his career as a top-notch Realtor because of a large gambling debt. Now, in a small town he finds a fresh start-and a gorgeous redhead who sparks new life into him. Together they start a successful real estate company, but when pleasure sneaks into the business, they’ll have to decide what they can let go . . . and what they can’t live without.

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SEALING THE DEAL by Sandy James (November 4, 2014; Forever Yours E-Book; The Ladies Who Lunch Book #3)

After losing her sister, Bethany Rogers needs a shoulder to lean on more than ever-though she never expects that shoulder to belong to her new boss . . . 

Bethany has been in love with Robert Ashford since they were teachers at the same high school. After Robert leaves to start his own construction company, Beth puts her feelings aside to focus on her goals. When she finally lands a gig as a part-time designer, she is shocked to find her new boss is none other than Robert . . . and he’s hotter than ever. But Bethany’s happiness is short-lived when she receives word that her sister has been killed in combat.

With the success of building homes for one happy family after another, Robert is finally ready to settle down. When Beth is left to care for her nine-month-old niece, Robert can’t help but step in. And before long, the trio are inseparable. Yet convincing the cautious, bereaved Beth of letting him in proves difficult-but Robert will give everything he’s got for the chance at his own happily ever after.

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