Music enthusiast and diehard rock ‘n’ roll fan, Annie Mick, enjoys a quiet life with her fellow musician husband and line-dancing dog (he’s a little bit country).
Originally from the Midwest where the farmers still wave as they pass each other on the gravel roads, she found her permanent home in Colorado where the terrain is rougher, the sky is bluer, and her neighbors still wave, as does the Broncos flag.
You can usually find her on the patio where the music plays and the wine pours, with a dog at her feet and a pen in her hand.
She was his “Jannie”, the very air that he breathed; his everything. And when he needed her most, she left as if he meant nothing. Why is she here now?
Five years after being abandoned by the love of her life, Jana Cooper is returning home. She’s not arriving alone though. Her travel companion is a spunky four-year-old who is the spitting image of the man who shattered her dreams. The man who left her a note stating, “I wish you the best”.
“Tell Me Why, Jannie” is a heartbreaking romance that takes you from where it all began to the very end, as well as giving you the creamy filling in the middle…a little like an Oreo cookie. Eat the whole package…it’s calorie free.
Colton had all the determination of a prowling lion on his way to the table; more so than he had ever had in his life. The pain between his legs was excruciating but the need to talk to her was greater. Every step felt like a vise grip clenching his testicles, but his feet carried him forward, nevertheless.
She was beautiful. He literally felt a pull towards this girl. It wasn’t even so much a physical pull; it was inexplicable. Soulful maybe? Kismet?
“Hi,” he said as he reached her table. “I’m Colton. And you would be?”
“The drink guardian,” she answered with a wave of her hand over the table, pointing out the multiple glasses.
“Does the drink guardian have a name?” he asked with a smile that most days guaranteed female swooning.
“She does,” the blonde replied.
“I would love to know what it is.”
She hesitated, her gaze moving from his smile to his eyes. “Jana.”
“Jana,” Colton repeated with a whisper. “It’s beautiful. May I sit with you?”
“Maybe for a little while,” Jana told him. “My friends are dancing. I’m the DD as well as the DG tonight. No possibilities of anyone slipping a mickey in the drinks.”
“Smart girls,” he commended as he slid into the booth next to her. “May I buy you whatever you’re drinking?”
“Water is free, no need. Thank you.”
“Tell me about yourself, Jana,” Colton started. “Your hopes, your dreams, what you want out of life.”
Jana bowed her head, hiding the grin that developed as thoughts raced through her mind. If only she had bubblegum to pop. What a cheesy pick-up line. “I call it interior design,” she said through a faux nasally voice. “I’ve been working on like revamping the whole Valley Girls thing and bringing it back to life on campus. Should go over, you know, really well.” She twirled her hair around her finger and rolled her eyes, giving a fresh definition to bimbo. She wasn’t into being picked up in bars and this guy was laying it on pretty thick. The table of players he had been sitting with had already made their appearance at their table earlier and she was about to put this one in his place. She was pretty positive they had a running bet he could get her to go home with him tonight.
Colton smiled as he gazed into her eyes, unfazed by her pretentious display. “Sounds like a plan.” He nodded then smirked. “Now cut the crap and tell me about the real Jana. Last name.”
“Yours first,” she demanded.
“Kinkaid,” he replied as he took her hand in his, lifted her fingers to his mouth and gently kissed them. “I can show you my ID.”
“Cooper, and I won’t show you mine.”
“How will I know if you’re telling me the truth?” he asked as he lifted his eyes to hers.
“My name is Jana Cooper!” She scowled before she slapped his thigh. “Why would I lie to you?”
Colton grunted in pain as the searing heat shot from his thigh through his testicles straight into his stomach, making him nauseous. Jana watched as his color turned from pink to a haunting gray.
Her hand flew to her mouth as she gasped. “Oh God, I’m so sorry. I didn’t mean to hurt you!” As realization sank in, her caregiver instincts kicked in as well. “You’re him, aren’t you? Number 27. You must hurt something fierce. I’m so, so sorry. What can I do? Can I get you some help? A cold pack. Some ice?”
Colton breathed heavily, trying hard to keep the contents in his stomach right where they were: in his stomach.
“I’ll be okay,” he groaned as he rocked back and forth gently. “Just give me a minute.” He lowered his head and squeezed his eyes closed, breathing air in through his nose, blowing it out through his mouth. Jana rubbed his neck and shoulders gently.
“I didn’t know that was you. I’m so sorry,” Jana whispered. “I’d heard about a player getting injured today. It’s been all over campus. Why on earth are you out tonight? You should be home in bed with an icepack on your…well, you know where it should be. If you don’t have an icepack, a bag of peas will do.”
Colton raised his head slowly and stared at her. “Peas?”
“Yes,” she answered indignantly. “They conform easily to the area. Everybody knows that.”
“I didn’t,” he said with a mustered impish grin. “Do you eat them afterwards?”
Jana’s jaw hung slack. “That’s the question you ask? Are you for real?”
Colton placed his hand on her cheek and ever so gently caressed the line of her jaw with his thumb. “That’s funny. I was going to ask you the same thing.”
The air hung heavy between them as each one waited for the other’s next move.
“Say my name,” Colton whispered.
Her eyes filled with curiosity. “You want me say your name?”
“Because it will be like music to my ears.” His voice was low and gentle as he told her, “I’ll hear it in my sleep, in my dreams. Say my name.”
It sounded like a prayer. It wasn’t just the sound that washed over him; it was the way she looked at him, the way it made him feel. It was a breath of fresh air. This was his test. It was what he’d longed to hear and feel all his life. It was his past being swept away and his future opening in front of him, a book to be written.
The spell was broken as sounds of the other girls headed back to the table pierced the air. Jana knew all hell would break loose when they saw Colton Kinkaid sitting there. She had never kept up with the sports teams at Boston U; it wasn’t her thing. When her brother, Tyler, played years before, she was all for supporting him. She had attended games when she could, approximately five per season, but otherwise she was buried in books and studies. She hadn’t known who Colton was before he sat down, but the girls surely would. She was only out tonight because she had been coerced into being the babysitter, aka designated driver for her friends as they imbibed.
As luck would have it, the girls were accompanied by some of the guys from Colton’s table. Jana hoped it would give her the opportunity to get Colton out of there before he was jumped, squeezed, or mishandled by her slightly drunken friends.
She helped Colton rise from the booth and collect himself without further injury and led him toward the door with ultimate care. She walked mere inches in front him so he wouldn’t get bumped–possibly humped–or jostled; she had already done enough damage.
Once they got out the front door and away from the crowds, Jana felt it was safe to let him go off on his own. He’d gotten there on his own, he could find his way home.
“Nice to meet you,” Jana rushed to say. He hadn’t asked for her number, hadn’t asked to see her again. “Hope you heal quickly. Goodnight.”
Colton grasped her hand before she could make a quick getaway.
“Say it again, Jannie,” he whispered as he pulled her close.
“It’s Jana,” she corrected.
“Not to me,” he said softly. “You’ll always be my Jannie. Once more. Say my name.”
“Colton,” she indulged him, smiling at his strange request.
Once again, it washed over Colton like a breath of fresh air and Jana found it played across her tongue like a song.
“Mmm…that’ll do for now,” he hummed. He placed a finger under her chin and raised her face so her eyes met his. His mouth grazed hers as he left a chaste kiss on her lips. His smile was captive as he gazed into her eyes. “Someday, Jannie Cooper.”
“I’m gonna make you fall in love with me.”
Q&A with Annie Mick
Q: Can you tell me a bit about yourself and how became an author?
A: I am a wife to an awesome man, a mother of three very different personalities in the form of sons, all grown. (Is this where I say, Thank God!?)
I became an author when the voices became too loud. They needed a place to be outside of my head. As a middle child of ten, I was often a self entertainer. Why not share it with the world as an adult? No, really. It keeps the brain active, and I love it.
Q: What is your writing process like?
A: I am a pantser. I get an idea and I run with it. The story truly develops once it starts. I do make notes throughout the night once in a while if I wake up with an added idea, as I have learned if I don’t, it disappears by morning. Hence, the reason there is a notepad and pen on my nightstand. Good thing my hubs is a heavy sleeper. If he does rouse, I usually just mumble, “Bailey, get back down to the foot of the bed,” and blame the dog.
Q: What do you like to do when you are not writing?
A: Like to do or have to do? Have to: housework. Like to: travel to Iowa to see my mom. I do still paint once in a while. I garden in the spring and summer. Vacation once a year to various places.
Q: How do you celebrate when you are finished writing a book?
A: Long deep breaths, a large glass of wine, and then? Dance like nobody’s watching.
Q: How do you celebrate when your books are released?
A: Take two weeks off and look forward to starting the next one.
Q: Can you tell me how the book/series came about?
A: This particular series was inspired by the song by Dennis DeYoung - “Desert Moon”.
The last series: The Crew was inspired by the Bee Gees - “Run to Me” and I even have a signed copy from Barry Gibbs. Yay!
Q: Are any of your characters similar to real-life friends or family?
A: Most definitely. But they have to find themselves in them. Some really don’t want to. Should I have said that? :)
Q: What was the most challenging part of writing this book?
A: The subjects of pancreatic cancer and a wicked mother. My mom rocks! I know of others who don’t. I was fortunate to have an awesome mom. I’ve lost a friend to pancreatic cancer in a short period of time and another who was given an extra four years with a Whipple procedure. I chose to use the wonders of modern science as a hopeful outlook for a little more time.
Q: What part of writing this book was the most fun for you?
A: Friends. It’s always the friends and the fact that so often love is found far outside of DNA.
Q: What Authors or other Books have inspired you to write this book?
A: Honestly? None.
Q: What is your favorite passage from this book?
A: She sits on a park bench by the edge of the lake; her legs pulled to her chest, arms wrapped around them, chin resting on her knees as she stares out at the water. As I take her in, I can’t help but think Monet would have loved this scene. The perfect setting. It would have been his best work. I know it’s a priceless portrait in my mind.
Q: If you could meet any of your characters, who would it be and what would you say to them?
A: Good question! Any and all of them. I would slap Karlene and hug each and all the rest.