by Mackenzie Lucas
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All Haven Jameson ever wanted was to own a little piece of paradise. Now, she does, having established a successful luxury spa in St. Augustine, Florida. But when the property next door is sold to a mega developer and his pro-golf celebrity brother who design trendy, bustling playgrounds for the rich and famous, she fears her dream could slip away. Confronted by her late husband’s infidelity, Haven learns everything she believed about her marriage was a lie; so she finally sets aside her grief and opens her heart to loving the widowed pro-golfer who is her biggest professional competition. In the end, Haven discovers that living a safe, loveless life is far worse than embracing passion and taking a chance on a man who’s vowed never to love again. And that, sometimes, no matter how high the risk, the best paradise of all can be found inside our own hearts.
“I will not let some greedy land developer ruin everything I’ve worked so hard to build.” Haven Jameson slapped the palm of her hand flat onto her desk with a loud thwack. “Owww.”
She rubbed her stinging hand.
Failure wasn’t an option. Sure, it was always a present danger as she forged her way to the top, struggling to establish Essence here in St. Augustine. She’d had plenty of sleepless nights while trying to make a success of her upscale boutique spa chain.
A month ago, the St. Augustine location opened to a raging success and received accolades from the highest society clients who’d she’d given complimentary stays during opening week.
“Unfortunately, Haven, I don’t think you’ll have much say over who buys the land,” Sally, Haven’s business partner and best friend, said, sitting across the desk from her. “Imogen Carmichael will have the last word. She usually does. She sold you this plot of land. And for some reason, I sure as heck can’t figure out, she held on to the adjacent tract. She could have sold you the whole parcel at the same time, but she didn’t. I don’t know what goes on in that woman’s mind. She seems a little off-kilter to me.”
“Don’t be mean, Sally. She’s a little eccentric for a woman in her late fifties, but not crazy.”
“Me? Mean? Never. I’m not the one who waits for a successful, luxury, full-service spa to open next door before I announce I’m offering a prime piece of real estate adjoining it for sale. She could ruin us. We’ve sunk so much time and money into this location. What happens if she sells to a developer who wants to put in a boardwalk and a Ferris wheel? Or she decides the offer from Joe’s Wacky Used Car World is right?”
AUTHOR Bio and Links:
Mackenzie Lucas is a lover of story in any form. She’s an avid reader of genre fiction, she writes contemporary and paranormal romance, and she listens to an eclectic mix of music that spans from pop/rock to country to gospel. She loves a good story whether it’s an erotic short, a full-length romance novel, or the narrative slice-of-life found in country music. In any story, emotional integrity and authenticity are most important to her as well as a big dose of romping hot sexual tension. She enjoys smart-mouthed, sexy heroines, hunky alpha heroes who know how to take care of their women, and plot twists that surprise her, but most of all, she just wants to experience a satisfying emotional arc of a character falling in love and finding what he or she needs most in life.
Mac is a small-town country girl with a world-traveler’s soul. She grew up in the Allegheny Mountains of Pennsylvania and she’s lived in Dublin, Ireland, within spitting distance of New York City in Long Island, and now in the Washington, D.C. area. She obtained her undergraduate degree in English Literature from Dickinson College and received her M.F.A. in Writing Popular Fiction from Seton Hill University. She’s currently an author, writing coach, a mother, and a wife.
With Mackenzie Lucas–whether you’re reading her light paranormal romance, her small-town-based contemporary romance, or her steamin’ hawt erotica–you’ll always get a story about connectedness, community, and emotional authenticity, and, at its core, love. No, and it doesn’t hurt that all her heroes are panty-melting gorgeous alphas and all their sexy, sensually aware heroines know how to stand up to them, give no quarter, and love them just as they are.
Lucas’ Essence has real strong characters with very real emotional issues. Haven, the heroine in the story has a rough childhood, but she turns to be very successful businesswoman , but has walls built up to protect herself. She thought she could keep those walls up until she meets pro golfer, Pace. He wants to build a business right next door and it will put him in competition with Essence. Although sparks fly when both meet each other, Pace has his own issues as well. With a cast of secondary characters, this hero and heroine will learn that they have to talk out their issues and their feelings. I really enjoyed this read because the story was very realistic and the dialogue wonderful.
What do you think you’re really good at?
I’m good at writing sexual tension and nailing authentic emotion in a story.
What do you think you’re really bad at?
I’m horrid at self-promotion and talking about my work. It doesn’t come natural to me and I’m self-aware enough to self-conscious about pushing myself and my books on others. I’m hoping to get better at marketing my books and less worried about imposing on people. I know readers are interested in authors and what they’re doing. The more I can engage in natural conversations with them, I think the better I’ll get at it. Eventually, I’ll get over myself.
Is your life anything like it was two years ago?
There are parts of my life that are exactly like two years ago, but there’s always a part of my life that is evolving. I have three teenage boys. So as we go through different stages, we face different challenges. What looks the same is that I’m working hard to advance my writing career and I continue to pump out stories. What’s different is how and when I do it. I often find myself at a local coffee shop or café writing to get my daily pages written, just to remove myself from the mix of chaos that goes on at my house all the time.
Have you ever had an imaginary friend?
Not that I can remember. But I’ve always had real friends, which is a true treasure.