There are little secrets, like not letting on that you were the one who ate the last cupcake — oops — and there are big secrets. Things that would change the perception of everyone around about you. “Is she a good person?” “Well, she once did this, so… not really.”
Hailey North waltzed into the very first of my Urban Farm Fresh Romance novels back in 2016. She was that friend who pulled you out of your comfort zone and challenged you. In between those serious moments, Hailey flirted with every unattached male who crossed her path. Several of them went running.
For the five years it took me to write the first eleven books (gulp) in the series, I wondered about Hailey. Writing would be so much easier if I could only plan things out better in advance, but that’s not how my brain works. Somewhere, in the dark, simmering recesses of my brain, I mulled Hailey over, trying to figure out what made her the way she was. Because sooner or later, she was going to be the heroine in the hot-seat.
After a few more books, I realized I’d set up her perfect foil in Basil Santoro, another side character throughout the series. His younger sister and brother both had their stories told (books four and seven). They’d found love, but Basil got the bad lines, like a DUI conviction. Was cynical Basil redeemable? If so, how?
Now the two of them were in that pot on the back burner of my brain, simmering away. I stirred occasionally.
Basil had lived in the community of Bridgeview his entire life. Hailey’s grandparents had owned a bakery nearby. She’d lived with them since at least high school, and she’d been friends with Basil’s younger sister back then. (Yes, I asked my Facebook readers group for volunteers to read all the previous books and send me notes about everything I’d already established about Hailey!)
So… they knew each other. Had known each other for at least 15 years. Why had they never dated in the past? Or had they? Surely, that would have come out by now if they had… right?
Think, think. Simmer, simmer.
The whole thing built up to a huge obstacle in my mind. This was book twelve!!! Readers had clued in that Hailey and Basil would be paired. They were speculating. They were eager.
I… had nothing. Or nothing much. Unless… maybe…
The pieces snapped together. They were big pieces, bigger than I’d guessed. But they made sense. They worked with both personalities. Both sets of issues.
And, finally, I was on my way. Together in Thyme was written over the summer of 2021 and released on November 23rd. That chapter — that era — has been completed. And from the feedback I’m getting from readers, it’s a fitting completion to the saga of life in Bridgeview.
Together in Thyme: now available in ebook and in paperback on Amazon stores everywhere, and in Kindle Unlimited.
Basil Santoro is back in Bridgeview with a mile-long list of people to whom he owes an apology, starting with his former business partners, his family… and Hailey North. If only she had already married someone else by now, all this would be so much easier.
Hailey always longed for that big, laughing family Basil spurned so completely. After her Basil-induced heartbreak, she’s flirted with any man who’d look twice, but her skills at keeping things casual fail upon Basil’s return. Just like before, she’s drawn to him like a moth to a flame when he turns on his charm, but this time she has too much to hide to let him get close.
Basil’s change-of-heart runs deeper than Hailey expected, making her long for what might-have-been. Yet, how can she find the heaping dose of courage it will take to face the past and build a future… together?
Header image was downloaded from Pexels, while the two character images were purchased from Deposit Photos.