Join RNIC in welcoming author Nicki Salcedo to the site! Today, Nicki is introducing us to her novel, All Beautiful Things. She’s also doing a giveaway. But first, let’s get to know her.
Nicki Salcedo is a graduate of Stanford University with a degree in English and Creative Writing. She is a two-time recipient of the Maggie Award of Excellence and a Golden Heart Finalist. She lives in Atlanta with her four children, husband, and a cat. She has a job by day and writes at night. Nicki loves connecting with readers and thinks everyone should write. You can friend, follow, or find her online.
ALL BEAUTIFUL THINGS is a romance with suspense and a hint of Southern gothic. It is a novel about perceptions of race, gender, and class. Seven years ago, wealthy Ava Camden endured a vicious attack. She survived, but her face was brutally scarred. Now Graham Sapphire is determined to clear his brother’s name and win her trust in a desperate search for the truth.
Your First Time
by Nicki Salcedo
Do you remember the first romance novel you ever read? I don’t. I remember that someone gave my mom a box of old Harlequin books. The box sat untouched for weeks, because my mother didn’t read romance novels. I was 11 years old, and I read one book. Then I read another and another. Eventually, I realized I liked them. These books were the sweet romance. Maybe there was a single kiss at the end. The racier ones had two kisses.
My other favorite books were Westerns. Both romance novels and Westerns had something I liked, a satisfying ending. These days we call this the HEA – Happily Ever After. The more I read, the more I fell in love with romance.
I’ve had a few readers who commented that my book All Beautiful Things was the first romance novel they’ve ever read. It’s not always snobbery that keeps us reading within specific genres and avoiding others. We read what we know and what we like. From a young age, I read everything. Mystery, horror, romance, western, and literary fiction. I consider myself lucky. And I also consider new readers to romance lucky, too.
New readers of romance have so many books to choose from. I could recommend books for years. I have books that I love and re-read all the time. This brings me back to my first time and my first favorite romance novel. I have a special place in my heart for that book, and I still have that copy of it on my bookshelf.
You can’t fall in love twice, can you? Here is the good news: Falling in love with a book isn’t a one-time feeling. Each year I discover new authors or new books that make my heart happy. I love romance. I love falling in love. I write because of all the good books I ever read and the joy they brought me. I look forward to that “first time” feeling when I find a new book or new author, no matter the genre.
Ava spun around in her chair and looked at the clock. Time had been slipping away from her all day. A knock on the door drew her attention, and Graham stood in the doorway.
Eight weeks, maybe less. He’ll be gone, too.
“You okay?” he asked. “How come your mother didn’t get a restraining order against me?”
Ava tried not to stare. She didn’t often have a tall, overly handsome man leaning into her office with a somber impression on his face. Graham had one hand casually on the top of the door frame. A door frame she wouldn’t be able to reach even with the help of a ladder.
“I spoke the police. They are probably watching you, but that’s all.”
Graham stepped forward. “Are you hungry? You haven’t missed dinner yet. Do you want to eat with me?”
She sensed he was prepared for her rejection like it didn’t matter. He was braced for her to say no.
“I’d love to eat and see who’s in the shelter tonight.”
She stood and walked over to him, but Graham didn’t move out of the doorway. She was glad he didn’t back away. She was glad his voice filled the quiet of the room.
“Eat with us, see who you need to see, and then go home, Ava. I’m asking you to do a favor for me. Don’t drive around Atlanta. Go to your house and your bed. Go to sleep. You need rest. I don’t think you’ve had any sleep since I’ve met you. I’ll help here at the shelter. I will fill in wherever you would have.”
She shook her head. “I can’t go home. I need to be here. Otherwise, I’ll do what I shouldn’t do.”
“What’s that?” he asked. He could take away her cold, and he could take away her fear.
“I’ll follow the sirens. Tonight would be the first night that I don’t, and I’d rather stay here. I don’t want to go home. I can’t sleep.”
“Neither can I, Ava. I don’t sleep. Do you know why?”
The feeling in her chest she’d first called anger and later fear was something else. She could smell the sweetness of his sweat. Every part of him had a scent.
She wasn’t going to be afraid of anything anymore. The past. The sunlight. Even if they closed down the homeless shelter. She wouldn’t be afraid. Ava put a hand on Graham’s chest. She thought it would make him take a step back, but he stayed in the doorway.
She blinked slowly and imagined Graham moving the hair away from her face and leaning down to kiss her. Her mouth opened, and her eyes moved to his lips. Maybe she was afraid.
What happens in fairy tales? Do you need a kiss to wake up or a kiss to go to sleep?
Here’s info on the giveaway!
Prizes: One lucky commenter will receive a copy of ALL BEAUTIFUL THINGS (either autographed print version or Kindle).
Eligibility: You must be a subscriber to the RNIC newsletter.
How to enter: Do you remember reading your first romance novel? Do you have a new favorite? Tell us in the comments and happy reading!
Deadline: May 2, 2014 at 11:59 PM EST
Note: By participating in this contest, the winner has given permission to RNIC to share his/her name and email address with the person conducting the contest so they can forward the prize(s). Prizes opened to U.S. and international entrants.
Where you can find Nicki online: