Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Meet Julie Lessman



Today I'm posting at Exemplify about Toe Flowers--I'd love for you to stop by!


I am so sorry about the miscommunication about when Julie Lessman's post would be up! I know many of you stopped by yesterday (Monday), only to be greeted by Ginny G. I'm sorry! I've been out of town and I didn't double check that the dates matched the days...But never fear, I'm home now and will muck through the post-travel clean up *grin* and get my life back on track. I hafta admit though--spending the time with my sister was wooooonderful! Even the sunburn I came home with. LoL

And now (drum roll, please!) I'm verrrrry pleased to introduce you to Julie Lessman! I 'met' Julie at one of my favorite blogs, Seekers, where Julie is a blog contributor, and I'm thrilled to have her here with us at Patterings! (and yes, I know I'm over using the ol exclamation points, but lemme tell ya--Julie's that kind of gal! You'll love her!)

Julie has offered to do a signed giveaway for the winner's choice of one of the three books in the series. To be entered into the drawing, leave a comment (and your email addy if I don't have it or it's not on your blog/site) on this intro post or tomorrow's interview with Julie. The drawing will be open until Saturday evening and the winner will be notified and posted on Sunday. (Here's a hint--Julie's been well known to pop in and out and reply to commenters, so on the comment page, click the little box to follow the comments via email.)



Julie Lessman is a new author who has garnered much writing acclaim, including ten Romance Writers of America awards. She resides in Missouri with her husband and their golden retriever, and has two grown children and a daughter-in-law. She is the author of The Daughters of Boston series, which includes A Passion Most Pure, A Passion Redeemed, and A Passion Denied. You can contact Julie through her website.






Book 3,  A Passion Denied,  is the story of Faith and Charity’s little sister, Lizzie, a shy bookworm who dreams of a fairy-tale romance.  It unfolds a man’s dark past and a young girl’s shattered dreams … and the God who redeems it all.

Elizabeth O’Connor is the little sister John always longed for. With a fire for God in his belly, he has been her spiritual mentor since she was thirteen, sharing her love of literature and her thirst for God.  But when his gangly protégé blossoms into a beautiful young woman bent on loving him,  he refuses to act on the attraction he feels.  His past won’t let him go there.  Unfortunately, “Lizzie” won’t let him go anywhere else … until his dark and shocking secrets push her away.

And, as requested, following is an excerpt from A Passion Denied, which depicts the first love scene between Beth (who has changed her name to Lizzie) and Brady, who sees her only as a little sister. She is plotting with her sisters to try and get Brady to kiss her because Charity tells her that “A kiss is the only thing that will haunt him until he admits he’s in love.” (My apologies, I couldn't get Julie's formatting to stick when I copied and pasted, so the spacing is off, but it's a WONDERFUL excerpt!!!)


The porch was dark except for a soft wash of moonlight that cast distorted shadows as he leaned against the railing. He crossed his arms and waited while she settled on the swing with a soft swish of her skirt. She patted the seat beside her. “Why don’t you sit here? This could take a while, and I want you to be comfortable.”
Comfortable? With her scent as clean as lilacs in rain and her burgeoning body obscuring the little girl he once knew? He sucked in a full breath and stood up straight, shoving his hands deep into the pockets of his trousers. Exhaling, he positioned himself on the far right of the swing, determined to ignore the wood of the beveled handle as it sliced into his waist. He shifted to face her and draped an arm along the back of the swing. “So, what’s on your mind, little buddy?”
She bit her lip and scooted close enough that he could feel her body shivering. “Do you mind if we snuggle? It’s colder than I thought.”
He stared straight ahead, lips clamped tight as the heat of her body singed his. It set his nerves on edge, but she seemed nervous too—from the tug of her teeth against her lower lip to the clutch of her hands as they fidgeted in her lap. His arm—which had been resting comfortably on the back of the swing—suddenly felt like hardwood lumber. With almost painful motion, it hovered over her shoulder for eternal seconds before finally drawing her close. For pity’s sake, this is Beth and she’s cold. Settle down, Brady, and just get through this.
“What’s on your mind, Beth?”
She sighed and burrowed into his arms, causing the scent of her hair to invade his senses. It triggered an unwelcome warmth, despite the coolness of the night. But at least she was warm, he reasoned, noting her shivers had stopped. He closed his eyes and ground his jaw. While his were just beginning.
Her voice was soft and low. “I’m sorry for losing my temper the other day, but I … well I guess I’ve been struggling with my feelings for you …”
Tension stiffened his hold. “Beth, these feelings you’re having, they’ve got to stop.”
“I know, Brady, she whispered. “I finally understand.”
He drew in a breath and leaned forward. “You do?”
She looked up with a soulful expression. “Yes, I do. It doesn’t change the attraction I have for you or the love I feel inside …” She blinked several times, as if to clear the gloss of wetness from her eyes. His gut twisted. “But I finally realize I need to move on … I don’t want to lose your friendship.”
The tightness in his chest suddenly released like an audible sigh. Thank you, God, they could still be friends! He exhaled the weight of the world from his shoulders and scooped her into an overwhelming hug of relief. “Oh, Beth, I’m so grateful you understand. I love you too, and I’ll always be there for you, the best friend you’ve ever had.”
She returned a tremulous hug. The sound of her words rumbled against his chest. “That’s good, Brady, because I could use the advice of a friend.”
“Anything, little buddy!” He leaned back against the swing and tucked her safely under his arm. She was his sweet, little Beth once again, flooding his soul with joy. “What kind of advice do you need?”
“About men. Actually, one in particular.”
His joy fizzled faster than warm foam on week-old root beer.
She glanced up with wide, innocent eyes, a stark contrast to the jealous surprise churning in his gut. “There’s this boy—his name is Tom Weston—and he’s asked me out, on and off, for over two years now. And lately, well … it seems he won’t take no for an answer.”
He blinked. Men have been asking her out? For two years? His Beth?
He sat up, desperate to convey a composure he didn’t feel. “Well, Elizabeth, you’re almost eighteen, I suppose it’s time … time to find the man that God has for you. Do you … like him?”
She sighed. “Well, he’s certainly attractive and hard-working. He’s worked two jobs as long as I’ve known him and plans to go to law school after he graduates college next spring.”
The jealousy rose in his throat like bile. “So, you’re … attracted to him, then?”
“Well, I wasn’t initially because I had hoped you and I …” Her voice faded. She took a deep breath. “But I think now … now that I know you and I can only be friends, well, I think maybe I could be attracted to him …”
“Does he go to church?”
Her soft chuckle floated in the air. “Well, if you mean is he as spiritual as you, no, he’s not. But he’s from a good family who go to church regularly, and I think in time—”
“Is he a gentleman?”

Lizzie felt herself blush to the tips of her shingled hair. She bit her lip and turned away, slipping her hand into the pocket of her jacket. With trembling fingers, she pinched the cracker she’d hidden there and swiped crumbs into both of her eyes.
“Beth?”
She didn’t answer. She was too busy blinking.
He reached for her chin and gently tugged her gaze to his. He was suddenly the consummate big brother, concern etched in his handsome face. “Answer me. Is he a gentleman?”
The crumbs were masterful as they welled in her eyes. “I’m …n-not sure.”
“What do you mean you’re not sure? Has he given you cause to think otherwise?”
“Well, he … he kissed me once.”
Disapproval darkened Brady’s features. “Did you encourage him?”
Her lips parted in shock. “No! I promise you I didn’t. He c-cornered me …”
“So, he’s not a gentleman?”
Her eyes went wide. “I don’t know … maybe … but probably not.”
She began to shake, not sure if it was her nerves or the drumming of Brady’s fingers hard on the wood. He eyed her through narrowed lids. “Well, he doesn’t sound like the type of young man you need. I suggest you forget about him and look elsewhere.”
She blinked. “What?”
“You wanted my advice as a friend, and I’m giving it. Forget him.”
A rare rush of indignation flared in her cheeks. “I wanted your advice on how to ward off his advances, Brady, not if I should date him. I’ve already decided on that.”
“You can’t date some clown with one thing on his mind.”
Crackers and fury forced hot tears from her eyes. He didn’t want her, but no one else could either? She rose to her feet. “How dare you, John Brady? I have no choice! My heart is breaking because of you, and if it takes Tom Weston to get over you, then so be it.”
He jumped up. “Beth, forgive me, please, and don’t cry. We can pray about this—”
Disbelief paralyzed her for a painful second. “No! You leave me be. I don’t want anymore of your prayers—”
His hand gripped her. “Beth, please, sit with me? Can’t we just talk and work this out?”
She relented, allowing him to tug her back to the swing, where the feel of his powerful arms only enflamed the longing in her soul. He bundled her against his shoulder, and the clean, pure scent of musk soap taunted her senses.
“Beth, you’re so special to me,” he whispered, “I never want to hurt you.” He kissed the top of her head, and she could smell a trace of the peppermint he kept for children at the shop. A sharp ache pierced her heart. He was her Brady … good and strong and kind … but he would never really belong to her. Not the way she yearned in her heart—as a husband, a man, a lover. The thought all but crushed her, and she collapsed against his chest in painful weeping.
“Beth, don’t cry, please. I love you …”
She felt his lips in her hair, and her anguish surged. She jerked away. “No, don’t lie to me, Brady! You don’t love me—”
He groaned and embraced her. “I do love you, little buddy, more than anyone in this world.” With grief in his eyes, he searched her swollen face. He caressed her wet cheeks with gentle hands. “You mean everything to me,” he whispered. He bent to press a light kiss to her forehead.
Shallow breaths rose from her throat at the warmth of his lips against her skin. Her body stilled. “A kiss is the only thing that will haunt him until he admits he’s in love.”
She lifted her gaze, taking great care to impart a slow sweep of lashes.
“Beth, are we okay?” He ducked his head to search her eyes, then brushed her hair back from her face. A smile shadowed his lips. “Still friends?”
Friends. A deadly plague only a kiss could cure. Resolve stiffened her spine. “Sure, Brady … friends.”
He smiled and tucked a finger under her chin. “That’s my girl. Now what do you say we pray about some of these things?” He leaned close with another quick kiss to her brow, and in a desperate beat of her heart, she lunged, uniting her mouth with his. She felt the shock of her action in the jolt of his body, and she gripped him close to deepen the kiss. Waves of warmth shuddered through her at the taste of him, and the essence of peppermint was sweet in her mouth.
“No!” He wrenched back from her hold with disbelief in his eyes.
Too late. She had never felt like this before. Years of seeking romance from flat parchment pages had not prepared her for this. This rush, this desire … her body suddenly alive, and every nerve pulsing with need. All shyness melted away in the heat of her longing, and she pounced again, merging her mouth with his. John Brady, I love you!
A fraction of a second became eons as she awaited his rejection. His body was stiff with shock, but no resistance came. And in a sharp catch of her breath, he drew her to him with such force, she gasped, the sound silenced by the weight of his mouth against hers. He groaned and cupped the back of her head as if to delve in her soul, a man possessed. His lips broke free to wander her throat, and shivers of heat coursed through her veins. In ragged harmony, their shallow breathing billowed into the night while his arms possessed her, molding her body to his.
“Oh, Brady, I’m so in love with you,” she whispered.
Her words severed his hold as neatly as the blade of a guillotine. He staggered to his feet, and icy cold replaced the warmth of his arms. She opened her eyes and saw pain in his. She grabbed his arm. “Brady, can’t you see? You love me too … not as a friend or a sister, but as a woman.”
“God help me, Beth, I can’t love you that way.” He stared like a zombie, chest heaving with jagged breaths that swirled into the cool night air, drifting away.
Just like her dreams.
She reached for his hand, but he pulled it away. She blinked. “You just did, John. Nothing can convince me otherwise. You love me … and you want me … just like I want you. Why can’t you admit it?”
His tone was rough with emotion. “Because it’s wrong, Elizabeth. You’re a little sister to me, nothing more.”
She rose, along with her ire. “I see. And that’s how you kiss a sister?”
Blood gorged his cheeks. His shoulders straightened as he stood stiff and tall. An uncommon show of anger glinted in his dark eyes. “I regret what happened tonight, and I apologize. Please give my thanks to your mother and my good-byes to your family.” He moved toward the stairs.
“Brady, wait!” She latched onto his arm while tears pooled in her eyes. “You can’t leave like this. Not now. I opened my heart to you … and you took it when you gave me that kiss.”
The anger in his eyes faded to pain. “I know, Beth. Forgive me. It won’t happen again.” His back was rigid as he strode down the steps.
She ran after him. “No! Don’t leave—please! Friends don’t leave when you need them the most.”
He stopped, hand poised on the gate, and the coolness of his manner was totally foreign. He turned with a look of agony she had never seen.
“No, Beth, they don’t.”
And without another word, he unlocked the gate and hurried away. Fading quickly—just like her hope—into the darkest of nights.





To purchase A Passion Denied from:
Christian Book
Amazon

I'm soooo excited about tomorrow! Tomorrow is our interview with Julie and you don't want to miss it! (and I know what I'm talking about because I've read it already!) LoL Be sure to join us tomorrow for the fun!

18 comments:

  1. I am so excited to be able to win Julie Lessman's book, A Passion Denied. Unrequited love is devastating, and I would like to see how the dilemna is solved.

    desertrose5173 at gmail dot com
    Thank you!

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  2. Julie's writing always engages my emotions and makes me "feel." Thank you so much for the chance to win A Passion Denied.

    cjarvis [at] bellsouth [dot] net

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  3. LINDA, YES, "Unrequited love is devastating," and no more so than for Lizzie and Brady! BUT the good news is that since I am a "Calgon, take me away," type of writer instead of "slice of life," there is a happy ending ... :)

    CAROLE ... thanks for stopping by! And I'm glad you're "feeling" what I am "feeling" when I write this stuff or I'd feel pretty silly when I sob on my keyboard. Well, maybe I don't go that far, but I was crying and went through several Kleneex yesterday on a scene I added to Katie's story. I figure if I can make myself cry, I should have a good shot with at least some of my readers. And apparently you're one -- THANK YOU!! :)

    Hugs,
    Julie

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  4. Whoa, now that's what I call a love scene!! It gets better everytime I read it, which I've done hundred's of times! :)
    Can't wait to read the interivew tomorrow!
    Thanks so much for the chance to win!
    carolynnwald[at]hotmail[dot]com

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  5. I love Julie's books because you aren't simply following a story--you are IN the story, in a sense.
    I would love to win A PASSION DENIED!

    courtneylp1323(at)aol(dot)com

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  6. I'd love to be entered. jt4novels@yahoo.com.

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  7. CAROLYNN!!! Thanks, sweetie ... and that's only the beginning, girl ... :)

    COURTNEY ... What a great thing to say to an author -- THANK YOU!! I kind of feel that way, too, when I am writing them, but then I soak the keyboard during sad scenes, so that's to be expected. :)

    Hey, JENNIFER, thanks SO much for dropping in! Good luck in the contest.

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  8. I'm looking forward to reading Julie's books. From the excerpts that I've read, they've really peaked my interest. Please enter me in the drawing.
    cynthiakchow at earthlink dot net

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  9. I have both of Julie's previous ones and I would love to own her newest one, 'A Passion Denied'!! purposedrivenlife4you at gmail dot com

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  10. Whew! (Fanning face and taking a deep breath) That was one great scene there! I love that Julie writes a passionate scene that shows that Christians are really human and not devoid of "life". :) LOVE IT!
    sherrinda(at)gmail(dot)com

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  11. That excerpt was amazing! Whetted my appetite, so to speak. *grins* I'll have to remember to stop by tomorrow for the interview.

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  12. Okay I'm back to commenting after a bit of a delay, unfortunately I just discovered my copy of A Passion Most Pure is missing!!!!Oh no!!!Maybe I can win a copy on here!! I always like to read the previous books over again whenever a new book is released in a series.

    Aren't these books terrific? Nothing like a good romance to lift your spirits on a rainy day...not raining here yet but it will :-P

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  15. Thanks for posting this! I am reading A Passion Most Pure right now, and I am loving it! Everything about it is so real...especially the passion and heartache. I was lucky enough to win a copy of A Passion Redeemed on another blog (thanks Julie!), but I wanted to say that I am really enjoying her first book!

    --Border's Girl (Amber)

    P.S. I went onto My Friend Amy's Blog yesterday and today, but every time I try to leave a comment, it doesn't seem to work. Does anybody have any advice? I would appreciate a chance to win the writer's critique on that blog! Thanks so much!

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  16. CYNTHIA ... glad I could peak your interest for a little romance in Boston! And I hate to tell ya, but that's only the tip of the proverbial iceberg. Come book's end, all icebergs have puddled into hot water ... :)

    DOREEN, sooo glad to see you making the rounds on the blogs, girl -- that's the way to win a book, I'll tell you that. Would you believe I just won TWO books last week alone by commenting on blogs??

    SHERRINDA -- Grin ... good ... good ... keep those deep breaths coming and be sure to turn up the AC. I've been told by a lot of people (ahem ... my husband included) that Denied is the spiciest of all three books. I honestly didn't think it was ... but then I forgot how much my editor cut out of Redeemed. Amazingly enough, she cut almost nothing (passion-wise) out of Denied because it's mostly "married" passion. :)

    LEY ... Thanks so much, and I am thrilled I could whet your appetite for the O'Connors and their "passion" for life (and God!).

    RENEE ... well, girl, you're going about replacing A Passion Most Pure in the right way ... I am giving away TONS of books on blog giveaways in May and June, so good luck!

    BORDERS GIRL (Amber)!!! Grin ... I can't believe you're STILL reading A Passion Most Pure at Borders, girl. So glad you won the next one so you can read it at home! :)

    And, AMBER, I notice myself that I've had problems with Amy's site, and have had to redo comments several times, which is why I ALWAYS copy what I write (Control C) and then click on "Preview" (I do this to proof it ... it's the writer in me!), then click on "Post Comment." Usually this doesn't work and I have to go back and start over, but since I've copied what I wrote, it's just a matter of pasting it back in and hitting "Post Comment" again.

    If you can't get it to work for you, Amber, let me know, and I will post it for you, okay?

    Hugs,
    Julie

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  17. Anonymous6:11 AM

    The Daughters of Boston series sound excellent!
    I'm excited to have a chance to win!
    Sunny

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  18. SUNNY ... thanks SO much for your kind comment AND for stopping by. Good luck in the contest!

    Hugs,
    Julie

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