Detour to Paradise
by River Ames
Genre: Sweet Contemporary Romance
Lucas Rockworth—a hard-driving force of nature has been ordered by his doctor to take some time off and get his blood pressure under control. You would think buying a cabin in the natural splendor known as Gray Horse Lake, Idaho, would do the trick. All that mountain greenery, crystal blue lakes and rivers, and nature-run-amok had to be exactly what the doctor had ordered.
Enter Sarah Burke… The innocently enticing young entrepreneur who’s opening an equestrian camp for children with handicaps.
Her initial impression of him is clearly wrong. For some reason, known to the reader but unknown to him, Sarah mistakenly believes that Lucas Rockworth is a shy, sensitive man. After having to deal a lifetime with a dominating older brother and controlling father, she finds these traits very appealing.
Her recent breakup with someone who could best be described as a bully has Sarah longing for a kinder, gentler man in her life.
Lucas tells himself that, since he makes his living as a general contractor, he has the hands-on experience to make himself into anything Miss Sarah Burke is looking for.
It shouldn’t be that great a stretch to become a modern, sensitive kind of guy, should it? She wants Mr. Rogers… Well, darn, he can manage that for the short time he’s in Idaho.
How hard can it be to tame his darker, more cynical side?
As for Sarah Burke? She thinks she’s met a real life version of Mr. Rogers. But, the reader knows its Rambo who’s come a’courting.
Would the real Lucas Rockworth care to step forward?
Sarah backed slowly away from the doorway. If she hadn’t heard Lucas with her own ears, she would not have believed him capable of such brutal toughness. She had heard him, and she still couldn’t come to terms with the fact that her tender, gentle lover-to-be was... Why he was Rambo, after all! She turned from the cabin and followed the path back to the motorhome. Over and over she replayed the fierce confrontation she’d heard. It didn’t make sense. How could she have thought Lucas was a gentle, caring man—a man incapable of the bullying tactics she’d come to associate with her brother? Sarah could feel the burning pressure of tears fill her eyes. She’d only just realized she was in love. She brushed at the falling tears with the back of her hand and looked around. Dusk had come. Dusk had come, and she’d discovered the man she was in love with didn’t exist. Sweet, gentle Lucas Rockworth simply was not. She had given her heart and planned on giving her body to a phantom, a creature of her own imagination. Creature was an excellent word, she thought, her tears drying. There was no way she could have been so mistaken about Lucas Rockworth without him deliberately misleading her. She remembered one of their first conversations. He’d asked her straight out: Who appealed to her more? Rambo or Mr. Rogers? She’s picked Mr. Rogers and voila! He had appeared. Shy. Sweet. Sensitive. The dirty rat! He’d done it on purpose, played the role of a modern, tender man. Good grief, if she’d picked Rambo, he probably would have greased up his body, looped ammo belts around his neck and stuck a butcher knife between his teeth. She’d had him writing poetry! “Sarah, where are you going? What happened?” Deborah’s worried voice penetrated Sarah’s dazed thoughts. She’d almost passed her friend on the path to the motorhome. Sarah turned around. “You were right.” “About what? Sarah, what’s wrong? You look like you’re in shock.” “I probably am.” “My Lord, did they actually get into a brawl? What happened?” “There was no fight. You were right. Lucas was perfectly capable of handling Ryan.” “But—” “Don’t worry about it. Ryan’s fine. Lucas is fine. Actually, I think they have the makings of a solid friendship.” “What?” “They have so much in common, you know—my welfare.” “That doesn’t surprise me,” Deborah said. “And then, there’s the fact that they’re two liked-minded bullies. When you get right down to it, you could almost call them blood- brothers. They both look at the world in the same way—as predators.” Sarah started walking again. “Where are you going?” “To change my clothes.”
River Ames spent the first eighteen years of her life in Southern California. Here is a partial list of some of the cities in which she lived: Pasadena, South Pasadena, Duarte, El Monte, Arcadia La Puente, Lomita, West Covina, Pacifica, Santa Monica, Palmdale, and Hacienda Heights. In some of those cities, she lived at six different addresses. In the city of La Puente, River's family lived in four different houses on the same street. The non-glamorous reason for all the moves was habitual eviction necessitated for non-payment of rent. It was an interesting way to grow up.
River attended twenty-six different elementary schools, two different junior high schools and four different high schools. In one elementary school, she was a student for only three days.
Perhaps, because she was so frequently identified as the "new girl," the pattern of River being an observer instead of a participant in the interactions going on around her seemed a logical fit for her personality.
When she was thirteen, River read "Gone with the Wind." She skipped three days of school in order to finish the book in one sitting. Disappointed in Rhett for "not giving a damn," River wrote her own sequel--in long hand, on three-hole punch, notebook paper. The opening line? "Tomorrow dawned bright and fair." In less than fifty pages, Scarlett had been transformed into Jane Eyre and Rhett had fallen in love with her all over again.
After Southern California, River has spent the next part of her life living in the semi-rural town of Idaho Falls, Idaho. She is a graduate of Idaho State University, majoring in Health Education Sciences and Addiction Counseling. She's worked the past ten years at a Behavioral Health Center where she assisted children, teenagers, and adults committed in a 24/7 secured facility because of mental health challenges they are experiencing.
River's books celebrate the good-natured humor that lays at the heart of most of our human predicaments. The conflicts are significant, yet it is her characters and their quirky (yet somehow universally relatable) thoughts, words, and choices that reflect a light-hearted peek into a world we wish was real. The amazing thing is that these worlds are real to readers for the time they visit there.
Readers have said: "In a River Ames book, one minute I'm laughing out loud, and the next I have a lump in my throat."
River is currently readying a historical novel, "Gideon's Justice." This three-part novel is Book I in a three volume western series set in the Colorado Territory.
Can you, for those who don't know you already, tell something about yourself and how you became an author?
As is unfortunately common with a lot of people, I grew up in a broken home. I was the oldest of three children and had the responsibility of making sure they had clean clothes to wear to school, food to eat, and provided with adult supervision at night. I assumed these responsibilities at 10 years of age. Looking back, it breaks my heart to realize how inadequate I was for the job. Being poor and regularly evicted from the places we rented, we moved around a lot. I went to 27 different elementary schools. One of them for only three days before we moved somewhere else. I think that’s where my passion for writing began. I was always the new girl. I’d get the tour the first day and try to remember where my class was, who my teacher was, and where the lavatories were located. I spent a lot of time watching the other kids instead of interacting with them. I think being a “watcher” was a way of being safe. Since I was on the outside, looking in, I think it was a natural step for me to assume a role of observer. And, isn’t that what a writer is, or does? Observes.
What is something unique/quirky about you?
When I was thirteen, I read Gone with the Wind. I actually skipped two days of school so I could read it in one block of time. I couldn’t believe how Margaret Mitchell ended the novel. Remember, I was only thirteen and didn’t know anything about borderline personalities. I got out some lined paper and wrote a sequel where Scarlet reformed herself and developed a personality remarkably similar to Jane Eyre. Rhett fell in love with her all over again—she began helping her neighbors rebuild. She even worked in the fields. (If Rhett couldn’t love her with callused hands, then maybe he didn’t deserve her.) It only took me about thirty pages to have them back in each other’s arms. She even got pregnant again. This time it was twins—a boy and a girl.
One thing about my books, there’s always a happy ending.
What kind of world ruler would you be?
I would be the best ruler ever. I would have schools built where students (of any age) could receive practical as well as intellectual learning. I would invest in urban renewal projects where people who wanted to work would have jobs in their own community building homes and business. There would be programs for individuals to receive medical training. Since I think drugs are the scourge of today’s society, I would also invest in making our public schools a safe place that fully engaged children until their parents came home. There would even be rooms in which they could spend the night if there was no adult supervision available for them where they lived. How to pay for all this besides raises taxes? I believe there are enough and amazing retirees who would be willing to volunteer several hours a week of their time to make their community a safe and wondrous place.
Which of your novels can you imagine made into a movie?
All of them! I think my four contemporary romances: To Each His Own, Bachelor in the Boondocks, Every Good Deed, and Detour to Paradise would make terrific Hallmark movies. My western novels are just begging for cinematic life. Gideon’s Justice, Youngblood’s Rules, and McKenzie’s Law (a western trilogy) are set in the Colorado Territory. That’s some might beautiful country for a backdrop. When my heroes and heroines spar with each other, their dialogue sizzles. My heroines are not shy about expressing their grievances. Nor, are my heroes reticent about speaking the hard truths they think the heroines need to hear (all for their own good, of course).
Which of your books most resembles your life?
Every Good Deed tells the story of Erin Clay who married while still in college. The man who won her heart was sophisticated, wealthy, and charming. When she becomes widowed, Erin learns some things about her late-husband's true character that shatter any remaining affection she might have have felt toward him. When an old friend, Linc Severance, shows up, Erin doesn't trust her judgment to recognize real love and take the risk of opening herself up to possible disappointment. After all, she has a young son to raise and safeguard. The question for Erin is, can she believe enough in herself, in the woman she's become, to give her heart again. For Linc, who's always secretly yearned for Erin, can he give himself permission to claim the woman he's loved from the first moment he saw her?
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