The Sleepover Clause – Book 1

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Beware of sticky divorces, or you could wind up a pawn in the middle.
Aubrey Carpenter has no idea that the rustic, man’s man mountain cabin she just converted to high Louis XIV style is still owned by her client’s estranged husband. And he’s not impressed with the results.

While his anger subsides, Aubrey skips town, trying to avoid embarrassing her social-climbing mother further. She lands in small town Iowa finishing the interior of the motor coach for her sister’s concert tour, to the dismay of the three brothers who run the customization company. Mitch McKenna, in particular, doesn’t want a professional interior decorator around, or she might pick up on the underwhelming job he’s doing.
To stay, she must agree to a lengthy list of “conditions.” She retaliates with her own provision: an on-site place to sleep on nights when work runs late. When they fall behind schedule, she invokes the Sleepover Clause, to help her catch up.

Underfoot more often, Aubrey discovers what Mitch’s brothers have been too blind to see: he’d rather be practicing law. And Mitch wonders why someone who disparages the Midwest at every opportunity would willingly spend the hottest days of summer in the Hawkeye state.

When Aubrey’s former client, now reunited with her husband, sues, Mitch is forced to team up with his mentor to take her case. But when it becomes apparent that Aubrey can only defend herself by asking her mother for help, she’d rather run away again than have her judgmental mother turn her down.

The Story Behind the Story

This is the second go-round for this book. It is now being published by The Wild Rose Press. I thought I’d learned a lot about writing in the two years between submitting my final version to the first publisher and submitting my revised version to TWRP. I had. But it still underwent more changes with them. I am very happy where it wound up.

I made one major change in the plot: I changed the name of Geoff McKenna’s girlfriend from Peggy to Eileen. Well, two changes, actually. I then changed the name of her mother from Debbie to Peggy. Why on earth would I do this? Because this was my first published book, I wasn’t thinking far enough ahead in the series. It is highly possible that Geoff and his girlfriend will break up in his story, which will be the third book in the series. Since Peggy is my sister’s name, I didn’t want to place her in a bad light, so Peggy got to stay, only she now is the mother. Did you follow that? I’m not sure how this move will pan out in the long run, so we’ll see how many readers of the first version get confused when they read the second book in the series.

When a country music star brought her show to town, the reviewer on our local newspaper devoted part of his story to describing the motor coach that had been customized just for her. The article initiated one of those “what if’s” in my brain, the kind that set the writer’s mind percolating. What if I set a story in one of those rigs? Loved the idea but I still needed a hook.

About that same time, I became a fan of HGTV, especially the interior design shows. Somehow, the two thoughts married up and took me to another “what if”: what if the star insisted on having her own interior designer finish the interior? And just to make things more interesting, what if said designer was claustrophobic?

And what if I set the story in my home state of Iowa and gave it a fish-out-of-water theme: an Angelino with attitude, who within four hours of her arrival in the Hawkeye state pronounces that Iowa sucks? I had great fun throwing her into one seeming catastrophe after another, threatening her with June bugs, an attack of mayflies, and being smoked out of a fire house.