Bikers and Pearls is the contemporary romance story by Vicki Wilkerson. I am happy to have a guest post and excerpt from this lovely author.
Why We Read
Guest Blog Post
If you asked 5 different people why they read, you’d probably get 5 different answers. I am not so sure we are always attuned to why we read, but there are some common reasons for readers picking up certain books.
First of all, people read to escape. Reading is entertainment. Stories can propel us into the lives of other, sometimes more fascinating, people. We go places and do things—all from the safety and comfort of our own couches or beds. We don’t risk anything on the journey, so it’s a safe escape. Through books, we can live others’ lives. And in the process—in a really good book—we learn things about new locations and what makes people tick.
On a side note, though it is subconscious and subliminal, readers are learning new verbal, writing and vocabulary skills. I know those things are no fun if one must do them for an assignment (I know because I am a recovering high school English teacher), but when we learn new, valuable skills without trying, then all the better! I used to get asked all the time by my English honors students, “What can I do to increase my chances of scoring higher on the SAT and ACT tests?” My answer was backed up by tons of academic research: Read, read, read!
Like it or not, readers are getting smarter and more educated the more they read. I believe that something instinctual in readers makes them aware of this fact—even if they don’t overtly consider it. When readers choose novels, they seek the kinds of stories that complement their own lives, as well. When I say “complement” I mean enhance, and that enhancement can be different for different readers.
For example, if one has a stressful, troubled life, one might choose to read a sweet, cozy novel to ultimately make her feel safe and calm. Another reader may wish to read a book with an even more stressful situation than her own life so that she can experience a happily-ever-after ending to a situation that is even more turbulent than her own. She may think that if the other “situation” could be resolved in a satisfactory way, then maybe hers might, as well.
So, stories must “complement” the reader—you know, make sense for their lives and give them hope. Reading is satisfying. I bet most seasoned readers, upon getting into many novels, can almost predict the endings. Well, there’s a reason for that. It’s called “The Hero’s Journey.” Most commercial fiction is designed around this ancient story protocol. As people, and as readers, we are hard-wired to get gratification from its design. It begins with a hero (or heroine) who leaves the familiar world to go on an adventure. The middle part of the story is centered around the hero’s trials and tribulations during his quest for “the holy grail” or knowledge or love or whatever. It ends with the hero’s return home with the “grail” or answer or some other resolution. Though that is the simplified explanation, the story model is far more complicated. Anyway, readers get a satisfying reading experience from The Hero’s Journey. Though they may not be able to explain that “the journey” is one reason they like to read, it is.
With all that knowledge in hand, I wrote Bikers and Pearls. It is a sweet romance, filled with a lot of laughs. It will take readers on a satisfying escape from their “ordinary” worlds and will allow them to learn about life in the South and the psyche of a few unique Southern characters. For some readers, it will exemplify “Why We Read.” I had such fun writing it, and I love sharing this story of acceptance and healing. Happy reading, y’all!
Who said tempting a sweet Southern belle would be easy?
When rebel biker Bullworth Clayton gets tangled up with pastel-and-pearls-clad April Church, sparks fly. Sure, April would clearly rather work with anyone else, but if teaming up with Bull means a successful charity event for a sick little boy they both care about, then so be it.
April is baffled at how drawn she is to the leather-wearing, tattooed Bull—he just doesn’t fit with her simple, safe, country-club life. And as much as the handsomely rugged man tempts her, she still can’t shake the images of the tragic motorcycle accident from her past, which left her scarred and her father broken.
Bull tempts her to don a pair of leather pants and go for a ride with him, while April desperately tries to resist her attraction to the wild side and keep her exploits hidden from her small town. Will they be able to navigate their differences and find a middle road to love?
(When April first met Bullworth)
April backed up against the wall to better hide the crooked chrome she held. Of all the stupid things that could happen.
With her free hand, she brushed at the pleats on her skirt to straighten them. Then she switched the mirror into her right hand and smoothed out the other side. Everything was under control.
“What do you have there?” inquired a low, masculine voice from above her head.
She snapped to attention like she was about to undergo a military inspection.
A handsome, muscular man in a black bomber jacket towered above her, larger than life. His shoulder-length hair was pulled back into a neat ponytail. Golden streaks highlighted his nut-brown mane. His indigo-colored eyes perused her face. “Is something wrong?”
She twisted the strand of pearls that draped from her neck between her fingers with her free hand. “No. Everything’s fine,” she said. It would be as soon as she could meet up with Mr. Morrow or some of the other members from the civic organizations.
“Then what are you hiding behind your back?”
He had seen. Oh, no. He had seen.
“Just a little mishap. I’m going to take care of it.”
“You ride?” The left corner of his mouth curled up. “In a skirt?”
“No.” She hoped her voice didn’t sound strained. “No, I’ve never ridden on a motorcycle before,” she said calmly.
He narrowed his eyes. “Then why are you walking around with a Harley dome billit mirror?”
That was a good question. Why was she? She held out the broken piece of the bike in front of her. “I don’t know how it happened. I was opening my car door, and then—”
He took it from her, examined it, and gave it back. “Let me guess. It just fell.” He tilted his head, exposing a strong, angular jawline. “All by itself.”
“That’s right. It really did happen that way. Exactly.” He probably didn’t believe a word she said. And she couldn’t blame him. She heard unlikely stories like hers from claimants at the insurance company all the time.
“Ahhh, I see. Sure it did,” he said. But the left side of his grin inched upward again
BIO: Vicki is a native of the Charleston, South Carolina, Lowcountry and loves to share her enchantment with the area with readers through her writing. Even in childhood, she enjoyed penning stories and poems—no doubt fueled by her grandfather's enthusiasm for telling tales himself. Where else—but in the South—could one find the interesting blend of salt water, eerie swamps, unwritten traditions and unique characters? In her spare time, she loves traveling, spending weekends at her family's lake house, playing golf and cooking (with lots of wine).
Visit Vicki at http://www.vickiwilkerson.com .
Praise for Bikers and Pearls:
“A sweetly Southern story with a deep heart.” –Deborah Smith, New York Times bestselling author of A Place to Call Home
“…I was drawn in by the rebel biker Bullworth "Bull" Clayton meeting demure pearls and skirts wearing April Church but the sweetness between them unfolded and I was hooked.” -Sarah Tolinger, Vine Voice
“This lovely book is a romantic journey of self-discovery, acceptance and understanding. With wonderful characters and a captivating story, it has a perfect combination of moments that are heartwarming and touching, those which make your heart ache and humour at which I laughed out loud.” -Review from Amazon and Goodreads
“There is no hanky-panky in this book. I repeat: there is NO hanky-panky in this book! And you know what?! I LOVED IT! It made their relationship all that much more real, for me. The chemistry is TOTALLY obvious, and they didn't need to sleep together to prove it. (Ya'll know how much I love me some steamy romances, but this is perfect just the way it is.)” –Ashley Bodette at Book Junkie
Contact Vicki Wilkerson via:
"To celebrate the release of Bikers and Pearls, Vicki is giving away a pair of pearl earrings to someone who comments on either this post or the one which will be at Reviews by Crystal on August 29, 2013 (link)!
Please leave a comment with a valid e-mail address about what you like most about reading about life in the South. Contest will run until midnight September 15, 2013."