Around the turn of the century, I wrote a manuscript called Hot Beds, Cold Feet. It was a murder mystery romance with a Wrong Girl/Golden Boy, Romeo/Juliet vibe that I particularly loved. It also has that small town gossipy-ness I also adore.
In the first book, the heroine, Paige, had a ne’er-do-well brother whom the hero, Sterling, loathes. Lyle was quite irredeemable in those early drafts, yet somehow earned his own story, tentatively titled Sweet Dreams. The agent I had at the time read Book Two and said, “I was surprised I liked him,” since Lyle was so awful in the early version of Hot Beds.
In 2016, When I came to re-write both, I had learned a lot about storytelling and how to create characters with ‘rooting interest.’ That’s writer talk for ‘likeable.’ Hot Beds is now Not In Her Wildest Dreams. It’s no longer a murder mystery. It has a mystery plot, a subplot romance that involves Paige’s best friend, and a lot of small town secrets that get in the way of Sterling and Paige finding Happily Ever After. (But they do, hashtag-spoileralert)
You also learn why Lyle is the train wreck he is. In the much-revised version of Sweet Dreams, now called Only In His Sweetest Dreams, he calls himself L.C. and gets his chance at HEA. I hope you’ll check it out along with this one.