I’m super excited to reveal my next release! I love this book so much!
I’ve got a little story about how this one came to be.
I have a log of story ideas and a loose schedule for when I’ll write and release each one, and that log, were all those ideas to become books and were I not to get any more ideas than those, would take me through the year 2030.
But ideas come to me all the time, and I don’t see that changing much anytime soon. Sometimes they’re vague, just tiny seeds that need time to root before there might be something to write. Other times, I get hit upside with the inspiration stick, and a new story jumps up and down on my brain pan and shouts WRITE ME WRITE ME WRITE ME until I rearrange my whole schedule and write it.
That happened a few months back, and my next release is the result.
The very first flutter of inspiration was a simple phrase: “gender-swapped Notting Hill.” That’s both a fairly good logline for the book I wrote and wholly insufficient to describe the story. But it’s the premise I began with: an American superstar and a British bookseller, a chance meeting, and a clash of incompatible lives.
This superstar is a rock star (OMG! I wrote a rock-star romance! Did NOT see that coming!), and the particulars of their story diverge significantly from that first flutter of inspiration. In fact, as the story developed, I realized that it shares themes with another book that came about from a sudden blow from the inspiration stick—Love & Other Lessons—and by the time this new book was finished, I knew I had a new “series” starting.
“Series” is in quotes because it’s not really the right word. These are unrelated standalone stories, with no locations or characters in common. They simply share some fundamental themes, particularly regarding European travel and couples whose lives are far apart, literally and figuratively.
A (the?) major inspiration for these stories is my own deep love of travel and affection for the places I’ve dreamed of visiting all my life and am now finally able to experience. There’s a lot of love for place in these stories. So I’m calling the “series” the “Crossings Collection,” and maybe, as I continue (I hope!) to travel to beautiful cities around the world, the inspiration stick will swing again someday.
Like Love & Other Lessons, Impossible is a true contemporary romance—sweet and sexy, a touch of angst, a dash of humor, and all the feels. Very low on the gritty/dark scale.
I love this story so so so much! I hope you will, too!
Impossible goes live on Saturday, 3 July. A preorder will be available in three weeks. You can add it to your Goodreads now.
Here’s the synopsis:
Dallas Cole has had it.
After more than twenty years fronting the band he’d formed with his childhood friends, he’s worn down by the constant grind of rock-and-roll superstardom. On a whim, at the end of their latest world tour, he bolts from his London hotel. No plan in mind, he just wants to fade into obscurity, get a chance to catch his breath and remember why he wanted to make music in the first place.
But it’s not so easy for a rock god to disappear.
Elspeth MacCleary gets quite the shock when Dallas Cole crashes into her Bloomsbury bookshop and drunkenly demands a place to hide. By the time she’s dealt with the mob chasing him, he’s made himself inconveniently at home in her flat upstairs.
What does one do with an unconscious rock god?
What does one say when he wakes and asks to stay?
The superstar and the bookseller. The Yank and the Brit. The partier and the teetotaler.
Los Angeles and London.
Their love should be impossible. But maybe, where it matters, they’re not so different after all.
And, for a preview, a scene from Chapter 2:
“I expect you can put that down now.”
Errol shifted his attention to the broadsword he held in both hands. He’d taken it down from over the mantelpiece after they’d crept into Elspeth’s flat.
It wasn’t a real sword—or, perhaps it was, but the blade had never been honed. For many decades, a true claymore, a MacCleary heirloom from the days of clans and kilts, the days most people thought of as Mel Gibson in a mullet and face paint, had hung over the mantelpiece in her grandparents’ lounge. But her grandfather had sold it years ago, in one of his many eleventh-hour efforts to keep the shop going. Then, feeling the loss, he’d replaced it with this replica.
It did little to ease her grandfather’s loss, but it had become something of a talisman to Elspeth. Selling the broadsword had saved the shop, every desperate move her grandfather had made had kept the mechanisms running, and now she was in the same position. As long as the sword hung above the mantelpiece, she felt some hope that she’d be able to open the shop each day.
She’d hung the replica here when she’d moved in. She’d not expected ever to have need of it as a weapon, yet here they were.
At present, however, her intruder posed little threat, except to her poor ficus. Dallas Cole had vomited into its pot. His black hat, its band trimmed with silver studs, hung awkwardly on the plant’s fragile branches.
A quite literal rock god was passed out, face down, on Elspeth’s bed. His big feet, inside their fancy-but-scuffed cowboy boots, dangled over the side.
It had taken ten minutes or so to convince Cole’s extremely enthusiastic fans and determined paparazzi that he wasn’t in the shop and get them all to leave, and another ten minutes to undo their damage and finally lock the door. In those twenty minutes, Cole managed to poison her favourite plant, break an antique table and the lamp it had supported, and fall into an apparent coma on her bed.
Elspeth patted Errol’s arm. “You can put it down, Errol.”
Finally, her friend lowered the sword—and then poked Cole in the arse with it. When Cole didn’t react, Errol poked him a few more times. “Mr. Cole?” he muttered.
Errol leaned the sword against the nearest wall. “What should we do?”
Elspeth had no answer to that crucial question. “I don’t understand what’s gone on. Where did he come from?”
“By the look and smell of him, I’d say he came from the Goat.”
The Scarlet Goat, their local pub, just ‘round the corner. Elspeth agreed—he was quite clearly pissed out of his mind, and he’d run in breathless but not heaving, so he mustn’t have been far away when the mob came for him—but that wasn’t truly her question. She’d meant ‘where did he come from’ in a larger sense. “You were at their show just last night,” she pointed out. “Shouldn’t he be at the Ritz, surrounded by security? What was he doing alone in a Bloomsbury pub?”
“Maybe he needed to be alone. It’s not a long walk from the Ritz. Less than two miles, I’d say.”
Elspeth turned and gave Errol the look such a mundane observation demanded. “Through Covent Garden. The lead singer of one of the most popular bands in the world took a walk through one of the most popular tourist areas of England because he wanted to be alone?”
Errol shrugged. “It’s not for me to understand the mindset of the rich and famous. But—” his rather pronounced features gained a keenness, and he leaned in to whisper, “there’s a rumour going ‘round online that something big happened with the band.”
Elspeth’s musical taste ran to what Errol called the Angry-Emo Birds—Kate Bush, Ani DiFranco, and so on. It was impossible to avoid knowing some things about the Bawcocks, they were ubiquitous as the Beatles, but she didn’t follow music news like Errol did. Which was to say obsessively.
“Aye. Perhaps a breakup. There’s even been some whisper that he”—Errol nodded in the direction of the very large body on her bed—“disappeared after the show last night.”
“And yet.” She did a game-show-model gesture with her hand, indicating the extremely apparent Dallas Cole.
“Yes, but I daresay that’s why the mob. The rumours are flying today. People backstage, or at the hotel, heard things.”
Elspeth cared very little about the whys and wherefores of Dallas Cole’s appearance in her home. She only wanted him out. “I suppose I should ring 999.” Let him be a problem for the police.
“What?” Errol barked in shock. “You can’t possibly!”
“Why not? Perhaps you’ve not noticed, but there’s an intruder in my bed.”
“There’s a rock star in your bed, Elspeth. I’d say that’s fundamentally different. If you call the police, the story will be everywhere before sunset. You could ruin him.”
“I? I am not the one who broke into a stranger’s home, defiled her favourite plant, and passed out in her bed!”
Grabbing her arms, Errol turned her to face him fully. His expression now was wrought with pleading. “Please. Let him stay only until he wakes. I’ll stay with you, to keep you safe. Nothing bad will happen, and perhaps he’ll appreciate a good turn done.”
Ah. Errol didn’t want to lose his chance to meet Dallas Cole—perhaps to have Dallas Cole owe him.
Except it wasn’t Errol who’d be doing the good turn.
It was on the tip of her tongue to call him on it, but Elspeth decided to refrain. Errol had been going through a difficult time of late. He’d brought a fair amount of his trouble on himself, as usual, but still, he was struggling. There was little more trouble Cole could make whilst he was unconscious—and likely, considering the degree of his fame, once he was sober, he’d be loath to do anything that would stir up even more trouble for himself. When he woke, she could simply offer him a cuppa, show him how to summon a cab, and send him on his way.
That seemed like a reasonable plan. It might mean, depending on the depth of his drunken stupor, she’d be sleeping on the sofa tonight, but it was comfortable enough.
Errol was the one who had to leave. He was likely close to two stone lighter than she and built like a pencil. The notion that he could ‘keep her safe’ was the comic relief of this strange scene.
Also, and she recognised the pettiness in this, she didn’t want Errol here when Cole woke. Her friend would behave stupidly and would very likely take credit for the rescue, such as it was.
“All right. I won’t ring the police. When he wakes, I’ll have him leave. But Errol, you’ve got to go.”
“What? Elspeth, no! You shouldn’t be alone with him.”
“Then I’ll ring 999.”
“No! You don’t—if I—” he stopped and finally saw her expression. “Fine. But if he murders you …”
With a laugh, she let that illogic slide. “If he murders me, you can tell the story any way you like. Fair enough?”
Though he made his disappointment acutely obvious, Errol allowed himself to be pushed toward the stairs. Elspeth went down with him and let him out the door that led directly onto the street. “Ring me in the morning, and I’ll give you the full scoop.”
She got a melancholy smile. “You’ve stolen my brush with greatness, but I still love you.”
“If only he’d run a few steps more, perhaps he’d have crashed into your shop, eh?”
“The Fates are truly cruel,” he sighed and slumped to his own shop.
Elspeth locked up and climbed to her flat again. Viola and Sebastian were sat where they’d been since Elspeth and Errol first came up: side by side on the damask wing chair they’d claimed as kittens. Usually, they were little more than a creamy cloud of long fur in that chair, but now they were sentries, staring at the intruder in Elspeth’s bed.
She considered her poor ficus and wrinkled her nose.
“First, I suppose I’ll sort out this mess. Then, we’ll just get on with our normal evening, yeah?” she asked her feline roommates. They paid her no mind.
Elspeth picked the ficus up by its pot and lugged it to the back deck, where she had a potting table. Trying not to breathe overmuch, she dumped the fouled soil in the bin, repotted the tree, and returned it to its proper place, hoping she’d saved it in time.
Then she got on with her normal evening and, to every possible extent, ignored the rock star in her bed.
©2021 Susan Fanetti