Thursday, May 10, 2012

Long Live the King by Lee Ann Sontheimer Murphy: Guest Post & Excerpt

Every woman makes a few mistakes along the way but few get a chance to change their fate, let alone that of a rock and roll legend. In Long Live The King, a time travel fantasy romance, Lacie Logan does just that. When Lacie, a professional escort who grew up listening to Elvis Presley tunes and to her Gran-Nanna's memories of the King, finds herself in a 1956 coffee shop with Elvis Presley, she thinks it must be a dream but it isn't. As love begins to grow between Lacie - who is really just Linda Mae Logan from Greenville, Mississippi - and Elvis, the heat rises but so do the complications. In the end, however, love prevails and Lacie manages to give the ultimate gift of love by changing Elvis' fate for the better.

I have to admit – I adore Elvis.  Maybe it’s because I grew up listening to his music or it could be my aunt, Janet, happened to be one of his biggest fans.  Since we spent a lot of time together in my formative years, it’s possible her love for the man and his music was contagious.  When I started writing what became Long Live The King, I thought I was penning a short story about a professional escort in Las Vegas, a Mississippi Delta girl who used the name Lacie.  Somehow Elvis snuck his way into it, however, and turned the time from present day back to 1956, when he first visited Vegas.  

And here’s an excerpt from when Lacie meets Elvis:

She did not remember the place but it must have been here before, with its red vinyl booths, Formica-topped counter with eight stools, and waitresses with bouffant hair backcombed high. They wore pale green nylon uniform dresses with white aprons tied around their waist into a bow. Each had a small white crown-style hat perched on her head. This place looked authentic, she thought, dripping just inside the door. Vegas did retro well.

Because of the heavy rain, the place was all but empty. Two lone men sat at opposite ends of the counter. One stirred coffee in a thick white china cup on a saucer decorated with a dark green ring. The other picked at a piece of pie.

Behind her, the door opened with a rush and rain sprayed in, enough to make her jump forward. She tottered on her heels and almost fell over.

“Oh!” she cried just as a pair of strong hands caught her and put her upright.

“I am sorry, ma’am.” The voice sounded familiar, a deep voice touched with the richness of the South, dark and sweet as chocolate. “Are you all right?”

She was soaked, had only a few dollars in her purse, and was miles from the cheap motel she called home, but she tried to smile.

“Oh, I’m o-”

Lacie’s voice stuck in her throat like a bite of peanut butter sandwich as she turned, because the hands staying her fall belonged to Elvis Presley. A young Elvis. She looked into his familiar face, stared into his blue eyes, and gazed up at his combed-back light brown hair. There was no doubt--it was Elvis Presley.

Her body shook; she could not control it and she trembled, chills taking over. He was young, the King, alive. In person, he was far more handsome than any photograph or album shot portrayed. Those full lips looked as ripe and sweet as plump strawberries and his face, almost but not quite heart shaped, combined a sensual wickedness with an innocence that summoned up the familiar look of a boy from back home. He was taller than she was, by a fair bit, and dressed in simple jeans, a jacket, and a button-down cloth shirt. However, this could not be real; it was impossible. Elvis got old, grew fat, and died too young more than thirty years ago. Maybe she hit her head out in the nasty weather or maybe this was a dream. Gosh, she thought, with growing horror, what if she had died, been hit by a car or struck by lightning. Something was askew, somewhere, because what she saw had to be fantasy.

“Hey, now, take it easy,” Elvis said, putting one arm around her waist. “Everything is all right. Come on, sit down, I’ll buy you a cup of coffee.”

“Thank you,” she muttered, allowing the King of Rock ‘N Roll to steer her to a booth where she slid in across from him. She was still shivering and, being a Southern gentleman to the core, he stripped off his jacket and put it around her shoulders.

“There,” he said, in the voice that broke the hearts of millions of women for at least four generations worldwide. “Would you like some coffee?”

“Yes, thank you,” Lacie managed to say. His coat smelled very masculine, like tobacco, cologne, and his personal musk. She liked it.

 “We need two cups of coffee,” Elvis told the waitress. “We may want something else in a little while but that’ll do for now.”

Any idea he might be a very good Elvis impersonator disappeared when he stuck his hand out to her and said, “I’m Elvis Presley. I kind of think you might have noticed but out here, who knows?”

“I am.” She did not understand how this could be possible but she was happy about it, she thought. “Why wouldn’t I be?”

Elvis laughed. “I thought I’d love Las Vegas and I like it fine, but my shows here don’t get the same response they do anywhere else. Heartbreak Hotel is tops with everyone, everywhere else but here. Colonel Parker doesn’t understand it and the boys are all bored, most of the time. I’m here for two weeks and we’ve done two nights but everyone wishes we were through.”

Lee Ann Sontheimer Murphy is a full-time romance author.  A native of the old historic city of St. Joseph, Missouri, one time home to both Jesse James and the Pony Express, she now lives and writes in the beautiful Missouri Ozark region.  Available romance titles now total fifteen with more coming soon. Her work also appears in more than twenty anthologies and she has multiple short story/non-fiction credits.

            She is a member of RWA, Missouri Writers Guild, and the Ozarks Writers League.

 Her work also appears in multiple anthologies. She earned a BA degree in both English and History from Missouri Southern State University as well as an AA Degree in Journalism from Crowder College.  She worked in broadcast media for a decade and also has a background in education. 

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