What things absolutely drive you insane?
I love this question! Here are my pet peeves, in no particular order:
1. Food porn. I hate when people post pictures of their food on social media. Many of the times it looks terrible and just turns my stomach! Many people don’t know that there are actually photographers who specialize in food photography for magazines and TV commercials. Just as with any model, they use the correct lighting and cosmetics, some kind of spray, that makes food more visually appealing. Without these tricks, many cooked meals look like a mess. I also hate when people describe in detail what they ate (my mother does this). I tune out. Okay, I guess I’m just not a foodie.
2. Selfie porn. I’ve actually unfollowed two friends on Instagram because all they post every day, sometimes more than once!, are pictures of themselves in various poses. I admit, one of them looks way better in pictures than in person (maybe I’m just jealous because I look terrible in photos) but human endurance has a limit. Curb your narcissism, please!
3. The one-upmanship friend. This is your friend who listens to your success and then one-ups you. Example: Her: Are you still working for that PR agency? Me: Yes, they’re really happy with my work. They’ve been giving me a ton of assignments on the XXX account. Her: Oh, XXX is one of their oldest accounts. Have you been to their offices? Me: No, I haven’t. Her: I stopped in to visit Joe recently. It’s a gorgeous building. They’re really doing well. So now my great success has now been totally obliterated by her know-it-allness about XXX, being pally with agency CEO Joe and visit to the office. I slink on to another topic, where I attempt to regain ground.
4. The text ignorer: I think it’s polite to acknowledge texts. What’s the big deal with just typing “OK” or, if that’s too much for your fingers, how about just “K”? Just give some indication of hearing the other person as you would in a conversation. Also, say something to end a text conversation and not just leave it dangling in the air. Sometimes one of those big thumbs-ups will suffice, or I like to send a flower picture. Just something to put the period on the conversation nicely.
5. The put-down friend: This is your friend (or mother) who subtly puts down your choices by stating they never would’ve made that particular choice. Example: Me: I wasted my time meeting that guy last night. He was a total dud. Her: That’s why I don’t bother with online dating sites. It’s just a waste of time. All I wanted was a bit of sympathy, commiseration if you will, not a judgmental pronouncement about my choice to do online dating.
6. “Off of:” This phrase has been really bugging me lately. When did we start saying things like ”get off of the highway” instead of just “get off the highway.” What’s with the “of”? Why do we need that? Maybe I’m going crazy, but I don’t think people used to say “off of.” Get rid of it.
7. Beddy smells. At my last job, there was a guy who had to work the early shift and came in at six a.m. Whenever I walked by him, I’d get a whiff of that stale, unwashed, bed smell. Now, I know he had to get up early, but dude, take a shower before coming to work! The same goes for bedrooms. They can get that horrible stale smell when they’re closed in. Leave doors and windows open to air out the room. And dudes, when you’re expecting a hot date, put clean sheets on the bed. It’s gross to get into someone else’s smelly, used sheets. Sexy and romantic—not!
8. Guys who are too forward too fast. So I’m having an initial phone conversation with a guy I met on a dating site. He immediately starts calling me “baby,” which just sets my teeth on edge. Him: Hey baby...I’m looking forward to meeting, you baby...you don’t mind if I call you baby, do you?” Me: Yes, I do. I’ve said all of three sentences to you. I don’t even know if I like you. Needless to say, no coffee date ensued. Then there are the ones who grab your hand on the first date. And the ones who are ostensibly giving you a friendly hug, but push you in the middle of your back, forcing your boobs into their chest. Dudes, just take your time and be respectful!
By now readers are probably thinking I’m a total grump. I’m really not, nor are my characters, especially not my characters. But I feel so much better. Nothing like a good rant! Thank you, Laurie!
ABOUT THE BOOK
In the Heat of the Tropics
by Christina Elliott
GENRE: Romantic suspense
Amid a sweltering Miami summer, a serial killer is haunting the city. Reporter Ingrid Sorenson is assigned the story and her primary source is brusque detective Rick Gonzalez. The pair clash, but sparks of passion ignite. They risk their jobs to give in to their desire, but mistrust of each other’s career motives wedges them apart. Then Ingrid gets a tip that leads her into the killer’s lair. She and Rick must choose between saving themselves or rescuing their love.
The sky darkened again as if a dimmer switch had been thrown. Rick flicked on the headlights. “I don’t think we’re going to beat the rain,” he said. “Do you want to turn back?”
Worry crossed her face. “No way. I’ve got a deadline to meet,” she said. “I’m not afraid of getting wet.”
He gave her an assessing glance as they pulled up to a stop light. She was plucky, he had to give her that. And smart. The light changed and he turned his attention to the road. He had to keep his guard up. She was a reporter, first and foremost. He had to remember that.
“Have you found witnesses who might’ve seen a suspect?” she asked.
“I can’t discuss specifics of the investigation. The killer chose his times and locations very carefully, which suggests a lot of pre-meditation. These weren’t spontaneous homicides. He went to different areas known for prostitution pickups each time because johns would be scared to go to the place where one had just been murdered and the hookers would be on the alert, but they were all in this general North Miami area. He staked out lonely streets to direct the customer to drive to commit the sexual act and likely had his vehicle parked nearby to make a fast escape.”
Ingrid was avidly taking notes. He paused to wait for her to catch up, and wondered if he was saying too much. As long as he focused on details about the killer that someone would recognize, he couldn’t get in trouble.
By the time he pulled up to the scene of the third killing a mile away, fat plops of rain were sporadically splattering the windshield. They soon increased to a steady drumbeat battering the roof.
“Crap,” Ingrid said.
“There’s not much to see, honestly, just another side street.”
“I still think I should see the actual spot,” Ingrid said.
He would have to end up with a super-thorough reporter. “I have an umbrella here somewhere,” he muttered, foraging under the seat.
Holding the umbrella, he jogged to the passenger side and opened the door. Necessarily brushing shoulders to fit side-by-side under the small shelter, they walked down the street to an alcove of an abandoned building.
“Victim three was found parked outside this doorway, Saul Martinez,” Rick said.
The sky cracked as if it were splitting apart, unleashing a torrent of water.
“I love these midsummer thunderstorms in Miami, don’t you?” Ingrid said.
Lightning illuminated her face with a bright halo. Her cheeks shone where the rain had caught them, her forehead framed with tendrils of damp hair. Drops glistened on her eyelashes like tiny tears. He felt himself gliding toward her.
She blinked and the raindrops fell from her lashes. He halted himself.
“You’re getting wet. Let’s head to victim four,” he said brusquely. He turned toward the car without waiting for an answer.
The crime scene was a side street ten blocks west. This time they didn’t get out of the car. Rick pulled up and reconstructed the scene, restraining his urge to lean over her, just to breathe in her slightly sweet powdery scent, as he pointed from the window.
By the time they pulled back into the station parking lot, the rain had tapered to a dancing sprinkle and fingers of sunlight poked through the clouds, sending an eerie, hazy wash over the atmosphere.
He parked. Ingrid handed him her business card. “If you think of anything else, call me. My cell’s on there, too.”
Rick tucked it in a pocket. “So, what are you going to write?”
“What you told me, plus I’ll call some serial-killer psychology experts.”
“Just don’t get me in trouble again.”
Ingrid gave him a hard look. He’d meant it as a joke, but it hadn’t come out lightheartedly. She’d taken it as a rebuke. Damn.
“Thanks very much for your time, Detective.” Her tone was frosty. “If I have any other questions, I’ll call Major Montoya.”
The slam of the door buffeted the vehicle.
AUTHOR Bio and Links:
Christina Elliott is a former Miami newspaper reporter and editor. She now writes spicy romantic suspense novels from Los Angeles, where she’s glad to report there are far fewer bad-hair days but sadly far less Cuban coffee. She is a member of the Romance Writers of America.
Christina Elliott will be awarding a $15 Amazon/BN GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.
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