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Tuesday, October 27, 2009
Proof of Life Tea Party with Misty Evans
Favorite chairs anticipating,
No matter what I have to do,
My friend there's always time for you.”
As a young girl, one of my favorite stories was Alice in Wonderland. The Mad Hatter’s tea party was my favorite part. I loved setting up tea parties with my dolls and my Southern Belle momma always happily obliged by providing real tea. As soon as she saw me setting out plates and cups, she’d put the kettle of water on the stove to boil.
Other fond memories of tea exist in my mind as well. When I was sick, mom would feed me sugared Lipton tea with toast. In summer, we’d pick mint leaves to add to our pitcher of iced tea and drink it in the kitchen while we shelled peas and listened to soap operas or the radio. When our work was done, I’d take my glass of tea outside with a book and sit in the sun.
“You can never get a cup of tea large enough or a book long enough to suit me.” – C.W. Lewis
Tea and books have always gone hand in hand for me. Even now, as an author, I not only enjoy a cup of tea when I’m writing, but I also enjoy letting a character here and there enjoy a cup too. Tea is a comfort food for Brigit, the heroine in my latest release, Proof of Life. She’s been wounded by a sniper, had her apartment set on fire and then been accused of kidnapping the daughter of the Republican nominee for president. All the while, she’s been hiding a dangerous secret about her family from the Deputy Director of the CIA, Michael Stone. So when he takes her to his home in order to question her, she’s determined to keep her walls up even though she can barely keep her eyes open. Her will power is tested, not when he demands answers about her family or her true identity, but when he fixes her a cup of Earl Grey and a bowl of soup.
In the kitchen, Michael was sorting through the refrigerator. His suit coat was off and his shirt sleeves were rolled up to his elbows. A tattoo on the inside of his left wrist caught her eye. It looked like a fancy compass. She perched on a stool at the expansive marble breakfast bar and dropped her chin into her hands to watch him.
Without a word, he moved around the kitchen, filling a pot with water and setting it on the stovetop. As the gas fire heated the water, he took a couple of mugs and a box of tea bags out of an overhead cabinet. “Earl Grey or English Teatime?” he asked nonchalantly, as if he served suspected felons tea at his breakfast bar on a regular basis.
“Earl Grey,” Brigit answered with the same measured casualness.
A few minutes later, hot tea warming her stomach, she couldn’t help but relax…
Once she relaxes, Michael continues to take care of her, bandaging her blown stitches and getting her to take a pain pill, because even though she’s been accused of kidnapping his niece, he likes her and doesn’t want her to be in pain.
Her eyes narrowed. “You tricked me.”
As he walked away to return his first-aid supplies to the bathroom, he wondered the same thing himself. She’d expected him to be the hard-ass, to interrogate her. Instead he’d done the opposite.
He stopped in the doorway and turned back. “It’s all part of my evil plan. Feed you, doctor you and give you a place to sleep since you don’t have one.”
“So I’ll be in your debt and at your mercy.”
“Exactly.” He was definitely enjoying that idea.
She mulled his confirmation over for a few seconds. “It’s working.”
“Yeah.” He grinned. “I know.”
“A woman is like a tea bag, you cannot tell how strong she is until you put her in hot water.” – Nancy Reagan
Strong female characters are like strong tea…they wake you up and make you smile. I love to throw mine in hot water and see what happens. Do they turn bitter or does their personality bloom and grow? Each one of them is like a different flavor of tea as well, some more bold and dramatic than others, like almond spice or lemon. Some have a touch of the exotic, like jasmine or chai. But even the mild-tempered can be exciting to write because I have to sit with them a bit more to appreciate their subtle mix of complex flavors. Brigit was that kind of character for me (and for Michael). I had to sit with her more than some of the other heroines I’ve written because she had so many layers, but when I put her in hot water, she flavored the story deliciously.
Making a deal with a man like Michael Stone was always risky, and yet she had no choice. The only way to protect Tory, get her sister some help, was to aid him in bringing her in.
Brigit locked her attention on Michael’s large, strong hands and considered her future. She couldn’t stop Peter, save Tory and rescue her father without help. A lot of help. And not the kind of carrot-dangling-in-your-face help the president kept offering. SIS and their resources were no longer at her fingertips. Her job was gone, her apartment left in smoldering ruins, and she was wanted in connection with Ella’s kidnapping. No more Miss Nice Guy. It was time to pull up her big girl knickers and deal.
Lucky for her, blackmail worked both ways. “I’ll help you find Peter,” she said, leaning forward so her face was only inches from his. “But in the end, if we find Tory too, you’ll pull the strings necessary to get her charges reduced and provide counseling. Deal?”
A hint of a smile danced on his lips. He tilted his head a fraction as if he were amused by her challenge. “You’re not in a position to bargain, Dr. Kent.”
She mirrored his smile and his head tilt. “Wanna bet?”
“Come, let us have some tea and continue to talk about happy things.” – Chaim Potok
So fix yourself a cup of tea, grab a good book and let’s have a tea party. I’ve saved you a seat!
Anyone who comments today is eligible in win a free ecopy of PROOF OF LIFE, the third book in my Super Agent series.
I’m also offering members of my Yahoo! Group a free prologue to PROOF OF LIFE that isn’t in the book. To join the group (which has other free reads as well), or to sign up for my newsletter, send me an email misty@readMistyEvans.com and I’ll invite you!
If you’d like to know more about me and my books, visit www.readMistyEvans.com.
Thank you to You Gotta Read for having me today!
“May you always have walls for the winds, a roof for the rain, tea beside the fire,
laughter to cheer you, those you love near you and all your heart might desire.”