- By Katy Regnery
- Editions: eBook & Paperback
- Published: June 15, 2014
- Genre: Romance, Adult, Military
- Source: Review by Request
- In a Flutter: An amazing, moving Romance
Burned by an unreliable source, Savannah Carmichael, returns to her hometown of Danvers, Virginia with her once-promising journalism career in ruins. Given the opportunity to get her skin back in the game by writing a patriotic human interest piece, Savannah turns her attention to the town hermit, Asher Lee, a wounded veteran who returned to Danvers eight years ago, and hasn’t been seen since.
After an IED explosion in Afghanistan took Asher’s hand and disfigured half of his face, he’s lived a quiet life on the outskirts of Danvers where the locals respect his privacy…that is, until Savannah Carmichael comes calling in a borrowed sundress and a plate of homemade brownies. When Asher agrees to be interviewed by Savannah, he starts feeling things for the beautiful reporter that he hasn’t felt in years.
Misfits in small-town Danvers, Savannah and Asher create a bond right away, touching each other’s hearts in ways neither thought possible. When a terrible mistake threatens to drive them apart, they’ll have to decide if the love they found in one another’s arms is strong enough to fight for their hard-won happily ever after.
Sometimes a book breaks through and reminds you why you love Romance…
The Vixen & the Vet is one of those books.
I laughed and I cried. My heart melted and soared as I read this amazing love story between two misfits. Truly, this is the kind of book that sticks with you. The quality of writing, character development, dialogue, and especially the pacing and rhythm is superlative. That’s precisely why I’ve presented this book with the BOMY Award of Excellence!
This is a stand-alone work, no cliffhangers or anything like that. The book is absolutely amazing on it’s own, but if you need more encouragement to go out and buy it, Katy Regnery, is donating 50% of the profits of The Vixen & the Vet to Operation Mend, an organization mentioned in the book which exists in real life.
Katy Regnery talks more about Operation Mend and her decision to contribute to them in my interview below.
Savannah sent the next installment of “Asher Lee: An All-American Story” to Maddox by noon on Friday, and she waited, tense, to find out what he thought. Her phone rang by 12:30.
“Carmichael? Maddox McNabb here. I read your piece.”
“Something’s missing. You’re holding something back.”
“How do you mean?”
“Your general descriptions are just fine. But the way you describe him—it’s half-assed. It’s like you’re afraid to say too much. This was a date, wasn’t it? This dinner in the grove?”
Savannah grimaced. She’d tried to write the piece as two friends having dinner together. Apparently it didn’t fly. “I guess so, sir.”
“Let me give you some advice, Carmichael. Give it heart, or give it up. You falling for this man? Asher?”
Savannah gritted her teeth. She’d promised a human interest story, not her personal business. It felt like whoring herself. Worse, it felt like whoring Asher.
“Your silence tells me all I need to know. That’s the story, Carmichael. How you went after an interview and fell in love instead. Like it or lump it, that’s the story I want. That’s the story I need. That’s the story my readers will ooh and aah about on the Fourth of July. The beautiful, hard-nosed reporter who fell for the mysterious, disfigured war vet. It’s Beauty and the Beast with ‘The Star-Spangled Banner’ playing in the background. Don’t like it? Don’t write it. We go our separate ways. You decide, kid.”
Her hackles rose. “But Mr. McNabb, I can do a fine piece on Asher Lee’s injuries, the way this town turned their backs on him, how he reads any book he can get his hand on, and went to U.Va. and got into Johns Hopkins but decided to serve his country instead. His story is remarkable. He’s remarkable. I’m nobody. I’m nothing. No one wants to read a story about me.”
“Wrong!” bellowed Maddox McNabb. “I hate to tell you, Carmichael, but right here, right now? You’re the story. Name of the game is human interest. You’re human. I’m interested. Either rewrite it by tomorrow, or don’t contact me again.” And he hung up.
Savannah clenched her jaw, lowering the phone from her ear to her lap, her head spinning. Damn it, she was stuck. And damn it, she hated being stuck. There had to be another way: another person she could interview, another war vet who had a story to tell. But no, Maddox McNabb wouldn’t be interested in that story. He already had a humdinger on the line.
She took a deep breath, lying back on her bed and staring despondently at the ceiling. Whatever was happening between her and Asher felt too good, too fine, to be used as fodder for a news story. It felt low and cheap even to consider it. And yet she was a good writer, wasn’t she? All of her professors at NYU had told her so, and she’d been the fastest rising reporter at the Sentinel before her inglorious fall. Couldn’t she pull it off in a way that would appease McNabb but not expose the most private man she’d ever met? There must be a way, she thought.
And then it came to her: she occasionally used a pen name for articles she wrote at the Sentinel. She called herself Cassandra Calhoun after her mother, Judith Cassandra Calhoun Carmichael. Couldn’t she do that for this article too? Of course she could! She could be Cassandra and Asher could be … Adam. And as long as she didn’t mention Danvers, she could write whatever she liked, Asher’s privacy would be protected and no one would ever be the wiser.
(Excerpt from The Vixen and the Vet by Katy Regnery. Used with permission. All rights reserved.)
Q&A with Katy Regnery
If you were to describe your book in only one word, what would it be?
What would you say inspired you to write it?
I was asked by Jami Davenport and Allie K. Adams to be a part of their upcoming anthology which will feature Hometown Heroes and benefit the American Heart Association. I could have chosen to write about policemen or firemen (for whom I have the utmost respect) but veterans have always tugged at my heart. I had been toying with the idea of writing a fairytale re-boot, and when the idea of a returning veteran and “Beauty and the Beast” got tangled together in my head, I was off to the races!
“The Vixen and the Vet” will benefit Operation Mend in June and July 2014, and the American Heart Association in October 2014. It’s a workhorse of a little book!
You have chosen to donate 50% of your profits to Operation Mend.
What made you chose to donate to this organization?
When I started doing my research for Asher Lee, the hero of “The Vixen and the Vet” who is wounded in an IED explosion in Afghanistan, I started reading the stories of these amazing men and women who survived such calamitous injuries. Every night I would watch a different video on the Operation Mend website, crying my eyes out. When I wasn’t watching those videos, I was trolling for videos on You Tube (which has a surprising amount of graphic content, including actual explosions with tragic consequences.) As I learned more about these men and women – read of their bravery and will to survive – I couldn’t write “The Vixen and the Vet” without giving back. My heart was so touched, so changed forever, I just wanted to help.
I’m really proud that my book will benefit Operation Mend, but more than anything I’m glad that it will raise awareness. That’s actually my favorite ancillary benefit of all. When you see an injured veteran, don’t stare or look away. Offer your hand and say “Thank you.”
Have you ever been hit by the infamous “writer’s block”? What did you do to escape it?
Thankfully, it doesn’t hit me very often. (Knock on wood!) Since September of 2012, I’ve written 10 full-length novels and 3 novellas – altogether, that’s 940,000 words in 21 months. That’s a lot of writing and not a lot of writer’s block. However, on the very few occasions I’ve been at a loss for words, I’ve written through it. You’d be surprised how much good stuff you can come up with when you force yourself. I love Nora Robert’s famous quote: “You can’t edit a blank page.”
Your all time favorite book?
Hands down, Kurt Vonnegut’s collection of short stories, Welcome to the Monkey House. Honestly, I think it’s the best collection of short stories ever written. Mr. Vonnegut was a master at concision, adept at multiple genres – “The Long Walk to Forever” is, in my opinion, one of the most romantic short stories ever penned – and yet he still manages to induce cringe-worthy discomfort in the coming-of-age story “The Lie.” “Who Am I This Time” and “Miss Temptation” are two stories that take different aspects of community theater to extrapolate on the human condition. “Welcome to the Monkey House” is a masterpiece of dystopian science fiction. And each one – every single story, all of which I’ve read tens of times – is gripping and compelling and has that satisfying “ah-ha!” moment.
What’s the longest time you’ve spent working on a project?
The final book in my Heart of Montana series, What Were You Expecting?, took me almost 4 months, but it’s 120,000 words long, one of my longest books.
What does your day-to-day life consist of? What else do you do, aside writing?
I have two grade school children, so I volunteer at their school sometimes, and they have activities after school – tennis, choir, piano lessons, Girl/Boy scouts – so I am a bit of a taxi service in the afternoon. I love meeting up with friends and entertaining, and my family lives close by so I see them regularly too.
How do you deal with bad reviews or acid criticism? What would you advise other authors to that effect?
Goodness, I don’t have a good answer to this question. I wish I could say that I take every bad or mediocre review with grace and equanimity, but I don’t. I can’t. It hurts. A lot. When a writer releases a book, she is showing readers a part of her soul, revealing a piece of her heart – and watching it be trashed is painful. I know that my books won’t appeal to everyone. But I spend hours and hours staring at each word, trying to get them right, trying to build something beautiful.
When it gets too painful, I take a little break from GoodReads and immerse myself in the craft of writing. I remember what I love about this life. I let the words take over my headspace, and it’s soothing to fall in love with them all over again.
As for other authors? Keep it to yourself. Even when it hurts so much that you’re crying your eyes out and rocking in fetal position (I’m not kidding), don’t rant or rave or challenge the reviewer. Throw things around at home. Maintain grace and dignity publicly. It’s hard sometimes, and I have crafted some very satisfying zingers in my head, but you will regret it if you strike back. So just don’t.
What do you have stored for us in the future? What are you working on/planning on next, aside this title/series?
I have my last Heart of Montana book, What Were You Expecting? coming out in August 2014. I am in the middle of writing a new series – The English Brothers – about a family of five, wealthy, insanely handsome brothers from Philadelphia. Breaking Up with Barrett and Falling for Fitz will be out in July 2014, followed by Anyone but Alex, Seduced by Stratton and Wild about Weston later this summer or early fall. They’re super easy reads. I hope everyone will give them a chance!
If you could wish for any one thing, and it would immediately come true, what would you wish for?
For my children to live long, healthy, happy lives.
If you were stranded on an isolated island, what’s the one book you’d absolutely wish to have with you?
Name your favorite fruit.
Coffee or tea?
How about favorite time of the day?
Were you a boyscout/girlscout?
Favorite food for breakfast?
Peanut butter and jelly on an English muffin.
What is the latest book you’ve bought and read?
The Wedding Dress, by Lucy Kevin
Do you collect things, like stamps, or key chains, or shoes?
I have a cork for every book I’ve released. There are six on my desk. I need to get a shadowbox for them!
Favorite color, you know you want to tell us!
Drama or comedy?
DRAMA! Specifically? Game of Thrones, Boardwalk Empire, Grimm, Bitten, The Americans, Vikings, Orange is the New Black, Orphan Black, Banshee, Parenthood…I could go on and on…I’m a TV junkie.
Do you have a favorite quote or personal motto?
Be kinder than necessary.
Cats or dogs?
Favorite Swear Word?
Fuck. Definitely. Fuck.
About the Author
KATY REGNERY, Amazon best-selling author, has always loved telling a good story, and credits her mother with making funny, heartwarming tales come alive throughout her childhood. A lifelong devotee of all romance writing, from Edwardian to present-day, it was just a matter of time before Katy tried her hand at writing a love story of her own.
As it turned out, one love story turned into a series of six Heart of Montana romances, following the love lives of the Yellowstone-based Lindstrom siblings. When Katy’s fans asked her to turn up the heat, she cheerfully started her Enchanted Places series, which offers steamier romance to her readers. Katy is also proud to offer a stand-alone romance, The Vixen and the Vet, just in time for Fourth of July, 2014.
Katy lives in the relative wilds of northern Fairfield County, Connecticut, where her writing room looks out at the woods, and her husband, two young children, and two dogs create just enough cheerful chaos to remind her that the very best love stories of all are the messy and unexpected ones.
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