I’ve been an avid reader since I was five, when Mom taught me to read. I’ve always written stories in my head, when bored, or occupied with some other task like baking or cooking, driving, and even sleeping, since I’ve woken up with entire story arcs and well-developed characters demanding attention. I used to think that everyone had characters talking to them all of the time.
A few years ago, I decided that my head was getting too crowded , and that some of the people and their stories had to be written–so they’d live in books, and readers’ heads. I feel like they are telling me their secrets, and then once the book is done, they’re happy to have been heard, so they’re quiet. But then the next characters start to talk, demanding their turn. I like the noise.
I write romances involving strong, independent women who enjoy casual flings.. Enter the equally strong, independent man who decides this is the woman for him. He has to convince the heroine that he’s the one for her. I love happy endings.
Character Interview for Worth the Wait
Beverley: What’s your name?
Tonisha: My given name is Tonisha Gaines, but everyone calls me by my stage name, Nisha. My late grandfather, whom I loved a whole lot, used to call me Toni.
Beverley: Where did you grow up?
Tonisha: My parents are both rich, powerful, and politically-connected CEOs, so we lived in various mansions around the country when I was growing up. When I was a pre-teen, we moved permanently to Newport Beach in California. They’re still there, though I was living in L.A. recently.
Beverley: During what time period does your story take place?
Tonisha: The present day–before the Co-Vid pandemic.
Beverley: What’s your story/back story? Why would someone come up with a story about you?
Tonisha: I’m the only child of two driven and wealthy Black parents, so I was kind of spoiled. I was always messing around with the piano and the guitar, and writing my own music. I always wanted to be a pop star, so I had my own studio in the mansion. My plans almost got derailed when I started hearing this voice in my head, when I was fourteen. At first I didn’t tell anyone. Then when it got so I couldn’t ignore it because it was so insistent, I told my mom. She freaked out, of course, and she and dad took me to a very expensive psychologist. He diagnosed me with multiple personalities–schizophrenia–and started me on heavy doses of anti-psychotic drugs. As long as I was consistent about taking them, even though the voice didn’t stop, at least I was able to ignore it–mostly. When I was 17, my parents found a manager who was supposed to be the best in the business, and signed a contract giving him license to oversee my music career. He’s kind of a pig. We had a brief fling, but he doesn’t really like females once they get to be legal age. He’s been a domineering asshole to work for, so I get back at him by partying a lot, taking recreational drugs for fun, along with drinking too much. Does it all interact with my maintenance drugs? Sure. But even though I usually can’t remember what happened the next day, I’ve been told that I have a really good time. Those are the kinds of themes I write my catchy pop songs about. That’s been my life for the past 12 years.
Beverley: What’s your goal in this story?
Tonisha: My manager dragged me out of L.A. because it’s been a while since my last new album. I told him I write better when I have some quiet, so he rented this property in some wilderness area of Maine–of all places! Lot of trees and critters, no night-life at all. He told me I have to write enough songs for a new CD, or he’ll end our contract. Probably not, since he’s been making so much money off of me for so many years. I just wanna have a good time.
Beverley: What conflicts are you facing?
Tonisha: 1- I’ve been having kind of a writer’s block on new songs. So, I’ve been doing lots of partying with the session guys my manager hired to work with me. Then I woke up this one morning lying naked in the snow, outside of a big mansion. The only warmth was coming from this really hot man who was also naked. He has the most gorgeous green eyes!
2-My manager sent me to see this local Maine psychologist who’s been giving me different drugs. I feel lots better, physically, but the voice in my head is getting louder again. Not sure that’s a good idea.
3-I have no idea how to find the sexy man with the green eyes. I don’t even remember his name! But I feel drawn to him, with these intense feelings, as if we belong together. Totally weird, right?
Beverley: Do you have a plan for resolving them?
Tonisha: Uh, no? I don’t usually solve my own problems–my manager does. But he wants new songs, and wants me back on my old drugs. And for me to never see the hot green-eyed man ever again, which makes me so unhappy that I’ve been writing some sad songs. He’s not gonna like that.
Beverley: Is there anything else you’d like us to know about you?
Tonisha: Do you ever hear a voice in your head? Do you listen to it, or ignore it? I really need some advice here, and I can’t talk to my parents, or anyone hired by my manager. I don’t have any friends. But I’d really like to find that sexy green-eyed man again. Maybe he could answer my questions.
Blurb for Worth the Wait:
The Northwest Maine Pack is settling down since Diego, the new pack leader, is almost done healing after challenges to his leadership. His wife, Saoirse, presents him with a welcome surprise. John, son of the late pack leader, has headed out to Boston, to live with Freddie, Saoirse’s bestie, whom he met at her wedding to Diego. This leaves a gap in pack security, so Diego asks if anyone from the family of Canadian hunters is willing to fill in for him.
Grant volunteers. He’s been haunted by the memory of the black she-wolf he saw on the pack grounds. His wolf tells him she is their mate, but he doesn’t even know what she looks like as a human.
Nathan has been without any real love in his life, since his family disowned him years ago, for telling them of his secret duality. But when his wolf senses an unfamiliar she-wolf, and they mate, the next morning, the woman has no memory of anything they did the night before.
Everyone has been waiting a long time for what they want the most. But the path to true love is rarely an easy one. Especially when you are a werewolf.
Excerpt from Worth the Wait:
Nathan woke up with a start, immediately aware that the chilly morning air was way too cold for two naked humans with no blanket to share. In fact, he’d been dreaming of being trapped in a refrigerator, and not only was he shaking, but so was the female his arms were draped around. Memories flooded his brain, and he looked curiously at the sleeping woman, whose back was plastered against the front of him, as they spooned while they slept.
What should I call her? I have no idea what her name is!
He cleared his throat, audibly.
“Um, honey? Sweetheart? We need to move into the mansion. I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but it’s really cold out here. Our body heat melted the snow, but we’re both wet and shaking.”
He sat up and she rolled onto her back, to give him his first look at her face.
God! She’s gorgeous!
Her skin was almost the same dark tan as the color of his fur when he was a wolf. Her hair was a mass of long, black curls. Her lips were full, and her lashes were long and thick. They began to flutter, as she struggled to open her eyes. Her eyes blinked open, then closed again, as the morning sun shone directly into them.
Nathan was sitting next to her, but moved slightly, so that his body was blocking the sun that had blinded her.
She opened her eyes again, and he was lost in the depths of their dark brown color, as she regarded him intensely for a quick moment. She sat up quickly. “What the hell? What are we doing out here in the cold?”
Her voice was low and sexy, despite her irritation, and the chattering of her teeth. Nathan fought the urge to lean over and kiss her, and instead responded to her question.
“We fell asleep out here. I wanted us to change and go into my apartment last night, but you were so tired after our long night together, that you fell asleep out here. I didn’t want to disturb you, so I just wrapped myself around you, to generate as much body heat as we could.” He gave her a sheepish grin. “To tell the truth, I didn’t even feel the cold after I shifted. And you didn’t shift, but fell asleep right away. So I guess that’s why you didn’t feel the cold until now.”
“And why, exactly, are we naked out here in the woods, lying in the snow? I mean, what the hell kind of party was it, anyway?”
“Party?” he asked.
“Yeah. I assume I met you at some party in–what did you call it? A mansion? So where’s everyone else? Didn’t anyone think to check on us, after we decided to frolic au naturale in the snow?”
He smiled, shaking his head. “I was running alone when I saw you, on the other side of the fence. Don’t you remember?”
She shook her head. “Nope.”
His eyebrows rose. “You don’t?”
“No, and I’m freezing my ass off out here. Let’s get somewhere warm, preferably where my clothes are, and then we can chat. Maybe over some hot coffee, hopefully.”
He got up and reached out his hands to help her. She took the hands in both of hers, to stand up, and Nathan felt as if her touch included an electrical shock to his skin. He looked into her eyes, which were now dark and stormy, reflecting her mood, and he wanted to lose himself in their depths. She was quite a bit shorter than him, with her head coming barely up to his shoulders. Her nipples were dark pebbles on the round globes of her shapely breasts. They were standing close enough that his hardening cock bouncing off of her thigh could not be missed.
“Down, boy! I’m not into morning-after sex. Especially not when I’m in danger of losing all feeling in my fingers and toes. Let’s get into that mansion of yours and we can talk about whatever comes up.” She gave his cock a sideways smirk.
He began to walk toward the clearing, to find his clothes. They kept up a good pace, which slightly warmed them both up. But it was still undeniably cold.
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