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Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Naughty Friends by Nell Castle


Please join me in welcoming Nell Castle to Discover Yourself. It's all about naughty friends for Wicked Wednesday.

"Writing is something you do alone. It’s a profession for introverts who want to tell you a story but don’t want to make eye contact while telling it.” John Green 

I always prefer writing to talking, but sometimes my friends insist on taking me out into the “real world” for “actual experiences.” I don’t know why I’m friends with so many extroverts. Maybe opposites attract. Maybe extroverts seek out introverts to ensure someone will listen to their many, many thoughts. Maybe they secretly fear that, like the proverbial tree in the forest, they might not even exist without an audience. 

I have been audience to plenty of bad behavior from my more extroverted loved ones, especially when the “real world” they take me out to is a bar on a Saturday night. I’ve watched friends accept drinks from guys they weren’t into and then ditch them with me, at my table, when someone better came along. I’ve watched friends challenge each other to find the cutest couple in the bar and flirt with them until they broke up. I’ve stood alone under the bright lights of a karaoke stage, frozen in terror at the first strains of I’ve Got You, Babe after my brother promised--promised--to be Cher to my Sonny, but when our number came up, he’d disappeared into the parking lot with a sailor on leave. I’ve pleaded with friends not to embarrass me by approaching a guy on my behalf, and watched in horror as they led him straight to my table. 

We all have that friend. (And if you don’t have that friend, chances are you’re that friend.)  

Janna Wilson, my main character’s boss in Turning the Tides, was inspired by a certain flirty blonde friend of mine. In the excerpt, Janna is meeting Lee for lunch to advise her on a case--until she gets distracted by a burly fireman openly staring at them from the bar. 

Lee frowned at her menu. “Don’t encourage him.” She put her phone on silent and slipped it into her purse, hoping for some uninterrupted counsel from her supervisor.

“Come on, live a little.” Janna removed her lightweight black shrug and drew back her shoulders to invite attention to what lay beneath her tight gold camisole. Her skin, deeply tanned, bore the faint, erosive lines of middle age.

Lee widened her eyes, the corners of her mouth quirking. “I thought we were here to talk about work. Not pick up guys.” Janna’s husband of twenty-odd years had left her for a younger woman a year ago. From her co-workers, Lee caught a definite whiff of disapproval at Janna’s attempts to reclaim her youth with tight clothing, online dating, and dance clubs.

Janna gave a little wave to the bar and brought her attention back to Lee with a triumphant smile. “Yeah—but I’ve still got a pulse.” She scanned the appetizer menu. “Have you tried alligator yet? It actually does taste like chicken.”

Lee wrinkled her nose. “No, but I’ve learned to like conch fritters. I’m not in the mood for anything fried today, though.”

Her eyes brightening, Janna glanced up from the menu. “Don’t look now, but here comes the main attraction.”

Lee swiveled her head and found her gaze level with the zippered crotch of their server. She snapped her face back to center, eyes wide with embarrassment.

Janna smiled upward, her wavy, highlighted hair falling back from her face. “My friend here says she likes your fritters. What kind of fritters were those, Lee? Co—?”

“Conch!” Lee choked out, her face burning. She glared at Janna, struggling to control her voice. “Conch fritters. And no, I don’t want any today.”

Surveying the menu with a wicked smile, Janna gave a tiny shrug. 


  1. As someone well in to middle age it is refreshing to discover "mature" characters who still know how to flirt and have fun. I am excited to read this new release. And Nell, sounds like you have great friends who challenge you to step outside your comfort zone just as they value you and I am sure you challenge them to see and do things differently too. Maybe opposites do attract.

    1. I agree with you, Trish. As we get older, our lives sometimes become even more unpredictable and "exciting," just from all the storms we've weathered. I'd like my characters to reflect that. Thanks for your comment! Hope you enjoy the book.

  2. Thank you for hosting me today, Brenda!

  3. "Maybe extroverts seek out introverts to ensure someone will listen to their many, many thoughts." Love it!

    And I think Lee got off easy compared to your own stories of "wicked" friends! Thanks Nell, looking forward to starting this one in June.

  4. Thanks for your thoughts, "Anonymous!"

  5. I just read this and my two thoughts were, "Wow, I made it into print" and "He was not a sailor." Look forward to reading the new book!