Date Night for Colton’s Surprise Heir - Addison Fox

Colton's Surprise Heir

Synopsis: Colton's Surprise Heir - Book #2 The Coltons of Texas - Addison Fox - February 2016

In the second book of The Coltons of Texas series, a brooding cowboy tracks the stalker after his true love—and unborn child 

With an imprisoned serial killer for a father, rancher Ethan Colton never planned on continuing the tainted family name. But six months after a night of passion with a woman from his past, Ethan discovers he's about to be a dad. Beautiful, independent Lizzie Conner turns up at his Texas ranch expecting nothing but protection from the guarded cowboy. A stalker is fast on her trail, leaving creepy gifts and notes threatening her and the baby. Now all that matters to Ethan is keeping his unexpected family safe—and out of a killer's clutches.

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Bon Appetit and a Book

They say that there are two types of people in the kitchen – bakers and cooks. If I had to put myself into a category, I’d definitely lean toward baker. I have a few dishes that have become part of my standing repertoire, but as a recent attempt at a ham and bean soup will attest, my skills lean toward those recipes that involve copious amounts of butter and sugar, NOT meat, veggies or starch.

I’m not a southerner by birth, but I first moved to Texas nearly two decades ago. In the years since, I’ve learned about the fine art of casserole making AND just how many wonderful ways there are to combine butter and sugar. So…without further ado, here’s a personal favorite. I first heard it called Chess Cake but Paula Deen has perfected it as “Ooey Gooey Cake.” Regardless of what you call it, I can promise you it will be a dessert everyone loves.


1 box of yellow cake mix
3 eggs
1 teaspoon of vanilla
2 sticks of butter
1 package of cream cheese
1 box (16 oz) of Confectioners Sugar

Mix one stick of melted butter with one egg and the yellow cake mix. Mix thoroughly with a mixer until the dough is thick and easy to work with. Press into the base of a 9x13 glass pan.

Take a package of cream cheese and cream with the mixer. Add two eggs and the teaspoon of vanilla, continue mixing. Once fully mixed together, slowly add in the Confectioners Sugar. Mix thoroughly, then layer the mixture over the base you’ve already pressed into the pan.

Bake at 350 degrees for 40-50 minutes (depends on your oven…mine’s perfect around minute 43). The top gets a very thin crust and the insides below should be slightly wet on a tester or thin knife.

Let cool and enjoy!

Happy Baking AND Reading!

How-to-Tips for Aspiring Writers

I love talking about books and writing, but it’s especially fun when talking to aspiring authors. It took me 6 years and 10 manuscripts until I sold my first book and I still vividly remember those days. I wanted to have my work out there, in readers hands, and I was on a constant hunt for information, always hoping to get better.

In hindsight, while those 6 years felt endless at times, I can now see all the amazing things I learned in the process. So here are a few tools and tips I still use with every book.

1 - Begin at a moment of action.

This rule was definitely true of my latest release, COLTON’S SURPRISE HEIR. I don’t want to spoil it but the title doesn’t have “heir” in it for nothing!

Starting at a moment of action is important because we want to be drawn into your story immediately. Let us know the moment when your characters’ lives change. The things that have gotten them there – a bad first marriage, an injury, an unrequited love – will all play a role in the story as it evolves, but they have no place at the open. Draw us in with action and an editor will keep turning those pages!

2 – Write even when you don’t feel like it.

There’s a persistent fantasy in culture that suggests we can be creative as human beings when the “muse” strikes. I don’t like the thought for two reasons. First, waiting for the mood to hit you suggests you don’t have control over the process. And second, assuming all the credit goes to the muse doesn’t give any credit to the proper person – YOU! You’re at the wheel and you’ve got a story to tell. Sit down and tell it!

3 – Progress isn’t completing a book in a week, but progress comes every time you write.

It’s tempting to think that a book is something you just dash off, the words falling from your fingertips. The reality is something else entirely. Books take time and effort and, to point #2, there will be plenty of days you don’t feel like writing.

The secret is, while a book is a huge endeavor, it’s one that’s highly digestible with discipline. A page at a time, a chapter at a time, and over time, you’ve got a book. One page a day will give you a full-length book in a year. If you’re writing category-length novels, four pages a day will net you four to five books a year.  That’s significant output and something that’s actively do-able.

4 – Persistence.

I genuinely believe the authors who make it into publishing – and stay – are those who have persistence. Pushing yourself to try again, to make the work better every time out, to take feedback from others and to keep writing even when you’d rather be doing something else. All of these things and so many other elements of the writers life require persistence.

6 years and 10 manuscripts taught me many valuable lessons, most of which I was unaware of at the time. I’m grateful for those years as I believe they made me the author I am. I don’t think I’m the best writer, but I do believe I’m a constantly improving one and that makes each book as exciting as the last.

While I hope your journey to publication is faster than mine was, I do have one final piece of advice. Enjoy the ride!!

Happy Writing,

Song Playlist

I had so much fun writing COLTON’S SURPRISE HEIR. The Colton family is a staple in the Harlequin Romantic Suspense line and when I heard this year’s continuity was set in Texas – where I live! – I was so excited to dive in to my story.

While I don’t typically write with music on, I always have a series of songs that I listen to during the time period I’m writing a book. Songs that make me think of the story, or one of my characters, or just something funny that seems like a fit.

For COLTON’S SURPRISE HEIR, there were five songs that particularly stuck out.

1) TO MAKE YOU FEEL MY LOVE – Garth Brooks

I fell in love with this song when it was used in the film Hope Floats, and it struck a chord with me for this book. When the story opens, Ethan discovers Lizzie is 6 months pregnant. The two of them had gotten together at the county rodeo several months prior. In my mind’s eye, I always saw the two of them dancing, just like Sandra Bullock and Harry Connick, Jr. did in the film. This song is absolutely key to that scene.

2) MAN! I FEEL LIKE A WOMAN – Shania Twain

Lizzie really comes into her own in the course of the book and this song just fits. There’s really no other reason than that!

3) CRAZY LOVE – Van Morrison

Ethan and Lizzie knew each other as children, but come back together as adults in the book. There’s a knowledge of each other, an attraction and a tenderness that was so much fun to put on the page. These characters really came alive to me and this song is such a wonderful ode to being in love.

4) HOME – Michael Buble

Ethan and Lizzie are two souls who are a bit adrift and even though the entire book takes place in Texas, the idea of someone waiting at home is a powerful image and fit the two of them.

5) THE HOT DOG SONG – They Might Be Giants

This one’s a bit of an outlier, but I had such a wonderful time picturing Ethan as a father. He’d spent his life thinking he shouldn’t become a father based on his family’s past, but once he does know Lizzie’s having his child, he dives in with both feet. THE HOT DOG SONG plays at the end of every Mickey Mouse Clubhouse episode and I can just see Ethan, dancing away with his child in a few years. (I told you this was a goofy one...)

So there you have it, the COLTON’S SURPRISE HEIR playlist. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did!


Love Lessons Learned

I am endlessly fascinated by the process of writing. I’m an avid reader and I have an experience and a journey with the characters in every book I read. That feeling is only exacerbated when I write. I can see my characters in my mind and I get to feel what they’re feeling as they learn to accept one another in their lives. Because this is such a personal journey as an author, it’s also rewarding to realize that I’m learning something, right along with them. This was absolutely true writing COLTON’S SURPRISE HEIR.

Ethan Colton survived a horrible childhood. One of seven children of notorious serial killer Matthew Colton, Ethan is also the child who discovered his murdered mother – his father’s last victim. From there he and his siblings spent time in foster care before heading out into the world to make something of themselves. Our heroine, Lizzie Conner, knew Ethan when he would come to visit his youngest sister who had the same foster parents as she did.

There was so much to learn in writing this couple. When we think of love, we think of finding the right person, falling in love and living happily ever after. But what if your image of love was so destroyed by the one person who should have loved you above all others?  It was a fascinating experience walk with these characters and to work with them as they overcame their preconceived notions about others and about themselves.

In the end, Lizzie and Ethan taught me about forgiveness, about opening your heart even when you think you can’t and understanding that just because someone couldn’t love you properly doesn’t mean you’re unlovable.

Thanks for joining me today!

Movie Star Cast

I dare you to find an author who doesn’t love casting their characters in a movie. I know I do!

While my characters are usually a composite in my head, occasionally, those composites match a celebrity clearly in my mind. This was especially true in COLTON’S SURPRISE HEIR.

For my hero, Ethan Colton, I saw Chris Evans straight down the line. Fresh-faced, all-American, stoic and strong, Chris Evans fit the character to a T. (Plus, who doesn’t want to sit and dream about Chris Evans all day?!??!)

For Lizzie, I saw Stana Katic. I love her on Castle and there was just something in my image of Lizzie – her long, willowy frame and curly hair that had me seeing this wonderful actress.

So there you have it – my vision for who would best play Ethan and Lizzie. I don’t know about you, but I suddenly have a craving for popcorn!


Date Night

I love talking about my books and COLTON’S SURPRISE HEIR is no exception. I had a ton of fun both writing this book as well as taking part in this year’s Colton continuity with my fellow Harlequin Romantic Suspense authors. It was fun to collaborate and discuss what happened with the entire family.

In thinking about my hero and heroine, Ethan and Lizzie, and imagining them on a Valentine’s date night, I see them at a dark steakhouse, enjoying subdued lighting and lingering glances. Most of their time is either spent at Ethan’s farmhouse or at big family dinners with the entire Colton clan, so a quiet night out, enjoying an elegant dinner together, would be a true break in routine. While I’d usually add a bottle of wine to the mix, Lizzie’s on club soda or ginger ale this year. Their baby’s due in a few months and she’ll have to save the wine for the 4th of July!

Wishing you a Happy Valentine’s Day!


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