Where My Pen Name Came From – For my young adult titles, I wanted to use a pen name to separate them from my more adult works. It was something I deliberated over for quite a while. I wanted a name I still felt an attachment to. I’d thought of using my maiden name, as my mother always said she wanted to see that name on a book cover because I’d been writing since I was very young. My maiden name seemed hard to remember, though. In the end, I went with something very special to me – my son’s middle name.
Here is an excerpt from The Dating Tutor, my Evernight Teen release under Melissa Frost:
“Shut up and dance.” Alec tightened his grip on her waist when she made a feeble attempt to move away and pulled her closer. “Just follow what I’m doing. Let my body lead yours.”
She was completely tense, but as he started to sway to the soft music, she felt her body relaxing. Her shoulders eased and she melted against him, becoming pliant in his arms.
The front of his body pressed so closely to hers was a new experience she wasn’t quite sure she was comfortable with. He was warm and solid and…familiar in a way that itched at her soul. Her skin felt hot, and there was an uncomfortable emotion in her chest. One she did not want to be feeling…one she couldn’t be feeling. Not about Alec.
“Ellie!” His barking holler dragged her back from such thoughts. “That is the third time you’ve trampled my toes. It’s like you’re not even trying.” He scowled. “If you can’t lift your feet without hurting me, then you need to shuffle from side to side. At least Jake won’t lose a toe that way.”
“I…I…” She stared up at him in horror after the traitorous thoughts that had been running through her head. A girl wasn’t supposed to think such things about her best friend, especially when he was being so helpful. She licked her lips, took a deep breath, and silently berated herself to get her head on straight. “Sorry.” Taking his advice, she began shuffling her feet back and forth instead of lifting them. It saved her from stepping on his toes, but it upped the risk of her tripping.
“My feet thank you,” Alec said with a little chuckle. “Had I known you were going to tromp all over them, I might not have pushed so hard for the heels.”
Ellie smiled at him, some of her panic easing at his relaxed demeanor. “You did this to yourself.”
Alec shifted his hands, pressing one to her lower back as he pulled her closer. “This whole fiasco is your fault. If you weren’t so hopeless, we’d be at home right now watching the Islanders lose.”
“You usually don’t book dates on game night,” she said. In fact, he was usually dead set against it. Hockey came before girls. Always.
“I made an exception.” He grinned devilishly, his eyes shining in amusement. “I usually don’t have a good enough reason.”
“Wow.” She arched a brow at him, returning the playful banter. “Ellie comes before hockey. Aren’t I special?”
Her eyes widened at the husky tone of his voice. She would have sworn her heart stopped. She gazed up at Alec, feeling more confused than she’d ever been in her life.
His expression mirrored exactly how she felt – confused, unsure, and yet eager. Alec opened his mouth to speak, but she ruined the moment by tripping over her own feet.
She fell against his chest with a curse. “Shit!”
Alec caught her with a laugh. “Girls don’t say ‘shit’ on the first date. We’ve already been over the no swearing rule.”
She saw relief flash across his face as her ill-placed outburst broke up whatever moment they’d been caught in. She let out a laugh as the tension melted away as if it had never existed. “Shit. I forgot,” she said, purposely cursing again.
“You’re impossible.” He chuckled and shook his head of dark hair.
“No. These shoes are impossible,” she said with a giggle. “You’re a tyrant for making me wear them.” Balancing herself in his arms, she reached down to slip off the offending footwear. “I’m going barefoot.”
“Ellie,” he complained with an impatient growl. “That is… That is…”
She tossed the shoes toward their table and came back to him in her stocking-covered feet. She then did a playful little twirl to show off her new ability to move. Slipping back into his arms, she asked, “It’s what? And don’t you dare complain. I’m saving your feet, too.”
“It’s actually kind of sexy,” he said in a thick voice.
Her eyes widened as she looked up at him. The look he was giving her was intimate and full of tenderness. It had that uncomfortable feeling thumping in her chest again. This practice date had done nothing but confuse her more.