To date, I've written two contemporaries. Both call on my legal background. I think of 'em as taking place where love and the law intersect. Of course, both are romances. One of them - Griffin's Law - has a pretty good title that fits the book. It's my tribute to Grey's Anatomy and takes place in a law school in my native state of South Carolina. The other is E-Mail Enticement, set in Myrtle Beach, SC, and it's the subject of this post.
E-Mail pulls the reader inside a forbidden romance between a billionaire and a girl who's on the dangerous side of 18. It begins by taking the reader inside the Family Courtroom where the marriage between the billionaire- Alix Angelis - and his money-lovin' belle bitch of a wife - Sue - is being dissolved. The divorce frees Alix to go tiptoeing through the deadliest minefield of all - courting the girl he fell in love with at first sight - Sue's younger half-sister, Rachel. Alix needs to romance Rachel slowly, to give her time to mature. He must also keep the budding relationship secret from his business associates, his ex-wife and the community in general. Given that he needed to do all that while fighting his own explosive urges, Alix was bound to step right into one of those mines.
When he does, his world explodes. Alix finds himself on trial for an entirely false charge of rape and a partly true charge of having sent a minor e-mails designed to entice her into a sexual relationship. In South Carolina, both charges are felonies which would put the billionaire behind bars until he's a very old man. Rachel's testimony could clear Alix but she has disappeared after leaving behind a letter full of lies about their relationship. The story takes the reader inside the televised trial. The billionaire's best defense, his only defense, is showing the jury - and through the cameras, the world - his helpless adoration for the alleged and conspicuously absent victim. There is forbidden love, passion, danger, courtroom intrigue and a mystery - where is Rachel? Why did she leave? Is she a victim or a con artist?
E-mail is a romance that is also part suspense, part mystery, and part legal thriller. It has many elements that should appeal to a diverse group of readers. But I've come to believe that it's cursed with something that's not very appealing - a bad title. It's taken me a while to figure that out and now I find it funny in an ironic kind of way. I think E-Mail suffers from the same ailment as my first title - which never hit the presses. My original title for the book was Criminal Sexual Communication. People told me that it sounded like a law school textbook. And yeah, I now believe that E-Mail Enticement sounds like a textbook too - either that or it sounds like something a legislature would name the statute.
"E-mail Enticement" doesn't sound like what it is - a thrilling, sexy, exciting story. So I'm back to the drawing board with titles, and thought I'd call upon the blog readers for help. See I could really use some help because I tend to extremes - either too obvious or too obscure. I'm considering The Billionaire's Riskiest Business, The Billionaire's Biggest Gamble, The Tycoon's Wages of Send, or For Love or Money? My hubby suggested Minor Complications. There are bunches of others, of course. The story is set in Myrtle Beach, so it could be a play off the beach - its nickname (Grand Strand) or the region's reputation - The Bible Belt. For example, I could call the book something like - The Wages of Send In The Bible Belt. I could re-name it The Tycoon's Grand Strand Gamble or Myrtle Beach Madness.
Here's a chance for readers of this blog to help rescue a good book with a bad name. Whatever I label the champagne bottle I break over the bow of E-mail Enticement's new name, I don't want it to sound like a law school textbook or something a legislator might name a statute. If anyone has any preferences about the titles I'm considering or any thoughts on a better title, I'd surely appreciate the help.