Angie Blake and Preston Reid are oil and water, fire and ice. Whether it's in the courtroom, where they're always in opposition, or in their personal lives, they don't mix.
Nearly two decades have passed since they were high school sweethearts and split in an emotional firestorm, but their best friends are dating, and now engaged so they haven’t had a moment’s peace from each other. And they won’t get one since the soon to be newlyweds have roped Angie and Preston into planning their destination wedding. They've been tasked with organizing the most romantic, memorable event of their lives without tearing apart the lifelong foursome in the process.
Angie and Preston are wise to this game. This clever ploy to push them back together in the hopes that their long-dead romance will rekindle couldn’t possibly work.
There’s a thin line between love and hate.
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I don't know how he can't hear my heart beating out of my chest.
I unlock the door, letting us into my dark apartment. The door closes behind us, something that strikes me as symbolic. It's the first time I've ever invited Preston up to my apartment. He's barged in uninvited plenty of times, but this is the first time I've ever asked him to come in.
"Did you want anything? Something to drink?"
Preston reaches for me, pulling me to him with one arm curled around my waist. I step between his legs, as naturally as if I’d been doing it all these years. He bends to kiss me and I actually lift my face to him. My shoulders don’t hunch when his lips brush against mine. My lips part at the gentle teasing of his tongue.
My body is entirely more ready than my mind is to be with Preston again.
“Relax, Evangeline,” he whispers, when he releases my lips. “It’s just me. You wanna sit?”
Preston settles onto my couch. I sit, then move closer to him. Preston offers his hand, and I slide my palm across his. The feeling is so familiar, like time has never passed since I last held hands with him. I hear Preston chuckle.
"Know what this reminds me of?"
"The rules our parents had for us hanging out together."
I laugh, the ridiculously stringent guidelines rushing to mind. “Remember how we could only be in the kitchen or the living room? And we had to be sitting up or standing. No leaning against each other."
"Hands must be visible at all times," Preston says, reciting from memory. "No laying down. No touchy-feely. Remember how I had to negotiate to be able to have an arm around you?"
"Your dad would have a fit if he came into the house, and I was there. Even if we were following the rules."
"Compared to what other kids were doing, we were good."
"Yeah, we were."
"Until I started driving..." Preston grins, rolling his head toward mine.
"And your dad found those condoms..."
Preston throws his head back in laughter. "I remember that. Yeah, why were they in the Jeep, Angie?"
"We got a new cleaning lady. I thought she'd find them, you know, being extra thorough. I put the bag in the Jeep, but then I forgot about it."
"My dad about had a heart attack. I thought your dad was going to kill me." He laughs, tipping his head back to rest against the tufted cushion of the couch. Then sighs at the memories. "They calmed down after a while."
“I knew I was going to law school after I argued my dad down about us having sex. I wasn't breaking up with you because he couldn't deal."
Our conversation lapses into a comfortable silence. It’s less and less odd, as the minutes tick by, to be sitting in my apartment next to a man I have claimed to hate for so long, with my hand tucked into his, reminiscing about the good old days.
“So…you think there's something still here?” I motion between his chest and mine, lifting our jumble of fingers. “Between us?"
“I wouldn’t be here if I didn’t. The question is, do you?"
That's the million-dollar question. Can I forgive so much, in so little time? Can I forget? Can I set aside a lifetime of hurt in what seems no time at all, but I know has been months... years in the making?
DL White is an Atlanta based author of women's fiction and romance, centering Black men and women. She began seriously pursuing a writing career in 2011.
She has a deep and abiding love for coffee and Sunday Brunch, especially on a patio, but her true obsession is water— lakes, rivers, oceans, waterfalls.
By day she is an Executive Administrative Assistant for a billion dollar beverage brand. By night, when not writing books, she devours them and blogs reviews and thoughts on writing at BooksbyDLWhite.com.
I am DL White (only because my given name is too long for book covers… feel free to call me Dom or D) and I live in Atlanta, Georgia. I’ve been an author of women’s fiction and romance featuring Black men and women since 2015. I have been a writer since I could hold a pencil, but I began to seriously pursue writing and publishing a novel in 2011.
I began my career as a writer of fiction with Fanfiction, writing fictional romantic stories about my fave boyband *NSYNC. After a few years honing my craft, I branched into short stories and the idea for my debut novel, Brunch at Ruby’s, showed up and wouldn’t leave me alone.
A Thin Line is my 9th novel (officially my 11th but some previously released titles are now unpublished. This novel began as a fun fanfiction project and has, years later, morphed into a commercial romance novel about two former sweethearts who don’t realize they’re still in love. I don’t often want to write a jerk, but I have to admit that writing Preston was actually fun and making sure he had full redemption (in my eyes, the eyes of the reader but most especially the eyes of his heroine, Evangeline) was an arduous task. I hope I did them justice, because they would not leave me alone until I wrote their story.
What is something unique/quirky about you?
I’m kind of a super boring person… I normally say that I can read upside down and backwards. Aside from writing, those are my only talents!
Tell us something really interesting that's happened to you!
So, remember Mark Furhman, the LAPD Detective in the OJ Trial? I used to work with him. After that trial he moved to the Northwest, where I used to live. I’m in his book about Robert Lee Yates, Jr, a serial killer in my hometown. Mark pretty much solved that case, then wrote a book about it. He also co-hosted a crime talk show at the radio station where I worked and when he would come in once a week, I’d greet him with, “well, it must be Thursday. Mark’s here. Dude wore the tightest jeans ever and cowboy boots. He never gave me any issues, but we kept a wide berth of social distance, LOL.
What are some of your pet peeves?
Late people. Wasting my time. Treating me like I’m stupid.
Where were you born/grew up at?
I’m an Air Force kid, so we moved around some. Spent some time in Rapid City South Dakota (COLD!) and Spokane Washington (not Seattle, near Idaho, also COLD) and moved to Georgia in 2003 because it is not cold here.
What do you do to unwind and relax?
I do a lot of reading. A LOT of reading. I read about 150 books a year and pretty much always have a book going. I also watch a lot of Law and Order, the original series.
Describe yourself in 5 words or less!
Direct, passionate, calm, funny, personable.
When did you first consider yourself a writer?
I’ve never not considered myself a writer. I considered myself an author when I pubbed my first novel and got an author account at Amazon/ Goodreads.
Do you have a favorite movie?
Not really but if Steel Magnolias, The Shawshank Redemption or Remember the Titans comes on, I’m watching it. Commercials and all.
Which of your novels can you imagine made into a movie?
I mean any of them would be fun. Curl & Dye would be super cute, I imagine it like Beauty Shop/Barber shop with a little enemies to lovers, second chance romance story line.
What inspired you to write this book?
I read so many books about a woman who has to do so much work to get a man to notice her or to “be worthy”. I wanted to write about a man who had a lot of work to do, who, for reasons only known between those two characters, had a lot to make up for, who wasn’t afraid to do that work to get his woman back. I also really like banter and drama and conflict, and this book just made me happy. Every fight, every argument, every glare was a reason to make the reconciliation that much more delicious.
What can we expect from you in the future?
More of the same, man! Fun, funny, real Black characters just trying to be out here falling in love and wringing the most out of this life we’ve been given.
Do you have any “side stories” about the characters?
Not these, no. NONE of these people will be showing up in any future books.
Can you tell us a little bit about the characters in A Thin Line?
A Thin Line is about Angie (Evangeline) Blake and Preston Reid, who fell in love as kids and teens, broke up over a super petty reason and then rode that horse for the next two decades. Since they never really had closure, the tension between them has been tight—and sine their best friends are now engaged, they are roped into working together to put on a fun, memorable, romantic event. Without fighting. Which isn’t going to happen.
How did you come up with the concept and characters for the book?
Sometimes I get an idea like “I want to write X THING!” and then I start planning. Sometimes I just get tired of what I am reading and know that if I want something different, I have to write it myself. This book was a collision of the two.
Where did you come up with the names in the story?
Names come to me first, but I knew I wanted her to have a nickname that most everyone called her and a name she hated, and only ever allowed one person to call her. And I knew that person would grate on her nerves with that.
What did you enjoy most about writing this book?
Well, as I stated I really love drama and conflict. If there’s no conflict, I’m just not interested. This book had lots of issues to write through- high emotion.
Who designed your book covers?
I design my own covers, with help and advice from author Dianne Frost, who’s a graphic designer in real life.
If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
Nope. A Thin Line is perfect. It’s exactly the way I wanted it to come out and if no one else likes it, I love it.
Did you learn anything during the writing of your recent book?
Don’t bow to what you think people want. Don’t sell yourself or your story short. Tell the story that your characters ask you to tell. The whole story, the way you want to tell it.
If your book was made into a film, who would you like to play the lead?
Hm. Good Q. I have no idea, actually. Preston is super preppy and pretentious at first glance but actually soulful and passionate underneath. Angie is dogged in her loyality to her job, her friends, herself. I really didn’t picture actual folks in my mind. I’m interested in some fancasting ideas!
Anything specific you want to tell your readers?
Don’t rush it. Let the story unfold. And if you like this book, pick up my others. They’re good.
What is your favorite part of this book and why?
The engagement party. It’s when we finally see Preston’s motivations and his metamorphosis into the man Angie needs him to be; We also see those walls that Angie built up begin to crumble. I think this moment is beautiful and satisfying.
If you could spend time with a character from your book whom would it be? And what would you do during that day?
Actually probably Jackie and Matt. Matt is a great cook and Jackie just seems so happy and free. I imagine her kind of like Sinclair from Living Single. Just a tall happy gorgeous funny woman whose man loves her to the ends of the earth.
Are your characters based off real people or did they all come entirely from your imagination?
These people are from my brain, but probably inspired by real or fictional people.
Do your characters seem to hijack the story or do you feel like you have the reigns of the story?
I’ve stopped subscribing to “my characters wanted to do this or that”. I’m just not that precious about it. It’s all in my brain. If the story changes, it changes because I wanted to go in a different direction. I am always in control, but I can turn on a dime.
What did you edit out of this book?
I actually added MORE to this book. The first time I pubbed this I cut out a lot, specifically after a certain point. But that wasn’t the story I wanted to tell and readers didn’t understand the point of the novel. THIS is the story that I wanted to tell.
Do the characters all come to you at the same time or do some of them come to you as you write?
Before I begin writing, I usually have the characters all mapped out, from the hero/heroine to their families and friends.
What kind of research do you do before you begin writing a book?
It depends on who I am writing. IF their profession is detailed, I read books / blog posts/ articles about that subject. Last year, I wrote a cancer survivor, so I spent weeks with my head in blogs and forums about cancers, survival rates, experiences, fears, joys. But nothing gives you knowledge like talking to someone who knows what they’re talking about. For this book I had an attorney read it and tell me where I was completely off and had no idea what I was talking about.
Do you see writing as a career?
Nah…I could never see myself living off of my writing proceeds. It’s a lucrative side gig that pays for techy toys and vacations. I love my full-time day job and I plan to stay there. When I retire and I have the security of a 401K and insurance, I’ll write full time.
What do you think about the current publishing market?
I’m a self-publisher, but of course I have my eye on the traditional market. I think if they don’t come into the present times, in a hurry, they’re going to be in huge trouble. Indie is choking the life out of romance, in my opinion. Don’t even let other genres catch on.
Trad publishing also has a great deal of work to do with regard to publishing work that is not by white men and women. Let us tell our own stories. Paying a white author several million dollars to tell a story that isn’t hers to tell is a slap in the face.
Do you read yourself and if so what is your favorite genre?
I like mysteries, crime thrillers, legal thrillers. I love a police procedural, anything about a medical examiner… all of that. Not much of a cozy mystery reader because it’s too cute, not enough teeth to it. Horror goes too far past the thriller mark but those crime and legal dramas hit just right. I also read quite a bit of Black romance.
Do you prefer to write in silence or with noise? Why?
I need something to ignore. I usually bring up my white noise app and do brown noise (like the sound of an airplane interior, or a clothes dryer).
Do you write one book at a time or do you have several going at a time?
One at a time, usually. If I write more than once, they both sound the same. I also take long breaks between books otherwise the next book sounds too much like the book I just finshed.
Pen or typewriter or computer?
Computer. My brain moves too fast to hand write anything. I just get frustrated and move to computer.
What made you want to become an author and do you feel it was the right decision?
I just had these stories I wanted to tell, and felt like I could tell them well.
A day in the life of the author?
I work full time, so I get up and go to work everyday. I don’t write on week days, but I’ll nit pick and edit what I wrote the weekend before. If I’m mid-project, I’ll write Thursday night, Friday night, get up early on Saturday and Sunday and go write from anywhere from 8-10AM to 2-4 PM. Then I edit during the week.
YES I edit while writing. I cannot move ahead until what I previously wrote is right on the page. It works for me. Might not work for others.
Advice they would give new authors?
Write. Don’t worry about a single thing until you have finished that darn book. Write the book. Know yourself and your work style and know that that won’t change when you sit down to write. You won’t suddenly turn into a morning person if you’re usually a night owl. Be yourself. Write that book, then worry about selling it.
What makes a good story?
I need to know who the major players are and why I should care about them and what’s stopping them from getting what they want. If those elements are compelling and interesting enough, I am in.
What are they currently reading?
I am currently eading like four books. I almost always have legal thriller going and I read a lot of advance reader copies because a) I am too spoiled to wait for release day to read some authors; b) I like knowing I am helping pre-publication buzz for a good book and c) it helps to keep the book budget down.
What is your writing process? For instance do you do an outline first? Do you do the chapters first? What are common traps for aspiring writers?
I need to know the characters (the who and the why does anyone care???) and how I want it to end. Then I start writing. Sometimes details reveal themselves in the first few chaps and I find that hard to plan. Once I am a couple of chaps in, I stop and take stock in where I am and where I need to go. And I do a very loose outline from there.
I almost always know what I want the ending will be, just not how my characters will get there.
What is your writing Kryptonite?
Trying to write before I am ready. Most of my full length novels have to sit and marinate for a least a year. Six months at the least. Very few books were imagined and written in months. I just don’t work that way.
Do you try more to be original or to deliver to readers what they want?
I can only write what comes to me. The one time I tried to write to a trend, it was a miserable fail. Never again.
If you could tell your younger writing self anything, what would it be?
Don’t stop writing. And pick up that reading habit.
What’s the most difficult thing about writing characters from the opposite sex?
I super enjoy writing men. I think it’s hard to not write them as Alpha holes or the sex crazed freaks that they’re painted as in most of entertainment. Men aren’t dumb or lazy or heartless. They have motivations that aren’t always obvious, that are obfuscated by whatever male conditioning they’re taught to participate in.
How long on average does it take you to write a book?
From original idea to the end? About a year. Sometimes more. The shortest I’ve ever written a book was about 9 weeks. It was a short one, not too deep.
Do you believe in writer’s block?
I absolutely do. It absolutely exists (for me) and I absolutely have to come up with strategies to combat it. I absolutely do sit at my desk in tears because I want desperately to write but I have nothing for the page, for the story, for my characters. Writers who say it doesn’t exist should amend that it doesn’t exist for them, then direct the person asking about writer’s block to a resource that can help them.
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