ALONE by M.J. Kane

Book 5 of The Butterfly Memoirs

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ALONE by M.J. Kane

When Derrick’s brother drives the family business into bankruptcy, Derrick is left without a job and only one choice: start over. With a new job waiting in Atlanta, the only other thing he’s looking for is a woman who’s willing to fit his no-strings-attached relationship policy. But then he runs into Kelli, a woman with a smart mouth who challenges him in every way. She’d be perfect … if it weren’t for the fact she had kids.

Shortly after giving birth to her son, Kelli’s husband announced that he wanted a divorce. Forced to move in with her newlywed sister, Kelli is faced with raising two young children on her own, finding affordable housing, and landing a job that will pay her bills. The last thing she needs or wants is a man in her life. But when her brother-in-law’s best friend shows up for dinner, it’s impossible to ignore the sexual attraction.

Fate and finances have another plan, though, forcing them into living under the same roof. Despite their differences, Derrick finds himself breaking his own relationship rules. But as his luck would have it, just when he thinks he’s ready to make a commitment, tragedy strikes close to home and, with it, issues from his past that force him to risk it all.

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Excerpt: Alone by M.J. Kane

“Mr. Derrick, look!” Christina waved a drawing in front of me.

“Leave Mr. Derrick alone, sweetie. I’m sure he doesn’t want to—”

“Hold on,” I interrupted. “You don’t speak for me.” I waited for Kelli to get my point, then turned my attention back to the young girl before me. I examined her drawing. “Not bad. You can draw a lot better than I can.” I winked; she laughed. I made my way to the washing machine and turned on the water. “What is it?”

“It’s a house.”

I sat at the table across from her while waiting for the wash tub to fill and looked at the drawing again. “Nice house.”

“My daddy draws houses,” Christina said with pride. She laid the picture flat on the table and selected another crayon.

“Does he now?” I looked over at Kelli for an explanation.

“He’s an architect.” Her expression went flat, so did her voice. Her attention went to the pot she was stirring. “Can you draw a house?” Little brown eyes the same shade of brown as her mother’s looked up at me.

I chuckled. “Not as good as you, but I can build a house.”

“With sticks and rocks and stuff?”

On the other side of the kitchen, Kelli laughed.

“No, I build with wood and blocks and stuff.”

“Legos!” Her enthusiasm was infectious.

I laughed. “No, I build real houses, like this one.” I held my arms out, pointed to the walls and ceiling of the room we were in for emphasis.

Christina’s eyes grew wide as she looked around the kitchen. “Ooo…,” then her face scrunched up in thought. “If you can build it, you can draw it, too!”

Words of wisdom from a five-year-old kid.

She slid a blank sheet of paper in front of me. “You can use my crayons if you want.”

“Christina…,” Kelli shot her daughter a look of warning.

“It’s okay.” I met Kelli’s expression with one that encouraged her not to stop her daughter. "She's right, let me see.” I slid the paper in front of me and selected a black crayon, then stared at the paper. My mind went blank.

When was the last time I’d drawn something? Feeling stupid, I scratched my head, then looked over at the little artist. She’d started adding windows and doors.

Christina looked over at me. “What are you waiting for?” She giggled. “It’s easy. Mommy can do it. Mommy, draw a house!” She waved a blank sheet of paper in her mother’s direction.

Kelli wiped her hands on her pants, then joined us at the table. I looked at her, but she refused to meet my gaze. Within minutes, Kelli had lines on paper that took the shape of a two-story house. The details were proportioned to the point of perfection. This picture seemed to have come from memory and not imagination. I glanced at Christina’s paper. It was a crude version of her mother’s.

They must have been drawing the house they used to live in.

“See, Mommy’s good, too!” Christina got up from the table, walked to her mother, and kissed her cheek. “Mommy, can I watch TV?”

“Sure, baby.” She hugged her daughter.

“Mr. Derrick, you and Mommy can use my crayons. I’ll get them when you’re done, ‘k?”


Christina skipped out of the room, leaving us to sit in silence.

I drew a few lines on my sheet of paper. Instead of a house, the blueprints from my current job came to mind. I went with that and decided to see exactly how much I remembered.

Kelli continued her picture. Details such as windows, doors, and landscaping emerged.

Damn, she was good.

“Looks like she gets her artistic skills from you.” I leaned forward a bit. “Lots of details. I don’t think I could imagine all of that.”

“It’s easy to do when it used to be reality.” She sat her crayon down, stared at the image, then ripped it to shreds. The expression on her face was hard.

I focused on my paper and gave her a moment to move past her dark place. Once the image was confetti, I figured she would be able to talk.

“I’m sorry about earlier.” I didn’t look at her. “I was tired. It won’t happen again.” I risked a peek and saw Kelli had stopped moving.

“Thank you for cleaning up.” Her eyes stayed on the scraps of paper in her hands.

“No problem. Like I said, I didn’t ask you to do anything. I don’t expect you to do anything for me either. I know you’ve been through a lot and being here and not there,” I indicated the pile of paper. “Can't be easy. Now I’m here, too. I don’t know what you have against me. If I’ve done something to offend you, I apologize. But I’m not him. Don’t take your anger and pain out on me, okay?”

Kelli looked up at me. It was obvious she was trying her best to control her emotions, but I could still see the damp corners of her eyes. “Sorry.”

I nodded. “I’ll stay out of your way as much as possible, but if you need help with anything around here, let me know. Contrary to what you believe, my mother didn’t raise an animal.”

Kelli squeezed her eyes shut, put her hands on her face. “Sorry about that, too.”

“You get a free pass…this time.”

Kelli laughed a little and looked me in the eye.

I found myself staring as she wiped those cat-like slits with her knuckle. Sad eyes, but beautiful just the same.

( Continued... )

© 2016 All rights reserved. Book excerpt reprinted by permission of the author, M.J. Kane. Do not reproduce, copy or use without the author's written permission. This excerpt is used for promotional purposes only.

Purchase Alone by M.J. Kane (The Butterfly Memoirs Book 5)

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Conversation with M.J. Kane

M.J. Kane stumbled into writing. An avid reader, this once stay-at-home mom never lost the overactive imagination of an only child. As an adult she made up stories, though never shared them, to keep herself entertained. It wasn’t until surviving a traumatic medical incident in 2006 that she found a reason to let the characters inhabiting her imagination free. Upon the suggestion of her husband, she commandeered his laptop and allowed the characters to take life. It was that, or look over her shoulder for men caring a purple strait jacket. And the rest, as they say, is history.

BPM: Could you tell us something about your most recent work? Is this book available on Nook and Kindle?
MJ: Yes, my latest book, ALONE, is the 5th novel in The Butterfly Memoirs series and one that I had a lot of fun writing. In this book, I explore a male character that is hell-bent on keeping his player status and a woman who is recovering from a divorce that she did not ask for. ALONE is available in eBook and paperback on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, iTunes, Smashwords, and many other platforms.

BPM: Give us some insight into your main characters or speakers. What makes each one so special?
MJ: Derrick is a man who is in the middle of dealing with some major changes in his life that were not his fault. He’s starting over, career wise, and moving to a new city. While his parents are encouraging him to settle down and find some stability in his life, he is determined to remain single; only interested in a relationship if it includes a woman who is just like him, not willing to get into anything long-term. Kelli was blind-sided when her husband announced he wanted a divorce, not that she didn’t suspect he was cheating on her. Now she and her two young children are living with her very pregnant and newlywed sister as she struggles to find balance in her life. They are very different people who wound up needing each other in order to find happiness.

BPM: What inspired you to sit down and actually start writing this book? Why now?
The idea of writing a story about a man who’s only intention is to be involved in no-strings-attached relationships but ends up falling in love has always interested me. I love putting a twist on stories and not following the popular route of him falling for a single, sexy and sassy woman. I made the woman who captures his heart be a challenge. Divorced, emotionally hurt, and raising two very young kids, Kelli is the complete opposite of any kind of woman he’d ever want to be in his life. The emotional challenges each character faces during this story and the fact that they come from two very different paths in life make them that more entertaining.

BPM: What did you enjoy most about writing this book?
MJ: My favorite part was creating the scenes where Derrick and Kelli are struggling to deal with one another. They can’t have normal conversations, instead, she’s always pissed off and he’s egging her on because he finds her sassiness intriguing. Neither want to admit the attraction that they feel. It’s sexual, for sure, but the more they spend time around each other, get to know each other, it goes from just being about sex to wanting to be there for one another. In fact, the first time Derrick and Kelli introduced themselves to me as potential characters to have their own story; it was a scene in which they were arguing.

The anger, sassiness, and over the top sexual attraction that filled that scene captured my imagination right away. That was back in 2010, two years before the publication of the first book in the series, A HEART NOT EASILY BROKEN. That scene is in this book and is definitely one of my favorite!

BPM: Where do your book ideas come from? Are your books plot-driven or character-driven? Why?
MJ: This story is very character-driven. The ideas for my novels come from real life experiences or from watching people around me. I also like dealing with subject matter that is can easily be related to by my readers. We’ve all had that male friend who is a player and we’ve known that friend who has been through a horrible breakup and has no intention of falling in love ever again.

BPM: How does your book relate to your present situation, education, spiritual practice or journey?
MJ: I’ve had the opportunity to meet a lot of single men over the years as they have come and gone from my husband’s studio, and after listening to some of their stories, I was inspired to write the story of a man who, despite what he thought, would end up not only falling in love, but in love with a single mother who had young kids. I am very pleased with the results.

BPM: Did you learn anything personal from writing your book?
MJ: Writing this story has made me appreciate my husband even more and the fact that we have been married for 22 years. There are certain aspects to Derrick’s personality that are based on my husband. In fact, the hands on the cover of this story are my husbands! J

BPM: What were your goals and intentions in this book, and how well do you feel you achieved them?
MJ: My goals with this story were to create a male character that was a lot more than the typically perceived man who is about nothing but sex. He has his own reasons for the decisions he makes; he also has experiences that force him to question his decisions open his heart to everything he vows to avoid. I also wanted to create a woman who is blindsided by the heartache of divorce. During this story, we watch her go from her weakest point to becoming an even stronger woman. She finds a way to not only make it through the struggle of being a single-mom, she also finds love again.

BPM: What projects are you working on at the present?
MJ: The next phase in my writing career is to write the final book in The Butterfly Memoirs series, SHATTERED, which will be published next year. I’ve really enjoyed the journey with this series because in a sense, I am a butterfly, too. The first book in the series was the first one I’ve ever written. Each story has been a different experience and I’ve developed my storytelling voice and created my own writing style. Next comes the challenge of writing something new!

BPM: How can readers discover more about you and your work? Share all of your social media links.

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Facebook: MJKaneBooks
Twitter: MJKaneBooks
Instagram: MJKaneBooks
YouTube: MJKaneMedia

Purchase Alone by M.J. Kane
The Butterfly Memoirs Book 5