“Moonlight” by Ines Johnson
She was no damsel but he rescued her anyway.
You can never go home again…
Viviane Veracruz is on her way home from university with a degree in one hand…and a baby in her belly. Desperate to escape the judgement of her family, she accepts a sexy stranger’s offer to pose as the father for a few days. The plan is for him to run off leaving her family none the wiser. But the longer Pierce Alcede stays, the more she can’t let him go.
Home is where the heart is…
Pierce Alcede has finally come to terms with the fact that he is a lone wolf, prone to roam the wilderness alone and never settle down with a family of his own. When he meets a pregnant woman in need, he thinks nothing of stepping in to take the brunt of her family’s ire. But somewhere between working on the Veracruz Ranch by day and climbing into Viviane’s bed at night, Pierce forgets to run away.
Can a woman searching for a place to belong find a home with a man who lives to roam?
Moonlight is the second in a paranormal romance series full of alpha men and the strong, capable women that bend them to their knees. If you like a touch of magic in your romance novels, then you’ll love the witches, fairies, and wolves in the dystopian world of the moonkind.
A Faithful Adaptation Guest Post
My favorite rule about adaptations is that: you owe nothing to the original work. This is the first rule of adaptations as told by Richard Krevolin, author of How to Adapt Anything Into a Screenplay. In adaptations, some fans will argu that the movie was too faithful; others that it left too much of the original work out. To investigate Krevolin’s advice on satisfying as many viewers and readers as possible I want to focus on one of my favorite adaptations, Clueless based on the book Emma by Jane Austen.
The story of Emma is virtually unrecognizable in this telling. Screenwriter, Amy Heckerling, was nearly faithless in her rendition of this classic, oft told tale. Jane Austen's story of a privileged 20-year-old in Regency England is transplanted into the persona of a 16-year old, teenaged girl in modern day California. Along with the setting and time period, the title character's name is also updated. Cher is naïve and caught up in a superficial lifestyle revolving around expensive clothes and the social hierarchy of her high school. Her father is no longer an aging hypochondriac, but a high-powered, ruthless lawyer. There's no knightly, next-door neighbor with an eye on our heroine. Instead it's an ex-brother-in-law, who's a liberal arts, college freshman with dreams of saving the world.
Krevolin's next guideline is to "seek out the scenes that can be removed without having a domino effect on the rest of the story." If you've read the book Emma or you've seen the Gwyneth Paltrow redub, you might remember the whole subplot of Jane Fairfax and Frank Churchill. In these versions, while taking a break from setting everyone up, Emma flirts with Frank who leads her on but he's actually madly in love with Jane.
It was 20th century brilliance that Amy Heckerling made Frank Churchill's character into a gay rendition of James Dean who just wanted to be BFF's with Cher. Gone was the Jane Fairfax character and love triangle with Mr. Churchill. Cher's attempt at seduction while the meatloaf burns during Spartacus certainly has the opposite of a domino effect on the rest of the story. It ratcheted up the unpredictability of this updated tale of unrequited love.
Krevolin's next rule is that you don't remove the key things that made the book amazing. In my opinion, it's the love mishaps and love connections that happen because of Emma/Cher's busybody-ness that makes the book and all network and theatrical releases a winner. In Austen's book, it begins with the wedding of Emma's governess with a gentleman Emma matched her with. With this one success under her belt, Emma begins an assault on the poor hearts of her village to disastrous and hilarious effect. In California, Cher starts her matchmaking in response to a bad grade. Although her heart wasn't in the right place at the time, the match works out for everyone involved. With this one success under her belt, Cher begins her assault on the new girl, Tai, to disastrous and hilarious effect.
Krevolin's last edict is that no matter how a story is changed during the course of adaptation, the arc of the characters almost always remains the same. Both Emma and Cher are know-it-alls at the beginning of their stories. Cher thinks she can get her way without trying hard. She believes she can talk her way into or out of anything.
Cher’s proud of her machinations in the love lives' of others. She's irked when her ex-step-brother, Josh, thinks all her work is for selfish ends. In truth, they are. It takes everything blowing up in her face for Cher to realize that Josh was right. It's all gone wrong because it's what she wanted and not what everyone else wanted for themselves. Christian doesn't want to be her boyfriend. Tai doesn't want to date anyone Cher sets her up with. Even Josh, who Cher continually pushes away, only wants to be close to her. Once Cher's stripped bare of everything she realizes she's behaved badly and more importantly that she’s in love with Josh. Once Cher starts selflessly working towards everyone's, including her own, heart's' desire, things turn out as they should.
Faith is a tricky subject when it comes to taking someone else's work and making it your own. Following Krevolin's rules of originality, seeking without destroying, keeping the key things, while maintaining the character arc can get you through adapting a work as short as a newspaper headline or as long as a 500-plus page novel.
You can check out my latest romance series where I take timeless romantic comedies and place them in a world of shifters, witches and fairies. Watch a witch rescue her crush and then fall for his wolfish brother in Moonrise an adaptation of While You Were Sleeping. In Moonlight, a pregnant college grad takes a lone wolf up on his offer of temporarily pretending to be her baby daddy in an adaption of A Walk In the Clouds. And coming this spring, you’ll go over the moon when a rash wolf will stop at nothing to win the heart of a plain Jane in Moonfall my adaptation of the film Moonstruck.
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Moonlight’s Meet Cute #1
“Is this seat taken?”
The husky feminine voice called Pierce’s attention away from the window and up long legs, down dangerously curved hips, around high, pert breasts to end at a heart-shaped face engulfed in a halo of dark curls. The dark curls and lush curves marked her as a wolf.
Pierce cleared his throat and shifted in his seat. He motioned with his hands for the she-wolf to take the place across from him. She struggled to lift her luggage into the overhead compartment. Pierce stood to offer assistance.
“I’ve got it,” she insisted and hefted the bulk over her head with a grunt.
Pierce stepped back. He was used to strong, independent women. He’d been surrounded by them his whole life. He took no offense that this woman didn’t want his assistance. That didn’t mean he wasn’t a gentleman. He waited to be sure she’d secured the case. Then he waited some more until she was seated.
When she’d finished with her case and stepped into the booth, she stopped in front of her seat and blinked at him. Confusion and then irritation played across the angles of her beautiful face. Her brows rose to her hairline. She tilted her head towards his seat. When he failed to sit down, she motioned with her hand.
Pierce flustered down into his seat, averting his gaze. Had he made a mistake? Perhaps she wasn’t a wolf? Perhaps she was a witch?
It wouldn’t be the first time he’d mistaken a witch for a wolf. His last encounter with a witch -on a train no less- had led to a wedding. It had nearly been his wedding. Until his older brother, Jackson, had stepped in and claimed Lucia as the mate to his soul. The wolf and witch lived happily in a quaint little cottage in the woods.
With Pierce now in his seat, the woman sat. She crossed those mile long legs. Then she cleared her throat.
Pierce blinked. Then he realized; he’d been staring. That’s when he knew she wasn’t a witch. Had she been one he’d have been under a spell by now.
He looked up to offer a sheepish apology. When his eyes met hers, his breath caught in his throat. Beneath the halo of dark, thick hair she had eyes of the lightest blue. Pierce had seen the ocean of the Arctic. That body of water was a dark, murky swamp compared to the crystals set deep in this woman’s face.
He was a lone wolf, prone to roam. He was also a man with needs. Both man and wolf salivated at this woman before him. He was certain his interest was plain. He heard himself panting. His mouth watered. He brushed his thumb at the corner of his lip to capture the drop of evidence.
In response, the she-wolf closed her eyes and sighed. Her foot tapped an irritated song on the floorboards. She turned her head and focused her attention outside at the scenery.
“This is beautiful countryside,” he tried. T
hey were now far from Sequoia and nearer to the Mexican border. “Yes,” she said. She turned her head from the window and produced a book from the bag in her lap. She held the book up in front of her face, blocking him from her beauty.
The terse response indicated that she wasn’t interested in him. It should’ve turned Pierce off. It didn’t. The last thing he wanted was an entanglement. Her disinterest in him would serve him well. If he could flip that disinterest, and by extension her, on its back for the morning.
Pierce rarely went for she-wolves. The hot-blooded females could form attachments with males who were not their mates. It was in their natures.
He saw no bite marks on her collarbone. He scented no other wolf on her skin. Though he noted a male scent; probably human. Wolves played with humans, but they didn’t mate for life. Which meant she likely wasn’t looking for any entanglements herself. If he could just capture her attention, he might spark her interest.
“I hope you don’t mind my saying,” he began, a wolfish smile on his face. “But you have the most beautiful-”
“You know, I’m perfectly fine if we dispense with all the niceties and sit here in companionable silence.” She said it with the most polite, most beatific smile. That smile made Pierce’s blood pump and his cock harden. He’d give her anything to keep her smiling at him like that. “If that’s what you wish.”
She aimed the smile pointedly at him. From his peripheral view, he caught a look at the stupid grin on his face in the glass window. “Then that’s what you’ll have.”
“Thank you.” She pulled the book up, hiding her smile and those eyes, breaking the spell.
With her smile gone, Pierce’s grin turned into a frown. He read the cover of the thick book in her hands; Sheep Health, Husbandry, and Disease. He doubted it was for pleasure reading. Perhaps it was a textbook? Maybe she was a student? Sequoia University was near the train station.
“Are you a student?”
She lowered the book and arrowed those light-colored eyes at him. “I thought we agreed to dispense with the niceties?” She smiled, but the facial expression was tight and full of annoyed patience.
His wolf wanted to poke it with his paw. “I can’t help it. I’m always nice. My mother raised a gentleman.”
Her false facade dropped at the word gentleman. “The only time males are gentlemen,” she practically spat the word, “is when they want to get up a female’s skirt.”
Pierce’s eyes darted to those long legs and the hem of her skirt. By the time he made it back to her face, he knew he was caught. He put on his most winning smile. This smile had gotten him an A in Ms. Peckham’s Chemistry class even after he failed both the midterm and final exams. Fairies fell to their knees at this smile. Hell, even a witch had fallen under the spell of this smile. Pierce launched it at the wolf across from him.
Before he could put forth words, she opened her mouth to speak. Then she swallowed. She rubbed her hand over her flat abdomen. Finally, she lurched forward, vomiting in his lap.
So much for his A game.