The Virgin's Makeover by Judy Duarte released on Jan 23, 2004 is available now for purchase.
About the Author
"English was my least favorite subject in school, but I was always a storyteller," she admits. "Growing up, I was the kid in the neighborhood who decided what roles we would play and the pretend situation were in."
As a single mom with four children, Judy returned to school and graduated from the University of California at Irvine with a degree in social ecology. The new direction helped her confidence grow, and when a hero she could believe in came into her real life, she was even more inspired. Determined to do something about her love of writing, Judy joined Romance Writers of America and met her two critique partners. The trio have worked together and encouraged each other ever since.
Judy likes to take ordinary characters and put them in emotionally compelling situations that make them grow. "It takes some of the stubborn and hurting characters a while to learn there is always a way out," Judy maintains, "but when they realize their options, there's no stopping them."
Her unpublished stories won not only the coveted Emily and Orange Rose Awards, but also earned her the status of a double Golden Heart finalist in 2001. Her first book, Cowboy Courage, sold to the Silhouette Special Edition line, where she seems to have found her niche. "I credit a large part of my success to my critique partners, Crystal Green and Sheri WhiteFeather, who also write for Silhouette," she says.
On those days when a stubborn hero and a headstrong heroine claim her undivided attention, she and her family are thankful for fast food, pizza delivery, and video games. When she's not at the keyboard or in a Walter-Mitty-type world, she enjoys traveling, romantic evenings with her personal hero, and playing board games with her kids.
Write to Judy at P.O. Box 498, San Luis Rey, CA 92068.
Read an Excerpt
The Virgin's Makeover
By Judy Duarte
Harlequin Enterprises, Ltd.Copyright © 2004 Harlequin Enterprises, Ltd.
All right reserved.
Chapter OnePortland, Oregon - 1976
Jared Cambry's gut clenched as he looked at Olivia in disbelief. "But we only did it once. Are you sure?"
The sixteen-year-old blonde glanced down at her worn leather sandals and kicked at a dandelion that grew in the grass at the park where they'd met. She looked up and caught his gaze. "Yeah. I'm sure."
Jared wanted to bolt, wanted to call her a liar. Instead, he blew out a ragged breath. "I don't know what to say."
"I was surprised, too," she said. "I guess neither of us planned on having a baby."
She could say that again. He'd just been accepted to Arizona State. And last time his parents had taken him to visit, the football coach had said that he had a good shot at a quarterback position in the fall - maybe even first string.
He looked at the teenage girl who'd just given him the worst piece of news he'd ever heard.
"I know we're young," Olivia said.
Young? Heck, he'd only had his drivers' license for a little over a year. And though old enough to drive, she still rode a bike. They should be thinking about college. And summer vacation. Not a baby.
Besides, it's not as though they'd ever dated. They'd met at a party a couple of months ago, and it had just happened.
Two weeks before the party, he and Megan Phillips, a pretty, redheaded cheerleader he'd gone out with since the fall, had broken up. He was still nursing a broken heart and a wounded pride. And he wasn't in the party spirit - until Olivia had come along, holding two glasses of cheap, fruit-flavored wine.
Olivia had a pretty smile and a way of making him forget about the obnoxious college guy Megan had dumped him for.
Neither of them had been virgins, but the experience had still been awkward. And Jared had a feeling she'd been disappointed.
He'd driven her home afterward, and they'd exchanged phone numbers. But he hadn't called her.
And when she'd asked him to meet her today, he'd been surprised.
"We could maybe date for a while, get to know each other better," she said.
They could date? His mom and dad would come unglued if he brought home a girl from the wrong side of the tracks. They had their hopes set on their only son meeting a debutante, or at least someone whose parents belonged to the country club set.
And even if Jared was willing to go out with Olivia, his family was relocating to Scottsdale about the same time he moved to the dorms at ASU. They said the move was for business purposes, although he suspected they wanted to be near their only child in Phoenix.
"What are you thinking?" she asked, eyes snagging his and demanding some kind of answer.
Heck, he was thinking about all kinds of things. College. Playing football. Maybe taking some pre-law and business courses.
And the sudden realization that his once charmed life was going to hell in a broken-down baby buggy.
Only one solution came to mind. "I'll pay for an abortion."
"What?" Olivia asked, voice raised an octave.
"An abortion. I'll get the money. And I'll drive you there and wait while it's done. That way, your mom won't find out."
"No way. I know having a kid isn't convenient for either one of us. But I'm keeping this baby."
She couldn't be serious. Olivia and her mom lived in a rundown, rusted-out trailer on the outskirts of town. How the heck was she ever going to raise a kid?
And even if he got a part-time job flipping burgers while attending school, he wasn't going to be able to contribute too much. Her keeping the baby was a bad idea - for both of them.
"You've got your whole life in front of you," he said. "Why would you want to tie yourself down?"
"Because babies are a blessing. And God wouldn't have let me get pregnant if there wasn't a good reason for it."
Jared rolled his eyes. He didn't think God had anything to do with the mistake they'd made. And he couldn't see how having a kid at his age would bless his life.
Excerpted from The Virgin's Makeover by Judy Duarte Copyright © 2004 by Harlequin Enterprises, Ltd.. Excerpted by permission.
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