In a small town like Culler, South Carolina, you guard your secrets like you guard your cobbler recipe: with your life. Georgia Ann Monroe knows a thing or two about secrets: she’s been guarding the truth that her best friend Will is gay for years now. But what happens when a little white lie to protect him gets her into a fake relationship…and then the boy of her dreams shows up?
Enter Beau Montgomery: Georgie’s first love, hotter than ever, and much too much of a southern gentleman to ever pursue someone else’s girl. There’s no way to come clean to Beau while still protecting Will. But bless their hearts, they live in Culler—where secrets always have a way of revealing themselves.
Disclaimer: This Entangled Teen Crush book contains a hilarious “fakeship,” a scorching-hot impossible relationship, and a heartwarming best-friendship that will make you want to call your best friend right here, right now.
We had Danielle Ellison, author of THE SWEETHEART SHAM over to the blog to answer our burning questions about all things love & romance. Now, on with the Q&A!
I have always been a reader. On vacations, a significant portion of my suitcase was books, and I always blew through those so fast that I’d start pleading with my parents to take me to a local bookstore. I was voracious, and I tended to jump genres a lot once I branched away from the children’s section of the library. Romance, however, didn’t enter my reading world until years I was in my mid-twenties.
The way I moved through sections of the bookstores and libraries I frequented seemed like a natural progression at the time, but looking back on it, I can see how my younger self was heavily influenced by the tastes and actions of the people around me.My dad was a fan of mysteries and sci-fi/fantasy, and when I first got bored with the children’s section of the library, it was his books I borrowed. My mom didn’t have a lot of time to read, and when she did she preferred non-fiction that didn’t tend to interest me, so I stuck to dad’s shelves and piles. When school friends brought in romance novels stolen from their mom’s bookshelves, those stories were treated like something lurid and forbidden, and they only ever read aloud the most explicit of the sex scenes they found. To baby me, there was no appeal in a book revolving solely around sex. Since I didn’t have any romance readers in my life to correct my misconceptions, I didn’t pick up a romance novel until after I graduated college when I began working at Borders.
Over the two and a half years I worked at Borders, I held a lot of positions—bookseller, training supervisor, merchandising supervisor, and inventory supervisor. By necessity, I had to put my hands on almost every book in the store and recommending titles and authors in the romance section. I had to read the backs of the books so I knew what was available and what authors to start with if someone was looking for contemporary vs. shapeshifter paranormal. It was only a matter of time before something caught my eye strongly enough to intrigue me to buy a copy and take it home. The first to hit that mark was What I Did For Love by Susan Elizabeth Phillips.
Isabelle Oster has dreamed of being a prima ballerina her entire life, so when the only male dancer backs out of the fall production, she’s devastated. Without a partner, she has no hope of earning a spot with the prestigious Ballet Americana company. Until hot jock Garret practicing stretches in one of the studios gives Izzy an idea, and she whips out her phone. But does she really want this badly enough to resort to blackmail?
All-state tight end Garret Mitchell will do anything to get a college football scholarship. Even taking ballet, which surprisingly isn’t so bad, because it means he gets to be up close and personal with the gorgeous Goth girl Izzy while learning moves to increase his flexibility. But Izzy needs him to perform with her for the Ballet Americana spot, and he draws the line at getting on stage. Especially wearing tights.
Disclaimer: This Entangled Teen Crush book contains a bit of blackmail, a lot of sarcasm, and an ending guaranteed to melt your heart.
We had Ally Matthews, author of OFFSETTING PENALTIES, on the blog to answer our burning questions! Now, let’s jump in!
What are your five favorite movies with romance or romantic elements?
Sixteen Candles Spoiler Alert (highlight to reveal) The ending of Sixteen Candles. It was so wonderfully awkward and romantic at the same time for Jake to pick up Samantha after her sister’s wedding and give her a birthday cake after her family forgot her birthday.
For The Princesss Bride, my favorite scene is where Buttercup pushes Wesley down the hill, and when he says, “As you wish,” she realizes who he his. Of course, I can’t help but judge her a bit for not recognizing who he was immediately.
Writing my debut YA fantasy novel, The Uncrossing, I used one of my all-time favorite romance tropes: the longtime crush. There’s something so satisfying about unrequited love slowly becoming returned. First, we get to wallow in some delicious crush angst—all that good yearning and longing and desiring stuff. Every time the object of the crush is obliviously sweet or accidentally cruel, we feel that sting along with the main character. I grew up on 90s teen movies like Can’t Hardly Wait that built on these long, slow-burn crushes.
And when the characters do finally get together? It’s joyful and complete and maybe just the tiniest bit of wish-fulfillment. One of my favorite longtime crushes that finally gets resolved is Ron and Hermione’s relationship in the Harry Potter series. They want each other for years, and both their own personalities and the stress of survival in their world keep getting between them. Ron, in particular, has to work so hard to understand his own feelings and become someone who deserves Hermione. When he finally gets his act together, and they find one another, it truly feels like coming home.
I love romantic movies and I love sports movies. Put the two together, and it’s often a recipe for success.
Here are my top five favorite films that brilliantly meld the romance with the sportsball.
The Cutting Edge: I recently rewatched this movie, and it is bad. The Cutting Edge is not a good film, friends. It’s basically one giant montage with a few kissing scenes spliced in. Not that I’m complaining! For me, this movie is pure nostalgia and wish fulfillment. As a kid, I used to dream about being an Olympic figure skater, even though I can barely skate. And, during one of the Winter Olympics in the early ‘90s (I think; I could be making this up), there was an ad where a figure skater challenged a really hot hockey player to a shootout. I don’t know. That’s how I remember it. There’s just something about guys in hockey sweaters wooing girls in fancy skating costumes.
Just Wright: Queen Latifah is gorgeous and adorable in this movie as a physical therapist for a pro-basketball player (Common, not so bad himself). Again, this is not the “greatest” movie on the planet, but the leads are so likable, you’ll find yourself grinning throughout the entire runtime.
I’m pretty particular when it comes to my ships. Just because a couple makes eyes at each other and shares a few scorchers doesn’t make them OTP. I’m going to share a few must-haves for my fave fictional couples today. What are yours? Let us know in the comment section!
Give me all the complicated characters – Have a character with their life together? Perfect job? Awesome relationship? Loyal BFF? Not my jam. I want issues. I want complicated. The more the better because, in my eyes, it makes them interesting. It makes them real. Give me flaws and I’ll give you every last bit of my attention. Complicated characters in a complicated relationship = WIN.
Let me see them fight – If there’s no fire, I’m not getting on that ship. And I’m not talking smooches. Their physical attraction could set the universe on fire and I wouldn’t care. In order for a couple to get my attention, they have to have clash—at least a little. Give me snarky banter and passionate disagreements. Then, of course, give me those cosmos blazing smooches 😉
Give that road some bumps – It might sound mean, but I don’t want to see them get their happily ever after. At least not right away. I want to see them struggle for it. The more obstacles they have to overcome, the more hoops to jump through, the better. The harder it is for them to be together, the harder I’m going to fall. Uh, hello Olicity anyone?
Set that ship on fire – Obviously in addition to all of the above, in order for a ship to sail in my eyes, it’s gotta have heat you can feel. If the characters are telling us that they’re in love but it’s not coming across in their interaction, then it’sgonna fall flat. Give me intense looks and oodles of tension. Give me dialog that sets the air on fire. This is the icing on the ship-cake (Shh—that’s a thing!) so it’s gotta be sweet. 😉
JUS ACCARDO spent her childhood reading and learning to cook. Determined to follow in her grandfather’s footsteps as a chef, she applied and was accepted to the Culinary Institute of America. But at the last minute, she realized her true path lay with fiction, not food. A native New Yorker, she lives in the middle of nowhere with her husband, three dogs, and sometimes guard bear, Oswald.
About Omega (The Infinity Division, #2):
One mistake can change everything. Ashlyn Calvert finds that out the hard way when a bad decision leads to the death of her best friend, Noah Anderson. Only Noah isn’t really gone. Thanks to his parents’ company, the Infinity Division, there is a version of him skipping from one dimension to another, set on revenge for the death of his sister, Kori. When a chance encounter brings him face-to-face with Ash, he’s determined to resist the magnetic pull he’s felt for her time and time again. Because falling for Ash puts his mission—and their lives—in danger.
We brought Melissa Chambers over the blog to answer our burning questions!
What are your five favorite movies with romance or romantic elements?
500 Days of Summer
The Little Death
Bridget Jones’s Diary
Describe your favorite scene from each one!
In Love Actually, I think my favorite scene is the one between the singer, Billy Mack, and his manager where they spend Christmas together, and Billy tells his manager he’s the love of his life. I know this is supposed to be in reference to romantic love, but what’s so fabulous about that movie is how they show the significance of all sorts of love.
Valley Girl! This has always been and will always remain my favorite movie of all-time! Punk rocker Randy takes Valley Girl Julie to a seedy night club on the first night they meet, but she doesn’t care because she’s there with him. They have their first kiss right there at the table with her friend (who is totally grossed out) and his wingman and they kiss to the magical sounds of The Plimsouls’ “A Million Miles Away”.
Growing up, watching my favorite TV shows (or reading my favorite books, although there wasn’t much selection in YA back in the stone ages), I’d ship a couple hard, waiting for the magical moment when they’d finally kiss. Oh, those melting first kisses, that were all passion and feeling, and resolution of all that tension. Kind of makes you want to hug your pillow to your chest and sigh, right? I know I did.
And it’s still true for me, even as a jaded adult. When Sheldon finally kissed Amy on “The Big Bang Theory” I was so shocked, but immediately let out an “Awwww!” The way it started as sarcastic, because they were arguing about Sheldon’s lack of romance, but then it caught, and he stepped in close, realizing that he really did want to kiss Amy. So great.
Then, there’s the “almost-kiss.”
As a writer, it’s one of my favorite reader torture devices. Yeah, I know, the groans are audible. But—think about it. You have a couple that’s practically setting the snow on fire with desire and the tension is unbearable. They’re drawing together, this close to kissing…