London, 1845 It’s December, Alan “Aigee” Garmond’s favorite time of […]
THEN LET HER RUIN ME.
He had everything—wealth, adoration, a brilliant future. Until one chance encounter changed everything.
The moment Caleb Lockhart spotted the mysterious woman in her siren red dress, he couldn’t tear his eyes away.
For the first time in his life, he wanted something. Something he knew he could never have.
The unforgettable stranger he dubs RED.
Check out our exclusive excerpt below!
Wet dreams were a thing of the past for me.
Or so I thought.
Lifting the blanket, I took a peek and let out a frustrated groan as I plopped back down in bed.
What was she doing to me?
Resigned, I closed my eyes. An image flashed in my head of Red in that red lacy underwear as she jumped off the bridge with me.
And then Red without it…
I felt myself twitch.
This was pretty pathetic.
So, what makes an enjoyable “secret baby” romance? First, a child complicates things but must not overpower the romance, which should always take center stage. Second, the introduction of the baby into the plot must come at a pivotal moment. Our two protagonists need to care deeply about the child and be willing to make sacrifices to assure her well-being. And last, when all is said and done, the child should bring the hero and heroine together.
In Loretta Chase’s Not Quite a Lady, Lady Charlotte Hayward is seduced and gives birth at age seventeen. The child, a boy, is given to a “good” family to raise, but Charlotte secretly hopes that someday she’ll be reunited with him. After what happened, she’s determined never to marry. Darius Carsington, our hero, also has no intention of marrying. So, of course, the two meet and sparks fly. Just when the reader is wondering when the secret baby will ever make an appearance, the author reveals the child in a surprising and clever way. When the boy goes missing, Charlotte and Darius spring into action to find him, solidifying their trust in and love for each other.
- Family is the most important thing to them. Even if they are so angry they can spit (and often do, because you’re dead to me), they still love the deceased until they forgive them.
- Italian women expect men to work hard for their affection. They are some of the most sensual of womankind, but men have to really work hard to impress them and earn a spot in their heart.
- Hand gestures are used as punctuation when an Italian woman speaks, especially if she’s angry. There are actually meanings to the hand gestures, so look them up on You Tube if you want to be entertained. There are many videos, but this one is pretty extensive:
- Food is love. If an Italian woman tries to feed you, don’t insult her by turning her down.
- They strongly believe in amore, which is a mystical, magical meeting of two souls that are meant to be together. It is stronger than love and can happen at first sight. Lasting love comes after amore strikes and it is nurtured with a lot of wooing.
I hope you’ll check out Gray Matter and let me know what you think! You might even learn a few Italian curse words.
I have always been a sucker for Hallmark Christmas movies. I don’t start watching them until the day after Thanksgiving, and never watch them after New Years Day, but in between, my husband does a lot of eye-rolling. Truthfully, he thinks my obsession is adorable.
My go-to romance movies otherwise are Pride and Prejudice, the Keira Knightley and Matthew Macfadyen version. My youngest son used to say, “Mom, are you watching the English movie again?”
Another favorite is While You Were Sleeping, with Sandra Bullock. And who doesn’t love You’ve Got Mail? I could watch both once a month, or more.
The first to change my life, or make me a romance fan, are much older. My grandmother and I used to watch Cary Grant’s His Girl Friday, Bringing Up Baby, and The Philadelphia Story. Needless to say, Cary was my first ideal leading man!
Most recently I discovered the “Before” movies . . . Before Sunrise, Before Sunset, and Before Midnight. I know I was late to that particular party, but being able to watch all three in a row, without having to wait ten years in between each, was such a gift. These three movies inspired me as a romance writer, more than any other. Brilliant subtleties, rich and complex characters, breathtaking scenery . . . that’s what I want to write.
- Nora Roberts’ HOT ICE. I read this book around sixteen years old and I loved the witty dialogue between Doug and Whitney. It had action and adventure and lots of sexual tension interspersed with snarky comments. For me it was a huge and refreshing departure from the gushy-gush.
- Moonlighting. This TV show was something I actually watched with my mom and we giggled our way through the whole series back in the day. Watching the byplay between the two leads was amazing. Such great comedic chemistry.
- Romancing the Stone. Are you seeing a theme here? I LOVE when a hero and heroine can meet each other on an intellectual level and out-wit each other.
While I love a good romance that features tons of angst, my first love is actually a good mystery paired with a dynamic duo who is working to solve the case, or escape the bad guys, or rescue a friend.
My new release SILENCE OF THE GHOST is book two in my Murder By Design series, and Bailey Burke is both a home stager and a spiritual medium. Yep, she sees dead people. In this book her relationship with sexy cop Marner heats up as they try to solve a new series of murders based on the infamous 1930s Torso Murders.
I hope you’ll enjoy the banter!
It has to be a good story too. It needs to move, have some suspense to it. I like it to be a page turner, make me want to read the next page. I also want to have romance. There needs to be a hero and a heroine who somehow manage to save each other. James Cameron’s “Titanic” had suspense and romance and both hero and heroine. As the old woman narrating the story said about Jack, “He saved me in every way a person can be saved.” There also needs to be a villain, one everyone can see and knows about. Then maybe one behind the scenes who is pushing all the buttons. No one knows of this villain until later in the book. If it has those characteristics, then I consider it a good read.
Sometimes, in my very hectic life, I wish I could slip back in time to visit one of my favorite time periods: Tudor, Elizabethan, anytime pre-1800’s Scotland. Despite the disease, lack of central heating and toilets, and tainted water, there is something alluring about the simplicity of life and the focused efforts to survive and find joy at a time when people typically only lived into their mid-forties. The need to survive can light a fire under people, which is so different from today’s more pampered, on-line, often apathetic environment we live in today (yes, I have teenagers in the house).
Perhaps you too wish to traverse the centuries to glimpse such passion. Since the time machine has not yet been invented, these are my top five ways of “time traveling” back to my favorite eras and locales. I’d love for you to join me!
Then she meets Jim. Smoker, drinker, unsuccessful country singer and wearer of cowboy boots, he should be completely unsuited to the very together Nancy. And yet, there is a real spark.
But Nancy’s family don’t trust Jim one bit. They’re convinced he’ll break her heart, maybe run off with her money – he certainly distracts her from her family responsibilities.
Can she be brave enough to follow her heart? Or will she remain glued to her family’s side and walk away from one last chance for love?
Check out our exclusive excerpt below!
Nancy was in the kitchen preparing supper, listening to The Archers on the radio, drizzling olive oil over some summer vegetables for roasting, when her husband, Christopher, walked in and told her he was leaving. The July evening was breezy and cool, but the doors to the garden were open, the tortoiseshell cat from next door prowling around the tubs on the flagstone patio, rubbing his body luxuriously along the smooth earthenware sides of a pot of lavender.
Christopher stood across the room, the island worktop between them. He was dressed in jeans and his navy sweater, the high zip-neck brushing his chin, although the zip was partially undone. Thin, small and tidy, tanned from his endless walks in the Suffolk wetlands, his gray hair short, almost monk-like, he seemed determined, almost fierce, as he clutched his brown leather holdall in his left hand.
“Where are you going?” Nancy asked, holding up her oily hands, like a surgeon ready to operate, as she paused in her task of tossing the onions, zucchinis, peppers and baby tomatoes. “It’s nearly supper time.” She reached across to turn the radio off, using her elbow to press the green knob: Christopher hated The Archers.
Yeah, I know, I’m a novelist, not a screenwriter or a movie expert. But there’s something universal about movies, isn’t there? You put ten people in a room and refer to a scene from a novel, you’ll get blank looks from at least half of them, even if it’s a huge book. But refer to a movie? Or, don’t even refer to it, just say a single buzzword – “Inconceivable” or “Yippie-kay-yay” or “Stella” or, shiver, “Redrum” and everyone’s on the same page. So I want to step away from novels for a second and talk about movies.
Specifically, summer movies. More specifically, summer drive-in movies.
Do you still have a drive-in close to your house? I live in a tourist area, and maybe that summer influx of visitors is what allows our local drive-in to stay in business. Maybe it’s their reliable, steady marketing – they’ve been having Dusk-to-Dawn four-movies-in-one-night specials every summer holiday weekend since I was a kid, and they’re still going strong. Still keeping the tradition alive.
I adore these types of stories with the forced emotional proximity. I’ve compiled a list of a few of my favorites!
My Fake Fiancé—I stumbled across this movie while looking for something to watch on Netflix one rainy summer day. Admittedly, I adore Melissa Joan Hart and Joey Lawrence so I was hooked before the movie even started. In this cute rom-com Jennifer loses all of her belongings when a thief drives off with her moving truck. While sitting in her nice, new, and extremely empty home she hatches a plan. She contacts Vince, a guy she recently met at a wedding when both were seated at the singles table. Vince owes money to a loan shark and is desperate for some cash. He immediately agrees to the genius of her plan. A wedding would mean an abundance of gifts, allowing Jennifer to fill up her house again, and a stash of cash for Vince to pay off his loan. The whirlwind engagement is sweet with several laugh out loud moments.