You know how you spend an entire day traveling in the car and then eat dinner at 9, and then you have no idea what your name is or what state you’re in?
I spent a great deal of time behind this guy during my travels:
I’m vacationing in North Carolina at the moment, but not for reasons you may suspect. I didn’t come here to wave at Hurricane Joaquin as he blew by…
Nor did I come here to lounge on the beach.
I came here to see Sam Hunt in concert.
And the concert is TONIGHT!
I’m a little excited.
I’m also working because let’s face it, when the hubs told me to “do whatever you want on vacation” what I really wanted to do was write this blog and post a few things online.
I know. I’m sick. 😈
Be sure to check out the blog tour now going on for Connor’s book HERE.
And the Spotlight post at Harlequin Junkie, where I list my Top 5 fun facts about A BAD BOY FOR CHRISTMAS.
And if you have read the book, won’t you leave a review? Reviews may help that iffy reader pick up a book s/he normally wouldn’t. Right now, Connor needs some love on Amazon and B&N, and no matter where you purchased the book, you can post a review.
Cool, right? 😎
Here’s an example of one I read the other day. I love it. Thanks, Nikki!
The other cool thing is that Connor is sitting on an Amazon Top 100 list (looking rather smug, I might add). As of now, he’s at #30 on the “Holiday” list.
That’s about it from my end. Now I’ll just sit here in eager anticipation of my concert this evening…
Stay tuned! (And happy reading!)
So, as I write this we are on the very cusp of release day for Connor’s book.
*incoherent screaming* 😮
It’s about 9 PM EST, 9/28/15, and in three measly little hours, I get to watch A Bad Boy for Christmas go LIVE.
I mean, if I stay up.
One would think after the release of…
Tempting the Billionaire
Can’t Let Go
Hard to Handle
The Millionaire Affair
If You Dare
Bringing Home the Bad Boy
Rescuing the Bad Boy
that a new release would be *shrug* *yawn*
Well. It’s NOT.
It’s as exciting as each one that came before it. What will happen? Will readers love Connor? Will the book be a #1 NYT Bestseller? Will Connor become the next Fifty?!?!?!
Okay, probably not that last one.
(but you never know.)
I write fiction, can you tell?
The point is, it’s always exciting to watch a book take its first baby steps into the world. Sometimes, it’s downright gut-wrenching. (Donovan, anyone?) But with Connor, I have this undiluted sense of excitement and wonder.
Kind of like you do…
(wait for it…)
See what I did there?
As I sit here and sip my
beer champagne, I’ll be wondering what tomorrow brings. And you, my little future time traveler, already know.
So do you have Connor on your Christmas list yet? He’s a little naughty and a whole lot nice.
Just my kind of bad boy.
Ho ho ho!
So after my gushing review of Flirting with Fire, it should be a foregone conclusion that Eli Cooper would capture my heart. YOU GUYS. I love him. That smarmy, puckish, sharp-edged man. Mayor McAsshat not only earned his name in book 1, he kept earning it in book 2! Alexandra, the female firefighter lead was at once tough and soft, and a woman you can identify with whether it’s over her waistline, or that ever-present female feeling of “I’m not enough.” She was enough though, and the thing was, she and Eli saved each other. Him from a lifetime of Grinch-heart-itis, and she from herself, because she really did need to be taught when to stop fighting. As a fighter for a living and in her family, her journey was fantastic to experience. But Eli, oh Eli. You sexy, sexy man. Even when he made me hate him, he won me back a moment later. Hard as nails, a war hero, and as self-deprecating as he was cocky, there was still a vulnerability there he showed only to Alex. To witness them both grow together was an absolute joy. If you like sharp, witty, hilarious romance with steam and banter in equal measures, this book is for you!
If you don’t know already, Lauren Layne is one of my FAVORITE authors. And people. She’s pretty much awesome. So when she agreed to give me her exclusive except for the upcoming IRRESISTIBLY YOURS, I was all. over. it.
So here it is, your exclusive look at Cole and Penelope. Go brag to your friends that you saw it here first. 😉
Cole used the callbox to ring Penelope’s apartment, smiling as her frazzled voice came out all tinny. “Cole?”
“Get up here!”
He lifted an eyebrow at the urgency in her tone. A couple minutes later, she opened the door, and he understood.
“Yikes,” he said, looking her over. Penelope was wearing a fuzzy white robe, her hair in a messy bun, her eyes huge and panicked.
“I fell asleep,” she said, jerking him inside. “I meant to take a quick nap and then next thing I know it was six o’clock …”
“I can wait downstairs,” he said politely.
“Don’t even think about it,” she said, putting both hands on his back and pushing him in the direction of her bedroom. “I need help.”
Cole balked a little. Usually when a woman needed “help” in the bedroom—
“Tell me everything about these people,” she said, running her fingers into her hair as she went to stand in front of her closet. “Are they like old New York, or trendy New York? Like, we talking Fashion Week or Audrey Hepburn, or —“
He stared at her, aghast. “You want me to help you figure out what to wear?”
She turned around, eyes pleading. “I’m terrible at this kind of thing.”
“Tiny, with all do respect, I’m a hell of a lot better at undressing women than dressing them.”
“No doubt,” she said dismissively, looking him over. “But look at you. You look like you should be one of the Oxford models, not a columnist.”
He glanced down at his jeans, white button down and navy sports jacket. Not exactly male model attire.
She pulled out an ugly yellow dress. “What about this?”
Cole sighed. Wow. She wasn’t kidding. She really was bad at this.
“They’re not going to care about what you’re wearing, Penelope. But, uh … not that.”
She stomped her foot. “Cole!”
He held up his hands. “Okay, okay.”
He went to her closet, rummaging through then hangers. “Seriously woman how many different jerseys do you have?”
“About half as many as I do ratty t-shirts,” she said glumly.
“You don’t look ratty at work.” he said, pulling out an Ichiro jersey from his Mariners days. “Is this a child size?”
“Yes, they’re all child-size,” she said. “It’s the only thing that fits. But I’m not going to show up dressed like a right fielder, so focus.”
“What about one of the boring outfits you wear to work? Slacks and a button down, or something?”
“Well considering you just called said outfits boring …”
He looked at her. “What do you feel most comfortable in?”
“Jeans and a t-shirt, obviously, but sometimes …”
She broke off and he lifted an expectant eyebrow.
“Yes, Tiny?” he cajoled when she looked down at the floor.
“Sometimes I’m in the mood to feel pretty.”
Her voice was quiet when she said it, and damned if his heart didn’t break just a little for her.
He had the strangest urge to pull her towards him. To tell her that she was pretty. Maybe to run his hands up her back, show her one of those kissing techniques that Lincoln had mentioned—
He grunted and pushed the thought aside. The last thing he needed to do was replay that day in the office where he’d felt something suspiciously close to jealousy.
Cole didn’t do jealous.
Certainly not over a woman who’d all but drawn a line in the sand and labeled it platonic.
He returned his attention to her closet, pulling out a bright blue halter top that was sort of silky.
“What about this?”
She eyed it skeptically. “What would I wear it with?”
Cole rolled his eyes, turned back towards the closet and pulled out a pair of jeans. “Put these on.”
Cole pointed a finger at her face. “Get dressed. If you want my help, you have to trust me.”
She glowered at him for several seconds before relenting with a sigh. “Fine.”
Then, to his utter shock, she pulled off her robe and threw it onto the bed.
He whirled around to face away from her, but not before he’d gotten an eyeful of Penelope Pope in a strapless bra and panties.
“Oh stop,” she said. “It’s not like there’s a whole lot going on here.”
He sucked in a breath. His raging hard-on said otherwise.
How the hell had that happened? Usually it took more than an accidental sneak peak of a woman in bra and panties to turn him on.
But no doubt about it. He was turned on.
He tried to block out the sound of her jeans sliding up over her slim hips, trying to block out the urge to pull them back down again.
“Alright,” she said a few moments later. “You can turn around. I’m dressed, so no more threats to your virtue.”
He gave a skeptical glance over his shoulder, confirmed that she was clothed, and then turned to face her more fully.
She held her hands out to the side. “Well? Are you overwhelmed?”
He turned back towards her closet, located her shoe rack at pulled off a pair of standard black high heels.
“Nuh uh,” she said, looking at them like they were a dead rat. “Remember what happened last time I wore high heels? It’s a disaster waiting to happen.”
“That’s where I come in handy,” he said. “You can hold my arm.”
“Oh yeah, because that’ll make them more comfortable,” she said. “Plus it’s supposed to snow tonight.”
Cole threw his arms in the air. “Damn it, woman. Wear your sneakers for all I care.”
She pursed her lips. “Nah. Boots.”
“Fine. Can we go now?”
“No! What about makeup? I’ve mastered mascara, mostly, but I could use some help on what eye shadow would look good.”
Cole stared at her, waiting to see if she was joking, the shook his head. “No. Hell no.”
He moved towards the door and she followed him. “But I don’t know—“
Cole pulled her small purse off a hook by the door. “This what you’re bringing?”
He looped the strap unceremoniously over her shoulder. “Get your cell phone or whatever else you need and then we’re out of here.”
She opened her mouth. “But—“
He sighed and took a step forward. Her words broke off as his hands lifted to her head. Very slowly, his fingers pushed into her hair, trying to ignore how silky it felt against his fingers as he sought out the rubber band that held it in place.
Gently, he tugged, sliding the band inch by inch until her dark hair spilled all over her shoulders. All over his hands.
“There,” he said, his voice just slightly rough. “Now you’re ready.”
She was looking up at him, her expression unreadable, and he felt a sudden urge of tenderness for this woman he barely knew, and yet somehow completely knew.
Cole cleared his throat and took a step back. “You don’t need makeup to look good, Penelope.”
“That’s what guys always say the second before they give themselves whiplash looking at some gussied up Victoria’s Secret model,” she grumbled lightly as she pulled on her boots.
“Sure,” he said agreed amicably. “But just because we want to sleep with the Victoria’s Secret model doesn’t mean we want to wake up beside her in the morning.”
“Well that’s very comforting Sharpe,” she said. “But save it for someone who isn’t alone every night and every morning.”
Cole wasn’t sure what to say to that, so he said nothing as they made their way down the hall to her elevator.
Penelope looked thoughtful as she punched the down button. “Hey, did Cassidy or Jake mention if Lincoln would be there tonight?”
He gave her a startled look. “Do you want him to be?”
She didn’t respond as she stepped into the elevator.
Cole followed her, feeling a little surprised—and annoyed—by just how desperately he wanted her to answer.
PS, and MARK YOUR CALENDARS so you don’t forget to join us (and SO many other amazing authors!) at the RARM Facebook party on 9/30! Click to RSVP here.
From one of my favorite scenes from A Bad Boy for Christmas. *swoon* (And get an exclusive peek at that kiss on Kimberly Kincaid‘s newsletter tomorrow! Did you sign up yet?)
I’m super excited to start sharing teasers from A Bad Boy for Christmas. Here is the first. Oh, Connor. *sigh*
**CLOSED** AND THE WINNER IS… Cara O! Cara spent Labor Day sick so random [dot] org must’ve chosen her so she’d feel better soon. Cara, PM me your address and what book you chose. 📚
How was your Labor Day weekend?
The hubs and I spent the weekend pretty much playing. It was. Fantastic. If you were following along on Instagram, you saw it all.
Friday was my mom’s birthday and we went to Bonefish Grill where I ate the single most delicious piece of Misoyaki Chilean Sea Bass EVAR. Then we went to a local brewery: Star City, and imbibed some beers accompanied by live music.
Saturday, I took the day off–Friday wrapped the final day of my editor at Grand Central (gonna miss her!!!) and therefore meant that she and I spent nearly two hours on the phone Thursday, followed by a Friday morning half-hour to wrap our business up. After plotting three (3!!!) Billionaire Bachelors books and doing manuscript Q&A for Asher, let’s just say my brain? No worky. So. Mr. Lemmony and I spent the day at the pool with some cocktails and…
It was fabulous.
Sunday, I got to work, Asher edits. Tackling them was a challenge. Some of the scenes needed moved, others reworked, a few deleted. I made it through about 80 pages and then discovered that Word was taking my edits and scrambling the words so they made no sense. For example:
Worst timing ever, but he was dealing with enough shiting er, but e night. e a babtruckbed—ruckbedhiting er, but e night. e a baby a
As you can see. This makes no sense. And as you might imagine, I have no idea what this sentence USED to say. So after having a heart attack, I decided to copy each section as I rewrote it and paste it into Mac Pages (kinda like Word) to keep from losing my mind. Tech-savvy side note: I also saved the file as an .rtf instead of a .doc which *seems* to have helped. 😐
Crisis averted, I spent Monday dealing with no (knock on wood) issues with my manuscript so I was able to plow through another 75 pages to work in scenes, work out scenes and get my basic layout in place. THEN. I went to the pool. 😎
Today, I’m back in my editing chair, cup of coffee steaming beside me, Erin Condren planner at the ready, and a bowl of oatmeal congealing by my left elbow. I’m planning on getting the rest of the manuscript in order and then by Thursday starting at the top and plowing through for one final edit to feather in the scenes I took out/moved so that Asher’s book reads the way you want it to: smooth and sexy with plenty of emotion.
That’s my Labor Day weekend in a nutshell. How was yours?
Tell me and I’ll draw one winner to receive any book from my backlist.
What is an author’s most frequently asked question? Hands down, it’s:
Where do you get your ideas?
When asked, most will say inspiration strikes from everywhere, anywhere. Sometimes it attacks you in the middle of a shower, or the grocery store, or walking the dog. Sometimes you can will it to happen. Sitting down with a glass of wine and a pen is a good trick. And other times, you just go out and find it.
When I first dreamed up Donovan Pate and Sofia Martin, hero and heroine from Rescuing the Bad Boy, I had an idea of a man who had been physically abused as a child who is forced to return home when he doesn’t want to. As you know from my behind the scenes story on this book, Rescuing has had many inceptions. This one, by far, is my favorite, and I’m thrilled I was
forced coerced inspired to write and write again until I arrived at the Donny he is today.
So…where do you find a mansion??? Google, of course. But a local mansion? Oh, there is one. And while this run-down relic inspired Pate Mansion–I kept the number of rooms, the square footage, but mentally cleaned her up inside and made her beautiful on the outside, setting her on 5 manicured acres of woodland in the lake town of Evergreen Cove.
Here’s a look at the Pate… uh, I mean, the Sorg mansion:
Isn’t this cool? The Sorg was built in 1888, and a quick Google search will provide some info if you’re curious.
Me? I love the fictional version of the Sorg. Donovan and Sofie Pate’s dream home and beautiful place to live and raise a family. But I’m grateful to the Sorg for lighting a spark to my imagination and giving me some inspiration for the story that refused to die.
More pics below. I traveled there in March, hence the coat, and we snapped photos with the hubs one afternoon. The Sorg is relatively close, but not that easy to find! We had to drive around and then ask a local for directions. 😳
PS, For a chance to win a bad boy book, make sure you pop into Nicole Michael’s Facebook party tonight! My time slot is 7:40-8 PM EST.
See you there. RSVP HERE.
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