Welcome My Good Friend and Guest Author
to the Blog Today!
Welcome, Christi! Please share a little about yourself, your genres, any other pen names you use.
I’m a diehard romantic who writes contemporary romance. It is a natural fit for me, because I’m a big believer that everyone deserves a happy ending.
You are a diehard romantic! And I love that about you! Okay, so tell us a little about your latest or upcoming release.
I kicked off my Aisle Bound Chicago wedding trilogy with book one, Planning for Love. It is funny and sexy and unapologetically romantic!
Big grin! Which character is your favorite and why?
My hero, Ben, is my favorite character. Underneath his charming, easygoing exterior beats the heart of a passionate fighter. He had such a long, hard journey to make in this book. The poor, sexy thing didn’t even realize he needed love in his life, let alone that he’d ever get it. I’m kind of a sucker for all his smart ass wisecracks, too.
He sounds great! As the author, what surprised you about this story?
It surprised me that it launched a trilogy. I’d never written—or even contemplated—one before. But the more I thought about this story, the more I saw the potential to expand it into multiple books. And now I’m hooked on creating trilogies!
Who doesn’t love a series??? Will there be any sequels or other books in the same series?
Book #2, A Fine Romance, is the story of Sam the baker/aspiring chocolatier and Mira, the manager of Ivy’s new romance store who doesn’t like chocolate. Spoiler alert: there is a VERY hot sex scene that just might involve melted chocolate… Book #3, Friends to Lovers, follows Daphne the florist and Gib the British lothario as they journey from—well, friends to lovers! Just finished writing their aphrodisiac dinner that works far better than either of them expected. Also, please keep an eye out in December for my novella Ask Her at Christmas, in the anthology Romancing the Holiday, also featuring stories by Jaci Burton and Helen Kay Dimon. It, too, is set in Chicago, with a cameo appearance from the hotel where Ivy & Ben have their one torrid night.
Man! This all sounds awesome! What was the hardest thing for you about writing this story?
Oh, the same thing that always stops me dead in my tracks – except this time it happens very early in the book. I guess as a romance author I shouldn't admit this, but love scenes are brutal to craft. You can only say he stroked such and such body part so many times, so many ways. The actual writing becomes very clinical and leaches all the sexiness out of it for me. I can grit my teeth through makeout scenes, but when it comes to full blown sex, my requirements are a single white Russian (nope, no other drink will do) and Pink Martini on the CD player.
LOL! That’s awesome! What are you working on right now?
I am knee deep in book #3 of the series. Their first big makeout scene is behind me. The heroine is about to be asked to star in a reality television flower competition.
Awesome! What happened to the first book you ever wrote?
I published it, I’m thrilled to report! Carolina Heat: An undercover journalist finds steamy passion, mortal danger…and the love of her life. A missing best friend escalates into a mystery with ties all the way back to the Civil War.
Congratulations! Have you incorporated actual events or people from your own life into your books?
When it comes to people, almost never. I based a character in my second book after an acquaintance long out of my life. I think it would have the potential to hurt my friends, if they saw my interpretation as a caricature. My imagination never runs out of characters. I did use a few actual wedding stories from my years as a wedding planner in Planning for Love. Very, very loose interpretations, of course. The most outrageous hijinx are wholly from my fertile mind.
LOL! Is there a theme or message that runs through your work?
Everything in life is better when shared with the person you love. Happily ever after isn’t just a pie in the sky idea. Everyone deserves to find theirs. Sappy? Sure. But I believe it, 100%.
Aw, I love it! Which romance book or series (or other genre, if you don’t write romance) do you wish you had written?
Nora Roberts’ Chesapeake Bay trilogy. Not only is every book in it wonderful, but it is what made me want to move to Maryland. Of course, when I told her that, she looked at me like I was a lunatic. My husband and I did follow up the whim by actually researching Baltimore, I swear!
Ha! That’s a great Nora story! *grins* Of all the characters you’ve ever written, who is your favorite and why?
Ooh, that would be my hero Luke Powell from my 2nd book, Act Like We’re in Love. He was a skirtchasing, bigtime Hollywood star. So much fun to write him in the first half of the book (before he falls in love, of course), when he said such outrageous things to snare the heroine. Well, he expected to do little more than flash her a smile and have every woman within 5 miles come running. Loved his cocksure attitude!
I’ll have to check him out! Okay, now, just for fun:
Milk chocolate or dark chocolate? Dark. Always. Not only yummy, but has health benefits. Why pass that up for a pale imitation?
Salty or sweet? SALTY!!!! I’d far rather have appetizers than dessert. Cheesy, fried, salty goodness.
Bed or kitchen table? I’ll take a mountain of pillows and blankets any day.
Beach or mountains? Beach. Something about the water just calls to me.
Give or receive? Give. Because when you give, you receive as well.
Hopeless romantic Ivy Rhodes
anti-Cupid Bennett Westcott
request the pleasure of your company for
their disaster of a courtship
anti-Cupid Bennett Westcott
request the pleasure of your company for
their disaster of a courtship
Wedding planner Ivy Rhodes is the best in the business, and she's not about to let a personal problem stop her from getting ahead. So when she's asked to star in the reality TV show Planning for Love, it doesn't matter that the show's videographer happens to be a recent—and heartbreaking—one-night stand.
Bennett Westcott admits he didn't handle his encounter with Ivy very well. But looking at her beautiful smile—and great body—through a camera lens every day? He can't be faulted for suggesting they have some no-strings fun.
The more time they spend together, the more Ben realizes Ivy isn't the wedding-crazed bridezilla he'd imagined. But if he doesn't trust himself to make a relationship last, how can he convince Ivy to give him another chance?
“I want to taste you, Ivy.” The scrape of his feet against the stones came to a halt. A gentle nudge with his forehead tipped her head back. Their eyes locked. “Why don’t we get a jump on the inevitable? Because I don’t want to wait another moment.”
Ivy had a split second to decide. Stick to her guns—and her professional ethics—and slip out of his arms? Or stay and lock lips with a super sexy man in the moonlight? Really, it was easiest to not decide at all. Her eyelids drifted shut as she waited for Ben to make his move. And waited. Nothing happened. She peeked out from beneath her lashes to see the merest hint of a smirk lifting the edges of Ben’s mouth. Her eyes flew open the rest of the way.
“What? What happened to the tasting and the moment?”
“The moment’s not right until you decide to commit to it. I promised earlier I wouldn’t steal any more kisses from you. Kissing is interactive. A two way street. You’ve got to choose to slide behind the wheel and turn the key.”
Why did men turn everything in life into a car metaphor? Well, she could play along. Despite showing every sign of being something of a player, Ben had shown her, with that one little pause, that he also had bucket loads of integrity. No sane, single woman could turn down an honest to goodness gentleman. They were a rare breed, and she didn’t intend to waste this particular chance sighting. Time to seize the day...or at least what was left of the night.
“Oh, my motor’s fully revved. You’d better buckle your seatbelt, Mr. Westcott.”
Ivy tightened her grip around his neck and went up on her tiptoes to reach his mouth. The mouth she’d stared at off and on all day, remembering the firm albeit brief feel of his lips against hers. He wasn’t the only one who wanted a taste. She puckered up and planted a soft kiss. And then Ben quite expertly elbowed his way back into the driver’s seat.
His lips slanted hard across hers, instantly ratcheting the level of heat up from tender to full on sizzle. This was no getting-to-know-you smooch. Ben claimed her mouth with possessive pressure. His teeth nibbled open her lips, allowing his tongue to sweep inside. Her moan of pleasure was all the urging he needed to slide his hands down to not only cup her ass, but lift her off the ground.
Ivy’s world spun. Under the spell of the spring night, she’d yearned for nothing more than a touch, a quiet kiss. She’d wanted a sip of water to slake her lustful thirst. Instead, Ben’s kisses drowned her in a downpour of passion and heat. The arch of her foot curved around his calf, looking for something to ground her. Each stroke of his tongue ignited an array of sparks behind her closed eyes. He tore his mouth away but hovered his lips a breath away from hers. Eyes heavy lidded, he moved not at all, aside from the pounding of his heart thumping through his tuxedo shirt. Suddenly, she realized what he waited to hear.
“Okay, Ben. You’ve convinced me to have a drink with you.”
A hum of approval sounded low in his throat. He buried his face in the curve of her neck. And then from somewhere behind them, a short high gasp, and the unmistakable crash of glass breaking on the stone floor. Ben’s grip bobbled, but he didn’t drop her.
“Get your hands off my friend’s ass right now, or I’ll call in someone a lot bigger than me to make you.”