Dawn's Blog today for a review of An Alpha's Path. Out Dec 5th. We are also running a contest there. So be sure to check it out.
Over here, though, I have the lovely Jana Richards in an Interview. :-)
Tell me about The Girl Most Likely.
Cara McLeod finds herself at a place she really doesn’t want to be. She’s forty-three, divorced, a single mother, and working an entry level job. And she’s overweight and out of shape. Her life wasn’t supposed to be like this. She had so many dreams in high school. She was going to have a high-profile, high salary career, while at the same time having the perfect marriage and being the perfect mother.
And then real life happens.
After high school she married Peter, her high school sweetheart. She put him through dentistry school by working menial jobs, with the understanding that it would be her turn to go to school once his studies were completed. But by that time, she was pregnant with her first daughter and becoming a high rolling financier didn’t seem so important anymore.
Fast forward several years. Cara now has two teenage daughters. On her fortieth birthday, Peter drops a bombshell: he wants a divorce. He wants more excitement in his life, and frankly he doesn’t find Cara attractive anymore. She’s devastated and humiliated, but for the sake of her children she carries on. After selling the house she shared with Peter she buys a small condo, and then gets a job as a junior assistant (aka gopher) at a local TV station. For three years things chug along in a predictable rut until she receives an invitation to attend her 25th high school reunion. The invitation throws Cara into a panic; how can she attend this reunion twenty-five pounds overweight and divorced? She was supposed to be “the girl most likely”, the girl with the perfect life. Some perfect life.
Her first instinct is not to go to the reunion, but when she’s cajoled into attending by her daughters and her best friend, her pride demands she improve her appearance first. She enlists the help of personal trainer Finn Cooper, who she met at her TV station when he was a guest. She can’t deny she finds Finn attractive, but she can’t believe a younger, gorgeous man like Finn would ever reciprocate the feeling. There could never be anything between them. Could there?
Cara is everything Finn wants in a woman. She’s funny, kind, and beautiful. But unfortunately she can’t see how terrific she is. Finn sets aside his own insecurities to convince her that she’s the girl most likely to win his heart.
Rate The Girl Most Likely in terms of steaminess.
I’d say that Finn and Cara rate at least 4 rumpled bedsheets out of 5!
Who is your favorite Contemporary Romance Author?
Suzanne Brockman is my favorite contemporary romance author. I love the strength of her characters, their humor, their humanity. They feel like real people to me, albeit, really good-looking, kick-ass real people!
What is your favorite Contemporary Romance series/book?
I’m really enjoying Brockman’s Seal Team 16 series right now. Over the years I’ve also enjoyed many of Nora Roberts’ contemporary series such as the Seaswept series set in the Chesapeake Bay area. I’m actually a sucker for series because it’s so great to find out what happens with characters I grow to love once they get to their happy ending.
Who is your favorite Contemporary Romance character? Why?
That’s a really tough question, I like so many characters. But one of my favorites is Tucker Longstreet, Nora Roberts’ hero in Carnal Innocence. I read the book years ago but Tucker’s character has stayed with me. The thing I found so fascinating about him, and what I suspect his love interest in the book, Caroline Waverly, also found intriguing, was that at the beginning of the book he comes off as some kind of shallow playboy. He acts like he doesn’t have a care in the world or a serious bone in his body. He makes sure his relationships with women are short and sweet. But then gradually we (and Caroline) start to see that he is much deeper than he likes to let on. He’s fiercely loyal to his family, and though he pretends not to care, he’s the one keeping the family business afloat. One of my favorite scenes is when he can’t provide an alibi after a murder because he was just at home alone, reading a book of poetry, and he knew no one would believe him!
I didn’t like Tucker much when I first started reading the book, but as Roberts skillfully peels back the layers of his character to reveal the true man, I fell in love. You always remember the ones you fall for real hard. Sigh.
If you could take that person out for a date, what would you do? Details Please!
Perhaps we’d talk about poetry. Or not. I hear that summer nights in the South are very, very hot and steamy!
Cara – What was your first impression of Finn?
That he was one of the most gorgeous men I’d ever met. He has the most beautiful blue eyes... It’s crazy, but for a moment when I first met him, I thought he was actually interested in me too. But then I realized his only interest in me was as a client. That brought me crashing back to earth in a hurry. What was I thinking? Why would someone as attractive – and as young – as Finn, be interested in someone like me?
Cara – What is your favorite part about him?
If we’re talking body parts, it’s a toss-up between his beautiful blue eyes and his buns of steel. If we’re talking character and personality, it’s the beauty of his soul. Finn is kind and gentle. He’s treated my daughters and me with compassion and understanding. But I’ve learned things about him that make me love his strength and determination.
Finn – What was your first impression of Cara?
That she was a beautiful woman hiding beneath baggy clothes. She was also tough and determined, with a self-deprecating sense of humor. I definitely wanted to get to know her better – if she’d let me.
Finn – What is your favorite part about her?
Her interest in other people, her willingness to listen, her fairness. I guess that’s more than one thing, but then there are many things I love about Cara.
Jana – What is next for you? Is The Girl Most Likely part of a series?
Actually, The Girl Most Likely is part of the Class of ’85 series from The Wild Rose Press. The series revolves around the graduates of Summerville High School as they return for their 25th reunion. This is a multi-author series and I’m thrilled to have my story included in this group.
What’s next for me is a step back in time. My novella Home Fires has just been contracted with The Wild Rose Press. British nurse Anne Wakefield travels to Canada in 1945 to marry her fiancé, a Canadian soldier she met during the war. But when she arrives, she finds that her fiancé has already married someone else. Devastated, Anne picks up the pieces of her life. The kindness of her ex-fiancé’s brother Eric helps to heal her pain. When his mother suggests marriage, she must decide whether to return to England, or to take a second chance on love – this time with Eric. But can he forget that Anne loved his brother first?
Carrie Ann, thank you for letting me visit your blog today to tell you a little about my new release. All the best!
Jana Richards has tried her hand at many writing projects over the years, from magazine articles and short stories to full-length paranormal suspense and romantic comedy. She loves to create characters with a sense of humor, but also a serious side. She believes there’s nothing more interesting then peeling back the layers of a character to see what makes them tick.
When not writing up a storm, working at her day job as an Office Administrator, or dealing with ever present mountains of laundry, Jana can be found on the local golf course pursuing her newest hobby.
Jana lives in Western Canada with her husband Warren, along with two university aged daughters and a highly spoiled Pug/Terrier cross named Lou.
Cara McLeod, the girl most likely to have the perfect marriage, is now divorced and, in her own words, “fat, frumpy, and over forty.” The thought of facing former classmates—and the ex-husband who dumped her—at her high school reunion terrifies her. Cajoled into attending by her kids and her best friend, Cara enlists help at the gym to lose weight and look great for the reunion. Personal Trainer Finn Cooper is more than willing to help—but does he have to be so to-die-for gorgeous?
Finn thinks Cara is perfect just the way she is. She’s everything he wants in a woman, except for one thing—she can’t get past the fact that he's eight years younger. To Finn, age and weight are just numbers. But can he convince Cara the numbers she worries about add up to only one thing for him—love?
“I think you’re beautiful. You know that, don’t you?”
No, she really didn’t know that, but she nodded anyway. What happened when he woke up one morning and realized that she had a few more lines on her face? Would he still think she was beautiful or would he tire of her, just as Peter had?
“Are you sorry about last night?”
Her head rose sharply. He looked away, not meeting her gaze. However mixed up she felt this morning, she couldn’t let Finn feel that he’d somehow failed her. Setting her mug on the night table on her side of the bed, she caressed his unshaven cheek.
“Of course I’m not sorry. I loved our night together. Don’t mind me, Finn. I’m in a mood this morning.”
He tugged at her sheet once more. “Then let go of the sheet and let me hold you before I have to go.”
Cara held her sheet tighter. It was one thing to get undressed in the dark and another to let him see her body in the cruel light of day. “No, please. I’d rather not.”
Would he look at her in the cold morning light and see all her imperfections, her scars, her forty-three years of living? Would he look at her and want to trade her in for a newer model?