Wednesday, February 19, 2014

**GIVEAWAY** Author Interview Michelle Major-Her Accidental Engagement

Today I'm welcoming to the blog an author that I know rather well and frequently review, Michelle Major, who writes for the Harlequin Special Edition series. She's here today to talk to us about her latest Her Accidental Engagement. And she's offering one copy of the novel to a lucky entrant US ONLY.




  • ISBN-13: 9780373658039
  • Publisher: Harlequin
  • Publication date: 2/18/2014
  • Series: Harlequin Special Edition Series , #2321
  • Format: Mass Market Paperback
  • Pages: 224




Overview:
When the local police chief comes to a single mom's rescue—with a pretend marriage proposal!—fake sparks become all too real in Michelle Major's newest Special Edition story, Her Accidental Engagement!
Julia Morgan is in the midst of a nasty custody battle, trying to prove she provides a stable environment as a single mother for her son, Charlie. When the opposing lawyer starts to play dirty, she has a few tricks up her own sleeveone that involves the hunky, most eligible bachelor in town.
Overview:
When the local police chief comes to a single mom's rescue—with a pretend marriage proposal!—fake sparks become all too real in Michelle Major's newest Special Edition story, Her Accidental Engagement!
Julia Morgan is in the midst of a nasty custody battle, trying to prove she provides a stable environment as a single mother for her son, Charlie. When the opposing lawyer starts to play dirty, she has a few tricks up her own sleeveone that involves the hunky, most eligible bachelor in town.

Michelle has generously sponsored this giveaway
of one copy of Her Accidental Engagement
US ONLY
please use the Rafflecopter form below to enter
Thanks Michelle!
Good Luck!





 Read an excerpt:

Julia Morgan lit the final match, determined to destroy the letter clenched in her fingers. She was well aware of the mistakes she'd made in her life, but seeing them typed on fancy letterhead was more than she could take at the moment. She drew the flickering flame toward the paper but another gust of damp wind blew it out.
The mountains surrounding her hometown of Brevia, North Carolina, were notoriously wet in late winter. Even though it hadn't rained for several days, moisture clung to the frigid March air this afternoon, producing a cold she felt right to her bones.
With a frustrated groan, she crumpled the letter into a tiny ball. Add the inability to burn a single piece of paper to her colossal list of failures. Sinking to her knees on the soggy ground, she dropped the used matchstick into a trash bag with all the others.
She ignored the wail of a siren from the highway above her. She'd pulled off the road minutes earlier and climbed down the steep embankment, needing a moment to stop the panic welling inside her.
For a few seconds she focused her attention on the canopy of pine trees below the ridge where she stood, her heartbeat settling to a normal rhythm.
Since she'd returned to her hometown almost two years ago, this love of the forest had surprised her. She'd never been a nature girl, her gypsy existence taking her from one big city to another. Thanks to her beautiful son, Julia was now rooted in Brevia, and the dense woods that enveloped the town gave her the sense of peace she hadn't known she'd missed for years.
The makeshift fire hadn't been much of a plan, but flying by the seat of her pants was nothing new for Julia. With a deep breath, she smoothed the wrinkled letter against the grass. She'd read it compulsively over the past week until the urge to destroy it had overtaken her. She knew the words by heart but needed the satisfaction of watching them go up in flames.
Unfit mother. Seeking custody. Better options.
Tears pricked the backs of her eyes. Burning the letter wouldn't change the potential it had to ruin her life. She'd tried to dismiss the contents as lies and conjecture. In a corner of her heart, she worried they were true and she wouldn't be able to defend herself against them.
Suddenly she was hauled to her feet. "Are you hurt? What happened?" A pair of large hands ran along her bare arms, then down her waist toward…
Whoa, there. "Back off, Andy Griffith," Julia sputtered as parts of her body she thought were in permanent hibernation sprang to life.
As if realizing how tightly he held her, Sam Callahan, Brevia's police chief, pushed away. He stalked several yards up the hill toward the road, then turned and came at her again. Muscles bunched under the shoulders of his police uniform.
She had to work hard to ignore the quick pull of awareness that pulsed through her. Darn good thing Julia had sworn off men. Even better that big, strong alpha men were so not her type.
Julia gave herself a mental headshake. "What do you want, Sam? I'm sort of busy here."
She could have sworn his eye twitched under his aviator sunglasses. He jabbed one arm toward the top of the hill. "What I want is to know what the hell you're doing off the side of the road. Again."
Right. She'd forgotten that the last time Sam had found her, she'd been eight months pregnant and had wrapped her ancient Honda around a tree trunk. He'd taken her to the hospital where her son, Charlie, had been born.
That day a year and a half ago had been the start of a new life for her. One she'd protect at any cost.
Sam had been new to Brevia and the role of police chief then. He'd also been a whole lot nicer. At least, to Julia. He'd made the rounds of the single ladies in town, but ever since Charlie's birth Sam had avoided her as though he thought he might be the first man in history to catch a pregnancy. Which was fine, especially given some of the details she'd heard about his history with women.
"Julia."
At the sound of her name, she focused on his words. "There are skid marks where your car pulled off."
"I was in a hurry," she said and swiped at her still-moist cheeks.
His hands bunched at his sides as he eyed her bag. "Do I smell smoke?"
"I lit a match. Lots of them." Her chin hitched. "Wanna call Smokey Bear for backup?"
He muttered something under his breath at the same time a semi roared by on the road above.
"I didn't quite catch that."
Sam removed his sunglasses and tucked them into the front pocket of his shirt. He was almosttoo good-looking, his blond hair short but a little messy, as if he needed a trim. The effect softened his classically handsome features and a square jaw that fell just short of comic-book chiseled. His gaze slammed into hers, and Julia knew if ice could turn molten, it would be the exact color of Sam's blue eyes.
"You were on your knees," he said slowly.
Julia swallowed. "I lost a contact."
"You don't wear contacts."
"How do you.? Never mind." She bent to retrieve the bag of worthless matches.
His finger brushed the back of her arm. "What are you doing out here, Jules?"
Something about the sound of her name soft as a whisper broke through her defenses. She straightened and waved the letter at him. "I have a meeting in town and needed some fresh air to collect my thoughts."
"At the salon?"
She shook her head. "No. Hair dye doesn't require much mental fortitude. I have a real meeting, with an attorney."
He didn't ask for details but continued to watch her.
"It's about Charlie," she offered after a minute. "About my custody." To add to her humiliation, she choked on the last word.
"You're his mother. Of course you have custody."
"I know." She lifted the letter. "But Jeff and his parents think-"
"Who's Jeff?"
"My ex-boyfriend." She sighed. "Charlie's father." Sam's eyes narrowed. "The one who's never set eyes on him?"
"He's a college professor and travels the world doing research. His dad runs an investment firm in Columbus, Ohio, and his mom is a retired cardiologist. They're rich, powerful and very intellectual. The whole family is off-the-charts smart. I guess they have…concerns. For Charlie's future and my ability to provide the right environment. Jeff wants a new custody arrangement."
"Have Jeff's parents met Charlie?"
"No. They called a couple of times after he was born. They didn't approve of me when I was with Jeff, and since he didn't want anything to do with the baby…" She paused then added, "I let my mom deal with them."
That made him smile. "In my opinion, Vera is also off-the-charts smart."
Julia ignored the shiver in her legs at his slow grin. Her mother, Vera Morgan, was a pit bull. But also keenly intelligent. Everyone in her family was smart. Everyone but her.
"Jeff's mother is here with their family attorney to meet me. To make sure everything's okay-that Charlie is in good hands."
"Of course he's in good hands." Sam's voice gentled as he repeated, "You're his mother."
"I've done a lot of stupid things in my life, made a lot of mistakes. Jeff knows the sordid details and I'm sure his parents do, too." Emotion clogged her throat.
Sam was not the man she wanted to have see her like this. She made a show of checking her watch. "What I could use is some damage control for my reputation. White picket fence, doting husband, pillar of the community stuff. It's a little late for me to join the Junior League." She shook her head. "Anyway, thanks for your concern today, but as you can see, I'm peachy keen."
"You shouldn't talk to anyone until you get an attorney of your own."
"Frank Davis said he would help me, but I hope it won't come to that. I'm sure the Johnsons want what's best for Charlie. I should at least hear them out. That boy deserves everything this world has to offer." She gave a humorless laugh and started back toward the road. "What he's got is me."
As she moved past Sam, his hand reached out, but she jerked away. If he touched her right now she'd be a goner, and she needed to keep it together. For Charlie.
"You're more than enough," he called after her.
"From your lips to God's ears, Chief," she whispered and climbed up to her car.
"Who are you and what have you done with my father?"
Sam shifted in his chair at Carl's, Brevia's most popular restaurant, still reeling from his unbelievable afternoon. From the bizarre encounter with Julia he'd been called to a domestic disturbance that ended up being a chicken loose in Bobby Royall's kitchen. It had made him almost thirty minutes late to dinner with his dad. Now he wished the bird hadn't been so easy to catch.
Joe Callahan adjusted his Patriots baseball cap and chuckled. "It's me, son. Only better."
Said who?
His father had been a police officer in Boston for almost forty years, most of which had been spent working homicide. Joe Callahan had dedicated his life to his career, and his family had suffered from the on-the-job stress and risks he took daily. Although it wasn't intentional, Sam had modeled his own life after his father's. Sam had put his job before everything and everyone in his life-just like Joe.
Recently, though, Joe had begun conducting programs for police departments on emotional awareness. Sam had resisted his father's repeated attempts to help him "get in touch" with his feelings. But now Joe was here and impossible to ignore.
"The boys down at the precinct loved my seminar. At least four of 'em were in tears by the end. I got thank-you notes from a half-dozen wives."
"That's great, Dad." Sam took a long drink of iced tea, wishing he wasn't on duty. A cold one would be mighty helpful tonight. "I don't see what that has to do with me or your unexpected visit to Brevia."
His father pulled a flyer out of the briefcase at his feet and pushed it across the table. "While I'm down here, I thought we could organize a workshop."
Sam glanced at the pamphlet. His stomach gave a hearty gurgle. Law with Love, Presented by Retired Police Captain Joseph Callahan. A picture of Joe hugging a group of uniformed officers filled the front page. Sam couldn't remember ever being hugged by his craggy, hard-nosed father. Holy mother of.
"I don't know. It's only me and one deputy on the force."
Joe tapped the sheet of paper. "It's for firefighters and paramedics, too. We could bring in neighboring towns- make it a regional event. Plus civil servants, city council. You're looking at a long-term reappointment, right? This could make quite an impression as far as your potential."
At the mention of his possible future in Brevia, Sam lost the battle with his temper. "My potential as what? I'm the chief of police, not the hug-it-out type."
His father's sharp intake of breath made Sam regret his outburst. "Sorry. You know what a small town this is and-"
Joe held up a hand. "Don't apologize." He removed his bifocals and dabbed at his eyes with a napkin.
"You aren't going to cry," Sam muttered, disbelieving. "You don't cry."
"Yes. I am going to cry. To take a moment and feel my pain."
Great. This was the second time today he'd brought someone to tears.
After a loud nose blow, Joe's watery gaze met his. "I feel my pain, and I feel yours."
"I'm not in pain." Sam let his eyes drift shut. "Other than a raging headache."
Joe ignored him and continued, "I did this to you, Sammy."
Sammy? His father hadn't called him Sammy since-
"When your mother died my whole world collapsed. I didn't think I could live without her. I didn't want to. It broke me a little more every day to see you and your brother that sad. I did the only thing I could to survive. I shut off my heart, and I made you do the same. I was wrong. I'm here to make it right again."
Sam saw customers from the surrounding tables begin to stare. "It's okay. Let's go outside for a minute."
Joe followed Sam's gaze and shook his head. "I'm not embarrassed to show my feelings. Not anymore." He took another breath, this one steadier. "Ever since the incident with my ole ticker." He thumped his sweatshirt. "They say facing death can make you reevaluate your whole life."
"It was indigestion, Dad. Not a real heart attack. Remember?"
"Doesn't matter. The change to my heart was real. The effect on my life was real." He readjusted his glasses. "I want the same change for you. I want you to be happy."
"I'm fine." Sam gulped a mouthful of ice and crunched. "Happy as a clam."
"Are you seeing anyone?"
Alarm bells went off in Sam's head. "I…sure…am actually. She's great." He looked away from his father's expectant face, unable to lie to him directly. He glanced around the crowded restaurant and his gaze landed on Julia at a booth in the back. He hadn't noticed her when he'd first walked in, but now he couldn't pull his eyes away.
This must be the meeting with her ex-boyfriend's family she'd told him about. The faces of the two women seated across from her were blocked, but Julia's cheeks flamed pink. Her palm smacked the table as if she was about to lose control.
Easy there, sweetheart, he counseled silently.
As if she'd heard him, her eyes met his and held for several moments. His pulse hammered against his throat. Then she squared her shoulders and folded her hands in her lap.
He turned back to his father. "You'd like her. She's a real spitfire."
Joe smiled. "Like your mother."
Sam forced himself not to look at Julia again. "I was ten when she died. I don't remember that much."
"This one's different than your other girls?"
Sam caught the waitress's attention and signaled for the check.
"Because I think you need a new perspective. After what happened with…"
"I don't want to rehash my relationship history."
Joe reached across the table and clasped Sam's hand in his. "I know you want to find love and settle down."




Michelle HI, (waving madly) Welcome to The Reading Frenzy
Hi, Debbie (waving back)!! Thank you so much for having me. I’m really excited to talk to you here at The Reading Frenzy.

Tell my readers about your newest release Her Accidental Engagement.
Her Accidental Engagement tells the story of Julia Morgan, who moves back to her hometown of Brevia, N.C., to make a new start for herself and her son. She’s made a lot of mistakes in her past but is working hard to give her son, Charlie, a good life. Her plans get derailed when her ex sues for custody backed by his powerful family. Julia’s reputation is less than stellar and she needs an image makeover – quick.
For local Police Chief Sam Callahan, rescuing people is all in a day’s work. So he has no problem offering Julia a pretend engagement, especially since it will give him some space from his well-meaning but meddling father. But when the emotions between the two of them become real, both Julia and Sam have to put aside their fear to love again.

As you know and my readers will when they read my review courtesy of RT Magazine, I loved the novel. There are always special novels that just really touch my heart, ones that I cant put down and that was the case with Her Accidental Engagement.
Where did the story idea come from?
I’m so glad you enjoyed the book. It really means a lot when a reviewer ‘gets’ your story. Julia Morgan was a secondary character in my first book, Still The One. She was the sister of the story’s heroine and ex-girlfriend of the hero and although she wasn’t always sympathetic, I loved her from the start. Luckily, my editor did too! She asked for Julia’s story shortly after I sold the first book.
Once Julia had her son, Charlie, she softened a bit and it was great fun to explore her vulnerability at the same time she tried to keep up the defenses she’s developed to protect her heart.  I knew she needed a stand-up guy and Brevia’s Police Chief, Sam Callahan was the perfect fit. The ‘marriage of convenience’ is one of my favorite tropes so I switched it up a bit to become an ‘engagement of convenience’.

Michelle youre a relative newcomer to the author business.
What most surprised you about the entire process from idea to release day?
Three things: self-discipline, self-awareness and self-promotion.
I started writing when my kids were babies and since neither of them were great sleepers, I wrote in fits and starts whenever I could find a minute or drink enough coffee to form a coherent thought. The transition to treating writing like a job was probably my biggest adjustment. There is no substitute or short cut for sitting down every day and getting the work done.
Along with the self-discipline came self-awareness.  I had to become a lot smarter about letting things go that weren’t essential to my happiness or what my family needs from me. Again, there are only so many hours in a day (and I’m someone who needs a decent night’s sleep to function!) so I try to pay attention to the things that really matter and not worry about the other stuff.
I’m a pretty introverted person usually, so self-promotion isn’t a natural thing for me. Don’t get me wrong, I love to talk – it just feels odd to talk about myself. But that’s been my happiest surprise of this process. How welcoming and supportive the whole romance community is – from readers to reviewers and bloggers to other authors. It’s like we’re this big, awesome club of people who all love these stories. It’s really fantastic and I’ve so enjoyed getting to know people through the release of my books.

I love the quote on your website, My family fills my heart and now writing feeds my soul.
Give us a peek at a day in the life of Michelle Major.
Oh, it’s so glamorous – not!! In fact, I got to speak at my daughter’s 2nd grade career day last year and as a (sort of) joke, I came to school in my pajamas. I think several of the kids decided they wanted to be writers so they could stay in their PJs all day long.
The reality is my day starts around 5:30 am. My husband leaves for work early and I’ve been in the habit of getting up when he does since my kids were babies. Back then that hour was sometimes the only one I had to myself during the day. Now I still enjoy the quiet time to get a jump-start on my writing.
I do most of my writing and editing during school hours. It can be solitary work so I use the internet as my ‘reward’ – a certain number of pages written or edited and I let myself check email or Facebook. It keeps me motivated. I try to get outside every day. We’re lucky in Colorado to have so much sun and my two dogs need the exercise as much as I do.
My son and daughter are still young enough that after school is filled with carpools, sports practices and other activities. I always have my laptop or a notebook with me to use any spare minutes I get. My husband and I didn’t up having family dinners, so that’s become an important tradition for our family. It can be a challenge with all the different schedules (I’m always looking for easy/quick recipes!) but it’s worth it.

Why did you choose to write romance, or was it the other way around?
I think romance and I chose each other. Back when I was working in the corporate world full time, I was in a position where I travelled almost every week for my job. I developed an overwhelming fear of flying and would white-knuckle my way through every plane ride. On a whim, I picked up a romance novel in an airport bookstore (one of the early Julia Quinn Bridgerton books) and I got so carried away by the story that I didn’t even notice the flight taking off or landing. I was hooked and began reading romance obsessively – I had a lot of catching up to do!
Shortly after, I realized that the little vignettes I always had playing in my head were actually the start of romance plots. It felt like coming home - I finally had a good reason to have imaginary people talking to me! I joined RWA and my local chapter and started learning about craft and story structure, along the way meeting women who would become some of my best friends.

As my readers know I think Harlequin makes the world go round and believe me Ive turned a few skeptics around because of the many genres they feature.
What is it about the Special Edition series of books that appeals to you?
I agree about Harlequin – there’s such a variety in their books that almost anyone can find a series or line that appeals to them. I love Special Edition because the series allows for a great range of storylines, subjects and characters but readers always know they’re going to get a highly emotional and satisfying book. I also like that they focus on real-life people, someone that you could know in your town. The more I write for Special Edition, the more I’m inspired with new ideas – it’s been a dream come true.

Michelle what are you working on now?
In June, the third book set in Brevia, North Caroline (titled A Brevia Beginning), will be released. Then in August, the setting switches to Colorado with A Kiss on Crimson Ranch. Having moved to Colorado over 20 years ago, it was really special for me to create the fictional town of Crimson and introduce readers to some of things I love about the West. Right now, I’m working on edits for the second book in the Crimson series.

Will there be any author events/signings that you’ll be attending where fans can meet you in person?
Most of my events are online and I love to ‘talk’ to readers through my website or on Facebook. I’ll also be at the RWA ‘Readers for Life’ Autographing in San Antonio this July.

Thank you so much for answering these questions. Good luck to you!
Thank you for having me here, Debbie! And thanks for all you do for the romance genre!


My Review is courtesy of RT Magazine



Her Accidental Engagement by Michelle Major
Hot
4.5 stars Top Pick



Julia Morgan moved home to Brevia NC for a new start for herself and her son Charlie, but she’s got more problems than a past full of regrets and secrets, she’s got an ex suing for custody and as a result she finds herself accidentally engaged to a sexy lawman.
Police Chief Sam Callahan is confident his idea for an engagement of convenience with Julia is sure to solve all their nosy small town image and relationship problems. But his desire for her is real.

Major’s accidental romance rocks, her couple play the tormented by their pasts and afraid to love again roles perfectly, her small town attitudes and antics are spot on and her use of humor both comedic and as a mask for disabilities and suffering is exceptionally effective.


MEET THE AUTHOR:
Michelle Major grew up in Ohio but dreamed of living in the mountains. Soon after graduating with a degree in Journalism, she pointed her car west and settled in Colorado. Her life and house are filled with one great husband, two beautiful kids, a few furry pets and several well-behaved reptiles. She’s grateful to have found her passion writing stories with happy endings. Michelle loves to hear from her readers at www.michellemajor.com.

Connect with Michelle WebsiteFacebookTwitter - Pinterest

a Rafflecopter giveaway

34 comments:

  1. Thanks for having me at The Reading Frenzy, Debbie! It was so fun to talk to you about Her Accidental Engagement!

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    1. Michelle, it was my pleasure to host this :)
      Thank YOu!!

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  2. ...I also like that they focus on real-life people, someone that you could know in your town. The more I write for Special Edition, the more I’m inspired with new ideas – it’s been a dream come true....

    And this is why I love Michelle's books! I always feel I can relate to her characters! Congrats on Her Accidental Engagement!
    (I already own it, so please do not include me in the giveaway!)

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    1. Thanks for the comment, Dyan! I have to say getting to know the 'special' readers has been one of the nicest things about writing for Harlequin. It's such a fantastic community!

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    2. Dyan thanks for commenting. I love that about Special Edition romance too!

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  3. Great interview! I'm a Harlequin fan as well so can't wait to read this story! It sounds wonderful!

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    1. HI Lana, glad to meet another Harlequin fan. Thanks for commenting!! Good Luck!

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  4. Loved Michelle's first book and can't wait to read more about Julia in this one. Michelle has a gift for developing characters into someone who would like to be friends with or even fall in love with. Please keep writing and we will keep reading!

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    1. Jenny, thanks for the comment and I another Major fan too!

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    2. Thanks, Jenny! I love being able to write - for many reasons and only a little bit because it's a great excuse to ignore the laundry!

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  5. WaHoo! Another book from Michelle!!!! Can't wait for the drawing. Heading out to get my copy. ~Sue

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  6. I always say it, Debbie, you invite the best guest authors here. I just recently finished reading Her Accidental Engagement and I was so impressed. I thought SE was more of a light, sweet-style romance, and boy was I pleasantly surprised! I got more than I expected! Michelle's story even made me cry in certain scenes, but all good tears. Laughed as well and fell in love with most of the characters, so down to earth and real. Highly recommend it! Great interview BTW, I love learning all about how you started, Michelle, and your routine. Now, be sure to keep those great stories coming! I'm one of you biggest fans now! :D

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    1. Lorelei, thanks pal for the support and the comment and all the great things you do to help promote romance!!
      Glad you got a little more intimate :) with Special Edition, and some of them are sweet but some contain just the right amount of heat too!
      Thanks for stopping by
      xoxo

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    2. Thanks, Lorelei! It's been such a pleasure getting to know both you and Debbie.

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  7. I read "Still The One" when it first came out. In preparation for this "continuation," so to speak, I plan on reading it again! Michelle is one of my favorite authors!

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    1. Jean, thanks for the comment. I loved Still the One too!!
      Glad you stopped by :)

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  8. Just recently I was "introduced" to Michelle online, and since then I have gotten to read more and more about her Special Edition Harlequin novel and I am really anxious to get to read it. The story sounds so inviting, and since I had not heard of Michelle before this, and had ever even read a Harlequin romance novel, I think that the tide has turned and that my mind has been changed about doing so. I truly enjoyed this blog posting/interview and really am glad to have gotten to "know" about Michelle and how she started her writing. May you have many many more years of success in this field, Michelle. Good luck with everything that you do. Sincerely, Cynthia Blain

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    1. Thanks for the comment ceblain. I'm so glad you've re thinked Harlequin too, I think they make the world go round :)

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    2. I love doing my part to 'convert' readers to Harlequin. :-)

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  9. I love the arrangement trope and this sounds delicious. Great interview,and thanks for sharing your review Debbie!

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    1. It's one of my favorite tropes, too, and was so fun to write. Thanks for your comment!

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  10. Ahhh Debbie you just keep adding to my reading list! I LOVE the fake mates theme. It's my absolute favorite to read. And it's in NC? Yep. Sold.

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    1. NC is one of my favorite places! Thanks for your comment!

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    2. Hi Anna, thanks for stopping by and for the comment. I agree very solid :)

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  11. Great interview, Michelle! I read Still the One last year and have been waiting for this new book to come out- can't wait to get my hands on it! Thanks for giving us a 'behind the scenes' look at a writers life! :)

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    1. Thanks DeAnna, I speak only the truth :)

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