This really is the book that keeps on giving. I am absolutely floored to announce that I’m a Ruby finalist this year!!!!! *kermit flail*
For those not in the know, the Ruby is the Romance Writers of Australia’s Romance Book of the Year competition. It’s like the Logies but for books (shout out to my Aussie friends who’ll know what the Logies are haha).
My book has finalled in the Short – Sexy category along with some authors whom I truly admire. You can see the full list of finalists here.
Winners will be announces at the Romance Writers of Australia conference in August. Sadly, I’ve already made my trip to Australia for the year and so I won’t be able to make it back for the conference, but I’m holding out hope that one of my buddies will be willing to Skype me in ;)
I honest had a ball writing this book. Paul ad Libby are characters that really spoke to me and, of course, I love the whole Behind the Bar world. I love it so much, in fact, that I’ve planned two more books in the series which have been purchased by Entangled!! So for those who are caught up, Noah WILL be getting his HEA and there will be a hunky new hero at appearing in the Behind the Bar world very soon.
If you’re keen to dive in ahead of the new books, you can meet the Chapman brothers in this order:
The lead up to release day is always an exciting time. There’s lots to do, reviews are starting to roll in and I get all the exciting rewards like the the cover, blurb and a finished version of the book.
Pretend It’s Love is book #2 in the Behind the Bar series. If you read The Rules According to Gracie , which came out earlier this year, you’ll recognise a few characters in this book. Gracie and Des make an appearance and you’ll get the see them in the lead up to their wedding day!! (I LOVE bringing back old characters) and you’ll also get to meet more of Des and Paul’s family.
Here’s the blurb:
Bar manager Paul Chapman is sick of his family’s traditional ideals. Marriage, babies, and a white picket fence? Not his gig. But now that his ‘golden child’ big brother is tying the knot, Paul’s screwed. His ex will be there…and she’s having his cousin’s baby. Unless he wants to show up to the wedding alone and face his family’s scrutiny, he needs a girl on his arm. Now.
Cocktail specialist Libby Harris has spent her life earning the nickname Little Miss Perfect, all to win the love of her wealthy, controlling father. But she deviated from his plan, and now her business is on shaky ground. If it fails, she might as well kiss his respect—and her dream—good-bye. Her only hope? Convince the hottest bar in town to take on her product.
Luckily for her, the owner’s brother is sexy as sin and in need of a perfect girlfriend…
Keep on reading for a sneak peek at chapter one, or if you just want to go straight ahead and pre-order a copy that’s awesome as well ;)
There were plenty of other things Paul Chapman would rather be doing than watching two people make googoo eyes at each other. He could stab himself in the eye with a steak knife. Or listen to his mother talk ad nauseam about the intricacies of the floral arrangements.
Either would be preferable.
“Man, you’ve got to lighten up.” Noah Reid, his best friend and soon to be fellow groomsman, elbowed him in
the ribs. “You look like you’re about to go all Friday the Thirteenth.”
“I hate pretentious parties.” He shoved a bite-size piece of toast with smoked salmon into his mouth. “And I hate this stupid, tiny food.”
“What did you expect?”
Noah had a point. Paul should have known what he was in for the second his brother announced the engagement party would be held in his fiancée’s family home in Toorak, aka the “old money” part of Melbourne. The Greenes were rolling in it. It was fitting that they’d be drinking the fanciest champagne on the market and eating food that looked fit for a dollhouse.
“Is it so bad that I want a burger and a beer?”
Noah laughed. “If you’re still hungry we’ll do a Macca’s run on the way home.”
Paul watched the happy couple. His big brother looked more satisfied than he’d ever seen him, and Gracie, his pintsize wife-to-be, wore a smile that managed to out-sparkle her impressive engagement ring.
“Reckon that will be us one day?” Noah asked, studying Des and Gracie as though they were an alien species.
“No way. Marriage is for chumps.” Paul screwed up his nose. “I’m only here because of Des.”
Stomach grumbling, his eyes roamed, already on the hunt for something else to eat. The current options were miniscule sushi rolls and pieces of raw fish. What was the point of eating something if you weren’t going to bother cooking it first?
He brought a champagne flute to his lips and knocked back the remainder of his drink. It wasn’t his poison of< choice but it was alcoholic. Better than nothing.
A gloomy funk had descended over Paul ever since the engagement had been announced. He was happy for
his brother, of course. Gracie was good for him and they’d worked hard to get past the early hurdles in their relationship. But it was just another opportunity for Des to prove to their family that he was the favorite. The golden child. The chosen one.
The son who would live up to all their expectations.
Des ran the restaurant and bar, First, where Paul worked. His big brother’s success in business would be
further complemented by a wedding. Then it wouldn’t be long before the bambini arrived, and Paul would never have a hope of catching him.
A waiter walked past carrying a tray of freshly filled champagne flutes. Paul switched his empty glass for a full one and downed half of it in a single gulp.
“Whoa there. You’re drinking like an eighteen-year-old girl at O week.” Noah shook his head, laughing. “I don’t want to be holding your hair back later tonight when that all comes back up.”
Paul opened his mouth to retort, but Des and Gracie were coming their way. He put on his best “happy brother” face and held his champagne flute up in salute. Gracie launched herself at the two guys, collecting them both in a hug that was impressive for a girl her size.
“How are my future brothers-in-law?” she asked.
Noah might not have been a flesh and blood brother, but the Chapman boys—and now Gracie—treated him as if he were part of the family.
“Enjoying the festivities. Paul here has taken a liking to the champagne.” Noah smiled innocently as Des rolled his eyes.
“Me, too.” Gracie leaned forward and winked at him, her cheeks flushed.
“Too many drinks, not enough dinner,” Des said with a frown. “We should get something into your stomach.”
“Don’t be a bore. I haven’t drunk like this since university—it’s a special night!”
“Can I get that in writing so when you’re glued to the bed all day tomorrow I can remind you the hangover is worth it?” She poked her tongue out at him before turning to Paul. “Was he always this straight-laced growing up?”
“Uh, yes,” Paul replied. “Hard to believe it, but he was worse.”
“Yikes.” Gracie giggled, covering her mouth with one hand.
When she wandered off to dance with her sister, Des shook his head. “The wedding planning has been a little…tense.”
Noah frowned. “Because of Mrs. Greene?”
No one ever referred to Gracie’s mother as anything but Mrs. Greene, although Paul had been led to suspect her name might be Cecilia. Despite sharing her daughter’s petite stature and flair for style, she lacked any of the warmth and charisma that Gracie exuded, and had a reputation as being a bit of a dragon.
“Yeah.” Des raked a hand through his dark hair. “She’s driving Gracie bananas, but I can’t get involved. She gets worked up if I mention it. Good thing it’ll be over in a few weeks.”