Hi Melanie and welcome to HJ! We’re so excited to chat with you about your new release, A Virgin for a Vow!
Hello, lovely readers!
Please summarize the book for the readers here:
A relationships columnist who has been pretending to her adoring readers she is happily engaged needs a stand-in fiance for the most important event of her career, but the only person she can ask to accompany her is her best friend’s older brother who hasn’t dated anyone since the death of his fiancée five years ago.
What’s your favorite line(s) from the book?:
‘Read my lips.’ His voice was so firm it sounded as if it were underlined. In bold and italics for good measure. ‘I am not going to the ball. Got it?’
Abby was more than reading his lips. She was studying them as if she was swotting for a final exam. Had she ever seen a more gorgeous mouth? Not that it was a mouth that ever smiled. She couldn’t remember the last time she saw him crack a grin. But then, his air of brooding gravitas had always secretly fascinated her.
When you sat down to start this book, what was the biggest challenge you faced? What were you most excited about?
The biggest challenge was this was my first book with a new editor. I was missing my old editor terribly and wondered if I could write anything new without her! What excited me about this story was the concept of a young woman who was still a virgin pretending to be engaged to millions of followers. It took the Imposter Plot to a whole new level.
Please tell us a little about the characters in your book. As you wrote your protagonist was there anything about them that surprised you?
Abby Hart is a girl who grew up in foster care. She is a relationships columnist and gives loads of advice to her millions of readers but she hasn’t found the love she craves. Luke Shelverton is a locked-down loner who is ridden with guilt over the death of his fiancée five years ago.
The thing that surprised me about Abby was she actually was brilliant at giving sensible and practical advice. Luke didn’t surprise me so much. He was always as I imagined him-kind and caring but deeply wounded.
What have you learned about your own writing process/you as an author while writing this book?
Firstly, I learned that I can actually write something new without my previous editor. Secondly, each book is its own challenge and I have to find the drive and energy to rise to it each and every time no matter what is going on in my private life.
The First kiss…
She was already over his side of the car, her face so close to his he could feel her breath on his lips. ‘Kiss me, Luke.’
Luke slid his hand along the curve of her cheek, his blood pumping so hard he could feel his erection pressing against his zip. He brought his mouth down to hers in a soft touch. Just brush her lips and get the hell out of there. He lifted off but her lips clung to his and something inside him gave way like tectonic plates shifting during an earthquake. He went back down again, breathing in the scent of her, relishing the fresh fruity taste of her. Her lips were soft and pillowy and tasted of strawberries or was it cherries? She made a little whimpering sound and opened to the stroke of his tongue, her tongue dancing with his, making his blood throb all the harder.
He didn’t want the kiss to end. He could have kissed her all night. The feel of her lips against his, the flirty little flicker of her tongue made desire roar through his system like a rabid dog suddenly snapping its chain.
He crushed her mouth beneath his, cupping the nape of her neck so he could deepen the kiss even further. Her hands came up to link around his neck, her soft sounds of approval making everything that was male in him vibrate with fierce longing. He hadn’t felt so turned on by a kiss in years. Possibly ever. Her soft mouth moulded itself to his, moving with and against his in a sexy rhythm that echoed the pulse and pound of his blood. Her perfume dazzled his senses, the luscious curves of her breasts pressed against his chest, sending a knockout blow to his self-control.
The sound of people cat-calling outside the car was the only thing that pulled Luke out of the moment. That and the flash of paparazzi cameras that were as bright and blinding as summer lightning.
Abby pulled back from him and gave a tremulous smile, her mouth slightly swollen, her cheeks flushed. ‘Wow. Who would’ve thought?’
Right back at you, sweetheart. ‘Please tell me there isn’t going to be a picture of us kissing in tomorrow’s tabloids,’ Luke said.
She did that cute little lip chew thing again and grimaced. ‘Sorry.’
Did any scene have you crying or laughing (or blushing) while writing it?
Luke took Abby to an exclusive bar/supper club a few blocks from where the ball had been held. He’d been there a couple of times for work things and liked the atmosphere. They served coffee and cake as well as the regular cocktails and beverages.
Abby gave a cursory glance at the menu and sat back in the plush velvet-covered armchair. ‘I’m going to have Sex on the Beach.’
He lifted one eyebrow and allowed his latent sense of dry humour to make a brief appearance. ‘Still a bit cold for that, don’t you think?’
Her cheeks developed tiny twin flags of colour. ‘Have you ever done it on the beach?’
Luke had spent most of the night trying not to think about sex, especially sex with Abby. ‘Couple of times.’
She leaned forward to rest her hands on her knees, her voice coming out as a whisper. ‘Can I tell you a secret?’
He tried not to stare at her mouth, tried not to imagine it kissing its way down his body. Tried not to get hard, but hey, he was only human. ‘Go for it.’
She blinked a couple of times and then ran the tip of her tongue over her lips, and he got a whole lot harder. Her gaze flicked away from his and the colour on her cheeks deepened. ‘Never mind. Forget I said that. I think I’ve had too much champagne.’
Luke’s interest was piqued by the way she seemed to be avoiding his gaze. What secret did she have? Was it something even more cringe-worthy she’d made up about their ‘relationship’? ‘What were you going to tell me?’
She pressed her lips together for a moment and then swallowed. ‘I’ve… I’ve never done it.’ Then she did a shocked wide-eyed thing and slapped both of her hands over her mouth as if she regretted her words. ‘Ohmygofh.’ Her hands pressing against her mouth muffled the words. ‘I can’t believe I just told you that.’
If your book was optioned for a movie, what scene would you use for the audition of the main characters?
The scene where Luke wakes up to find Abby sleeping in his bed because he is shocked she is there and she is secretly delighted!
‘Mmm…’ Luke’s voice was a sexy hum against her neck that made her nerves fizz and flicker.
Abby was wondering how far she could push her luck when he suddenly jerked away from her with an expletive. ‘What the freaking hell?’
She turned over to see him staring at her in abject horror. So much for her self-esteem. Off to the corner with you to suck your thumb and rock.
‘What did I do?’ Luke asked in a tone she hadn’t heard him use before. It was strangled and hoarse as if he had swallowed a pineapple. ‘Did we—? Tell me we—I didn’t—’
‘Nothing happened, Luke,’ Abby said, letting out a frustrated sigh. ‘I think we just somehow gravitated together while we were sleeping.’
He threw off the covers and stood up by the side of the bed, his expression dark and frowning. ‘Why are you sleeping…naked in my bed?’ His stress over the word ‘naked’ was like a skewer through the balloon-thin skin of her self-esteem.
Abby pulled the bed sheet over her body and sat up. ‘I was worried about you. I didn’t want to leave you until I was certain you were asleep. But somehow I—’
‘Thought you’d whip off your clothes and jump into bed with me?’ His tone couldn’t have been more scathing than if he was reprimanding a rebellious teenager. ‘For God’s sake, Abby. I could have—’ He scraped his hair back off his forehead, his mouth snapping closed as if he couldn’t bear to say out loud what he could have done.
‘I was wearing a towel—a big one—but it must have slipped off.’ Abby glanced at the foot of the bed and saw a lump under the covers. ‘There it is. See? It must have got pushed down there when we—’
‘When we what?’ His voice cracked like an egg on concrete. ‘Damn it, Abby, I could have hurt you.’
‘You didn’t do anything I didn’t want,’ Abby said. ‘I liked being spooned. No one’s ever done that to me before. I liked the feel of your body behind mine. It was—’
Readers should read this book….
If they love a fun Imposter plot with a touch of Cinderella.
What are you currently working on? What are your up-coming releases?
I’m working on book two of a Wedding Duet I’m doing for 2018. I have a book coming out in April called Blackmailed Into The Marriage Bed and other releases currently in production for release later in the year.
Thanks for blogging at HJ!
Giveaway: Since this is my 75th book I have five signed copies to give away by way of celebration- open International!
To enter Giveaway: Please complete the Rafflecopter form and Post a comment to this Q: Abby has pretended for most of her life to be someone she is not. If you could choose to be someone else for a day, who would it be?
Excerpt from A Virgin for a Vow:
‘Not particularly.’ He let out a rusty-sounding sigh. ‘We met when I was dealing with yet another one of my father’s spectacular marriage failures and she was rebounding from a long-term relationship. With hindsight, I can see neither of us was in a good place. But we got on okay and we drifted into a relationship that probably looked more stable from the outside than it actually was. But I guess I wanted everyone to think that. I didn’t want to be seen to be switching partners faster than I changed shirts.’
‘But you were together for three years. No one would’ve accused you of being fickle if you’d ended things at two years or even at a year,’ Abby said.
‘I know, but there never seemed to be a good time,’ he said. ‘I almost called an end a couple of times earlier but then Kimberley got news of her ex getting married and then of him becoming a father. It was a tough time for her.’
‘Oh, Luke, you sound like you were an amazing partner.’
‘That’s me.’ His voice was both self-deprecating and bitter. ‘A regular Mr Perfect.’
Abby decided it was time to share some of her own guilt, so he didn’t have to feel so alone and isolated. Nothing was more isolating than guilt. She should know—she had graduated with Honours from the Academy of Guilt. ‘I have a few regrets on how I handled things with my mother. I wish I’d been able to get help for her sooner but she died before I could.’
‘I didn’t realise she’d actually died. What happened?’
Abby let out a long breath, wondering if she was wise to reveal any more. People were funny about drugs and prostitution. Would it make him see her differently? Make her appear even more unacceptable to him than she already felt? But in the end she decided to tell him because of the trust he had shown in telling her about his guilt over his ex. ‘Drug overdose. Heroin. She stuck the needle in her arm and died in the next room.’
Shock rippled over his features like wind through leaves. ‘How old were you?’
‘Five. But I remember it as if it were yesterday. I’ve always blamed myself. What if I was a difficult child? Too much for her to handle. What if I drove her to take that overdose?’
‘You were five years old, for pity’s sake,’ he said. ‘It was her responsibility to look after you. What could you have done anyway?’
‘Maybe checked on her earlier…’ Abby blinked, trying not to think of that day. Even though she had been so young, the image of coming out of her bedroom the next morning and seeing her mother lying on that threadbare-carpeted floor was imprinted on her brain.
Luke came over to her and placed his hands on her shoulders. ‘Look at me, Abby.’
Abby slowly brought her gaze back to meet his. ‘Even though I was young, I remember a lot about the night before she died. I was tired and hungry and my mother was agitated and insisted I go to bed earlier than usual. She would often lock me in there when… Anyway, she must have injected herself while sitting on the floor by her bed because that’s where I found her the next morning. I would have got help earlier if I’d realised what she’d done. That’s what I have to live with. I could have saved her but I didn’t. The irony is my bedroom door wasn’t even locked. I just thought it was, like it had been so many times before. I went to bed and went to sleep, thinking it was better than having a big showdown with her where she would hit or slap me. When I came out in the morning, I thought she was asleep but she wasn’t…’
‘Oh, Abby.’ He gathered her close in a hug, his arms warm and supportive and protective as if he were holding that small, terrified child and comforting her.
That was all he said: Oh, Abby. But within those two words was a message of understanding and empathy that she hadn’t realised until now she had been waiting all her life to hear.
After a few moments, he eased back to look at her with a soft and tender look that made her heart swell like bread dough. ‘You mustn’t blame yourself.’
He made a rueful movement of his lips and stepped away from her again. ‘Yeah, well, do as I preach but not as I do. Hypocritical of me, I know, but that’s the way it is.’ He walked into his en suite bathroom and came out with his bathrobe. ‘Here. Put this on for now.’
Abby took the bathrobe from him and went into the bathroom to put it on, expecting when she returned he would have left the bedroom, but he was back over by the window, staring at the dappled sunlight coming through the leaves of the tree outside.
‘Luke?’ She took one step towards him and then two and then four until she was standing with her arms wrapped around his waist from behind.
His hands came down on hers and she braced herself for the moment he would push her away but it didn’t come. Instead, he turned and his hands went to her hips, holding her close enough for their bodies to brush. ‘This is crazy.’ His eyes went to her mouth as if he had no control over his vision. ‘Stupidly, irresponsibly crazy.’ And then his mouth came down and covered hers.
Excerpts. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.
As London’s top relationship columnist, Abby Hart can’t tell anyone her biggest secret: not only is her perfect fiancé entirely fictional, she is also utterly untouched. Invited to attend a prestigious charity ball with her ‘husband-to-be’, she throws herself upon the mercy of brooding millionaire Luke Shelverton.
After his own engagement ended tragically, Luke is reluctant to take credit for Abby’s diamond ring. To protect her reputation, he agrees to a convenient arrangement. Except Abby’s effervescence kindles a fire he’s tempted to indulge… And uncovering her innocence compels Luke to initiate his temporary fiancée into all the sinful delights of the bridal bed!
Book Links: Amazon
Meet the Author:
Melanie Milburne loves reading romance almost as much as she loves writing it. She grew up with a love of reading and reading her first romance book at age seventeen heavily influenced her decision to become a romance author.
She has won several awards for her fast-paced, passionate stories, including Australian Romance Writers Romantic Book of the Year in 2011 and Australian Romance Readers in 2008 and RT top pick and Cataromance Reviewer’s Choice Awards. And a HOLT Medallion winner in 2015. RWNZ Koru Award of Excellence in 2015. As well as HOLT Medallion Award of Merit in 2014 & 2016.