Today it is my pleasure to Welcome RITA® and R*BY award-winning romance author Fiona Lowe to HJ!
Hi Fiona, welcome 🙂
If you were a heroine in a book, your character would be – The girl next door, the damsel in distress, Kick-butt take charge heroine or the aloof ice queen and why?
Ohh, I think I fall between the girl next door and the kick-butt take charge heroine. I am far too bossy to be a damsel in distress 😉
Let’s talk about your newest release: Runaway Groom
If you had to summarize the book for the readers here
I think the blurb says it best….Amy Sagar’s life is in ruins. Fired from her fast-track job and dumped by her double-crossing boyfriend, she retreats to Whitetail, Wisconsin, to lick her wounds and regroup. Meeting an impossible, sexy Australian isn’t part of her strategy for getting back on track.
Ben Armytage is running away. After being left at the altar and publicly humiliated, he’s taking his vintage motorcycle on an extended road trip from Argentina to Alaska. Having his journey interrupted by a breakdown and sharing a house with a curvy, red-headed lawyer in a town obsessed with weddings was never on his itinerary.
Though being stuck in a luxury log cabin isn’t’t really a hardship, living together with their broken hearts isn’t’t easy. When the attraction between Amy and Ben proves unstoppable, they’ll both begin rethinking their plans…
Please tell us about the characters in your book?
Amy is a lawyer working in the corporate sector. Unlike her mom and sister’s, she’s always been the serious, studious one and that’s her place in the family. She knows her parents are really proud that she’s the first Sagar to get to college and they’re really proud of her achievements so when she loses her job, it’s more than just a job she’s lost.
Ben is an Aussie who’s taking a road trip from Antarctica to Alaska because if you’re running from something, you may as well run far, right?
His worst nightmare is to be stranded in a town obsessed with weddings because the last wedding he was at, didn’t go so well. Add in a disgraced and uptight lawyer, his great escape is suddenly more like jail.
The secondary story features Melissa, the owner of the Northern Lights Boutique and the new bartender in town. Scott doesn’t fit the criteria Melissa has in her head for the perfect man in any way but that doesn’t seem to stop the chemistry that arcs between them. Perhaps they’re both an itch that needs to be scratched so they can move on.
Finally, fans of Wedding Fever will know Mrs Norell. She gets her HEA here as well 🙂 I tell ya, it’s a BIG book 🙂
Was it love at first sight for your characters? If not what was the pivotal moment of change?
LOL, it was so NOT love at first sight. Amy renders Ben incapacitated and unable to ride his beloved vintage Harley Davidson, Red. Added to that, they’re forced to share a log cabin. Along the way, they get to know each other . Secrets slip and preconceived ideas are challenged. Plus they both think the other is totally hot 😉
If your characters could go back in time and change one thing what would it be? Why?
Ben would have questioned his fiancée’s motives a lot more.
Amy would have have spend more time pleasing herself than trying to please others.
What scene did you have the most fun writing? Why?
There are a lot of funny scenes in this book and one of my favourites is the running gag about Drop Bears. Australia has a lot of dangerous animals but drop bears are the scariest. They lie in wait high up in trees and drop on unsuspecting tourists. I also enjoyed dressing Amy. In a great deal of distress, she flung clothes into a case and fled Chicago. Turns out, random packing makes for interesting clothing combinations.
Mrs. Norell stared at her momentarily stunned as if trying to assimilate evening wear with hiking boots, and then rushed forward with arms open wide. “Amy, dear, you look like you’re getting into the vacation spirit.”
“That’s one way of putting it,” Ben mumbled.
What scene was the hardest to write? Why?
All super-charged emotional scenes are hard to write. There are a few in this book. The one where Ben finally tells Amy the truth about his wedding, the one where Amy talks to her parents about losing her job and I cried when I wrote the black moment when Amy risks everything and loses Ben.
Raising her head, Amy lost herself in the rain-forest-green of his eyes. “I love you, Ben Armytage. I want to be with you wherever you are.”
His eyes widened into dark disks and his body jerked violently as if he’d just taken a high-voltage hit. His arms fell away. “No. You don’t.”
A tremble started in her toes and quickly spread through her. “No, I don’t what? Love you or want to come south with you?”
“Both.” He rubbed the back of his neck. “Right now you think that running away with me is easier than going back to face that bastard and fighting for your job.”
She shook off his words. “Spending time with the person I love isn’t running.”
He gave her a withering look. “It is if it prevents you from doing what you’re good at. ”
How did your character spend the week just before the story starts?
Ben was riding his vintage Harley Davidson motorcycle across Wisconsin.
Amy was at work, although she did have a nasty stomach-flu which prevented her from going to a charity ball and keeping a meeting in Ohio.
Who would you cast in the role of your characters if your book was optioned for a movie?
Seeing as Ben is Australian, I think I would have to say, Hugh Jackman.
Amy would be played by Jessica Chastain, only she’d have to plump up some.
What are you currently working on? What other releases so you have planned for 2013 into 2014?
During 2014 I’m working on a two book series for Berkley/Penguin USA. Set in small-town Montana it revolves around the community of Bear Paw, the ranching families of the district and the town’s hospital It features seriously hot doctors , sexy cowboys and the women who are more than their match. I’m also writing a book in a new series for Harlequin Mills & Boon medical romance line.
Thanks for blogging at HJ!
Giveaway: The complete Wedding Fever series…three books. Saved By The Bride + Picture Perfect Wedding + Runaway Groom.
To enter Giveaway: Please complete the Rafflecopter form and Post a comment to this Q: As Runaway Groom features motorcycles, vintage cars, horse and carts and hay wagons, what transport would you most like to go to a wedding in?Why?
Amy didn’t realize her eyes had fluttered closed until they jerked open in fright. The loud and throaty sound of an engine reverberated around her, sending fear skimming along her veins. She sat up fast, her hands gripping the edge of the bath so hard it hurt. The house was well set back from the main road so traffic noise wouldn’t penetrate, which meant this engine noise was coming from just outside.
It died away and a moment later she relaxed. It must have belonged to a passing boat of enthusiastic fishermen or maybe a local. She remembered there were some people who lived on the lake who used boats to get to and from the town because in the summer months it was quicker than the road. Who knew, maybe they used their boats three seasons out of four and not just during the summer.
While she’d dozed, the water in the bath had cooled and the lights in the bathroom had automatically switched off. She stood up, stepped out of the bath and picked up the gloriously soft and enormous bath sheet. As she rubbed herself dry, she heard a squeaking sound. She immediately paused, listening for it again but when she didn’t hear it, she figured it must have been the floorboards creaking under her feet.
It’s just new house jitters. You’ll get used to the sounds. She forced herself to go back to her drying and was just about to pop the edge of the towel between her toes when the bang of a door made her jump.
Her heart leaped in her chest. Oh, God. Someone was in the house.
Sometimes in the off-season, we get break-ins.
Ella’s words amplified her fears and she realized the throaty engine noise she’d heard hadn’t been a boat at all. It was a motorcycle.
Don’t be ridiculous. It was one engine.
Every stereotype ever created about bikers filled her with panic.
It might be a woman.
And pigs might fly.
With an engine that loud and thundering, it had to be ridden by a man who had a serious ego and put himself above the law. That could be the only reason why he hadn’t ridden away the moment the outside security lighting had come on. Why he hadn’t been deterred by the sight of her car.
She shoved her fist into her mouth to stifle a scream. He wouldn’t have seen her car. She’d parked it well off the driveway and it was hidden behind trees. The biker wouldn’t know she was in the house. The news was full of the unpredictable things thieves did when they were unexpectedly confronted. Her breaths came in short, choppy rifts. She was alone in a huge house with a probable violent intruder and no neighbors close enough to hear her scream. Why had she been so against the idea of carrying a small gun in her purse?
Think, Amy, think.
Tying the large bath sheet firmly under her arms, she reentered the bedroom. The low glow of the bedside lamps came on instantly and she threw herself at the switch, turning them off. Acid surged into the back of her throat. There was no way she could move in this house without activating the lights and drawing attention to her presence.
Her body took another jolt of fear-induced adrenaline but instead of paralyzing her, it activated her brain.
The control panel.
She turned on the long-handled flashlight Mrs. Norell had given her and pointed it at the panel, praying there’d be an obvious master switch to turn off the lights and keep them off. She didn’t want to press random buttons and risk turning on every light in the house. Biting her lip hard, she pressed the switch that read, Good-night. Then she tried to get the lamps to turn on. Nothing happened.
She swallowed in relief but it was short-lived. No lights didn’t change the fact there was someone downstairs. If she had anything to do with it, she would find him first and not the other way around. Very carefully, she eased her way out of the room and made her way very quietly along the hallway until she stood in the shadows of the catwalk.
Heavy footsteps sounded loud and ominous and then the loud scrape of wood against wood floated up to her, followed by a thud.
The male voice confirmed her suspicions but the way he’d said the curse was odd. It sounded sort of flat and elongated.
She crept forward and saw a small spill of light. He was holding his phone and it silhouetted him as he bent over rubbing his shin. He straightened up.
Her mouth dried. She was five feet ten inches tall in flat feet but this guy was taller. Exactly how much more was hard to tell because he was wearing a motorcycle helmet, but she guessed he was well over six feet. But it wasn’t his height that was intimidating, it was his breadth. The square tilt of his shoulders and the way they filled his leather jacket said he could squish her like a bug if he chose.
Not if I get to you first, buddy.
Her hand tightened on the flashlight. If she could somehow get downstairs without him knowing she was there then maybe she could sneak up on him and…
What? What? Years of arguing for a living and reading dry contracts had hardly prepared her for a stakeout and a raid.
As he turned around and started walking very carefully and slowly back across the great room, she thought she heard him mumble, “Bloody lights” but perhaps she’d been watching too much British television on late-night cable. Why would he want to turn on the lights if he was going to burglarize? He was either not very bright or very certain the house was isolated enough for no one to notice. The fact he didn’t have a flashlight indicated the former.
He disappeared through a doorway that Amy hadn’t explored and she took her chance. Holding her towel tightly against her chest, she pressed her body against the banister and walked slowly down the stairs.
Don’t come back, don’t come back, don’t come back, she silently chanted as she felt her feet touch each step. She finally reached the bottom and left the safety of the banister, walking carefully toward the doorway he’d exited through. If or when he returned, she’d be there ready to hit him with her flashlight.
She was halfway across the great room when the enormous antler chandelier above her head lit up.
Terror froze her to the spot. He must have found another control panel and any minute he was going to reappear and find her. Frantically she gazed around, taking in the entire open space and running through her limited options. Hiding behind one of the four-seater leather sofas would put her at risk of being found crouching down and vulnerable. Unless she could jump up and surprise him.
Wearing a towel?
Okay, bad idea. Oh, why hadn’t she thought to put her clothes on?
Just move! Like a sprinter hearing the starter’s gun, she raced to the doorway and flattened herself up against the wall. Sucking in her breath as if that would make her even less noticeable, she raised the flashlight high above her head.
Come on, come on.
Seconds ticked by, followed by a full minute and then another. The muscles of her upper arms burned. Why had she spent so much time in the office instead of lifting weights and working out at the gym?
Because your job was your life.
And hadn’t all of that worked out just dandy. Now she was out of her job, she had jelly arms and a widening butt, and she was trying to stave off an attacker. The burn moved, spreading across her shoulders and down along her arms. Pins and needles tingled in her fingers and the bath sheet felt loose over her breasts.
Come on. Where the hell was he?
The faint sound of boots against the polished maple floorboards increased in volume. She tried to tighten her grip on the flashlight but the numbness in her hands made it impossible to feel anything.
The door opened.
He moved past her into the room and she swung the flashlight toward the back of his now-uncovered head, planning to knock him out cold. With her screaming arm muscles and numb hands, she misjudged the distance and clipped him hard on the shoulder.
“Jesus.” He spun around fast, his left arm reaching for his right shoulder. “What the hell?”
He was so close she could see the shock in the depths of his wide, emerald-green eyes. She saw the exact moment his survival instincts kicked in.
He lunged. His left arm shot out, grabbing for her. She dodged, avoiding his grasp but his hand caught the edge of the towel. As it tumbled down her body, she brought her knee up hard into his groin.
With a sucking gasp, he staggered backward before slumping over. Taking advantage of his exposed position, she threw herself at his right shoulder, knocking him to the floor. The momentum took her flying over his head and she heard him grunt in pain. Good. Half a second later, her hip hit the floorboards with a bone-chipping thud.
“Argh.” She groaned as she lay sprawled chest-down with no air in her lungs. Agony ripped through her and silver stars danced in her head.
His hand locked around her ankle, his fingers digging into the small triangular space. “Are…you…done?” he asked, panting.
No way. She kicked out and connected with something hard that she hoped was his head.
“Fuck.” The word held every level of pain and his grip tightened.
If she had any time to think, she’d swear he had an accent.
“Listen, lady, I don’t know who you are or what your problem is, but you need to stop. Right now.”
He sounded utterly pissed but she didn’t care. If she could have moved, she’d have scrambled around and pummeled him with her fists. “Why, so you can hurt me instead?”
“No.” This time he sounded insulted.
“I don’t believe you.” God, she wished she could reach her towel. Right now he had a perfect view of her naked butt.
He breathed out a long, pained sigh. “Don’t you think that if I wanted to hurt you, I would have done it by now instead of lying here on the floor?”
His logic managed to sink into her fear. He had a point.
“So why haven’t you?”
“A, I don’t beat up women. B, I’ve seen you naked and you’re not my type.”
“Thank God for that,” she said, hating that despite the fact this stranger’s words should be reassuring her, they only made Jonathon’s vicious parting words this morning—I lowered my standards dating you—boom in her head.
He grunted. “And C, you dislocated my shoulder.”
Amy Sagar’s life is in ruins. Fired from her fast-track job and dumped by her double-crossing boyfriend, she retreats to Whitetail, Wisconsin, to lick her wounds and regroup. Meeting an impossible, sexy Australian isn’t part of her strategy for getting back on track.
Ben Armytage is running away. After being left at the altar and publicly humiliated, he’s taking his vintage motorcycle on an extended road trip from Argentina to Alaska. Having his journey interrupted by a breakdown and sharing a house with a curvy, redheaded lawyer in a town obsessed with weddings was never on his itinerary.
Though being stuck in a luxury log cabin isn’t really a hardship, living together with their broken hearts isn’t easy. When the attraction between Amy and Ben proves unstoppable, they’ll both begin rethinking their plans…
For more weddings in Whitetail, check out Saved by the Bride and Picture Perfect Wedding, available now!
Fiona Lowe is a RITA® and R*BY award-winning, multi-published author with Harlequin and Carina Press. Whether her books are set in outback Australia or in the mid-west of the USA, they feature small towns with big hearts, and warm, likeable characters that make you fall in love. When she’s not writing stories, she’s a weekend wife, mother of two ‘ginger’ teenage boys, guardian of 80 rose bushes and often found collapsed on the couch with wine. You can find her at her website, facebook, Twitter and Goodreads.