Hi Isabel and welcome to HJ! We’re so excited to chat with you about your new release, A First Time for Everything!
Hello lovely readers!
Please summarize the book a la Twitter style for the readers here:
A college senior asks the campus hottie for lessons in all the things she’s missed out on, only to fall for his charms herself.
Please share the opening lines of this book:
The first time I saw Casey Grant he stood on the quad with a crowd of girls around him, all of them smiling at him like he was the second coming. I was a newbie freshman still trying to find my way around campus, but I knew he lived in a world that didn’t include me.
Until it did.
Please share a few Fun facts about this book…
- This book was sort of a re-write of my own story. I returned to campus one fall (sophomore year rather than senior year) with my skin clear after years of acne, and guys were suddenly super into me. (Can anyone say ugly duckling trope?) But I was so inexperienced, I was scared to go near any of them. So I thought, what if I wrote a book about a girl in a similar dilemma, but I gave her a super sexy guy to give her lessons?
- Hannah mentions reading a book called The Valley of Horses (by Jean Auel), in which girls get initiated into sex by a hunky member of the tribe. She thinks to herself, “I can’t help wishing I’d had something like that. For those of us who couldn’t arrange a sexual encounter on our own, a nice, safe deflowering would have been a game changer.” Well, I read that book as a teenager, and those were my thoughts, and another part of the inspiration for the book all these years later.
- Despite the above, Hannah is very different from me. She works way harder than I did in college for one, and while she’s premed, I never took a math or science course if I could help it.
What first attracts your Hero to the Heroine and vice versa?
They both love watching I Love Lucy in the dorm lounge.
Using just 5 words, how would you describe Hero and Heroine’s love affair?
Sweet and sexy, honest and surprising.
The First Kiss…
His hands come up on either side of me, caging me in, so close but still not touching me. Then his lips are on mine, soft and undemanding as they graze over me. When he breaks contact, I open my eyes to find him watching me, and the heat in his eyes draws me toward him.
I guess that’s all he needed, because when he kisses me again it’s sure and knowing and I’m already falling under his spell. There’s no demand, just the building of sensations. So easy and natural and necessary. Gradually it changes and his tongue licks into me, a playful, teasing taste before he retreats. He changes the angle and takes more, teaching me how to respond. I follow his lead, taking and withdrawing.
“That’s it, babe, open up for me,” he says, his voice rough and breathless.
The kiss turns slow and deep, like he’s savoring how I taste. I should have known Casey’s kisses would be as potent as any drug. Already I’m an addict. Everything—his hands on me, the texture of his skin, the rasp of his breath—combines to form a universe of our own. He’s all I feel or remember, warm skin and taut muscle, my breasts crushed to his chest as we struggle to get closer.
I drag my hands down his strong back and press myself against him, aching for more.
He pulls away. “You okay?”
“Yes, why? Did I do something wrong?” I ask, my heart sinking.
“God, no. You feel amazing. It’s just that you made a sound.”
“I’m sorry. I didn’t realize.”
“Don’t be sorry. I just wanted to make sure. I’m having a hard time thinking straight right now.”
“Me, too. You’re an amazing kisser.” I can hear how naïve that sounds, how girlish, but I can’t think how else to say it. And then, because this is a lesson and I need to know— “Am I doing it right?”
“You’re just about killing me. I don’t think it could be any better.”
“Can we do it some more?” I ask him, desire making me bold.
“This time I want to kiss you.”
Casey goes completely still, like he’s gone on high alert, and he gives a shaky laugh. “Okay but go easy on me. I’m not made of stone.”
“You could have fooled me,” I tease, because I can feel how hard he is for me.
“You got that right,” he says, his voice rougher now.
I put my hands on his shoulders and press my lips to his, grazing them like he did to me. Only I already know I need more than this. Excitement kicks my heart into a gallop as I kiss him the way he taught me, openmouthed, slow and savoring. His hands rest lightly on my hips, and I somehow know he’s holding back so I can have control.
His heart beats furiously against my chest, and it’s all the encouragement I need. I press closer until there’s no space at all between us, and then I’m not thinking about how to do it, I’m just kissing him, and it’s deep and loose and wild.
Without revealing too much, what is your favorite scene in the book?
This isn’t the most dramatic scene, but I like the easy interaction and humor, and you see Casey being a sweetheart. This takes place after the two of them watch an episode of I Love Lucy. It’s before they start having their “lessons.” In a previous scene, Hannah yawned while talking to a guy who likes her, and now she’s afraid she turned him off completely. She’s asking Casey if she ruined everything.
“What would you do if a girl yawned in front of you? Would you be offended and avoid her for all time?”
“That depends. Am I making sweet love to her when she does it?”
I can’t hold back my laugh. “No. You’re sitting at a table eating tacos. But maybe you’re going on a little too long about your senior project, and she’s been studying for hours.”
He laughs, but that soft look I saw the night of the party is back, and instead of teasing me, he sounds kind. “I wouldn’t worry about it. Most guys aren’t scared off that easily. He probably realized he has to up his game.”
“I suppose. I guess I won’t know until I see him again. If I see him again.”
“All you did was yawn. Trust me, that’s nothing. Everyone has embarrassing things happen to them. It goes with the territory.”
“What was the most embarrassing thing that ever happened to you?”
“Seriously? I’m not revealing something humiliating just to make you feel better.”
He sighs like the weight of the world is upon him and turns so he’s fully facing me. The game comes back on, but he’s not paying attention now. “Fine, but only if you swear never to mention it again, not to me or to anyone.”
I wiggle in my seat with anticipation. “I swear.”
“Okay. Well, I had a girlfriend my whole first year here, but we broke up right before leaving campus for the summer.”
“Meaning you dumped her.”
He sighs. “Do you want to hear this or not?”
“My apologies. Please continue.”
“So I fly back to Berkeley at the end of the year, and about a week later I plan to meet a friend after work at this bar—”
“You had a fake ID?”
“Yes. Anyway, I notice this totally hot woman on the other side of the bar. She looks like she’s in her early thirties, but I’m kind of into the idea of an older woman, especially after being with only Tori for a year.”
I can’t help myself. “So you walk over to her like the young stud that you are…”
“And I say hi and offer to buy her another glass of wine. She smiles and says why not, her friend’s running late. We introduce ourselves and start talking, and I mention I’m on break from college. She looks surprised and says she thought I was older. I was rocking a beard then, and I was wearing a button-down shirt and tie.”
“So what happened?”
“I say something about working with my dad and she gets this funny look on her face and asks me my name again. This time I tell her my last name, too, and she looks at me like I’m a serial killer. She’s like, ‘I can’t believe this is happening to me.’ She asks me if I know who she is, and I say no, totally confused. And she says, ‘You slept with my daughter, you horny little shit.’”
My hands fly to my mouth, and my whole body cringes. “No way.”
“As soon as she says that, I realize she’s Amanda Gray’s mother. She’s younger than the rest of our mothers because she had Amanda her senior year of high school. So I say, ‘You look terrific, Caroline.’ Then I throw down twenty dollars for the wine and get the hell out of there.”
I stare at him, speechless.
He turns back to the TV and raises the volume. “Now can I watch the game, please?”
I give his arm a squeeze. “Thank you for that.”
If your book was optioned for a movie, what scene would be absolutely crucial to include?
This is not a fun scene, but it’s the whole reason why Hannah asks Casey for lessons. She goes to a party, gets kind of drunk, and kisses a guy for the first time. Only it’s awful, and it makes her fear kissing anyone else.
I expect him to work up to it, but his mouth is suddenly on mine, his tongue pushing to get in. I open my mouth and kiss him back, but I can’t figure out how to make it work right. There’s no rhythm, and I don’t know what I should be doing. My heart starts to race, and I’m trying not to be grossed out by the way his tongue nearly gags me. It gets worse when he shoves me against the wall and I feel his hard-on.
I can’t breathe, and now I’m trapped against him. I don’t understand why he can’t tell something’s wrong. I try to turn my head away and break the kiss, but he doesn’t let me, doesn’t seem to get that I need to breathe. The pressure in my lungs builds, like I’m underwater with no way to the surface. His breath is stale and hot, his saliva wet on my chin. It’s even worse when he grabs my breast. Nausea roils my stomach, and for a second I think I might throw up. I go completely still, willing myself not to feel anything. Maybe if I don’t move, he’ll stop.
I try not to make any noise because I don’t want anyone to hear, but I can’t help the whimper that comes out. I start to struggle and push on his chest, and he still doesn’t stop for what seems like ages.
Finally he staggers back a step. “Shit, Hannah. What’s the deal? You kiss like a twelve-year-old.”
I don’t say anything. Shame fills me so completely, and even with him off me I’m still freaked out.
He looks at me like he doesn’t know why he wasted his time. “Whatever. I’ll see you around.”
Readers should read this book …
Because it’s got heart and soul and characters you’l love and root for. They aren’t perfect, but they learn and grow from their mistakes. And because it’s really, really sexy.
What are you currently working on? What other releases do you have planned?
I’m currently working on the second book in the series, which focuses on Hannah’s roommate, Audrey. It’s early days for this one, though. I also have a stand-alone contemporary set in the Sierra Nevada mountains that’s close to done, but that’s on the back burner for the moment.
Thanks for blogging at HJ!
Giveaway: Three free copies of A First Time for Everything
To enter Giveaway: Please complete the Rafflecopter form and Post a comment to this Q: What’s your favorite romance trope?
Excerpt from A First Time for Everything:
He leans against the wall. “I was looking for you earlier. I wanted to say thanks for checking in on me like you did. That was really nice of you.
“Oh,” I say, surprised by how earnest he is. “You’re welcome.”
“You have a very good bedside manner,” he says, the teasing gleam back in his eye.
“I was pretty saintly,” I say, throwing a second load into the washing machine, “especially considering you turned me down in my hour of need.”
I didn’t plan on saying that, but I guess I’m testing him. I need to know if lessons with him are off the table so I can come up with a Plan B.
“I didn’t exactly turn you down. I just don’t want us to end up avoiding each other because I accidentally hurt your feelings or you see me with another girl.”
“You don’t have to worry about that. All you have to do is help me check a few boxes so that I can pass as someone who knows what she’s doing.”
He still looks skeptical.
“Fine. You’re officially off the hook,” I say. I add soap to my clothes and let the lid of the washer slam shut.
He gives me a narrow look. “Does that mean you have someone else in mind for the job?”
“I know someone who might help me.”
“Why didn’t you ask him in the first place?”
“Because he’s gay and he lives too far away, and I kind of wanted to do it with someone who was at least a little interested.”
“Well, you don’t want the job, and I need to know what I’m doing before I subject someone else to kissing me.”
“Hannah, that’s the most…that’s…” he trails off, shaking his head. “Just because a girl doesn’t have experience doesn’t mean kissing her is awful. It can be pretty great.”
“You’re just saying that. Besides, the whole point is that I don’t want anyone to know how inexperienced I am.”
“I had some pretty good kisses back in the day. It’s like…like holding a hummingbird in your hands. You know she could tell you to stop any second, so you notice everything. The sounds she makes, the second she forgets to worry, and when she gets nervous again.”
I’ve gone utterly still, unable to take my eyes off him. Heat washes over me, dilating my veins, shortening my breath.
His voice is lower now, drawing me in, and his eyes have gone dreamy. “You try to make it so good––she forgets to be nervous.” He pauses, his gaze still inward. “It’s like discovering girls all over again.”
I’m trembling, my breath hitching as I try to breathe normally.
He looks at me, and he’s definitely back in the here and now. His smile is slow and devastating.
“So yeah, I’ll give you lessons.”
It takes me a second to form words. “I…okay.”
We look at each other for several long moments. Awareness tightens its net around me and sends goose bumps down my spine.
Then some guy comes in carrying a basket heaped with clothes and nods at us. “What’s up?”
Casey straightens, a little smile playing at the corners of his mouth. “I’ll be seeing you, Hannah.”
I’m still dumbfounded as I fly up the stairs a few minutes later. Finally, the promise of knowing what I’ve been missing all these years. For so long this one door stood locked, and I had no idea how to get in. Now I get to peek inside, maybe even throw the door wide open.
Now the only question is, when will this lesson take place?
Excerpts. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.
Hannah Bloom arrives on campus for her senior year of college a new woman. No more mortifying acne—though she still bears the scars—and no more trying to be invisible. She has two goals: get into med school and have sex before graduation. But getting into med school may prove easier than having sex, because Hannah has a secret—she’s never even been kissed.
What she needs is a tutor who’ll give her lessons in all the things she’s missed out on, and Casey Grant is the perfect candidate. Her dorm’s resident player, he’s not only the hottest guy she’s ever seen, he already knows her secret.
The only trouble is, nothing goes according to plan. Their lessons don’t feel like lessons, they feel like the real thing. She tries to date other guys, but nothing can compare with what she has with Casey. If she’s not careful she’ll fall for him just like every other girl on campus—and have her heart broken like them, too.
Book Links: Amazon | B&N | iTunes | Goodreads |
Meet the Author:
Isabel began reading romances when she was thirteen years old. That’s the year her grandmother came to visit, bringing with her a summer’s worth of romance novels. Isabel was immediately and forever hooked.
Now she writes sensual, emotionally intelligent stories about likable people who discover themselves as they navigate their way to great sex and true love. What could be better than experiencing all that new love and lust just by picking up a book?