Hi Tara and welcome to HJ! We’re so excited to chat with you about your new release, Don’t Touch My Petunia!
Hi! I’m so glad to be here!
Please summarize the book for the readers here:
A woman with garden magic finds out the builder in charge of her remodel is the same man who broke her heart over a decade ago. In spite of best laid plans, they find themselves falling head over hearts in this whimsical romantic comedy where opposites attract, sparks fly, and magical mayhem ensues.
Please share the opening lines of this book:
If a guy was going to fondle her petunias, the least he could do was act like he cared. Pawing at them with a big meaty ham fist while he stared absently out of her shop window was not cool. Juliette Holloway frowned, swiping a lock of dark hair behind her ear.
Please share a few Fun facts about this book…
- Some of the characters in this story are high-strung actors based on a fictional reality television show called Hollywood Houseboat.
- The dog in this book is five pound Yorkshire terrier named Hank the Tank, who is the reluctant arm charm for a glamorous celebrity.
- The fictional town of Pine Cove Island is based on the San Juan Islands, particularly Friday Harbor, in the Pacific Northwest. If you ever visit that area, you’ll see landmarks that were the basis for some of the locations in The Holloway Girls series.
- In all three of the books in this series, you’ll find references to dragonflies and mermaids. This is a nod to some of my Golden Heart® groups from Romance Writers of America.
Please tell us a little about the characters in your book. As you wrote your protagonist was there anything about them that surprised you?
One of the things that surprised me the most was the relationship between my hero and heroine in the story. Logan is an ex-military alpha who wants to settle down with a wife and family, while the main character Juliette is afraid of commitment and never wants to settle down with a man. I didn’t know this about either of them until I started writing, and it was fun to see their personalities unfold.
If your book was optioned for a movie, what scene would you use for the audition of the main characters and why?
This is a mud run scene where the hero is a volunteer wolf, whose job it is to chase race contestants through the forest and tag them before they reach the finish line:
She was just about to tear off toward the finish line when someone stepped smoothly from the shadows.
“My, what big lungs you have.” Logan loomed in front of her, looking every bit like the big bad wolf.
She scowled. “You’re in my way. Move.”
“I’m doing my job.” His gaze flicked to her wet T-shirt. “As a volunteer Wolf, I need to give you a hard time.”
Juliette rolled her eyes. Beyond Logan’s shoulder, she caught sight of Brock sneaking along the side of the forest to bypass the line of Wolves. If she didn’t move fast, she was going to lose.
“You have to let me go,” she said urgently. “Otherwise Brock’s going to win.”
Logan seemed to consider her logic for a moment. “That’s a very strong argument. You can go.”
She started to forge ahead.
He blocked her with his body. “For a price.” He was giving her that secret look. The one that did things to her insides. Warm, sexy things. But Brock was getting away. Then again, Logan’s perfect mouth looked very inviting. She didn’t have time for this.
“Fine.” She lifted up on her toes and stamped a kiss on his mouth. It was supposed to be a quick one, but somehow she got caught up in the feel of his hard body, and the warmth of his large hands, and the slow, sweet slide of his tongue.
When she finally pulled away, she was breathing harder than before.
“Thank you,” Logan murmured. “But that’s not the price.”
Juliette groaned in frustration and hopped up and down. “What do you want?”
His gaze lowered to her chest, mesmerized.
She bounced one more time, just because.
“Come to dinner tonight,” he said huskily. “My house.”
Brock was now making his way toward the end of the trail that led to the finish line. She had to go, or Hollywood Boozeboat was going to win.
“Fine as in ‘fine you’ll come for dinner’?”
“Yes,” she said in exasperation. “Fine means yes. Can I go now?”
Logan stepped aside. “Fine.”
Juliette shot toward the finish line, ahead of the pack.
What do you want people to take away from reading this book?
I hope this book will give readers a fun, whimsical, romantic escape from the cares of every day life. If they walk away feeling happy and uplifted, and a little bit in love with the hero or heroine, then my mission will be accomplished.
What are you currently working on? What other releases do you have planned?
I am currently working on Don’t Give Me Butterflies, the third book in The Holloway Girls series, releasing in 2019. It’s the story about Kat Davenport, who has the ability to communicate with animals. I’m also starting work on a Christmas novella in the same world as Pine Cove Island. It will be released in a 2019 holiday anthology with Fern Michaels and a few other authors.
Thanks for blogging at HJ!
Giveaway: A paperback copy of Don’t Touch My Petunia (Advanced Reader Copy, U.S.)
To enter Giveaway: Please complete the Rafflecopter form and Post a comment to this Q: While researching plants for Don’t Touch My Petunia, I learned that so many flowers symbolize different aspects of love. My personal favorite is the orchid. What’s your favorite flower, and why?
Excerpt from Don’t Touch My Petunia:
Juliette kicked off her shoes and took her hair down, massaging her head as she walked into the front room to remove the OUT TO LUNCH sign from the window. She was so preoccupied with her thoughts, she didn’t realize she wasn’t alone until something landed in a garbage bin beside her.
She spun around, startled.
Logan was across the room, lounging behind the counter. Several wadded up pieces of paper were scattered near the register.
“What are you doing in here?” she demanded.
He spared her a glance, stretched his arm above his head, and sent a paper ball sailing into the wastebasket. “Taking a break.”
Annoyance bubbled to the surface. “Shouldn’t you be . . . I don’t know . . . building something?”
“I’m waiting on the landscaper to drop off the slate rock.” He focused on the garbage can.
“Well, don’t you have anything to do while you wait?”
“I’m doing it.” He sent another paper ball flying through the air. This time it bounced off the rim and landed on the floor.
Juliette looked at the wadded up paper, then at him. “Whatever you’re doing, it doesn’t look very productive.”
“I’m playing Trashball,” he said. “It’s a great stress reliever. You should try it.”
“I’m not stressed,” she said.
A soft chuckle “Right.”
She lifted her chin. “I’m not.”
“Whatever you say, captain. By the way, those white cards in the back room? I think they’re invitations?”
“What about them?” Emma’s wedding invitations had arrived that morning, and she hadn’t had a chance to look at them yet.
“They fell out of the box. All over the floor, but don’t worry.” He jerked a thumb at the filthy push broom in the corner. “I swept them up.”
Juliette sucked in a breath, horrified that he’d swept up the silver-embossed, white linen cardstock with the shop broom. “You didn’t.”
“I didn’t,” he agreed. “Relax.”
She glowered at him.
“See?” He pointed at her with a wadded up piece of paper, then aimed for the bin again. “Stressed.”
“You’re the reason,” she said. “That’s your idea of helping a person de-stress? Scaring them?”
“Okay, I’m sorry. Look, you can take the next shot.” He tossed her the paper ball. “Try it.”
She narrowed her eyes and threw it directly at him. It bounced off his perfect mouth.
Juliette tossed her hair and bit back a grin. She did feel better.
Logan nodded slowly. “Well, you tried. Don’t beat yourself up. Not everyone can be a natural at Trashball.” He stretched his hand over his head without taking his eyes off her face and tossed the ball.
It landed in the wastebasket with a soft thunk.
Juliette couldn’t help the tiny smile that tugged at the corners of her mouth. “Oh, please. That was dumb luck, and you know it.”
“Try it,” he said. “I dare you.”
Never one to back away from a challenge, she strode across the room, joining him behind the counter. She grabbed a paper ball and threw. The ball bounced off the rim of the wastepaper basket. So close.
He took one, tossed, scored.
She grabbed another, sent it sailing, and missed by several feet. Before he could throw another, she grabbed one in each hand and launched them across the room at the same time. One bounced off the rim, the other landed in the bin.
“Score!” Juliette laughed and turned to him, triumphant.
Logan was grinning down at her. A shot of heat zipped through her body. Everything about the nearness of him—how his eyes glowed with pleasure, how a lock of hair waved over his brow, how he smelled faintly of evergreens and sunlight after rain—everything attracted her. Why was it so easy to fall back into old patterns? When she was young, she thought Logan shone like the moon in the sky. Now she knew not to shoot for the moon. She belonged where she was, with her feet planted firmly on the ground. She knew it, and he needed to know it. Fast.
“Just because I’m playing this game, doesn’t mean I like you now,” she blurted.
He raised a brow in silent challenge.
Juliette lifted her chin, heart beginning to pound in her chest. “I just—I want to make that clear.”
“That you don’t like me?”
He studied her for a long moment, then said softly, “You know what I think, Juliette?”
She shook her head, unable to answer. Whatever he was about to say, she didn’t want to hear it. What she did want was to run her hands up the front of his shirt and feel the hard ridges of muscle underneath, slide her arms around his neck and dig her fingers into his thick hair, pull him closer and see if his lips were as warm and soft as they looked. Danger! She backed into the wall behind her.
He slowly closed the space between them, his dark eyes fixed on hers. “I think you do like me.”
She tried to scoff, but it sounded too breathy. “No, I don’t. You annoy me.”
“I didn’t always.” He searched her face from beneath thick lashes. “I kissed you once before, do you remember?”
A thrill shot through her. “No.” Said the lying’est liar who ever lied. She’d never forget that first kiss as long as she lived. She was fourteen. He was eighteen. It had been fleeting and unexpected and thrilling, but bittersweet. She’d foolishly thrown herself at him, and he’d treated her like a child.
“I must not have done a very good job of it, then,” he said.
“Must not have.” She licked her suddenly dry lips and tried to sound nonchalant. “But hey, don’t beat yourself up. Not everyone can be a natural at it. Just stick to things you’re good at. Like Trashball.”
With infinitesimal slowness, he leaned closer, until she could feel the heat of his body just inches from hers. “I was just a kid back then, when we kissed.”
“I’m sure nothing’s changed,” she whispered, insides shaking like a sapling in a windstorm.
“Let’s find out.”
She opened her mouth to say no, but the word dissolved on the tip of her tongue.
Logan’s mouth curved up at one corner. “I dare you.”
When he dipped his head, she met him halfway. Because he dared her, so what else could she do, right?
He brushed his mouth softly against hers at first, demanding nothing. Giving nothing. It was carefully controlled, just the light slide of barely parted lips, their breaths mingling as he braced his hands against the wall behind her. Juliette squirmed, instinctively pressing closer until the full length of her body made sudden contact with his.
Logan exhaled sharply, sliding a hand around her waist, his powerful arm anchoring her against him. When he deepened the kiss, her entire body went molten. Everything about him was hot and hard and he tasted a bit like cinnamon gum and sweet, wicked promises—the kind whispered between two lovers in the dark.
When he finally drew back, they both stared at each other, their breaths mingling in the space between them.
Juliette swallowed hard and fought to get back to the place she was before. “Hated it,” she whispered.
“Mmm, it was terrible.” He lowered his gaze to her mouth, his large hand on the nape of her neck, thumb stroking deliciously near the sensitive spot behind her ear. “Maybe we should try again,” he murmured. “Just to be sure.”
She reached up and sank her hands into his hair, pulling him down so she could kiss him again. Somewhere in the back of her mind, her future self was yelling at her for acting like a lunatic and jumping into such dangerous waters, but her present self was kicking back on an inflatable raft with a mai tai shouting, “Come on in, the water’s fine!”
Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.
Pine Cove Island is the kind of enchanting place where anything is possible . . .
The Holloway women each have a special gift, passed down through generations, each one a little different. Juliette possesses a magical green thumb, which makes her job managing the local florist shop a dream. She may be a bit wild, but she knows what she wants: to save enough money to buy the shop from her boss. Then in marches Logan O’Connor, more annoyingly handsome than ever, turning all her plans upside down.
Logan hasn’t been back on Pine Cove Island since he was eighteen and broke Juliette’s teenage heart. Now it turns out he’s her boss’s nephew—and will be spending his days remodeling the shop and barking orders. At her.
For the sake of the business, Juliette will have to ignore their simmering attraction and work with Logan. But that doesn’t mean she has to make things easy for him. Because no one knows better than she that one tiny, perfectly planted bit of garden magic could uproot Logan’s own plans and keep him out of her way. And nothing would make her happier. At least that’s what she thinks . . .
Meet the Author:
Tara Sheets is an award-winning author of contemporary romance and women’s fiction. Her work has earned first place recognition in literary contests nationwide, and her debut novel, DON’T CALL ME CUPCAKE, won the 2016 Golden Heart® award sponsored by Romance Writers of America. Tara began her career as an author in the Pacific Northwest, inspired by the rain and the misty mountains and the rivers of Starbucks coffee. She now lives in the warm, wonderful South where she can stand outside with no coat on, and she finds that pretty inspiring too. When not writing, Tara enjoys life with her book-loving family and a book-eating dog named Merlin. She is represented by Sarah Phair at Trident Media Group.
Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | GoodReads |