Spotlight & Giveaway: His Best Friend’s Sister by Sarah M. Anderson

Posted April 9th, 2018 by in Blog, Spotlight / 32 comments

Today it is my pleasure to Welcome author Sarah M. Anderson to HJ!
Spotlight&Giveaway

Hi Sarah and welcome to HJ! We’re so excited to chat with you about your new release, His Best Friend’s Sister!

 
Happy Spring, everyone! Bring on the Daffodils!
 

Tell us about the book with this fun little challenge using the title of the book:

This is clearly a self- explanatory title. It’s about his best friend’s little sister! Our hero is Oliver Lawrence, the eldest of the three Lawrence siblings. Their father won a rodeo in a poker game fifteen years ago and relocated their family from the high-rent district in New York City to Dallas and embraced the honky-tonk life. Oliver has never felt comfortable in this world and hates the danged rodeo. All he wants is to get back to his real life in NYC. But when Renee Preston, the little sister of his best friend from New York, shows up in Oliver’s Dallas office–four months pregnant!–Oliver can’t reconcile his image of the irritating little sister with the woman before him now. And when Renee announces that she’s hiding out from terrible press–her father and brother have been arrested for perpetrating a massive pyramid scheme and her husband committed suicide rather than face justice–Oliver realizes that he has to protect Renee at all costs. Because she’s his best friend’s sister. Not because he’s attracted to her or anything. Certainly not.

 

What’s your favorite line(s) from the book?:

Ooh, there’s a lot of good lines from this one! Like when Oliver thinks this:

“He lost himself in her. That’s what this was. It wasn’t love and it wasn’t lust. He was simply lost to her.
God help him, he didn’t ever want to be found.” Oh, he’s cute when he’s befuddled!

In the story, Renee decides she’s going to learn how to bake–but she has no idea what she’s doing and her first attempts are hilariously awful. When one batch nearly catches the house on fire, she and Oliver have to work fast to keep things from flaming out of control”

“She was going to give him everything she had and that, more than the explosive sex or the questionably edible baked goods, made him feel ten feet tall. She wasn’t afraid of him. He was worth the fight.
She was worth the fight. It was high time she knew it.”

 

Please tell us a little about the characters in your book. What first attracts your Hero to the Heroine and vice versa?

The first thing that drives Oliver crazy is this obligation to take care of Renee because, in addition to the fact that she was his best friend’s little sister, Renee was Oliver’s little sister’s best friend (Did you follow that?). In other words, she was practically family. So he has to take care of her–but quickly that goes from an obligation to a pleasure because Renee is not the irritating little sister Oliver remembers!

As for Renee, she’s slowly been worn down by her parents and her husband. She’s had to make herself fit into a very small box–right hair, right clothes, right smile, right weight–and any deviation was scorned and punished. At first, she thinks Oliver is just like her ex–concerned with appearances, maybe not that trustworthy–but being with him allows her to rediscover the part of her that she’d had to lock away. So instead of being perfect, she tries her hand at baking and when it’s terrible and BOY IS IT TERRIBLE, she and Oliver are able to laugh about it. Oliver helps her out of that box and how could she not love him for that?

 

When you sat down to start this book, what was the biggest challenge you faced? What were you most excited about?

I faced two challenges:

1. This was a surprise pregnancy book and those are always hard for me because pregnancy was a singularly unsexy time in my life. Trying to make that time sensual for my heroine when all I can think of is how miserable I was is super hard!

2. The other challenge was making sure that the patriarch of the family, Milton Lawrence, wasn’t a complete cartoon. He had a midlife crisis, won the rodeo and relocated his children to Texas to suddenly become a faux cowboy–all hat, no cattle! It would’ve been easy to make him sound like Yosemite Sam or something–but I had to make him a real dad.

The thing that wasn’t a challenge was the rodeo! The year before, we’d gone to the Bootheel rodeo in Sikeston, MO, for research (and to see Dwight Yoakum in concert!). I’d already written about bull riders (The Rodeo Dreamers series) so I wanted this rodeo to be an all-around rodeo–calf-roping, barrel racing, the whole thing. So the research trip was FUN!

 

What, in your mind, makes this book stand out?

Well, the swans, obviously, make this book stand out. Oliver has a pond on his property where a pair of swans named Fred and Wilma live, along with their cygnets, Bam Bam and Pebbles. When one baking experiment goes wrong, Oliver has to throw the near-flaming cookies into the pond and the swans are *not* happy about that!

But I love the All-Stars Rodeo that ties the Lawrence siblings together. Oliver is in charge, Chloe is the Princess of the Rodeo and wants to have more control and Flash, the youngest, wants to prove he’s a great cowboy–not just a cowboy with the right name. They each have a complicated relationship with the All-Stars, with their father and with each other.

 

The First Kiss…

Well of course there was a baking fail. Every baking fail I’ve ever made all combined into one horrific set of cookies–and I use that term lightly. And Renee was afraid Oliver was going to be super mad but instead this happens:

God, when was the last time she’d laughed?

She couldn’t remember when. How sad.

But she was laughing too hard to let self-pity take control. She sagged into Oliver’s arms and he buried his head against her shoulder, which didn’t do a whole lot to muffle the almost unholy noises of glee he was making. They both were making.

Eventually, the giggles subsided. But her arms were still around Oliver and his arms were around her and he’d promised he’d always come back for her and then he’d almost kissed her and she still wasn’t wearing a bra.

“It’s a good thing I came out here to check on you,” he murmured against the skin of her neck.

“It is,” she agreed, holding her breath. Would he kiss her again? Or let her kiss him? She shifted against him, bringing her breasts flush against his chest again. “I’d feel really bad if I’d burned your house down.”

“That would’ve been tragic.” Then she felt it, the press of his lips against the sensitive skin right below her ear.

She exhaled on a shudder as his mouth moved over her jaw. Then his lips were on hers and this time, it wasn’t a hesitant touch.

This time, he kissed her like he wanted her.

Even though she knew she shouldn’t because complicated would never be a strong enough word to describe her life, she kissed him back.

Months of sorrow and anger drifted away under the power of Oliver’s kiss. Because it was an amazing kiss, sweet and hot and a seduction, pure and simple. His hands circled her waist, his thumbs tracing a path along her lower ribs. All the while, his lips moving over hers, his tongue lapping at the corners of her mouth. She opened for him and his tongue swept inside, claiming her.

Branding her as his own.

Because he wanted her. Not because she was her father’s daughter, but in spite of that, Oliver Lawrence wanted her.

God, it was so good to be wanted.

 

If your book was optioned for a movie, what scene would you use for the audition of the main characters and why?

The opening chapter, where Renee barges into Oliver’s office because she needs shelter, is a perfect tryout scene because Renee catches Oliver completely off guard!

“I should’ve guessed,” Renee said, her voice a little shaky. He saw her shoulders rise and fall with a deep breath and then she turned around, her face curiously blank. “I’m sorry I barged in on you,” she said, her voice placating. He liked that even less than the fake smile. “Thank you for not calling security on me. It’s been good seeing you, Oliver.”

This day just got weirder and weirder. She had her hand on the doorknob before he realized that she was waltzing out of his office just as quickly as she had waltzed in.

He moved, reaching the door just as it swung open. He slammed it shut with his hand, causing Renee to squeak. “Wait,” he said and then winced as his voice came out in a growl.

He was too close to her. He could feel the warmth of her body radiating through her clothes, through his. He should step back, put some distance between them. She was pregnant, for God’s sake. Who knew what else was going on?

Slowly, she turned. Close enough to kiss, he dimly realized as he stared down into her soft blue eyes. She gasped, her eyes darkening as she looked up at him through thick lashes. He was powerless to move away. “Renee,” he said, and his voice came out deeper than normal. “Why are you here?”

He wasn’t sure what he expected her to do. He wasn’t all that surprised when her eyes got a wet look to them—it went with the dress. But then her mouth opened and instead of a sob, a giggle came out. “You don’t know,” she said, her eyes watering even as she laughed harder. “Oh, God—you really don’t know?”

So he was out of the loop on the New York scene. “Know what?” A tear trickled down her cheek and he lifted his other hand to wipe it away. When it was gone, he didn’t pull his hand away. He cupped her cheek and kept stroking her skin. It was almost like a hug, right? “What’s happened?”

“Oh, nothing,” she said, an edge of bitterness creeping into her voice. “It’s just…” The giggle ended in a hiccup that sounded suspiciously like a sob. “It was all a lie, wasn’t it? My entire life has been a lie.”

He caught another tear before it could get far. “I don’t understand.”

“Don’t you? I can’t believe you haven’t heard.” She closed her eyes and he could feel the tension in her body. “They’re calling it Preston’s Pyramid. My family’s investment company was nothing but a pyramid scheme and it’s all come crashing down.”

 

If your hero had a sexy-times play list, what song(s) would have to be on it?

Oliver would never do anything so crass as have a sexy-times play list. Which is why Renee is good for him–she helps him loosen up a little! Oliver is not a big fan of the country rockability that defines the musical acts after each All-Stars rodeo, but Renee enjoys the variety, so Oliver takes her to a rodeo to hear the headliners. Which is pretty darn sexy, really.

 

What do you want people to take away from reading this book?

Sometimes love is where you least expect it! And sometimes, we have to get outside of the way we define ourselves to see what we’ve been missing.

 

What are you currently working on? What are your up-coming releases?

Well, the next two First Family of Rodeo books are coming up! Chloe’s book, His Enemy’s Daughter, will be out in July. Flash’s book will be out in early 2019. It’s tentatively titled “His One-Night Stand’s Baby” but that’s subject to change. And I’m just starting my next Billionaires and Babies story, out next year!
 

Thanks for blogging at HJ!

 

Giveaway: 1 lucky person will get a five-book collection of every Desire I had out last year–that’s Billionaire’s Baby Promise, Pride and Pregnancy, Claiming His Pregnant Bride AND Twins for the Billionaire PLUS a print copy of His Best Friend’s Daughter! (US only). Internationally, I’m giving out 3 epub copies of Twins for the Billionaire! Good luck!!

 

To enter Giveaway: Please complete the Rafflecopter form and Post a comment to this Q: As I said, every single baking fail I’ve ever made is in this book–and one I borrowed from my sister (although if you ask her, she’ll swear she remembered to put the eggs in the cake!” And then we started watching Nailed It! on Netflix, which is full of similarly bad baking fails. So what’s the worst baking fail you’ve ever pulled of? Don’t be embarrassed! You’re in good company here!

 
a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

Excerpt from His Best Friend’s Sister:

Remember those swans? 🙂

“This is the second night in a row you’ve nearly burned down the house, Renee. I don’t think I’m going to let you bake anymore.”

The light in her eyes dimmed as she paled and she crossed her arms over her stomach, almost curling into herself even though she didn’t so much as bend at the waist. Shit, he’d taken it too far.

He wanted to make her sweat a little but he didn’t want to beat her down.

Fight back, he thought as he got nose-to-nose with her. Fight for yourself. “You, ma’am, are a menace to baked goods the world over,” he intoned in the most pompous voice he possessed. “I’d even go so far as to say you’re a monster to cookies everywhere, to say nothing of how you’re terrorizing my kitchen, my swans and myself!”

Behind him, Fred—or maybe it was Wilma—whooped from much closer. Involuntarily, he flinched because no one wanted to be bitten on the ass—or other exposed parts—by an angry bird with a six-foot wingspan. He looked over his shoulder. The swans and cygnets had swum over to investigate the now sinking cookie sheet so his butt was safe. For now.

He turned back to Renee. She stared up at him, confusion written all over her face. “Did…did you just call me a cookie monster?”

“If the shoe fits,” he snarled. Well, he tried to snarl. But suddenly the effort of not laughing was almost more than he could bear.

She blinked at him and then blinked again before pointedly looking at their feet. “We’re not wearing shoes.”

“Fine. If the shaggy blue fur and googly eyes fit, wear them!”

Fight back, Renee.

Then, miracle of miracles, she did. She gave him a fierce look and poked him in the chest. “I’ve got news for you, mister.” Poke. “You’re not the boss of me.” Poke.

“Oh yeah?” It was not the snappiest comeback he’d ever uttered.

But it did what he wanted it to do. Her eyes lit all the way back up as she smiled and then tried to scowl and frankly, she took his breath away again. This was a game. Maybe not one she’d played in a long time, but she hadn’t forgotten the rules. Thank God for that. She was going to give him everything she had and that, more than the explosive sex or the questionably edible baked goods, made him feel ten feet tall. She wasn’t afraid of him. He was worth the fight.

She was worth the fight. It was high time she knew it.

“Yeah!” Poke. “If I want to bake cookies—” poke “—then I’m going to bake cookies. And furthermore—” poke “—I’ll have you know that I was doing just fine before you showed up, both nights.” Poke.

“Ow,” Oliver said, backing up a step. She wasn’t poking him hard, but she was hitting the exact same spot over and over again.

“You’re the reason the cookies got burned.” Poke. “You distracted me with amazing kisses and the best sex I’ve ever had.” Poke. “If you hadn’t distracted me, we could be eating the perfect chocolate chip cookie right now.”

Amazing kisses? The best sex? He wasn’t one to brag but hell, yeah that was good for his masculine pride. To hell with cookies. He’d have her back in bed. Or on the love seat. Hell, any semiflat surface would do just fine, as long as he could hold her in his arms and feel every inch of her body against every inch of his.

Oliver was grinning his fool head off but he didn’t care. There was something so right about Renee defending herself and putting him in his place that it made him want to sing.

Sing! Him! Oliver!

He didn’t burst into song. However, he did say, “Were they edible cookies?” just to drive her nuts.

It worked. “The last batch was!” Poke.

Stumbling backward, Oliver looked over his shoulder. The cookie sheet had sunk now, but a few hockey pucks formerly known as cookies floated on the surface of the pond. Fred and Wilma and the kids seemed mildly terrified of the things. He couldn’t blame them. “The last batch?”

“You know what I mean—the batch before that!” Poke.

Oliver retreated another step. She was in fine form, his Renee. Her eyes blazed and the breeze molded the thin T-shirt to her body, highlighting her breasts and the gentle swell of her stomach and all he wanted to do was pull her into his arms and kiss the hell out of her.

“I swear to God, if I had a water balloon—” poke “—I’d throw it right at your head. But you know what?” Poke.

He grabbed her finger before she bruised him. “What?”

A victorious smile graced her face, making her look like an avenging angel. He wanted to fall to his knees and worship before her. She pulled her hand back and said, “I don’t need a water balloon.”

This time, she didn’t poke him. She put both hands on his chest and Oliver had just leaned down to take that kiss from her lips when she shoved him. Hard.

He fell backward and the next thing he knew, he was sitting on his butt in the pond, wiping water from his face while Renee stood safely on the bank, staring at him.

“You…” he sputtered, wiping water from his face. The mud was squishing up his butt and around his important parts and, judging from the noise, the swans had declared DEFCON 1 behind him. “You pushed me!”

For a second, she looked just as shocked as he felt. Then her face cracked into a huge smile and it was like the sun breaking through clouds after days of endless rain.

Excerpts. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.
 
 

Book Info:

He’s always played by his family’s rules.

Until he plays house with his best friend’s sister.

Rodeo mogul Oliver Lawrence can’t say no to his best friend’s sister, pregnant widow Renee Preston. When the innocent beauty needs refuge from the tabloids, he offers his penthouse—and his bed. The passion between them is anything but innocent. And soon Oliver must choose: protect his family from her scandal or stand by the woman he can’t let go…
Book Links: Website | Website | Website | Website |
 
 

Meet the Author:

Sarah M. Anderson is an award-winning author who writes contemporary snarky and sensual romances featuring cowboys and bull riders as well as billionaires with and without babies. She won RT Reviewer’s Choice 2012 Desire of the Year for A Man of Privilege. The Nanny Plan was a 2016 RITA® winner for Contemporary Romance: Short.

Sarah spends her days having conversations with imaginary cowboys and billionaires. Find out more at www.sarahmanderson.com and sign up for the new-release newsletter at http://bit.ly/sarahalerts.
Website | Facebook | Twitter |
 
 
 

32 Responses to “Spotlight & Giveaway: His Best Friend’s Sister by Sarah M. Anderson”

  1. Sonia

    A baking fail I can recall would be me attempting to bake a cheesecake from scratch it was fairly easy but when it came time to bake it was just a mess. The outside was burned yet the inside was still raw I ended up activating the fire alarm 🙂

  2. Diana Tidlund

    I was making sugar cookies but I mixed the ratio of salt and sugar around. So instead of sugar they were salt cookies. Nasty.

  3. janinecatmom

    My worst baking fail would have been when I was younger and the first time I lived on my own. I rented an apartment in the same complex where one of my sisters lived and I had popped in a frozen pizza into the oven and fell asleep. I woke up to the sound of someone banging on my door and the smoke detector going off. It was pretty embarrassing and not the best way to meet new neighbors.

  4. Robin Lynn

    Not a big one, but I was making cookies and forgot to add the butter. They were passable, but not great. They turned out flat and were a tad grainy.

  5. kermitsgirl

    My worst baking fail was using bad butter….I hadn’t realized it was bad until after I pulled the cupcakes out of the oven……

    Let me tell you, you’d never guess butter that looks perfectly fine but is past its expiration could result in something so….gross.

    There was also a time I used expired vanilla in some frosting. That was pretty terrible, too.

  6. Linda May

    I remember times when I was cooking & the timer went off & I said I will go & get it out of the oven & I waited too long & whatever I was cooking got a little burnt. Thanks for this very generous giveaway.

  7. Joanne B

    I haven’t really had an epic baking fail, probably because I don’t do it that much.

  8. Joy I

    I was making a cookie recipe and I substituted coconut oil for butter. oops runny cookies that fell apart!

  9. Daniel M

    usually just stuff that didn’t cook right, thought i weighed all the ingredients correctly shrug

  10. Nancy Luebke

    Funny but not real bad. My sister got that title when she used baking powder instead of flour in cookies..(That’s a whole different story) Anyway, as a fairly new bride, in Bangkok, Thailand. my hubby was always talking about his mom’s homemade bread. Being where we were, I couldn’t make a quick call to my mom about things. This is before cell phones or computers. So I grabbed my Betty Crocker cookbook and bought a strip of yeast at the commisary (Army store) and made bread. The only problem was when it said 1 pack of yeast, I put 1 strip of yeast in. At home, mom never made bread, so this was new to me. Needless to say, I should of put 1 pack of the 1 strip of yeast. It raised like crazy and tasted a little salty. the real kicker was, when we shared this story with his mom, she said she didn’t make it from scratch. She bought the frozen loaves and baked them.

  11. laurieg72

    When I was dating my now husband I decided to make him a chocolate angel food cake. The first attempt I didn’t have a slotted spoon and proceeded to deflate the eggs whites to a syrup.

    I was making my MIL’s cheese strudel and I forgot to add sugar. YUCK!

    I tried to make frosting with granulated sugar instead of powdered sugar.

  12. isisthe12th

    What comes to mind is while baking a pie the crust shrunk and the pie was oozing out of the pan. Not fun, but tasty! Thank you

  13. Patricia Barraclough

    I can’t remember any baking failures. My mom taught me to cook when I was young. The worse failure I had wasn’t baking but making chocolate fudge. I missed the soft ball stage and went to rock solid in the pot. I had to chip it out with a hammer. I soaked the pot forever and scrubbed. The last time I saw the pot you could still see traces of it on the bottom. It has been over 60 years and even cooking in the pot hasn’t dislodged the fudge. My sister made a cake and decided to get fancy. She separated the yellow cake batter into several bowls and added food coloring to them, then poured them into the pans for a rainbow cake. Cute idea. What I didn’t realize until she served it was she saved out some of each color cake batter, and used the batter to “frost” the cake. It didn’t work very well.

  14. Kathleen O

    When making my pumpkin bread recipe I mixed up the measuring for the baking soda and baking powder and had to throw the whole batch out….

  15. Sandra Cieszenski

    Last Christmas I was making cookies last minute, I doubled the batch, but forgot to double the eggs, and butter. They did not turn out well. I may have also forgotten an ingredient as well.

  16. Angel Crum

    One time I tried to use my Grandma’s recipe for Triple layer Raspberry Choc Cake, I missed a step or something, the cake fail and I had three chocolate pancakes, we laughed about it for days Nailed it!!

  17. Jen B

    I left the eggs out of brownies once, and I have a friend who made a cake with salt instead of sugar.

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