Hi Michelle and welcome to HJ! We’re so excited to chat with you about your new release, Romancing the Wallflower!
Hi there! It’s great to be visiting HJ again.
Tell us about the book with this fun little challenge using the title of the book:
What’s your favorite line(s) from the book?:
“I’d like to have an affair with you.”
At the end of the first chapter, Erin propositions David and asks him to have an affair with her. It’s completely out of character but gives a glimpse into the spunky woman she has hidden deep inside. And although David has had more than his share of affairs over the years, he’s shocked by Erin. That line really sets the stage for the rest of the book and how these two characters push each other – plus the chemistry between them!
Please tell us a little about the characters in your book. What first attracts your Hero to the Heroine and vice versa?
Erin MacDonald is the consummate kindergarten teacher—sweet, gentle and infinitely patient. David McCay is a bar owner and former professional baseball player—he’s rough around the edges and jaded on life. So they are definitely an ‘opposites attract’ couple. David is attracted to Erin’s gentle spirit, even though he doesn’t think he deserves anyone so intrinsically good in his life. And at first Erin is looking for an adventure and David is all that!
When you sat down to start this book, what was the biggest challenge you faced? What were you most excited about?
This is the 8th book in the Crimson, Colorado, series so the challenge was creating a fresh story with characters readers have met as ‘supporting cast members’ in other books. I don’t always introduce a character knowing that they’re going to get their own story, which can be a challenge but it’s also the exciting part – learning all the juicy details about a new hero and heroine.
What, in your mind, makes this book stand out?
I hope the Crimson series welcomes readers into emotional stories with characters they can relate to and cheer for. To me, each book I write in this series feels like visiting with good friends and I hope readers have that same experience.
The First Kiss…
“Am I your type?” she asked suddenly, her honey-colored gaze slamming into his.
He opened his mouth, shut it again. How was he supposed to answer that? When she made to move around him again, he settled for the truth.
“You’re way too good for me.”
The comment earned him an eye roll. “If you say the words ‘it’s me, not you’, I’m going to punch you.”
“I’m guessing you don’t go around punching people.”
“You make me want to start.”
He laughed again. “How is it that I’m the bad guy right now?”
“You’re not,” she whispered. “I should never have made the request. I was tired, and it was stupid and embarrassing. Can we just forget about it?”
He wished he could. Getting involved with this woman—in any capacity other than as his nephew’s teacher—was sure to be trouble for both of them. Why couldn’t he make himself walk away?
“No one,” he said softly, unable to resist stepping into her space again, “would have to force a man to ask you out.”
It was her turn to laugh, but there was no humor in it. All the light was gone from her golden eyes, and he wanted nothing more in life at the moment than to reignite it. “I know who I am, David.”
He lifted his hands to cup her cheeks and felt a slight shiver pass through her. It drove him crazy with need. “Take another look,” he said and touched his lips to hers.
If your book was optioned for a movie, what scene would you use for the audition of the main characters and why?
I’d use the scene where David first asks Erin on a date because it really embodies the sweetness of their relationship.
“Do you always argue when a man asks you on a date?” he asked against her mouth then leaned in to press his forehead to hers, the tips of their noses touching.
She inhaled, her warm breath tickling his skin. “I’m not your type,” she said.
“No,” he countered. “I’m not your type. You deserve way better than me. But I’m asking anyway. Go out with me.”
She didn’t answer for so long, he thought she might decline the invitation. He didn’t blame her. He knew what he had to offer someone like her. A whole lot of drama and baggage. It would have been smarter to have just taken what she’d offered earlier. Maybe he could have gotten her out of his system.
But he wanted more.
“Okay,” she said when he started to pull back.
He grinned, feeling like he’d just purchased a winning lottery ticket. “I’ll call you,” he said.
“Really?” She laughed softly. “We could just grab dinner after you pick up Rhett tomorrow night.”
“Nope. I’m going to call you, and we’ll make a plan and it will be like…”
“Like we’re courting,” he answered, the sound and connotation of the old-fashioned word appealing to him. Thanks to the baseball groupies that had hung around the fields since high school, David had never had to try hard with women. They fell into his lap—sometimes literally.
The idea of actually making an effort was new and strangely exciting. The thought of earning his place at Erin’s side made nerves flutter through his chest.
“Courting,” she repeated. “Are you sure?”
“Absolutely,” he said and kissed her again.
Then he opened the door. “I’ll talk to you soon.”
She looked slightly puzzled, which he found adorable. He wanted to keep her guessing.
She’d just started down the stairs when he called her name.
“Um…” He ran a hand through his hair, uncharacteristically anxious. “I hope this means you aren’t heading downstairs to look for a guy. I know you don’t owe me anything but—”
“I’m going home. Good night, David.”
He blew out a breath as he closed the door. What the hell was he so nervous about? And possessive? He’d never cared before about being exclusive with the women he dated.
But it made him ridiculously happy to consider the possibly of Erin becoming his. He rubbed his shoulder as he moved through the apartment, turning off lights. It was still early compared to his normal hours, but David was tired as hell. All he wanted was to drop into his bed and dream of Erin.
If your hero had a sexy-times play list, what song(s) would have to be on it?
I usually have 1 song for a book that really sums up (for me) the emotion between the two characters. For Erin and David it was ‘In Your Eyes’ by Peter Gabriel.
What do you want people to take away from reading this book?
Every person gets to choose who they are going to be in life – by their words and actions. It’s important to have people in your life who see the best in you and the potential of who you can become. And, as always, everyone deserves a second chance.
What are you currently working on? What other releases do you have planned for 2017?
I have 1 more book, Sleigh Bells in Crimson, coming out in this series in December. I have 5 books releasing with Harlequin Special Edition in 2018, including a really fun project with three connected books that will release consecutively in September, October and November of next year.
Thanks for blogging at HJ!
Giveaway: I’d love to give away 4 copies of Romancing the Wallflower (print or digital – winner’s choice). US only.
To enter Giveaway: Please complete the Rafflecopter form and Post a comment to this Q: I need your help – this is dilemma that plagues me every fall. Candy corn or no candy corn? I love it but it gives me the worst stomach ache – yet I can never seem to stay away for long.
Excerpt from Romancing the Wallflower:
“Stop staring at the hottie brewmaster’s butt.”
Erin MacDonald choked on the gulp of strawberry daiquiri she’d just swallowed. “I’m not staring at anyone’s butt,” she said as she grabbed a wad of napkins and dabbed at her chin and shirtfront. “And don’t talk so loud.”
Melody Cross, one of the second-grade teachers at Crimson Elementary, snorted. “It’s a crowded bar on a busy Thursday night. No one can hear me.”
But Melody had the kind of booming voice that could quiet a room full of squirming eight-year-olds the afternoon before summer break. The tall table they stood at was a good five feet from the bar, but Erin swore she saw the man’s broad shoulders stiffen.
“Want me to take a picture of him?” Suzie Vitale, her fellow kindergarten teacher, offered with a tipsy smile. “It lasts longer.”
Before Erin could stop her, the curvy blonde aimed her phone at the backside of the gorgeous guy who not only worked the bar but also owned Elevation Brewery. The brewpub had opened a little over a year ago and had become a popular hangout for both locals and tourists in the quaint mountain town of Crimson, Colorado.
Erin had noticed David McCay, the brewery’s owner, the first time she’d stepped into the nouveau rustic—and very on-trend for Colorado—space. He was tall and lean, with dark blond hair that curled around the collars of the flannel shirts he favored. David McCay was as handsome as a movie star and built like he spent endless hours tossing huge sacks of barley—or whatever it was beer brewers did.
Erin, who was built like she spent her days sitting cross-legged on a reading rug, had surreptitiously watched him each time she came into the bar with friends or coworkers for a random happy hour or birthday celebration. He was often tending bar or sometimes she’d spot him coming out from the back, wearing the heavy rubber boots and backward ball cap that she’d quickly learned were his uniform when actually brewing beer.
Colorado was known for its craft brews, and the fact that Elevation had made a name for itself so quickly was a testament to his hard work and talent at running a business.
At least that’s what Erin wanted to believe. Her mother liked to remind Erin that she too often assumed the best about people, which allowed them to regularly take advantage of her.
But David McCay hadn’t taken advantage of her, even though it was the stuff of her fantasies. Even though his nephew, Rhett, was now in her kindergarten class and David had been with the boy and his mother for back-to-school night. Erin had barely been able to put a sentence together with David towering over the other adults in the back of her classroom, but he hadn’t bothered to acknowledge her. Heck, it was doubtful he even knew she existed.
Except when she blinked and looked up, he was staring straight at her. Sparks of awareness flamed through her body, setting every inch of her skin on fire. He lifted one thick brow as if he could read her thoughts. Which might be impossible since it felt like all of her brain cells had spontaneously combusted under the weight of his stare.
She heard Melody giggle behind her, and Suzie gave her a little shove forward. David now stood at the edge of the bar, only a short distance from her, with movement all around him. Customers in groups laughed and talked. A waitress set her tray on the rich wood bar top. A group of women at near the edge of the bar vied for his attention. But his focus remained on Erin.
Then something—someone—suddenly blocked her vision. Cole Bennett, Crimson’s recently elected sheriff, was talking to David. Cole was also tall and broad, and to use one of her mom’s favorite expressions, made a better door than a window.
Erin shifted to the right as she overheard Cole mention Rhett, David’s nephew. David’s gaze hardened and his jaw clenched. Unable to stop herself, she moved forward, sidestepping a couple heading toward the back of the bar and a group of twentysomething guys who looked like they’d just come off a hiking trail, until she stood directly behind the sheriff.
She was five feet four inches tall in the clogs she favored for work, so both men towered over her and were completely unaware she was listening to their conversation. Invisibility was Erin’s unintentional superpower. She knew much more than she should about her coworkers and neighbors, simply because people didn’t notice she was there.
“Rhett is safe,” Cole told David. “But they can’t get him to come out.”
“What the hell was Jenna thinking?” David asked, then scrubbed a hand over his jaw. “No, don’t answer that.”
“She’s in trouble, David. The crowd she’s running with—”
“I’ll handle it.” He pulled a set of keys out of one of the pockets in his tan cargo pants. “I just need to tell Tracie I’m leaving for the night. I’ll be over for Rhett.”
“I have to call Social Services,” Cole said softly, and Erin felt the tension ratchet up a notch.
“Give me some time with him first, okay?”
“I’ll handle it,” David repeated. He moved behind the bar and spoke to the woman filling two pint glasses from the tap.
The sheriff walked out of the bar, patrons instinctively clearing a path for him although he wasn’t in uniform tonight.
When she looked up, David McCay stood toe-to-toe with her. She realized she’d moved forward to block his path from behind the bar.
In her daydreams, she’d compared his eyes to the brilliant summer sky above the ragged peak of Crimson Mountain or the iridescent cobalt of a tropical lagoon. But now his frosty stare was more like the ice blue of a glacier, so cold a shiver passed through her.
“I don’t have time for this, sweetheart. You and your friends are going to have to play your liquid courage bar games with someone else.”
“It’s not a game,” Erin said.
“Darlin’, you ordered a froofy drink in my bar. It’s either a game or a joke.”
This close to David, the heat and frustration radiating off him made her feel different from the woman she knew herself to be. She was aware of her body in a way that was new and exhilarating. She wanted more. She wanted…something she couldn’t name. Still, the promise of it made her weak with longing.
Also braver than she’d ever been. Or maybe crazy was a better word, because when he moved to step around her, she placed a hand on his arm.
“I can help with your nephew.”
His sleeves were rolled up to the elbow. His skin burned hers, and the rough hair on his forearm tickled her fingers. A current passed through him, the force jolting Erin like she’d been struck by lightning. He stilled and the power it took to rein in all the things she imagined he was feeling right now made an answering strength bubble up inside her.
“Let me help, David.” It was the first time she’d spoken his name out loud. To her friends, he was simply “the hottie brewmaster.”
“You’re drunk,” he said, his gaze focused on where her fingers wrapped around his arm.
“No. I only had one drink. I’m fine now. Promise.” She lifted her hand. “Rhett is in my class,” she said, in case this enormous, angry man truly had no idea who she was.
“I know.” One side of his mouth almost quirked. “I came to back-to-school night.”
So she wasn’t quite invisible to David McCay. A little thrill tickled down her spine. “I’ve connected with him. He responds to me.”
David’s cool blue gaze met hers again, and he gave a brief nod. “Let’s go then.”
Erin swallowed. This was really happening. “I just need to tell my friends I’m leaving.”
“My truck is out front,” he said, his voice a low rumble. Then he turned and walked away. Erin had the distinct impression if she didn’t get her butt in gear, he’d readily leave her behind.
No chance she was letting that happen.
Excerpts. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.
Dedicated kindergarten teacher Erin MacDonald isn’t the type to make the first move on a man—especially gorgeous David McCay, her secret crush. But when a crisis involving one of her pupils offers a chance to help the pro baseballer turned local brewery owner, Erin goes way out of her comfort zone. So way out she makes a shocking suggestion!
David moved to the Colorado mountain town to look after his sister and her son. Now he’s a stand-in parent to his nephew, trying to fight his attraction to Erin…who just propositioned him. David is nobody’s hero. So why can’t he convince the sweet, kindhearted beauty that she deserves better than him? Is it because they’re the perfect imperfect match?
Meet the Author:
Michelle Major is the RITA (r) award winning author of over fifteen sexy and sweet contemporary romances. She loves second-chances love stories, smart heroines and strong heroes. A midwesterner at heart, she’s made the Rocky Mountains her home for over twenty years and is thrilled to share her books with readers. Connect with her at www.michellemajor.com or on Facebook and Twitter (@michelle_major1).
Website | Facebook | Twitter |