Spotlight & Giveaway: Stealing Hearts by Erika Marks

Posted February 9th, 2015 by in Blog, Spotlight / 36 comments

Today it is my pleasure to Welcome romance author Erika Marks to HJ! 

Hi Erika and welcome to HJ! We’re so excited to chat with you about your new release, STEALING HEARTS!


What was your Inspiration behind this story and characters?

Stealing HeartsAs soon as I wrote sexy bartender Mick Atwell into my holiday novella, A VERY MARRIED CHRISTMAS, I knew he needed his own love story. The only question was who would be his heroine? Enter free-spirited and mercurial Lucy Waverly, who became the perfect match—or should I say foil—for by-the-book hottie, Mick. When Mick first meets Lucy, the attraction is fierce—but so is the conflict: she’s the kid sister of his best friend, not to mention that Mick is about to leave Magnolia Bay to move out to Colorado. The timing couldn’t be worse—but the chemistry couldn’t be stronger, so when Lucy needs Mick’s help, he’s all in—and in deep.

Please share a few FUN facts about this book…

  • I have a different Pandora station for every romance I write, depending on the style of my characters. Since STEALING HEARTS is a Valentine’s Day story, I listened to a lot of sexy blues and some steamy jazz to help my hero and heroine sizzle—not that they needed any help!;)
  • I rarely have a favorite scene in my books—I love them all—but in STEALING HEARTS, I had so much fun writing the wine tasting scene between Mick and Lucy—all the opportunities for double-entendres and innuendo. One might say it flowed right onto the page. (Sorry, I couldn’t resist the pun!)
  •  Every book involves some kind of research but this story led me down a REALLY fun Google rabbit hole when I needed to find out some of the typical phrases put on Conversation Hearts for a scene in the bar. I had no idea how many different phrases the company has tried over the years—or the controversy over some added phrases such as “Fax Me.” But mostly just looking at picture after picture of candy hearts made me wish for a giant bowl of them!
  • Part of the fun of writing a series is that you get to insert characters from other books into yours so readers can catch up with them, so it was great to bring back Darcy from Kim Boykin’s SWEET HOME CAROLINA when I needed a place for Lucy and Mick to hide out (among other things, ahem) for the night –Darcy’s B&B was the perfect spot!


Please share an Excerpt from STEALING HEARTS:

For nearly fifteen minutes, Lucy watched him go back and forth between the bar and the cellar, before he finally decided on the three bottles he set in front of her, along with three glasses.
“Can you really open all of these?” she asked.
He smiled, already snapping open his corkscrew. “We have our liquor license now, don’t we?”
“I meant is it right to waste so much wine?”
“Who said we’d be wasting it?”
“Then you plan on having us drink three bottles?”
“Not all at once. Stopped up, they keep nicely for at least a day.”
“Oh, so I have a whole day to get drunk?” she teased.
“You have your whole life to get drunk. Today, I’m going to teach you about wine.”
Lucy watched as he expertly uncorked the first bottle. How many times had she botched the same maneuver, snapping off a cork or leaving chunks of it floating in every glass? Watching Mick grip the bottle and turn the screw, the muscles in his forearm flexing with each twist, his grin rising with the cork, it was sexy as all get-out. He could have poured an ounce of dish water and she’d have downed it without hesitation.
He picked up a glass, cupping the base in his palm and tipped it toward the mouth of the bottle to let the red wine flow into it.
“This is a Pinot Noir.” When he handed it to her, she steered the glass toward her lips before he stopped her. “Hold on. Before you sip—some basics.”
She set the glass down and smiled.
“Appreciating wine isn’t just about taste,” he said. “You need all the senses. Your sight, your smell. Even how it feels. On your tongue, in your mouth.”
Her eyes dropped to his lips and a weight dropped in her stomach. Just the suggestion of the inside of his mouth, his tongue, and her body responded. She hadn’t even had a sip and already she was feeling buzzed. Were all wine tastings this much of a turn-on?
“First, you look at the wine.” He gestured for her to raise the glass. “Consider the density of it. Turn the glass a little bit and see if it thins out.”
“Like this?”
“Exactly. You can see this wine isn’t very translucent which means it’s probably a young wine. See how this one clings a little to the side of the glass when you roll it? The more sugar in the wine, the higher the viscosity. Not to mention the alcohol content. Now bring it up to your nose and take in a good, deep breath.”
When she did, the aroma of fruit hit her hard.
He leaned in. “Tell me what you smell.”
“I smell a lot of things.”
“Start with the most obvious. The biggest one.”
“It’s something sweet, for sure. Definitely berry. Maybe strawberry or raspberry.”
“Good. What else? Is it smoky, spicy, peppery, oaky…?”
“A little oaky,” she said.
“Anything else?”
“Something like bread, maybe. Almost doughy.”
“Good for you. That’s a secondary aroma. The first smell was from the grapes, the secondary aroma comes from the winemaking process.”
“Now what?” she asked.
He grinned. “Now you taste it.”
She sighed. “Finally.”
“But slowly,” he added, as she tipped the glass toward her lips. “Let the wine spend some time in your mouth. Move it around your tongue so all of your taste buds get a chance to experience it.”
God, he was killing her. Lucy did as he instructed, trying to keep her focus on the warm liquid in her mouth when all of his talk of tongues and taste buds was coaxing her thoughts to other places that had nothing to do with wine.


Thanks for blogging at HJ!


Giveaway: $5 Starbucks giftcard + an e-copy of Erika’s “A Very Married Christmas” 


To enter Giveaway: Please complete the Rafflecopter form and Post a comment to this Q: For Mick and Lucy, Valentine’s Day ends up being both romantic and suspenseful when they learn an uninvited guest has made a surprise appearance at their Masquerade Party. What’s the most exciting Valentine’s Day you’ve ever had?
Mick’s plans to move to Colorado are set in stone—until Lucy breezes into his life, and his heart. Have you ever changed your plans for love?

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Book Info:

Bartender Mick Atwell has one more commitment before he leaves Magnolia Bay for Colorado: help his best friend, Tim, get his new wine bar POUR ready in time for its Valentine’s Day grand opening. But when Tim’s little sister Lucy breezes into town unexpectedly from New York for a visit, Mick doesn’t see how they’ll keep to their tight schedule—any more than he sees how this beautiful, spirited woman could possibly be the same irresponsible “kid” Tim has been complaining about for years…

Despite her carefree smile, Lucy Waverly hasn’t come back to Magnolia Bay for a vacation—she’s come home to hide. After discovering her boss at the gallery is selling forgeries, she needs to lay low and figure out a plan to get herself out of this dangerous mess—a plan which can’t include falling for her brother’s sexy best friend, no matter how safe he makes her feel, or how his smoldering eyes turn her inside out.

Mick has one foot out the door, but when Lucy’s troubles follow her to Magnolia Bay, they are thrust together to keep one step ahead of danger and get POUR open in time. Soon the man who lives by his plans is wondering if the woman who lives by chance may not be worth breaking his rules for.

Buy Link:

Meet the Author:

Erika MarksErika Marks is a women’s fiction writer and the author of Little Gale Gumbo, The Mermaid Collector, The Guest House and It Comes In Waves (July, 2014). On the long and winding road to becoming published, she worked many different jobs, including carpenter, cake decorator, art director, and illustrator. But if pressed, she might say it was her brief tenure with a match-making service in Los Angeles after college that set her on the path to writing love stories (not that there isn’t romance in frosting or power tools!) A native New Englander, she now makes her home in Charlotte, NC, with her husband, a native New Orleanian who has taught her to make a wicked gumbo, and their two little mermaids.
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36 Responses to “Spotlight & Giveaway: Stealing Hearts by Erika Marks”

  1. marcyshuler

    I’ve never had an exciting Valentine’s Day. My hubby isn’t the romantic sort and I’m lucky if he even realizes it IS Valentine’s Day. LOL I have trained him to shop the day after the holiday candy sales though. 😉

  2. doveknoll

    An old boyfriend took me on a carriage ride and then to an authentic Greek restaurant. He gave me a long stemmed red rose when he came to my door. We ended the night parked on a bluff overlooking the city lights. It was the most romantic night I’ve had. The thing I gave up was my dream of a career in the military when I met the guy I ended up marrying. Later I was offered two jobs in other states that would have meant more money and better benefits. He didn’t want to move so I didn’t go. I’m divorced now and I’ve told my daughter’s to never live your life for a man or give up your dreams for them. You never know what the future holds with them.

  3. debby236

    Never really changed my plans for love. We changed together. As to Valentine’s Day, my best one had to be when my hubby planned everything and pulled off a surprise.

  4. Suzanne

    When I was young, I served in the military. A guy I was dating was assigned to the west coast. He said he would be black for me when he got settled. I did not believe him and I went on with my life to the point of becoming engaged. He did come for me and it scared me to death. I said no to his offer of marriage. It was probably one of the bigger mistakes I made in my young life. I made many.

  5. Lori H

    I’ve never had that kind of excitement however I have had a lot of exciting Valentine Days with my family 😉

  6. Amy Rickman

    I’ve never really had to change any plans for love and since my birthday is the day before Valentines day my hubby believes he can cheat and combine the two but we’ve never done anything extra special.

  7. Kathleen O

    I can remember one memorable Valentine’s Day. I was out of town for work and staying in a hotel. In the early morning the fire alarms had gone off. It turned out someone had shut off an exhaust fan in kitchen. I had not had a good night sleep the night before as the young guys in the room across from me partied to the wee hours of the morning. As this was Valentine’s day, I was not looking forward to spending the night in my hotel room alone, but the management brought small bottles of champagne to the hotel guest for the inconvenience of the early morning fire alarm wake up call.. The boys across the hall offered to come in and party with me, I laughed and told them I was fine with my bottle and a good book… I just asked them to keep the noise to a dull roar if they could, after all a girl needs her beauty sleep..

  8. erikamarks

    These answers are wonderful! Thank you all so much for letting me come visit today–and for sharing your stories! Wishing everyone season of love and peace!!

  9. Leanna

    Never really had an exciting Valentines Day. I didn’t take a job because I wouldn’t be able to see my boyfriend as much.

  10. Michelle

    I received a dozen roses while in college- my boyfriend lived states away and to come back to my dorm room and see that vase in front of the door- what a wonderful feeling! I’ve changed my goals for love- I moved to another state! 🙂 Love is the most important thing there is.

  11. Jennifer T

    We don’t really celebrate Valentine’s day. I’d have to say my most romantic Valentine’s was when my husband cooked for me and brought me fresh flowers.

  12. mrsmac19

    I can’t say that I’ve ever had an exciting Valentine’s Day. I did, however, changed my career path for love.

  13. Inga

    I haven’t made any drastic changes like that for love and I prefer low-key Valentine’s Day events.

  14. Tammy Y

    Spending the day driving up the California coast. Ending the day at Fredricks of Hollywood and the hotel

  15. eawells

    I’ve never really done much for Valentine’s day but I left one state and moved to another for my soon to be husband. That was over 32 years ago & we are still here.

  16. Ashley H.

    My Valentine’s days have always been pretty chill. They’ve never revolved around romance for me. And that’s exactly the way I’ve always wanted them 🙂

  17. Pennie M

    Our first Valentine’s day together I came home from work and hubby had small gifts throughout the house for me. It was pretty special.

  18. Shari

    OUr first married Valentines day, he had to work. He was a fireman. My mom felt bad so she took me out to dinner, and lo and behold he was at the restaurant waiting for me.

  19. infinitieh

    One of my high school friends had his birthday on Valentine’s Day so his birthday presents *could* be more meaningful. 😉

    As for changing my plans for love, not so much.

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