Hi Mel and welcome to HJ! We’re so excited to chat with you about your new release, The Right Guy!
Thank you. I’m super-excited to be here today.
To start off, can you please tell us a little bit about this book?:
Sure – The Right Guy is a contemporary Fake Romance set in Mesa Arizona. Hometown girl, Catherine March, returns to town to reconnect with her family and attend a friend’s wedding. Her ex-boyfriend, however, has other plans. He’s still irked about the break-up and sets on a path to make Catherine’s trip home difficult starting with parading his new girlfriend all around town. In order to combat the venom being spewed at her, Catherine enlists the help of a stranger, Hunter Farro, to be her fake boyfriend for the week. But the fake relationship isn’t the only secret Hunter carries.
Please share your favorite lines or quote(s) from this book:
With him, I’m the happy getting caught in the rain girl, soaked clothes pressed against our skin, hair ruined beyond repair, goofy grins on our faces. With him, I’ll hop willingly into a car without an agenda, without a plan, and let the birds choose our destination. With him, I don’t feel the pressure of being perfect and racing to another state to prove to everyone I can make it on my own. Hunter has me believing in the here and now – the most important moment in our lives is the one we are living today. With him, tomorrow isn’t a task to be conquered, it’s a dream to be lived.
What inspired this book?
I get a lot of inspiration from music and this book is no different. “Next Girl” by Carly Pearce drove much of my early outline. As I got further along – “Fake Happy” by Paramore and “Long Story Short” by Taylor Swift were all big influences.
How did you ‘get to know’ your main characters? Did they ever surprise you?
I’ve known Catherine for some time. She appears in my Lake Hope small-town romance series. Her HEA story has been percolating in the back of my head for years. She is super intelligent, solid, and dependable and I needed the right situation that would knock her off her game. Nothing quite works as a return home to face one’s demons. The thing that surprised me was the closeness between Catherine and Adrienne, her younger sister.
What was your favorite scene to write?
I can’t pick my absolute favorite because it is a spoiler – but my second favorite is when Hunter chips starts to show Catherine that every moment doesn’t have to be controlled, that some of life’s best moments are spontaneous.
“Yet life’s best moments are those which we don’t control.” Before I can process his meaning, he leans down and presses his lips to mine. This kiss catches me by surprise. It is homemade chicken soup simmering on a brisk fall day; it is the taste of a Michelin star meal that you know you will compare against every dinner you ever eat. It fades away in a blink of an eye. When he leans away from me, a sadness sweeps over me. Are we done?
An out-of-control longing tells me I’m wrong again. I’ve always believed I would be the one to turn upside down the world of the always in control, master of the universe, got my stuff together right guy. I would be the one to wreak havoc in his world – the uncontainable piece that he couldn’t live without. But I’m wrong.
I’m the one whose world is spinning out of control. I’m the one who can’t discern up from down, right from left. I’m not the one upsetting his world, he’s the one rattling mine.
This can’t be happening.
My entire worldview shatters in an instant. This is all new to me. The out of control, can’t breathe when I’m near you, don’t leave my sight love-struck guy – isn’t a guy at all – it’s me.
How is it possible that Hunter can ask me what I want one second and then deliver exactly what I seek the next without asking?
What was the most difficult scene to write?
The scenes involving Catherine’s younger sister – Adrienne. They are ten years apart and Catherine feels guilty for missing out on so much of her life. Despite all this, they have a strong relationship. When Catherine and Hunter take their fake relationship out for a test drive to see if it would hold up to the scrutiny of people who know Catherine they cross paths with Adrienne and Catherine immediately understands what she’s done.
Hunter feels like perfection.
The ease in which he has me feeling things has me questioning every emotion. When he touches me, my body betrays me every single time with a reaction. The need to kiss him again nearly blinding me into doing something impulsive and impractical, two traits I’ve never carried.
But I can’t let myself drive down that road because anything he says, anything he does, must be seen through the prism of the quicksand we’ve built this charade upon.
Is any of it real? Or is he that damn good at playing his part?
When he jokes with my sister, is that him or is it the face of the recruited stranger sticking to the program? As I watch my impressionable sister warm to him, my body fills with guilt because I’m the one who brought this fox into the hen house. When this crumbles, and it will, I am the one she will be mad at, and rightfully so.
If I thought the chasm of age and distance was hard before, we may not recover.
Would you say this book showcases your writing style or is it a departure for you?
This is right in my wheel-house. The intelligent heroine seeking love, the sweet hero that falls head over heels. Layered with angst, humor, swoon-worthy moments and lot and lots of heartfelt emotions.
What do you want people to take away from reading this book?
That you can’t plan for love. It will be found in the unlikeliest of places. Don’t judge a book or a person by their cover – there is always a complex, caring special individual under the layers.
What are you currently working on? What other releases do you have planned?
I am writing in another multi-author series – Summers in Seaside. My entry is called “Summer Sounds” and it releases on August 4th. It deals with a struggling musician at the end of her rope and a music producer desperate to find an artist. I’m super excited about this release.
Then in September, I have a novella coming out in the Fall back in Love Romance collection. Adrienne, Catherine’s little sister from The Right Guy, is featured in her love story. You don’t want to miss this one.
Thanks for blogging at HJ!
Giveaway: Signed Paperback copy of “The Right Guy” – US only; ebook copy for Int’l reader.
To enter Giveaway: Please complete the Rafflecopter form and Post a comment to this Q: What is the one thing you miss the most about your hometown?
Excerpt from The Right Guy:
I can’t believe he’s done this. “You’re going to have to help me with this, I’m stuffed.” I push the straw into the massive strawberry shake that Hunter somehow convinced the kitchen to prepare. Madison Cafe doesn’t carry shakes on their menu but that didn’t stop Hunter from negotiating this surprise. The waitress was more than pleased to comply when Hunter stretched the truth somehow convincing them that today is my birthday.
I take a long pull on the straw, the sugary goodness rushing to my head, and I close my eyes and enjoy the ride. “Oh my god, that is so good.” A satisfying hum rumbles from my chest out my mouth as I savor the treat. It’s been too long. When I open my eyes, Hunter is leaning forward, elbows pressed on the top of the table and a silly smirk on his face. The sunlight catches his dark eyes, revealing a hidden swirl of deep brown goodness. His gaze is focused on my lips and I reward him by swiping my tongue across them. This close, I catch the quiver of his brow, the slight part of his lips, the flicker in his eye. I press my luck. “What?”
His sexy laugh rumbles across the table and swirls the butterflies in my stomach. Over the last hour as we’ve opened up to each other, Hunter has proven to be the gentle kind soul my instinct told me to follow. “A gentleman wouldn’t say,” he teases as his grin widens.
“How about a boyfriend?” I tease back. I can’t believe how quickly I’ve grown comfortable with a man I met less than two hours ago. Shannon and the girls back in Abbott would be shocked to see me flirting openly with a stranger. They would lose their minds if they found out their reserved serious friend had a very public make-out session in front of her ex.
Then I catch myself – this isn’t real. I can’t tell Shannon about this because she would jump in both barrels blazing with two dozen questions and at least two invites to meet the mystery man. A Zoom session to prove he’s real, followed by an invitation down to the inn she runs in North Carolina. An open invitation that has remained unfilled since I moved from Mesa – a room in her most romantic suite on the property. There hasn’t been anyone in the last three years, so I hadn’t even remotely considered taking Shannon up on the offer.
Hunter’s long lashes bat in my direction as if he can read my mind. I can’t read his, so I urge him on. His tongue peeks out, and he swipes it across his lower lip, leaning closer. I match his movement, our foreheads inches apart. “That look you just gave after sipping the shake….”
Shock races through me and I feel my eyes widen. I already know what he’s thinking. “I’m so…”
“Don’t be.” He snickers. “I now know what I’m going to be dreaming about this evening.”
If he expects his line to cause embarrassment, he’s got a lot to learn. At my age, I can discern a man’s overused pickup line versus a sincere compliment. The latter rarer and more appreciated. Hunter’s words land squarely in the second type. Two can play this game. “I blame you.”
“Me?” He presses a palm to his chest, feigning innocence.
“You put something this appetizing and sweet in front of me and don’t expect me to indulge.” It’s only after the words escape that I realize what I’ve said.
“I’m discovering I’m loving watching… you … indulge.” The line is delivered with a sexy confidence that eases my worries. Something I’m discovering Hunter to be an expert at doing. Reading a situation and finding the right words.
I push the second unopened straw at him. “It’s better with two.” I shoot him a challenging gaze and his eyes remain on mine even as his fingers find the straw. He pushes it into the glass, his straw sliding down the side of mine until it disappears in the bottom of the glass.
“Most things are,” he whispers as his eyes flicker to the top of my straw, message received.
I lean forward, just as he does. This time the tops of our heads touch, both our lips on the ends of the straws and we take a pull together. Almost as if we rehearsed it, we both tilt our chins up, our noses an inch apart. I don’t dare close my eyes this time. I ride the sugar rush through my veins, barely feeling it over the pounding in my chest. It takes a concerted effort not to hum.
We remain like this, eyes locked on one another, silly grins on our faces for a few glorious beats. “How are you two liking the shake?” I turn to face the approaching waitress.
“Best thing I’ve had in ages,” I sing-song my response as she drops the check on the table and disappears. I reach toward the bill and Hunter’s hand lands on top of mine.
“Don’t you dare,” he whispers. “I got this. It’s a date after all.”
The way he says date reminds me that it’s not. Despite the warmth that continues to swirl in my chest, despite the battle that my head is waging with my heart, this is all fake. This is just a kind man taking pity on me.
Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.
My ex is bringing my replacement to our friend’s wedding, what do I do?
Option A: Leave the state
Option B: Find a fake boyfriend for the week
Catherine March is what many would call an unparalleled success. With tons of friends from coast to coast and outstanding success as the manager of a premier event space in the state, she has overachieved in every aspect of her life except one – finding a partner. Finding the right partner.
Returning to her hometown for a friend’s wedding she is confronted by her ex, the man who predicted she’ll always be alone. And to make matters worse, he’s troting his replacement all around town.
Faced with a tough choice, Catherine decides the solution to her problem is to find the perfect fake boyfriend for the week.
But being an overachiever has its own set of challenges, even her fake relationship appears real to everyone, including herself.
New city, new job, new challenges.
Hunter Faro is far from home and he’s looking to stand on his own without the assistance of his powerful family.
It sounded simple enough. That is until a stranger kisses him and ropes him into being her pretend boyfriend for her friend’s wedding
She is a beautiful distraction and he has his reasons for agreeing but as the charade grows he realizes the danger. The fake relationship isn’t the only secret he is hiding behind and if the truth comes out everything he’s worked for may disappear.
If you love small towns, fake relationship stories, moments that will tug at your heartstrings and a swoon-worthy happy ending, then you’ll love this sweet romance.
Meet the Author:
Mel Walker has been writing fiction most of his adult life. Specializing in Short Stories and Contemporary fiction and Romance Novels. A native New Yorker and life-long frustrated NY Mets fan. He loves to write about ordinary people placed in difficult situations, especially as it relates to their closest relationships.
Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | GoodReads |