Oct 17, 2014

Once Upon A Bride.....win a copy!


My latest release for Harlequin Special Edition, Once Upon A Bride, recently hit the shelves and I’d like to share an excerpt and give away a copy to one commenter – either paperback or ebook – winners choice.

I often have animals in my books and in Once Upon A Bride the hero and heroine begin their fraught relationship by watching over her brother's needy French Mastiff for a week while her brother is on his honeymoon.


Here’s the cover and blurb  -

When Gabe Vitali escapes to a fresh start in Crystal Point, Australia, the former physician isn't looking for a storybook ending. For the first time he's living in the moment. His new five-year plan does not include serious relationships. But he doesn't anticipate his unavoidable next-door neighbor…and an undeniable attraction.

Bridal consultant Lauren Jakowski wants marriage. She's just sworn off love and sex! To avoid getting burned again, she's looking for safe and forever-after. But they're not Gabe's to give–for reasons he can't share with anyone, least of all this pretty complication.

Gabe and Lauren don't figure on a fairy tale. But fate has other plans…. 



(She’s just arrived at his house to pick up her brother’s dog)


  “Are you coming inside or do you plan on camping on my doorstep all night?”
  “All night?” she echoed, mortified that color was creeping up her neck. The idea of doing anything all night with Gabe Vitali took the temperature of her skin, her blood and pretty much every other part of her anatomy up a few notches. “Of course not.”
  He dropped his arms to his sides and stepped back.
  Lauren crossed the threshold and walked into the hall. He was close, and everything about him affected her on a kind of sensory level. As much as she didn’t want to admit anything, she was attracted to him. And worse luck, he knew it.
  Her vow of celibacy suddenly seemed to be dissolving into thin air.
  She walked down the short hallway and into the huge, open-plan living area. The furniture looked new and somehow out of place in the room. And sure enough, on the rug in front of the sofa, was her brother’s one hundred and fifty pound French Mastiff, Jed. Fast asleep and snoring loudly.
  “Thanks for picking him up from my brother’s place,” she said as politely as she could. “When       Cameron called this morning, he said the housesitter had left quickly.”
  He nodded. “Her daughter is having a baby. She took a flight out from Bellandale after lunch and said she’d be back in a week.”
  Lauren bit down on her lip. “A week?”
  “That’s what she said.”
  A week of dog-sitting. Great. As much as she liked Jed, he was big, needy, had awful juicy jowls and a reputation for not obeying anyone other than Cameron. Too bad her parents had a cat that ruled the roost, or she would have dropped him off there. She had to admit the dog seemed comfortable draped across Gabe’s rug.
  She looked around some more. “So…you’ve moved in?”
  “That was the general idea when I bought the house,” he replied.
  Lauren’s teeth ground together. “Of course. I hope you’ll be very happy here.”
  She watched his mouth twist with a grin. “You do? Really?”
  “Really,” she said and raised a disinterested brow. “Be happy, or don’t be happy. It’s nothing to do with me.”
  His blue eyes looked her up and down with way too much leisure. The mood quickly shifted on a whisper of awareness that fluttered through the air and filled up the space between them. A change that was impossible to ignore, and there was rapidly enough heat in the room to combust a fire.
Warmth spread up her neck. He had a way of doing that to her. A way of heating her skin. “I need to…I need…”
  “I think we both know what you need.”
  Sex…
  That’s what he was thinking. Suddenly, that’s what she was thinking, even though turning up on his doorstep had nothing to do with her lacking love life or her vow to stay celibate. Lauren’s cheeks burned, and her knees trembled. “I don’t know what—”
  “You don’t like me much, do you?” he asked, cutting her off with such calm self-assurance, she wanted to slug him.
  “I’m not—”
  “Or is it because you do like me much?” he asked, cutting her off yet again. “And that’s why you’re so rattled at being in my living room.”
  Conceited jerk! Lauren sucked in some air, pushed back her shoulders and called Jed to heel. By the time the dog got up and ambled toward her, she was so worked up she could have screamed. She grasped Jed’s collar and painted on a smile. “Thank you for collecting him from Cameron’s.”
  “My pleasure.”

  Pleasure? Right. Not a word she wanted to hear from him. Not a word she wanted to think about in regard to him. And when she was safely back in her own home, Lauren kept reminding herself of one thing…Mr Right was not Mr Right-Next-Door.




Have you ever read a book where the pets played a memorable role within the story? 



Leave a comment and I'll draw a winner tomorrow. 




24 comments:

  1. This story sounds fabulous and i just love dogs! I cant wait to read it!

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    1. Hi Holly - I love dogs...and cats....and horses.....and goats.....and pretty much everything other than reptiles and insects. Thanks for stopping by. You're in the draw.

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  2. I have. Catch of the Day by Kristan Higgins. Colonel the dog is a large part of this story. I love this book.

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    1. Hi Tammy - I love Kristin Higgins books, but haven't read that one. It's now on my TBR pile :)

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  3. Hi Helen

    I have read many stories with pets in them and they really do make the story and I have read this one and highly recommend it I loved it :-) :-)

    Have Fun
    Helen


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    1. Hi Helen - I'm so pleased you enjoyed the book :)

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  4. Congratulations on the latest release Helen! I loved this story!

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    1. Thanks so much! So pleased you enjoyed the book :)

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  5. Fab snippet, Helen! I can't wait to read Once Upon a Bride. :-)

    I've written a couple of dogs and one cat. I think animals can create dilemmas for heroes and heroines and give us an insight into their deeper selves…and I'm all for that. :-)

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    1. Hi Michelle - yes, I agree, animals can add another layer to the 'stakes' factor. :)

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  6. Hi Helen
    I occasionally use dogs in my stories. They always add extra warmth, I think.
    Love the extract.

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    1. Hi Sue - exactly....dogs rock in books.

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  7. I just loved reading Kandy Shepherd's HOME IS WHERE THE BARK IS and LOVE IS A FOUR-LEGGED WORD.

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    1. Hi Laney - I love Kandy's books. Great choices :)

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  8. Animals do bring something very special to a story. I love how they can draw out the characters & highlight their strengths.

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    1. Hi Mary - I agree....a hero with a soft spot for his dog....sigh. :)

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  9. Great snippet, Helen. Sounds like a fabulous story!

    I read a Harlequin Superromance a few years back called Love By George which featured a lovable and hilarious Great Dane. There was also an Entangled anthology called The Billionaire's Matchmaker, which had a very cheeky Jack Russel. I love animal characters!

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    1. Hi Stephanie - I must go and check out that Superromance. Thanks for the tip :)

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  10. Helen, it sounds like Lauren is in real trouble - which makes me want to read on! What a great extract!

    I remember Jenny Crusie's 'Getting Rid of Bradley' was full of great dogs that make me laugh and made the story too. Have you read it?

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    1. Hi Annie - yes, poor Lauren. But he's not much better off - I do love torturing my heroes. I haven't read much JC - must go and check it out. :)

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  11. Love the extract :) Once Upon A Bride sounds like a fab read.

    I like pets in books where they play a vital role especially between the H&H. I recently read Jennifer Probst's Searching for Someday and I liked how her dog was tied in to her GMC. Very clever and made the heroine so real.

    **Annie - I loved Getting Rid of Bradley - classic, I'd forgotten about that book :)

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    1. Hi Joanne - another tick for JC. I'm off to check out your Jennifer Probst's suggestion. Thanks for the tip :)

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  12. I loved this scene Helen, and I agree animals do bring something special into a book. The one I remember reading recently was one of Fiona Lowe's called " Saved by The Bride" I think, and there was a cute little dog and another working dog involved in that story. They brought their own romance to the storyline. Also funny title relatable episodes made you smile and laugh out loud sometimes.

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    1. Hi Savannah - have just put Fiona's book on my TBR pile. Thanks for the suggestion :)

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