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Interview with Catherine Bybee

Please tell us about the fire that inspired your newest novel My Way To You.

I was taking my youngest son to his senior pictures for the school when we noticed a plume of smoke in the rearview mirror. I have lived through many fire scares in the twenty years I lived in my home. Only this time, it wouldn’t be a false alarm.

You had to evacuate your house because of the fire. How did you feel in those moments?

I was thankful my children and I escaped, and terrified that I would come home to nothing but ash and debris. I’d packed up the cars with pictures and things I felt I couldn’t replace, but had to leave one of my cars behind because the fire engine was blocking my ability to drive it away. But none of that truly mattered. I felt like all the work I had done to keep my children’s family home after my recent divorce was for nothing. That fire was going to undermine the stability I had desperately tried to preserve. In short, I was an emotional mess.

While your property suffered immense damage, thankfully your home was left standing. Did this experience change the meaning of that word for you—home?

Home is stability. It’s a base for all the things we cherish. But it’s the people who make it so. I had a conversation with my youngest son not too long ago. I asked him if he missed the home he grew up in. (I’ve since moved to San Diego and sold my property in Santa Clarita.) This is what he said, “The day we ran from the fire, I stopped caring about the house. I didn’t think it would be there when we came back.” So no, he doesn’t miss his childhood home. I was shocked to hear this since my youngest tends to hold back his feelings. I lived in that house for 21 of my 51 years of life. There were memories in every corner. But in the end, the fire and flood… and exhaustion made it easier for me to sell it and walk away. Now that I’m in a new place I’m reminded that my family and memories are always with me—and a house is wood and stone. Whether I like it or not, however… it is stability. And that was shook to its core because of the fire. 

Your life changed drastically in just one day, which is something your heroine Parker experiences—twice. The first time is when her parents die. How does this one event inform the course of her life?

She has to stop thinking about herself and put others before her. She had to grow up. Trauma changes you! Period. And I needed Parker to experience that so she could realize just how strong she was.

She has to find that strength again when fire almost destroys her home. Tell us how your heroine changes during all of this.

She needed to learn to lean on others again. Her parents death took that away and made her a very controlling person. (Ahummm… that’s my own epiphany.) It’s through the course of the book, and all the other players, that she learns to open herself up to live a full life. I think she also learns to be a big sister again and not the parental figure she took on.

In what ways is Parker like you? In what ways is she different?

She learned to let go, I still can’t do that. 

She fell in love… That’s not me. 

She had a privileged childhood with tons of options… Not me. 

Parker fought to keep her home and make it right to live in it. I fought to keep my home and make it right to sell it. After so many years and so many struggles, it just wasn’t the peaceful place it once was. And with an empty nest and no Colin there to give it meaning, I needed to let go and start new. 

 

                                                                               ***
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About the Title

Title: My Way To You

Author: Catherine Bybee

Release Date: March 10, 2020

Publisher: Montlake

Summary

When a wildfire nearly destroys Parker Sinclair’s family home, it’s just one more disaster to add to her mountain of stress. For the past two years, she has shouldered the responsibility of raising her younger brother and sister after their parents’ untimely deaths. Forced to leave college for a crappy job that barely pays the bills, Parker manages her family property, which consumes every aspect of her life. Now winter is coming and the forecast isn’t spreading sunshine on the dark cloud over her head. The last thing Parker needs is a mudslide destroying everything she has worked so hard to maintain.

Colin Hudson’s job as a public works supervisor is to protect Parker’s property and neighborhood from further damage. But it’s a little hard when the owner of the land is a control freak who tries to do everything herself. The hardworking, attractive young woman is far from the “hot mess” she claims to be. In fact, her tight grip of control is one of the things that attract him the most. It’s also the hardest to crack. Now Colin’s working overtime to help Parker open up her heart, trust him, and let him in.

As Parker and Colin work together to keep her home and neighborhood safe, they may be in for another disaster. Or they may just realize that sometimes it takes destruction to create something new.

About the Author

Copyright Julianne Gentry Photography

New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and USA Today bestselling author Catherine Bybee has written thirty-four books that have collectively sold more than seven million copies and have been translated into more than eighteen languages. Raised in Washington State, Bybee moved to Southern California in the hope of becoming a movie star. After growing bored with waiting tables, she returned to school and became a registered nurse, spending most of her career in urban emergency rooms. She now writes full-time and has penned the Not Quite series, the Weekday Brides series, the Most Likely To series, and the First Wives series. For more information on the author, visit www.catherinebybee.com.

Social Media Links

Website: http://www.catherinebybee.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AuthorCatherineBybee

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Bookbub: https://www.bookbub.com/authors/catherine-bybee

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Catherine-Bybee/e/B002UL11RS/

 

EXCERPT:

“Excuse me?” 

Parker turned toward the sound of the male voice and brushed aside hair that had fallen out of her ponytail. The sun glared in her eyes, making it difficult to get a clear picture of the man standing on the other side of her gate. 

“Hello,” she greeted him. 

“Do you live here?” 

Probably a neighbor, she thought to herself. They’d shown up constantly after the fire to see how close the flames had actually come to their homes. Many of them invited themselves in without knocking. That was until she paid to have someone come in and fix the broken gate and stop the trespassers. 

MyWayToYou

“I would hope so,” she said, waving the pruner in her hands. “I don’t think I would take this job for actual money.” The closer she got to the gate, the better the features of the man came into focus. He stood at least three inches taller than her, no easy task when she was five nine. Broad shoulders and arms that didn’t look like they slaved in an office all day. He wore jeans. It had to be over a hundred degrees, and the man wore jeans. 

And filled them out nicely, if she wasn’t too tired to notice. 

Parker forced her gaze back to his face, his eyes hidden by his sunglasses; his thick brown hair wasn’t covered by a hat. 

She stopped in front of him, the gate to the property a clear division. The intense set of his jaw softened slightly. “Is your, ah … husband here?” 

Three years ago, in a bar … or while out with friends, she would have instantly denied a lack of a husband. Out here, with a stranger … even an attractive one standing at her front door, she wasn’t about to correct him. “Who’s asking?” 

The man’s smile fell and he quickly removed his sunglasses. “I’m sorry. My name is Colin Hudson. Colin to my friends.” 

“What can I do for you, Mr. Hudson?” She wasn’t about to call him by his first name. 

“I work with the Public Works Department and wanted to see if you’d let me take a quick look at the wash that runs through your property.” He reached into his back pocket and removed his wallet. Out came a business card that he handed her through the bars of the iron gate. 

She had to move close enough to take the card, but retreated once she had it in her fingertips. 

He instantly shoved his hands in his front pockets and took a step back. 

The card looked legit. Parker reminded herself that anyone with a computer could make a business card. “Does your department work on Saturdays, Mr. Hudson?” 

“All the time.” 

She peered beyond the gate, didn’t see a car. “Did you walk here?” 

Mr. Hudson looked over his shoulder, pointed his thumb down the street. “I have a company truck. I parked around the corner.” 

“Ah-huh.” She wanted to believe him. His caramel brown eyes looked kind enough. “Even Ted Bundy was good-looking,” she said loud enough for him to hear. 

Parker looked up to find him staring, his mouth gaped open. “That’s a first.” 

“Sorry.” Not sorry. “By-product of being a lone woman on a large piece of property with a stranger asking to come in. Business card aside, you could be anyone.” 

He lifted his hands in the air. “Very wise. I hope my sister would do the same. I was just hoping to get an eye on the canyon before Monday’s meeting. But I can wait.” 

She relaxed her grip on the tree pruner. “What meeting?” 

“The city and county are meeting to discuss the concerns of the watershed after the fire. We’re developing a plan to preserve property during the winter. If I could take a quick look it would help.”

“You mean prevent mudslides?” 

“Control mudslides,” he corrected her. 

She shifted from foot to foot. “You can do that?” 

“It’s a big part of our job.” He smiled, looked over her shoulder. “I can wait. I don’t want to make you uneasy.” 

Parker looked back toward the house. “Tell you what. You go get your company truck and I’ll grab a snake fork and show you the wash.” 

His eyes narrowed with an unasked question. 

“It’s summer. Rattlesnakes are a thing,” she explained. 

“You sure?” 

Yeah, she was sure. “I’ll open the gate. You can park inside.”

                                                                                       ***

Lauren Layne starts off a new scandalous series!!!!! Check out her interview and an excerpt she shares…….courtesy Montlake

YoursInScandalGraphic

Interview with Lauren Layne:

Tell us about your new series.

The series features three men who are named “Man of the Year” (think: People’s Sexiest Man Alive) and the unexpected ramifications that come with that! Yours in Scandal kicks off the series with a young, wealthy mayor of NYC who falls for his political rival’s daughter.

Why was it important for you to start your series with Addie and Robert?

The real answer? There’s is the book listed first in the contract 😉 In truth I’m equally excited about all three books in the series, and could have happily jumped in anywhere! That said, writing a politician was a unique and fun challenge for me (I tend to write a lot of businessmen!) so a new take on my “hot guy in a suit” was a fun creative challenge!

Even though she is still young, your heroine Addie has lived quite a life. Where did her teenage rebellious streak come from?

The first thing I always do when I get a new story idea is to figure out where the conflict is—I have to make sure these two people, however attracted, can’t get together (easily) by chapter three. When I decided to take on a hero who’s a mayor, I took a step back to think which woman would be most off-limits to him. One with a bit of scandal was the obvious answer, since the spouses of politicians are usually held to the same exacting standards (if not more so) than the politician him/herself! From there, I dug into Addie’s character and her scandal-laden past. 

Do you have anything in common with your heroine?

Honestly? No 🙂 Other than being a little mouthy during puberty, I was a pretty easy kid and teenager, and skipped the rebellious phase, at least according to my parents! I sort of skipped the whole rebellious phase growing up no underage drinking, no missed curfews, I’ve never even gotten a ticket. Though, I think perhaps I was saving up all my rebellious urges for my mid-twenties, where I seemed to chafe really hard at being managed in the corporate world, and quit my practical, well-paying job rather spontaneously and irresponsibly with almost no safety net, and dove headfirst into being a full-time writer. And I suppose, for that matter, I’ve made some rebellious choices as an author (quitting Facebook, not doing ARCs on my self-pub title, etc). So, I guess I change my answer! Yeah, I have a little in common with Addie after all!

Your hero Robert is fantastic! He is smart, successful and just earned the title ‘Man of the Year’. What made you fall in love with him?

He really is great, isn’t he? 🙂  I actually knew from the start that Robert was going to be a pretty stand-up guy. I wanted to steer as away from the cliche, corrupt politician as possible, and show that it’s absolutely possible for people to be in public office simply because they want to do good, not because they’re power hungry. I think what I love most about him is how he never wavers in wanting best for Addie and the people around him, even if it hurts him personally. He’s a really unselfish guy, and that is so, so appealing to me! 

Would you say that there are similarities that all of your heroes share?

I’d say they’re all pretty quick with a comeback. Whether they’re the charming playboys or the more reserved, Mr. Darcy types they’ve got a bit of a sharp, clever tongue! Also, the vast majority tend to be wealthy and suit-wearing. I’ve got a few exceptions, but I think there’s something so sexy about a buttoned-up guy in a suit coming undone over a woman, so I tend to come back to that again and again!

Some of the best moments in Yours In Scandal happen when your heroine and hero are around their trusted friends. Are any of the secondary characters we meet destined to get their own happily-ever-afters?

No plans for any spinoffs with those characters! Not because I don’t love them, but because the writing schedule’s pretty jam-packed! 

                                                                            ***

YoursInScandal

 

About the Book

Title: Yours In Scandal

Author: Lauren Layne

Release Date: March 10, 2020

Publisher: Montlake

Summary

Fresh off being named Citizen magazine’s Man of the Year, New York City’s youngest mayor, Robert Davenport, decides it’s time to strategize. Next move: a bid for the governor’s seat. In his way: an incumbent with a flawless reputation. He also has an Achilles’ heel: an estranged wild-child daughter with a past so scandalous it could be Robert’s ticket to victory. And a charm so irresistible it could be Robert’s downfall.

Rebellion is a thing of the past for Adeline Blake. As New York’s premier event planner, she’s all about reform and respectability. Then she’s approached by Robert to organize the party of the season. Curious, considering he’s her father’s most formidable opponent. And alarming, too. Because Addie can’t help but fall for the righteously popular candidate with the movie-star smile.

Now it’s Robert’s choice. Does he pursue a future that holds his legacy? Or the woman who holds his heart?

Author Biography

LaurenLayne

Lauren Layne is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of more than two dozen novels, including Hot Asset, Hard Sell, and Huge Deal in her 21 Wall Street series, as well as her Central Park Pact series. Her books have sold more than a million copies in nine languages. Lauren’s work has been featured in Publishers Weekly, Glamour, the Wall Street Journal, and Inside Edition. She is based in New York City. For the latest updates, be sure to check out her website at www.laurenlayne.com.

Social Media Links

Website: https://laurenlayne.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/LaurenLayneAuthor/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/laurenlayneauthor/

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6969772.Lauren_Layne

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EXCERPT:

“I just need to be sure . . . am I going crazy? I am, right? Our girl’s not seriously telling us she had dinner with the mayor,” Rosalie said, turning to Jane. 

“You’re not the crazy one—she is,” Jane said, emphatically pointing at Adeline. 

Adeline nibbled on the corner of a chip. “It’s really not the big deal you two are making it out to be. It was just dinner. Pizza.” 

“That’s even worse!” Jane said shrilly. “It’s so intimate.” 

Adeline glanced over at her calmer friend. “Please tell her there’s nothing intimate about Italian sausage.” She winced as she caught herself. “Yeah, I heard it.” 

“It is a little out of character,” Rosalie said slowly. “You haven’t exactly made it a secret how you feel about men these days. To say nothing of your thoughts on elected officials.” 

“I didn’t sleep with the guy, we just had pizza.” 

“I’d actually be less concerned if you’d slept with him,” Rosalie admitted. 

“Agreed,” Jane said, smacking the table. “A sexy fling with the Man of the Year is one thing. A cozy dinner at his place is just . . .” She threw her hands up. “I can’t. I literally can’t process it.” 

“You don’t have to process anything,” Adeline said, dunking the chip into the salsa and stuffing the whole thing in her mouth. “It was a one-time thing. The party’s next weekend, and then I’ll probably never see him again.” 

“What if he wants you to be his forever event planner?” 

“He won’t. His regular planner’s one of the best in the city, and I’m sure she’ll be back from maternity leave by the time he needs to hire someone again.” 

“Is his regular event planner hot and single?” Jane pointed out. 

“She’s married.” 

“Exactly. Much less susceptible to his sexy face than single you.” 

Adeline sighed and looked again to the perpetually calm Rosalie. “Make it stop.” 

“Just promise you’ll warn us if you start to fall for the guy,” her friend said, fiddling with her chip. “Much as I love the idea of you landing the hottest guy in the city, I also know just how tricky that would be for you.” 

“Tricky is an understatement given he’s likely running against The Bastard in the next election,” she said, knowing that both of her lifelong friends knew she was referring to the father she’d all but disowned. 

Adeline hadn’t known Rosalie as long as she’d known Jane, but they still went all the way back to high school. Adeline had been the loose cannon, Jane the genius, and Rosalie had been, well . . . perfect. 

“You know,” Adeline said, looking thoughtfully at Rosalie over the top of her margarita. “I actually thought about setting you and the mayor up.” 

“Wait, what?” Rosalie’s eyes went wide. 

“You said yourself he was hot,” Adeline pointed out. “You’re also beautiful, well spoken, polished. You never look bad in a photograph, and you never say the wrong thing. I literally can’t think of a more perfect future First Lady of New York.” 

“Oooh, I see that!” Jane said, pivoting in her chair to stare at Rosalie. 

Adeline gave Jane an exasperated expression. “You were just warning me off of the guy.” 

“Warning you off, yes. But Rosalie . . .” 

Adeline tried to ignore the sting. It wasn’t as if Jane were saying anything Adeline herself hadn’t thought. Even if she were inclined to pursue the mayor, and she wasn’t, she knew that she was the last thing someone like him needed. Her past alone made her an inconceivable choice for him, and even if she could keep her past mistakes under wraps, she would never be the right woman for him. She may have mastered the bun and the blazers, but she was still the woman who collected adventurous lingerie and loved tequila. 

“The guy’s definitely attractive,” Rosalie said. “But I don’t know that I want one of Adeline’s rejects,” she said with a smile intended to annoy Adeline. 

“I wouldn’t let that stop me,” Jane said, fanning herself. “If it weren’t for Dan . . . . Too bad I love that man so damn much. Seriously, Rosalie, let Adeline fix you up, so I can live vicariously.” 

“Hello,” Rosalie said, staring at the admittedly, occasionally tone-deaf Jane. “Are you not seeing what I’m seeing?” She pointed at Adeline. 

Jane glanced over and narrowed her eyes. 

“Ever since she came back from New Mexico with her hair brown, she’s been like this buttoned-up ice woman. But when she talks about him . . .” Rosalie made an unrecognizable hissing, clicking noise. 

“What was that?” Jane asked. 

“Fire igniting,” Rosalie explained. “Whatever, so sound effects and act-outs aren’t my strong suit. The point is—” 

“If I sound fiery when I talk about the mayor, it’s only because he’s a control freak and pain in the ass,” Adeline interjected. “The man doesn’t know how to delegate, is hell-bent on carrying on his father’s legacy without ever checking in with himself, and . . .” 

Adeline’s thoughts scattered a little as she realized she wasn’t being entirety fair to the mayor. Yes, he was obsessed with his image, as a man in his position had to be. But he could also be funny and irreverent. He could also be spontaneous and casual. 

He’d proven that yesterday, first with the tour of his home, then the invitation of dinner. Even the way he ate pizza was appealing, somehow both buttoned-up precise and outright relishing, all at the same time. 

“We need more margaritas.”

                                                                              ***

Reading Donna Grant is like chicken soup for the soul! Whether she writes a twisted tale of the Dragon Kings or a contemporary cowboy romance, it will be a reading pleasure no matter the genre.

ACowboyLikeYou-HeartOfTexas#4-DonnaGrant

And with a cowboy like Danny Oldman, her fourth book in the Heart Of Texas series, is another heart warmer. The Lone Star Sheriff is content being the protector of his citizens, and love for him is far fetched as the girl of his dreams far away. But then fate always plays a hand bringing Skylar Long back to him with her painful present dogging her heals.

Now with their long ago attraction only deepening into love, both have to fight the demons before they can make a future.

“A Cowboy Like You” is another great read from Donna Grant!

Received an ARC from NetGalley for an honest review.

“I heard the old, old men say that “all that’s beautiful drifts away, like waters” ~ William Butler Yeats ~

And the downstream is the life designed, memories made, losses and gains, happiness and tears; a journey lived to the fullest. She took the good with the bad, gave respect and commanded the same, an authority on to herself, selfless and kind. There are not enough words to salute this remarkable lady!

I have countless memories with her from childhood to adulthood. Generation of a gap made her my guardian as we went to the same school together, (a torturous act in my opinion), more for her than me ;). The generation gap slipped away as we grew older, and became a strong bond of friendship. The countless hours of conversations, innumerable jokes shared, late night binges and gossip, the fun and laughter is what I would remember and cherish for the rest of my life.

She was a mentor with her honesty and opinion. She was a friend to the young and the old alike, lending an ear and a shoulder. She was a sister, an aunt and a cousin, sharing the joys of milestones, successes and achievements. She was a courageous warrior who taught us to fight for what we believed in and a crusader for giving people second chances. She marched to her own beat of life and encouraged others to follow their heart, without fear.

Today, February 18, 2020 (if she was here), would have joined the elite club for the SIXTIES! We had many a talk of our milestone birthdays in the year 2020. She would have bragged with that mischievous smile playing on her lips, of a life fulfilling and blessed. She would have talked of her travels, and the future miles she had planned. She would have celebrated the special occasion with the “Ming Dynasty” as she endearingly called her family.

Not a day goes by without her name on our lips. Not a moment goes by without a thought of her on mind. And not a conversation is complete without a mention of her. She exuded empathy and warmth, a beacon of hope, understanding and compassion. 

She and I, many a time talked about fate and destiny. She would say, “I can challenge destiny, but fate is multifaceted and a force to reckon. And when the time comes, it is what it is!” But she never walked away from anything that unfolded in her life….and this is what makes her a true lady!

You will be dearly and deeply missed but never, ever forgotten!

*******

 

“Bad things happen. And the human brain is especially adept at making sure that we keep track of these events. This is an adaptive mechanism important for survival. ~ David Perlmutter

And survival is important to having a purpose in life. A lucky chance that gives birth to a crusade against evil living amongst humanity.  Fear is “Merciless”. But with courage, determination and motivation, one can laugh at the very face of fear. Who better is privileged to this fact than Asher Drake and Juliet Stone

Asher Drake: The man was a demon in some people’s eyes, but in others he was a hero.

Juliet Stone: She was no neophyte. She was a professional and knew how to play the game. She had secrets.

And both would go beyond their endurance to mete out justice and protect their own.

Merciless-OptionZero#1-Feb2020

Christy Reece’s new series, Option Zero, introduces the “Merciless” players, bonded over death, bravery and survival. A life of pain and loss, betrayal and treachery, brotherly bond, love and loyalty created these warriors. As they put their lives between the innocent and evil, fighting for justice fo the innocent with zero option, they still get lucky in love as they tread a merciless path to justice.

A resounding start to a new series, Christy Reece shows her mastery of plotting a story that keeps the readers spellbinding. Unlike her other series with so much action (which totally is enthralling), I love the fact that she had paced her story so very well as she draws the characters out of their shell. There is sublime action in the background, with emotions and characterization taking precedence, yet none of it taking away the intensity of the plot. As she introduces the players, the story still revolves around Asher Drake and Jules Stone. As she sets the stage for the main plot to continue into future stories, she never loses sight of the significant flow of events surrounding Ash and Jules. Even her choice of names has a subtle symbolism adding an element of aura to the story.

Having read every single book of hers published thus far, there are so many subtle nuances that only made Christy’s narration so much more intriguing, the twists and surprises added flavor and spice to the plot, and the characterization and depth of the plot added layers of masterful imagination!

I cannot wait to follow these “Merciless” warriors on their trials and tribulations and to a path of love and justice.

Received an ARC from the author for an honest review.

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