I’m so excited to welcome Sally Clements here today, author of Love for Beginners to the blog today!
She’s touring with the Hometown Love boxed set, a 3-book set available for a limited time!
Tell us more about your book—take us beyond the official “book blurb”.
Love for Beginners is set in an all female garage called Under the Hood run by three women. All three are strong, capable women, and the friendship and support they give each other is paramount to the story. In writing this book, I wanted to challenge stereotypes and show that each character is more than any ‘tags’ put on them.
Sounds great! I love that idea 🙂
Give us more info about your main characters—who are they?
The heroine of the story is Melody Swan, part owner of Under the Hood. She’s very responsible and buttoned up and governed by logic—she doesn’t want to be hurt by a man by risking her heart, so she generally picks potential partners that there is no danger of falling in love with.
Heath Starr, the hero, challenges that from the moment he arrives in Under the Hood as a temporary mechanic. He’s chasing the dream of being a professional photographer and has no time to get involved with anyone, but can’t help being attracted to Mel.
And Heath doesn’t have the nickname Ladyslayer for nothing!
I see plenty of potential conflict—and chemistry! Yay!
What scene in your book was the most fun to write, and why?
I loved writing the scene where Mel makes a move on Heath, and despite the fact that he really wants to respond, he doesn’t!
Oh, no! Poor Mel!
How long have you been writing, and what (or who) inspired you to start?
I’ve been writing for what seems like forever, I love dreaming up stories and living through my characters. I first got serious about writing eleven years ago when I completed my first manuscript during National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo).
Yesssss! NaNoWriMo rules!
What do you like best about being a writer?
I love it when my characters take on lives of their own, and start to dictate their stories to me.
What is the most challenging part of being a writer?
Working to a deadline. It’s hard!
I believe it! Grading to a deadline is stressful enough…
What are you working on right now? What can readers look for from you in the next year?
Right now, I’m working on the third and final book in the Under the Hood series, which should be out later in the summer. After that, I’m writing the third book in my Logan Series, which are stand-alone contemporary romances about members of the same family.
Sounds like you’re busy! Can’t wait to read them 😉
What authors and/or books have inspired you?
I love the series that Nora Roberts writes under her JD Robb name, and as well as romance I read a lot of crime—my favorites would include Jeffry Deaver, Lee Child, and Patricia D. Cornwell for crime. I think the first book that inspired me was She by H. Ryder-Haggard.
I really need to read J.D. Robb’s series—I think I’ve got the first ten? Maybe? I’ve got no excuse for not having read them yet…
What are you currently reading?
Private Berlin by James Patterson and Mark Sullivan.
Please share a favorite scene from your books with our readers.
I particularly like this one…
Mel wished she had a camera, because the look on Heath’s face was worth capturing for posterity. With eyes wide, he climbed from the pickup and strode to the cabin. “Wow, I didn’t think places like this still actually existed.” He swung around to her, excitement coming off him in waves. “I want to take a picture of it exactly as it is, before we go inside.”
She really needed a pee, but couldn’t object in light of his zeal. “Why don’t you set up your camera stuff? I’ll just…” She waved vaguely in the direction of the trees. He could guess, surely?
“Okay, great.” Heath didn’t even glance her direction. His entire focus was the cabin, and how he’d capture it on film.
Leaving him to it, Mel stepped away into the undergrowth next to the cabin. She kept walking until she was far from view, then crouched behind a tree.
By the time she returned, he’d set the camera on a tripod and was snapping away.
“There you are.” He glanced away from the viewfinder for a moment. “I was thinking…” In quick strides, he was by her side. Warm hands trailed down her upper arms, and her skin tingled as if brushed with an electrical charge. “I wanted to thank you for bringing me here. For remembering about this cabin. For keeping my secret.” He leaned closer. His eyes’ dark centers expanded, swallowing up the blue.
Dimly, through a haze of sensation, Mel realized she didn’t mind him touching her. In fact, she liked it, and wanted more. She longed for the touch of his mouth on hers. The intensity of her need was stunning—a knockout blow. She felt as though she was in a steam room, unable to breathe for the intensity of emotion swirling around her and clogging her airways.
Her tongue swiped across her dry lips. This is it, he’s going to…
“I’d like to take a series of photographs of you. I’ll be including some portrait shots in the portfolio I’m submitting to the magazine, to show my range and versatility as a photographer.” His hands fell to his sides. “Would you let me?”
Her heart was pounding. He was so close, if she just reached out, she could run her hands over his broad shoulders. She’d have to go up on tiptoe for his mouth…
With a rapid intake of breath, reality came back in a rush. “I…”
Heath waved at the cabin. “Stand in front of the cottage.” He peered through the viewfinder again. “Great. Now turn, walk up the stairs. Slowly. Look back at me, that’s it.”
His running commentary blurred her senses, had her moving like an automaton to his commands. What if he dictated other commands? Would she automatically follow those too? Walk over here, run your fingers across my jaw, press your lips to mine. Lean against me and let me kiss you all over?
“Ow!” Pain lanced through her toes as she stumbled on the second to last step. Her flailing hand grabbed for the railing, but missed. Her knee banged against the wooden deck, sending a sharp dagger of pain through her.
Before her ass hit the ground, Heath was there. He sank down on the step next to her. Warm fingers stroked around her kneecap, while his other hand cupped the back of her head. Her knee hurt like crazy. And her toes throbbed, although at least they didn’t hurt any more. They were too numb for that.
The heat of his fingers seemed to permeate the skin, as though one of those heated massage packs had been strapped on.
She leaned against his chest, like a child instinctively seeking comfort, but there was nothing childlike in her response to his nearness.
“We should ice this.” Heath removed his hand from her knee, probing the rising bruise with careful fingers.
“The freezer is off. There’s no ice.”
Heath’s mouth flattened, and his eyebrows pulled together in a frown. Carefully, his butterfly touch swept from her knee to her toe. It was enough to make a girl happy she’d worn shorts rather than jeans setting out. Although the fact that her skin had erupted in a temporary rash of goose bumps was probably a dead giveaway that she was aroused. Or was it?
There was so much she had to learn. So much that was a complete mystery.
Heath undid her boot and slid her sock off.
His fingers curved around her foot. The pad of his thumb rubbed over the inside of her ankle, tracing its outline carefully.
A couple of years ago, she’d tried yoga. The most memorable moment of the entire experience was the relaxing at the end of the session. When she lay on the floor and breathed in slowly and deeply, feeling the air permeate into the bottom of her lungs. It was a focus impossible to recapture in everyday life, but as Mel watched the side of Heath’s face, concentrated on every single detail about him—the way that stubble was evident, even though he’d obviously shaved this morning; his dark eyelashes, longer than her own, but not softening the harsh masculinity of his face—captivation clutched.
Now, on the wooden boards of this cottage in the woods, time seemed to still to one moment. One experience.
Heath’s thumb moved to her instep, stroked across the high arch.
She inhaled quickly, feeling the instant flare of passion ignite. His thumb moved in lazy circles, and Mel’s nipples stiffened under her lacy bra. Warmth spread through her pelvis, unfurling an unfamiliar sensation of want. “Does that hurt?” His voice was deeply seductive, wrapping her in a black velvet cloak that smoothed over her senses, added even more sensuality into the mix.
Mel’s mouth felt dry. “It’s just bruised. I’m sure it will be okay.” But I won’t.
If she were a different girl, she’d happily surrender to the urge to claim the lips so tantalizingly close. Heath had loved many women—surely one more wouldn’t matter? They didn’t need to discuss it, or have a relationship. Neither of them wanted that.
She’d always thought the threat of making herself vulnerable, of falling in love with the wrong man—a man who would leave—was too strong to risk a night of passion.
She’d told Heath she wasn’t interested in sex. And obviously she was wrong. Right now, the thought of going inside with him, peeling off her clothes and having crazy, mindless sex was definitely appealing. The thought excited and terrified her in equal measure.
“Why don’t we go inside?” Heath asked.
The loss of his hand from her foot hammered a nail of disappointment into her heart. When his gaze met hers, the expression in it gave the nail another couple of hammers home.
Where Mel was so turned on she wanted to slide right into his lap and press her chest against his, run her fingers into his hair, and devour his mouth as he peeled her shirt off to reveal her to the wilderness, Heath obviously felt no such compulsion. He looked completely unaffected—as though talking to a store assistant or buying a train ticket.
“You can lie on the sofa while I go set up the kitchen.”
Wow! I can see why it’s a favorite…can’t wait to read the rest!
Thank you so much for inviting me onto your blog, Becky!
Thank you for coming, Sally! Great interview 🙂
Book Title: Love For Beginners
Author: Sally Clements
She needs a lesson in love, and he’s the perfect teacher.
Mechanic Melody Swan is looking for a man who can share her hopes and dreams, but she swore she would never lose herself to passion. When sexy Heath Starr agrees to temporarily sub in the Under the Hood garage for his sister, Mel sees the perfect opportunity to enjoy being with a man without becoming attached.
Heath came to Meadowsweet to photograph nature, not find a hookup, especially since his last relationship ended in disaster. He vowed he’d never break another woman’s heart, and in turn, protect his own. Still, when Mel offers to serve as his outdoor guide, he can’t refuse.
Mel may say she’s only looking for right now, but her body is speaking a whole different language. And Heath’s viewfinder is drawn to her time and again. When the two find themselves isolated in a rustic cabin, they could both break their promises if they aren’t careful…
Sally Clements writes fun, sexy and real contemporary romance, partnering hot heroes with heroines who know what they want, and go for it!
She is a full-time author, who lives in the Irish countryside, and when she isn’t writing can usually be found in traffic, driving ‘Mum’s taxi’.
Always a voracious reader, she considers writing for a living the perfect job—the only downside is saying goodbye to her characters at book’s end!
Twitter: @RomanceIsBliss Steals and Deals
Giveaway Info: $25 Amazon gift card and a custom made Swarovski Crystal necklace made with emerald crystal beads (to match Mel’s eyes) incorporating a sterling silver wrench charm from Sally Clements