Wednesday, 16 March 2011

Orchestrating the Heartache - Guest post by Erin Nicholas + Giveaway

Today I have the great pleausre of welcoming back to Ex Libris one of my favourite contemporary romance writers and one very friendly author: Erin Nicholas! Those following the blog for some time know how much  I love everything penned by Erin (for proof you can read my reviews of Just Right, Just Like That, Just My Type and Anything You Want).

Not only are her romances sweet and steamy, for me what sets them apart from all the other contemporary romances and make them outstanding is the amount of chuckle out loud humour she infuses in her stories and of course her completely sizzling-leaving-me-breathless-sexual-banters she is famous for (for further proof scroll down, you will have two excerpts to show you what I mean...).

But enough with the introduction read on to find out more about Erin and some behind the scenes secrets regarding romance novel writing, and at the end a sweet giveaway is waiting for you! :-)

So please give a warm welcome to Erin Nicholas, whose latest novel Anything You Want was just released yesterday! Woohoo! 

Anything You Want

(ps. to learn more about Erin and have more chance to win Anything You Want check out Erin's interview at Bookj Lovers Inc.)

I recently blogged about one of my favorite parts of writing a book—asking the question “Who is the perfect match for this person?” I love asking this because I’ve gotten to know my characters, care about them, truly want them to have a happily ever after. It’s fun to think about who they belong with, who will complete them, who will fill-in-your-own-romantic-notion-here.

So, today I’m going to talk about what is probably my least favorite part of writing a book—asking the question “What is the worst thing that can happen to this person?” This is my least favorite also because I’ve gotten to know my characters, care about them, truly want them to have a happily ever after. And now I have to be mean, threaten that happily ever after. I have to make them sweat, maybe even cry.


Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 1 (Three-Disc Blu-ray / DVD Combo + Digital Copy)The funny thing is, I totally get it. I know why it has to happen. As a reader if it didn’t happen I would be unsatisfied. If there was no Voldemort, Harry Potter would have gone off to school, learned a few spells, told his aunt and uncle to f$%# off and lived happily ever after*. And it would have been boring. If Lucy hadn’t fallen in love with Jack, she would have just married Peter and lived happily ever after*. And it would have been boring. If Kate’s fiancé didn’t fall in love with another woman, she would have never gotten on that plane, never met Luc, but lived happily ever after (probably)*. And it would have been boring.

While You Were Sleeping [VHS](*from my favorite movies: Harry Potter and the Any Of Them, While You Were Sleeping and French Kiss. Not necessarily in that order.)

But understanding why it has to happen doesn’t mean it’s easy for me. It’s not. At all. I almost always write it easy the first time, meaning they get a little upset but they’re not devastated. I have them argue, but they’re not broken hearted. They might cry, but they don’t feel like their heart’s been ripped out. ‘Cuz I want to get to the good stuff—the you’re-perfect-for-me moment, the I-can’t-live-without-you moment, the happily ever after, dammit. (But eventually I go back and write it again, make it worse, make it harder, make it hurt).

Anything You WantFor instance, in my new release Anything You Want, Sabrina is coming home after a four-year absence. She’s been chasing her dream of making music and, okay let’s face it, making some bad choices here and there. But she’s been happy. She doesn’t want to live in her tiny hometown, doesn’t want to put up with her demanding father, and doesn’t want to face the man who was her best friend from childhood until—she broke his heart by saying no to his marriage proposal just before she left town.

So, what do I do to her? I make it so she has to come home, face her father and see that guy. But I also make her spend a bunch of time with his best friend. Who doesn’t like her at all. Who she finds herself incredibly attracted to. And who she eventually falls in love with.

Yeah, but that’s not all. I’m mean to him too. I make it so that not only does he have to put up with this woman he doesn’t like, but he also realizes there’s some intense chemistry between them. Which makes him feel guilty since his best friend is still in love with her. And, oh yeah, he falls for her. Which makes him feel even guiltier.

But the really mean part is when I have to ask the question “What’s the worst thing I can do to him/her?”

For Sabrina, it’s putting her dream—making music in the big time—in her reach, but making it so she can’t have it and the man she loves. Now she has to choose.

Well, I got through it. I did the mean thing. *sigh*

It’s funny—as a reader, even knowing that the book would be really boring without that moment of “oh no!” where all seems lost, I still hate that part. I hate when someone’s heart has to get broken. But yeah, okay, in the end it feels so much better when they overcome the obstacles and work it out. (Writing the happily ever after is another of my favorite parts! :-p)

Well, you can read about Marc and Sabrina’s obstacles, how they face them and how they figure it out (not to mention their sexy food fight!) now! In fact, you can enter to win a copy of the book just by commenting, asking a question or telling me your favorite kind of pie (it does have something to do with the story… in fact, here’s an excerpt :-p-- enjoy!)

Anything You Want
Copyright Erin Nicholas, March 2011

He turned with a frown. “Why are you here?”

“Oh.” She pulled herself up straight. “To yell at you.”

“Can you get it over with so I can finish here?”

“Love to. Leave my stuff alone and mind your own business.”

“You don’t mean that.” Marc bent and put another pie in the oven.

It annoyed her that she got distracted by how great his butt looked in the faded jeans. “What?”

“I think you really, really want me messing with your stuff and minding your business. In fact, I think you’ve realized that I’m the only one you want messing with your stuff and that’s why you’re here.”

“What are you talking about?”

“You don’t know?” He looked up and made lasting eye contact for the first time. “You’re going to pretend that you don’t know? And act surprised that I know exactly what you’re doing?”

“What I’m doing? I’m not reading your mail and messing with your stuff and confusing everything.”

“Is that right? I’m the only one messing around and confusing everything?”

“You’re the one touching me all the time and flirting and smiling at me—” She stopped, realizing that she was on the verge of admitting things she shouldn’t say out loud even to herself.

“And every frickin’ time you—” He stopped and visibly gritted his teeth.

She stared at him when he failed to go on. “I what?”

He scowled at her. “You respond.”

“I respond,” she repeated. “What does that mean?” But she knew exactly what he meant. She responded to him in ways she never had to anyone, or anything, before.

“It means that all I can think about is getting you naked and making you respond over and over again.”

Her body definitely responded to that and she had to concentrate on breathing normally. Still, she tried for flippant. “I think that’s maybe more your problem, than mine.”

“Maybe it is.” He didn’t look up and was stirring the ingredients in the bowl like he had a personal vendetta against them. “After all, you have another guy hanging on, don’t you? When you get all worked up you can just go off to his office and have him scratch the itch. The itch I created.”

He really seemed upset and she knew he wanted her to believe it was because she was driving him crazy. But she thought just maybe it was her and Luke together that was driving him crazy. Which meant he was jealous. Which made her want to smile. She resisted, but she definitely wanted to. “He’s the guy I’m going to be living with. He should be scratching my itches.”

“The guy you might be living with.” Marc threw—not tossed—the spoon into the sink. He thumped the ball of dough he’d created onto the wooden counter top and began flattening it.

The man drove her crazy. “And you’re pissed because you think he can do better.”

“That’s probably why I should be pissed.” He hit the dough with the rolling pin.


He didn’t answer, just kept rolling.

“Why are you pissed then?”

Nothing. His jaw was tight and the dough was getting a beating, but he wouldn’t even look up.

“Oh now you’re going to shut up? You open this up and now you won’t follow through?” She wanted emotion from him, a reaction, even if he was mad about something. She wanted to know that this was more than casual to him. “Let’s talk about these itches I need help with.” He still didn’t look up.

“Come on, Marc. If we’re gonna fight, then fight with me!”

“I don’t want to fight with you,” he muttered.

The muttering drove her crazier than any yelling might have done. “Well, I want to fight with you!” And she did. She had so many pent up emotions, so many frustrations and it seemed that many, if not all, stemmed from this man. She wanted to let loose with…something. And Marc was the closest target.

Marc, who was simply rolling out piecrusts and muttering at her.

That wasn’t going to fly. If he didn’t want to fight with her now, he soon would.

She reached out and grabbed the closest thing, a can of apple pie filling. She scooped out a handful and flung it at him, hitting him directly in the center of the chest.

He froze, the rolling pin gripped in his hands.

When he didn’t react further than that, she took another handful and threw it. It hit him on the front of his right shoulder.

He put the rolling pin down and finally looked up her. There was a dangerous glint in his eyes as he began unbuttoning his shirt. “That’s how you want to do this?”

Her heart was pounding and she was sure it was from anger. It had to be anger.

But as more and more of his chest was revealed she knew that lie wasn’t going to make it much further. He shrugged out of the shirt entirely a moment later and her heart rate kicked into high gear.

Wow. He was muscled and broad, skin tanned with light hair gracing his pecs and stomach. She wanted to touch it. All of it. With her tongue.

This was bad.

He started toward her. She backed up. “How I want to do what?”

“Get me naked.”

“I…don’t…” But she couldn’t quite get the lie out. She did want him naked. Bad.

And because Erin is feeling generous (well Anything You Want released yesterday, so plenty of reason to feel giddy and happy, and all the better for us, right? :-D) here is another yummy excerpt, it is one of my favourite scenes of the novel, so enjoy:

Anything You Want
Copyright Erin Nicholas, March 2011

“How about a Long Slow One?”

Sabrina snapped out of her thoughts as someone ordered a final drink before they closed. It was one of her own concoctions. She was having fun with that at least. She shoved the letter under the edge of the blender and reached for a glass.

“A Long Slow One?” The deep voice tumbled down her spine like a staircase, goose bumps rippling out and down her limbs. Marc had come behind the bar when she wasn’t looking.

“Want one?” she asked, turning to face him.

She loved—loved, loved, loved—the sexual innuendos and teasing between them. It seemed constant. There was a current between them whenever they were in close proximity and neither of them shied away from it.

Which was stupid, but apparently unavoidable.

“I’d be crazy to say no to that wouldn’t I?”

He gave her the grin that always made her think Take me now.

“Definitely,” she said with a smile. “But you should know that the Hard and Fast is another option.”

“Now we’re talking’.” He moved in as if to simply pass behind her but his chest brushed her upper back and his hand slid across her hip and right butt cheek as he did. “What’s in it?”

“The most important ingredient is cinnamon schnapps.”

The next millisecond she realized what she’d admitted. Marc chewed cinnamon gum. All the time. His kisses were always cinnamon flavored and yes, that had come to mind as she invented the drink. And its name.

“I love cinnamon,” he said gruffly. “The Hard and Fast sounds good to me.”

She turned to face him, wanting to see his eyes as she said, “I personally like it better than the Long Slow One.”

“Should I say that doesn’t surprise me or act like I haven’t thought about how you like…your drinks?”

Breathing. That was what she was forgetting.

She sucked in a long breath. “I’m not sure what you should say.”

“Doesn’t matter what I say,” he said, his voice low. “I still wonder about it.”

“Now you know.”

“I won’t forget, either.”

God, what was she doing? She wasn’t even flirting with the man who’d proposed, but she was basically telling his best friend exactly how she’d like him to take her.

The urge to kiss him was nearly overpowering. “You have to stop.”

“Stop what?”

“Being so…all of this.”

“Sexy?” he suggested with a grin. “Hot? Hard to resist?”

She rolled her eyes, but couldn’t stop her smile. “Yes. All of it.”

“You think I’m hard to resist?” He sounded surprised.

“Isn’t that obvious?”

His smile changed from cocky to something much warmer. Her entire body felt it.

“It’s really, really fun, isn’t it?” he asked.

It really, really was. But she couldn’t shake the weirdness of it. This was Marc after all. Marc who had come to Wyoming to keep her away from Luke…

And that was what was bugging her.

“You’re very attentive for a guy who doesn’t like me much.”

“Until a couple of weeks ago, I didn’t like you at all.”

“Thanks for clarifying. And for making my point.”

“You’re wondering why I’m suddenly so…”

“Attentive is the word I’m most comfortable with.”

He chuckled. “Okay, you’re wondering why I’m suddenly so attentive.”

She wasn’t sure she wanted the answer to her next question. “Because you don’t want me with Luke?”

He crossed his arms and leaned his hip against the back counter. “I don’t want you with Luke.”

“Are you trying to make him look bad?” She regretted it as soon as she’d said it.

He looked very interested in that. “What does that mean?”

She shook her head. “Never mind. Forget it.”

She started to move past him, but he caught her arm and pulled her around to face him.

“I’m making him look bad?”

“You’re not trying?”

“Dammit, Sabrina.” He hadn’t let go of her yet and he pulled her closer. He sounded intent rather than annoyed. “Tell me how I’m making him look bad.”

“You’re making me want you more than I want him.”

He looked pleased and turned-on in equal parts. Then he frowned. “You want him?”

“I’d be stupid not to.”

Something flared in Marc’s eyes. Jealousy? Possessiveness? That was wishful thinking. She shook it off.

He stroked his hand up and down her arm, watching the movement. Then he looked into her eyes.

“Has he asked you again?”

“To marry him?”

Marc clenched his jaw before saying tightly, “Yeah.”

“No. He’s just been sweet. And attentive. He’s always bringing me stuff—flowers and muffins and tea—and asking how I am. He bought me a rocking chair.”

Marc rolled his eyes. “Of course he did.”

“What do you mean?”

“He doesn’t get it.”

“Get what?”

“What he should be doing to win you over.”

“What should he be doing?” She was very interested in Marc’s opinion on this.

He moved in a little closer. “He should be telling you that you are the sexiest thing he’s ever seen. That he passes by as close to you as possible whenever he can just to smell your hair. That when you laugh it makes him want to French kiss you up against the wall. He should buy you something you’d really appreciate—like cinnamon massage lotion. That he could lick off, slowly and thoroughly, after rubbing it all over your body.”

She swallowed hard. “I don’t think you’re supposed to eat lotion.”

“Edible massage lotion is made to be eaten.”

At the word eaten she had to press her inner thighs together. Damn.

He gave her a lazy, sexy smile and continued to hold her arm, but his eyes went to something over her shoulder.

She glanced back and saw Luke heading for them from across the room.

Luke. The guy who’d given her the rocking chair. The rocking chair she was going to use for the baby. Should pregnant women really be getting edible massages anyway?

“Maybe the best way to keep you away from him is to marry you myself,” Marc muttered.

She swung to face him, shock vibrating through her bones. Uh, oh. That shouldn’t be so scary. Or tempting. It should be funny. Because the idea of Marc proposing to her was ridiculous.

“Yeah, right.” She tried, really tried, to sound flippant.

“Why not?” He was studying her. “What does he have that I don’t? I have my own business—the same one, incidentally. I live in a great little town—the same one, incidentally. I have a wonderful family who loves you—the same one, incidentally.” He shrugged. “Seems like the only thing that makes me different from Luke is that you want me.”

She closed her eyes and shook her head. This was beyond ridiculous. This was…torture.

“People have affairs all the time,” she said.

“You’d rather have an affair with me after you marry Luke?”

Her eyes flew open. She couldn’t believe how wound up she felt. Like she’d taken a shot of caffeine straight to her heart. “I meant marrying you doesn’t ensure I’ll leave Luke alone.”

Marc moved in, filling the space around her completely. She couldn’t look away from his dark green eyes, hot and swirling with emotion. “I promise you that if you were in my bed every night, there’s absolutely no way you would want to—or have the energy to—mess around with anyone else.”

Oh, God, she believed him.

She swallowed, closed her eyes to tear her from his gaze, took a deep breath. “It would kill Luke if we were together.”

She felt Marc’s hand fall away from her. She opened her eyes and saw the pained look on his face.

“Yeah, I know,” he said quietly.

Erin Nicholas has been reading and writing romantic fiction since her mother gave her a romance novel in high school and she discovered happily-ever-after suddenly went a little beyond than glass slippers and fairy godmothers! She lives in the Midwest with her husband who only wants to read the sex scenes in her books, her kids who will never read the sex scenes in her books, and family and friends who say they're shocked by the sex scenes in her books (yeah, right!).

For more information about Erin and her books, visit her at her:


Erin generously offered an ebook copy of Anything You Want to 1 lucky commentator.

Anything You Want

All you have to do is:

1. Leave a comment or question to Erin. Or simply tell us about your favourite kind of pie or your favourite heart-wrenching moment in a romance novel/movie.


2. Leave me a way to contact you if you win (e-mail address, Twitter handle, etc.)

Giveaway is open worldwide and ends Saturday 2 April 2011.

Or if you simply cannot wait to read Anything You Want, you can buy it here:

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