I'd like to welcome Maria K. Alexander to the Snarkology today. Maria participated in my 25 Days of Christmas Stories event in December and Paths to Publishing in January. I'm happy to welcome her back today so she can share her romance, UNTANGLE MY HEART, with us. Be sure to enter her Rafflecopter giveaway!
Thanks, Melissa, for having me on your blog today to celebrate the world-wide release of my contemporary romance, Untangle My Heart. I thought I’d share some insight about the main characters from Untangle My Heart and why writing them was so much fun.
Edward Weston has always walked on the wild side. Having been raised in a proper and reserved British household, he was taught to suppress his emotions from an early age. Contrary to his fraternal twin brother, Edward pushed the envelope and enjoyed small pranks when he was young. Pranks that often involved cutting classes or putting snakes in the governess’s room. When he was older, he ran with a racy crowd and spent his weekends—and often weekdays—indulging in alcohol and women. As a result, he earned a reputation for being reckless and irresponsible. It’s no surprise he has self-doubt issues to overcome.
Having battled cancer has put things into perspective for Edward and he’s moved to New York City to help his brother build their architectural firm. Now, he’s intent on proving his self-worth both to himself and his family. Somewhat unexpected and disconcerting is the more-than-a-one-night-stand feelings he’s developed for a fiery-tempered, family-oriented Italian girl from Northeast Philadelphia he had a three-week fling with over the summer. He knows Kate feels the chemistry between them but is too stubborn to acknowledge it.
Developing Edward’s character was fun because he’s reserved enough to drive Kate crazy. It seems as though no matter how well his intentions, he does or says the wrong thing to her. He usually backs off from complicated women, but finds himself tangled up in Kate and her family. He’ll need to battle his own insecurities to help Kate when danger lurks, prove his love and fill a void he didn’t know needed filling.
Kate DiFrancesco is from a family of loud-talking, hand gesturing Italians and often speaks first and thinks about the repercussions later. Dealing with a man who is quiet with words but can make her speechless with a glance is more than frustrating for this feisty heroine. Due to a tragedy in her past, Kate has closed off her heart to love. She’s built walls around her to keep people—especially men—away from her. And it’s worked…until Edward. What she thought would be a fun summer fling turns more when Edward moves from London to New York. Now, they work together and Kate is forced to acknowledge she still has feelings for him.
Even more annoying for this feisty heroine is that Edward sees through her act. Instead of running away like she wants him to, he’s determined to help her overcome the pain of her past. Through him connecting with her family, she sees there’s more to this self-proclaimed bad boy. But when things get tough and there’s more on the line then just sex, will he stay or will he prove he’s incapable of commitment?
I enjoyed writing Kate’s character because of the sexual tension I built between her and Edward. I loved the playful banter that left them both annoyed and yet tingling with desire. Second to writing the main characters, was the joy I got out of writing Kate’s family. Building relationships with her parents, siblings, and even her friends is an important element to this story.
Untangle My Heart is now available world-wide in both digital and print. From now through May 9th, you can enter my Rafflecopter contest for a chance to win a $25 Amazon or Barnes & Noble gift card.
a Rafflecopter giveaway
a Rafflecopter giveaway
When her marriage ended in tragedy, Kate DiFrancesco rebuilt her life, but has never gotten over the pain of what she lost. Seeking the help of an ex-lover ignites feelings she’s promised never to have again. She’ll need to untangle herself from dangers in her past in order to break the hard shell around her heart.
Edward Weston has a lot to prove, both to his stuffy upper-crust British family, and to himself. Working alongside Kate, a woman he had a casual relationship with, stirs unexpected feelings. Helping her family makes him realize what he's missing. For the first time, he wants more than a one-night stand.
When Kate is threatened, Edward must overcome feeling unworthy to protect the woman he loves and fight for the family he never thought he’d have.
Digital from The Wild Rose Press
In Print from The Wild Rose Press
“Privacy is a hard thing to find around here, so you may want to lock the door. Especially when you’re wearing only a towel and my sister is on the prowl.”“I’ll have to remember that,” Edward said, taking a step toward her. “I knew she was smitten, but didn’t think she would be waiting in the room after my shower. I was struggling with a tactful way of getting her out.”“I’m sure you’re not accustomed to asking a woman to leave your room.”He gave her an unapologetic grin. “No, usually not.”“I guess it’s partly my fault. I told her I don’t have any claims to you. Apparently she took that to mean it was open season to pursue you.”“Yet you stopped by. Why?”“I wanted to thank you again for your help today. You dropped everything to come and help my family and that means a lot to me.”He took another step toward her until he stood directly in front of her. “You mean a lot to me. I’d do anything I could to help you.”She nodded in acknowledgement, not sure she could trust her voice to speak with him all but touching her.“And you’re wrong about not having a claim on me.”His hands found their way to her waist. Her heart thumped and she knew she should pull back, wanted to pull back. But his blue-gray eyes held her in a hypnotic state and she couldn’t move.
Review by Melissa Snark:
UNTANGLE MY HEART is a full length contemporary romance set during the Christmas holiday season, and it delivers plenty of homey, heartwarming atmosphere. Friends and family are plentiful and the cast felt integrated and emotionally connected in meaningful ways. Dialogue and description are good. The story is well written but there was the occasional scene transition that felt a little awkward.
I loved the English hero and the glimpses of U.K. culture he brought to the table. The author does a wonderful job of capturing his mannerisms and his word choice—often overly-polite-yet-zing!-sarcasm–dovetailed with his characterization. I found myself reading Edward's dialogue and scenes with a British narrator speaking in my head, which made this a very fun read. He is portrayed as a playboy but he loses some credibility as a philandering rogue when he fails to bed the heroine's slutty sister. Obviously, I liked him a lot because I'm going on and on about him like a teenage girl.
Heroine Kate initially comes across as not so nice, making it a bit harder to connect with her. She gives the hero the hot/cold shoulder, which is a trait that usually annoys me, especially when there's not an immediate apparent reason for it. However, as the story progresses, the reader gains deeper insight into her characterization and my attitude toward her warmed once it became clear that she had lost a two year old son to a tragic death.
The charming cast of interesting secondary characters leaves the author options for future books in the series. As is often the case, my favorite supporting cast member wound up being a child. Lucas is an endearing little boy who connects with the heroine while allowing the audience to establish empathy and trust. Unsavory characters provide a good mix of external conflict and the right element of danger for a novel of this length.
As the story opens, the hero and heroine shared a torrid affair summer before but they are not currently involved. As they work together to save Kate's family restaurant, they develop a close friendship while rekindling their mutual attraction. I often complain about having wanted love scenes to have been hotter. That won't be happening this time. The sexual sizzle in UNTANGLE MY HEART burned up the pages and then floated away in a column of smoke. (There is NO "I close my eyes and think of England" in this story. NO SIREE.)
I received an ARC in exchange for a fair review.
AUTHOR Bio and Links:
A romantic at heart, Maria K. Alexander spent hours as a young girl getting lost in and wishing to be one of the heroines in the stories she read. Books gave her the ability to go to another world where she loved meeting new characters, learning about their problems, and watching them fall in love.
Maria blogs and shares her writing journey with her critique partners at: http://thevioletfemmes.com.
When not writing, Maria loves to read, bake, downhill ski, visit the beach, and watch romantic comedies. Maria lives in New Jersey with her husband and children, and writes in her “spare” time between juggling a full-time job and her kids’ busy schedules.
You can keep in touch with her at: http://mariakalexander.com.