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Sunday, August 26, 2012

This Sunday I welcome guest author Donna Fasano

It's a great pleasure to welcome Donna Fasano to the blog today for the Sample Sunday feature.
Donna Fasano is an award-winning, bestselling author of romance novels and contemporary women's fiction. Her books have sold 3.6 million copies worldwide.
Why I Write Romance Novels
By Donna Fasano
I can’t tell you how many times over the course of my 20-plus year career as a published romance author I have been asked, “When are you going to write a real book? You know, a [insert genre of choice: mystery, family saga, historical, thriller, horror, western, etc].” So I’d like to take this opportunity to tell readers why I write romance novels.
I suffered a lot of tragedy while I was growing up, the worst of which was losing my mother just as I was entering my teens. I felt as though I went from 13 to 35 overnight, and when my friends were off having fun, I was cooking and cleaning and helping my little brother with his homework. Romance novels were an escape for me. The Wolf and the Dove, The Far Pavilions, Whitney My Love, Rebecca, The Thorne Birds…if the book featured one man and one woman falling in love, I read it! Romance novels offered me hope for a happy future filled with love (hokey, yes, but I was young). As a young wife and mother, I discovered Silhouette Romance Novels. These books were short and sweet and uplifting. Each and every story put a smile on my face, and the happily-ever-after endings always boosted my spirits. Are romance novels real? No. Does every relationship end in HEA? Of course not. But if I wanted doom and gloom, I’d watch the evening news.
As an author, I can’t think of a better way to use my talent than to bring pure enjoyment to my readers. I tell people that I write cotton candy for the mind. Think about that. When you were a kid and you put a small cloud of that wispy confection on your tongue, what did you do? You smiled. And maybe you even laughed. That’s the reaction I’m going for with my short, upbeat stories. That’s why I write romance novels. So if you’re looking to get lost for a few hours in a fun, cheery story, I hope you’ll try one of my books.

About my newest book, Her Fake Romance:

"Mom, get a life!"

Her teenage daughter's words were daunting. True, struggling single mom Julia Jones hadn't had a date in over a decade, but she could still catch a man–if she needed to! So Julia, who claimed not to want a husband, found herself entangled in a fake romance.

Ryan Shane was tall, dark, and devastatingly handsome. And he just so happened to need a no-strings date himself. Their plan was perfectly thought out. Until a conveniently staged good-night kiss turned into very inconvenient passion…

This book contains bonus material that includes several delicious recipes!

Julia's Thoughts on Motherhood

Help! My fourteen-year-old daughter has been struck with a horrible disease. Hormones! Kelly has fallen head over tush for a boy (she's in lurve, is how she puts it) and she's breaking the rules and turning into a complete rebel, all for sake of being with him. I don't like it. Not one bit. I'm afraid the months ahead are going to give me a headful of gray hair.
Haven't I tried to be a good role model? Someone she can look up to? Don't I strive to be an independent woman? A good single Mom? I was floored when my daughter used all these qualities against me. She called me boring. Said I didn't know how to rage (from context clues I figured out this could mean anything from attending a school dance to just hanging out with friends; in essence, she's saying I don't know how to have fun).
Looks like she's going to force me to bend a few of my own rules. But I'm not worried. Because I have a plan. A plan that involves a man who will help me prove to Kelly that I'm not so dull after all. I'm going to show her I can rage with the best of 'em!
I have complete control over this situation. I can handle my rebellious wild child. I can handle having a man in my life (seeing that he's only going to be around for such a short time). I can handle this... as long as I don't do something foolish... like fall head over tush in lurve.



Chapter One
 Julia Jones took the left turn with just enough speed to make her tires cry out in complaint. Then she gripped the steering wheel as she barreled down the narrow, curving lane that would take her to her partner's big, rambling farmhouse. She was acutely conscious of the deserted county road, relieved, in fact, that she could take her aggression out on the pavement.
She'd been angry as a riled hornet when she'd left her Wilmington town house, stinging mad at Kelly, her teenage daughter. And it seemed the twenty-minute drive through the lush, rolling hills of Hockessin, Delaware hadn't lightened Julia's black mood one bit. She sure hoped Charlotte would have some of her famous chamomile tea waiting. But she doubted even the most potent herbal concoction her business partner could come up with could calm the dismay that had her head and her stomach churning. What she needed was a stiff shot of whiskey.
Teenagers! Damn, Julia thought, raising one was enough to turn a mother to alcohol.
The idea actually made one corner of her mouth curl, despite her dark mood. Charlotte would laugh at her, knowing Julia rarely touched anything stronger than an occasional glass of wine.
As she passed under the dense overhang of tree branches, unbidden images of Kelly flitted through her mind. Julia pictured her dark-haired daughter as she'd been in years past: in a layered tulle tutu twirling onstage; with the proud offering of a handmade gift of brightly tinted noodles made into a necklace; in shiny patent-leather shoes on her first day of school.
When exactly had ballet and piano lessons become passé in her daughter's mind? "Too lame" as Kelly would say. Sighing wistfully, Julia wished she could go back to those days gone by when Kelly's gaze had been filled with nothing but adoration and love whenever she had looked into Julia's eyes.
She whispered through gritted teeth, "If I could, I'd stuff her butt back in that little tutu in a minute."
Julia drove around Charlotte's white farmhouse and parked near the kitchen door. Where had the years gone? Julia wondered. Time had flown by like a rocket. And now Kelly was a teenager. A teenager who had begun making irrational demands.
Getting out of the car, Julia noticed that she felt trembly inside. She opened the trunk and lifted out the hefty case of Cornish hens. The party she and Charlotte were catering this evening was small, but as proud owners of Gold Ribbon Catering, both women were in agreement that their food would be fresh and delicious whether they served twenty-five people or two hundred and fifty.
Julia leaned back against the weight of the ungainly box as she made her way to the door. In just a moment she'd be standing in Charlotte's large kitchen, filling the cavities of these small birds with the special wild rice stuffing that had become a Gold Ribbon signature as she told her friend and partner all about her problems with Kelly.
Tactful Charlotte never took sides or gave advice when Julia discussed her difficulties with Kelly. But she was sure Charlotte would have something to say about this latest mother-daughter argument.
Dating, for goodness' sake. Dating boys! Quite frankly, the mere idea of her daughter going out alone with some strange boy made Julia shudder.
Wedging the heavy box against her hip and the door jamb, Julia freed one hand and knocked lightly on the glass windowpane.
Kelly was only fourteen years old. She was definitely too young to date. Julia had pointed out that fact, swiftly and unequivocally stamping out any notion in her daughter's head of going to the movies tonight with that boy. And the fact that Kelly had lamented that he was "just the cutest guy in the whole ninth grade" hadn't softened Julia's decision one bit. If anything, that tidbit of information had only strengthened her resolve. It was the cute ones a mother had to watch out for!
The Cornish hens slipped in her grasp, and Julia was forced to make a quick grab to keep them from falling to the ground. That's all she needed... to see two dozen tiny bird carcasses rolling around in the flower bed.
Where was Charlotte? These hens were getting heavier by the second.
Julia knocked again. This time with a little more force.
"Charlotte," she grumbled out loud, her tone complaining, "where are you?" She fumbled awkwardly in her purse for her ring of keys and let herself inside the spacious kitchen.
Now groaning under the weight, Julia shuffled to the oak table and set down the box.
"Hey," she called, "is anybody home?"
The house was quiet. She gazed around at the honey-oak cabinets with their hand-painted porcelain handles. Julia loved this room. Loved this house. Charlotte had purchased it eighteen months ago using part of her divorce settlement as a down payment.
Julia had known Charlotte for years. As the sole owner of Gold Ribbon back then, Julia had catered many of the dinner parties Charlotte had organized for her husband, an affluent and well-known Wilmington businessman. And Charlotte's passion for cooking kept her in the kitchen much of the time during those parties.
After Charlotte's divorce, Julia had been stunned by the way the woman had picked herself up, dusted herself off and gotten on with life. Charlotte had approached her about a position at Gold Ribbon as a chef. Although she knew her friend had absolutely no head for business, Julia also realized that Charlotte's uncanny talent with food would be a definite asset to her catering company. But Gold Ribbon had been a small proprietorship, and the profits brought in by the business hadn't allowed for the salary of another chef. So Julia had had to turn Charlotte down.
Then Charlotte had made a surprising offer—she'd buy her way into Gold Ribbon. That's when Julia realized just how large Charlotte's divorce settlement had been.
Julia hadn't blinked an eye. She'd taken Charlotte up on her offer, knowing Gold Ribbon would profit, not only from Charlotte's culinary abilities, but also from the woman's huge resource of potential customers—all those friends she'd made while being married to that affluent businessman. Now she and Charlotte had more catering jobs than they could handle. Julia took care of the business end of things—advertising, scheduling parties, billing, ordering and buying supplies—while Charlotte stuck to what she did best: slicing, dicing, baking, simmering... anything that had to do with food preparation.
Their partnership had turned out to be successful. Extremely so. Charlotte had become more than a partner, though. She'd become Julia's best friend.
The sound of water running in the upper regions of the house caught Julia's attention.
What the heck was Charlotte doing taking a shower at one o'clock in the afternoon? A frown bit into Julia's brow as she looked toward the back staircase. She was certain Charlotte expected her. They'd talked on the phone just yesterday afternoon. Didn't Charlotte realize they had hens to stuff? Green beans to snap? Vichyssoise to prepare?
She went to the refrigerator and pulled open the door. Thank goodness the wild rice stuffing was ready and waiting. Julia reached for the large stainless-steel bowl.
A teakettle began to whistle, jerking Julia's attention to the stove behind her. Leaving the bowl of stuffing where it sat, she automatically crossed the room and turned off the gas flame.
"What are you trying to do, Charlotte," she murmured under her breath, "burn down your beautiful house?"
Julia heard the shower cut off suddenly. There was a loud thumping of feet as Charlotte raced across the bathroom floor. Julia bit back a smile. Her friend must have remembered the teakettle and was hurrying to check on the boiling water.
Charlotte was absentminded, but the woman always remembered. A little late sometimes, but she always remembered. Julia had learned to work around Charlotte's scattered thinking, a good example being yesterday's phone call, a reminder of tonight's catering appointment and their one o'clock meeting to prepare the meal.
Cocking her head, Julia felt there was something... strange about the sound of those footfalls, though. She cocked her head a fraction, trying to figure it out. Somehow they sounded heavy. Much more solid than they should have.
Her gaze swiveled toward the stairs, and it seemed that time slowed to a near halt. Bare, muscular calves came into view. Julia's eyes rounded when she saw the knees and steel-like thighs.
If those were Charlotte's legs—Julia's gaze widened even more—then the woman had decided to make some sort of hairy, primeval fashion statement.
Julia was so taken aback by the sight of the towel-clad man that she couldn't speak, couldn't move. And he was in such a rush to get to the kitchen that he didn't even see her standing there by the stove until he was in the middle of the room. Her presence brought him to a sudden, startled halt.
His mouth parted, but no words passed his lips. A tiny, intriguing crease appeared between his tawny eyebrows. His blue eyes blinked once, twice.
Gee, had she ever seen eyes that blue? And that face. Men this attractive usually graced the covers of glossy fashion magazines.
The unbidden thoughts momentarily sidetracked the mute-inducing surprise that had walloped her like a swift uppercut to the jaw. One corner of her mouth ticked upward in the smallest of appreciative grins. If he were to appear on the cover of any magazine, her admiring musings silently continued, he'd have to wear something a little less... revealing.
Her eyes blazed a purely spontaneous path down the length of his body. Crystal droplets of water clung to his smooth neck and broad shoulders; the rivulets cascading down his tanned skin were evidence of how quickly he'd exited the shower. His well-formed pectorals glistened with damp, golden curls. Mesmerized now, her gaze followed the satiny hair as it tapered into a vee just above his taut stomach. She simply couldn't resist taking a quick peek at his well-defined abs. A true six-pack, she surmised. This man obviously took excellent care of his body.
The fluffy white towel that was wrapped around his waist exposed a healthy slice of muscular thigh, and before she realized it, she found herself staring at his nicely shaped feet.
He shifted his weight and suddenly Julia returned to her senses, realizing the blatant manner in which she'd appraised this... this... complete stranger. She swallowed, her gaze flying to his face as she felt her cheeks suffuse with heat.
One full brow was quirked upward, and his blue eyes held an unreadable expression that for some reason only served to heighten Julia's embarrassment.
And for the span of one quick heartbeat, she wondered if she should feel endangered by the nearly naked man who stood in the middle of Charlotte's kitchen. But the thought didn't last long, because for some reason it seemed unimaginable that he might threaten her in any way. The vibrations she sensed emanating from him had nothing to do with danger. What she did perceive, though, was his bewilderment regarding who she was and what she was doing here.
Well, those exact questions were rolling around in her mind, too.
It seemed that many long minutes had passed since the teakettle had whistled and the man had rushed into the room. Julia knew, however, that everything had happened within the ticking of just a few short seconds.
Say something, darn it, she silently commanded. The longer you stand here gawking, the longer you look like a complete and total idiot.


If you enjoyed this excerpt of Her Fake Romance by Donna Fasano and would like to buy a copy, you can purchase this e-book at these on-line vendors:





About the author: Donna Fasano is a bestselling, award-winning author of over 30 romance and women's fiction novels. Her books have sold over 3.6 million copies and have been published in nearly 2 dozen languages. Since becoming an Indie Author, she has seen her books make both the Kindle and the Nook Top 100 lists. Donna loves to hear from her readers. Connect with her online via her blog, or Facebook, or Twitter.

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