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Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Welcome Author Cate Lord

Thanks so much to You Gotta Read for having me as a guest!  Today, I’m going to be talking about one of my favorite elements of a romance novel:  the hero.

Creating a great story hero is no easy task.  While the ideal guy for writer chick moi might be tall, dark, intelligent, inventive, and charming, readers might be hoping for a blond, muscled, wisecracking millionaire-turned-surfer-dude.  However, I think it’s safe to say that when writing romance fiction, such as my Chick Lit style romantic comedy Lucky Girl, readers expect to meet a certain kind of hero.

The leading man of Lucky Girl is a dark-haired, fit, very sexy Brit named Nick Mondinello, who works for a marketing firm in London.  This is how the heroine, Jessica Devlin, describes him: “Up close, Nick’s features were even more stunning.  Prominent cheekbones. Firm, squared jaw.  Wide-set brown eyes.  He had the longest eyelashes I’d ever seen on a guy.  His skin was tanned, which meant he’d either been on an exotic holiday recently, or had spent a lot of time outdoors.  Playing rugby.  Kicking a soccer ball around a field.  Chasing girls.”  Nick, in one word?  Yummy!

The basic premise of the book is that Jess, the hardworking beauty editor of Orlando’s O Tart magazine, takes an overdue vacation to be maid of honor in her English cousin’s wedding.  Jess recently split from her unfaithful fiancé, and she’s ready to enjoy being twenty-nine and single.  However, she’s anxious about her trip, especially after an embarrassing episode two years ago following her beloved grandfather’s funeral.  That particular evening, grieving Jess had too much to drink, and Nick—a stranger to her—held her in his arms while she bawled.

She’s never forgotten Nick’s kindness, and wonders if she might see him while she’s in England, but knows that’s unlikely.  Guess what?  He’s at the wedding.  When their gazes lock, her memories of that night in the pub rush back to her.  Even worse, Nick is even more handsome than she remembered.  Although she knows Sex God Nick is Mr. Wrong, a playboy just like her dad who left when she was twelve, she can’t help her intense attraction to him.

When creating the character of Nick, I kept a few “ideal romance novel hero” elements in mind:

1) He’s a hottie.  Romances are, at heart, fantasies.  That means the heroes are breathtakingly gorgeous men.  They might have a scar or two (thanks to a tough life or an act of heroism), but these scars only add to their physical appeal.  And Nick is definitely appealing.  Women everywhere lust after him, partly because he looks like a younger version of James Bond actor Pierce Brosnan.  Nick is nicknamed Spy Man by Jess’s cousins for that reason.  He also has a delicious British accent that definitely adds to his hotness factor.

2) He’s got skills--and I don’t mean in the bedroom.  Since every romance novel hero is an amazing lover, there’s no point pointing out his prowess again.  By skills, I mean expertise the heroine doesn’t have, which makes him even more enticing to her and maybe even invaluable.  What could be better for a cash-strapped gal whose car keeps needing expensive repairs than a hero who is a dynamite mechanic?  In Lucky Girl, Jess can’t cook.  She hates cooking, because every recipe she makes ends up a disaster.  But Nick?  He’s a pro in the kitchen, and cooks everything from scrambled eggs to a traditional English dinner complete with roast beef, potatoes, and veggies.  What’s more romantic (and sexy) than a hot guy who’s an expert in the kitchen?

3)  He’s a good guy.  By “good,” I mean a man of honor.  He’s the kind of man who’d rush out in a storm to save a kitten stuck in a tree, or who’d help a frail elderly lady cross a busy road.  Nick was a hero two years ago, when he comforted Jess in her anguish over losing her grandfather.  Nick didn’t know her, but he recognized her pain, in part because in his youth he’d lost his dad to a heart attack, and knew just what to say to ease her torment.  That night won Nick a special place in Jess’s heart, and when she meets him again in England, that bond is still very much alive.  When they finally are a couple, but all looks lost for their happily-ever-after, Nick comes through in a way that I hope will bring happy tears to readers’ eyes.  For all that makes Nick a romance novel hero, he will always be a special guy to me.

Title: Lucky Girl
Author: Cate Lord
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Length: Novel
Release Date: September 6, 2011
ePub ISBN: 978‐1‐937044‐20‐6
Print ISBN: 978‐1‐937044‐21‐3
Blurb: Jessica Devlin isn’t looking for love. Heartbroken after being dumped by her unfaithful ex‐fiancé, she’s determined to have a fabulous time during her vacation in England where she’ll be maid‐of‐honor at her cousin’s wedding. After working overtime as beauty editor of Orlando’s O Tart magazine, avoiding dating, and putting on ten pounds, Jess isready to toss her past like an empty lipstick tube and party like a single gal.

But when she steps into the church on her cousin’s wedding day, she sees the one man who could sabotage her plan—James‐Bond‐gorgeous Nick Mondinello. She’s never forgotten the London marketing exec who held her in his arms after her beloved grandfather’s funeral two years

ago. Ambitious, and lusted after by women everywhere, Nick is completely wrong for guarded, Plain Jane Jess.Could Spy Man Nick ever fall for her? Nope. Not unless Jess is one lucky girl.

Bio:  Cate Lord is the contemporary pen name of multi‐award‐winning historical romance author Catherine Kean. Her novels have garnered numerous accolades, including two Reviewer’s Choice Awards and the Gayle Wilson Award of Excellence. Her books also finaled in the 2008 Next Generation Indie Book Awards and the 2008 National Readers’ Choice Awards.

Grateful for her wildly active imagination and plenty of story ideas, Cate is busy working on her next book.  She lives in Central Florida with her husband, daughter, and a very spoiled cat.

Connect with Cate:  Facebook  |  Goodreads  |  CateLord.com

Find Lucky Girl at Amazon | Amazon UK | Barnes & Noble | Powell's | BAM | Diesel | Books On Board
 




Cate Lord, Lucky Girl/Excerpt 3 (End of Chapter Two) 1
A boisterous rendition of Bach’s Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring started up inside the church. I glanced in. The pews were almost filled. I recognized Aunt Prim. She was impossible to miss, even from behind, her curly gray hair poking out from beneath her enormous white hat spattered with fuchsia, yellow, and pink flowers.


The groom, Andrew Castleton, a handsome guy with wavy blond hair, stood with his best man near the altar. Andrew clasped and unclasped his hands as if he couldn’t keep them still. Yup, I’d say he was nervous.
Anna and Charlotte moved to my side. When Andrew saw them, relief softened his features. He grinned, and I knew exactly what he was thinking: “Tilly, the woman I love, is here.”


My cousins giggled and nodded.


My attention shifted to the best man. Mmm. Tall, broad-shouldered—


Oh. My. God!


My heart jolted like I’d just stuck my pinkie into an electrical outlet.


Nick Mondinello. The man my cousins had whispered about years ago. Sex God. Playboy. Heartbreaker.
Spy Man.
He still looked like a younger version of Pierce Brosnan, the actor who’d starred in a couple of James Bond movies. Nick wore his dark hair shorter now and spiked with gel. He filled out his tailored gray suit very, very nicely.
Memories whooshed through my mind. The day after Grandpa George’s funeral. The Creaky Wicket Pub. The potted plant. Heat flooded my face, hotter than if I had yanked open an
Cate Lord, Lucky Girl/Excerpt 3 (End of Chapter Two) 2
oven set to ‘broil.’
Aaahhh! How could my mind torture me at a time like this?
Nick glanced at me. Vines seemed to have snaked up from the carpet and locked around my ankles. The heels of my sandals felt rooted to the floor. The murmurs and music around me faded into a weird, Twilight-Zone buzz.
Doo-dee-doo-doo, Doo-dee-doo-doo.


I forced my lips into a stiff, polite smile and adjusted my sweaty-handed hold on my bouquet. It would be just my luck to drop the pretty arrangement on the floor and turn it into a mangled hodgepodge.


Nick looked at someone on the other side of the church, and I exhaled noisily.


Then he looked at me again. He squinted, as though he was trying to place me. Maybe he was wondering why I was blushing so fiercely.


Severe sunburn. Hot flushes. Woman’s stuff.


I hadn’t blushed like this on my first date.


I held the roses tighter to my chest. Thank goodness the big bouquet would draw attention away from my boobs.
My face burned. Scorched, more like it. Embarrassing now, but not quite as mortifying as what I’d done two years ago.
Glancing away from Nick, I watched one of the ushers escort Aunt Cleo to a front pew, where she sat beside Aunt Prim.
I felt acutely alert, as if I was a taut spring, about to uncoil with a loud poing like a Jack-In-The-Box.


Cate Lord, Lucky Girl/Excerpt 3 (End of Chapter Two) 3


Was Nick still looking at me?


I struggled to quiet the desperate squeak rising in my throat. Maybe I was worrying for nothing. Maybe Nick didn’t even remember what had happened.


He’d been drinking that night. We all had. Some of us—specifically moi—a lot more than others.
I dared a glance. Nick nodded in response to something Andrew said. A smile curved Nick’s mouth.
Hushed voices along with the whisper of silk came from behind me. Valerie, Tilly, and my uncle had entered the church.
My belly squeezed tight. Any moment now, the ceremony would begin.


Dread shivered through me.


A countdown began ticking in my head.


Ten. . . nine. . .


Oh no. In the recessional, I would have to walk arm in arm with Nick. Help!


Seven. . . six. . .


Butterflies swooped in my stomach. My hands felt coated in olive oil. The ushers led the last of the guests to their pews.


Three. . . two. . .


When the guys returned, the organist paused for a moment then struck up a vibrant march.
The Wedding March.


Ping. The moment of truth was upon me.


Cate Lord, Lucky Girl/Excerpt 3 (End of Chapter Two) 4


I hadn’t prayed in months. But as the ushers began a slow walk up the aisle, I prayed I didn’t trip, stumble, or make a fool of myself.


Not in front of Tilly and my relatives.


Not in front of gorgeous Nick Mondinello.


Again.


Anna, Charlotte, and Valerie lined up ahead of me to begin their graceful stroll up the aisle. As I drew a deep breath, Nick’s gaze locked with mine.




He was still smiling.


In that moment, I knew without the teeniest bit of doubt.


He remembered.

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