Please welcome guest author Marianne Rice to the Cafe!
I love talking about men, posting pictures of their abs, shoulders, eyes, arms…you name it. And while I absolutely adore the hilarious Cole Tucker, the hero in False Impressions, who has a pick up line—appropriate and inappropriate—for all occasions, today I’m going to focus on the heroine, Samantha Chase.
While False Impressions has a light, fun tone to it, Sam has lived through every woman’s worst nightmare. Just days before giving birth to her son, Sam’s husband and toddler were killed by a drunk driver. As a wife and mother of three, I simply cannot fathom the every day pain of experiencing such a trauma.
Since I write fun contemporary romance I didn’t want to focus too much on the grief, but on the strength of moving forward after experiencing the most horrific loss a woman can imagine.
She felt guilty for loving her newborn, not wanting him to take the place of her daughter. It took a few years of her family’s support—even though they were a bit over-bearing—to learn how to keep her daughter’s memory alive and love her son as well. After five years of mourning her husband and daughter, she needs to prove to herself that she can provide for her son without the daily meals and check-ins from her loving family. Somewhere where people don’t know about her past and aren’t afraid to talk to her and cast pitying glances at her when she walks by. A place where she can raise her son and start fresh. Move forward. She’ll never forget her husband or daughter, but she has to start living for her son. Growing up with three brothers and a father who are all into construction, plumbing or electrical work, she knows her way around a workbench and gets a job at a construction site. She’s tiny, perky, tough, and catches Cole’s eye the second she hops out of her work truck.
She’s nervous about moving on with her life, afraid she’ll lose the memories of her husband if she dates other men. I love how Sam handles Cole’s pick-up lines. She doesn’t fall at his feet—even though he’s heart-stoppingly gorgeous—and banters freely with him. He makes her laugh again, something that’s been locked away for five years, and her long forgotten smile returns as well.
And I love how Cole interacts with Levi, Sam’s son. He’s a kid at heart with his own skeletons (no spoiler alerts here!) and as his friendship and relationship with them develops, he learns to forgive himself for his past and move forward with his life as well.
This book isn’t about grief; I didn’t feel I could do that theme justice. Instead it focuses on the rebuilding of one’s life and getting past the guilt to a point where the hero and heroine can finally accept love and laughter into their lives again.
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Recovering alcoholic and former party animal, Cole Tucker would be an idiot to start something with his newly hired right-hand woman, Samantha Chase. It figures he can’t seem to keep his mitts of the sexy, five-foot-nothing single mom who can toss a sack of shingles over her shoulder and rewire a house better than the crew from Extreme Home Makeover. Her incredible strength and self-confidence draw him in; something Cole has pretended to have for years. All he has to show for himself is his uncanny use of pick-up lines, a hand-me-down farm and some small-town rental properties. When he learns Samantha’s husband and daughter were killed by a drunk driver, the shame of his past experience with a DUI and near-death accident is the last thing he wants to mention to her.
Samantha has no problem accepting her new boss, flaws and all. His simple life is charming and exactly what she hoped to find for herself and her son in Newhall, New Hampshire. Cole wins her over by befriending her fatherless son and making her laugh again, something she hasn’t done in four years. When she learns about his shady past with the bottle, her heart tells her to forgive, but the painful memories of her past are too deep to overlook.
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Marianne Rice writes contemporary romances set in small New England towns. Her heroes are big and strong, yet value family and humor, while her heroines her smart, sexy, sometimes a little bit sassy, and are often battling a strong internal conflict. Together, they deal with real life issues and always, always, find everlasting love. When she’s not writing, Marianne spends her time buying shoes, eating chocolate, chauffeuring her herd of children to their varying sporting events, and when there’s time, relaxing with fancy drinks and romance books.
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