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Archive for June 29th, 2009

Just saw on Twitter that Book Binge is looking to help a reader, Scooper, who lost all her books in a home fire. This hits way too close to home for me.

Several years ago my family lived in a townhouse that was connected to others. In all, our building had seven families in it. One of the neighbor’s started a grease fire. She had left chicken frying on the stove while she went upstairs to change her baby’s diaper. When she came back and saw the flames, she threw water at it. Oil + water = raging inferno that went out of control and wiped out the whole building in less than twenty minutes. It was a weekday and when it happened, most of the residents weren’t home. The only residents home that day were my family and this neighbor and her son. Thankfully no one was hurt and we were able to get everyone out before the fire department arrived. I can still remember standing away from the building and watching how fast the fire spread throughout the building. It was horrible. I remember thinking that as long as no one was hurt, things could be replaced. Lives couldn’t. So even though we lost everything, we were OK because I still had my husband and my girls. The neighbors all had their lives, despite thinking the neighbor who started the fire was an idiot , (who throws water on a grease fire?) I was still glad that she and her son survived that fire. What did it matter that everything else was gone? We were alive and that was the most important thing.

It wasn’t until a few days later that I thought enough to let some online friends know what had happened. I’ll never forget what happened next. Boxes and boxes of stuff starting arriving at the post office. Boxes filled with house stuff. And the books. Lord, boxes and boxes filled with books for me. Books for my girls. So many boxes. All filled with books. From friends. From authors. From people I didn’t even know but because the word had gone out online about what happened to us, they found it in their hearts to send someone they’ve never met books to help start a new collection to make up for all the books lost in the fire. This has been something that I’ve never forgotten because without the generosity and love of so many online people, people I probably will never have the chance to meet face to face to thank them, I was able to rebuild my TBR. Yes, it’s kind of out of control *now* but then, it was one thing I didn‘t have to worry about in between getting a new place to stay, making sure the girls stayed in the same school they were in even though we lived out of the district, bills that needed to be paid, etc.

So I’m asking you (OK, begging works too, if needed *g*) to look through Scooper’s list here, here and here and see if you have an extra copy of a book she’s read or a book you think she’d be interested in, and email Holly at Book Binge (holly @ thebookbinge.com without the spaces) for details on where to send the book and/or books.  Let’s help Scooper rebuild her collection, please!

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Love at First Flight

What if the guy in the airplane seat next to you turned out to be the love of your life?

Juliana, happy in her career as a hair stylist, is on her way to visit her boyfriend of ten years who’s working out of state. She’s wondering why they’re not engaged yet. Michael is going to his fiance’s parents’ home for an engagement party he doesn’t want. A states’ prosecutor, he’s about to try the biggest case of his career, he hates the distraction, and he’s having doubts about the relationship.

They sit together on the plane, and discover they’re on the same flight coming back. When the weekend is a disaster for each of them, they bond on the plane ride home. But life is full of complications, including their exes, who don’t want to let go, and when Michael’s trial turns dangerous, the two must confront what they value most in life…

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Thanks for having me today! As a reader of romance, I love turning points. Don’t you just live for that moment when these two individuals leave their separate selves behind and become one? Sometimes, one of them realizes the significance of this new relationship before the other. That’s what happens in my new book, Love at First Flight, in stores this week.

My characters, Michael Maguire and Juliana Gregorio, meet at the Baltimore airport on a Friday evening when they are on their way to visit their significant others in Florida. After they each endure a disastrous weekend, they meet up again on the flight home, striking up an unlikely friendship that leads to love. One of the things I love best about this book is the way Michael and Juliana are friends first and lovers second. Their love blossoms slowly and sweetly as they support each other through difficult breakups and challenging work and family situations.

I thought I’d share an excerpt from one of Michael and Juliana’s turning points, when he puts his heart on the line to tell her how he’s feeling . . .

Michael kept an arm around her as they went outside. Once they were in the car, he turned to her. “I’m not looking for a rebound, Juliana. That’s not what this is.”

“Then what is it?” she asked softly.

He ran a finger over her cheek to brush away a lone tear. “It’s not a rebound.”

“I don’t want it, Michael. Whatever it is. I love Jeremy.”

“I know you do, but you see, the thing is, I’m falling for you, Juliana.”

“What?” she asked, flabbergasted. She pushed his hand away from her face. “You can’t mean that!”

He kept his eyes locked on hers. “In the five days I’ve known you, you’ve given me more, been there for me more, done more for me than Paige did in four years. I knew I would care for you from almost the first moment I saw you. When I found you crying in the airport on Sunday, all I wanted to do was scoop you up and take you home with me.”

New tears wet Juliana’s cheeks. “You don’t know what you’re saying.”

He took her hand. “On Friday night I tried to get Paige to marry me right away. Do you know why?”

Juliana shook her head.

“Because I was terrified after I met you. I already knew everything was about to change, and I guess a part of me thought I should try to stop it. But I was powerless to stop it. In those first moments with you, I knew I wouldn’t marry her.”

“Michael,” she sobbed. “Stop. Stop saying these things.”

“Juliana, any man who would let you think, for even one minute, that you aren’t enough for him doesn’t deserve you.”

“Please,” she whimpered. “Please stop.”

With a hand to her chin, he turned her to him. “I knew I was falling for you when you jumped right in with Rachelle on Sunday night and did her hair. I knew it when I found you dancing in the kitchen when you were making me dinner. I knew it because my heart almost stopped when you told me someone hassled you on the street. I knew it when I heard you talking to Rachelle about what she saw, and you said all the right things—all the things she needed to hear.” He ran his thumb along her jaw. “And when I felt your fingers in my hair I knew I wanted them there always. Don’t tell me I don’t know what I’m saying.”

He leaned over to kiss her gently, without demand, and for one breathless moment, she let him. Then she pulled away. “Michael. My head is spinning. Please don’t.”

“I’m sorry. I know this isn’t a good time for you to be hearing this, but I couldn’t let you think this was about rebounds. I’m not going to pressure you or push you, so you don’t have to worry about that. I’m going to be so wrapped up in this trial for the next month or two I won’t have time for anything else. I just wanted you to know.”

“I can’t stay with you anymore. Not now.”

“Why? I just said I’m not going to do anything about it.”

“Because everything’s going to be weird between us.”

He took her hand again. “It won’t be weird because you’ll hardly see me. I don’t want you to go.”

“I don’t know… I’ll only stay if you promise not to mention any of this again. I can’t deal with it on top of everything else.”

“I promise I won’t say another word about it until you do.”

She pulled her hand out of his grasp. “That’s not going to happen.”

“We’ll see,” he said, starting the car to drive them home. “We’ll just see about that.”

© Marie Force, Sourcebooks Casablanca, 2009

What are some of your favorite turning points in romance novels or movies? What do you think of friendship that turns to love? I’ll give away a copy of each of my books—Line of Scrimmage and Love at First Flight—to commenters. If you’ve already read Line of Scrimmage, just let me know.

If you wish to discuss all the rules I broke in Love at First Flight, join me Monday, July 20, at 7 p.m. EDT on my blog (http://mariesullivanforce.blogspot.com) for a book club discussion. Warning, there will be spoilers, so make sure you read the book before the party! I’ll be giving away some great prizes to participants.

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Thank you, Ms Force!

Leave a comment to enter the drawing . (Limited to US and Canada residents, sorry!) Visit Ms Force at her website, www.mariesullivanforce.com

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