Metal Mouth. Queen Geek. Dr. Payton Pruitt heard it all growing up. But she’s over it, and attending her ten-year high school reunion is the perfect way to prove it to herself. Even if there’s only one person she’s interested in seeing in Bitterthorn, Texas: Wiley Sharpe.
Now a respected lawyer, Wiley didn’t live down to the label Most Likely to Be Slapped with a Paternity Suit. But recent acts of vandalism suggest someone still sees him as a heartbreaker, and the reunion seems a likely place to find the culprit. Instead, Wiley comes face-to-face with his old pal Payton—and is wowed not only by her transformation into a ravishing swan, but by the connection they still share.
Payton is pleased the playboy she used to tutor has grown into an honorable man, but she’s too smart to fall for a guy with roots in a place she couldn’t wait to leave. But while Payton is an academic genius, Wiley is the one with the PhD in pleasure, and he intends to use it to convince her to stay…
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Friends Make the Best Lovers...
First, thanks to Anna for allowing me to hop onto her blog to chat about my latest contemporary romance, UGLY DUCKLINGS FINISH FIRST!
You know that friend who backs you up like a gangster even when you’re in the wrong, or the pal who knows you’re crazy, but it’s okay because they’re probably taking the same medication you are? I adore that kind of friend. There’s nothing better… except when friends like that fall in love.
When it comes to romance novels, the friends-to-lovers trope is an automatic buy for me. I’ve broken fingernails in my haste to grab up books that have this as a theme. There’s just nothing sexier than someone who knows every last bit about you—warts and all—and holy crap, they love you anyway. For example, the H/h in my latest release, UGLY DUCKLINGS FINISH FIRST go back all the way to high school. Payton was queen of the geeks and Wiley was a star athlete voted Most Likely To Get Slapped With A Paternity Suit. But this odd couple always clicked. When their high school reunion rolls around, that click is the ignition that fires up a passion that had been there all along.
I had a ball forming Payton’s insecurities that stemmed from the time when she was an ugly duckling. Usually I don’t enjoy such things, but since it was Wiley’s job to destroy all those insecurities, I reveled in it. Honestly, I want a Wiley in my life. From the beginning, even when Payton was in braces and glasses, he cherished whatever time he could spend with her, and defended her when no one else would. He’s such a hero! *fangirl sigh*
When you come right down to it, friends who become lovers have the deepest intimacy there is. They know each other’s secrets and trust each other utterly. That kind of trust can be so sexy, don’t you think?
FYI: Be on the lookout for the second Bitterthorn book, STARTING FROM SCRATCH, a Carina Press holiday novella coming this November and edited by the amazing Angela James!
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