Guest Blogger: Brenda Novak

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Can she ever trust another “bad boy”? 

India Sommers once had the perfect family—until an ex-boyfriend broke in and shot her husband. Not only did that cost her the man she loved, a respected heart surgeon and the father of her child, but she also feels responsible. Charlie died because of the people she hung out with before she had the strength to change her life.

Just after moving to Whiskey Creek with her little girl, Cassia, to start over, she’s learned that her ex-boyfriend’s trial ended in a hung jury. He’s getting out of jail; he could try to find her again. And that’s not all that scares her. She’s extremely attracted to her next-door neighbor, but Rod Amos is the handsome “bad boy” type that’s given her so much trouble in the past. If she got involved with him, her in-laws would sue for custody of Cassia.

India has to keep her distance from Rod—but the more she gets to know him, the more difficult that becomes.

PRAISE FOR THE WHISKEY CREEK SERIES:

“Another Whiskey Creek novel is just what readers need to satisfy their craving for a romance that tugs at the heartstrings.” RT Book Reviews on A Winter Wedding, Top Pick

“This Heart of Mine is a potently emotional, powerfully life-affirming contemporary romance that can be read and enjoyed on its own, but it also serves as an excellent addition to Novak’s popular Whiskey Creek series.”–Booklist, starred review

“Another engrossing addition to Novak’s addictive series.”–Library Journal on This Heart of Mine, starred review

“Novak’s Whiskey Creek novels are a favorite among romance readers because of their small-town charm… Novak never disappoints.” RT Book Reviews on This Heart of Mine, Top Pick

“Once again Novak’s Whiskey Creek springs to life in all its realistic, gritty Gold Country glory as two determined, likable people come to terms with their pasts and give love a chance. This poignant, heartfelt romance puts a refreshing spin on the classic reunion/secret baby theme.”–Library Journal on Come Home to Me

From the Author: Brenda’s Top-10 Romantic Foods

Food can mean many things—calories to keep you alive, the vegetables your kids don’t want to eat, or the fast food burger you grab when you’re short on time. But it can also be something more – a romantic adventure of captivating tastes, smells, and feelings. If you’re looking to turn up the heat in your relationship, here are a few foods that will make you and your partner feel a little weak in the knees:

1. Chocolate
How could we not start here? Smooth and creamy, chocolate is king! Depending on your diet, it may even be a little naughty. It’s also believed by many to be an aphrodisiac, and while science is a little hesitant to agree, I have a hard time arguing to the contrary. 😉 My new love? Dark chocolate with sea salt. Decadent!

2. Steak
Okay, this is where all of you vegetarians cringe (and you’ll definitely want to skip this one), but there’s something carnal and satisfyingly primitive about tearing into a steak. A woman can see her date doing it and have the exciting feeling that he’s going to throw her over his shoulder and take her back to his cave. For a man, there’s really nothing more encouraging than seeing his date eschew the prim salad, roll up her sleeves and go for it. (Or maybe I just want to believe this, since steak is one of my favorites foods! LOL)

3. Whipped cream
Light, delicious, and it goes well on everything: on ice cream, on fruit, on – dare I say – your partner’s body? This versatile treat can turn a regular night into something fun and surprising.

4. Raw oysters
Okay, I’m giving this one on faith for the more adventurous among us, because I can’t pretend I’m speaking from experience. (Presenting me with raw oysters would probably be the quickest way to “kill the mood.” LOL) But…unlike chocolate, whose aphrodisiac status is perhaps a bit more placebo-oriented, oysters actually do contain amino acids that are said to increase sex drive. Since its powers of passion are well-documented, it also sends a clear message about how you plan to end the night.

5. Sushi
There’s a lot of discovery here – what you like, what you don’t, how to finally get those damn chopsticks to work so you don’t look too silly. A sushi date is an odyssey of unique flavors, not to mention that many of the rolls are art on a plate. And a sushi date practically requires that you share with each other. What’s more romantic than that?

6. Strawberries
They’re bursting with flavor, heart-shaped, and you can feed them to each other. These delectable sweet berries are great for bringing out your playful side and helping you slow down and focus on each other. Bonus points if you get them involved with my #1 (chocolate) or #3 (whipped cream) selection.

7. Spaghetti and meatballs
Counterintuitive? Perhaps. You might think you’d never want to order this one on a date because it’s messy to eat, but that’s exactly why you should. If you and your date commit to this sloppy Italian meal, it’ll force you to stop trying to be perfect and get comfortable with each other. There’s just something about a partner who’s willing to get a little dirty, isn’t there? 😉

8. Something spicy
This time I am speaking from experience, because I love nothing more than a lot of flavor. Whether it’s Indian food, Thai food, Mexican food, or just throwing a handful of jalapeños into the dish, sometimes there’s no better way to spice things up than actually spicing things up. (Is it hot in here, or is it just you?)

9. Lobster
Want to make a night special? Add lobster. It’s succulent, it’s indulgent, and what can be better than a meal that comes with a tiny bowl of butter sauce for dipping? When you’re looking to create a night to remember, sometimes it’s worth it to splurge, because the splurge alone says, “You’re important to me.”

10. Fondue
Always a sure bet for a great date. You can go out to do this, or you can do it at home with a small crockpot. It’s interactive and gratifying to just keep dipping. And we’re talking about a huge bowl of creamy cheese. How can anybody not love that? Even better, you can end the night right where we started—with chocolate.

Remember, there’s a little bit of romance wherever you look. It can be a place or a book or even your dinner. So, next time you’re at the grocery store, drop a couple of these items in your cart. You may be glad you did.

BrendaNovak_AuthorPhotoAbout the Author

New York Times & USA Today Bestselling Author Brenda Novak is the author of more than fifty books. A five-time Rita nominee, she has won many awards, including the National Reader’s Choice, the Bookseller’s Best, the Book Buyer’s Best, the Daphne, and the Silver Bullet. She also runs Brenda Novak for the Cure, a charity to raise money for diabetes research (her youngest son has this disease). To date, she’s raised $2.5 million. For more about Brenda, please visit http://www.brendanovak.com.

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