The Engagement Embargo IS LIVE and it sounds like SO. MUCH. FUN!!! And guess what? The author is today’s newsletter sponsor, and we’re celebrating her new release with a fun guest post that she’s sent over, including fun facts about the book, and about herself (the M&M’s thing made me giggle)… plus an excerpt!!
Hey, Maryse!! Thank you so much for having me here today to celebrate the release of THE ENGAGEMENT EMBARGO!! This is the first book in my brand-new series – Meet Me at the Altar.
Here’s the back cover blurb:
Four failed engagements. One year-long hiatus on women.
Elliott Sullivan loves being in love, but after his latest romantic disaster, his friends and family finally put their foot down—no relationships or proposals for at least a year. Ready for his heart not to be squashed under another sexy high-heel, he agrees to fully embrace life as a perpetual bachelor. Which should be easy—especially when he recruits his sister’s best friend for help. Surely he won’t fall for her, no matter how perfect she seems…
Skylar isn’t sorry to see Elliott’s latest relationship go up in flames. She’s had a crush on him for as long as she remembers—not that anything can ever happen there. So when Elliott asks for her help to stop him from breaking his dating embargo, she jumps at the chance. They’ve spent time together before and nothing has come of it. So what could possibly go wrong this time?
Sticking to his embargo would be fine if all this time with Skye wasn’t making Elliott wonder if maybe the perfect girl had been in front of him all along.
Okay, so it is always scary and exciting starting a new series. Meet Me at the Altar features three best friends who have started their own wedding planning business – two of them handle all of the planning and organizing while the third is a baker who handles the desserts for almost all of their events. Each friend is going to get a story and we are starting with Skylar’s. The poor girl has the misfortune of being in love with her best friend’s older brother.
And yes, that best friend is also one of her business partners.
Not only that, but she’s had to stand back and watch the man of her dreams seemingly fall in love (and propose) to everyone but her. And his latest romantic disaster had Skylar standing right there witnessing the whole thing!
Needless to say, things get awkward and when she is tasked with making sure Elliott is holding up okay, she has to walk a fine-line between being his friend and fighting the feelings that just won’t go away! Damn them!!
I won’t give away any spoilers, but know this – THE ENGAGEMENT EMBARGO is a LOT of fun and filled with some steamy scenes and hysterical dialogue!
This book was a joy to write for a lot of reasons. Five of which I’ll tell you!!
- The story is “loosely” based on someone very near and dear to me. If he knew this, he’d kill me! Let’s just say in real life, it was three failed relationships, multiple proposals, and then me finally putting my foot down and saying ENOUGH! I shared that information with my publicists and they both were like “You have to write that story!” So here it is, but without acknowledging who the real inspiration was.
- Much like our heroine Skylar, I try to be as mild-mannered as possible. But secretly, I fantasize about punching or throwing things! In the book, she and Elliott go axe throwing and have a scene where they are using a punching bag. I would LOVE to do both to get out some aggression!
- Another way Skylar and I are alike, I can totally get down with some chocolate icing
- There’s a scene with Elliott’s grandparents at their anniversary party. This article was the inspiration for part of it: https://omaha.com/lifestyles/weddings/nebraska-couple-dons-original-wedding-dress-suit-in-sweet-photo-after-60-years-of-marriage/article_8db46711-559e-545d-bc87-d1fa54d6da9c.html
- Another personal experience that made its way into the book: My husband and I went to a wedding a couple of years ago where a friend of the bride was their officiant. It started out sweet, but then things got weird. Like awkwardly personal stories about him and the bride that if I were the groom, I would have punched that guy in the face! How could I possibly SIT on that kind of information and not use it in a book??? So yeah, be on the lookout for the incredibly inappropriate officiant!!
Last time I was here, I gave five fun facts about me just for the heck of it, so…I figured I’d try it again!
- I loathe wearing shoes of any kind. I prefer to be barefoot year-round
- I eat M&M’s two at a time and they have to be the same color (weirdo, I know)
- I am terrified of the cartoon “Underdog”
- I don’t drink wine
- I have a huge collection of Lumiere figurines from Beauty & The Beast
Thank you so much for having me here today!!
As a bonus, here’s an excerpt for you from THE ENGAGEMENT EMBARGO!! Enjoy!!
“You want me to what?”
“You throw it.”
“Are you crazy?” Skye cried, several weeks later. “Elliott, you have witnessed how freaking uncoordinated I am! Why would you suggest we throw axes?”
He shrugged. “I don’t know. It seemed like a great way to get out a little more…”
“Aggression. Yes, I know. You keep saying that.”
“Then why did you ask?”
Rolling her eyes, Skye questioned her own sanity. Not only was it crazy to keep hanging out with Elliott like this because, if anything, she was getting more attracted to him, but the activities he picked were just way out of her comfort zone.
“Maybe next week I can pick where we go, huh?” And before he could answer, she said, “Or maybe we can go and sit in your living room, order a pizza, and have a normal conversation about how you’re doing.”
“You said you didn’t want to go that route with the whole therapist thing,” he reminded her.
“I know, but I also know that I can’t keep up with things like this. Are you sure you’re not ready to do this with the guys yet?”
“I’ve seen them, but it’s still all about them encouraging me to hook up with someone as a way of moving on.” He shrugged. “I’m just not interested. I’ve said it before and I’ll keep on saying it; I’m done. My family was right and I wish they had all spoken up sooner because I’m finding that I’m much happier being single.”
“Oh, well…that’s good,” she murmured, staring at the axe again. “Great, actually. Good for you.”
He nodded. “I think so too. It’s just all so freeing! I’m finally doing stuff for myself and I realized just how much energy it took to be in a relationship! It’s like a giant weight has been lifted off of my shoulders!”
“So come on. Let’s do this!” He stood on the allotted spot and stared at the target. “You ready?”
“How about I just watch you? I’ve had a very mellow week and have no absolutely no aggression to get out. I think all of our activities cured me.”
With a patient smile, he faced her. “You’ve done great these past few weeks! Come on, admit it. You enjoyed the shooting range last week.”
It had been fun to shoot the targets once she stopped jumping at the sound of the gun firing. Elliott even took a picture of her in the classic Charlie’s Angels pose.
“And the batting range was fun, too.”
“Um…no, and I still have the bruises to prove it.”
“You wouldn’t have those bruises if you kept your eyes open,” he teased.
“A baseball was flying at my face at ninety miles an hour, Elliott!”
“Okay, okay, okay. You’ve been a real trooper; I’ll admit it. But I really want you to try this. Please! For me…”
“Oh, knock it off,” she huffed. “We both know I’m never going to get anywhere near that target and with my luck, I’m going to end up going to the emergency room because I’ve hit myself with the axe.”
“That’s why I’m going to help you,” he said, stepping behind her.
Like…really close behind her.
Skye felt like Elliott was pressed against her back from shoulder to toe. He gently gripped the hand that was holding the axe. “Okay, you need to relax,” he began.
Yeah, that was not going to happen…
One large hand rested on her hip while the other guided her through the motions of how to throw the axe. His breath was warm on her cheek as he talked her through what he expected her to do, and it took everything she had not to fall into a puddle at his feet.
“You got this, Skylar,” he said softly, and it always made her feel good when he used her full name. It was a silly thing, but for some reason, she loved it.
Her eyes squeezed shut as she raised her arm over her head. With her heart pounding, she said a silent prayer that she wasn’t going to hurt anyone and could just…get this over with.
“Open those eyes, brave girl, and think about something that’s really pissing you off,” he coaxed. “Something or someone that’s got you so frustrated and angry that you just want to hit it with something.”
It was as if Elliott’s face appeared on the target, and Skye heaved the axe with all her might.
And surprisingly, she hit the target.
“Oh, my God! I did it! I really did it!” And before she could truly process it, Elliott had her in his arms spinning her around.
“I knew you could do it!” he said, hugging her tight. “Good for you!”
She was getting dizzy both from the spinning and being in his arms, but she never let it show. When he placed her back on her feet, he was smiling down at her with pride.
“I can’t believe I really did it,” she said giddily. “Now it’s your turn. If I can hit the target, anyone can.”
With a nod, Elliott turned and picked his axe back up and got into position. He raised his arm slowly and grinned at her. “Bet I can do it with my eyes closed,” he said, oozing confidence.
“I bet you can too!”
Elliott closed his eyes and threw the axe.
And completely missed the target.
And the wall it was mounted on.
“What?!” he cried. “That’s not possible!” Angrily, he grabbed another axe, got back into position, and threw it.
Missing it again.
A string of curses were out of his mouth and Skye had to stifle a laugh.
For his third throw, he seemed to calm down, and this time he barely nicked the target. “That’s it! This is stupid! I’m not doing it again!” He stormed away and Skye had to chase him down.
“Elliott, come on! Don’t be like that.”
He turned on her. “How is it that you were able to get it and I can’t?”
“Um…for starters…wow,” she said with a hint of annoyance. “And maybe because I’m not as arrogant as you, I was able to actually focus.”
Staring down at her, she could tell he was still really angry and all she could do was smile up at him.
“And really, can’t you just give me this one? You totally kicked my butt at every other activity.”
That seemed to do the trick because he raked a hand through his hair and seemed to relax. “Yeah, okay.”
“How about this–we go and sit over in the concession area and talk for a little while and then we’ll go and try again. Okay?”
He nodded and she led him over to the snack bar where they each ordered a salted pretzel and a drink. Skye waited until they were seated at a table in the corner before she started talking.
“So,” she began cautiously. “How are you doing?”
“Right now, I’m pissed.”
“That’s not what I meant and you know it. I’m talking about overall. Are you still thinking all relationships are bad and embracing the embargo?”
He let out a small snort. “Every time I hear that word, it gets to me. And honestly, it’s the best thing my family could have done for me. So yeah, I’m embracing it and feeling really good about my future.”
That was…a little shocking. “You’re thinking about the future?”
“Absolutely,” he said around another bite of pretzel. “The way I see it–and I know it’s a cliché–but the world truly is my oyster! I’m going to travel where I want, probably sell my house and move into something a little smaller, and I’ll probably do the same with my car and get something sportier. I’ve been so damn practical and boring for years that I’m really looking forward to embracing bachelor life.”
“How is that possible?” she blurted out before she could stop herself. “A month ago, you were the poster boy for wanting to get married and have kids and a dog! You’re the guy who proposed to four different women in your quest to achieve your goal of having the American dream! And now you’re telling me it’s as easy as flipping a switch?!”
And yeah, Skye realized her voice was getting louder and she was sounding a bit like a crazy person, but…she couldn’t seem to help it.
For years, she had to sit back and watch Elliott fall in love over and over and over and never with her. And she compared every guy she dated during that time to Elliott, because she wanted everything Elliott did! And now she was left wondering if he ever truly wanted to get married or he thought he was supposed to want it because of his family!
“Geez, lighten up,” he said, frowning. “I don’t know why you sound so upset about it. I would think you’d be happy that I’m moving on.”
It was on the tip of her tongue to argue that she wished he didn’t keep going to such extremes because not all women were like Tracy.
Or the other three.
Hell, she wanted to yell that she wasn’t like them and demand that he see her!
But she didn’t.
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Samantha Chase is a New York Times and USA Today bestseller of contemporary romance that’s hotter than sweet, sweeter than hot. She released her debut novel in 2011 and currently has more than sixty titles under her belt – including THE CHRISTMAS COTTAGE which was a Hallmark Christmas movie in 2017! When she’s not working on a new story, she spends her time reading romances, playing way too many games of Solitaire on Facebook, wearing a tiara while playing with her sassy pug Maylene…oh, and spending time with her husband of 28 years and their two sons in North Carolina.
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