Monday, July 15, 2013

[Book Spotlight] The Bargain by Christine S. Feldman

Tomboy Shannon Mahoney has always been a lot more comfortable with things like power tools than she is with high heels or lipstick, and she often wishes she could reinvent herself and finally tell her perfect boss, Drew Kingston, that she has had a crush on him since high school.  But she is just as tongue tied and awkward around him now as she ever was, and long-familiar patterns are hard things from which to break free…

Until one day Drew’s estranged older brother Michael comes to town, bringing with him a surprising opportunity for Shannon.

Ladies’ man Michael is a former bad boy looking for redemption.  He is desperate to atone for past mistakes that he made with his family, but younger brother Drew has cut him out of his life and refuses to even speak to him.  Which means Michael needs help getting to Drew.

And so he approaches Shannon with a proposition:  if she will get Drew to agree to hear him out, Michael will mentor Shannon in how to win his brother’s heart.  Suspicious of Michael’s motives, Shannon initially enters into the bargain just to make sure Michael isn’t actually in town to cause trouble for Drew, but the two unlikely allies are surprised to discover that despite butting heads at first, they are beginning to enjoy each other’s company far more than either of them expected.

And Shannon starts to realize that maybe love isn’t about reinventing yourself after all.  It’s about finding your perfect match.

So, ten years…That would take it all the way back to high school, wouldn’t it?”
She nodded, still very deliberately working on getting just the right amount of ketchup on her fry so she wouldn’t have to look at him.
“Wait—were you and Drew in the same graduating class?”
“Then that would mean…so you and I were actually in school together?”
“For a year, yes.”
He gave her a very thorough once-over as if trying to place her. “You and I—we never hooked up in high school, did we?”
Shannon’s mouth fell open. “No, we certainly did not!”
“So is that why you were really so mad at me the other day?”
“What?” she sputtered hotly. “You are unbelievable!”
“Oh, so we did hook up.”
A slow grin spread across his face, and she realized he was playing with her.
Taking a deep breath, she bit back a name she had been about to call him. “You get a perverse pleasure out of yanking my chain, don’t you?”
“Kind of, yes.”
“Aren’t you afraid I might back out of the deal?”
“No, I think you realize it’s in Drew’s best interest. Besides,” he added with a knowing gleam in his eye, “I think you get a perverse pleasure out of putting me back in my place, so we’re developing a great little symbiotic relationship here. Don’t you agree?”
“What? Oh, I’m sorry. I’m still recovering from the shock of hearing such big words come out of your mouth.”

Michael started to laugh, and Shannon felt a kind of rush go through her.

Author Bio:  Christine S. Feldman writes both novels and feature-length screenplays, and, to her great delight, she has placed in screenwriting competitions on both coasts—and has even won a couple of them.  In 2012 one of her screenplays was featured as a staged reading in New York City at the Gotham Screen International Film Festival, and later that same year she signed her first publishing contract for her debut novel, Coming Home, with a second one to follow this summer.  When she is not writing, she is teaching kindergarten, puttering around in her garden, ballroom dancing with her husband, or doing research for her next project.  Please visit her at her website or on Facebook at

What sparked your interest in becoming a romance writer?
            I love writing, and I love romance, so I thought, “Hey, why not combine the two and see what happens?”  J  Plus, some of my favorite books are romances, and I love the fact that you can find such a wide range of styles within the genre.  Sweet, humorous, thrilling…you name it, romance has it!

What was the first romance novel you read that made an impression on you?
            One of the earliest I remember falling in love with was Morning Glory by LaVyrle Spencer.  The story of Ella and Will put me through the emotional ringer, and I loved every minute of it.

Tell us 5 surprising things about yourself.
1)     I love to ballroom dance! (that’s how I met my husband)
2)     I can ask where the post office is in Japanese, although it hasn’t come in all that handy yet…
3)     I know all the words to “Soft Kitty,” and I like to sing it to my husband (Big Bang Theory fans will get that…)
4)     Joss Whedon is probably my favorite writer/director of all time—and I can quote from a startling number of Buffy the Vampire Slayer episodes
5)     I’m addicted to any and all things Celtic

How did you get the idea for this particular novel?
            With The Bargain, I wanted to write an unconventional love story with an unconventional heroine.  I liked the idea of taking a girl who was an awkward tomboy that nobody noticed in high school and then actually having her wind up—years later—winning the heart of her high school’s former heartthrob—and also have her do it through an inner transformation rather than an outer one.

What is your favorite scene in your new release?
            Ooo, it’s a tough call!  I think my favorite one might be one in which the hero, Michael, comes to the rescue of the heroine, Shannon, in the midst of a humiliating social situation—and he does it in a very satisfying way.  Can’t really tell you more than that without giving too much away, but it’s right at the midpoint of the book, and it marks a big shift in their relationship.

Flirting Questions

What does love feel like?
            A little like coming down with the flu…feverish skin, upset stomach, sweaty palms…  Am I wrong?  J

When was your last kiss?
            This morning.  My hubby and I have a traditional “have a good day” kind of kiss every morning.  Corny?  Maybe.  But it works for us, and a little corny now and then is healthy.

What’s an absolute no-no in a relationship?
            One partner allowing the other to leave the house in anything made predominantly out of mesh fabric.  If you meet a man who thinks this kind of behavior is acceptable, run away, ladies!  Run away!

How did you meet your significant other?
            On the dance floor!  We met ballroom dancing—there’s a lot you can tell about a man from the way he leads you on the dance floor.

If you could take a romantic trip, where would it be?
             Shoot, there are a lot of countries I’d love to visit.  I suppose it would be cheating to just say “Europe”?  So if I have to narrow it down, I’d probably say…Italy.  No, wait—Scotland!  No—aw, dang it, this is hard.

Flirting Quickies:

Facial hair or clean shaven?
            Clean shaven.

Alpha or Beta?
            Beta.  (With hints of Alpha)

Planner or Panster?
            Total planner.  I’m wound very tightly.
Sweet or salty?
            Sweet, all the way!

Laptop or desktop?
            Laptop, because it’s mobile.
Beach or mountains?
            Mountains.  I used to spend summers on family vacations near the Grand Tetons.        
Cat or dog?
            Dog.  Specifically, beagle.
City or Country?
            Country girl.
Clubbing or candlelight dinner?
            Candlelight dinner—but can it be at a restaurant that also has a dance floor?
Backpacking or luxury hotel?

            Ideally?  After a day of backpacking, hubby and I would relax in a luxury hotel.  Sometimes you CAN have the best of both worlds.

Christine is so generously giving away a Kindle copy of The Bargain to one lucky commentor, so leave a comment about any type of BARGAIN you've made in the name of love and your email address. Winner will be chosen randomly.

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