Hello hello hello! It’s the weekend! And Blogiversary marches on! Today you see we’ve got Emma Barry visiting! Also (sorry to Ms. Emma Barry, but I just have to hijack this post a little bit) the NCAA Championship is on Monday, January 12th, and you should all know [by now] that I’m a Buckeye and just OHEMGEE!!! So you know, extra celebrations and festivities, okay? Not only that but Ms. Barry is a first time guest to ALBTALBS so I hope you show her lots of love! 🙂 Now … Emma!
Hello, I’m Emma. (bats eyes) Come here often?
I may be a bit nervous, but I’m grateful to Limecello for having me and during her blogiversary month too!
I’ve always been partial to January: it’s the beginning of the year and it’s my birthday month. And in just a few days, I have a new release: the latest book in my series about political staffers. Yes, that’s right, I’ve been writing romances about congressional aides, non-profit fundraisers, and bloggers. They’re all opposites-attract—bantery and messy, where professional life intrudes on the budding love. But Party Lines is the most opposite of all, because in it, we leave Washington for the campaign trail.
Michael Picetti: a cynical Democrat who has seen too many failed campaigns. It’s not his first primary, and it’s been a while since he’s truly believed policy and public good trump all.
Lydia Reales: young, hard-working, optimistic…Republican. Getting her candidate in office means everything to her, and leaves zero time for a love life.
Both are determined that opposites don’t attract—at least when it comes to crossing party lines. As aides for opposing presidential candidates, Michael and Lydia are competing in an industry that requires total loyalty to their side. It doesn’t matter that with each teasing encounter they’re more and more attracted to each other. It doesn’t matter that casual flirting escalates to a powerful physical connection. It doesn’t matter that they might not be able to step away from each other without consequences.
As the campaign rages on and a reckless affair becomes a relationship, the inevitable reality sets in. In the end, loyalty to the campaign has to win. It doesn’t matter at what cost.
But maybe we need to see these two in action. Here’s an exclusive excerpt:
Michael kept at it for hours, knocking on doors, checking off boxes and trying to forget that at any moment, Randall’s faulty zipper was going to rip the campaign in two. When he couldn’t take it any longer, he stopped by a coffee shop to thaw and check his email again. As if he might get a different response on Wi-Fi.
When it didn’t, he looked up and realized he was in line behind Lydia Reales.
She glanced at him, at the menu, back at him and finally at the wall. He snorted and cleared his throat, but she didn’t turn around again.
Speaking loudly and trying to embarrass her, he said, “Usually the women I buy dinner acknowledge me in public.”
“I acknowledged you,” she threw over her shoulder with an equal degree of force.
In the absolute barest sense, she had. But she seemed determined not to repeat the mistake. She was pretending to be absorbed by something on the bulletin board, so he took a step forward, until they were almost touching and murmured in her ear, “Technically.”
She smelled amazing, like shampoo and snow mixed in with the coffee and cinnamon of the place. He’d wanted her this close in that Iowa parking lot, but he suspected if he moved any closer now, she would hit him—which was an enormous part of her charm. Except he didn’t enjoy admitting she had any kind of charm because this was the wrong woman and the wrong moment.
He’d been up all night, he faced the destruction of a campaign into which he’d invested months and he was thinking about how good a woman smelled. And not just any woman, but one who seemed to know that his life was screwed, who might in fact be involved with screwing up his life.
Yup, he was totally in deep shit.
He should end this conversation, order his coffee and go back to his office. The apocalypse was coming, after all. But maybe he could get something out of her. At the very least, a few minutes of verbal sparring might make him feel better.
“You’re ridiculous,” she muttered, giving voice to his thoughts.
He rocked back on his heels. “I haven’t been sleeping much.”
“Really?” At that, he got a look. It was actually an examination springing, he suspected, from her knowledge about what was going down.
“Want to guess why?” he asked.
“Too much Sports Center?”
“Obsessed with the Home Shopping Network?”
She offered the words about five times louder than was necessary but with deepest sincerity. He erupted into laughter and the woman in front of them gasped.
“Sorry. You can’t take Emery Allen’s staffers anywhere,” Lydia said, still with the faux-sympathy.
He wheezed harder and inhaled her hair once more. The hysteria and fear must have been overriding his good sense.
He straightened in an attempt to compose himself and the line shuffled forward. Finally back to normal, he said, “No, that I’ve got under control. I didn’t sleep last night because—” he paused and waited for her to turn around. She might smell delectable, but he still needed to know if and how she was connected to this. “I was waiting for a story to break.”
To her credit, she didn’t look away. She didn’t blink or swallow or make any noise. But she stilled. In an almost imperceptible way, she focused and pulled herself together into a slightly tighter configuration. Whatever she was about to say, she knew exactly what story he had been waiting for.
“Did it post?” There was no false lightness and no lie in her voice.
He respected the hell out of her. “Not yet.”
They both ordered and paid. He did not buy her drink. She was, after all, about to ruin his life. He had some standards.
If you want to find out how long those standards hold up (and whether these crazy kids can work it out), it’ll be available on Tuesday. (Or Monday from Amazon!)
Er, so if you’re paying attention to this month you might be expecting … … but here! Shiny!!!