Absolute Favorite Books

Absolute Favorite Books

Own the Wind
Motorcycle Man
Wild Man
Lady Luck
Rock Chick Revenge
Leave Me Breathless
Nobody's Perfect
Fifty Shades of Grey
Fifty Shades Darker
Fifty Shades Freed
Tied with Me
My Unexpected Forever
The Reluctant Dom
Wild and Free

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Thursday, November 13, 2014

Promo Blitz --- Forked by Melanie Harlow (with Giveaway, Interview, Exrtras)


Title:    Forked (Frenched Series Book #2)
Author:   Melanie Harlow
Genre:   NA, Contemporary Romance, Humor
Release Day: October 20, 2014    



Twenty-eight year old Coco Thomas knows the recipe for disaster:

1) Agree to plan last-minute engagement blowout for spoiled Mafia princess before you realize her choice of caterer is Nick Lupo, a despicably gorgeous young chef with a hot new restaurant in town, a reality TV show victory, and a romantic past with you—one that did not end well.

2) Strike a deal with Nick in which you agree to spend a weekend with him in exchange for his services, under the strict conditions there will be no talking about the past, no second chances, and definitely no sex.

3) Violate all three conditions within 24 hours and spend two glorious days remembering what made you fall for the sexy, egotistical bastard in the first place, and why it hurt so much when he broke your heart.

Add one road trip, plenty of good scotch, and endless spoonfuls of chocolate cake batter drizzled over your body and licked off inch by oh-my-God-yes-right-there inch, then just admit it.

You’re totally FORKED.


Holy shit, I might actually pull this off. A smile tugged at the corners of my mouth as I noted the vendor names on the contract. No, not might.  I would absolutely pull this off by myself, and it would be fabulous. Huge without being impersonal. Fun without being tacky. Elegant without being stuffy. Mia would be proud of me, we were bound to get good buzz if this reality show took off, and with the estimated total cost—at which Angelina didn’t even bat a fake eyelash—I’d make enough money to put ten percent down on the house. I could make an offer next week, even.
See? Stop worrying. This was all meant to happen. It’s fate.
And then.
 “Oh! I almost forgot. I want that Italian chef, Nick Lupo, to do burgers at midnight,” announced Angelina. “Right after the fireworks.”
The floor dropped a few feet, or maybe it was my stomach. I gripped the edge of my desk. “What did you say?”
“I want that Italian guy. You know, the one who won first place on that reality show about hot chefs last year, Lick My Plate? He’s from here and he has a restaurant downtown called The Burger Bar. He’s there like every night. I saw him in there this week.”
“Yes, I know who he is. I just…” Haven’t seen him since he snuck out of our hotel room in Vegas seven years ago. “…think he might be difficult to get.”
Angelina blinked at me. “Why?”
“Well, because he’s, um…” My ex. Famous now. The best sex I ever had and the worst mistake I ever made. There were any number of ways I could’ve finished that sentence, but finally I went with “probably not available.”
“I want him.” Angelina poked an index finger onto my desk. Unlike her pink and white pedicure, her fingernails were painted corpse gray. “Get him.”
“Uh, I don’t think Nick Lupo does private parties.” I hadn’t said his name out loud in years, and the sound of it, the feel of it on my lips brought back powerful memories—the taste of whiskey and apple pie. A warm, muscular body moving over mine. The crunch of leaves beneath my back. A wide, lush mouth closing over my breast as he filled the hollow ache inside me—
I crossed my legs and squeezed my thighs together. Don’t.
“This isn’t just any private party. Tell him who it’s for,” said Angelina, like duh.  “Tell him who my father is. He’ll do it.”
My insides churned. “I guess I could try.”
“Do it. Or I’ll get someone who can.” Her loud voice was razor sharp, and I suddenly got the feeling God wasn’t the one who’d sent her.
“I’ll do it.” My throat was bone dry, my words barely audible.
“I’ll do it,” I said more forcefully. “I’ll get him.”
“You promise?” Angelina sniffed.
Fuck. Fuck. Fuck.
We finished up, and after she left, I dropped my head onto my desk and banged my forehead against the wood until it ached.
Nick Lupo. I had to face Nick Lupo, after all this time.
Even Mia didn’t know the complete truth about my most impulsive decision ever. I’d been too ashamed to tell her.
When he’d left me sleeping in that room at the Bellagio seven years ago, I’d been wearing a wedding ring. That he’d put on my finger the night before.
He’d left his ring on the nightstand along with a note.
This was a mistake.

Melanie Harlow likes her martinis dry, her lipstick red, and her history with the naughty bits left in. She lifts her glass to readers and writers from her home near Detroit, MI.


Describe Coco in one sentence.
Coco is impulsive, feisty, loyal, lovely, and fun—definitely a girl with a healthy appetite.

Describe Nick in one sentence.
Nick is gorgeous, talented, confident, charming, and generous—everything you DON’T want your ex-boyfriend to be.

Favorite and least favorite scene to write in Forked?
I loved writing the scene where they see each other again for the first time after seven years. Their attraction and chemistry was still there, despite their rocky past. My least favorite scene was probably the gut-wrenching scene in the lake where she finally asks him for the truth about why he left her. Forked is a sexy romantic comedy so the tone is mostly light throughout, but for that scene, I had to get a little angsty.

What’s your guilty pleasure?
Drinking wine and eating chocolate in bed while reading sexy novels. I have spilled a lot of red wine doing this because I can’t tear my eyes from my book as I reach for the glass!

If you weren’t an author what would you be doing right now?
Working on choreography—I’m also a dance teacher and studio manager.

What do you consider your greatest achievement?
Managing to publish novels and maintain a pretty full-time job while keeping my kids fed and watered. Some days, it is utterly overwhelming.

If you could meet anyone, dead or alive, who would it be and why?
Hmm. How about young Gene Kelly? I’d like to dance with him.

What is your go to snack food when writing?
COFFEE. That’s it.

If you could sit down face to face with any of your characters, who would you choose and why?
Joey from the Speak Easy series. I’d like to sit on his lap.

What are the top 3 things on your bucket list?
Visit Egypt (also Morocco and Greece—is that cheating?)
Take Italian classes.
See my books in a book store.

If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be and why?
I love where I live, but I often fantasize about having a cabin in the country all to myself. But it would have to be near a lake, because I love lakes. I’m outgoing in many ways, but I really enjoy solitude as well. I also think a little apartment on the Left Bank would be lovely!
Favorite Word and Least Favorite Word?
I often joke that my favorite word is yes because I have trouble saying no to people. But I word I really love is cathedral. I just think it’s beautiful. Least favorite…honestly, probably cunt when used as a name-calling insult.

Biggest fear?
Failing as a parent.

Deepest regret?
Waiting so long to start writing seriously.

Favorite memory?
Wow, that’s a hard one, but I have really wonderful childhood memories of visiting my grandparents’ cottage on Lake Huron with my family.

Worst flaw?
Impatience. But I kick myself for being too trusting/naive a lot too.

Most annoying pet peeve?
When I’m trying to write and people stop by unannounced. Or when I’m writing a love scene and I hear “MOMMMMMMMYYYYYYYY!”

If you could change one thing about yoursef…what would it be?
Oh dear. Well, I wish I were a better person all the way around, but in terms of being an author, I wish I wrote faster.

Either/Or Questions:
Chocolate or Vanilla? Chocolate
Coco or Nick? Nick
Warm or Cold? Warm
Early Bird or Night Owl? Early Bird
Pain or Pleasure? Pleasure
Outdoor or Indoor? GAH! If I must choose, indoor.
Blondes or Brunettes? Brunettes
Ketchup or Mustard? Mustard
Texting or Calling? Texting

Title:    Frenched (Frenched Series Book #1)
Author:   Melanie Harlow
Genre:   NA, Contemporary Romance, Humor

When Tucker Branch, playboy heir to Branch Bolt and Screw, screws and bolts a week before their wedding, Mia Devine wants nothing more than to crawl under her newly monogrammed sheets and plan a funeral for her dignity. But her friends convince her that bitter tastes better when it’s drowned in Bordeaux, so Mia grits her teeth and packs her bags, determined to make the best of her luxurious Paris honeymoon—alone.

She never planned on meeting Lucas Fournier.

The easygoing bartender’s scruffy good looks and less-than-sympathetic ear annoy her at first, but when she takes him up on his offer to show her around the city, she discovers that the romance of Paris isn’t just a myth.

Nor is the simultaneous O.

The last thing Mia needs is another doomed love affair, but since she only has a week, she figures she might as well enjoy la vie en O with Lucas while she can. But each day—and night—with Lucas is better than the last, and suddenly her heart is telling her this is more than a rebound fling.

Is it just the seduction of Paris…or could this be the real thing?

 Yanked (Frenched Series 1.5)
Author:   Melanie Harlow
Genre:   NA, Contemporary Romance, Humor


 Mia Devine fell hard for Lucas Fournier after their magical week in Paris. But eight months later, the free-spirited half-French musician still hasn't made any promises about their future. And as magnifique as long-distance phone sex is, nothing compares to the real thing.

Fed up with stolen weekends and lonely nights, Mia flies to New York armed with a list of reasons why they should take the next step, but an unexpected guest in Lucas's apartment derails her plans. He’s been keeping secrets--worse, he claims he's happy with the way things are.

Without the magic of Paris, can their mismatched love survive?


What inspired you to write the Frenched series?

The Frenched series was inspired by two things—a sense of place (the way where you are influences what you do) and the idea of unexpected romantic encounters. I liked the idea of writing stories where the setting, whether it was Paris with all its amorous allure for Mia in Frenched, or the farm with all its memories for Coco in Forked, became almost like another character in the story. If Mia and Lucas had met somewhere else, or if Coco and Nick hadn’t gone back to a place where they’d been so in love, would they have acted differently? This also ties in to a sort of escapist idea—that feeling that when you’re out of your normal environment (like being on vacation), you don’t act like yourself…you indulge in behaviors you might otherwise dismiss as folly. And who doesn’t want to fly to Paris and meet a man like Lucas???

Top 5 things you didn’t know about becoming a published author:
I didn’t know ANYTHING about becoming a published author. But here goes.
1)    Writing a book isn’t enough—you must be a one-person CEO and manage it all: the marketing, design, finances, communications, public relations. It’s a whirlwind.
2)    Amazon is very, very powerful. And mysterious. And crafty.
3)    Readers will forgive your grammatical errors but not your cliffy endings!
4)    Reading your reviews will make you feel like a goddess one day and pond scum the next.
5)    It is incredible to hear from readers who connected with your characters, loved the story, and understood what you were trying to do. You will want to hug them all and weep with gratitude on their shoulders.

5 Reasons to love my main characters:
Oh goodness. OK, I’m going to quote from a review here, because I love what this reader said about my female characters: they are “relatable, feisty, intelligent, independent, focused.” They are also flawed but fiercely loyal and loving. And my favorite thing about them is the way they try to maintain a sense of humor, even when things get tough.

As for my male characters…they’re not perfect, but they’re hot. They treat the women they love right (usually). They have dirty mouths and talented tongues and hard bodies, and they are very, very good in bed.

5 facts about the Frenched Series:
1)    The original title of Frenched was French Kiss.
2)    Like Lucas, I adore the Musee Rodin in Paris and find it terribly romantic. There is one photograph in Frenched, and it’s a photo I took when my husband and I were last there…but no, we did not have the conversation Mia and Lucas have as they admire it!
3)    As Nick Lupo (from Forked) took shape in my mind, he started to remind me a little of another character I’d written in the Speak Easy series…so I tied the two together, and I adore when readers make the connection and let me know about it!
4)    If you want to drink like Mia and Lucas, treat yourself to a bottle of Chateauneuf-du-Pape—it’s my favorite French wine. If you want to drink like Coco and Nick, visit Detroit’s Corktown and order the tasting flight at Two James Distillery. I’ll meet you there!
5)    The third book in the series, tentatively titled FLOORED, tells Erin’s story and will be out in February of 2015.

How do you make your characters believable?
I try to give my characters relatable habits or worries or problems, like Mia’s compulsive list-making or Coco’s impulsive behavior. The Frenched series is romantic comedy, and it’s escapist, but I wanted it to feel real. My favorite books are the ones with characters that could live next door to me, work with me, drink with me, be my friends. I hope this series feels like that for my readers.

Authors you admire:
Oooooh, so many. In the contemporary romance category, I admire the discipline and intuition of Laurelin Paige. The effortless charm of Lauren Blakely. The wit of Alice Clayton. The audacity of M. Pierce. The tenacity of Jasinda Wilder. In other categories, I LOVED two books I read by Liane Moriarty this summer, BIG LITTLE LIES and HER HUSBAND’S SECRET. I think her writing is smart, funny, and elegant. The book I can’t stop thinking about this year is THE SENSE OF AN ENDING, by Julian Barnes.

Five things you wouldn’t know about Melanie Harlow.

1)    Melanie isn’t my real name…but it’s close.
2)    I like to sleep on my stomach with one leg up.
3)    I am a pretty good cook but not a baker.
4)    Like Mia in Frenched, I am a list-maker and I love maps.
5)    Like Coco in Forked, I believe in fate. Also, I have never mowed a lawn!

Recipes Guest Blog Post

Since Nick Lupo is a chef and Coco Thomas is a girl with a healthy appetite, food plays an essential part in FORKED. If you love to eat (and drink) like me, check out these recipes inspired by the story! Huge thanks to my bestie and fellow author Kayti McGee for creating these delicious concoctions!

Whiskey Burgers

Nick Lupo runs The Burger Bar, where he serves gourmet burgers. The Whiskey burger is an ode to Coco’s love of bacon and their shared passion for whiskey.
½ lb 80/20 ground beef
4 slices of bacon.
1 clove garlic, minced
¼ cup beer
¼ cup whiskey
1 block white cheddar, grated
Kettle BBQ chips
2 brioche buns
Tomato, lettuce, pickles

Preheat a skillet on high, cook bacon. Divide meat in half, form into patties. Coat with salt and pepper. Cook patties in the bacon grease 3 minutes per side for medium.
In the meantime, heat beer, whiskey, and garlic over high heat until boiling. Whisk in cheese a handful at a time.
Serve burgers with bacon, a generous spoonful of whiskey cheese sauce and a handful of BBQ chips on top, veggies optional.

Coco Cupcakes

Nick makes chocolate cake for his Noni’s birthday, and Coco, um, helps. Since his nickname for her is cupcake, here’s a version for her. The cinnamon and the labne are nods to her Lebanese heritage. Feel free to swap the labne for sour cream. The cherry in the frosting is another nod to Coco…since Nick took hers. If you love frosting, double the recipe.

½ c cocoa
½ c hot coffee (cinnamon coffee if you’re overachieving)
½ c butter
1 ¼ c sugar
½ tsp sea salt
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1 ½ c flour
1 tsp baking powder
½ c labne

Preheat the oven to 350, and line a tin for12 cupcakes. Dissolve the cocoa in the coffee. Cream the butter and sugar. Add eggs, and vanilla. Slowly mix the remaining ingredients in, with the cocoa mixture last. Bake for 20-25 minutes. Cool.
1 egg white
¾ c sugar
2 Tb cold water
3 T maraschino cherry syrup
1 tsp corn syrup
½ tsp vanilla

Beat all ingredients like hell over a double boiler for exactly 7 minutes. Top each cupcake with a dab of frosting and a cherry.


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