Title: At First Blush
Author: Jeanie Grey
Series: Nick & Serran Series (Book 1)
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Publisher: Self Published
Release Date: May 8 2015
Edition/Formats: eBook (May) & Print (June/July)
“There was no such thing as a soulmate. As for the intense connection…well, it must have been her imagination. There was no man who would instinctively understand her, no man who could read her mind. No man who could turn her on with just a look or a word, no man whose touch would override her reason and turn her into the embodiment of passion. And the sooner she let go of that fantasy completely, the sooner she could approach romantic relationships with a clear head and appreciate what she had instead of pining over everything she imagined she was missing.”
SERRAN WINTERS is determined to let the fantasy of Nick Enfield go. So why does she find herself asking him to dinner while on tour with her latest romance novel? Perhaps it's because she feels safe in disguise as her pseudonym, Jane Garfield. Besides, it's only a couple of hours...until a hurricane leaves her stranded at his house for three days.
Despite NICK ENFIELD’s deep hurt and growing bitterness since his divorce, something about the romance author entrances him from the first moment he sees her. But when he discovers she’s married, he’s determined to resist the intense attraction between them in spite of her mixed signals. If only his body’s reaction to her weren’t making it so hard to keep her marital status in mind.
At First Blush is a story about fantasy versus reality in love and romance, the nature of attraction and connection, and the reasons we choose to fight or follow our impulses.
She’d been right all along; she should never have allowed him to touch her. This went beyond imagination. Beyond fantasy. Beyond anything she’d dreamed possible.
She’d kissed plenty of men in her adult life. Even a couple of women. It was usually a pleasurable experience, sometimes even arousing. But she’d had no idea that a mere kiss could set her whole body on fire and blow all coherent thought from her mind like leaves scattering before a strong wind. She’d never imagined that she had hidden within her an animalistic desire like the one that urged her to grasp his hair or grind her hips. She felt like she was floating and yet her body was heavy with desire too.
How was she supposed to come back from this? How could she ever bear another man’s kiss, knowing that this…this magic was possible? She was spoiled for life.
But then he pulled back for a moment. “Jane,” he said, and it snapped her out of it immediately. She stiffened in his arms and tried to step away, but he held her firmly against him. His solid chest against her yielding one, the heat in his eyes, and the intense awareness of how perfectly their bodies fit together threatened to steal her thoughts away again, and the self-preserving part of her clawed at her to get out now while she still held onto a thread of her sanity.
“Please,” she said, her voice a whisper of desperation. “Please let me go.”
For a moment she thought he wouldn’t. But then he relaxed his arms a fraction, and the expression in his eyes changed. She sensed how hard it was for him to make his fingers unclench from around her waist and take half a step back. As soon as he did, she felt colder and had to resist the urge to follow him, to press her body against him and lose herself in his kiss once more.
Clenching her hands at her sides, Serran managed, “I— I need to go. Now. I need to go back to the hotel.”
Nick’s gaze was burning into her, but then her words seemed to register and his expression changed to one of surprise. “What? But…you can’t go.” His voice was soft, persuasive. He said it as though it were a fact rather than his wish.
She took a deep breath and closed her eyes for a moment, steeling herself against his charm. “No, I have to go. I can’t stay here with you. Please understand—”
“No, I mean you can’t go,” he said, and something in his tone made her pause.
She opened her eyes and looked straight at him.
“Listen,” he said.
She waited for him to go on, but he didn’t. Then she realized he meant listen as in, she was supposed to be listening for some other sound.
That’s when she heard the wind howling around the front porch of the house and realized it was raining hard. She turned her head to look out the window, but it was too dark outside to see.
“Because it’s raining?” she said, her brow furrowing now.
“It’s not just rain, it’s a hurricane.”
Where did you come up with the idea for your book?
One day I was thinking about the people I've loved or had obsessive-level crushes on in my life. I thought about my first real-life crush and asked myself, "If this were a romance novel and it was meant to be with this guy, what would happen?" That was the seed of At First Blush.
How did you come up with your characters?
My first real-life crush (as opposed to the first celebrity I crushed on) was the initial basis for Nick Enfield, and a version of myself was the basis for Serran. Of course both characters took on lives and personalities of their own as the book developed.
Who did you show your first draft to and why?
I showed my first draft to my very good friend Diane, who is also my developmental editor. I wanted to know what questions she had about the plot and characters before I started fleshing it out, just to make sure I was on the right track.
Do you have plans to a follow up?
Yes, actually! I know there's at least one more book--perhaps two more--about Nick and Serran's relationship. I also have a short story idea about Jean (Serran's friend) and her very sexy but doomed relationship with Andrew, her ex.
Open your book to a random page and tell us the first paragraph…
I opened it to the beginning of Chapter 18:
"Nick didn’t get it. If what was in Jane’s book wasn’t her experience, then she wasn’t Serran. But the book contained real events, things that had actually happened between him and Serran. Maybe not a hundred-percent-accurate telling, but distinctly recognizable nonetheless. How did Jane know all that stuff about them? Did she know Serran? Was there that much coincidence in the world?"
What do you like to read? Do you only read the genre you write in?
I enjoy a wide variety of literature. In terms of straight-up romance, Tessa Dare and Ember Casey are two of my favorites. For genre fiction with strong romance plots, I'm a big fan of Rachel Bach's Paradox trilogy, Deborah Harkness's All Souls trilogy, and Darynda Jones's Charley Davidson series. Outside of books with strong romantic plots, I love Margaret Atwood, Miranda July, and George Saunders, to name a few.
Where do you go to escape?
Into a book, of course! :)
Do you have a favorite chapter in At First Blush?
Hm, this is hard. I really like the chapters where Nick and Serran are alone at his house and engaging in lighthearted banter. The scene where Nick reveals the most unusual place he's had sex always makes me giggle. In terms of the steamy scenes, my favorite is probably the scene where they have sex in the bathroom.
What advice do you have for aspiring writers?
Surround yourself with people who support you, write what's in your heart, and learn to accept that you're going to write some really shitty stuff in addition to the great stuff.
Would you recommend self-publishing or main stream publishing for first time novelists?
It depends on the individual. Self-publishing was the right route for me because I needed to start getting my work out there in order to move onto the next thing, and I had to move onto the next thing in order to get better at my craft. If I'd waited until someone else told me I was good enough, I probably would've gotten discouraged and wanted to give up. It's not the right path for everyone, though. Some authors really want the editorial and marketing support that traditional publishing provides.
Thank you so much for hosting me on your blog today, Dante! It's been a pleasure! :)
My pleasure thank you for taking the time and answering a few question so readers get to know you a little more.
Jeanie Grey writes sophisticated, steamy, unconventional romance and erotica for readers who like to think. A person of relatively simple pleasures, her list of favorite things in life includes dark chocolate, foreign films, Lady Grey tea, men wearing sweaters, and curling up in bed all day with a delicious romance novel. Jeanie is the author of the Lilly Frank trilogy and Crouch and Other Short Stories. She lives in Portland, Oregon.