Friday Favourites # 8: Amy Jo Cousins00:00
It's time again for my Friday Favourites post and today I'm having Amy Jo Cousins, author of the NA diverse romance series Bend or Break. She reached out to me with an ARC of book 1, Off Campus, after I complained on GR that Samhain had declined my request on NetGalley, yet again. After reading and loving Tom and Reese's story so very much, Ms Cousins and me have struck an online friendship all over the interwebs - GR, FB, Twitter and I can't tell you all, She is an amazing lady and a wonderful romance author.
1. Favourite place
Nostalgically: the dock on the lake in the town where I grew up;
Far from home: the Santa Cruz neighborhood in Sevilla, Spain.
2. Favourite food and drink
I'm a peasant at heart: give me a plate of cured meats, cheeses, bread and olives, and I'm happy. I'm trying (unsuccessfully so far) to cure my Diet Coke addiction. Cranberry & club soda is my secret weapon.
3. Favourite music/genre/artist/song
Depends on my mood! Bach's Double Violin Concerto is right up there with Muse's "Supermassive Black Hole" and Etta James singing "Don't Explain".
4. Favourite movie/TV series -
West Wing, West Wing, West Wing. Also, lately, the new Netflix Daredevil.
5. Favourite hobby besides writing, if you consider writing a hobby
Writing is my job and reading is what keeps me sane. Does having a pint and a cheeseburger at the pub while debating politics on Friday afternoons count? I enjoy that more than the marathon training. ;)
Five favorite books - Ack! This is hard! I'm gonna go old school and give you five of my formative romance novels growing up.
1) The Ice Maiden by Sally Wentworth - The early days of computer dating! Back when wearing a blond wig would totally fool your alphahole into thinking you're a different girl.
2) The Windflower by Laura London - Pirates. That's really all I need to say, right?
3) The Stanislaski books by Nora Roberts - I loved the rough and tumble love of this family. La Nora definitely sparked my love of series books about family members.
4) Angel by Johanna Lindsey - An independent young woman. A peacemaker with a gun. A panther named baby. Played with all my expectations and has that great eighties romance feel, without all the problematic stuff found in books of that era.
5) Hot Target by Suzanne Brockmann - The entire Troubleshooters series, really, but this book is where Jules, Brockmann's gay FBI agent (a secondary character in earlier books in the series), meets Robin, the alcoholic Hollywood actor who is the love of his life. This book is a bit of a cheat, since it only came out ten years ago, but Jules and Robin's story line was my first encounter with LGBTQ romance and the idea that I could write romance about any kind of love absolutely changed me.
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Author Bio and Links
Amy Jo Cousins writes contemporary romance and erotica about smart people finding their own best kind of smexy. She lives in Chicago with her son, where she tweets too much, sometimes runs really far, and waits for the Cubs to win the World Series.
Amy Jo Cousins' latest book in the Bend or Break series, The Girl Next Door, releases on 16 June. It tells Cash and Steph's story (we meet them in book 1, but it can be read as a standalone). I just finished it last week and it was such a fun, sweet and sexy and truly DIVERSE NA crossing into Adult (both characters graduated from college a couple of years ago) romance.
When it comes to love, go big or go home.
Charles “Cash” Carmichael traded his high-rise condo and family-firm career for a job coaching soccer for Chicago’s inner-city kids. He’s adjusting to living on minimum wage when his young cousin, newly out and running away from home, shows up on his less-than-luxurious doorstep.
Angsty teens definitely aren’t Cash’s thing. He needs local backup, and there’s only one name he can think of: Stephany Tyler. Back in the day, the bisexual Steph was the perfect friend with benefits until she fell in love with a woman.
To his relief, his former friend steps up to the plate. Soon, though, Cash finds himself feeling the familiar need to keep her in his bed, and in his life. But Steph, burned by the ex-girlfriend and by the absentee dad she’s been trying to connect with, won’t risk her heart again.
Good thing Cash believes in leaving it all on the field. If he can just convince Steph to get in the game, there’s a chance they can both win.
Steph and Cash have arranged to meet up for dinner so she can help him figure out how to help his young cousin who ran away from home after coming out to his parents. They had a friends-with-benefits arrangement for a while in college that ended when Steph got involved with a woman, but they haven’t seen each other since Cash moved to Chicago for work. When Cash asks her about her college girlfriend, Steph gets emotional.
He couldn’t take it anymore. After reaching across the table to grab her chin, he dunked a corner of his napkin in Steph’s ice water. “Hold still. You look like the Joker in Batman.”
“Jack Nicholson or Heath Ledger?”
“Yeah, you’re full-on creepy Ledger.” He wiped gently under her eyes, barely rubbing the delicate skin around her eyes.
“God. I’m so embarrassed I’m probably going to start propositioning you inappropriately or something, out of sheer need to change the subject.”
“You say that like it’s a bad thing.” He ran his thumb along the edge of her jaw. This was how it always started with them. A verbal flirt, the bold suggestion, a dare that one of them couldn’t resist. And then a fast, hard tumble into each other’s bodies, where he’d found a level of comfort and ease, mixed with blazing hot, filthy sex, that he’d never experienced before.
Or since, for that matter.
He finished clearing away the worst of the eye makeup damage. Dropped his napkin on the table and tilted her head with a gentle hand on her chin. Yup. Still the most beautiful woman he’d ever seen, though he knew she’d argue with him there. Everything on her face was slightly tilted. Her top lip curved up at the corners of her mouth. Her nose tipped up a little at the end. Even her eyes seemed set at an angle, just enough to make her look different from everyone else. Magical. Like a big-eyed elf or something.
“Stop staring at me. It’s your fault, you know.” She lifted her chin away and he dropped his hand.
Cash nodded solemnly. “Most things are.”
God. Why did it make his heart thump every time he got a smile out of this girl?
Don't forget to stop by the blog next week when my guest will be Ms Cara McKenna!