My sincere thanks to Addison for sharing her blog space with me today and giving me this opportunity to introduce you to the first book in my new series. Dare to Hope kicks off the Double Dare Romance series, up to a dozen books about dear friends who want to spend more time together. And you know the old cliché about only seeing people at weddings and funerals? These women dare each other to marry so they can see each other at the weddings!
Although the women are in their thirties, most are single, or single again, and so they compete to wed. Once the dare is in place, it provides the impetus for shy girls to act, homebodies to travel, old flames to reignite or, in the case of Dare to Hope, women to follow their hearts instead of their heads.
This series offers everything – first-time love, office romance, second chances, surprise pregnancies, and deep abiding friendships between eight women who just want to spend time together and prod each other to find true love and happiness. And of course, rich, successful, and sexy heroes to steal our hearts and take our breath away.
The first books in this series have been written at a lap desk in my living room, cut off from the world. Fortunately for me, the inspiration for my ‘crazy eights’ is a group of my own lifelong friends that were always just a phone or Zoom call away. I have incorporated characteristics from these women into my characters, making these heroines especially near and dear to me. I know you will love them, too.
For a few of the books, their life stories prompted my plots. In other cases, a love of cooking, passion for theater, or driving need to rescue cats. In Dare to Hope, I was inspired by a true love story of two people who thought their chance at love and family was over until they found each other.
Meet Eliana and Jeremy, the stars of Dare to Hope: A Double Dare Romance. And be sure to check out the contest!
Dare to Hope: A Double Dare Romance (Book One)
The “Crazy Eights,” eight women who have been friends for 30 years, have a powerful connection yet rarely see each other. At a pivotal time in their lives, they create a way to remedy this predicament, an audacious dare contrived to bring them together for weddings – each participant must get married within twelve months. The stakes are high. Win the bet and lose your heart, or lose the bet and perform a personally mortifying task.
In the first of their stories, we meet Eliana, beautiful and brilliant, but starting over, focused on her career, not on some foolhardy dare. Longing for a family but recently divorced and on her own, Eliana sets her sights on a new job, a new home, and accepting her single, childless status. Independent and determined, she has no idea that in less than six months she will both win and lose her heart’s desire.
Jeremy Klein, genius engineer and inventor, is also making life changes. He’s sold his startup to a major medical device company, becoming President and CEO, and a billionaire before he is forty. Although he’s gun-shy about the dating game, Jeremy knows it’s time to apply his smarts, sex appeal and new-found success to finding true love.
When Eliana meets Jeremy, they bond quickly. The couple has so much in common and chemistry that sizzles. Winning Eliana feels like a fantasy come true to Jeremy. Their attraction is immediate and electrifying, and a one-night stand morphs into planning a future. But plans change. On track to wedded bliss, baby and all, Jeremy and Eliana are derailed by accusations that threaten their relationship, Eliana’s career and Jeremy’s future as CEO.
Spies, lies, allegations, and misunderstandings abound, threatening to destroy their happiness. That is, until those “Crazy Eights” get involved, scheming and manipulating to win Eliana her happily ever after. Can a group of determined friends help Eliana and Jeremy hold onto love?
Buy Links: Dare to Hope is available for preorder on B&N, Apple Books, or Kobo until July 9, 2020 (Universal Buy Link). Afterward it will only be available exclusively on Amazon and Kindle Unlimited (Amazon).
A Dare to Hope excerpt: His grin was devastating up close – wide and welcoming, with a hint of naughtiness and the promise of shared pleasures. But it was his eyes, deep coffee brown and fringed with long dark lashes that were his best feature; piercing, intelligent and inquisitive eyes, trained on her.
Please, God, Eliana prayed quickly, do not let this man be the new sales manager. It would be lamentable if she had to keep him at arm’s length. He was the first man Eliana had felt drawn to since Nico. If she was honest with herself, he was the first man she had ever felt this attracted to so immediately. It was enough to make her believe in love at first sight or fate.
“Hi,” he stepped closer, ignoring the empty stool beside her to halt just inside her personal space. Usually, Eliana would have reflexively backed up, but she savored his closeness, the power emanating from his presence. Even in this stuffy bar, he smelled good – fresh, like soap and good whiskey. And up close, his eyes were more magical – a hint of gold dancing in their depths.
“Hi,” she responded on a breath, letting the single word hang there for a moment before adding “You aren’t in sales, are you?”
“Nope.” If he thought it was a strange conversation starter, he kept it to himself. “Engineering and design, although I have dabbled in sales. I could be in sales for you,” he offered in a voice smooth as brandy, redolent with sexual promise and a hint of curiosity. She laughed at his offer. “Are you in sales?”
“Yes, I am. I was thinking of what a crime it would be if you turned out to be my new boss. I’m meeting him tomorrow.”
“Jeremy,” he responded, extending his hand to shake hers. “Not in sales. Is your boss named Jeremy?”
“Thankfully, not.” Eliana extended her hand, savoring the moment as Jeremy wrapped his long fingers around hers. She noticed there was no wedding band as she admired the strength and length of his fingers, the fine hairs on the back of his hand, and his grip – warm and dry. His skin was soft over fine bone and healthy muscle. Everything about him captivated her. “Eliana.”
Jeremy seemed in no hurry to release her hand, but after several beats too long for politeness, Eliana pulled hers from his. “Is this seat taken?” he asked, already sitting down, not thinking twice about it. “Or perhaps that table against the wall? I am anxious to learn why you don’t know who you work with, Eliana.”
Eliana laughed and watched as Jeremy’s breath stopped. His every emotion was transparent, especially the desire flaming in his eyes right now. A passion she reciprocated. Wholeheartedly. She couldn’t remember such an instantaneous attraction. But with Jeremy, she felt electricity and lust move through her entire body, just from the touch of his hand and the sound of her name spoken in his rich baritone.
“Eliana,” he rolled the word around his mouth as if tasting a fine wine. “What a lovely name.” Eliana panties dampened. He was just saying words, but their underlying promise was undeniable. She wanted to be alone with him. She wanted to be naked with him. And all she knew was his first name.
Eliana nodded toward the table, questioning her sanity. She was sure about what this man wanted, but after only minutes, her body governed her head. Jeremy spoke briefly with the bartender, passed him a fifty like it was a single, and motioned for her to lead the way to the empty table. Before they had settled in their chairs, both had fresh drinks. Earlier, the bartender had responded to her beauty with decent service and half-hearted flirting, but he reacted with alacrity to the big tip.
“So, spill,” Jeremy directed, leaning forward on his elbows and putting his mouth dangerously close to hers. Just a few inches, Eliana imagined, and they could be kissing. “I am dying to hear your story. I want to know absolutely everything about you.” The way he lingered on the word ‘everything’ made Eliana wetter still. Oh man, she was in way over her head.
Enter to Win: Maddy is offering a few lucky readers the chance to win a Dare to Hope ebook. One winner will get to name a character in an upcoming Double Dare novel! Enter here or enter each day for a chance to win by following the Dare to Hope preorder tour.
Meet Madison Michael: Madison Michael loves to binge news, movies, books, Oreos and romance – reading romance novels, writing romantic stories, watching Rom-Coms over and over. Maddy has spent her self-isolation fretting about the health of her friends and neighbors and catching up on TV programs from ten years ago. Hunkered down with her cat, Gracie, and a Zoom life-line to the world, she is wondering how people date and social distance, how much junk food she can consume in a day and why Gracie only wants to play when Maddy needs to work. Watch for more of the Double Dare Romance series in autumn and winter, 2020.