**Winner Update – congratulations to Vera for winning a copy of Loving You Is Easy! Thanks to everyone who entered!**
We have a new thing happening on the blog and it is Teaser Tuesday! I have invited several authors to take part in this fun day throughout the year. They are going to provide us with a teaser of either a new release or upcoming release and then also give away that book to one lucky winner! Wendy S. Marcus is kicking off Teaser Tuesday with her new release, Loving You Is Easy. I had the pleasure of reading an early copy of this book and it was fantastic. I can’t wait to read the final version. Wendy writes emotionally charged stories centered around real life issues.
A teaser from the prologue of Wendy’s Loveswept Contemporary Romance, Loving You Is Easy.
The setup: Shane is a blue collar bad boy turned soldier in the U.S. Army serving his fourth tour of combat duty in Afghanistan. Brooke is a wealthy politician’s daughter, good girl, who works as a middle school math teacher. They have been pen pals for eight months and in that time they’ve grown very close. Brooke wants to be Shane’s girlfriend. Shane is adamant he doesn’t want a girlfriend. They’ve just met at the airport for the first time and shared their first kiss. Then Brooke accompanied him back to his hotel room so he could shower and change. This scene is in Shane’s point of view.
The number one problem with good girls is no sex without a commitment. He sort of respected that. But it didn’t keep him from continuing his pursuit, for the fun of it as much as to get her between the sheets of his big, inviting bed. “Haven’t you ever heard of friends with benefits? I am very open to that type of friendship.”
“Of course you are.” She lowered the menu and placed it in her lap. “Unfortunately, I don’t play that game.”
Unfortunate indeed. Cold shower here I come. “You know, if I weren’t such an upstanding guy, I could easily say, ‘Fine. Be my girlfriend. Now get in here and shower with me.’ But where does being honest leave me?” He threw up his hands. “Showering alone,” he answered himself with a huff, all for show.
“First of all,” she stood. “You’d have to be a heck of a lot more inviting than that to get me in there.”
At this point he’d happily drop to his knees and beg.
“Secondly, your honesty and straightforwardness are two of the things I like most about you.”
Right now they were two things he liked least.
“And thirdly, if I was easy you’d lose all respect for me.”
“Now that’s where you’re wrong,” he said. “I like easy. I respect easy. Easy is one of my favorite things.”
She crossed her arms over her ribs. “And look where dating easy has gotten you—avoiding relationships altogether.”
Ouch. “I only avoid certain types of relationships. Within the last five minutes I made it clear I’m all for the friends-with-benefits relationship.” He wiggled his eyebrows suggestively again.
He didn’t want to be serious. He wanted to play and have fun. He wanted to kiss her and cuddle her and make love to her. And the fact that it appeared he wouldn’t be getting to do any of those things tonight shot a dose of cranky into his system. “Fine, you want serious? Here’s serious.”
He crossed his arms over his chest, just like she had, and leaned his shoulder against the doorframe. “I’ve been in the military for eight years. It’s not like I’ve never had a girlfriend in all that time. But dating an active-duty soldier is not easy. It takes a special kind of woman.”
She gave him “the look” he’d seen so many times.
“I know. You think you’re different from the other women I’ve dated. You think you can handle all the time apart and having someone you love risking death day after day for months at a time.”
Her back went ramrod straight. “I have been handling it. For eight months.”
“No, you haven’t, because we are not dating.” And she didn’t love him. “What happens when I’m out of touch for a while? When you see reports of bloody battles with American soldiers wounded and killed? I don’t want you worrying over me or having to grieve for me. I’m trying to protect you.”
“News flash, Shane. Just because we are not officially boyfriend and girlfriend doesn’t mean I don’t care about you or miss you or worry about you. I’m a big girl. A grown woman. I don’t need your misguided protection.”
He did not want to fight with her. But, “If we make it official you’ll have expectations. You’ll want me to call you at a certain time, and when I don’t you’ll get mad. The longer we spend apart the more you’ll wonder if I’m being unfaithful.” He’d been down that road too many times. “You’ll get lonely. You’ll turn to someone else for comfort.” At least with Brooke it wouldn’t be a friend he’d known for years. “Then, right before a dangerous mission outside the wire, I’ll get your letter breaking up with me. I’ll go into battle distracted and step on an IED. Stop shaking your head. It happens. Soldiers lose their focus and wind up dead. Having a girlfriend is one more thing to think about and worry about.” One more distraction. One more responsibility. One more thing that can turn to shit in a war zone.
“I’m shaking my head because I can’t believe you have such a low opinion of me and because I can’t believe you’re lumping me in with all the other women you’ve dated without giving me a chance.”
Maybe it’d started off like that. But in a short period of time he’d developed a very high opinion of Brooke and knew for certain she wasn’t like any other woman he’d ever dated. With that realization came concerns he didn’t want to share. Like, them dating would mean she’d want to meet his family and friends and she’d want to introduce him to hers, and a woman like Brooke wouldn’t fit into his world any better than he’d fit into hers. Her father worked closely with the governor of New York State while his drove a city bus. She enjoyed high-class social events and political fund-raisers while he spent his downtime tossing back beers with the boys at bars. She had her master’s degree while he had a lowly GED.
When it came to life in the United States, they had little in common. So, like it or not, if they were to have any relationship at all, he had to limit it to them being pen pals and private meetings like tonight . . . or risk her finding out just how different they were and losing her altogether.
Weariness settled deep into his bones. He let out an exhausted breath. “I don’t want to fight with you.”
Without a word she came to him, wrapped her arms around his waist, and rested her cheek on his chest. “I don’t want to fight with you, either.”
He kissed the top of her head.
“I’m sorry I upset you,” she said.
“I’m sorry I upset you,” he answered.
“No more talk of boyfriends and girlfriends. I promise,” she said. “You go shower. I’ll order you a big bacon cheeseburger with everything on it and extra ketchup for your French fries.”
He smiled. She knew him so well. If circumstances were different he could easily fall in love with this woman. “Thank you.”
“After dinner we can cuddle up and watch a movie like we’ve talked about doing so many times.” She looked up at him with a mischievous sparkle in her beautiful brown eyes. “And maybe, just maybe, I’ll let you kiss me some more, since today’s a special circumstance and all.” She gave him a saucy wink.
“I’d like that.” He hugged her tightly. “I’d like that a lot.”
Title: Loving You Is Easy
Author: Wendy S. Marcus
Release Date: December 9, 2014
Category: Contemporary Romance
She’s a survivor of the front lines of politics. He’s a wounded soldier returning home from the battlefield. Can they place their trust in the power of love?
Nobody plays the role of perfect politician’s daughter better than quiet, respectable math teacher Brooke Ellstein. But she won’t be caught swimming with the sharks again, not after the son of a wealthy donor sinks his teeth into her and gets away with it. Still, political connections have their perks, such as heading up the governor’s “Support Our Troops” pen-pal initiative—and getting first dibs on the smoking-hot sergeant whose picture shakes her right down to her goody-two-shoes.
When corresponding with sweet, classy Brooke, Shane Develen instinctively hides his commando tattoos and blue-collar roots—and he can tell that she’s hiding something, too. But Shane knows he’s gained her trust when Brooke gives him a blisteringly sexy photo. Then he’s injured in an ambush and a fellow soldier posts the snapshot online. Overnight, Brooke’s reputation turns to ashes. Even though he’s totally wrong for her, Shane shows up on Brooke’s doorstep, determined to set things right—and discovers that right or wrong has nothing on the chemistry they share.
For you chance to win a copy of Loving You Is Easy, just comment below and tell us about a family or friend you know that has served your country. Which branch of the service did or do they serve? If you don’t know any, no worries – just tell us if you have read a book by Wendy yet! Giveaway is open until the morning of Saturday, January 10, 2015. Winners will be contacted via email and listed on blog.