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Thursday, December 5, 2013

Author Guest & Contest : Natalie J. Damschroder

The Struggle between Independence and Partnership

Thank you so much for being part of the blog tour for my newest book, A Kiss of Revenge!

One of the themes I often find developing in my books—and indeed, it’s a theme in a LOT of modern romance—is the balance between the heroine’s independence and her romantic relationship. When does compromise become deference? How can you stay true to yourself and still honor the other person’s importance?

Reese, in particular, has a struggle with it. She’s spent her whole life changing herself for others, and when she finally thought she had the balance thing down, her world exploded. Now she’s driven to make things right before she can move on with her life, but there’s a problem. She’s falling in love, but she doesn’t know how to be with Griff. He’s the first guy who seems to see her as she really is, and accept her unconditionally, but she knows that will change if she achieves her goals. And even if he still cares about her the same, can she be with him without losing herself again?

I live a very normal life. I’ve been happily married for 21 years, and every day I revel in the balance we’ve managed to achieve. (Most of the time, anyway. ;) ) But because I was raised by a single mother who was part of the struggle for equality, it’s a topic that’s always in the back of my mind. Also, for some reason, I am all about the romance. Seriously. Any movie I watch or book I read, I’m looking for the love interest. I knew Ginny Weasley was meant for Harry from the day they met on Platform 9 3/4. Love is like the reward for whatever obstacles life throws in your face. Especially if making that connection is one of your greater personal conflicts.

So to me, the struggle between independence and partnership is ongoing throughout the life of the characters, well beyond the closing words of the book. But I always hope I leave my readers feeling as if the hero and heroine, forged in fire (or sometimes blood), have developed the skills and desire that will get them through anything they have to deal with in life.

What do you think? Is this a reason you like to read romance—seeing how characters overcome the struggle?—or do you not really care, as long as the book has a happy ending? :)

The Book

Marriage is completely over-rated, especially after Reese Templeton’s quadratic failure. She’d rather settle down to a solitary life of owning a bakery—after she tracks down the man responsible for her husband’s death and making her a human Taser full of enough electricity to short out a city block or send a man into cardiac arrest with just one kiss.

But alluring P.I. Griffin Chase is stirring up those feelings of need again. Only this time, her desire to be in his arms has nothing to do with her fear of loneliness and everything to do with the current charging through her body every time he looks at her…touches her.

Griffin hasn’t remained at Reese’s side just because of the spark that has nothing to do with her super-human talents. He’s willing to compromise his rock-solid principles so she can find closure. But before they can move on, he must help her catch her late husband’s killer, staying on track before she has a chance to exact her revenge. Because leading Reese to jail in handcuffs may just break his heart for the final time.

The Excerpt

Griff smiled, and Reese’s stomach did a whole flippin’ somersault.

“I had meetings at the office in Boston and was headed back to DC. I thought I’d stop in and see how you’re doing.”

She grabbed a towel to wipe off her ice-cream-sticky hands. “Crestview is not on the way to DC from Boston.”

He shrugged and pointed at the butter croissants in the bakery display case. “Close enough.”

With a pair of tongs, she selected the biggest croissant and put it on a plate. “Coffee?”

“Of course.” He leaned against the counter and folded his arms. “You have anything for me to check out?”

She shook her head. “Not at the moment.”

“What about him?” He jerked his head toward the sidewalk outside, where Andrew Laine stood talking to the couple who owned the hardware store. “He giving you any trouble?”

“Not anymore. I told him I was married.”

She cursed herself as soon as the words were out of her mouth. Griff’s gray-blue eyes darkened, his rock-solid chin tightening. He’d obviously meant “trouble” because of Reese breaking the law, not because the chief of police had asked her out.

“You’re not thinking—”

“No!” She grabbed the towel again and swept it over the few crumbs and coffee drips on the counter, scrubbing vigorously at one dried spot. “I didn’t want to shove him too far away, that’s all. As long as he had an interest, I could keep track of what he knew.” Even if it kept her on edge and fried her equipment.

“Anyway, he knows now. It’s fine. You don’t have to worry.”

“You pay me to worry.”

That wasn’t strictly true. Griff was co-owner of a multi-city private detective firm. He ran Chase Investigations in Washington, DC, where Reese had lived before the plane crash. Reese had hired him to help her track down clues about whoever had tried to kill her. But they’d become friends. He’d helped her through physical therapy, been a sounding board while she dealt with her new reality, and was the only person on earth who knew what that lightning strike had done to her body.

“I’m paying you to do research,” she reminded him. “You choose to worry.”

He grinned and shook back his shaggy dark-blond hair. “You make it hard not to.”

Another group came in, and he retreated to a table with his breakfast. Reese saw Kimmie eyeing him, and the young woman flushed at his greeting. Reese couldn’t blame her. He had the classic “hunk” build, with a broad chest, narrow waist, and shoulders shown off by a tight gray T-shirt. His gray-blue eyes were nothing special at first glance, but they sparkled at everyone and made his charming smile even brighter. No doubt that smile was what pinned Kimmie in place now, wearing a slightly stunned expression.

Reese wasn’t immune, but her friendship with Griff had become one of the most important things in her life. It was something she’d never had before, and she was going to treasure it as long as it lasted.

The Author

Natalie J. Damschroder is an award-winning author of contemporary and paranormal romance—Love with a Shot of Adrenaline. She sold her first book in 1999, and 2014 will see the publication of her 15th novel.

She grew up in Massachusetts and loves the New England Patriots more than anything. (Except her family. And writing and reading. And popcorn.) When she’s not writing, revising, proofreading, or promoting her work, she does freelance editing and works part time as a chiropractic assistant.

She and her husband have two daughters she’s dubbed “the anti-teenagers,” one of whom is also a novelist. (The other one prefers math. Smart kid. Practical.)

The Giveaway

iFrogz GoLite – 2600 mAh Battery and Flashlight

Reese Templeton can draw power wherever she is…and now you can, too! 
Win this portable battery and charge any USB mobile device on the go.

Winner may choose the color. Subject to availability;
 comparable substitution to be made if necessary.
 Shipping in U.S. only. International entries acceptable; 
non-U.S. winner will receive alternate prize, to be discussed).


Natalie J. Damschroder said...

Thanks so much for having me today! :)

Mary Preston said...

This sounds quite exciting. Love the title.

Janice said...

Loved the synopsis. I always love a good paranormal romance.

Natalie J. Damschroder said...

Thanks, Mary and Janice!

Mary, that title was incredibly hard to come up with, for being so obvious. LOL

Me, too, Janice! :)

Zonell said...

Sounds wonderful.

Natalie J. Damschroder said...

Thanks, Zonell! Good luck! :)

Unknown said...

Sounds really good!!

Natalie J. Damschroder said...

Thanks, Laurel! Appreciate your interest! :)