Tell us a little about this book.
This book is in the Harmony Valley series. A few short years ago, Harmony Valley was on the brink of extinction. The grain mill - the largest employer in this rural remote town - had exploded and jobs burnt up with it. The only people left in town were those who couldn't afford to move - mostly those retired. Three dot com millionaires returned to their hometown to rejuvenate and rethink what they wanted to do next. They decided to do right by the town and start a new business - a winery.
After the first trilogy of books - once the winery was up and running - the stories have focused on other businesses coming to town. This time, it's the story of a beautician, who wants to be an upcycle artist, and a mechanic, who's a single dad. They're both struggling to make ends meet.
What made you want to write this book?
Joe is a guys guy. I thought having him raise a girl and finding nothing wrong with her being a complete tomboy would contrast well with his daughter's longing to fit in as a girl. She's eleven and just starting to notice boys. And Brittany looks like the complete princess when she's in the salon. Having been raised by a beautician and a welder, she knows what it's like to be in both worlds. Doesn't mean she fits in anywhere completely. But isn't that the way we all feel inside?
Can you share an excerpt?
“What do you think you’re doing?” a deep masculine voice bellowed across the overgrown, wreck-strewn field in Harmony Valley.
Brittany Lambridge jumped and thunked the back of her head on the hood of the ancient BMW sedan. Add headache to her list of injuries this morning.
“I told you we’d get caught,” Regina whispered. Brit’s sister was the queen of s.
Brit stepped back from the decaying car, rubbing her head beneath her baseball cap. The nip of early morning bit into her scraped knuckles while dewy knee-high grass hid her feet. She peered to the left, then the right, but the rusting, abandoned cars were still rusty and abandoned. No one else was in the flat patch of land with them. No one driving past on the two-lane highway bordering the field. No one stood near the thick blackberry bushes along the river. And she’d been told the car repair shop and nearby house had been empty for at least a decade. Had she imagined the voice? Or… Brit stopped rubbing her head and faced her sister.
“Don’t look at me.” Regina rolled her artfully made-up brown eyes and said with disdain, “I’m not a ventriloquist.”
“No, but you hate helping me with my art.”
“I love helping you and your hobby,” Reggie corrected. “I just worry about getting bitten by angry, territorial spiders or snakes, or—” she glanced around nervously “—angry, territorial property owners.”
“Didn’t you hear me?” An angry, territorial-looking man appeared from behind a dented gray minivan. “I said, what are you doing here?”
Guilt, disappointment and a feeling she couldn’t name froze Brit more completely than a complicated updo with too much hairspray.
The man strode forward. Broad shoulders, muscular arms, rumpled black hair and… Brit stopped cataloging his parts because that hair glinted almost blue in the sunlight and made Brit’s fingers twitch for her hair-cutting scissors.
“Oh, my,” her twin murmured wistfully, having already forgotten her fear of getting bitten.
A thin boy appeared next, wearing light blue grease-splotched coveralls like Brit’s and a preteen’s poor attempt at a sneer. He slouched against the minivan’s rear fender, thrusting his hands in his pockets. His dark brown hair stuck out from beneath a faded green baseball cap.
Brit’s fingers twitched again even as Shaggy Man drew closer. As a licensed beautician, bad hair drove Brit crazy. As did the feeling she could now name: artistic appreciation. Shaggy Man was like a Pollock painting—a riot of energy that was perfect chaos. She couldn’t look away.
The man stopped ten feet from her, propping hands on hips. His black T-shirt and blue jeans had seen better days, while those bladed cheekbones and ice-blue eyes had probably appealed to a fair share of women. Everything about him said he was the kind of man her mother had warned her and Reggie about while they were growing up—tempting, dangerous, a man more concerned with who warmed his sheets at night than who made his coffee in the morning.
“That car is mine.” Those cool blue eyes of his skated across the landscape with chilly calculation. “Leave.”
Reggie glanced at Brit, who reminded herself about big-girl panties.
What's up next for you?
I have another Harmony Valley book out in April/May - Love, Special Delivery - about a fireman and the woman who returns to town to re-open the post office (I believe Kathryn's response when I pitched this idea was to say she'd never read a romance about a post office worker before - lol). And I'm working on Book 10, tentatively titled Support Your Local Sheriff. Loving writing about Nate, who jilted a bride at the altar and was bequeathed a wedding dress by Mae in One Perfect Year.
Melinda Curtis is an award-winning USA Today bestseller. You can sample her writing with free reads by signing up for her book release newsletter here. She has many releases out this season. Books available now are shown below.
Special announcements: 100% of the proceeds from All I Want for Christmas go to diabetes research! There is a coupon in A Heartwarming Holiday good for 20% off your next Heartwarming purchase!