Ana Blaze has returned to CABR to share some exciting news 🙂
A Twitter-exclusive giveaway of THE BEST MAN
An excerpt from the book
a guest post on the ideal traits in a romance hero.
As a romance writer, I spend a lot of time thinking about men. I spend a fair amount of time looking at pictures of them too, but that is another story. Today I’m thinking about what makes a good man. More precisely: What makes a good romantic hero?
There are a couple of givens when you’re writing a romance. The guy is going to be good looking and have sound personal hygiene habits—romance heroes never have bad breath. Generally, in fact, the guy is going to be extraordinarily good looking. And that’s fine. Romance novels are meant to be fun escapes. They should have a touch of fantasy to them.
But I think the romance hero needs to have some of the traits we look for in real men too. A real romantic hero is kind and honest. He has a good sense of humor and a quick wit. He is sweet with animals and small children, charms older ladies and, even if he was a bit of a rogue in his younger days, would never-ever- cheat on the heroine.
He has some flaws too; even in a fantasy, a man who is simply too good to be true feels wrong. In order for the heroine, and the reader, to fall in love with the hero he needs to be real. The hero needs a touch of vulnerability, a couple of quirks that make him more than just a handsome face. We fall in love with the hero because, as tough as he likes to seem, when he flies he still grips the armrest a little too tightly during takeoff.
Colin is the hero in my contemporary romance, The Best Man. Of course he is handsome and fantastic in bed, but what I love about him are his quirks. Colin is a bit of a geek and he doesn’t try to hide it. He prefers science fiction to sports and freely admits that his flat is quite cluttered. He can seem a little over-eager at times, but I dare you not to be charmed by his self-effacing humor. I love him, and I hope you all will too, because he is a whole man: a mix of strengths and weaknesses. That mix makes him the perfect match for my heroine.
What kind of men do you like to read about? Tell me what makes a good man the best man on twitter and enter for a chance to win an e-copy of The Best Man.
Entering is easy. Just tweet @ana_blaze and include the hashtag #TheBestMan between midnight EST on June 7, 2013 and 11:59 p.m. EST on June 8, 2013!
For example, you could tweet:
@ana_blaze I married #TheBestMan I know.
@ana_blaze #TheBestMan is on my must read list.
@ana_blaze #TheBestMan made me breakfast in bed.
@ana_blaze I love sexy nerds. #TheBestMan
@ana_blaze I wish Beth would plan my wedding. #TheBestMan
@ana_blaze Being #TheBestMan is tough, but someone’s gotta do it.
@ana_blaze I want to read #TheBestMan!
You get the idea. Twitter rules ask that we don’t have too many duplicate tweets, so it’s best (and frankly way more cool) if you come up with your own tweet.
Ana is really looking forward to seeing what folks come up with. And hoping for some tweets about how to be #TheBestMan.
It’s also best if you are following Ana on twitter. Apparently that’s the only way to guarantee that your tweet shows up in the search.
You can follow here: https://twitter.com/ana_blaze
You’re welcome to tweet (and enter) more than once, but please not more than once an hour. Let’s not annoy the Twitter-folk too much.
This contest is open internationally.
Void where prohibited. 🙁
Excerpt from THE BEST MAN:
BETH CHASE TOOK A deep breath and blew out, slowly counting to five. All the signs of an imminent disaster were there. That’s why her boss had left it up to her. Eli was no fool; he was making sure that when everything went to shit, he wasn’t around to take the blame. Of course she’d known that when she accepted. The fact was opportunities like this one didn’t come around very often, and nailing this impossible wedding was Beth’s final step up the incredibly long staircase to full partner at Ever After Weddings. It didn’t matter how annoying the bride was or how many times the groom’s mother had a new, last minute idea, Beth was going to smile and give them their perfect day. There were no other options; she was a professional.
She was also pissed.
Beth held her hand out and smiled broadly. “Tony, give me your shirt.”
“What?” Her assistant slumped, but he quickly complied with her request. As he unbuttoned his white dress shirt and passed it to her a small sigh indicated his displeasure, but he kept his complaint to himself.
Beth accepted it and took the incredibly drunk best man by the arm. “You, come with me.” She struggled to keep the irritation out of her voice as she led the man down the hall. Luckily, she’d kept the jacket to his tux, so he hadn’t ruined it as well.
“Sorry, love. I’ve got a wedding to attend. Another time, maybe.” His British accent surprised her, since his brother spoke with a distinct Irish lilt.
“I know you’re in the wedding, Colin. That’s why we’re going to get you all handsome so you can stand up there with your brother on his big day. You don’t want to let him down, do you?” She tugged him into the bathroom and locked the door behind them. Nervous grooms sometimes got drunk before the ceremony, and Beth had seen a fair number of slightly hung over groomsmen, but finding a best man this wasted before he arrived at the church was a first. It was pathetic, it was selfish, and it was a million other things Beth Chase had no time for.
“Let him …” He laughed hoarsely for a few seconds before ending with a hiccup that sounded like a sob.
“Whoa. It’s okay. We’re going to get you fixed up.” She gave him a smile as she tugged his wrinkled shirt out of his pants. “It’s going to be a wonderful wedding.”
“My grandparents were married in this church.”
“Oh? How sweet. Your brother decided to come all this way to get married in the same church.”
He grabbed her arm. “No! Not his mother’s parents. Mine. It’s my bloody wedding. Didn’t anybody tell you?”
Beth stopped for a second. This was a new one. Being in the business for five years, she’d thought she’d seen it all. Clearly, she’d been mistaken. The man in front of her was a mess — worse than drunk. He looked broken. His eyes were bloodshot and she wondered if he’d been crying. Beth placed her hand on his arm. “Colin, this is your brother’s wedding. Remember? He and Andrea are getting married today.”
“I’m not crazy, Miss … Miss … Who the hell are you again?”
“Beth Chase, from Ever After Weddings. I’m here to make sure everything goes smoothly.” She gave Tony’s shirt a shake and walked around Colin’s back to help him into it.
He laughed. “No worries, Team Evil can keep my fiancée. Not gonna steal her back.” Colin brushed away her hands and began buttoning the shirt.
“You and Andrea were together?” This was exactly the type of information she needed ahead of time to prepare for this sort of mess.
“That’s what I’ve been saying.” He sighed and gave up on the buttons.
Beth finished the job and helped him with his bow tie. “Tuck in your shirt and now the jacket.” Beth helped Colin into it and studied the results. Better. Still, it appeared that Colin had slept with wet hair — perhaps outside on a bench during a hurricane. On one side, his hair was matted nearly flat, and on the other it stood up straight. She wet her hands at the sink and ran her fingers though his curls. “Much better. I knew there was a good-looking guy under there somewhere.”
Beth washed her hands before locating the mints and eye drops in her bag. “Just a couple of final touches …” She held out the container of mints. Instead of grabbing one, Colin produced a flask from his pocket. Beth frowned.
He took a drink and held it out to her. “Look, it has my initials. He took my girl and my wedding, but he gave me a fancy bottle with my name on it. Quite a deal.” Beth held her hand out for the flask. He pulled it away and gave her a stern look. “You shouldn’t drink before the weddin’, love. It’s naughty.”
Beth’s lips twitched. “In that case, maybe you should just let me hold it until later for you.”
He frowned. “Best I carry it. I’ll carry your bag, too.” He picked up the tote. “What’s in this thing?”
Beth laughed and took her bag back. She slung her tote over her shoulder and used his momentary distraction to claim the flask. “A girl never knows what she might need. I like to be prepared.”
“Prepared for what? Zombie apocalypse?”
“Eat this.” She handed him a mint and smiled as he popped it in to his mouth. “Good. Now, lean back.” She squeezed a drop of Visine into each eye.
He blinked and scowled. “Why are doing this to me?”
Beth shrugged. “Sorry. It’s my job. Now, show me the rings.”
“I threw them out with the bathwater.”
He chuckled and pulled a small box out of his pants pocket. “Got the rings right here.” He opened the box and showed her the two diamond-encrusted rings inside. “They’re a bit ostentatious, but you can try them on if you like.” He frowned. “Won’t fit you, though. You’re rather tiny … and bossy. Why are you so bloody bossy?”
Beth closed the box and pushed it towards him. “Put this back in your pocket and don’t take it out until the minister asks.”
“I’m not an idiot. I know how to hold the rings.”
“Perfect.” She took his arm and walked him out of the bathroom and over to the chapel. “Now, you just walk up the aisle with the pretty maid of honor and stand next your brother.”
Colin snorted. “Mindy hasn’t been a maid in a long time. Bet I’m the only bloke here she hasn’t shagged.”
Mindy turned to scowl at him. “Thank God Andrea came to her senses and decided to marry a real man.”
Colin chuckled. Beth plastered on a smile. “Okay the music is starting — everyone get in your places.” She tapped the shoulder of a small, dark-haired girl wearing an elaborate and uncomfortable-looking dress. “You’re on, sweetie. Big smile.” She turned and waved to the next group. “Bridesmaids and groomsmen.” She bit back a laugh at their dresses and nodded. “You all look lovely,” she lied. Andrea had clearly taken advantage of her ability to make her friends look like crap. “And now the maid of honor and the best man.”
Colin yanked Mindy by the arm. “Come on, trollop of honor.”
“Jackass,” Mindy whispered loudly, before pasting on a toothy smile and marching down the aisle.
Beth watched them for only a second. The potential for trouble from the best man was clear, but she had things under control. She turned to give the bride a big smile. “You look stunning,” she gushed. When everyone was in place, she signaled to the organist to play the march and sent Andrea and her father up the aisle. Then she dialed Eli’s number.
“Hello there,” he answered, “I assume the Pratt Wedding is going splendidly.”
“Give me the story, Eli. Now.”
CONTACT Anna Blaze: