Claire Baxter is visiting CABR today 🙂
Read on to find out more about her newest release, ANYBODY BUT HIM
I have a Giveaway for you too, so complete the rafflecopter below 🙂
Welcome to my blog Claire 🙂
Thanks for having me, Sasha!
What is ANYTHING BUT HIM all about?
It’s an enemies-to-lovers story with some laughs along the way and themes of letting go of the past, growing up, and dealing with aging parents.
Nicola is a city executive who returns to her home town reluctantly after escaping years ago. Little does she know that her three-month stay will give her a different perspective on events of the past.
Blair is the handsome, charming, artistic high-school-heart-breaker Nicola doesn’t want to see again. But whenever she needs help, he’s there, and he quickly makes it clear that things are different now.
Tell us about the inspiration behind your book
Nicola and Blair had been living in my head for quite a while by the time I wrote about them and it was a relief to finally let them out. When I started this story I knew I wanted it to be fun, and I wanted to have fun writing it while dealing with some themes that were not so light-hearted.
I wanted to explore how Nicola would cope when forced to return to the town where she’d been a teenage laughing stock, and what she would do when she fell in love with her high-school nemesis, the man she hated. Would she be able to get past her hurt and forgive Blair once she discovered the reasons behind his behaviour?
Not in any particular order:
Nicola is locked in the bathroom when the door knob falls off. It’s a fun scene and Blair comes to the rescue.
She made her way to the bathroom in bare feet, yawning as she kicked the door shut behind her. When she heard a loud clunk, she froze, her mind racing through the possibilities.
None of them good.
She turned back to the door and grasped the knob – which came away in her hand. What the–? She looked at it sitting in her palm. No freaking way.
She dropped to her knees to look into the hole where the knob had been. Much good that did her. She could see the bolt-thingy that operated the latch, but it was no help without something to make it work. Like a knob.”
Blair visits Nicola’s parents for the first time. She’s embarrassed by them, but he thinks they’re great. Oh, and there’s shortbread.
‘What six-monthly check up?’
‘The one you have every year,’ her mum said with an accompanying eyeroll. ‘You have it every year in November.’
Her dad took a piece of shortbread and got a slapped hand for not letting their guest have first go at it. He winced. ‘Isn’t that twelve-monthly?’
‘Who says twelve-monthly? It’s yearly, not twelve-monthly. Honestly, Nicola’s boyfriend will think you don’t have a clue.’
Nicola glanced at Blair. His shoulders were shaking slightly, but apart from that, he appeared to be innocently munching his shortbread. She sighed and took a piece for herself. Once she’d fortified herself with its crumbly, buttery goodness, she was ready to try again.
Nicola’s best friend Lainey finally feels ready to move on after her marriage break-up.
With a shrug, Nicola climbed onto the bed and knelt alongside the suitcase, doing her best to hold the mass of white fabric and lace in the case. But while Lainey tugged the zip around one end of the case, the dress spilled out of the other end.
‘Sheesh, there’s just too much of it,’ Nicola said, sitting back to get her breath. ‘I don’t suppose you have a bigger case?’
Lainey dragged the back of her hand across her forehead. ‘No, but I’m sure we can get it into this one.’
‘Okay. Let’s give it another go.’ She dived into the foamy whiteness again, while Lainey struggled with the zip.
Nicola pushed, Lainey pulled. Finally, it was done. Nicola flopped back onto the bed.
‘Phew. That’s better.’ Lainey rolled off the bed and lifted the suitcase onto the floor. ‘Now I can literally deal with my baggage,’ she said with a shaky laugh.
Nicola has cracked a rib in a fall and Blair has driven her home from hospital. She realises that she needs his help to undress.
‘I have a problem.’ She grimaced, grateful that he hadn’t listened to her and left. ‘I need your help, and I wouldn’t ask if there was any other option.’
‘Got it. I’m your last resort.’
‘That’s not what I meant.’ She cleared her throat. ‘I need you to take off my top.’ She hesitated. ‘And my bra.’
He lowered the newspaper slowly. ‘Are you kidding me?’
She gave her head a small shake.
He made a noise in his throat. ‘I’m not usually a last resort when it comes to women who want undressing,’ he said lightly.
Blair lets Nicola see a drawing he did in high school. It’s her first inkling that things are not always as they seem, and maybe Blair hadn’t hated her as she’d always believed.
She’d been ugly at school. Nerdy, to say the least. But in this picture she looked pensive, and pretty. Her hair was sticking out all over the place as it always had before she’d had it professionally straightened, but strangely, it suited her – or at least it suited the person in the picture. He’d used a generous amount of artistic licence to create the flattering effect.
‘You drew this?’
‘Yes. When I was seventeen. I even dated and signed it, see?’
She leaned forward to see the date and signature in the bottom corner. At seventeen, he’d been her enemy. What would he have drawn if he’d been her friend?
Her mouth had gone dry. ‘Why would you do that?’
‘Draw you?’ He turned the sketch pad and looked at the drawing again. ‘I can’t tell you the exact thoughts that were going through my head at the time, but I do know that I thought you were beautiful. I suppose that’s why.’
What’s next for you?
My next release is coming up very soon. FLIRTING WITH DANGER will be released on September 9th from Entangled’s Bliss imprint. It’s a fun, flirty romance, and Book 1 in the Firefighters of Adelaide series.
If you could spend the day with anyone in history, living or dead, who would it be and why?
I can’t go past Jane Austen because her books had such a profound effect on me when I first discovered them. I’d love to see her at work. I wouldn’t be a bother – I’d sit quietly in the corner and observe her writing process. And then we’d have tea. 😀
Before following her passion to write full-time, Claire was an award-winning corporate communications manager. Earlier, she worked as a translator and a PA.
Claire grew up in Warwickshire, England, but for more than 20 years has called Australia home. She considers herself lucky to live near one of Adelaide’s beautiful metropolitan beaches where she loves to walk and think up stories.