You all know I love love love when a Wild Rose sistah comes to visit, and I especially love when that sistah beings one of her characters! Today, we’re visiting with author Donna Simonetta and Heather Braden, whom we first met in A Sweeter Spot, book one in the Rivers Bend trilogy, and get to know better in the new release, Love is Lovelier. She’s mixed up one of her signature cocktails for the interview, so let us pour you a Mai Tai, and hear what she has to say.
Heather, you’re from the tiny town of Rivers Bend, Virginia. Tell us what it is that draws you to live there.
(Smiles in a way that lights up the room) Well, it’s my hometown. I was born and raised there. But there are lots of things that keep me living there. The scenery is beautiful…rolling fields, the winding river wending its way through the town, the blue ridge mountains in the distance. It’s truly lovely. The best thing about the town though, has to be the people! For some reason, Rivers Bend seems to attract quirky, fun people. They might be in your business a little too much, but it’s done out of love, and frankly, it’s kind of nice living in a place where you know everyone has your back.
So you never considered living anywhere else?
After high school, I did move to Portland, Oregon to help my brother Jeff with his daughter after her mom died. And it was fun living there, but it never really felt like home, y’know?
You strike me as the kind of person who would have fun wherever you are living.
(Throws back her head and laughs) That’s probably true. Mick Evans would certainly say it about me.
Since you brought up Mick Evans, I have to ask…in A Sweeter Spot, you did not seem at all pleased to learn he was moving to Rivers Bend to be your boss at the Retreat. How are things going between you?
(Blushes to the roots of her sun-kissed brown hair) We’ve had our ups and downs. (Pauses, and takes a long sip of her fruity cocktail) You see, Mick and I have a bit of a history together. And those pesky feelings for each other don’t seem to want to stay in the past where they belong.
(Waits several beats, but Heather doesn’t seem inclined to continue) Okaaay…how about this question. You are known in Rivers Bend for creating signature cocktails for different events.
(Leans forward eagerly and nods, brushing her choppy bangs back off her face) I even have a tiki bar in my little apartment over my sister’s café, the Nosh Pit. I love to try to find the perfect creation to celebrate different events. For my mother’s annual Kentucky Derby party at her horse farm, I made frozen Mint Juleps this year, and they were quite a hit with everyone.
If you were going to have a drink that represents Mick, what would it be, and why?
(Screws up her mouth and narrows her eyes as she considers) An aged Scotch. Neat. Like Mick, it’s classic, elegant, smooth, but a single sip and I’m knocked off my feet!
That certainly doesn’t sound like your feelings are in the past. How does Mick feel?
(Shrugs) You’d have to ask him.
But Mick isn’t here with us today, so I’m asking you…are you two an item again?
We are drawn together––it’s the old cliché about opposites attracting. But, there are a lot of reasons…valid reasons, good reasons…for the two of us to remain just friends. So, that’s what we’re trying to do.
How’s that working for you?
(Grins and winks) You’ll have to read Love is Lovelier to find out!
Heather and Mick have a long history together, and Heather wants to leave it in the past where it belongs. Yet, here Mick is, very much in her present, thanks to her brother Jeff, who hired Mick to be her boss at the Retreat at Rivers Bend.
It wouldn’t be so bad, except Heather and Mick are still attracted to each other like metal to a magnet. Oh, and her brother is considering offering Mick a partnership in the Retreat, which by rights should be hers. And even if they act on their attraction, Heather is a small-town, country girl, and proud of it, whereas Mick can’t get far enough from his West Virginia coal-mining roots.
Will they be able to get a second chance at their first love and find their happy ending together in Rivers Bend?
“Stick close. I’ll get you out of here.”
He used his broad shoulders as a wedge to propel himself through the crowd; Heather scurried to keep up with him so she could take advantage of the gap he created, not wanting to be so close that she could feel the warmth of his body through his elegant suit, but because she needed somehow to beat this crush of people to the Retreat to make sure that everything was in place for the post-christening party she’d planned for Bethanne – only perfection would do for her BFF.
She watched Mick’s back as she stuck close to him; he looked so strong and fit – it was hard to imagine him the way he was ten years ago, when he’d suffered his NFL career-ending injury, but the same business acumen that kept him with the Portland Pintos organization back then was the reason Jeff and Cisco hired him at the Retreat.
He’d be good for business – she’d just have to keep chanting those words in her head like a mantra, or else she’d do one of two things she’d regret – kill Mick, or kiss him, and she’d gone the kissing route with him before. It did not end well. And tempting as the killing option was at the moment, it probably wouldn’t end any better.
A little about Donna :
My career has been a winding road. I worked in the business world for years, got my MLS and worked in a school library, and am now living my dream as an author. I love to read and write contemporary and fantasy romance. I live in Maryland, with my husband, who is my real-life romance hero. We both enjoy traveling to visit our far-flung family and friends, and spending time on the beach with an umbrella drink and a good book.
YOU can connect with Donna here:
My review of LOVE IS LOVELIER can be found here: Goodreads