Recently, I wrote a blog about my favorite one-click authors. I’ve actually done several, and one name is consistently on that author list: DONNA SIMONETTA, who’s visiting me today. I “met” Donna through our mutual publisher, the Wild Rose Press , and from the first book of her’s that I read, I was hooked as a reader. I’m so proud to know her and call her a friend, but I’m really blown away by the fact that she calls me one!
Donna’s got a new entry in her RIVERS BEND series that she’s talking about today. I have the book uploaded on my Kindle and I’m starting it tonight!!!! Who wants to bet I’ll be getting even less sleep than I usually do tonight? heehee.
My new release, What Was I Thinking, is the final installment of my Rivers Bend Trilogy. To celebrate, Peggy Jaeger invited me to visit her blog and talk a little about writing a series. Since Peggy has written so many series I loveloveLOVE, Will Cook for Love, San Valentino Family, The MacQuire Women, DotComGirls, and A Match Made in Heaven sound familiar? I think I got all of your series, didn’t I, Peg? ; ) My point is––Peggy is a queen of series romance, so having little ole me write about it on her blog feels a little bit like bringing coals to Newcastle. But here goes…
My Rivers Bend books are set in a fictional small town on the Virginia-Maryland border. The river in question is the Potomac, which flows through the town. And the series follows the romantic adventures of the Braden family. Oldest brother Jeff is a former NFL player, and favorite son of the tiny town. He runs the Retreat at Rivers Bend, a corporate retreat facility, and is raising his tween daughter on his own, since her mom passed away when she was just a baby. He’s happily single…or so he thinks! He may just have met his match in newcomer to town, librarian Magda Horvath, a Yankee transplant, who blows into town with her one-eyed shih-tzu rescue dog and turns Jeff’s world upside down. Their story is told in book one of the series, A Sweeter Spot. Which is coming out as an audiobook very soon!
Jeff’s sister Heather is featured in book two in the trilogy––Love is Lovelier. She works for Jeff at the Retreat, and is seriously unhappy with her brother when he hires her first love to work at the Retreat, in a job that should be hers. To be fair, Jeff didn’t know about Heather and Mick’s history. But now that Mick is living in town, old passions flare, and maybe they’ll get a second chance at their first love in Rivers Bend.
What Was I Thinking wraps up the trilogy with youngest brother, Jason Braden. He’s the romantic wild child of the family…never settling down with one woman. But when Lily Davis moves to town to take care of her niece Hadley (Jeff’s daughters’ BFF, and featured in the previous books), sparks fly between Jason and Lily. At first, they are sparks of mutual antagonism, but a wild Vegas fling changed them to sparks of attraction, and maybe by the end of the series, these two opposites will find their happy-ever-after in Rivers Bend.
This little town has begun to feel real to me. I’ve been so immersed in it for the last few years, while I’ve been writing these stories. I can picture the town green, with its’ gazebo on the river, the old brick library where Magda works, and would love to get a cup of coffee at the Nosh Pit, or a slice of pizza at Mancini’s. I’ve been walking its’ streets in my own mind for so long, I’m going to miss it now that the Rivers Bend trilogy is complete. The Braden family, and all the quirky secondary characters who reside in the Bend have become old friends to me. And while I’m proud to have finished the series, and excited for all of you to read the third book in the trilogy, it’s a bittersweet moment for me. I don’t know if I’m ready to leave Rivers Bend yet. Mick’s little brother moved to town, and he’s just crying out for his own HEA, and maybe the next generation of Bradens, oldest sister’s Deidre’s college age twins, will need their stories told too. Never say never.
In the meantime, I’m polishing up an unrelated novel, about ghost hunting brothers in Richmond, VA, which has the potential to become a series too, and I’ve had the idea for a spin-off of the Rivers Bend series nagging at me for a while. It’s set in my current hometown of Baltimore, and features Lily’s best friend Roni, and Heather’s musician friend, Chase. But right now, their story is just a twinkle in my eye.
I hope all of you enjoy visiting Rivers Bend, as much as I enjoyed creating it, and all my old friends in the small town become new friends of yours, as you read the series.
A Vegas fling never leads to love…does it?
A wild Vegas fling isn’t the traditional Thanksgiving celebration, and Lily and Jason have been like oil and water since they met. Blaming their steamy hook-up on too many shots at the bar, they head home.
Back in the real world, Jason wonders if he’s ready to give up his crown as the Playboy King of Rivers Bend to be with just one woman. And Lily has enough on her plate right now without adding Jason Braden to the mix, even if their attraction is crazy-strong.
But life is good at throwing curveballs, and a lot can happen between Thanksgiving and Valentine’s Day. Maybe even enough to lead these two polar opposites home to each other in Rivers Bend.
“I think about a lot of things.”
She felt him stiffen up behind her, and Jason’s tone of voice was defensive. She hadn’t meant to hurt his feelings. “I know you do; I didn’t mean anything by it. We poke at each other”—she shrugged—“it’s kind of our thing.”
His grip on her hand loosened, and then he took control of the dance, by twirling her until her back was pressed to his front, and he began to move sinuously in time to the rhythm. His breath tickled her ear, as he spoke right in it to be heard over the music. “We’ve got a thing, Moonbeam?”
Jason had ditched the tie and suit jacket after the wedding, and his body heat scorched her through his crisp white dress shirt. And man-oh-Maneschewitz, his lean, hard body felt good. Really good. The Marine might be bulked up, but Jason’s body felt like it had been made for hers, which given their mutual antagonism, seemed like proof Fate was enjoying a good laugh at her expense. Against Lily’s better judgment, her body melted into his warmth and began to move with his.
“Sure, we’ve got a thing,” she said over her shoulder, and was irritated to hear a trace of breathlessness in her voice. She cleared her throat and continued, “Like that—you calling me Moonbeam, because you know it bugs me.”
Donna Simonetta writes the kind of books she loves to read–contemporary romances with heart, humor, and heat. The kind of books that help you escape the real world for a little while. Writing is Donna’s third career. She toiled in the business world, and when she decided being an Account Executive wasn’t for her went back to school to get her MLS degree. Next, she worked in a school library for many years. But, Donna dreamed of being an author since she was a little girl, and began to squeeze writing into her day. After the publication of her second book, Donna decided to leave the library and become a full-time author. It can be a solitary job, so she loves to connect with her readers–you can find her online Here:
Donna lives in Maryland with her husband, who is her real-life romance hero. They enjoy traveling to visit far-flung family and friends, and spending time on the beach with an umbrella drink and a good book.
Peggy here: for the record – Donna is amazing at series romance, herself, so don’t let her fool ya!!! I’ve reviewed the previous books in her Rivers Bend series and am so looking forward to reading WHAT WHAT I THINKING??
Love is Lovelier
Happy reading, peeps.
Until next time ~ Peg