Hello readers. I'm really excited to have Empi Baryeh as my guest author today. I met her online over a year ago during the New Voices 2010 competition and we've become good friends/critique partners. She's also a member of Romance Writers of West Africa. So it's with special pleasure that I introduce her to you as she's about to release her debut novel published by Evernight Publishing. Please make her welcome.
Empi, welcome and over to you.
Hi Kiru. I’m honoured to be hosted on your blog today as I eagerly await the release of my debut novel, Most Eligible Bachelor, a contemporary romance set in Accra, Ghana.
Today is the first day of February, and like it or not, this month is all about one specific day—Valentine’s Day! It’s even more significant for me this year because I get to finally introduce you to Lord McKenzie and Chantelle Sah who meet on Valentine’s Day, and despite my heroine’s best efforts, she’s powerless to prevent herself from heeding the call of love.
Chantelle is a woman who’s been burned by love and is afraid to risk her heart again; and a reputed playboy is hardly the kind of man she expects to heal her broken heart. The thing about Chantelle is that many of us can relate to her story – we’ve either been there or we know someone who’s in essence my heroine.
What I really like about this story is that the hero’s interest in the heroine begins right at the start of the story. There’s just something about a man who knows what he wants and goes after it. Seriously, what woman wouldn’t like to know that her significant other had noticed her even before she ever met him?
The other thing about Most Eligible Bachelor is the setting. You don’t find many romance novels taking place in regular old sub-Saharan Africa. I think this adds a special flavor to the story. For those who’ve never been to Ghana, it will be a bit of an adventure, and for those who are familiar with Accra, I’m sure it will be fun to read about places they know.
If you hop over to my blog (http://empibaryeh.wordpress.com) on Friday (my book release day), I can find out about how Most Eligible Bachelor came into being, some challenges I’ve faced trying to break into the publishing world with this story and what comes next!
Here’s a sneak peek at Most Eligible Bachelor.
Magazine columnist Chantelle Sah doesn’t celebrate Valentine’s Day—not since her fiancé’s betrayal three years ago—and after botching her first assignment as a feature writer, she’s more than willing to put in a hard day’s work this Valentine’s Day; even if it means going on a date with gorgeous construction Tycoon, Lord McKenzie, and opening herself to an onslaught of all things love.
When Lord—his given name, not a title—sets his sights on Chantelle, it isn’t just work he has on his mind. But even he couldn’t have predicted the magnetic attraction between them when they meet, nor the evening ending with more than an interview. Now he has to convince Chantelle that their one-night stand wasn’t a mistake. Can he win her love without revealing a secret from their night of passion, which could prove fatal for both their hearts?
Excerpt – The First Kiss
He seemed amused by her lack of a response as he took her hand and led her back to the dance floor. The music had turned slow.
She hesitated. Slow music meant being in his arms, their bodies touching. She shouldn’t do this. Yet for some ridiculous reason, she wanted – needed, even – the closeness, to feel like a woman again. Just for a moment. Even if she was certifiably insane for wanting all this in the arms of Lord McKenzie.
He pulled her gently, bringing her body flush against his. A tremor rushed through her. His warm breath on her face sent tiny tingles running over her skin. Heat radiated to her from each part of his body touching hers, his powerful thighs, lean hips and firm abdomen, his hand, pressed firmly on the small of her back.
When was the last time she’d been this close to a man? Her breath quickened as raw need surged through her. Far too long. Not since Martin.
Tears stung her eyes as the familiar loneliness accompanying Valentine’s Day closed in. Old love songs always got to her. She turned away from his watchful gaze, focusing on other couples huddled close together on the dance floor. Yearning pierced her heart. She gave herself a mental shake. She couldn’t entertain such thoughts. Once she did, there would be no salvation.
As if sensing her distress, Lord pulled her closer, his hold tightening around her. Every thought flittered out of her mind as soon as their gazes locked, and she began to drown in the deep pools of his dark eyes.
“Happy Valentine’s Day, Chantelle.”
Was it stupid that she liked the way her name sounded on his tongue? She opened her mouth to say something – about how Valentine’s Day had been commercialized to the point of triviality, an occasion for errant lovers to feel better about neglecting their significant others, a day to buy enough credit for another year, one day to make the unloved feel even less loved – anything to hide how hard it was to hear those words, but nothing came out.
His face hovered just inches away. Her heart stutter-stepped; her breath snagged. Without explanation, she wanted to know the taste of his lips. She wanted to erase it all from her mind, her pain, his reputation. She wanted to simply believe he really was just the most eligible bachelor in town, and he had her in his arms.
He smiled, really smiled, not the movie star grins he’d been flashing earlier. His gaze emitted pure heat wrapped around a hint of sadness. What in the world could make a man with his looks and popularity melancholic? Surely Lord McKenzie didn’t have the same kinds of problems as mere mortals.
His fingers feathered her cheek, sending another wave of tremors through her. When his hand reached her chin, he lifted her face. Her mind barely registered what was happening before the space between them vanished. His searing kiss was nothing she could have imagined. It scorched her, inside and out. A soft moan escaped her throat before she could stop it. She melted into him, curling her fingers around his nape.
When he pulled away, her breath came in fast, shallow bursts. In stunned reflex, her fingers came to her lips, which felt swollen, having not been used for this purpose in a while. Weak-kneed and aroused, she sensed she only remained standing because of his strong arms around her.
One of the couples dancing bumped into them, jerking her back to reality.
Shoot. This evening would be more difficult than she could have guessed. How was she supposed to conduct a professional interview when she’d just kissed the interviewee, and now her mind insisted on dancing around words like ravished?
I hope you enjoyed that excerpt and you’ve marked you calendar to get your very own copy at:
Evernight Publishing: http://www.evernightpublishing.com/most-eligible-bachelor-by-empi-baryeh (will be active from 3rd Feb)
All Romance eBooks: http://www.allromanceebooks.com/
Empi Baryeh has been writing since the age of thirteen after stumbling upon a YA story her older sister had started. The story fascinated her so much that, when she discovered it was unfinished, she knew the task of completing it rested firmly on her shoulders. And somehow the ideas and the words for the rest of the story began to pour into her mind. She’s been writing ever since.
It wasn’t until another thirteen years later, however, that the romantic in her geared her toward romance. She now focuses on heart-warming multicultural romance with enough passion to enthral readers who want a little sizzle with their romance. She lives in her native country, Ghana, which provides the exotic setting for most of her novels.
You can find me online at the following destinations: Blog: http://empibaryeh.wordpress.com | Website: http://empibaryeh.webs.com | Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/empibaryeh | Twitter: @empibaryeh
As part of my blog tour celebration, I’m giving away a free copy of my book to one lucky commenter on this blog post. That’s right – leave a comment or question and you could win a free copy of my book. I’ll announce winners on my blog on 19th February.
Thanks again for hosting me today, Kiru, and thank all of you—yes, you—for stopping by and sharing this exciting moment with me. Have a wonderful rest-of-the-week!