Love American Style: Find Love in the Country & Love Forevermore

What's better than Love, American Style? This weekend on Get Lost in a Story we've been celebrating romance in the land of the red, white and blue--past, present and forevermore. Today, you'll meet more authors who write romances set in America, and get a peek at a favorite love moment from one of their books.

Friday, we visited Love in the Old West, yesterday we explored Love in the City
Today we find Love in the Country with Donna Alward, Angi MorganLiz Selvig, and Love Forevermore with Kathleen Baldwin.

Donna Alward
A busy wife and mother of three (2 daughters and the family dog), Donna Alward believes hers is the best job in the world: a combination of stay-at-home mom and romance novelist. 
Donna completed her Arts Degree in English Literature in 1994, but it wasn’t until 2001 that she penned her first full-length novel, and found herself hooked on writing romance.  In 2006 she sold her first manuscript.  From her home office in Nova Scotia, Donna loves being back on the East Coast of Canada after nearly 12 years in Alberta where her Harlequin career began, writing about cowboys and the west.
     Donna is the best-selling author of over forty books for Harlequin, Samhain Publishing and St. Martins Press, and is a member of the Romance Writers of Atlantic Canada Chapter.  She’s won both the Booksellers’ Best Award and the Colorado Award of Excellence twice, and is a 2012 RITA Finalist for her title HOW A COWBOY STOLE HER HEART. Visit her at  www.donnaalward.com.

What's your favorite love story?
I think my all time favorite is Morning Glory by LaVyrle Spencer. Both characters are good people in bad situations, emotionally wounded and outcasts from society. And yet with each other, they face their demons to take their place not only to be accepted in the community but even loved and respected. They are kind and compassionate and scared to love each other, but it makes their triumph as individuals and as husband and wife soooo satisfying.  When I was younger I didn’t appreciate the book as much as I do now – I probably read it when I was 19 or 20.

Why do you write romances?
You know, it puzzles me why people are so dismissive of love stories and happy endings. I think it’s a basic component of our humanity to want to love and be loved, and yet when we write about it it’s somehow not worthy of serious discussion. I write it because I like to believe that there are happy endings out there; that there is hope for everyone to find that someone to share their life with, and that our obstacles can be overcome to find happiness. There is enough heartbreak in the world… it’s my privilege to bring a little happiness to someone’s life, even if it’s through stuff I make up.

Here's a love moment excerpt from Donna's last book, The Cowboy's Valentine

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     Quinn stared at her and felt his frustration bubble up and over. There was just too much Lacey in his life all the time. In the morning when she made coffee and packed Amber’s lunch for school. When she baked her stupid cakes and used her own stupid fabric softener on his clothes so he had her scent with him every damn day. Family dinners at night and the way she worked around the house while he took Amber through her bedtime routine. The little hesitation each evening when their eyes met and they said good-night before going to their separate rooms far too early, just to avoid time alone together.
     “Maybe you could help a little less,” he snapped. “I understand you’re at loose ends and not working, but Amber and me? We’re not your little project. We’re not your surrogate family. So stop trying so goddamned hard to be indispensable to us. You’re not Marie so quit trying to be!”
     She pulled back as if he’d struck her, her wide blue eyes filling with unexpected tears at the cruel words.
     “Goddammit,” he repeated, as his control snapped. He stepped forward and cupped her head in his hands and kissed her, full-on, no holds barred, lips and tongues meshing in a furious, passionate dance.
     Oh, God.
     It had been so long since he’d held a woman in his arms, since he’d felt the softness of a female body pressed to his or heard a murmur of pleasure ripple through her mouth to his. She wasn’t fighting him off, he realized, she was straining to reach him. Her fingers dug into his shoulder blades as she held him close and her teeth…oh God, her teeth bit into his lower lip, sending sparks of desire rocketing through him. He reached down, cupped one hand around a delicious buttock and pulled her against him, her gasp of surprise giving him a strange satisfaction as he ran his tongue over the seam of her lips.
      He ground his pelvis against hers once, aching for her, but it was the one step that brought them both out of the passionate haze and into the present.
     She pressed her hands to his chest—when had it started heaving like he’d been running? “Quinn,” she whispered, her voice a mixture of wonder and apprehension. “What are we doing?”
     He had to get a grip. “I’m sorry,” he murmured, dropping his hands and backing up a step, needing to put some distance between their bodies in an attempt to clear his head.

Angi Morgan
Angi & Tim hiking in West Texas Watchmen country
Introduced to Harlequin® romances by her grandmother, she went through Junior High waiting for the next visit to “Mommie’s” house. There, she’d search through the inside cover corners for checkmarks, aunt’s initials, and her favorite phrase: Okay for Angi. That’s right, her aunts and grandmother censored which stories she could borrow. Reading gave her a love for the Harlequin® name and story. She still has a lot of her grandmother’s books on her keeper shelf. Angi keeps reading and thinking romance, falling in love with the “Happily Ever After” for each hero and heroine that tells her their story.

Angi Morgan is a national best-selling author who writes “Intrigues where honor and danger collide with love.” She combines actual Texas settings with characters who are in realistic and dangerous situations. Angi's work has been a finalist in the Bookseller’s Best Award, Romantic Times Best First Series, Gayle Wilson Award of Excellence, the Carolyn Readers Choice Award, and the Daphne du Maurier. Her first Intrigue won the 2010 RWA® Golden Heart for Suspense/Action Adventure.

Chat with Angi on Facebook or via email. She loves hearing from fans…especially about pets and bare-chested men.

What's your favorite love story?  My daughter's.

The short story: She met the man of her dreams in college. He was a transfer and was a year behind her. She moved to continue graduate school. Long distance and busy schedules put stress on their relationship. (We can see where this is leading...) The had a fight where she she leaves. And like every romantic movie, she hoped he would follow her out the door and ask her not to go. BUT, he thought she meant her words about "space." They broke apart because he stayed put. 

He called two weeks later wanting to talk. She asked me if she should, knowing that he was the one but also knowing changes needed to be made. They talked through the hiccups in their relationship and are still together. And the time apart actually did them good. They both realized that apart, well, it wasn't for them.

I guess it's my favorite because I helped. My advice to my daughter was to make a list of what she thought went wrong, tell him, but then ask him what he heard. We often mis-interpret words and their meanings. I'm so glad it worked out for them. 

Why do you write romances?
Amazon    B&N   iBooks
In bookstore this week
I love happy endings and character growth. Writing the suspense and character problems is the easiest thing in the world. Matching characters to find the one that completes them is the most difficult and challenging. So whether in real life or in fiction . . . watching a person/character grow and understand more about themselves and their world is the best Happily Ever After.

Here's a love moment from THE RANGER
book 3, West Texas Watchmen

"For a morning that started out questionable," Mitch said from the front of the cafe. "It turned out well for you." He stepped away from the juke box and her favorite song started playing.
It brought a smile to her lips every time it she heard it. Tonight was no exception. Especially since Mitch had chosen something she liked. So he'd noticed what music she played when she was here alone? Duh. He could hear it in his room at the back of the garage.
"You're absolutely right. A crappy start but an awesome finish." She took the hand he extended and swung into his arms. When their fingers touched she thought about Rey wanting her to get Mitch away from the garage. Only a split second thought because she was ready for a moment of not thinking at all. A moment to let her mind rest and just feel nice swaying to the music.
Feeling Mitch's arms around didn't hurt either. He was an expert dancer and it was so easy to lean her ear against his chest and let him weave them between the tables. She could sweep and mop early in the morning.
Right now, it felt wonderful being held by someone taller than herself. She loved having her son's arms around her and missed him terribly on days like today when she worked from open to close. But there was something about a man guiding you around a dance floor, trusting him to protect you.
"I can't remember the last time I went dancing. Probably before Toby was born."
"No talking. Just enjoy the music."
Brandie relaxed and let him lead with confidence. The next song was country swing. With gentle nudges at her waist, his strong hands had her performing fancy dance moves she'd never dreamed of before. When the song was over they were both laughing and she leaned in to hug him.
"That felt so good." She craned her neck backwards to look up into his eyes.
"Then we need to do it again." He leaned toward her.
Brandie didn't dodge him. His lips were amazingly soft for a man, but still firm. Tall, lean, comforting, protective, strong…all were good words to describe him. The scruff from his five o'clock shadow teased her cheek and she kissed him back, drinking in his taste and trying to remember the last exciting thrill she'd had.
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Lizbeth Selvig

Lizbeth Selvig writes fun, heartwarming contemporary romantic fiction for Avon books. She is a winner of the Romance Writers of America’s Golden Heart® contest for unpublished manuscripts (with what became her first published novel The Rancher and the Rock Star), and her second published novel, Rescued By A Stranger, was a 2014 nominee for Romance Writers of America’s prestigious RITA® Award. 

Liz lives in Minnesota with her best friend (aka her husband, Jan), a hyperactive border collie named Magic, and a gray Arabian gelding named Jedi.  She turned to fiction writing after working as a newspaper journalist and magazine editor, and raising an equine veterinarian daughter and a talented musician son. She’s now over the moon being a brand new grandma to Evelyn Grace, as well as to her four-legged grandchildren of which there are over twenty-five, including a wallaby, two alpacas, a large goat, a mammoth-eared donkey, a pig, three sugar gliders, and many dogs, cats and horses (pics of all appear on her website www.lizbethselvig.com). In her spare time she loves to hike, quilt, read, and horseback ride. Her next project with Avon is a seven-book series “Seven Brides For Seven Cowboys.” The first of the series “The Bride Wore Denim,” comes out May 5, 2015. She loves connecting with readers—contact her any time!

What's your favorite love story?
I love so many love stories! I always rack my brain trying to figure out what the favorite is. I don’t know. But I do have a favorite love “line.”  It’s from the end of “Pretty Woman,” when Edward braves his fear of heights to “rescue” Vivian from her tower.
Edward: So what happened after he climbed up the tower to rescue her?
Vivian: She rescues him right back.
That says it all to me—the perfect romance is one where the hero and heroine rescue each other.

Why do you write romance?
Truly, truly I can’t help myself! I realized early on in life that I was a story-wimp. No sad endings, violent endings, horror endings, or unresolved endings for this girl. I wanted The Fairy Tale. And I’d fallen in love with romances by reading Silhouette and Harlequin books by the gross and then graduating into big single titles—LaVyrle Spencer, Danielle Steele, and Joanna Lindsay. Also, I grew up in a family of strong, stubborn women and good-hearted, ahead-of-their-time liberated men. I desperately wanted to write stories that would show the world that true love, real romance, and wonderful happily ever afters really could exist. And nowadays, with such graphic images on the news reminding us constantly how unhappy the world can be—we need romance and HEAs more than ever! I’m so blessed to be able to write what I love!

Here's a love moment excerpt from Good Guys Wear Black:
He removed his foot from the stirrup, Rose placed hers into it, and Jill gave her a boost, launching her twenty feet into the air—or so it felt. A second later, she sat astride Sun’s broad rump behind the saddle. Instinctively she grabbed Dewey around the waist.
“Howdy, little lady.” He laughed.
“Don’t ‘little lady’ me. If I fall off, I’ll turn you into a little lady.”
His laugh deepened. “Afraid much?”
“Hey, I cracked my head open falling off one of these things when I was twelve. Sorry if I’m a wimp.”
She hadn’t admitted the story until now, but she had to explain the quivering in her torso somehow.
“Really?” He placed a hand over hers, where it fisted in his shirt against his belly. “I’m sorry, I didn’t know. I wouldn’t have made fun of you.”
“It’s fine.”
This time when he laughed, he shook against her body. It didn’t help the quivers any, but it did make them form from something other than fear. She noticed immediately how heightened every sensation was from her spot on Sun’s back. She could feel when Dewey squeezed his legs together, because the tension spiraled through his entire body. When Sun stepped out, his haunches lifted beneath her, throwing her balance left and right. As Dewey swayed with the rhythm of the horse’s walk, her body motion evened out, relaxed even, and she pressed closer to him, his body her only safety equipment.
“Better?” he asked.
“Where the heck did you learn to ride?”
“My sisters both had horses at one point. We used to go out on trail rides once in a while. I can do this much, but nothing fancy.”
“This is good enough.”
“Relax, I won’t let you fall.”
He meant it literally, but the words sank into her mind, soothing her past the fear of falling off a horse. For an instant, she knew what it was like to let worry go. Jesse was right there and safe; he was happy; she could close her eyes and think about herself and the strong, spice-and-horse-smelling man without anybody caring or knowing he was with a senator’s daughter. This had to be what living on clouds in heaven was like.
“What do you think?” His voice rolled beneath her cheek like soothing surf. “Could you do a longer ride like this?”
“I’m pretty sure I could,” she murmured.
“You sound a lot more relaxed.”
“Once I found out you’re a real cowboy.”
“Yah, okay, let’s go with that.”
The next five minutes passed like the breath in a first kiss. Too quickly. Completely unexpected. He let Sun trot, and Rose giggled, slipping side to side until she found the rhythm with Dewey’s strong back as a guide. She reveled in his width, his height, his solid male strength. He made her want to sit with him forever and let him guide her. He made her want to climb on a horse by herself and run through the fields with him beside her—to prove she could do it without being scared of her twelve-year-old self.
Far too soon, he pulled back up beside Jill and Jesse.
“Awesome, Mom!”

“Awesome, Rose.” Dewey turned his head and whispered it over his shoulder. She quivered again.

Kathleen Baldwin
Kathleen Baldwin loves adventure in books and in real life. She roamed the Rockies, wandered the desert, was stalked by a cougar, lost an argument with a rattlesnake, fell in love at least a dozen times, and married her very own hero. Together they’ve raised four free-spirited children. Diary Of A Teenage Fairy Godmother, is a YA Fantasy Romance set in Texas, and was a Golden Quill Finalist in the Young Adult category.

What's your favorite love story?
I will always be enthralled with the delicious love story in Pride and Prejudice

Why do you write romances?
Just ask my husband, I am a hopeless romantic. I write for the moments like the one in this excerpt when I can indulge my enjoyment of falling in love.

Diary Of A Teenage Fairy Godmother, is a YA Fantasy Romance set in Texas, and was a Golden Quill Finalist in the Young Adult category. Here is an excerpt of a "love moment."

Available from Amazon
Lilliana saw it then, the fierceness on Jake’s face as he rode toward her. It wasn’t the conquering brutality of a soldier lusting for battle. Jake’s expression was the terrifying ferocity of love. She saw it in the steady serenity of his eyes, in the determined set of his mouth—a warrior who would lay down his life to save hers.
Her breath caught.
Her heart forgot its steady rhythm.
She rose without using her wings, drifted up and up, never looking away from the intensity of his gaze. He flew to meet her high above the trees. She saw nothing but Jake and the fierce adoration in his eyes. Nothing else mattered. Not even the shrieking hordes coming ever closer.
She unfurled her wings and used them to hover beside him. She wanted to say, “Do not die today, Jake Harrison.” She wished more than anything she could make him promise it. A futile wish. There were no guarantees of forever. Not with a human. Not with anyone. Even she could not make that promise.
Did it really matter? Yes, it mattered. She wanted forever with him, and yet…
She had now.
That was something.
Something magnificent.
Moisture in the air above the lake bathed her. In that moment, she felt completely full. Overflowing, bursting with more happiness than she’d ever felt. She might live a hundred lifetimes and never feel this much joy.
She no longer cared about time.
Or death.
All that mattered was the all-consuming goodness of this one moment.
There was only one thing worthy of being spoken, but words would not do it justice. So Lilliana slipped between Tavari’s neck and wings. Floating there, she faced Jake and pressed her lips against his.
Jake wrapped his free arm around her, pulling her closer. Time seemed to close its eyes. The world around them faded into a forgotten dream as their lips spoke wordlessly, eloquently, of sweetness, joy, and longing.
She could not pull away until she realized they were dropping through the air.
Their mesmerizing kisses had confused the griffin. Jake had stopped thinking about where they were, so Tavari had stopped flying. Lilliana broke away from him and spiraled upward, knowing Jake would follow. 
Spreading her wings and arms wide, Lilliana soared up, grinning at the sky. Air currents rippled around her as Jake and the giant griffin followed. She laughed and arced backward. Letting them chase her. Teaching him to soar. Death could not steal anything from her now. Today, she was the eagle. Today, she had captured divine happiness. No matter what, it would be hers forever.
She slowed down and let them catch up to her. Jake smiled. The peace she felt was written on his face. He understood.
Softly, she spoke, letting the words drift on the eternal breeze. “I love you, Jake.”

Thanks for joining us this weekend! Don't forget to enter the drawing, we have books from twelve authors up for grabs. We'll announce winners Tuesday, February 17. 

What's your favorite love story? Share it with us.

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  1. Welcome ladies! Donna, thanks so much for joining us today. I'm loving the excerpts. It's been fun seeing everyone's favorite love story. As I said Friday, I'm partial to Beauty and the Beast. Love those beasts, white hats or black. ;)

    1. Welcome and I love ALL the Happily Ever After stories !

  2. It's great to be here! You've put together such a fun blog weekend, Thank you, Elizabeth!

  3. I agree with you about Beauty and the Beast. I'm such a hopeless romantic that of course I loved that story, too. I love that plot no matter the venue, cartoon, fairytale or developed into a longer book plot.

    And if you really think about it, Pride and Prejudice is almost a beauty and the beast tale. Darcy is the standoffish snobbish beast until he falls in love with the irresistible Elizabeth B.


    1. True, D'Arcy acts beastly. And Lizzy has to see through all that snobbishness. Bring on beast D'Arcy!

  4. Great post! I loved the excerpts. My favorite love story is Worth the Fall by Claudia Connor. This story just really warmed my heart.

    1. Hi Bette! thank you for the suggestion, I will check that one out. Thank you for dropping by GLIAS this fine morning.

    2. I'll have to check that one out too, Bette!

  5. Thanks for including me! I have the urge to re-read my fave story now, and it's a stormy day so I might just indulge!

  6. Well...After my part of the post seemed to have disappeared... I've got it back now. Whew.
    I hope everyone had a wonderful Valentine's Day.

  7. Grandparents. they met as young kids got married when she was 16 going on 17 he joined service and she followed him around the country while he was in training. Then waited at home for him to come home. He was shot down in enemy territory traveled by night. FInally, made it home. they were married 52 yrs until he passed from brain cancer.

    1. I love hearing stories like this !!

    2. Oh my goodness. What an amazing life and to be married 52 years. Wow! I'm so sorry he's not still with you. But how fortunate to have such adventurous grandparents.

  8. Great post ladies. Romance will always be my number one reason for reading books.

    1. I totally get that answer Kathleen !

    2. Hi Kathleen O! I'm rather fond of your name. :-) It's good to fill our hearts and the world with love stories.

  9. It's a movie: Life is Beautiful by/with Roberto Benigni.

  10. An Affair to Remember and Sleeping Beauty! :)
    bossu49 at aol dot com

    1. Hi Eva!
      Ah, an Affair to Remember, the ill-timed, star-crossed lovers. And who can resist Sleeping Beauty

  11. I already have Donna and Angi's books - I will go with Gone With the Wind

    yenastone at aol dot com

    1. Hi Tammy!! Gotta love the rascally Scarlet O'hara.

  12. Hi Elizabeth,
    Great post. Love the excerpts. Fun to meet new authors. Beauty and the Beast is a story I've always loved. Thanks for a wonderful chance to win books and a gift card.

    1. We're glad you're here, Liette. Nice to meet you. I agree, Elizabeth has done a fabulous job with this weekend post!

      It's been lots of fun.

  13. Good evening and Good night everyone! I'm so sorry to check in at the end (sob) of this wonderful weekend of Love American Style. It turned out I had to be away from my computer all day today and I'm just getting to read everyone's wonderful comments and make a list of all my favorite movies to re-watch and new movies to check out. Hope everyone had a very happy Valentine's Day. E.E. thanks for putting together a GREAT party this weekend. Donna, Angi, and Kathleen -- thanks for sharing Love in the Country & Forevermore Day with me!!