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Aiden Gallagher was only five years old when he appeared in a photograph on the Kissing Bridge. The town of Darling, Vermont, has used Aiden’s image on the famed bridge―local legend has it that a kiss there results in everlasting love―as part of its tourism campaign. Now, twenty years later, Aiden is asked to recreate the moment with the woman he once kissed: Laurel Stone.
Recently divorced, there’s nothing Laurel wants less than to pretend happily-ever-after with Aiden. As teenagers, their romance was no fairy tale―and Laurel has never quite forgiven Aiden for breaking her heart. But now that she is back in her hometown, and keeps bumping into police officer Aiden, Laurel can’t deny that there’s still a strong flicker between her and her old flame. Could it be that the Kissing Bridge is working its magic on Laurel and Aiden―and that all true love ever needed was a second chance?
Here's an excerpt
The cruiser door opened.
Damn, damn, damn.
She’d forgotten, though she wasn’t quite sure how she could have since Darling was such a small town. Aiden Gallagher. One of Darling’s finest, complete with a crisp navy uniform, black shoes, and a belt on his hip that lent him a certain gravity and sexiness she wished she didn’t appreciate.
The last time she’d seen Aiden, she’d been home from school, barely twenty-one, and he’d flashed her a cocky take-a-good-look grin, all the while parading around the Suds and Spuds pub with some girl on his arm. Not that she’d expected any other sort of behavior from him. But still. Ugh.
Aiden approached the gate and she took a deep breath. He was a cop answering a call. Nothing more. And that was how she’d treat him. She definitely wouldn’t acknowledge that they’d known each other since they were five years old. Or that he’d once had her half-naked in the backseat of his car.
“Laurel,” he greeted, sliding through the gap in the fence. “Looks like you’ve had some trouble.”
She would do this. She would not cry again, especially not in front of Aiden. She had too much pride.
“A break-in last night.” She opened the gate a bit wider so he could get through. He passed close by her, his scent wafting in his wake. She swallowed. After all these years, he still wore the same cologne, and nostalgia hit her right in the solar plexus. He took off his cap and she saw his hair was still the same burnished copper, only shorter and without the natural waves, and his skin showed signs of freckles, but nowhere near as pronounced as they’d been. He wasn’t a boy any longer; he was a man.
He looked over his shoulder, his gray-blue eyes meeting hers.
Definitely a man.
While bestselling author Donna Alward was busy studying Austen, Eliot and Shakespeare, she was also losing herself in the breathtaking stories created by romance novelists like LaVyrle Spencer, Judith McNaught, and Nora Roberts. Several years after completing her degree she decided to write a romance of her own and it was true love! Five years and ten manuscripts later she sold her first book and launched a new career. While her heartwarming stories of love, hope, and homecoming have been translated into several languages, hit bestseller lists and won awards, her very favorite thing is when she hears from happy readers!
Donna lives on Canada’s east coast with her family which includes a husband, a couple of kids, a senior dog and two crazy cats. When she’s not writing she enjoys reading (of course!), knitting, gardening, cooking…and is a Masterpiece Theater addict. You can visit her on the web at www.DonnaAlward.com and join her mailing list athttp://www.DonnaAlward.com/newsletter.
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E.E.: What’s your favorite kind of story to get lost in?
Donna: I have to say I adore Regencies. Give me a rake and a scandal in some alcove or orangery and I’m in heaven. I also love wallflower and bluestocking heroines…
E.E.: How did you come up with the idea for your book?Donna: Actually, it was really cool. I was working with my editor on the series proposal, and she sent me a link to a news story about a bride and groom who first met when they were flower girl and ring bearer at a wedding. It was super sweet and gave me a lovely plot bunny. A bit of a brainstorm later, and Aiden and Laurel had kissed on the famed stone bridge as children (legend has it that when you kiss on the bridge, your love lasts forever). He broke her heart in high school, though, and now she’s back in town after her divorce.
E.E.: What’s the first thing you do when you finish writing a book?
Donna: Clean my house. Or have a glass of wine. LOL
E.E.: Do you read reviews of your books? If so, do you pay any attention to them, or let them influence your writing?
Donna: I do read reviews. The good ones give me a boost. The great ones give me hope. The middling ones, and the 2-3 star ones often point out areas that didn’t work for that reader, and sometimes I get a good insight into how I can improve (or if it’s a taste thing). And then the nasty ones I don’t pay attention to, because they’re not helpful. Particularly if it’s something like a one star and a comment of “I haven’t read it yet” or something to do with a technical glitch that has nothing to do with the story.
E.E.: Tea or Coffee? And how do you take it?
Donna: Both. Coffee in the morning, with milk and stevia. Tea after dinner – black tea, with milk. And sometimes in between I’ll make herbals. I particularly like infusions that don’t actually have tea at all, but fruit blends.
E.E.: What’s the first book you remember reading?
Donna: I don’t think I have a specific memory, but I do remember that my sisters had books that I “inherited” – they’re older than I am. So I cut my reading teeth on the Bobbsey Twins, Anne of Green Gables, and, believe it or not, the World Book Encyclopedias. We had a whole set. I used to do “reports” during the summer breaks. I got really hooked on The Black Stallion books, too – and so whenever we went to town Mom would take me to the bookstore and I usually got to get a book. Reading was always encouraged! Oh – and my first Romance (if you don’t count Anne and Gilbert’s romance) was VOWS by LaVyrle Spencer. I was 15.
E.E.: What’s your favorite fairy tale?
Donna: Maybe Beauty and the Beast? Because TEA and the LIBRARY.
E.E.: What turns you off like nothing else?
Donna: Dishonesty. It’s even worse when someone lies to me because they think I don’t know any better. I’m not stupid. #hotbutton
E.E.: Is there a playlist you’d recommend for reading your latest release?
Donna: Yes! Actually, all the titles in the Darling series are based on song titles, so I have a youtube playlist! Check it out!
E.E.: What sound or noise do you love?Donna: Baby belly laughs! And birds singing
E.E.: What are the next five books on your ‘to be read’ pile?
Donna: Show Your Work (Austin Kleon)
Goodnight From London (Jennifer Robson)
Witches of New York (Ami McKay)
Drums of Autumn (Gabaldon)And whatever Random book I pick from the shelves… my tbr is pretty big.
E.E.: What story are you working on next, and what inspired it?
Donna: Right now I’m working on a duet of royalty stories that St. Martin’s is going to publish as part of their SWERVE program. I’ve wanted to write them forever… it’s the story of two brothers and a fictional Mediterranean principality, that readers were first introduced to briefly in The Rancher’s Runaway Princess, one of my backlist books from Harlequin Romance. I’m loving writing these escapist sorts of stories… and then once that’s done, it’s on to a new proposal for (hopefully) more Darling, VT series books!
E.E.: Why do you write Romance?
Donna: Hope. It really all comes down to the fact that people need hope, and the assurance that people can go through some tough shit and still win. The world has enough sadness and despair. I consider it an honor and maybe even a duty to provide some happy endings and optimism.
Today, Donna is offering a signed copy of SOMEBODY LIKE YOU as well as a backlist book as a prize. Just leave a comment and enter your email in the rafflecopter.