Jen: Today we conclude Women’s Fiction week with the most awesome Jane Porter. Jane, will you share a short bio with us?
Jane: NYT and USA Today bestselling author, Jane Porter has written 40 romances and 11 women’s fiction novels since getting her first sale to Harlequin Presents in 2000. A five time Rita finalist, Jane is known for her passionate, emotional, and sensual novels and loves nothing more than alpha heroes, exotic locations and happy-ever-afters. Today Jane lives in sunny San Clemente, CA with her surfer husband and three sons.
Jen: Please tell us about your newest release and where the idea came from.
Jane: Beauty’s Kiss is a story I’ve wanted to write for a very long time and it tells the story of Taylor Harris, Marietta, Montana’s new librarian. Taylor is the quiet type who likes her glamour between the book covers. When she’s pushed into attending the formal Valentine Ball with Marietta’s Most Eligible Bachelor, Troy Sheenan, Taylor can’t imagine a worse pairing. What in the world would she have in common with a wealthy playboy like Troy?
Technology tycoon Troy is forced by business concerns to return to his hometown and take the town librarian to the Valentine Ball… what he doesn’t expect is that Taylor is even less excited about the prospect than he is! Intrigued by the only woman in town who wouldn’t be thrilled to take his arm at the big event, he’s determined that she will not just agree to be his date… bur she’s going to like it. Can Taylor turn a cold shoulder to Troy’s heart-melting charms, or is this about to be Marietta’s hottest Valentine’s Ball yet?
“What is it about me you don’t like?” Troy asked, genuinely curious.
“It’s not personal—“ Taylor broke off, frowned. “Well, maybe it is. And that’s not fair of me, but the fact that you and Jane have history, and the fact that Jane continues—“ she broke off again, her cheeks turning pink. “She’s my friend, my good friend, and I don’t want to create problems for you, or her, or me.”
“Most admirable,” he said, meaning it, finding everything about Taylor interesting and refreshing. “But you do know that Jane and I were friends before we dated, and we dated briefly as an experiment—an experiment that didn’t work out—but we managed to preserve and protect our relationship, so that we continue to be good friends today.”
“How long were you…together?”
“I don’t know that you could say we were ever truly together.”
“Jane was in love with you!”
He frowned. “I know she says that—“
“You doubt her feelings?”
Troy stifled a sigh. He shouldn’t have ever gone down this path. “No, I don’t,” he said firmly. “But Jane and I only dated for a couple weeks. Two and a half. Three. For a total of five dates. I knew it wasn’t right on date one, but I liked Jane so much. I liked her fire and ambition. She’s a great girl. Smart as a whip. It was easy to spend time with her. But at the end of the day, I didn’t have…romantic…feelings for her.”
Taylor stared at him from across the table, her eyes wide, expression somber. “Then you shouldn’t have slept with her.”
Troy nearly fell off his chair. “What?”
“You should never sleep with a woman you don’t have feelings for.” Taylor’s soft full lips pressed into a hard, uncompromising line. “Women fall in love through making love.
It’s a bonding thing for us. Hormones and chemicals and—“
“We never slept together,” he interrupted, his own jaw set, suddenly irritated by the direction their conversation had taken, as well as Taylor’s low opinion of him. “We never had sex. Jane and I had too much history to just jump into bed together.”
For a moment Taylor said nothing, gazing at him intently from behind her big glasses.
He was fed up with this conversation, as well as having to defend himself. He didn’t even know why he felt compelled to defend himself to a little mouse. Except for some ridiculous reason he wanted her to understand how the relationship with Jane had been.
Not how Jane had wanted it to be.
“Not everybody clicks,” he said crisply, battling his impatience and annoyance. “Not every man and woman belongs together.”
He saw a flicker in her wide green-brown eyes and a tiny pulse begin to dance at the base of her throat and he wished to God he could read Taylor’s mind right now and know what she was thinking. Feeling.
Did she truly have no feelings for him at all?
Or was she simply…scared…that they were so different?
“A relationship can’t go the distance without friendship and mutual respect,” he said, “but there must also be chemistry.”
“Chemistry,” she repeated, before chewing on the inside of her soft lower lip.
He eyed the lip, seeing how her white teeth bit down into the pink plumpness and he wished it was his mouth on hers.
If only to know if they had chemistry.
It would be such a relief if there wasn’t anything between them. It would be the best thing for both of them if he kissed her and he felt nothing…absolutely nothing.
He should kiss her and find out.
Kiss her and be done with this foolishness.
They weren’t meant for each other. Troy didn’t do long distance relationships. Troy didn’t ever intend to live in Montana again.
“You didn’t have chemistry with Jane?” Taylor asked quietly.
She fidgeted with the small ceramic saucer. “How did you know?”
“Because when I kissed her I felt…” He shook his head, not wanting to go there, not wanting to expose Jane but he felt caught, trapped. The villain and blackheart.
“Yes?” Taylor prompted, her voice but a whisper.
“Like her cousin or brother.” He hated saying all of this aloud. He wanted to protect Jane then, and now. “She’s smart and witty and perfect…for someone else, that isn’t me.”
He drew a deep breath, feeling awful. “I ended it quickly with her. Perhaps that was the most hurtful part. We had a great date the Saturday night before, and she was expecting another great date, but instead over dinner I told her that although I cared for her, it wasn’t going to work. Would it have been easier by text or email or voice mail? Yes. But it wouldn’t have been fair to her. I don’t lead women on. It’s never been my style.”
For a long moment Taylor studied him, her fine arched brows pulled in concentration. “So you could just be friends with me?”
He saw relief in her eyes. And then he ruined it all by adding, “As long as I didn’t physically want you.”
Her brows shot up. Her lips pursed. “You wouldn’t want me.”
“No. I’m not your type, and you’re not my type—“
“What is your type?”
She gestured a hand in his general direction. “None of this.”
He should be insulted. Instead he nearly choked on smothered laughter. “Why not?”
“Because we’re total opposites. We’re oil and water. We’re salt and pepper—“
“And yet all those things go so well together.”
She glared at him even as her cheeks glowed pink, a dark luscious pink that made her eyes shine and her lips look positively edible. “We won’t go together. We won’t…click.”
“How can you be so sure?”
“I can feel it.”
And yet her eyes were very bright and that little pulse at the base of her throat was beating wildly. Erratically. Taylor might not admit it, might not even know it, but she was as curious about him as he was about her.
And he was very curious about her right now. About her mouth and her taste and her smell…
“Perhaps you’d feel better putting it to the test?” he drawled, smiling inwardly as her eyes sparked and her teeth came down on the bottom lip again. “That way you can rest,” he said, his blood hot in his veins, his body heavy, thick. “Relax,” he added, “reassured that you are right, and that there is…nothing…here.”
She licked the seam of her lips as if her mouth was suddenly too dry.
He needed more. He needed his mind engaged and his senses engaged. Like they were now.
His pulse drummed harder, faster.
She wondered if there was chemistry.
He’d bet a thousand dollars—no, five thousand dollars–there was serious chemistry here, and she was either too innocent, or too inexperienced to recognize it. But this tension, this heat, this frustrating and yet wonderful anticipation was chemistry.
“Lean forward,” he said.
“I’m going to kiss you and see if I feel anything. If I don’t, then I can safely promise you that if you went to the ball with me, it’d just be as platonic friends.”
“But if you do?” she whispered, brows knitting.
“Then I’d probably have a difficult time just viewing you in a platonic light.”
“So we couldn’t go to the Ball.”
Taylor stared at him and swallowed hard.
Tired of talking, fed up with thinking and waiting, Troy leaned across the table, captured her chin in his hand, and covered her mouth with his.
Jen: What was your most romantic date?
Jane: Early on Surfer Ty took me out to this awesome old school restaurant in Hawaii called La Mariana on Sand Island and it was perfect…old Hawaii with tons of atmosphere…the candles, decor and him. He’d cleaned up so nice–I’d never seen him in a dress shirt with his hair slicked back–and I loved it.
Jen: Favorite breakfast food?
Jane: I love great buttermilk pancakes or macadamia nut pancakes with coconut syrup and super crispy bacon. Yum!
Jen: Favorite sport to watch? to participate in?
Jane: Love to watch NFL football (Seahawks) and I’m probably happiest swimming.
Jen: Favorite gift ever received from a fan?
Jane: One of my reader/friends in Texas, Linda C, knit me a gorgeous soft scarf. I love it!!
Jen: Song that you put on replay.
Jane: One Republic’s Love Runs Out or Adele’s Rolling in the Deep
Jen: How neat is your work environment?
Jane: There are neat and tidy days and there are some really messy days. Just depends on my mood! I love having stacks of research books around me when I’m working….nothing like being immersed in facts, history, details.
Jen: What do you collect?
Jane: Quartz crystals and pretty or interesting rocks.
Jen: What one thing do you want to have?
Jane: More inner peace….and some external calm and quiet. I find it hard to unplug and settle into my writing with all my boys around. I write best when there is no one in the house and its all to myself.
Jen: Print or ebook?
Jane: I do love my kindle but I still prefer the feel of a real book in my hands so I’m going to go with Print!
Jen: If you could have dinner with any author living or dead, who would it be?
Jane: Edith Wharton or Georgette Heyer.
Jen: Coffee or tea?
Jane: Coffee!!! Super strong and then cut with cream and sweetener.
Jen: One piece or two piece bathing suit?
Jane: Two piece but only because my husband insists (I don’t look good in it anymore!)
Jen: What’s next for you?
Jane: I’ll have two more Taming the Shennan romances this Fall and winter, and then my next Harlequin Presents novel will be out March 2015, and then my next Berkley women’s fiction single title, It’s You, will be out June ’15. Lots of writing and lots of releases!