Thursday, August 1, 2013

GUEST POST & GIVEAWAY ~ Making the First Move by Reese Ryan

Melanie Gordon has spent the past five years obsessing over her career to dull the pain of a devastating breakup and the loss of her father. Her effort pays off when she receives the promotion that could be her big break. Only it means returning to her hometown to face her past while leaving behind the man who could be her future.

Selfless (and insanely sexy) philanthropist, Raine Mason, is committed to his cause. But his passion for rescuing high-risk young males from the road to disaster is fueled by his own dark and tragic past.

When Raine is ready to take his casual friendship with Melanie to sizzling new heights, her one-way ticket to Cleveland is already booked. But a steamy night of passion leaves them both wanting more, even if Melanie is afraid to admit it. She reluctantly agrees to a long-distance relationship with no promises and no commitments.
Melanie may finally be ready to give Raine her heart…but then she discovers startling news that causes her to question everything she knows about him. Worse, he’s harboring a dark secret from his past that threatens to shatter any hope of a future for them unless he can convince her that their love is worth the risk.

Thirty minutes later, Raine is standing in my doorway in a camel-colored cashmere sweater and a pair of Levi’s. A white, button-down shirt peeks underneath the collar. Chin-length, caramel-colored locs are pulled back at the crown of his head, with the remaining hair hanging free. He is, in a word, gorgeous.

My eyes trace the curve of his biceps. I lick my lips, cheeks flushed, and hope he hasn’t noticed I’ve spent the past five seconds checking him out from head to toe. Twice.

“I see you’re ready to go.” He nods toward the wrap draped over my arm and my clutch tucked underneath it.

“I am.”

“Then shall we?” Raine extends his hand in the direction of the narrow stairwell leading down to the first floor.
“Let’s.” I offer a nervous smile.

He slips his hand to the small of my back. I try not to notice the heat emanating from his hand. But it’s nearly impossible to ignore the jolt of electricity, which travels through his long, elegant fingers and enters the base of my spine.

I’m sure his hand has been on that exact spot when he’s guided me through a crowd or we’ve danced together at charity functions. His touch seemed incidental then. Tonight, there’s something about the placement and pressure of his hand that feels deliberate, significant. Or maybe I’m transferring my own well-guarded desire to an innocent gesture.

Raine guides me down the stairs, out the front door and into his car, his hand still on my back.

“Thanks for doing this,” I say. “I know it’s short notice.”

“I couldn’t leave you standing there dressed, with no place to go.” He tries to hide a smirk as he turns the ignition.

“How’d you know I was already dressed when I called?”

“You’ve never been ready when I came to pick you up. There’s not a chance in hell you threw this together in thirty minutes. You look…amazing.”

“Very clever,” I say. “And thank you, I think.”

“It’s too bad, actually.”

“What’s too bad?”

“That you were ready. I was hoping to catch you in a towel, just out of the shower,” he says, his eyes straight ahead.

My cheeks grow warm. I’m not offended, just surprised. Our social conversations have been mildly flirtatious, but never anything so easily decipherable. We prefer our flirtation so well-coded that only a world-class hacker has a chance in hell of sorting it all out.
I stifle a giggle. “Sorry to disappoint you.”

He smiles.

We ride in silence for a while. He pays strict attention to the road. I pretend to be fascinated by the houses and apartments that fly by my window. The same ones I’ve seen nearly every day for the past five years.

Friends-to-lovers is a popular trope in romance. But it can also be dangerous territory. In real life, and on the page. 

In real life, if the relationship doesn’t work out, where does that leave the friendship? We’d like to think we’ll be mature enough to dust ourselves off and return to friendship as usual. Many have. But most emerge from the broken relationship having lost something much more valuable—their friendship. 

One of my favorite music videos is the one for “Halfcrazy” by Musiq. It portrays best friends who cross the line, only to have things end badly. The singer is left a little loopy, lamenting, “Damn, I just want my friend back.” Many who have tried the tricky transition from friends to lovers can relate.
So the stakes are high in the friends-to-lover scenario. There is far more pressure to get it right than if there was no prior relationship between the two. This is especially true of work friends or acquaintances. That’s the situation faced by the hero and heroine in my debut novel, Making the First Move.
Melanie Gordon is a rising star in her executive search firm. Raine Mason runs a non-profit organization that works closely with—and gets a sizable portion of its annual budget from—her company. A failed romantic relationship could be disastrous for both of them. Instead they’ve settled into a casual, on-call-plus-one friendship. Their true desires are always simmering just beneath the surface.
When Melanie gets a promotion that will send her halfway across the country, the possibility of never seeing each other again causes a shift in their perspectives. Suddenly crossing that line—even if it turns out to be just for a night—seems worth the risk.
The friends-to-lover scenario isn’t just risky in real life. It can pose quite a few challenges for an author, too. Savvy readers require a satisfying answer to one simple question.
If they are attracted to each other, why haven’t they acted before now?
Fair enough.
So the stakes must be high enough to explain why the hero and heroine haven’t acted before now. And the inciting incident—which makes one, or both, take action—must also be compelling enough to convince readers.
Do you read friends-to-lovers romances? If so, what are your favorites? If you don’t, what is it about the friends-to-lovers trope that drives you crazy, and which trope do you prefer?
Don’t forget to enter the Making the First Move Blog Tour grand prize giveaway below.

Reese Ryan writes sexy, contemporary fiction filled with colorful characters and sinfully-sweet romance. She secretly enjoys torturing her heroines with family and career drama, reformed bad boys, revealed secrets, and the occasional identity crisis, but always rewards them with a happily ever after.
Born and raised in the Midwest, she now resides in Central North Carolina with her husband and young adult son who tolerate her propensity to sing and dance badly. A self-proclaimed Bohemian Southern Belle, she treads the line carefully between being a Northerner and a damned Yankee–despite her insistence on calling soda pop. Reese gauges her progress by the number of “bless your lil’ hearts” she gets each week. She is currently down to two.

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