Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Interview & Giveaway ~ FOOL FOR YOU by Rina Gray

Fool for You (Crush on You, #1)
by: Rina Gray
Series: Crush on You
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Release Date: July 18, 2016
Publisher: Crimson Romance

Sports journalist Melanie Foster has achieved most of her goals: job—check. Tomboy-to-smoking-hottie makeover—check. Convince her best friend, Damien Richards, to slide a ring on her finger and father her two-point-five kids—not so much. When she activates Operation: I’m Gonna Make You Love Me, she never imagines her BFF already has plans to stroll down the wedding aisle with another woman.

Damien is in the middle of crisis mode. The non-profit for young athletes at which he volunteers is in financial trouble. He’ll pull out all the stops to rescue the organization that saved his life after his career-ending injury—even if it means sacrificing his personal happiness.

But when he finally wakes up to love and the very non-friendly feelings he’s long held for Mel, it might just be too late. Damien must convince her that he’s worth the risk and turn the tables to show her he’s the one ready to be a fool for love.

Hi Rina. Welcome to Read Your Writes Book Reviews.
Hello! Thank you so much for the opportunity to connect with readers.

You’re welcome.  Tell me a little about Fool for You, the first book in your Crush on You series. Something that isn’t in the blurb.
Sports journalist and perpetual optimist, Melanie Foster has loved Damien Richards since he found her at age twelve, lost in the Southside of New York City. All grown up, Melanie snagged her dream job and now she’s ready to snag her dream man. She activates Operation: I’m Gonna Make You Love Me, a plan to convince her best friend that his spoiled fiancĂ©e isn’t the woman for him.  She is.

Sounds good.  What do you love about Melanie Foster and Damien Richards?
They initially bonded during their childhood, over their love of baseball and it grew to a lifetime of friendship. Despite initially living a thousand miles away from each other, they resolved to be there for each other. I believe friendship is a huge part of a relationship and when things get tough, you know you have your best friend and partner that you can rely on.

I definitely have to agree with you.  Why do you think they’re perfect for each other?
Damien has always encouraged Melanie to be herself and follow her dreams. He doesn’t try to tone down her quirky behavior. He doesn’t get upset when she can spew out just as many sports stats as he can, and he is just as excited about her success as she is. Melanie has always recognized her feelings for Damien. It started off as a crush, but Damien grew into a man who takes care of his friends, family and community.

What are some fun facts about Fool for You?
The book was inspired by a music video “Refill” by Elle Varner. In the music video there is a girl who is visiting NYC with her cheerleading team, bumps into a cute guy and explores the city with him. I didn’t take any scenes from the music video, but that’s where the original idea of Fool for You is born.

Do you have a favorite scene?
Yes! Melanie and Damien are taking a road trip from Georgia to NYC to move her things for her new job. They stop at one of his friend’s lake house. I love the scene because it's sensual, steamy, and is really the turning point where Damien realizes his feelings for Melanie.

Nice.  What’s your favorite part of a romance to write?
I love the big fight! That’s the scene that has to be solid and believable. Why are they fighting, and is this something that could’ve been resolved chapters ago? It’s also an opportunity for the reader to be pulled deeper into the character’s emotions. I want them to feel the aches, the yearning, and the pain my hero and/or heroine is feeling. Then, when they finally reach the HEA, it’s so much sweeter.

What’s next for you?
I’m working on Book 2 in the series, It’s Been You. The book is an enemies-to-lovers trope and the heroine, Tiana Holliday, is Melanie’s friend.

Rina, thank you so much for taking the time to talk with me.
No, thank YOU!

“Now tell me what’s up with you.” Melanie pointed a finger at Damien.

He leaned back in his chair. “Can’t get anything past you, can I?”

“Nope. Let’s have it.”

“Okay.” Taking a deep breath, he lifted his eyes to meet hers. “Completely random hypothetical question.”

“Sure, Damien,” she replied in a “yeah right!” voice. His questions were never random or hypothetical.

“Have you ever had to sacrifice your happiness for a greater good?”

Touching her chin, she tilted her head to the ceiling. “I can’t say that I’ve had the opportunity.”

He leaned forward and whispered, “Would you?”

Her eyes snapped back to his.

His voice was controlled. Calm. But the intensity that sparked from those brown eyes seemed anything but calm. Pressure weighed on her chest. She had a feeling the wrong answer could have dire consequences.

“I guess … I would. Like in Armageddon. When Bruce Willis’s character sacrificed his life so that his daughter’s fiancĂ© didn’t have to detonate the bomb.”

Damien nodded. His body didn’t relax. If anything, it became rigid.

A feeling of dread rushed through her veins. She’d given the wrong answer. “Tell me what’s wrong.”

He dug into his pocket, took a ring from a small box, and pressed it into her hand. She immediately clasped it, too afraid to look. The ring cut into her palm, a taunting and painful warning of the hurt that waited ahead.

Reluctantly, she opened her fingers, revealing the most audacious, too-shiny, too-bright, gaudy ring.

“I’m going to ask Vanessa to marry me.”

“You’re marrying V-Vanessa?” Melanie’s eyes darted between Damien and the offending object in her hand.

Despite the coolness from the ring, a pool of liquid heated at the base of her stomach. Pressure built. Not slow, but fast. Supersonic fast. The pressure rushed up and seeped through long, jagged cracks that had formed across her chest.

She tossed the ring onto the table like dice. Rolling and spinning, the silver band toppled in front of Damien. “I didn’t know that … ” She cleared the large achy clump that blocked her throat. “I didn’t know that you and Vanessa were serious. Or engaged, for that matter. Oh, wait, that’s not right. You couldn’t be engaged because you haven’t asked her yet. But I didn’t know … didn’t realize you were serious about her.” She was babbling but couldn’t stop herself. Either ramble like a lunatic or cry like one.

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Rina Gray is one of the newest African American romance writers on the rise. She is also a digital marketing professional who discovered her love of writing in 2012. Writing has always been Rina’s passion, though initially, she tried to deny it. In college she served as the copy editor for the entertainment magazine and newspaper. During her tenure, she had the opportunity to interview various talented entertainers including Chris Rock and the cast from Reno-911.

Rina has always been an avid reader, sneaking to read her mother’s books she had no business reading i.e. Stephen King’s The Stand, It, and Anne Rice’s various vampire series. As a pre-teen, she received a load of romance novels from a family friend and from that point on, she devoured any book related to romance or horror. When she’s not writing, she can be found with her head stuck in a book, kickboxing, or dominating game night with friends and family. Rina resides in Atlanta with her husband.

Places to find Rina Gray:

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  1. I agree about a big fight during the story making the happily ever after much sweeter

    1. I have to admit I'm a sucker for the declaration of love scene.

  2. Thank you for the interview! This was fun!

    1. Thanks so much for doing it. Congratulations on your new book.


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