Love & Other Lies by Madeline Ash
Published by: Destiny Romance
Publication date: January 20th 2015
Genres: Adult, Contemporary, Romance
Small town vet Abby Benson has fled to the country to put her shameful past behind her. She’s just beginning to find her feet again when handsome stranger, Rue Thorn, arrives in town and begins to stir things up. Rue is gorgeous, kind and thoughtful and the two share an instant attraction. But convinced he’ll despise her if he learns about her history, Abby reluctantly keeps him at arms length.
Determined to win Abby over, Rue tries to reshape himself as the sort of guy he thinks she might be interested in. And for a while it seems his act is working. But when he finds out that Abby has been lying to him, it isn’t long before everything start to unravel …
A moving story of trust, forgiveness and the power of love from the author of Uncovered by Love and The Playboy’s Dark Secret.
1. How would you describe your latest novel?
Essentially, Love & Other Lies is a redemption story. The heroine Abby has lied pretty badly in the past and feels unworthy of love or companionship. She has pulled herself into a better place, keeping herself in line, and has coping strategies to stop herself from lying again. The hero Rue is a gorgeous ‘nice guy’ type. Initially he seems like her worst match – Abby believes he deserves to love a flawless soul, not a mess like hers. But he is determined to show her that she’s worthy of good love.
2. Share something small about your characters.
Abby loves the color green. She wears it a lot, from dresses down to underwear. This isn’t supposed to be a subconscious reflection of jealousy or anything like that. It’s just her favorite color!
As for the hero, Rue, he grew up on a vineyard in the Yarra Valley, Australia. He still owns and runs it, although he meets Abby while on a road trip around the country.
3. Secondary characters – yes or no?
Yes, absolutely. All my novels have strong secondary characters. Not strong in the sense that they’re on page a lot and dominate the story, but I know their personalities as clearly as that of the main characters. I believe secondary characters bring out traits of the hero and heroine that readers wouldn’t otherwise get to see. We all react differently to different people – I find it important to have the leads interact with a range of characters so that we can see their personalities in all lights.
4. Can you provide an excerpt from Love & Other Lies?
Of course! This takes place the day of their first date. Abby has been resisting him, not fully explaining why – she doesn’t want such a good man to know that she’s acted so poorly – but determined not to pull him into her mess. Rue, of course, has other ideas…
Abby ducked out of the examination room mid-afternoon on Friday to stock up on liver treats before her next patient arrived. She pulled the plastic tub from the storage cupboard and dropped it, sending treats all over the tiles.
‘Damn it,’ she muttered, kneeling and starting to scoop up the mess.
She’d been edgy all day, wondering what Rue had planned for that night. He’d kissed her thoroughly in the middle of town, sexy and sure. The onlookers hadn’t thrown him, so Abby was helpless to imagine how confident he would be when they were alone together after dark.
She’d hardly slept. Probably had something to do with wearing his shirt to bed, but she’d been empty with aching and his scent had relieved one of the senses that arousal demanded. But if one sense was all she got, sexual frustration made damn sure she regretted her choice.
It wanted touch, without limitation.
Rue would probably seduce her. At the thought of his palms under her clothes, dragging her against him, she accidentally scattered the liver treats again.
Jasmine spoke from behind her. ‘So, Rue’s here.’ Her subtle Indian accent rolled over his name.
Abby spun around, still kneeling. ‘What?’
The young assistant grinned. ‘You’re doing my job, you know. I’m sure that jar was half full an hour ago.’
‘I need to keep busy. What do you mean Rue’s here?’
‘Out the front. He brought you something.’
She stood, wiping her hands together. ‘He brought me coffee?’
Jasmine nodded. ‘And he looks hot.’
Nerves twisting, Abby followed her out to reception. Rue leaned against the counter, large take-away coffee cup in hand, reading the poster on the wall about dog dental care. Her gut clenched at the sight of him. Workman’s boots, knee-length denim shorts and a loose checked shirt. Calves streaked with dirt, a smear across his sun-tanned forehead. A pencil was tucked behind his ear and a spirit level stuck out of his back pocket. If Adonis laboured for a living, he’d look a hell of a lot like this.
‘Hi,’ she said, finding her voice.
‘Abby.’ He faced her and held out the cup. ‘This is for you.’
‘I, um.’ She took it. Their fingers didn’t touch and still she burned. ‘Thanks.’
‘That’s so nice of you,’ Jasmine said, sitting down at the desk.
‘The opposite,’ he answered, and locked eyes with Abby. ‘I have the selfish expectation that she’ll be staying up late tonight.’
Abby’s breath fled.
Jasmine gave a faint, ‘Oh,’ as Rue turned and left.
Both women gaped after him as he strode across the car park, all self-assurance and wild hair. The coffee cup was hot against Abby’s palm.
‘For pity’s sake, woman,’ Jasmine breathed after a good half-minute. ‘Drink the damned thing.’
Madeline lives and writes in Melbourne. She is an author with Destiny Romance and Tule Publishing.
Online, she calls madelineash.net home, although she does have capricious blogging tendencies so might not always have fresh tea ready for visitors. That’s not to say she doesn’t welcome company.
She writes contemporary romance.