Before I begin, I’d like to thank Stephanie for allowing me to pop onto her blog and chat about my latest release, UGLY DUCKLINGS FINISH FIRST, a contemporary romance from Carina Press! Let’s begin, shall we? ^_^
I know, I know. That’s a “no duh” statement, kind of like water is wet and the sky is up. But it’s true. Bullies suck the light and joy out of everything and everyone around them. Even if you’re not their target, their harassment of others is upsetting. It outrages your personal sense of justice, and if you witness it—and do nothing—you wind up feeling like a slimy coward. And if you are the bully’s target, you have your own personal domestic terrorist sucking away any chance of building a strong sense of security and self-confidence.
See? They suck.
Payton Pruitt, the heroine in UGLY DUCKLINGS FINISH FIRST, knows this firsthand. When she was in high school, no one called her by her actual name. Instead, she was Baby Brain. Metal Mouth. Queen Geek. And she’d be the first to admit she looked the part, with frizzy hair and glasses, plus she skipped a couple of grades, so she wasn’t as physically developed as her classmates. Talk about a perfect target.
Life was hell for Payton while growing up, and her self-esteem took more than a few hard knocks. But you know what they say—that which does not kill you, makes you stronger, and when her ten-year high school reunion rolls around, she challenges herself to grow beyond her insecurities. And what better way to do that than catch the eye of former BMOC, Wiley “the Coyote” Sharpe?
Oh, Wiley. *fangirl sigh* Is it wrong to have a crush on one of your own characters? 😀 What I love about Wiley is that he’s such a knight in shining armor. Why? It’s not that he’s hot (though he’s the hottest thing going in all of South Texas). And it’s not that he’s the sexiest thing in low-riding jeans (though he was voted Most Likely to be Slapped with a Paternity Suit). What makes him a melt-your-heart hero is that he’s always been in Payton’s corner. Not just for the moment, now that Payton’s beautiful and successful. Always. He’d been her champion when they were kids, even to the point of having his nose broken defending her honor. Now that Payton’s back in town, he determined to help her kick her insecurities to the curb, and focus on believing she’s good enough to be loved. And that, very definitely, does not suck. 😉
Sound interesting? Here’s the official blurb:
Metal Mouth. Queen Geek. Dr. Payton Pruitt heard it all growing up. But she’s over it, and attending her ten-year high school reunion is the perfect way to prove it to herself. Even if there’s only one person she’s interested in seeing in Bitterthorn, Texas: Wiley Sharpe.
Now a respected lawyer, Wiley didn’t live down to the label Most Likely to Be Slapped with a Paternity Suit. But recent acts of vandalism suggest someone still sees him as a heartbreaker, and the reunion seems a likely place to find the culprit. Instead, Wiley comes face-to-face with his old pal Payton—and is wowed not only by her transformation into a ravishing swan, but by the connection they still share.
Payton is pleased the playboy she used to tutor has grown into an honorable man, but she’s too smart to fall for a guy with roots in a place she couldn’t wait to leave. But while Payton is an academic genius, Wiley is the one with the PhD in pleasure, and he intends to use it to convince her to stay…
FYI, the second Bitterthorn book, STARTING FROM SCRATCH, will be out with Carina Press’s holiday novella anthologies. Don’t forget to look for it! ^_^
You can find Stacy Gail online pretty much everywhere, including her website, Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads and Pinterest. If you like the look of UGLY DUCKLINGS FINISH FIRST, you can snag a copy online from any of the various outlets below.
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