If You Must Know by Jamie Beck – Q&A and Giveaway

Long and Short Reviews welcomes Jamie Beck who is visiting with us to celebrate today’s release of If You Must Know. Enter the Rafflecopter at the end of the post for a chance to win a $50 Amazon/BN GC plus a copy of the book.

How do you describe your newest novel If You Must Know?

This book is a “beach book” in the best sense. It’s not angsty, yet it has a page-turning plot and a bunch of interesting, relatable characters. I think it’s entertaining and heartfelt at the same time, which is exactly what many enjoy reading while on vacation.

What inspired the novel?

The external plot came to me as a result of the influence of two people in my life. My dear friend’s husband is a forensic accountant, so some of his stories about how people hide money and flee their families provided one point of inspiration. The second is my mother’s best friend who, in her seventies, sold her house and bought a boat, which she and her husband live on full-time. The impetus for the oil-and-water sisters was to provide myself an opportunity to explore the sibling-rivalry dynamic.

Tell us about the two main characters in the story—sisters Amanda and Erin.

Amanda is the middle child. She’s diligent, earnest, hard-working, and generous. She wants the people she loves to be happy and feel her love. Her weakness is a deep-seated insecurity—a sense that she is not interesting enough to be lovable. This leads her to overlook when she is being taken for granted because her need to be pleasing is omnipresent.

Erin is the baby of the family and her late-father’s pet. She is outgoing, fun-loving, and views her average intelligence as a blessing (rather than lamenting that her siblings are smarter). She is willful and has her own way of moving through the world. The big weakness she has is her impulsiveness, whether with jobs or relationships. As she approaches her 30th birthday, she’s looking to mature and create a more stable life for herself.

What kind of relationship do the sisters have?

I think they share a typical relationship insofar as their differences cause many misunderstandings and instill in each a sense of being judged by the other, and yet they do care about and love each other, too. They simply do not know how to be true friends and trust the other—at least not at the outset of this tale.

This book focused on the main female characters growing and learning about themselves. What prompted this ‘women’s fiction’ approach to the story?

Partly market forces and partly my own need to stretch. At 53, it was becoming more difficult to write a 20-something woman facing the challenges of dating. The shift to women’s fiction allows me to write late-30 and early 40-something characters, which comes more naturally to me. I also enjoy exploring family and friendship dynamics, and absolutely love having endless options for story arcs (as opposed to having to follow a traditional romance arc).

What does your new Potomac Point series have in common with your previous books?

All my books to date have focused on critical relationships and some type of redemption theme. I find damaged people to be very interesting and believe that there is good in most everyone, so I prefer to populate my stories with flawed people who must confront their inner demons in order to be happy. My new books will also focus on relationships and redemption, but the non-romantic relationships (or even the relationship with one’s self) will be more central.

Sisters Amanda Foster and Erin Turner have little in common except the childhood bedroom they once shared and the certainty each feels that her way of life is best. Amanda follows the rules—at the school where she works; in her community; and as a picture-perfect daughter, wife, and mother-to-be. Erin follows her heart—in love and otherwise—living a bohemian lifestyle on a shoestring budget and honoring her late father’s memory with a passion for music and her fledgling bath-products business.

The sisters are content leading separate but happy lives in their hometown of Potomac Point until everything is upended by lies that force them to confront unsettling truths about their family, themselves, and each other. For sisters as different as these two, building trust doesn’t come easily—especially with one secret still between them—but it may be the only way to save their family.

Enjoy an Excerpt

I rolled onto my side with a groan, coming face-to-face with one of my favorite family photos. We’d taken our annual family summer trip to Hilton Head—the one real splurge my dad had made sure we enjoyed every year. We had a tradition of having lunch at a little open-air cabana bar and restaurant called Coco’s on the Beach.

Between the deck and the volleyball court in the sand stood a tall pole with colorful arrow-shaped signs pointing in different directions. Each one was painted with the name of a different city somewhere on the globe, along with the mileage to get there. We’d dream about all the places we might go, and after high school I’d had the chance to see many. In this picture, our whole family is standing around that sign, smiling at the camera. My dad has his hand on my shoulder, and if you look closely, you can see Amanda holding my hand. I must’ve been only five or six—young enough that she hadn’t given up trying to be my second mother. At the time, I’d felt smothered by her attention, but looking back, I’d also felt loved.

I grabbed my phone and called my sister, but it went to voice mail. A heaviness pressed on me, but I couldn’t tell if it was from looking at that picture of our family that would never again be whole or from the fact that I’d disappointed my mom and sister today.

They loved me in their way even if they couldn’t love and accept me as I am. My dad had, though, and to honor his memory and wishes for our family, I couldn’t continue to drift out of their lives as I’d been doing.

After the beep, I said, “Hey, it’s moi. Surprise! My plans have changed and I’ve got a little time. If you get this message, let me know where you are and I’ll try to catch up.”

I hit “End,” my feet restlessly kicking the foot of my bed. The small bedroom seemed claustrophobic, but I didn’t want to talk to Max. Not that I could avoid him in here, either, where his dirty laundry, sandals, and other items lay about. Rather than take a match to it all, I decided to organize some of his things to help with his packing. Hauling myself off the bed, I then went to the armoire to get to the vintage albums my dad had left me in his will.

Some were fairly valuable, like the Beatles collection box set from 1982, valued at roughly a thousand bucks. Or the Led Zeppelin first pressing with the turquoise label, which should net around eight hundred or so dollars. U2’s Joshua Tree collection box set from 1987—maybe worth six or seven hundred. Then there were others worth less than one hundred dollars. But each one had infinite sentimental value.

Every song resurrected a specific memory of time spent with my father playing cards, washing cars, grilling hot dogs … anything. Whatever he’d wanted to do, I’d done with him, and he’d always chosen the perfect background soundtrack for every activity. Those stolen moments had also been a great way to escape my mom’s endless lectures and demands. She’d never yelled at me for skipping out on chores or being messy when I’d been spending that time with him. Probably because he wouldn’t let her.

At present, my restlessness matched the mood of a typical Bob Seger song, so I grabbed Beautiful Loser and slipped the record from its sleeve, resisting the urge to hug it as if it were my dad. I set it on the old turntable he’d also left me. As the few first drumbeats clangored, my heart kicked an extra beat or two—partly happy, partly sad. I glanced toward the bedroom door, picturing Max on the sofa, and then got to work.

It didn’t matter where life led me next. I had faith because my own personal angel was looking out for me now.

Que será, será.

About the Author:Wall Street Journal and USA Today bestselling author Jamie Beck’s realistic and heartwarming stories have sold more than two million copies. She is a two-time Booksellers’ Best Award finalist and a National Readers’ Choice Award winner, and critics at Kirkus, Publishers Weekly, and Booklist have respectively called her work “smart,” “uplifting,” and “entertaining.” In addition to writing novels, she enjoys hitting the slopes in Vermont and Utah and dancing around the kitchen while cooking. Above all, she is a grateful wife and mother to a very patient, supportive family. Fans can get exclusive excerpts, inside scoops, and be eligible for birthday gift drawings by subscribing to her newsletter

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Focus on the Wonder of Now by Jamie Beck – Guest Blog and Giveaway

Long and Short Reviews welcomes Jamie Beck who is celebrating the recent release of The Wonder of Now. Enter the Rafflecopter at the end of the post for a chance to win a $25 Amazon gift card plus a copy of the book.

Author Jamie Beck Urges Readers to Focus on the Wonder of Now

Throughout my career, I’ve loved the challenge of redeeming a character that might be hard to like, much less love. In Peyton, the heroine from The Wonder of Now, I took on a particular challenge, because most of my readers are women, and most women don’t forgive a friend who betrays them for a man. This setup made redeeming Peyton a singular challenge and begs two questions: who is Peyton, and why should you care about what happens to her?

Peyton Prescott is part of a legendary literary family owing to her great-grandfather’s prolific career as a celebrated novelist. The casual observer would say she’s grown up in a mansion by the sea and enjoyed every privilege (wealth, beauty, wit). But life in Arcadia House wasn’t as picture-perfect as her family would have the public believe, and emotionally distant parents didn’t exactly model warmth or instill a sense of deep love and acceptance. She spent her twenties living out of suitcases and blogging about her travels, then had the misfortune of falling for her childhood friend’s boyfriend, who dumped that friend for Peyton…until she got diagnosed with breast cancer, at which point he dumped her, too.

Facing her mortality alone forced her to take a hard look at her life and her choices, spurring a sincere desire to become a better person, and to make amends with the friend she betrayed. Although she gets diagnosed in the first book in this series, and begins to make amends in the second, this final book is when all the threads come together. She and her famed-photographer brother recorded her journey from diagnosis through her final surgeries, collaborating on a memoir that is about to release (the proceeds of which will be donated to cancer research). Of course, at this point in time she’s more interested in moving on with her life than with reliving the experience with cancer and sharing those intimacies in public forums. Her attitude puts her in direct opposition to the publicist, Mitch, who is counting on her becoming his fledgling company’s big hit.

Despite Peyton’s flaws, of which she is well-aware, she also has strengths that draw people to her. She’s self-deprecating, witty, brave, beautiful, and empathetic. She now also has a heightened appreciation for living in the moment and not taking any day for granted—something the goal-oriented Mitch must learn to do. Although he has very good reasons for being disciplined and focused on his ambitions, he is instantly drawn to her energetic spirit and zest for life.

I confess that I struggled while writing this book, but it ended up becoming my favorite to date. Not just because I loved rising to the challenge I’d set up, but also because Peyton’s musings, fears, and hopes go to the heart of what connects us all, and because I think I gave her the perfect man to help her complete her much-needed personal growth arc. But you can be the judge!

Peyton Prescott would give anything for the carefree life she knew before breast cancer changed everything. But instead of using her second chance to move forward, she’s stuck promoting the memoir her brother convinced her to write, thus reliving the very battle she wants to forget. If she hopes her European book tour will allow her to enjoy revisiting her favorite travel-writing destinations, she’s wrong: her PR whiz is too consumed with his own goals to consider her needs.

Mitch Mathis has relied on discipline to achieve his goals, and with his new firm’s success riding on Peyton’s book launch, he must keep her on task. They’re here for business, not pleasure. And Mitch won’t let unbridled desire harm his professional reputation—not again.

When frustrated expectations and attraction throw the tour into chaos, it challenges everything Mitch and Peyton believe about themselves, life, and love, forcing these opposites to consider whether they can embrace the change they need to grow.

Enjoy an Excerpt

The writer from the Barcelona Review swaggered in and sat down. Medium height, trim, with coal-black hair worn a bit shaggy. The guy’s eyes lit up when he got his first good look at Peyton’s smile, making Mitch’s gut tighten.

“Hello, Miss Prescott. I’m Javier Molina, but friends call me Javi.” He reached across the table to shake her hand.

“Nice to meet you, Javi. Please call me Peyton.”

The little knot in Mitch’s stomach screwed tighter when he thought she was flirting. She’s only smiling, stupid.
Javi set up his phone recorder and then slouched back, feet planted wide apart on the ground, pen in hand. That cocky bastard was trying to intimidate Peyton with his domineering position. “First, let me say I enjoyed the book, although I suspect some of the caustic humor was meant to keep us at a distance.”

“Not exactly,” she muttered.

Javi hesitated but would be disappointed if he expected his silence would force her to elaborate. Mitch had watched her operate with interviewers in Rome. She’d make an excellent trial witness, answering only those questions asked—nothing more or less. Even this spare utterance seemed to have slipped through her fortress wall.

Javi prodded again. “In certain cases, the photographs are more raw than the narrative, although they blend seamlessly together. All but the cover photo, which has no explanation or accompanying exposition. It’s a spectacular, harsh image . . . Can you tell our readers what was going through your mind when it was taken?”

“You mean aside from ‘I’m going to kill you, Logan’?” She chuckled, buying herself a precious moment to compose her thoughts, Mitch guessed.

Meanwhile, Javi raised his index finger with a sly nod, as if she’d proved the point he’d made a moment ago about her defense mechanism. Rather than venture another attempt to flirt his way past Peyton’s defenses, Javi simply stared at her this time, waiting for a real answer.

Her gaze drifted, eyes cloudy. If she’d wanted to discuss whatever happened at the time of that photo, she would’ve put it in the memoir.

Mitch loosened his fist and wiggled his fingers. She needed to do this for herself, and it might be easier on her if he left the room. It would certainly be easier on him not to listen to the story behind the photo that had captivated yet haunted him for weeks.

He wrestled with his internal debate until she sighed.

Without looking at Javi, she picked up the pen and began doodling on the pad in front of her while she spoke. “Forty-five minutes before Logan shot that photo, I’d used the magic mouthwash to help with my mouth ulcers. After the waiting period, I went to the kitchen to get some water. It was predawn, so I’d assumed Logan was sleeping. I took a few sips and then wandered to the living room window. Outside, the street was already coming to life, all shadows and movement and secrets. Garbage men emptying bins, night-shift workers heading home, a stray woman dashing toward the subway on an obvious walk of shame . . . ordinary people living their lives. Probably worrying about the electric bill, or looking forward to a sporting event, or maybe daydreaming about a new love. Things that had once occupied my thoughts but, in that moment, meant less than nothing to me.”

When she paused, Mitch stole a look at her notepad. Daisies?

Her expression shifted to something self-deprecating. “And yet I envied them and those small worries . . . envied their health. Their nonchalance about another new day. I was so separated from it all—and not only by the glass. I swallowed a scream because I knew they, like me before my diagnosis, were taking everything for granted. I watched them, resentment festering because I might not exist long enough to even see those people months later. Worse, they’d never know. Life everywhere would go on without me, and very, very few people would care. Just like that”—she snapped her fingers—“it hit me that my whole life never mattered much. No spouse. No children. No impressive legacy from my Globejotter days. What, of value, had I done with my time?”

The room remained silent while she resumed her doodling. “I don’t know what woke Logan. All I remember is that I turned when I heard the camera click, and then he kept snapping.” She finally looked at Javi and tapped the book jacket with the back end of her pen. “That was his favorite of the bunch.”

Javi straightened his posture while finishing his notes. Peyton shot Mitch a quick glance punctuated by a half shrug. What a strange, intriguing woman. Drawing flowers while relaying her existential crisis to a total stranger.

Mitch offered a sharp nod of approval when what he wanted was to gather her in his arms like a bouquet of delicate flowers and tell her that he would care very much if she didn’t exist tomorrow or the next day or the one after.

About the Author: National bestselling author Jamie Beck’s realistic and heartwarming stories have sold more than two million copies. She’s a Booksellers’ Best Award and National Readers’ Choice Award finalist, and critics at Kirkus, Publishers Weekly, and Booklist have respectively called her work “smart,” “uplifting,” and “entertaining.” In addition to writing, the author of the Cabot novels, the Sterling Canyon novels, and the St. James series enjoys dancing around the kitchen while cooking and hitting the slopes in Vermont and Utah. Above all, she is a grateful wife and mother to a very patient, supportive family.

Fans can learn more about her on her website which includes a fun “Extras” page with photos, videos, and playlists. She also loves interacting with everyone on Facebook.

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The Promise of Us by Jamie Beck – Q&A and Giveaway

Long and Short Reviews welcomes Jamie Beck who is celebrating yesterday’s release of The Promise of Us, the second book in her Sanctuary Sound series. Enter the Rafflecopter at the end of the post for a chance to win a $25 Amazon gift card + a copy of the book.

Can you give readers a quick snapshot of your newest novel The Promise of Us.

At its heart, this book is based on some favorite romance tropes (best friend’s older brother, unrequited crush, second chance-ish) although the circumstances are unusual. Basically, Logan returns to town to help his sister recover and, in his desire to help his sister mend fences with Claire, he hires Claire to redecorate his apartment. What starts out as a somewhat manipulative—though well-intentioned—plan flips on him. He remembers the version of Claire from before the gunshot wound and wants her to stop living in fear, so he sets about slowly challenging her limits to help her lead a fuller life. In the process, he falls for her, although his job and wanderlust (and Claire’s inability to forgive Peyton) conspire to make her push him away. Ultimately, they have to figure out how to compromise if they want things to work out.

What makes Claire and Logan’s story special to you?

Each book I write is special in its own way. I think what stays with me about this one is a sense of tenderness that developed in Logan that didn’t really exist before he spent more time with Claire. He was a fairly selfish guy (meaning he put his needs and career aspirations ahead of everything) for most of his life. His sister’s life-threatening illness was the first catalyst for change, but his relationship with Claire develops a new facet of his personality. I liked him so much by the end of the story. And I had fun writing Claire, despite her being a very nervous, conservative character at the outset.

Your heroine Claire has suffered tremendously (both physically and emotionally) yet she perseveres and has made a great life for herself. What gives her strength?

In my mind, Claire’s greatest strengths are her ability to be content with the little things and her gratitude for her family and friends. For the most part, she rarely laments her quiet life. When she had to give up her first love (tennis), she directed her energy into something else she enjoyed and made that a career. She feels that she is good at her job and she enjoys it, so that also gives her a sense of pride and accomplishment. I think her job (making old or ugly things pretty) is a bit of a metaphor for how she dealt with her injury.

Claire has had love and lost it. How has her past experience changed her?

I think losing her boyfriend to a best friend rocked her to the core. Those two betrayals shook a fundamental sense of trust in all relationships. And in love. She recovered much better from her physical injury that the emotional ones, that is for sure. In any case, this cynicism about love and friendship definitely makes it hard for her to believe anything Logan has to say, or to believe that he could truly love her.

What is her reaction to first seeing her childhood crush Logan?

She’s caught unaware, so she reacts badly, especially because she suspects he is trying to manipulate her. Hostile might be how some would describe her mental state, although Claire tempers her feelings most of the time, so it is more of a quiet rage with a hint of desperation to flee!

It seems like Claire and Logan are complete opposites. She is cautious about new experiences, while he jet sets around the world. Was it difficult to write about two very different characters?

No. They are opposites, but in a complementary manner. In other words, he is able to use his strengths (courage) to help her tap into her own, and she is able to use her strength (contentedness) to give him a sort of stability and affection sorely lacking in his life.

What common ground do your heroine and hero have?

The have the common ground of growing up in the same community, with all the values and ideals that help form us as children. They also have mutual friends and some shared history, which binds them. In terms of their interests, they are both creatives—him with photographs, her with fabrics and such—so they understand that way of seeing the world.

A hallmark of your writing is the maturity that your characters find throughout their journey of falling in love. What are some lessons that Claire and Logan must learn for them to get their happily-ever-after?

The hallmark of any well-written romance (of which there are plenty) is that its characters will have a strong arc (they will grow and become better, stronger individuals). In this story, Claire needs to learn to take risks again, and to trust that, come what may in life or love, she will survive and be okay. Logan needs to learn to compromise, and to learn that the relationships he makes in the here and now are more likely to bring true happiness than achieving any aspirational goal.

Claire McKenna knows about loss. The bullet wound that ended her promising professional tennis career drove her to make a quiet life for herself working with fabric samples, chatting with her book group, and spending time with her parents in her sleepy coastal Connecticut hometown. Then there was the boyfriend who dumped her to pursue her adventurous childhood friend. Now, Claire’s business has hit a financial snag, but she’s up to the challenge. After all, she can survive anything. At least she thinks so . . . until her teen crush, Logan, returns to town with his sister, Claire’s traitorous friend.

Photographer Logan Prescott is more playboy than homebody. But his sister’s illness teaches him that there’s more to life than chasing the next thrill. Bent on helping her win Claire’s forgiveness, he turns his charm on Claire and offers her big bucks to renovate his multimillion-dollar New York City condo.

After years of playing it safe, Claire must now take some risks. The payoff could be huge, but if it all falls apart, can her heart recover from another loss?

Enjoy an Excerpt

“What are you thinking?” Claire dropped her hands to the table.

Steffi shook her head, waving one hand. “Nothing.”

“Don’t lie. Is there another problem I’m not aware of?”

“No.” Steffi inhaled, held her breath, then exhaled slowly.

“I know of one project that would make a sweet profit and let you really stretch your talent. ‘Sky’s the limit’ kind of budget.”

Excitement lifted Claire’s spirit, straightening her spine. Anything that accelerated plans to open a retail outlet merited her attention. “Sounds amazing. What’s the catch?”

Steffi hesitated.

“Never mind. You won’t take it, so let’s move on.” Steffi spooned whipped cream into her mouth. “Oh! Molly says that Mrs. Brewster is thinking of remodeling her master bath.”

Mrs. Brewster’s late husband had left her comfortably well off, but you’d never know it. She clipped every coupon available to humanity—Claire had been behind her at the grocery store more than once. She put only two dollars in the collection basket at church each week, despite having enough money to leave more. And she gave out bite-size candy at Halloween. Bite-size!

“We can’t rely on Ryan’s mom as our major source of leads, and Mrs. Brewster spending big bucks on a remodel sounds improbable..” She leaned forward, elbows on the table. “Don’t make me beg. If you have a solution, I won’t dismiss it out of hand, I promise. I’m not an idiot. We need income. I’ll do whatever it takes to keep the doors open.”

Steffi went still, her chin just above the mug held midair. “Whatever it takes?”

Claire’s hair stood on end, but she motioned “Let’s have it” with both hands.

Steffi hesitated. “How would you like to redecorate a high-end condo in Chelsea?”

“In the city?” Her entire body prickled painfully at the thought of putting herself in the midst of that chaos and danger. She’d already been one madman’s random victim. Manhattan teemed with crazy people, not the least of whom were the ones who drove their cars like heat-seeking missiles. “Who’d hire us instead of any of the premier designers there?”

Steffi met Claire’s gaze. “Logan.”

Claire’s tongue seemed to swell and turn sticky. Work with Logan … Her blood thickened like warm syrup. Tingles and terror all at once—a sensation she both loved and loathed. Her own brand of crazy. Maybe she did belong in New York, after all. “No.”

“You just said you’d do whatever it takes.”

“Not that. Never that.” Claire didn’t need to look into a mirror to know that her fair, lightly freckled cheeks now looked like someone had smeared them with ripe strawberries.

“As I suspected.” Steffi shrugged nonchalantly, as if she hadn’t just pulled the pin from a grenade and dropped it on the table. “So that leaves us a little tight until something else comes up. In terms of our social media presence, I just read an article …”

Claire heard Steffi talking, but the words ran together like white noise because Claire’s brain was still stuck on the idea of working with—no—for Logan Prescott. His obvious ploy made her want to laugh. Did he really think he could buy her forgiveness for his sister? Well, Claire would never, ever forgive Peyton. Not even if he paid her a million dollars to renovate his condo.

“Claire? Did you hear anything I said?” Steffi turned her hands out in question.

“Sorry.” She rubbed the scowl from her forehead. “I’ll find another way to turn up new leads. Working with Logan is a hard no.”

“Too bad. You’d have so much fun decorating his place. I’m sure he’d let you do whatever you wanted. Anything would be better than how it looks now. Guess he never cared before, since he was rarely around to enjoy it.”

Only a Prescott would own a million-dollar property that sat vacant as often as it was occupied.

“I’m not an idiot.”

“Did I call you one?” Steffi had the gall to look stunned.

“This has Peyton’s paw prints all over it. I’d bet my last penny that she put him up to it. I don’t know what I hate more, that she did it, that you took the bait, or that she knows we’re desperate for money.”

“It’s not a conspiracy. I mentioned that I felt bad about putting you in this situation because of this home. Logan tossed out the idea on the spot.”

“I can’t deal with the strings that would come with his offer.” Except now Claire couldn’t focus on anything else because thinking about Logan took up all the space in her head. If Peyton hadn’t stolen Todd, she might’ve pounced on a chance to work closely with Logan. Of course, then she wouldn’t have been free to act on her desire. Not that she had ever acted on it before Todd, either. The hawkish way Logan could stare at her turned her to jelly around him and—oh, just no. “I thought you finally understood that.”

“I do. That’s why I wasn’t going to say anything.” Steffi crossed her arms. “You forced me to tell you.”

True enough. Logan’s image flickered through Claire’s mind again, poking at the tender spot of her pointless longing, like always.

She shook her head, dislodging all thoughts of Logan. “I’ll catch up with Mrs. Brewster and pitch a proposal for her bathroom. But we also have to scrape together funds to advertise and update the website, and you need to scare up reno work pronto. Promise me we’ll earmark new revenue toward retail space—”

A knock at the door interrupted her monologue.

Steffi rose from the table and disappeared around the corner.

From the other room, Claire heard Steffi’s surprised voice say, “Oh, we didn’t expect you so early.”

“Hope that’s not a problem,” replied Logan, in his unmistakable baritone.

About the Author: National bestselling author Jamie Beck’s realistic and heartwarming stories have sold more than one million copies. She’s a Booksellers’ Best Award and a National Readers’ Choice Award finalist; and critics at Kirkus, Publishers Weekly, and Booklist have respectively called her work “smart,” “uplifting,” and “entertaining.” In addition to writing, she enjoys dancing around the kitchen while cooking and hitting the slopes in Vermont and Utah. Above all, she is a grateful wife and mother to a very patient, supportive family.

For fun tips, exclusive content, and a chance to win the monthly birthday reader box, please sign up for her newsletter.

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads

Buy the book at Amazon.

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Inside ALL WE KNEW with Author Jamie Beck – Guest Blog and Giveaway

Long and Short Reviews welcomes Jamie Beck who is celebrating the upcoming release of All WE Knew. Enter the Rafflecopter at the end of the post for a chance to win a copy of the book.

Inside ALL WE KNEW with Author Jamie Beck

Thank you for the opportunity to discuss the inside scoop about why and how I wrote ALL WE KNEW, the second novel in my Cabot series. After creating nine traditionally styled romance novels—books about the pursuit of “happily ever after”—I needed a new writing challenge. Instead of showing the ups and downs of getting to a commitment, I wanted to craft a love story about how to keep it. Hunter and Sara Cabot gave me that chance.

This was not an easy task. I needed to simultaneously show the reader that this couple had a love worth saving, but also that they were growing far enough apart that they might not overcome their problems. But I was convinced the effort would be worth it because readers would appreciate and relate to this kind of love story. Haven’t we all experienced the friction that comes when those opposite traits we initially admired in our partners begin to wear on us? Or faced the challenges that external turmoil and communication breakdowns create?

Hunter and Sara are dealing with all of those issues when this book begins. There are some additional unexpected turns that hit them, too, and will tug at the heartstrings.

This is part of a scene from the beginning of the book that should give you insight into where Hunter and Sara now find themselves with respect to their love. I hope it will intrigue you enough to want to read more!

“Where are we going?” She stumbled in an attempt to keep up with his long strides because he still had a tight grip on her wrist.

Hunter brought her back to the center of the glade, surrounded by the benches he’d purchased as some kind of memorial to them.

“Am I not exactly the same person I was the day we met?” Hunter’s handsome face could look quite fierce when he got defensive. His alpine cheekbones, square jaw, and aquiline nose intimidated. Those see-through hazel eyes flashed from soft to assessing on a moment’s notice. He was the only man she knew who could look that formidable while wearing glasses.

“Aside from being older?” She tugged her wrist free. On the grass, she noticed the shadows of the new benches forming a dark wall around them.

“Naturally, Sara.” His arms stretched out from his sides. “I don’t understand why you’re so impatient with me lately. I’m the same guy who chased you down here. Who took you for pizza at Zachary’s that first night and told you my dreams for the future—a plan that included growing my family’s business and legacy. The same guy whose dedication to that goal has never wavered.” His hands dropped. “If anyone in this relationship should be frustrated, it’s me. You’re the one who’s changed. You used to have lots of dreams, not just one. You used to smile and laugh and want sex for something other than getting pregnant.”

That last remark smarted the most. “Excuse me if I don’t think ambition is the only, or most important, goal in life. If I were you, I wouldn’t brag about the fact that you haven’t changed at all since we graduated. Most adults evolve, Hunter.”

Her husband stared at her. She’d hurt him, and she regretted it immediately. In his way, he loved her. She knew that. And yet, she’d been so dazzled by him early on, she hadn’t seen that his first true love had been CTC. He had a connection to that company that went beyond normal ambition. Maybe because it had been where he’d bonded with his father after his parents’ divorce. Or maybe it was just in his blood.

It didn’t matter, really. She suspected Hunter felt most at home in his office, not with her.

He’d deny it, of course. But she couldn’t deny the fact that she’d been growing lonelier in this marriage as the years wore on.

They stood there, sunlight fading in the late afternoon, the bells of Sather Tower playing a song, stirring up old memories. Hunter lifted his face toward the sky. He closed his eyes, listening to the music until he lowered his chin and looked at her. “You think I came here because of some Peter Pan fantasy of being twenty again?”

“Honestly, Hunter, I don’t know why it was so important that we come to this homecoming.”

“I did this for you.” He gestured to the benches. “All of it, for you. I’d hoped being here would remind you of what we have together and get us back on track.”

“I don’t need grand gestures.” She stepped closer, wishing her intense, beautiful man would really hear and understand her needs. She set her hands on the hard muscles of his broad chest. “I just want you to be present.”

He stepped back and then scrubbed his hands through his hair. “I am present! I’m doing everything in my power to give you the baby you want.”

“The baby I want?” Sara looked at the ground. He didn’t even hear how that sounded, did he? He’d call it semantics, but if he wanted a family, he would’ve said the baby “we” want. Actually, he wouldn’t have said it at all. He’d feel the same desperation she felt. He’d hurt from seeing other couples starting families, too. “And you wonder why I feel like I’m in this alone.”

“I don’t want to argue.” Hunter closed his eyes again and breathed deeply through his nostrils. When he opened his eyes, he remained still and unsmiling. “When’s your next shot due?”

“An hour.”

“I’m going back to the party. I’d like you to come, but if not, I’ll meet you at the hotel in time to help with your shot.”

Typical Hunter, retreating when they argued. She almost wished he’d stay and fight it out because then she’d know it mattered. Instead, he chose “space” to collect himself. Space was exactly what they didn’t need, but that was another tired argument.

At least he’d given her the out, so she wouldn’t have to suffer through more small talk or give vague answers to questions at the party.

“I’ll meet you at the hotel.” She turned to go, leaving him standing in the middle of the glade, knowing neither of them won anything in that argument.

Hunter Cabot deeply loves two things: the international tea company he’s helped his father build, and his wife, Sara. From the moment he first saw her wide smile on their college campus years ago, Hunter fell hard. Yet now, with other family members pushing to sell the thriving business and Sara grieving their failure to start a family, he’s suddenly facing the crushing loss of both.

The relentless ambition that Sara once admired in Hunter is now driving them apart. Each missed doctor’s appointment, neglected dinner date, and family squabble accentuates their differing priorities. Still, Sara struggles to create the home life they’d envisioned, until unsettling developments—both personal and professional—push them to the breaking point.

When love is put to the ultimate test, can Hunter and Sara stop fighting each other long enough to fight for their marriage?

About the Author: Jamie Beck is a former attorney with a passion for inventing stories about love and redemption. In addition to writing novels, she also pens articles on behalf of a local nonprofit organization dedicated to empowering youth and strengthening families. Fortunately, when she isn’t tapping away at the keyboard, she is a grateful wife and mother to a very patient, supportive family.

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