I did not. I grew up in the suburbs of a big city, but ever since I read Anne of Green Gables, I’ve wanted to experience small town life. I get some of that at our lake cottage, which is in a small town, but mostly, I’m a city girl. That said, there are plenty of quirky characters in the city, too, so lots of inspiration.
What is the most surprising thing you discovered about yourself while writing The Valentine Wager?
Hmmm… I think it was that I can write faster than I believe I can. The stories are there and if I trust myself and relax, they’ll come out the end of my fingers. It’s kinda magical, don’t you think?
Can you share with us something about The Valentine Wager that isn’t in the blurb?
Sure. Kitt is a horsewoman and Ryker is afraid of horses, so there’s a fun scene involving horses.
Give us three words to describe your heroine Kitt and three to describe hero Ryker.
Kitt is determined, flirty, and cautious. Ryker is good, smart, and loyal.
What do you hope your readers will take away from this book?
The idea that you can’t let past hurts keep you from loving again. Stay open to whatever life brings your way.
Ryker’s younger brother Dr. Max Lange is up next, and there’s some pretty exciting stuff in his story, including a fun seasoned secondary romance, which is always a treat for me.
The middle. My friend, author Liz Flaherty and I have a little saying that goes, “First is the meet-cute, the attracted, stuff happens, then there’s a conflict, and then the happily ever after.” It’s the “stuff happens” part that’s hardest for me, but if you let your characters go, they’ll usually come through.
What is the toughest criticism you’ve received as a writer? The best compliment?
An editor once told me my hero was an a**hole. Man, that one hurt, particularly because she was right. He was. I learned so much from her about characterization and story. I’ll always be grateful, but that was pretty harsh.
Writing can be an emotional, stressful pursuit. Any tips for aspiring writers?
Breathe. Really. Just breathe. When you’re overwhelmed, step away, take a walk, have a glass of wine, weed a garden, read a book, watch a movie, absorb some story. You’d be surprised how much it helps to just step away for a few hours.
What did you want to be when you grew up?
For a while I wanted to be an archeologist—in 4th grade, I learned about Howard Carter and the discovery of Tutankhamun’s tomb and I was fascinated. But then I found out Egypt was hot and there were scorpions, so… In high school for a while I wanted to go to Paris and be a translator—I’m an unabashed Francophile. But between those, I was writing and I knew one day, I would be a writer. Being published was dream I didn’t dare to express out loud, but wow! It’s an amazing ride!
Favorite book when you were a kid?
Every book I read—seriously. But the one that made me want to be a romance writer was Gene Stratton-Porter’s The Harvester. David Langston was the ultimate romance novel hero—I highly recommend it!
I’ve been writing since I could hold a pen, so the real answer is writing,
but I’ve been a freelance editor since 1996 and my first book wasn’t
published until 2012, so… you do the math. I love both my careers—editing is always challenging and I get to read a lot of great books and discover new authors. Writing is my heart. I can’t imagine me without it.
My mom because I miss her; Dorothy Parker because she’s funny and quick and I think we’d get along great; and Carole King because she seems like such an intelligent, gentle soul and after dinner she could sing for us.
He’s a notorious flirt, so she lays down a challenge she’s sure she’ll win.
When playboy police lieutenant Ryker Lange stops Kitt Boynton for driving on the wrong side of the road, his attraction to the feisty Irish lass is immediate. Yet, despite the sizzling chemistry between them, Kitt quickly turns him down.
Kitt has moved to River’s Edge for a fresh start and is ready to focus on her new marketing job at her cousins’ winery. She’s done with players, and vows she won’t let the local sexy cop distract her, but Kitt, a flirt herself, is definitely tempted. To keep her sanity as she prepares for several Valentine-themed winery events, she and Ryker make a bet: for the next three weeks, neither of them can flirt with the other.
The game starts out lighthearted, but when the town takes sides, Ryker and Kitt must choose between winning a wager or finding lasting love.
Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository | Apple Books | Kobo
They were in it for the fun, but never expected the storm…
Life for hometown ER physician Dr. Max Lange has always been sweet. He loves his job and is dialed in socially with his family, friends, and community. But lately, something feels like it’s missing. When a visiting doctor pulls him in for a hot kiss and asks him to play along in order to avoid unwanted attention from a hospital administrator, Max knows exactly what he wants and needs—the lovely Dr. Mitchell.
After a tragic error shakes her confidence beyond repair, Dr. Lauren Mitchell has abandoned her career in cardiothoracic surgery and instead works as a lead medical consultant for a top cardiovascular technology company. She enjoys her simple life on the road—hotel rooms, room service, and no emotional entanglements.
When a violent storm throws her into service at St. Mark’s hospital, Max has only a few days to prove to Lauren that they belong together, while she must reevaluate her career…and her life. Will Max’s love be enough to make River’s Edge and Max her home?
Excerpt from The Valentine Wager
Kitt Boynton scowled as the driver heading right for her veered off to his own lane before laying on his horn and making a terribly rude gesture. The second time it had happened in as many kilometers…er, miles on the road down to the center of town. “Eejit!” she shouted and returned the gesture. Closed up in the car as she was, there was no way he heard it; nonetheless, it felt good to release her frustration. Were the people in this town dense or just truly poor drivers? She really wasn’t fond of driving in Indiana. Carefully, she maneuvered her cousin Bren’s Jeep around a curve and the little town of River’s Edge nestled on the banks of the Ohio River came into view. Thank the Lord, she was almost there. Who knew traveling the short distance from the Four Irish Brothers Winery on the ridge above town to their in-town tasting room would be so hazardous? Another mile and she’d turn on—she glanced at her phone propped up by the gearbox—Riverview Road. Then a few blocks to the tasting room. Dry frosty leaves blew across the road as she passed a rocky outcropping where a lovely little waterfall spilled into a shallow pool below. She wondered why it wasn’t frozen as cold as it gotten since Christmas. Southern Indiana reminded her a bit of Ireland, which in turn made her homesick for County Wexford and Ma and Da and her brothers and sisters—all seven of them—and the horses. The time difference was six hours, so it would be nearly six p.m. on the horse farm where Kitt had grown up. Da would be feeding the livery horses—pouring grain and dropping flakes of hay. Her heart ached at the thought of Dewey, her Irish hunter gelding, nestled in his stall, probably wondering why she wasn’t there to ride him across the meadow and down to the sea. She hoped her little sister Nora was riding him as she’d promised. A siren wailed briefly and when she glanced in the rearview mirror, red and blue lights flashed behind her. A police car needed to get around. Why didn’t he just swing into the opposite lane and go past? There was nothing coming. Whaaaa-wha-wha. The siren whooped again and now the guarda’s car was right on her bumper. Was he pulling her over? She checked her mirror again. He was! Frustrated, Kitt scouted for a safe place to stop, finally ending up pulling into an empty lot next to the post office. Her speed had been perfectly within the legal limit posted, Bren had checked that all the lights and signals on his Jeep were working fine, and the tires were brand new. What could this guy possibly want? The officer pulled in crossways behind her, blocking her in the parking space, but he didn’t jump right out of his car. Instead, he sat there for a moment, staring at something in his lap. Finally, he opened his door and got out. In her side-view mirror, she watched him approach the Jeep. He was big. Intimidatingly tall, and under his winter jacket, the buttons on his navy-blue uniform shirt strained a bit across his brawny chest. He wasn’t wearing a hat and his hair was all shades of blond and light brown with glints of gold, styled deliberately messy, more like an Aussie surfer dude than a small-town copper. The only thing missing was a pair of mirrored sunglasses, which she was certain were probably on the passenger seat of his police car. He looked like the type. When he drew nearer, she could see he was what her sister Maeve would call a fine thing—clean-shaven and ruggedly handsome with full, sensual lips. He eyed her license plate as he tapped on an electronic device with a stylus. She took a deep breath and rolled down the window. “License, registration, and proof of insurance, please.” His voice was deep and oh, dear God, poured over her like warm melted butter with just those few impersonal words. His gray eyes reminded her of the Irish Sea right before a storm. Whew. She must be lonelier than she thought. Those were not the kinds of comparisons she ought to be making at this moment. Digging around in the glove box, she produced the black pouch Brendan had told her was there and found the registration and insurance certificate. Then she reached toward her capacious handbag on the floor in front of the passenger seat. “Hands on the wheel, please.” The officer’s clipped words stopped her mid-reach. “D’ye want to see my driving license?” She looked over her shoulder at him bent over and peering into the car. “It’s in my bag”—she pointed—“down there.” He nodded brusquely. “Bring out your wallet, slowly.” She swallowed the chuckle that rose in her throat as she pulled her wallet out, opened it, and offered it to the policeman. “Remove the license from your wallet, please,” he ordered. She did and handed it to him. “Officer, what’s going on?” He held up one finger as he examined it. “This is an Irish license.” Handsome, but a bit thick? “Perhaps because I’m just arrived from Ireland?” He raised one blond brow. “Well, Miss Boynton, do you know why I stopped you?” She had no idea why he’d stopped her. She shrugged. “Not a clue, I’m sure.” “Have you been drinking, ma’am?” This time she laughed out loud. “Are ye quite mad, man? It’s not even noon.” He eyed her, his gray eyes going from charcoal to silver in the late-morning light. “I ask because you were driving rather erratically and on the wrong side of the road.” Kitt scoffed. “I was driving erratically? You should be chasing down the two eejits back there.” She pointed over her shoulder as she peered at his brass badge glinting in the noon sun. No name, just a badge number. “One of them nearly plowed me over.” He sighed and straightened. “Miss Boynton, please step out of your vehicle.” She tilted her head, trying to see his face. “Are you crazy? I’m not gettin’ out of this car. That’s how women get abducted or do ye no watch CSI?” Surreptitiously, she shoved the lock on the door with her thumb, fully aware that he could simply unlock it again by sticking his hand into her open window. Ridiculous, but she felt more secure anyway. He crossed his arms over his chest, the tablet tucked under one elbow. “We got a call about you. Apparently, you’ve been driving on the wrong side of the road for several miles.” Had she? She thought for minute. Sweet Lord, she had! She closed her eyes, then opened them, deciding to give humor a try. She beamed up at him. “Officer, I prefer to think of it as this whole country drives on the wrong side of the road—I’m drivin’ on the right side of the road.”
Excerpted from The Valentine Wager by Nan Reinhardt, Copyright © 2022 by Nan Reinhardt. Published by Tule Publishing.
Nan Reinhardt is a USA Today bestselling author of sweet romantic fiction for Tule Publishing. Her day job is working as a freelance copyeditor and proofreader, however, writing is Nan’s first and most enduring passion. She can’t remember a time in her life when she wasn’t writing—she wrote her first romance novel at the age of ten and is still writing, but now from the viewpoint of a wiser, slightly rumpled, woman in her prime. Nan lives in the Midwest with her husband of 48 years, where they split their time between a house in the city and a cottage on a lake.