Being responsible hasn’t gotten me anywhere in life. My girlfriend left me for another guy. My career is over. I feel like I’ve lost everything.
Then I meet Sway Swenson.
She’s sexy, fun, spontaneous, has zero inhibitions, and thinks relationships are a waste of time. Just like me. She’s perfect for getting me back into the game without looking for anything serious. The only problem? My heart has other ideas, and I don’t think I can handle another rejection.
I don’t do relationships. A crippling experience in high school was enough to make me avoid them like the plague.
Then I meet Anthony Wright.
Everything is fine until he decides to take off his stupid shirt and gives me a glimpse of his washboard abs. When he suggests hot and sweaty sex with no strings attached, I’m stupid enough to jump in with both feet. Yup. I fall for his ludicrous idea, but I refuse to fall for the man himself. Even if he makes me curious about what life could be like if I wasn’t broken.
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“Is that what we are? Friends?”
The surprise in his voice makes me pause, and my gaze bounces around his face in hopes of piecing together his thoughts. Unfortunately for me, he’s like a steel vault.
“What label would you use?”
Scratching his jaw, he weighs his options while I find myself waiting on pins and needles. “Friends, I guess.”
“Why do you sound so surprised?”
“I don’t really have friends,” he admits. “Damn, that sounds pathetic. I had coworkers. I had a girlfriend. And I had my parents. But friends? I didn’t have time for those before…” His voice trails off, leaving me hanging.
“Before what?” I inquire while continuing to assess him curiously.
“Before I lost everything.” He pauses then adds with a dry laugh, “Except my parents. They’re still around and as nosy as ever.”
Licking my lips, I let his words soak in before my two-cents slips past my lips. “No offense, but it sounds like you didn’t have much to lose in the first place. But I’m glad I can help you make a fresh start.” A light laugh escapes me when a thought hits me like a brick. “Man, Anthony. Are you sure you’re not a cat?”
He snorts. “Excuse me?”
“My entire job is giving them a fresh start,” I explain. “Plus, they’re kind of moody, have lost their homes, purr one minute then wanna bite your head off the next. Don’t tell me you don’t see the similarities.” I pop my hip out and place my hand on it before smirking at him. “At the very least, it’s your spirit animal. Come on, I’ve seen you with Jasper.”
“Jasper, as in the cat who is severely overweight and won’t let people touch him?”
I nod, trying to hide my grin. “Yup. Twins, I tell ya. Twins.”
BlueSeal’s Review of Anthony
Anthony is the 8th book in Kelsie Rae’s Signature Sweethearts Series. I will remind you that each book is a stand alone so don’t be afraid to dig in because you don’t want to start another series. I will say that this is a series that you will want to start because if you don’t, you will miss out on some of my all-time favorite characters. I actually didn’t dive into the series until book 3 and liked it so much..well, here I am in book 8 still loving it. By the time this posts it will be late afternoon, so grab your glass of wine and let’s chat about good ole’ Anthony. There is a lot to talk about.
We first met Anthony “Tony” when he was dating Indie Peterson in the book Rhett. To be perfectly honest, he was a terrible boyfriend. Tony and Indie had been together for 13 years and she dumped him because she was tired…tired of being ignored, his workaholic habits, sleeping alone, canceled plans, being taken for granted, and fighting. He definitely was not my favorite character but there was a point in the book when he stepped up and acted like a decent human being and then….we never found out what happened to Anthony until now.
We find Anthony miserable. He has lost his girlfriend, his job, and is aimlessly traveling around the country searching for a fresh start (with alcohol as his passenger) when a DUI in New Hampshire changes his life. The judge assigned Anthony to community service for a nonprofit…the one whose sign he destroyed the night he hit it with his car. The final blow to his confidence comes with a phone call from his mother…Indie is married. She’s moved on and found the love of her life leaving him alone, forgotten, broken, unloveable.
Sway owns a cat sanctuary. Yep, insert crazy cat lady down to the pink hair and 29 cats living in her cattery. (Insert, asthma attack for me.) She collects strays and cats who have outstayed their welcome at animal shelters so Anthony fits right in. Sway could teach Anthony a couple of things: to be himself; not care what others think; stop overthinking things, and to do what he wants when he wants to it. But first, Anthony has to open up and stop lying to himself.
Sway is my hero (except for the cat stuff…dog girl here)! She has such a unique, quirky personality and she is exactly what Anthony needed! I didn’t think that it was possible for me to love Anthony after his performance in Rhett but I do. Kelsie Rae excels in developing characters that you love and cheer for. I can’t wait to see what is coming next! Be sure to keep scrolling and read my exclusive interview with Kelsie!!
My rating – 5 out of 5 propellers!! Don’t miss this book and you don’t have to read Rhett first but I would.
BlueSeal’s Q&A with Kelsie Rae
- Your first book, Liv, came out in April of 2018 and Anthony is your 9th book (if I’ve counted correctly). That’s a lot in a short time. Besides enormous amounts of chocolate and freshly baked cookies, how have you stayed motivated?
Motivation isn’t an issue for me. If anything, it’s balancing the time with my family, household responsibilities, and writing that’s the hard part. I have stories churning in my head CONSTANTLY, and I’m always chomping at the bit to get them all written down. The problem is…time.
- As a mom, how often do you write? When do you write?
I write every single day. It’s an addiction. Lol Whether it’s a new WIP, a second read through, or going over edits, I’m always tweaking something. I try to get an hour or two in the morning, then an hour or two at night, but it usually depends on my kiddos and how cooperative they’re being. (Which, let’s be honest, is rare. haha) My husband is also a champ and lets me sneak away every Sunday morning and I usually sneak four hours or so at Beans and Brews near my home.
- Do you set a plot or prefer going wherever an idea takes you?
Hmmm… this one is tough. With the first two books I wrote, I sat down and started typing with ZERO plotting whatsoever, but I’ve quickly learned that I like to balance between plotting and following my characters blindly wherever they take me. Usually, I have a general idea and will write a few plot points, but if they don’t work out, I’m not afraid to go in a different direction. I have a new series coming out that is VERY different from my Signature Sweethearts Series, and that one I’ve had to plot out extensively to make sure I don’t leave any loose ends. Because of this, I think it really just depends on the book/series, but I’m definitely open for any and everything. 🙂
- When planning The Signature Sweetheart Series, how many books did you originally map out?
I didn’t really have a plan. In fact, they’re all so different from each other that part of me wondered if I should even try to sell them as a series or if it would be smarter for me to market them as stand-alones. If you’ve read them, you know that they each take place under very different circumstances, (From professional video gaming in Vegas to a small bakery in New York.) and don’t always showcase the same characters. That being said, I’m really happy with my decision to have them loosely interconnected while giving a reader the opportunity to jump into the series wherever they’d like. (You don’t need to start with book one.) It’s been the best thing ever!
- What made you add Luke?
Oh, Luke… lol. He’s my favorite! 🙂 I decided to write his story completely spur of the moment. It was right before my first signings in 2018 and I wanted to give readers a freebie for visiting me at my table. I felt like his story needed to be told from his perspective, and I wanted to redeem Adam in the process too. Because Adam dies at the beginning of Liv’s story, no one ever really got a chance to see his and Liv’s relationship. I may have also wanted to rip a few readers hearts out. 😉 My heart broke for Luke when he let the girl of his dreams slip through his fingers, and I wanted to give my readers that perspective too.
- I was very sad that Marcus was going to be the last in the series but I’m a little surprised that Anthony got his own book. What prompted his story?
I’ve learned that I’m not very great at writing villains, and Anthony wasn’t any different. If you’ve read Rhett’s story, then you know Anthony is in a relationship with Indie before she realizes that their relationship isn’t what she really wants and she falls for the hero, Rhett. I wanted to paint Anthony as an ignorant idiot (lol) but not a bad guy. He was so consumed with his work life that he didn’t realize what he had before he’d already lost it, and I think that’s a common mistake in our society. I really wanted him to get his happily ever after and to finally learn what it means to live instead of simply going through the motions of life, and I think his story captured it pretty dang well. Also, I want to clarify that Marcus nor Anthony are the last in the Signature Sweethearts Series. I have a lot more in the works, though I have noticed that the series seems to somewhat break out in threes. Liv, Breezy, and Jude are their own little mini-series. Rhett, Sophie, and Marcus are another one. Anthony, Skye, and Saylor (don’t worry, you’ll meet them soon) are going to be another set. And does anyone remember Jake (Luke and Bree’s brother) or Lainey (Rhett’s sister)? Oh yes, they’ll get their story too! (Who’s ready for a college spin-off?!)
- How important is research to you when writing a book?
I think it definitely depends on the book. Obviously, I want things to be accurate, but I also tend to write what I know about. (Animals, baking, children, fertility, HR, the list goes on.) However, I’ve been working on a secret project involving card counting and poker, and it’s definitely involved a good amount of research to make sure I have all my ducks in a row.
- How do you see writing? As a hobby, a job, or a passion?
Definitely a passion. I love it SO freaking much, and if I take more than a day or two off, I get twitchy. 😉
- What is the importance of a good cover?
It. Is. Everything. If I can offer one piece of advice for a writer, it’s to hire a good cover designer and to make sure you LOVE it. (Also- hire an editor! I love all of mine!)
- If you need help hiding a body, who would you choose to help?
Tasha Lewis and Katrina Marie in the writing world. My mom in the private one. They’ve got my back. 😉
- Since you are finished with The Signature Sweetheart Series, what is next for Kelsie Rae?
Like I said before, I’m definitely not finished with The Signature Sweetheart Series, and I don’t plan on being finished anytime soon. I love the characters SO freaking much, and I’d miss them if I stepped away from the series for too long. That being said, I’m writing a super fun Urban Fantasy story where an innocent soul ends up in Hell with her memory erased and a swoony bad boy demon has to show her the ropes. There’s a ton of twists and turns, political intrigue, greed, good vs. evil, etc. It’s been so fun to write! I also have a dark romantic suspense (the gambling one I mentioned earlier) that I’m hoping to release in the Fall, but it depends on how quickly I can finish my second read-through and get it to the editor.
Thank you so much for having me! It’s been a blast answering all these questions!
As a follow-up…You cannot believe everything that you read on the internet because I’m pretty sure that I read on a book reviewing site (not naming names) that The Signature Sweetheart Series was going to be limited to a certain number of books. I am so FREAKING excited to learn that was fake news. Thank you, Kelsie, for taking the time to give our readers a look at your wonderful personality and your creative process.
Kelsie is a sucker for a love story with all the feels. When she’s not chasing words for her next book, you will probably find her reading, or more likely playing with her “monsters.”
She adores chocolate, photography, baking, and chick flicks. And now that she’s actively pursuing her writing dreams, she’s set her sights on someday finding the self-discipline to not eat an entire batch of cookies in one sitting.
Follow Kelsie Online!