Day Thirteen!

Closing in on the end of the contest now. We’re in the home stretch for both the second Grand Prize and the release of NEVER ENOUGH. Speaking of Never Enough, how about an excerpt?

Copyright 2011, Lauren Dane
All Rights Reserved, The Berkley Group
Releasing September 6!

“Why don’t we take a walk? The terrace is gorgeous. Marti loves it out here, even when it’s cold like today.”

It was cold, especially at the elevation they were at, but Elise hadn’t lied about how pretty it was out there. At least the cold would give her something else to think about aside from her worries for Miles and yet more evidence of the difference between her life and this . . . this abundance.

“I can’t imagine what you must be feeling,” Elise said as they took a stroll along the terrace. The baby was snuggled against her mother in a carrier, a jaunty little cap on as she strained to see all she could from the confines of her bundle. People were everywhere, but everyone seemed to fit together so well. A lot like her own group of friends. That did comfort her in a sense, but at the same time, this wasn’t about her. She felt out of place because of that even as it comforted her that Miles would have this tight-knit community to be part of as well as the one he already belonged to.

“For years I lived in fear that my ex-in-laws would take Rennie. They tried several times. It was hard to get past that terror of losing her. Even when I knew in my head that they couldn’t take her, that she was mine and I was a good mother. And then I met Brody and everything changed.” She laughed.

“I see the way you are with your son and it makes me like you. Mothering is a hard job, thankless, exhausting. You did it on your own for a long time and now you have to share your beautiful son with others. That’s the hard thing. Am I right?”

“Partially.” She paused, watching Marti, missing the weight of a baby in her arms.

“You don’t know me very well, but I’m a pretty good listener and nothing you say to me is going to be repeated. I hope you can trust me enough to talk to me, but if you don’t, that’s all right too.”

Gillian paused, trying to find the right words. “I knew I’d have to share Miles when I started this process. Just as I knew it was the only thing I could do because it was the best thing for him. But the reality of it is beyond what I had imagined. It’s hard not to let fear and distrust color everything.” She waved a hand, indicating the view. “I can’t compete with this. I can’t compete with a man who can drop the kind of money Adrian can on things it takes me years to save for. I worry how this will affect Miles. I worry about what it will be like for my middle-class son, who brings home strays and uses his allowance to buy feed for the birds and the squirrels instead of video games. I worry he’ll feel out of place in the midst of a family full of rock stars and ballerinas.”

She looked over the city. “I apologize. That was rude of me.”

Elise waved the apology away. “Of course you’d worry about that. All I can tell you is that we’re good people and we love each other. Adrian Brown is one of the most humble people I’ve ever known. Sensitive. Kind and loving. My kids adore him. He’s an amazing uncle and I know he’s going to be an amazing dad.”

Elise laughed softly.

“So, when Marti was about a month old, Erin and Ella convinced me to come to get a facial and a manicure. The shop is about two miles from our house. Now, I’d left Rennie with Brody many times. He’s a great father. But Martine was just a month old. Would he remember how to get the breast milk out of the freezer? What if she got upset and wouldn’t stop crying? She’d had a fussy few days.

“But they argued and wheedled, as did Brody, who gave me that sort of stern puppy-dog face and said it sounded like I didn’t trust him to take care of our daughter for less than two hours.”

Gillian laughed.

“I needed that hour and fifteen minutes. And when I got home, the place was a big mess, but Brody and Rennie had managed to do just fine with Marti. Of course he put the wrong size diaper on her and her clothes were too big because he’d put on the ones I’d put aside for her next growth spurt. But they were all fine and I’d done something good for myself, and for Brody too. And also, it’s good for a kid to have Dad be in charge sometimes. They can be washed off. It won’t kill ’em to have Popsicles for breakfast sometimes. And if things get too bad, there are no less than seven other people within a fifteen-minute radius who are available to help.”

“Are you promising not to break my son?”

Elise grinned at her, laughing. “Yes, exactly that. And this group of people here? If anyone knows how to love and respect that people are different and to celebrate that—it’s them. And because of the fame Adrian has, their lifestyle is very protective of that. They’re not lavish people, though they are generous. Especially Adrian. I—well, can I be perfectly honest with you?”

Gillian nodded.

“He’s going to try to do for you and Miles, and I take it from some of your earlier comments that perhaps he already has and you’re feeling a bit uncomfortable about it. He has the means. More than enough means. And he’s made it a sort of personal journey this year to spend more time at home with his family, doing what’s important and taking time off from the road for a while. He gives because he can and because he loves his family. It’s not meant to make you feel bad.”

“It’s just I’ve spent Miles’s entire life trying to teach him about saving for things and waiting to have things you really want, and in just one week of being Adrian’s son, he’s got a brand-new room that could be an electronics showroom, and a swank new bike I’d never be able to afford in a million years. I feel petty and selfish and maybe even a little jealous that I can’t do the same for him.”

“This is going to be fine, you know.” Elise put an arm through one of Gillian’s and they began to walk again. “There’ll be bumps along the way. As such things go. You’re a strong person to have done what you have in bringing that boy and his dad together. We’ll work this all out because that’s what family does. Over time you’ll get used to all the interruptions when you’re out and about. Though”—she paused to look around—”perhaps you can draw him out of this self-imposed shell he’s retreated to.”

“How so?”

Elise readjusted Marti’s hat before she spoke again, clearly weighing her words. “I want to tell you because I think it’s good to understand him. I see how he looks at you and it’s not just as the woman who’s been mothering his kid. He’s had a few conversations with Brody about you, but they both pretend like I don’t see what’s totally obvious.” She snorted a laugh, still managing to sound elegant when she did it.

“But he’s a man, therefore he won’t say anything to protect you or something equally silly. It’s got to be hard, you know? Being recognized all the time. And while he loves his fans, it’s hard on him to feel like he’s on display every time he leaves the house. So he sticks to safe places. Our house, here, the café, the tavern and a few places we all eat as a group. I like it that he goes to Bainbridge to see you. I like that he’s pushing past his comfort zone to be part of Miles’s life. I think it’s good for him to realize there’s more than ten people and eight places he can be safe with.”

Gillian hadn’t known the extent of it, though his distrust of the unfamiliar was fairly obvious. Gillian knew what it felt like to not have enough safe places in your life. Knew the helplessness of it. It made her want to find Adrian and hug him.

“Thank you for saying that. It helps. As for how he looks at me . . .” Her words died as she looked toward downtown. “Well, we’re . . . I’m not used to this sort of sharing, but I’m trying to learn too.” She blushed and Elise squeezed her hand.

“You don’t have to say anything. I get it. More than you can know.”

What do you all think of kids in romance novels? Yea or nay?

The winner of today’s post will win a copy of Nalini Singh’s upcoming Archangel’s Blade (pre-ordered from Amazon or Book Depository) and will be chosen from the comments to his post and announced tomorrow, September 4! Entrants are responsible for checking back to see if they’ve won and winners need to claim their prize within two weeks. Good Luck!

61 comments to “Day Thirteen!”

  1. Sarah
    September 3rd, 2011 at 4:46 am · Link

    I think kids are fine in romance novels . . . Jaci Burton’s recent series is better for having the child there (in the first book). And, of course, I love all the children in your Brown series 🙂

  2. Tracey D
    September 3rd, 2011 at 4:51 am · Link

    I have never read a romance novel that featured kids. It’s something I must check out.

  3. Pat L.
    September 3rd, 2011 at 4:56 am · Link

    Kids can be very cute in a story and tug at your heart.

    Tracey, try Vicki Lewis Thompson’s, The Nerd Who Loved Me – Dex, the little boy is so funny and cute. And Also Pink Moon by Stef Ann Holm, the friendship between the 2 little boys is wonderful and the Dad isnt to shabby either.

  4. steph j
    September 3rd, 2011 at 5:06 am · Link

    Kids can add to a story. They allow the readers to see another side to characters.

  5. Sherry S.
    September 3rd, 2011 at 5:25 am · Link

    I think kids in romance stories are great. I love reading a story where there’s a cute and mischievous child in it. It adds something to the story.

  6. Lindsey E
    September 3rd, 2011 at 6:14 am · Link

    Kids can add depth to a story and expand the focus from the couple.

  7. Becky J
    September 3rd, 2011 at 6:47 am · Link

    Yay if it’s done well and adds to the story

  8. Heather
    September 3rd, 2011 at 6:49 am · Link

    I love kids in my romance!

  9. Eileen
    September 3rd, 2011 at 7:04 am · Link

    Kids are fine in romances. the parent has a whole different view on how things evolve when there is a child involved. Makes it more interesting.

  10. Amy H.
    September 3rd, 2011 at 7:20 am · Link

    I enjoy kids in romance novels. Nothing like an unfiltered kid to get an honest reaction out of people.

    Great week of contests. Thank you!

  11. Vic
    September 3rd, 2011 at 7:46 am · Link

    Can’t wait to get Adrian’s book! I love how you have kids in your romances. Rennie was one of my favorite parts about Elise and Brody’s story. I don’t think all authors do it with as much success but when it’s done right, it helps to show the characters as well rounded people.

  12. Mariee
    September 3rd, 2011 at 7:56 am · Link

    Kids in romance is a big nay for me!

  13. Pamiam
    September 3rd, 2011 at 7:57 am · Link

    I don’t mind kids in a romance. I mean, who doesn’t love a man who is a great dad (whether his own or not). Love me, love my child

  14. Ameliad
    September 3rd, 2011 at 8:05 am · Link

    I don’t mind kids in romance.

  15. Jane
    September 3rd, 2011 at 8:10 am · Link

    I’m okay with kids in romance. There are definitely a lot of cute moments in books that feature smaller kids.

  16. Viki S.
    September 3rd, 2011 at 8:11 am · Link

    Depending on the story I think they really add to it. The development of the characters can really be increased when showing their interaction with children.

  17. Pam B
    September 3rd, 2011 at 8:14 am · Link


    I like kids in a story, they can add to the romance and bring in an ahhhhh moment.


  18. Ellie F
    September 3rd, 2011 at 8:16 am · Link

    I like kids in romance novels because I think it shows a different side of the characters especially the man. Kids can make a make character softer and sweeter or can do the opposite and make you dislike him if he’s a jerk to the kid.

  19. maria pena
    September 3rd, 2011 at 8:34 am · Link

    kids are fine. Love when they try to play matchmaker

  20. Michelle AB
    September 3rd, 2011 at 8:37 am · Link

    I like it when kids are in the stories, especially little ones. It’s so sigh worthy to read about this macho man’s heart melting because of a small child.

  21. Louise
    September 3rd, 2011 at 8:40 am · Link

    I like it when kids are in stories. Make them more believable than when it’s young twenty-somethings with their whole life ahead of them. Having to struggle while raising kids, or getting over death and divorce, shape people in many ways and it can make new love so much more rewarding when there’s a positive ripple effect on the kids in the story.

  22. Christine
    September 3rd, 2011 at 8:43 am · Link

    I think when it’s appropriate to the storyline it can add a certain depth to the story.

  23. gwen
    September 3rd, 2011 at 9:34 am · Link

    i’m not a big fan of kids in romance. i think they distract from the romance. i prefer dogs:)

  24. Barbara Elness
    September 3rd, 2011 at 10:14 am · Link

    Kids aren’t my favorite characters in romance novels, but as long as they have a part to play and aren’t too annoying, I’m good with it.

  25. Na S.
    September 3rd, 2011 at 10:38 am · Link

    I don’t mind kids in romance novels though if the story suits. They can be adorable props or talkative, trouble-making sidekicks. It can make some romances more realistic and insightful.

  26. donnas
    September 3rd, 2011 at 10:44 am · Link

    If done well I dont mind them. Ive read quite a few where they added to the growing relationship.

    Great excerpt!!

  27. Mariann M
    September 3rd, 2011 at 10:45 am · Link

    I love kids in romance novels — it adds to the story when written the right way. I love Nalini Singh and am dying for this book as much as Adrians. I will not be getting any sleep–it is a good thing I took off on the 6th from work !!! LOL!!! :mrgreen:

  28. Lindsay
    September 3rd, 2011 at 11:14 am · Link

    I don’t have a problem with kids in romance novels, if it’s done well. I hate when they are introduced and then forgotten about until a conflict is needed and they are brought back.

  29. Collette
    September 3rd, 2011 at 11:16 am · Link

    I loved Once and Again, but this? This is the one I’m waiting for. 🙂

  30. Danny
    September 3rd, 2011 at 11:30 am · Link

    I have no problems with kids in romances, but I had to test read for a friend of mine and had to tell her if there are kids in it or not. If there were, she wouldn’t read the book

  31. jessi
    September 3rd, 2011 at 12:04 pm · Link

    I have no problem with kids in romance books, cause thats life. 🙂 three days and counting til Never Enough comes out…..

  32. elaing8
    September 3rd, 2011 at 1:22 pm · Link

    I like kids in story.I haven’t come across too many but the ones I have I enjoyed reading them.

  33. infinitieh
    September 3rd, 2011 at 1:30 pm · Link

    I’m okay with kids in a romance but it really depends on how they’re handled by the author.

  34. Jordan H
    September 3rd, 2011 at 1:46 pm · Link

    I like kids in romance novels, I think it adds a different dynamic to the story.

  35. CrystalGB
    September 3rd, 2011 at 2:09 pm · Link

    Awesome excerpt. I like kids in romance novels. The interaction of the hero/heroine with kids adds to the story. 🙂

  36. april s
    September 3rd, 2011 at 2:10 pm · Link

    I do like children in a romance novel if they are written in and there is depth to the story-I guess you would call the character “fleshed out”…but if an author just throws them in as a side note, then that turns me off the story..

  37. Cathy M
    September 3rd, 2011 at 2:31 pm · Link

    I don’t mind kids in romance stories, sometimes they give great comic relief, and give us another side of our sexy hero.

    I absolutely adore the addition of Mavis and Leonardo’s new baby girl in the Eve Dallas series. Some very priceless moments for Roarke and Eve.

    caity_mack at yahoo dot com

  38. Joder
    September 3rd, 2011 at 2:32 pm · Link

    I don’t mind kids in stories as long as they’re realistic. If they’re too cutesy I find them annoying. I want them to contribute to the storyline, not detract from it.

  39. Patti F
    September 3rd, 2011 at 2:51 pm · Link

    Love the excerpt – I like kids in a romance it adds to the story.
    Can’t wait to read Adrians book!!! Also love Nalini Singh hope I am the lucky winner!!!

  40. Chelsea B.
    September 3rd, 2011 at 3:12 pm · Link

    I like kids in romance, as long as they don’t take AWAY from the romance, you know what I mean? 😀

  41. Julie K
    September 3rd, 2011 at 3:24 pm · Link

    It would depend on how well integrated the kids are in the story. I have read stories where the kids didn’t seem like they belonged in the story at all. 😉

  42. Jessie
    September 3rd, 2011 at 4:23 pm · Link

    I like kids in the story as long as they are done right, sometimes I will read a story with kids and think there is no way a child would say something like that.

  43. Alycia
    September 3rd, 2011 at 4:33 pm · Link

    I say yay. It adds another dimension to the main characters and gives a more complete story. I haven’t read a romance where the addition of a child character detracts from the story.

  44. Danielle West
    September 3rd, 2011 at 4:37 pm · Link

    I love romance novels with authentic kids. I tend to be annoyed by children that do not act age appropriate, or a mother is constantly thinking about how great of a mother she is and the child is really not apart of the book at all.

  45. jeanette8042
    September 3rd, 2011 at 4:52 pm · Link

    I love kids in romances because it’s fun to see how they add to the main characters’ relationship and it’s especially great when they’re children of previous characters in a series.

  46. lauren doremus
    September 3rd, 2011 at 4:58 pm · Link

    Love when kids are included, to me it makes the story more relatable. It lets us see a different side of the character’s, I just love the Brown series more so because of the family feel it has to it! 🙂

  47. margaret whelehan
    September 3rd, 2011 at 5:08 pm · Link

    I like kids in romance novels. It brings a little bit of real life drama into a fantacy

  48. Melanie C.
    September 3rd, 2011 at 5:53 pm · Link

    i love having kids in the romance stories because it makes the story more realistic….it is easier for a reader to asociate with the charathers. Bringing kids into the storyline makes me love the characters more because in most cases it brings them from sexual beings to mom and dads 😉

  49. Chocoalte Angel
    September 3rd, 2011 at 6:25 pm · Link

    i love it this is a first i’ve never read a romance novel with kids in it before and i loves it usually kids come later or not at all but this this is great and im so dyeing to get my hands on this book now and the rest of the series!!!!!!!!!!! :mrgreen: 😮 😀 😆 🙂 😉 😛 ❗

  50. Lynn
    September 3rd, 2011 at 6:53 pm · Link

    Makes for a balanced story in some cases, kids are a natural
    progression. Love the story.