“Other things may change us, but we start and end with family.” Anthony Brandt
Your family may drive you crazy, but no matter what they do, you still love them! Although it sounds cliché, I do believe that in a family, people often live up to the roles they’re assigned … or the roles they fall into. The annoying little brother. The superior older sister. The doting grandmother.
My latest novel, Blaze of Winter, tells the story of Theo Grayson, an author of swashbuckling adventures who returns to Star Harbor, Massachusetts to plot and write his next book. There he meets Avery Newbridge, a gentle social worker, who is taking some time to figure out her career and her life while she helps her aunt manage the Star Harbor Inn. Theo has a twin brother (Seb) and two older brothers (Val and Cole). Each brother left Star Harbor after high school but after many years away, one by one, each brother returns to Cape Cod. Of course, once the Grayson brothers are back home, it’s like they never left. Old habits die hard, and Theo can’t resist reverting to his prankster self when it comes to baiting Cole.
“What the hell are you doing?” Cole demanded, looming over Theo, who was stooping to throw a pair of socks into his large duffel bag. Theo should have known that it would never work for two huge men to share such a minuscule space.
“Thought you were working tonight,” he responded coolly.
“Hank’s on shift now,” Cole said, referring to one of his deputies. “But you didn’t answer my question.”
“I’m packing,” Theo finally said. “I’d have thought that much was obvious. You are the sheriff, right?” He glanced sidelong at his brother, a small smile forming on his lips.
“I can see that you’re packing. The real question is, why?”
Theo raised an eyebrow. “Are you going to ask me nicely?”
Cole rolled his eyes. “It’s annoying as crap when you dodge my questions. I’m just looking out for you. You know I won’t quit bugging you until you tell me what’s up. Are you heading back to California? Going to visit a friend?”
“Enough.” Val’s calm voice filled the tiny room. “Let him alone.”
Cole stepped back. “Our little brother won’t tell me where he’s going,” he said, his voice heavy with irritation, “because I didn’t ask nicely.”
“Where are you going?” Val asked mildly.
“To stay at the Inn. Our brother here,” Theo said, jerking his thumb at Cole, “is making me nervous.”
“I don’t blame you. You’ll get some good writing done there.”
“That’s what I’m hoping.” Though he wasn’t sure he could convince himself of that anymore. One more second in the presence of Avery Newbridge this afternoon and he would have lost whatever small amount of composure he had left. Slamming the door in her face had been inexcusably rude, but it wouldn’t have been any less rude if he’d shoved her up against the wall and kissed her senseless. And that’s exactly what he would have done had he stayed in that damned hallway. He never did things like that. Didn’t even contemplate them—unlike his twin, Seb. But for that woman, he was ready to do an about-face.
…“Next time I’m going to ask nicely,” Cole muttered, breaking into his thoughts, before pushing past Val out of the room and up onto the deck.
Theo didn’t smile this time. It was too easy to get a rise out of Cole lately. Some days, he acted like he was still leading his Special Forces unit in Afghanistan. Taking a job as the sheriff of Star Harbor had been a good move for him, but he still had a hair-trigger temper. The change in Cole nagged at Theo, but he wasn’t sure what to do about it.
But of course, there’s always another brother to give a comeuppance, and Theo gets his in the very next scene, when his oldest brother, Val, deconstructs him with a few choice words.
Val picked up a blanket from the floor of the cabin and placed it on the bottom berth. “I’m just glad that you’re in town. It’ll give you a chance to start over.”
“Why exactly would I need to do that?”
“You’ve spent the last few years being someone you’re not.” Theo came up short. “I’m exactly who I always was.”
“No,” Val said, shaking his head. “You’re different. It’s inevitable. You leave home, you change. You were always smart, no doubt about it. But you could’ve cared less about what other people thought of you. Too many years in San Francisco made you care, and you’ve surrounded yourself with other people who care, too.” He paused. “Why do you think I live here instead of in Boston? Because Star Harbor grounds me. It keeps me sane. The people are real, and I can guarantee you they’re more interested in finding out about you as a person than the fact that you’re on the bestseller lists.”
“That’s enough,” Theo said gruffly, cutting him off.
Val sighed. “Look, I know you’re struggling. Hell, I would be too, if I was in your position. Seems like you just need some time to figure things out for yourself.”
Theo didn’t respond.
Val glanced up the short stairway, where Cole had disappeared. “I’d better go check on Sheriff Sunshine.” He ducked out of the cabin and headed to the deck.
The Grayson brothers are able to joke and fight with each other without worrying about causing offence because deep down, they genuinely love each other. Returning to Star Harbor meant coming home to family, and these men know that blood is way thicker than water. Their shared experiences and the support they gave each other while growing up strengthened their relationships, enabling them to weather any emotional storms.
Raised in a sleepy little Connecticut town, Elisabeth draws on her upbringing to write small-town romances. Her summers spent living and working on Cape Cod and Martha’s Vineyard were the inspiration for the Star Harbor series, which kicked off with Deep Autumn Heat and continues with Blaze of Winter. Currently, Elisabeth lives in Northern California with her husband and three children. Her family is awesome. Find her online: Website | Blog | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads
About Blaze of Winter:
Winter heats up in this hot new Star Harbor romance, as another sexy Grayson brother, a wickedly handsome writer, plots his happily ever after with a sweet stranger.
Frustrated with her job in Boston, social worker Avery Newbridge welcomes the opportunity to reassess her life when family asks her to help manage the Star Harbor Inn. Trying to figure out her future is overwhelming enough, but she doesn’t count on distraction in the form of one Theo Grayson, the gorgeous, green-eyed author who she knows is trouble from the moment he saunters into the inn.
Not only does he have a talent for writing swashbuckling adventures, but Theo also has a soft spot for big-hearted damsels in distress, especially a woman who’s great at helping everyone—except herself. Avery’s demons challenge him, but for desire this hot, he isn’t backing down. With every kiss and heated whisper Theo promises her his heart . . . if only Avery is willing to open up and accept it.
View an excerpt of Blaze of Winter on Scribd: Click here.
Order Blaze of Winter: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, or the iBookstore (Apple)!
One commenter will be randomly selected to win a NetGalley preview of BLAZE OF WINTER. Contest ends September 18th at midnight (EDT). You’ll need a NetGalley account, and to answer the question below: What do you love about your family?