I usually prefer to let to an author’s writing stand all by itself and don’t like to add my own commentary, but I had to make an exception this time. As a reader, every time a pick up a book by a favorite author, I can’t help but wonder what inspires certain characters. I loved Ms. Barth’s Naked Men series and the synopsis of BAD FOR HER reads like a complete pivot from that series, so I couldn’t resist wanting to find out why. I can’t wait to start reading my copy but my anticipation has been heightened even more by this character profile and I expect nothing less than to be wowed (no pressure, Ms. Barth!).
If you’ve read and enjoyed any of the author’s previous books and are looking forward to this new series (like me) or if you just enjoy getting behind the scenes with book characters (again, like me), I hope you enjoy this with the same big smile I had when I read it. BAD FOR HER releases today, so don’t forget to grab your own copy.
How Did I Meet My Characters?
When I came up with the proposal for the series that is now Bad Boys Gone Good, I was writing millionaires. Smart, witty, filthy rich millionaires in Washington, D.C.. I love to write those. But you know what? Writing isn’t always about what I want. Because it is a business. Authors provide books to people that want them.
And people want a bad boy.
I’d written man whores before, but never a full-out bad boy. So…the sky was the limit for where to start. Mobsters are pretty hard-core bad (says this hard-core fan of The Sopranos). Except….they kill people. That’s not what a romance hero does. My heroes immediately morphed into mobsters trying to reform in Witness Protection.
But…why? Why break the code and rat on your friends? Gah. Then it hit me that the only thing more sacred than brothers-in-arms are actual brothers. So my hero had to be responsible for his brothers (enter the tragic death of his parents when they were still super young for motivation). His loyalty and love for them had to be above all else.
So yeah – he’s an Alpha with a soft spot. Aka the very best kind!
I don’t know anything about Boston, so I made him a part of the Chicago Irish mob (see – there’s no magic formula – just us authors trying to make things a little bit easier on ourselves). Rafe’s as big-city as they come. He’s…um…quite unsettled by the dark ocean and what the hell could be in it when he goes running on the beach in his new, tiny coastal town. He doesn’t understand the mentality of people in a small town and their weird obsession with cranberries (that gives me lots of comic fodder – he’s totally a fish out of water). He just wants to keep his nose clean, do his job as a mechanic, and make sure his brothers toe the line and don’t get tossed out of WITSEC.
I have a brilliant friend who insists that the hero and heroine should be the worst possible match for each other. Let’s see….what is a far from obvious pairing for a blue-collar, not-quite-a-killer, small town hating mobster?
A doctor. (Aha!) A doctor who wants nothing more than to save lives. Specifically? A doctor who turned down lucrative offers in Boston and Chicago to move back to her beloved small town and take care of the quirky, caring people who all helped raise her when her mom abandoned her at a young age.
Well, that was easy-peasy to put together. The character of Mollie came about 100% as a result of fleshing out Rafe. I could never have started with her. In technical terms (that yes, I had to Google) it became an expanding variation on Causal Conditionals: if x, then y. This plan guaranteed they’d but heads, provided someone to show Rafe the ropes as to why he should love Bandon, and gave them a shared motivation (loyalty).
Ooh, I almost forgot the best part! ‘Cause this is a sexy romance! There had to be oodles of sex. So….(problem) Rafe obviously can’t get involved with anyone. He’s lying about himself 24/7, and doesn’t know if the mob will find and kill him. Mollie won’t date anyone in her small town, but… (solution) she’d really like some orgasms ASAP. They can be friends with benefits! That means they get to the down and dirty smooching super fast (*cough* Chapter 1 on the side of a road) without having to wait for the natural build up of emotion and respect. Which—spoiler—obviously happens despite their best efforts otherwise, because these two people also couldn’t be more right for each other. It catches them both off guard. But I bet you’ll see it coming!
I did. That’s how I met/made Rafe and Mollie. I hope you adore them as much as I do!
Doctor Mollie Vickers loves the tight-knit community of her tiny Oregon town. But she’s not a fan of the limited dating options. Sleep with a guy who tried to copy off her in junior high? Pass. Mollie’s sex life is flatlining… until a deliciously handsome man she’s never seen before stops to help her fix a flat tire.
As an ex-mobster, Rafe Maguire’s no saint. But he’s trying to turn over a new leaf. Although he probably shouldn’t kiss the hot doctor on the side of the highway. Or suggest a no-strings fling with a woman he has no business pursuing. Rafe’s life is too complicated for love—his new WITSEC-provided identity doesn’t fit him at all and there’s a U.S. Marshal watching his every move. He can’t tell Mollie the truth… but their chemistry is scorching and being good doesn’t mean he can’t be a little bad.
Mollie can’t resist the guy who looks rough, talks tough, and is loyal to the bone. But it’s obvious Rafe is keeping secrets. When the truth comes out, Mollie must decide if she could ever love an ex-mobster… or if this bad boy has truly gone good.
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