I’m so excited to share with you today my first guest post ever with the talented Rachael Johns. Rachael is the author of Outback Dreams, released today by Harlequin (read my review tomorrow) and Man Drought, Jilted, Stand-in Star and One Perfect Night. Welcome Rachael!
Hi Sam and Sam’s friends – thanks so much for having me on your gorgeous blog.
Although I write romance, I also read a lot of women’s fiction and one of the aspects of women’s fiction I particularly enjoy is the female friendships that are portrayed. I myself have some very close female friends, who I have grown up with and still see regularly. They are my sounding boards when I’m not sure what to do, my ears when I’m upset and my co-pilots when I’m out to have some fun. I wouldn’t be without them and therefore I like my heroines also to have good friends they can rely on.
In MAN DROUGHT, Imogen had Amy and Jenna, who were a huge part of her life and the book.
In my new release OUTBACK DREAMS the heroine, Faith, has always been one of the guys. Her best friend is Monty (the hero) and her next closest friend is Adam (the hero of OUTBACK GHOST, which I’m currently writing). Her fave movies are Star Wars, she prefers beer to wine and isn’t great at shopping, but she doesn’t realise what she’s missing in terms of female friendship until Ruby Jones comes on the scene.
Ruby is Monty’s love interest and at first this makes Faith HUGELY wary of her. She thinks she’s just being protective because Ruby hasn’t shown much interest in Monty, but the truth is she’s jealous and until she looks past this, she doesn’t see Ruby as a potential friend. A forced trip to the next nearest town and a spontaneous shopping trip throws these two together and Faith finds herself having one of the best days she’s had in a long time.
‘I’m sorry, Ruby.’
Setting her handbag on the floor by her chair, Ruby looked up. Her brow furrowed. ‘What about? You were great back there. I made you try on a zillion dresses and you didn’t roll your eyes once. Well, maybe once.’
Ruby’s light-hearted response gave Faith an out and she guessed that to be her intention, but her behaviour really had been unwarranted. She thought of her warm-hearted mum. Cassie would never have been so quick to judge a newcomer to town, and that made her more determined to offer a proper apology.
‘I’m so sorry I was such a bitch to you.’
A light red tinge crept into Ruby’s cheeks and she shook her head. ‘Don’t worry about it. I’m sure you had your reasons.’
‘I can’t for the life of me imagine what they were,’ admitted Faith. ‘You’ve been a godsend these last few weeks, helping me with the ball. And who knows what I’d have worn if you hadn’t taken the reins today.’
Ruby smiled. ‘I’m sure you’d have chosen something fabulous. And as for why you didn’t like me, may I make a suggestion?’
Faith blinked and nervously said, ‘Go ahead.’
‘I think he starts with M and ends with Y.’
The waitress chose that moment to deliver their hot chocolates. Faith all but snatched hers from the woman’s tray, wrapping her fingers around the mug, drawing warmth and searching for courage. She couldn’t bring herself to meet Ruby’s gaze.
‘I’m right, aren’t I?’ Ruby persisted.
Faith shrugged. ‘Maybe. I was worried you would break his heart. I really can’t explain it, but I feel so protective of him. He’s my best friend in the world.’
‘I think he’s a lot more than that,’ Ruby said. When Faith didn’t say anything, she continued. ‘My guess is you’re in love with him.’
Oh geez. ‘Is it that obvious?’
Ruby nodded. ‘To me, yes. But Monty’s male. He probably doesn’t have a clue. You should tell him how you feel.’
Nausea reared in Faith’s belly at the thought. ‘I don’t know if I can,’ she blurted. ‘He’s never given any indication that he feels the same way.’
‘I think sleeping with you is pretty good indication.’
Faith winced. ‘You know about that?’
Ruby nodded but there was no malice in her expression or her words. ‘Why do you think he and I were over before we even begun?’
‘I’m so sorry.’ She bit her lip, shame washing over her.
‘Would you quit saying you’re sorry?’ Ruby laughed and picked up her mug. She took a long sip of her drink.
‘I don’t know what else to say,’ Faith replied. She poured sugar into her already sweet hot chocolate and stirred it vigorously. ‘I’m so embarrassed. I promise I never ever meant it to happen and I certainly didn’t mean to hurt you. I feel so ashamed. It’s all a big fat mess.’
‘Where men are involved it’s always a mess.’ Ruby waved her hand as if telling Faith to forget it. ‘And Monty and I were never really together, so technically, you did nothing wrong.’
‘That’s a very generous way of looking at it.’
‘Anyway,’ Ruby mused, ‘what’s happened has happened. The difference between you and me is that I’m not in love with Monty, and right now, I could use a friend a lot more than I could use a man. I’d really like it if we could be friends, Faith.’
I really enjoyed writing the journey from enemies to good friends for Faith and Ruby. Ruby who was initially just a secondary character became more to me as she did to Faith, so much so that I decided to write her story in OUTBACK BLAZE.
I love writing about secondary characters as much as I like writing about the hero and heroine, which is probably why I failed miserably at writing short romances for Mills & Boon, where the focus is solely on the hero and heroine.
What about you? Do you prefer your romances to also explore other types of relationships as well?
Thanks for having me Sam!
Website – www.rachaeljohns.com
Twitter – https://twitter.com/RachaelJohns
Harlequin Australia, 1st October 2013
Faith and Monty are both looking for love…but they’re looking in the wrong direction.
Faith Forrester is at a crossroads. Single, thirty and living on a farm in a small Western Australian town, she’s sick of being treated like a kitchen slave by her brother and father. Ten years ago, her mother died of breast cancer, and Faith has been treading water ever since. She wants to get her hands dirty on the family farm. She wants to prove to herself that she’s done something worthwhile with her life. And she wants to find a man…??
For as long as he can remember, Daniel ‘Monty’ Montgomery has been Faith’s best friend. When he was ten, his parents sold the family property and moved to Perth, and ever since, Monty’s dreamed of having his own farm. So for the last ten years, he’s been back on the land, working odd jobs and saving every dollar to put toward his dream. Now he finally has the deposit. But there’s still something missing…??
So when Faith embarks on a mission to raise money for a charity close to her heart, and Monty’s dream property comes on the market, things seem like they are falling into place for them both. Until a drunken night out ends with them sleeping together. Suddenly, the best friends are faced with a new load of challenges…
Monty and Faith are both ready to find a life partner and settle down, but have they both been looking in all the wrong places?
Thank you Rachael for the post! I loved Ruby as a character and I’m glad to see that she returns in OUTBACK BLAZE. I like a little bit more in my romance/women’s fiction type books – sometimes the secondary characters are just as interesting as the main pair!