Friday, May 11, 2012

Happy Friday everyone! Meg Benjamin is visiting with us today to share about the latest installment in her Konigsburg series and to talk about a big question we have all pondered in our hearts. Whether personal or knowing someone who has been through it, we are all familiar with the title Meg has picked for her blog today.

The Philanderer

Nando Avrogado, the hero of my sixth Konigsburg book, Don’t Forget Me, is a bit of a playboy. The heroine, Kit Maldonado, walked out on him when he cheated, although to be fair she’d already told him to get the hell out of her life before that. When the novel opens, he’s hiding from his latest sort of girlfriend because he doesn’t want to face a discussion about their relationship (which he considers over). As his brother Esteban says, “And that way you just come off as a jerk instead of a sleaze.” Clearly Nando isn’t having a good day—or week or month or year. He’s not a happy man.

Enter the heroine, his former true love. And enter the problem for me while writing their story. Nando devotes himself to winning Kit back almost from the moment he sees her, which certainly helps. But the fact remains that he’s been untrue in the past. Can a philanderer be forgiven? Is true love possible for someone who’s been a bit of a bastard?

The hero who’s a womanizer is fairly familiar in romance writing. But usually he gives up other women once he meets the heroine. In Nando’s case, he cheated on Kit after a tremendous fight when she told him to get lost. He claims now that the woman meant nothing to him (and he meant nothing to her) and that he acted out of anger, but the cheating remains. So I was left with the question: can a heroine forgive a cheating hero? Can the two overcome a betrayal that serious?

Obviously, I think they can since my H/H have their happy ending, but I worried a little as I wrote about how willing my readers would be to accept a hero who wasn’t always as straightforward as he should have been. And at least a few readers have rejected the whole idea. I’ve already had one reader review that was very angry over the idea that a man who cheated could ever be forgiven under any circumstances. I guess I can see her point, but I’d still argue that saying someone like Nando can never be forgiven is maybe too harsh.

So now I ask you: Are you willing to accept the idea of a reformed ladies man? And if you are (as I obviously hope), how far are you willing to go?

Be a follower of the blog, leave a comment or question for Meg along with your email address and you will be entered in the random drawing for an ebook copy of  DON'T FORGET ME.

Here’s the blurb for Don’t Forget Me:

Once they said goodbye forever. Now they want to walk it back.
Konigsburg, Texas, Book 6
Eighteen months ago, Kit Maldonado was so over Nando Avrogado, she left Konigsburg without a backward glance. With the family restaurant in San Antonio sold out from under her, though, she’s back to manage The Rose, an exclusive resort eatery outside town.
Dealing with a stingy boss, an amorous head chef, an understaffed dining room and planning her aunt’s wedding should have kept her hands full. But she realizes she might not be as over Nando as she thought.
As the town’s new assistant chief of police, Nando’s got enough trouble without sexy Kit fanning embers he thought had long ago turned to ashes. Every time he turns around, she’s there—and it doesn’t help that everyone in town wants to see them back together.
One incendiary kiss, and there’s no denying the force of their attraction. But there’s a mysterious and oddly familiar burglar who’s been lurking around Konigsburg, someone who isn’t above a little mayhem—maybe even violence—to cover his tracks. 

Product Warnings

Contains hot makeup sex, wedding madness, a hot chef, vengeful burglars, and unlawful abuse of a wedding cake. 

And here’s a short excerpt:

“And anyone can tell, you think you know me well. But you don't know me.” Well, at least that proved the music gods had a sense of humor. He knew every inch of her, on one level anyway. On the other level, the most important level, he probably didn’t know her at all. He sure didn’t seem to know the Kit he held in his arms right now. She wasn’t the same exactly, but she wasn’t that different either.

What was he doing here anyway?

He could think of a dozen reasons not to do this. Hell, he’d already thought of them. He’d been thinking of them as he’d sat in the bar. But here he was again. Moth to the flame. Lemming to the cliff. Preying mantis waiting for that final blow.

Which was a hell of an image to have when he held her, all soft flesh and swirling hair. When he smelled that intoxicating scent again, spice and honey and faint tuberose.

The singer’s voice followed them across the floor. “You don’t know me.”

He wanted to say something to her, something light and casual that would put this back in focus again, but his throat felt too dry for words all of a sudden.

The music began to swell toward the end, the final line, that final bit of heartbreak. “You'll never, ever know, the one who loves you so, cause you don't know me.”

The dancers around them came to a stop, the buzz of conversation rising. Say something. Say anything! He stared down into her velvet eyes, his mind suddenly blank. His arms were still around her, her body still pressed against him.

Her eyes widened in something that might have been shock as she took a quick breath. “I should go.”

After another moment he loosened his hold slightly. He couldn’t stand there holding her forever, no matter how much he might want to. “Okay. Did you drive?”

She nodded silently, her gaze never leaving his face.

“Then I’ll walk you to your car.” He turned slightly, letting his arm rest across her shoulders as he took her back to her table.

Docia flashed them a quick speculative look as Kit grabbed her purse. “Done for the night?”

“Yeah.” Kit gave her a slightly strained grin, then turned back toward the street entrance.

He followed her through the gate, wondering if he could risk putting his hand on her arm. She looked fragile all of a sudden, as if she might shatter with too much pressure.

At her car, she turned to face him. “Well…” she began.

He’d never know what she might have said—whatever it was, it didn’t matter. Instead he slid his index finger under her chin, tipping it up slightly, so that he could bring his lips to hers.

The shock of it almost sent him to his knees. The taste, the feel, months stripped away, memories swamping him. And yet not the same exactly.

He wrapped his arms around her, one at her waist, one across her shoulders, holding her tight against him as he angled his mouth against hers, plunging his tongue deep inside.

After a moment, he felt her arms lock around his neck. And then she was kissing him back, hungrily, her tongue rasping against his. Her fingers dug into his shoulders, hips flat against his. He felt her rise to her tiptoes, bringing the V of her legs against him.

He turned, pushing her bottom alongside the car, pressing his aching arousal hard against her. The small portion of rationality he still had was screaming, telling him to back off, while his body screamed to take it as far as he could.

And then she was pushing on his shoulders, pulling back from the kiss, panting, her lips swollen, her eyes wide with panic. “Oh god, Nando,” she gasped. “No. I can’t. I can’t do this again. It hurt too much. You don’t know how much it hurt.”

He rested his forehead against hers for a moment, fighting to get breath into his lungs. “I know,” he whispered. “Christ. I know.”

“You know?” She narrowed her eyes, her voice trembling. “You can’t. How could you?”

“Because I hurt too.” He bit off the words. “Because I’ll hurt again if this goes south. I don’t want to, but I will.”

Before I came to Texas twenty years ago, my husband and I lived all around the U.S., including Kansas, Iowa, Washington, Oklahoma, Alabama, Colorado, Massachusetts, and Pennsyvania, with brief visits in California, Connecticut, and New Mexico. In fact, one of my favorite things to do (in pre-gas price hike days) is to travel around the country, preferably off the Interstate.
A couple of years ago my husband took a new job in the Colorado foothills, so I've now relocated to the northwest Denver suburbs. It's a big switch, but my mom grew up on the Western Slope, and she gave me an abiding love of the mountains, so I'm not expecting too many problems (and no, I don't mind the snow).
In Texas I taught English, desktop publishing, Web design, and editing, among other miscellaneous things, before finally retiring after putting in my twenty-five. At the same time, I worked as a freelance writer and editor, on projects ranging from computer manuals to underwater photography books.
My husband and I managed to raise two wonderful sons, along with a variety of cats and a couple of dogs. We still visit South Texas, and we still love to wander around the country when the spirit moves us, although these days we're likely to fly in and rely on public transportation (let's hear it for light rail trains!).

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  1. This has never happened to me and truly I don't know if I could forgive it. I have a friend that her husband did cheat and they have worked it out and are happy. I've not read any of your books but I love series books so I'm going th o look your books up. Thanks for the blog and contest.

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  3. Hi Lori. To me, cheating husbands are in another category since they've formally promised to be true to their vows. Cheating boyfriends seem a little less serious, but that's just my POV. I hope you'll enjoy Konigsburg!

  4. It has been my understanding for some time now that reformed ladies men are the best. They have sewn their oats and want something real and isn't that was we all want :) I don't know what lengths I would go to, if I am understanding the question LOL,as I am a firm believer in not chasing the dude. If it is meant to be the chemistry and sharing will handle that. But I do luvs me some fun shenanigans in a good book, after all that is what good fiction is about. Thank you for taking the time and effort to share this with us today. I am new to this series and will be hopping right over to check out more. I would love to read Don't Forget Me :)
    GFC/email/FB . . . stalker er follower LOL Denise Zaky

  5. Hi Denise. Glad to see you're willing to give a guy a chance--trust me, Nando works hard for his!

  6. Reading the first part it reminded me of Ross and Rachel from Friends - lol we were on a break!! Well I'm not a forgiving woman but if it was my soul mate or true love I would do anything to work things out. I guess I've never found my true love because my ex husband I think was cheating on me so I divorced his ass - lol

  7. Ummm all I know is will struggle with these last names if anyone asked me other then that wow.. this a brave book to

  8. Wendy, yeah, soul mates. That's a good way to put it. LT, I guess the names don't bother me because of all my years teaching in Texas--each semester another class list to learn to pronounce.

  9. I would give the guy another chance but if he did it again he would so be out the door in a heart beat lol I believe everyone can make a mistake once. Thanks for stopping by Meg.

  10. You're welcome Sandra. I enjoyed it!