Friday, October 25, 2013



FIVE winners will receive an ebook copy of Brenda Rothert's "Now And Then"!

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Brenda Rothert

I think fate knew I was meant to be a writer when I was in sixth grade. It was then that I cajoled by best friend into holing up in my bedroom so we could each write a story and trade pages from time to time. Even years later, when I was a college student interviewing for a job answering the phones at a local newspaper, it didn’t occur to me that I could write. The editor declined to give me the phone answering job, hiring me to write for him instead. He saw something in me I’d never seen in myself. I spent the next nine years as a daily print journalist, and I can honestly say it was a privilege. Writing every day? Getting paid for it? Yes, please.

Though I’ve been writing every day for 13 years now, last November was my first foray into writing a book. I’m now working on my fifth one. This opportunity to grow as a writer has been incredible, and I’ve met some amazing people.

I believe the stories that resonate the most with readers are those with personal experience woven into them. Readers want to relate to the characters they’re reading about. The heroine in my book Now and Then is close to my heart. That awkward uncertainty, where you feel outshined and overwhelmed? Been there.

This is an excerpt from Now and Then. Hope you enjoy it, and please reach out to me on Facebook, Goodreads or Twitter.   



Now Emmaline Carson is a sharp, settled graphic designer who loves painting, cooking and girls’ night out with her older sister Layla. But then – in the years before she went to art school in Paris – she was a shy, awkward teenager with frizzy hair, a flat chest and a massive crush on the boy across the street, Cole Marlowe. Too bad her incredibly hot neighbor only had eyes for Layla.
Cole is now a confident, laid-back attorney who’s even hotter than he used to be. He’s planning to stay single while working his way up the corporate ladder – until he’s knocked off course by a chance run-in with Emma.
Everything is different between Cole and Emma now. He finally sees her in a way she only dreamed of, and their hot chemistry is fueled by a growing friendship. But Emma’s deception of her sister – who wants Cole for herself – and the secret Cole’s been keeping for more than a decade threaten to tear apart what’s only just begun. Because sometimes the only thing standing in the way of now is then.


EXCERPT - Now And Then

Emma forgot her coffee-soaked shirt as she gaped at Cole. It didn’t seem possible, but he had gotten better looking. His tall, broad frame was more filled out than she remembered. His blond hair, which he’d worn long and shaggy in high school, was now cropped in a short, GQ style. But the blue-gray eyes that had first melted her heart all those years ago hadn’t changed a bit.

She shook her head with frustration when she saw the large, dark stain on the starched white shirt he wore beneath his tailored pinstriped navy suit.

“I’m so sorry, Cole, you’re a mess,” she said.

“It’s no big deal, I keep an extra suit at the office. I’m sorry that asshole knocked you over.”

He followed her to a tall table, where she tried to soak the coffee out of her shirt with napkins, to no avail.

“It’s been so long,” he said, smiling warmly. “You look incredible.”

“Thanks,” she said, flushing. “You, too. Do you work nearby?”

 “I’m at Murphy and Kline, a law firm a block over.”

“My Mom mentioned you were going to law school. That’s great, Cole.”

“Do you work in the area?”

“I’m across the street at Wright Design.” Emma was conscious of touching her breasts in front of him as she tried to wipe coffee from her shirt.

“Small world, right?” he smiled. “I haven’t seen you since your high school graduation party. How long has it been?”

“I guess that was … six years ago. I was in Paris five years for school and I’ve been back here for a year.”

“I can’t believe I haven’t seen you. I’ve been at Murphy and Kline almost three months, and I come here all the time.”

There was a pause, and Emma looked down at the pile of wet napkins on the table. Her heart pounded uncontrollably, and she tried to remember what her hair and makeup looked like. Probably not great, given the rush she’d been in this morning. Cole Marlowe’s effect on her was unchanged. She’d regressed into an awkward, stumbling adolescent.

“Do you have time for some coffee?” he asked. “It’d be great to catch up with you.”

How many times had she dreamed of Cole Marlowe asking her to get together? Hundreds. She’d played out so many scenes during her high school years where he realized that his dream girl was actually his neighbor from across the street, though she was three years younger than him.

The woman who had served Emma’s coffee walked out with a fresh tray, handing it over.

“I saw what happened and made you these,” she said.

“Thank you,” Emma said, reaching into her purse.

“No charge,” the woman said, waving.

“Thanks. At least take this,” Emma said, handing her a five. She pocketed it and smiled as she disappeared behind the counter.

“I’m actually just on a coffee run for my boss,” Emma told Cole, gesturing at the tray. “He’ll be upset if I don’t get back with it.”

 “Sure. Do you need help with that?”

“No, I’m fine, thanks.”

Cole followed her to the door and held it open.

“Good to see you, Em,” he said. She nodded and grinned foolishly.

As she left the shop, she exhaled deeply, trying to calm her thudding heart. Cole Marlowe hadn’t crossed her mind in a while. But just one look into those blue-gray eyes and she was weak in the knees again.



Once again, 26-year-old Layla Carson has the attention of a man eager to satisfy her. Ben Montrose, the hot, confident cop who gets off on frustrating her, is eager to show her just how arresting he can be. But as a reforming sexaholic, Layla’s sworn off casual hookups, and doesn’t miss the days of her early 20s –much. 

Ben’s caught off-guard when the sexy, outspoken attorney turns him on and then turns him down. But the confident former Marine knows he can handle the simple seduction of a beautiful woman. He finds Layla’s weak spot – competition, which he happens to share – and challenges her to a game that could make them, or destroy them.

As they compete to crown the master of seduction, Ben and Layla discover there’s more to their game than power and foreplay. But as the stakes go up, they realize the game has changed, and they both stand to lose more than they bargained for.