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Christi Barth is here! Yay! Longtime blog readers may remember I’ve twice reviewed Christi (here and here) and thus know I happen to think she’s pretty awesome. *grins* Needless to say I’m honored she’s here today to talk about her new book A Fine Romance and I’m absolutely dee-lighted to say one lucky reader will win an ecopy. I know you guys are ready to dive in, so grab a glass of wine and get ready to fall in love!

Welcome, Christi! Before we get into your newest release, can you introduce readers to the Aisle Bound series? What can they expect from these titles?

Sassy, sexy, romance-drenched pages, of course! The four book series revolves around the wedding business in Chicago. Let me assure readers out there – I worked VERY hard to make certain that A Fine Romance could be read as a stand-alone. I promise. That being said, of course I’d love to entice you to read the series in order. Here’s the tagline for Planning for Love: In the harsh spotlight of reality television, a romance-a-holic wedding planner tries to snare the anti-Cupid.

I absolutely loved PLANNING FOR LOVE and I’m excited to know more about the second book. Can you tell us about it?

Ooh – I’m so glad you enjoyed book one! Book two follows Sam, wedding cake baker extraordinaire, in his journey to break free of the family business and start a gourmet chocolate line. His new neighbor, the manager of a romance store, doesn’t like chocolate—and doesn’t like him, thanks to a rocky first few meetings. But she’s hot, and he’s hot, and one thing leads to another, leads to a melted chocolate sex scene…..

Ermagosh. Did you say … wow. Erm, for anyone who may have made it out of the last paragraph, what might readers be surprised to learn about the plot or characters of A Fine Romance?

My books lean strongly toward romantic comedy. That said, these characters have some serious baggage to work through.  Yes, there’s the melted chocolate sexy goodness, but there are also multi-dimensional, deeply layered people who have to work pretty darn hard to get their happily ever after.

And that makes them the BEST! Let’s have some fun with A Fine Romance. What’s the first sentence?

I’m sort of scared to share this with the world, because I don’t want to give people the wrong idea. Disclaimer first – I lived in Chicago for four years and think it is a wonderful city…and eventually, all my characters love it, too. Okay, here goes: So far, Chicago sucked.

I will here and now vouch for your love of Chicago coming through in your writing. (I also love that sentence!) What’s your favorite line in the book?

This book is 99,000 words long – how am I supposed to choose favorites? Yikes.  Ben pointed at the still-fierce sun, which had turned Chicago as steamy as a guy’s pits after basketball.

LMAO! Poetic and funny. Love the combination! How about an excerpt … three sentences long! Yep, that’s it. Three!

“Your lips deserve a gold medal. Your technique is flawless. Sam Lyons should be listed as a must-do attraction on all the Chicago sightseeing maps.”

Between this and the promised chocolaty goodness, I tend to agree! *giggle* Which scene of A Fine Romance was most difficult for you to write? Why?

I guess as a romance author I shouldn’t admit this, but love scenes are brutal to craft. You can only say he stroked such and such body part so many times, so many ways. The actual writing becomes very clinical and leaches all the sexiness out of it for me. I can grit my teeth through makeout scenes, but when it comes to full blown sex my requirements are a single white Russian (nope, no other drink will do) and Pink Martini on the cd player.

I am 100% with you on this one. They are the very bane of my existence as an author, but you pull off yours so very well. I’d have never guessed! Which scene would you most like to experience for yourself? From whose POV?

There is a picnic in the Chicago Botanic Gardens that turns into quite the makeout scene. Could never happen in real life, because of the whole public-garden-anyone-could-walk-by issue. But it would be absolutely lovely to experience.

I can imagine! What inspired the title of A Fine Romance?

Ooh, this one’s easy! When I lived in Chicago and saw the vibrant downtown neighborhoods open with every sort of retail day and night, I got the idea for a romance store. At the time, I was a wedding planner, and thought it would be terrific to have a place people could duck into to grab a picnic basket full of treats, a card, and a heart shaped blanket to turn a ho-hum Wednesday into a special date night. I even came up with a name for it: A Fine Romance. Creating the store in my book required a lot less start-up capital than creating it for real. So I knew from the first page that it had to be the title.

It’s an absolutely perfect title (for the book at the store–what a great idea that is!) Before we let you go, can you tell us what you’re currently working on? 

I just began writing A Matchless Romance, book 4 in the Aisle Bound series. The heroine’s a matchmaker who is convinced she knows everything about men because she was raised in a brothel. The hero is a video game designer who channels all his sexual energy into training for triathlons. That is, he used to….  But the next thing readers should watch for is in July. I’m releasing a funny, sassy beach-fling caper called Love at High Tide. Then book 3 in the Aisle Bound series, Friends to Lovers, releases in October, with book 4 following in early 2014. Whew!

Wow … you are one busy author, but there’s very good reason. You ROCK, and readers, here’s evidence to that effect. Check out the blurb, then stick around for a chance to win it!

A Fine Romance

They say you form your first impression of someone within thirty seconds of meeting them. Or, in Mira Parrish\’s case, within thirty minutes of not meeting them, when said person is supposed to pick you up from the airport and never shows. This is not a perfect start to her new life. Her friend Ivy is depending on her to run a new romance store, and Mira can\’t afford to let her down.

Sam Lyons should probably apologize. But every time he sees Mira—which is often, since his family owns the bakery next to her shop—he can\’t resist antagonizing her. There\’s something about the sexy, straitlaced woman that drives him crazy. He can\’t get involved, though. He has too much baggage to be any good in a serious relationship.

Despite his teasing attitude, Mira finds Sam too sweet to resist. (His hot body may be a factor.) But if there\’s going to be anything permanent between them, they\’ll need to let go of their pasts and look to the future…

Purchase A Fine Romance at Y Amazon Y Barnes & Noble Y Carina Press

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Christi Barth

Christi Barth earned a Masters degree in vocal performance and embarked upon a career on the stage.  A love of romance then drew her to wedding planning.  Ultimately she succumbed to her lifelong love of books and now writes contemporary romance.  Christi is President of the Maryland Romance Writers and lives in Maryland with her husband. A Fine Romance is book 2 in her 4 book Aisle Bound series.

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Christi has generously offered one ebook copy of A Fine Romance for a reader who leaves an answer to the following question:

What is your favorite thing about reading a series?

Let us know by posting a comment along with your contact information and you’ll be entered to win. I’m looking forward to your thoughts and thank you all so  much for being here. Christi, it’s been a pleasure!