by Rebecca Brooks
- I’m not from Oregon, my parents are both alive and well, and staying up late and talking to strangers are two of my least favorite things, which means I’d hate working at bar. But even though Mack isn’t based on me at all, we’re both short, have our noses pierced, and have the same favorite pair of fox pajama pants. I guess maybe I drew on myself just a little when I gave her badass boots and an attitude!
- All the dishes Connor makes throughout the book are vegetarian. I didn’t intentionally set out to make it that way, but I’m a vegetarian and when writing about a chef, I guess I just found myself writing about dishes that got me excited. I didn’t even realize I’d done it until I got to the end!
- The cake Connor makes Mack for her birthday, with fifty crepes layered with chocolate ganache and topped with candied oranges, was inspired by a cake a friend of mine made for another friend’s birthday. This was years ago and it’s still on my mind, it was that impressive. I’d like to put in my order now for another one, please!
- I hate mushrooms. This becomes relevant in the epilogue. *shudders*
- MAKE ME BEG is my third novel to deal with names, naming, and identity. Mack wants to name their new bar/restaurant Mackenzie’s, but she hesitates to tell Connor why it means so much to her and isn’t just the ego trip he thinks. In MAKE ME STAY, another Men of Gold Mountain book, Connor’s best friend Austin falls in love with a woman who hides her identity by telling him her nickname only. And in HOW TO FALL, a standalone set in Brazil, the Australian hero goes by his middle name to distance himself from the man he used to be. I don’t know why I keep coming back to this idea, but self-identity is such an important part of building intimacy, and what we choose to call ourselves plays into that. The next book in the series doesn’t have anything to do with names, at least, but it comes around again a little bit in book number four!
- I came up with the idea for Connor’s menu after having amazing meals at a few vegan restaurants in New York and in Portland, Oregon. I love places with small plates because it means I can try more things off the menu. Plus it feels fun and more intimate to share food with friends and loved ones rather than ordering individually. As Connor says, it’s a conversation starter even with people you know well.
- In an earlier draft, Connor’s brother Matthew invited Connor to open a restaurant with him on his farm, which at the time was in Canada. When Matthew called to make the offer, Connor thought he was going to announce that he and his wife were having a baby. Their mix-up was hilarious! Or at least I thought so. But, alas, sometimes even our best scenes wind up on the chopping block.
- Speaking of earlier drafts… MAKE ME BEG didn’t originally start off with Mack getting caught sneaking peeks at Connor on a dating app. Up until the eleventh hour, Chapter One found Mack and Connor already deep into renovations for their bar/restaurant. The story opened with Connor wielding a sledgehammer to take down a wall—and not being quite as skilled as he thought! I loved having Mack watch this sexy, stubborn man all shirtless and sweating, but I’m glad I changed it. Their banter in the revised opening scene is filled with humor and tension, and we really start rooting for them right away.
- When I was first writing the outline for MAKE ME BEG, I planned to have Connor tie Mack to a chair at the bar and hand-feed her his test-recipes, as a way to make her give his food a chance. Then I had dinner with a friend who asked what I was working on. I told her I was starting a new book, and she got what can only be called a sparkle in her eye. The first thing she wanted to know was what hot outdoor places my characters were going to have sex in. I couldn’t believe I hadn’t even thought about that! It’s been part of all my books and is certainly the extra spicy ingredient in the other Men of Gold Mountain novels, which are each set in a different season in the gorgeous Cascade Mountains in Washington. I went back to my outline and rewrote it to crank the heat way That’s how the infamous picnic scene was born—which came out even hotter on the page than it had in my imagination! I love when things work out that way.
- BONUS: One more fun fact about MAKE ME BEG is that I’m running a NAME YOUR FAVORITE BAR contest and giving away a $100 VISA gift card for one lucky winner to enjoy a night out on the town! To enter, tell me about your favorite bar or hangout, past or present, in 75 words or less. Post your entry on Facebook or Instagram and be sure to use the hashtag #makemebegcontest so my team of judges can find your entry. They’ll be picking their top 5, and then readers will vote for their favorite, so stay tuned! The deadline to enter is 11:59pm on March 31, 2017, and pictures are optional but always fun. I can’t wait to hear about your favorite spot! For details on the contest and to read an excerpt from MAKE ME BEG, visit my website at http://rebeccabrooksromance.com.
MAKE ME BEG
“Intensely sexy and packs an emotional punch!” — #1 New York Times Bestselling author Lauren Blakely
He’ll bring her to her knees.
Bartender Mackenzie Ellinsworth has always gone it alone. So when she has a chance to open her own bar and restaurant, she’s got a plan for how it should go. Not in that plan: a ripped and rugged playboy stepping in to take over. Mack doesn’t do players, and she doesn’t do one-night stands. If Connor wants to work with Mack, he’s going to have to keep his strong, sexy hands to himself.
Connor Branding is determined to prove he’s not the directionless playboy Mack thinks. But opening a place together causes more problems than it solves. The two of them can’t agree on anything—except how scorching hot their chemistry is. Connor may be ready to indulge every desire Mack’s been denying herself…but turning business into pleasure is likely to get him burned.