by Stefanie London
Family is a consistent theme throughout my books. Either the hero or heroine (or both) will have some kind of conflict tied to their family life, to a relationship with a parent or sibling that has shaped them into the person they are at the start of the book. Their journey often means finding out who they really are and having the courage to become that person.
I grew up in a very tight-knit family and I understand the impact that my family has made on my life. I have two wonderfully supportive parents (who have pushed me hard and cheered me on through years of education while I figured out what I wanted to do with my life) and a little sister who is truly my best friend. Without them I wouldn’t be the person I am today. Hence, the family element always finds its way into my stories.
Unfortunately for my characters, their family life isn’t always so great. No matter how well-meaning (or sometimes not!) my character’s families are, they’re prone to meddling and causing trouble.
In The Rules According to Gracie, the heroine comes from a very image-conscious, old-fashioned family who value things like reputation and social standing above love. As a result, Gracie is looking for all the wrong things when it comes to finding the man of her dreams.
It takes the hero, Des, to point out that it’s time for Gracie to make her own decisions and to be her own person.
But he has an ulterior motive, of course.
THE RULES ACCORDING TO GRACIE
Rule number one: don’t fall for the wrong guy.
Gracie Green has a shopping list for men. Career, financials, family…and a long list of rules to determine a guy’s suitability. She’s already disappointed her socialite mother once—now Gracie needs to find Mr. Perfect. Too bad she keeps getting distracted by her super-sexy, six-feet-of-tattooed-hotness friend, Des, who is so many shades of Mr. Wrong…
Bar owner Des Chapman has vowed never again to get involved with society girls. Yet he’s irresistibly drawn to Gracie—those lush curves, those lips, and her ridiculous ability to date the wrong guys. As Gracie’s discouragement grows, Des realizes it’s time to show her what she really needs in a man—and it has nothing to do with a briefcase and generous bank account. He’ll teach Gracie the Rules According To Des…even if it means breaking his rule in the process.
“Looks like you’ve figured me out,” she said, her tone even and guarded. “I’m Gracie Greene: conservative, innocent, and inexperienced. My mother is desperate to marry me off because she thinks I’m going to turn into a spinster and all she cares about is amassing grandchildren. I date guys who are wrong for me, and the one guy I do have a connection with has realized what a fraud I am.”
The sting in her words pierced Des’s chest. She sounded downtrodden, as though she expected dismissal.
“You’re not a fraud.” Des reached for her hands and pulled her up so she stood between his legs. “Don’t let your family get into your head, you’re young—there’s nothing wrong with being single.”
“The sad thing is, I don’t want to be single, but as soon as I bring someone home, Mother will be calling the wedding planner and picking out strollers.”
“Then don’t bring anyone home.” He sighed. “Gracie, it’s your life. You make the decisions, you call the shots, and you can tell her how it is.”
“It’s not that easy.” She shook her head.
“Yeah, it is.” He cupped her face with both hands. “It’s about time you started doing things for you.”
She closed her eyes and stepped closer to him, until her slender hips nestled right between his thighs. “Did you miss the part where I said you were the one guy I had a connection with?”