posted on September 28, 2015 by Stefanie London

The Family Element

By Stefanie London

PIL_500I always seem to find myself writing about families. I come from a small but tight-knit family myself and, at the time of writing, I am far away from them. Living on the other side of the world has been a fantastic experience and I wouldn’t change a single thing about the journey my husband and I took to get here, but homesickness is a constant hum in the background.

So I guess it shouldn’t come as a surprise that the family element is one I often play up in my books. Pretend It’s Love is the second book in my Behind the Bar series, which features and hero and heroine who have families at opposite ends of the spectrum.

Paul is comes from an Italian background and while I’ve read a lot of rich Italians in my romance reading history (racing car drivers, vineyard owners, aristocrats and more!) I wanted to explore another side of the Italian culture; the family dynamic. I have to admit I put a lot of my own family into this book—the giant outwardly-affectionate love, the pressure to keep the parents happy, the well-meaning but sometimes claustrophobic advice.

On the other hand, Libby comes from an unhappy family where her parents are no-longer together and she believes that she’s left in the middle; unwanted and unloved. Her father is a control-freak who wants her to stick to the plans he’s laid out for her and her mother is largely absent from her life. As a result she’d fiercely independent, something I love about her character.

The thing I loved about writing Paul and Libby’s story was watching them overcome their preconceptions about love and their role within their respective families. I don’t want to spoil anything, but the grand gesture in this book is one of my favourites to date. It’s tough and heartfelt, and I love seeing a romance book hero lay everything on the line like that.

But it’s not all serious stuff, I promise. Pretend It’s Love has a lot of fun, awkward, silly and sexy moments. There’s also a few guest appearances of the hero and heroine from book one in the Behind the Bar series, which was a blast to write (don’t you love it when your favourite characters come back in later books? I do!)

I hope you’ll join me in my hometown of Melbourne, Australia for the Behind the Bar series. If you want to see some down to earth, sexy Italian men finding their perfect HEAs, then this is the series for you.



Bar manager Paul Chapman is sick of his family’s traditional ideals. Marriage, babies, and a white picket fence? Not his gig. But now that his ‘golden child’ big brother is tying the knot, Paul’s screwed. His ex will be there…and she’s having his cousin’s baby. Unless he wants to show up to the wedding alone and face his family’s scrutiny, he needs a girl on his arm. Now.

Cocktail specialist Libby Harris has spent her life earning the nickname Little Miss Perfect, all to win the love of her wealthy, controlling father. But she deviated from his plan, and now her business is on shaky ground. If it fails, she might as well kiss his respect—and her dream—good-bye. Her only hope? Convince the hottest bar in town to take on her product.

Luckily for her, the owner’s brother is sexy as sin and in need of a perfect girlfriend…


Stefanie London

Stefanie London is the USA Today bestselling author of contemporary romance with humour, heat and heart. Growing up, Stefanie came from a family of women who loved to read. Her favourite activity was going shopping with her Nan during school holidays, where she would sit on the floor of the bookstore with her little sister and painstakingly select the books to spend her allowance on.  Thankfully, Nan was a patient woman. Thus, it was no surprise Stefanie was the sort of student who would read her English books before the semester started. After sneaking several literature subjects into her ‘very practical’ Business degree, she got a job in Communications. When writing emails and newsletters didn’t fulfil her creative urges, she turned to fiction and was finally able to write the stories that kept her mind busy at night. Now she lives with her very own hero and dreams of travelling the world. She frequently indulges in her passions for good coffee, French perfume, high heels and zombie movies. Recently she gave up her day job to write sexy, contemporary romance stories and she couldn’t be happier.

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