Guest Post & Giveaway with Anne Calhoun

We are so lucky to have a first time guest poster here at The Book Pushers: Anne Calhoun. Best known for her AMAZING book Liberating Lacey, Anne is here to talk about her newest release from Carina Press: Breath on Embers. Take it away Anne!

Thea and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Ex…Or Not.


“He sounds like a great guy,” Ronan said finally. He knew better than to get in a battle with a dead man. He’d lose. Or worse, he’d win and in the process defeat something vital in Thea. 

 — BREATH ON EMBERS, out 12/3/12


I don’t use much from my “real life” for books (because my real life is deadly dull and I like it that way), but BREATH ON EMBERS, my release in the Carina Press holiday anthology RED HOT HOLIDAY is a flagrant exception to this rule. The setting is the Upper East Side of New York City, where I used to live, and the heroine, Thea Moretti, is a woman who knows exactly how a wonderful, long-term, loving marriage feels.

But so often heroines in romance novels have astonishingly horrid ex-boyfriends or ex-husbands. They’re violent, homicidal, verbally abusive, alcoholic/drug-addicted wastrels who drain the heroine’s bank accounts and kill her cat. But I’m married to a man who’s done nothing but love, nurture, cherish, and protect me (mostly from myself) for over twenty years, which got me thinking. What would it be like to lose a man like that, and then start dating with that as the standard by which all future suitors would be evaluated? Moving past an abusive jerk leaves you with nowhere to go but up. Moving past a good, loving, smart man whose eyes brighten every time he sees you leaves you with lots of room to fall into a well of despair.

When the story opens Thea is lost in a dark space between her former life and her growing feelings for Ronan, the FDNY lieutenant she’s sleeping with. Thea wants to forget that she’s alive. Ronan wants Thea. He’s got a hard battle to fight, because, as he says, he can’t win a battle with a dead man, especially not one who loved Thea, and loved her well. All he can be is himself in the hope that Thea will choose the light of the future over the darkness of loss. Ronan’s using every tactic at his disposal to show her that life does go on and it can be a good, beautiful, love-filled life.

Have you read any other wonderful, fabulous, very good exes in romance novels? What do you prefer – a clear choice, or a bite-your-nails battle? Comment to win BREATH ON EMBERS! The giveaway is open internationally and ends December 13th. Good luck!

Book blurb —

Christmas is the perfect time for Firefighter Ronan O’Rourke to take things to the next level with his sexually adventurous girlfriend. He knows she has feelings for him—and he’s sure of his feelings for her—but when Thea refuses his invitation to sample Christmas in New York City because what they share is nothing more than sheet-burning sex, Ronan sets out to change her mind.

Deep down Thea Moretti knows she cares for Ronan, but she can’t move past her grief over her late husband. Loud music and sex with Ronan are the only things she’s got that her feel alive, so she takes as much of both as she can get. She knows Ronan wants more, but during the darkest time of the year finding her way won’t be easy.

Ronan gambles everything and challenges Thea: one night of passion with him and another man. Can he prove to her that what they share isn’t just great sex but an emotional connection strong enough to last forever?


10 thoughts on “Guest Post & Giveaway with Anne Calhoun”

  1. I love the sort-of ex in Kristan Higgins’ Somebody to Love. The heroine has a baby with him, but they remain friends, even after he marries someone else.

  2. I think it depends on what mood I am in when I read. Sometimes a clear choice is easier to read, but I do love angst too. Thanks for the giveaway!

  3. It is pretty rare in romance land that the ex isn’t villified to make the current hero look good. One series that comes to mind where that didn’t happen is in the Mercy Thompson series by Patricia Briggs. Mercy’s ex, Samuel is a great guy, and he does get his own happy ending eventually with someone else.

  4. I think I like better the bite-your nails battle. But of course, then I want the loser to end up with someone good in another storyline then.

  5. Hmm, I don’t think I have read any good exes. I like to see them work for it though, makes the final HEA that much better. Thank you for the giveway.

  6. I prefer bite-your-nails battle. I’m with Anne. I believe my life is pretty dull. I don’t have the drama or excitement that would make my life interesting. I haven’t read any recent exes stories lately. Thanks for the giveaway.

  7. I prefer bite your nails battle. I like a lot of suspense and action to keep the story interesting and exciting. I can’t say my life is dull but doesn’t always include the action I’d like with the busy schedules we lead Thanks for the giveaway.

  8. thanks for the lovely post! I’m also a mood reader. I like a good story and I’ll take whatever the author gives me 🙂

  9. I guess I prefer a bite-your-nails battle over a clear choice. A romance where I didn’t know who ended up with who until the end would be fun.

    I wish I could come up with a wonderful ex from a romance, but I don’t remember any. I’m sure I’ve read about some (I hope), but they’re unfortunately far apart. They often seem to be vilified.

  10. I like all kinds of stories but there are a lot of heroines with awful men in their past and it is nice to find one that had a loving relationship. Mrs. Drew Plays Her Hand by Carla Kelly is one that I really enjoyed.

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