We’re thrilled to have Dani Collins here at the Tule Blog on the release day of her Bachelor Auction novella, The Bachelor’s Baby. Get a behind-the-scenes look at Dani’s experience with the Montana Born world, read an exclusive excerpt, and don’t forget to leave a comment to enter the giveaway!
THE BACHELOR’S BABY – by Dani Collins
The Bachelor’s Baby is part of Montana Born’s Bachelor Auction series. I’ve been lucky enough to work on a few multi-author series with Montana Born and thought you might enjoy some insight into the process.
My first collaboration experience was Hometown Hero for the Homecoming series. I had written my novella before I realized I had to coordinate with other authors, which sounds like I’d put the cart before the horse, but it turned out to be fine. Every author works at a different pace, turning in books depending on personal schedules and deadlines with other publishers and their deadline in that particular series. As the other Homecoming authors worked on their stories and asked questions and made decisions, I wound up incorporating their continuity details while I was doing my revisions.
However, I do think it’s funny how ‘real’ these series events become. With Homecoming, we had emails flying about which way the school faced, where the practices would be held, what the school colors were and a timeline for the weeks leading up to Homecoming including fundraising dates and the time of the parade. Oh, and who won the game, of course.
By the time I worked on Blame The Mistletoe, I had a better understanding of the world building. We’re all part of the Marietta community and want to make it as real as possible for you, our wonderful readers. The Christmas books were stand alones, but I learned that you can’t erect buildings to suit. Editors have to act as city planners to some extent, granting license for things like spas and gyms or we’ll wind up with too many for such a small population to support.
By the time the Bachelor Auction series came along, I was finding my groove with Marietta. But like I said above, it was like we were organizing a real event. We had a lot of decisions and this premise was even trickier since all of our characters would be in this one place at the same time. Jane even has one of her Sheenan brothers tending bar.
We all had to be on the same page and one of the first details was: Why. Why was this event even held? The wonderful Kat Latham developed Josh and Molly’s backstory where young Josh is injured and needs specialized rehabilitation and a wheelchair. Sarah Mayberry kindly leant her heroine, Lily, to the cause. She happens to be best friends with Molly and spearheaded the recruitment of the bachelors.
From there it was a matter of checking in as I wrote. I ran my recruitment scene past Sarah, ensuring Lily was reflected in a way that worked for her. Later in my book I have my heroine visit Kate’s heroine, Dr. Rachel Cassidy, because, um, my heroine is, um, spoiler alert but read the title. My characters bump into Molly as they leave the clinic and we get a small update on how Josh’s recovery is coming along.
The collaboration process isn’t hard, it’s just different from writing a book alone, when you have the freedom to make all the decisions. In fact, in some ways it’s a terrific load off when you don’t have to make all the decisions. I personally wouldn’t have come up with holding the auction in a former bordello with the men lounging against the rail of the loft, looking down on their prospective buyers. Everything about that juxtaposition thrills me and we have the brilliant Megan Crane to thank for designing the place—in a previous book no less, not even special for this series!
But that’s what makes writing stories set in Marietta so special. And it’s especially nice after the fact when you have author friends who are as invested in the success of the stories as you are. They all bring their best game to promoting it and I have to say the Tule team shines here as well. We get to have Facebook parties and giveaways and just a pile of fun reaching out to our readers and winding up meeting new ones.
Are you a fan of the multi-author series? Do you find new authors this way? Any particular series that you’ve loved to bits? And how do you like the bachelors so far?
Your date with Bachelor #3 includes champagne and chocolate in the limo that collects you, a helicopter tour or Marietta and the surrounding mountains and valleys, and dinner at a five star restaurant in Great Falls. While oil baron Linc Brady wines and dines you, a maid service will completely clean your home.
Who could resist this tempting offer? Meg Canon plans to do just that. She’s only home to clean out her childhood bedroom for her brother’s new step-daughter, then she’s outta her childhood small town and back to her life in Chicago. Then she meets the sexy, renegade millionaire while she’s stuck in the snow. Sparks fly and Meg is tempted to stay a little longer.
Linc Brady is new in town and happy to help a kid in need, but a bachelor auction? Technically he doesn’t owe Meg a damned thing after she sets him up for the auction, then bids on him, but her high-class city polish is his fatal weakness and makes her impossible to forget. When she agrees to come home with him, he makes it clear he’s a confirmed bachelor. This is a one-night thing.
One night that turns into nine months and maybe…a lifetime?
“Not funny,” a male voice growled behind her as Meg reached for a small box off a shelf in the hardware store.
Linc’s voice really was a turn on, all heavy and faintly abrasive, yet warm and rounded. Like good scotch, or an heirloom quilt.
He’d still been talking to Lily when Meg had left the grocery store, his neck red, his scowl a firmly fixed mask.
Meg didn’t know Lily that well, but had met her through Andie Bennet, who was made of awesome. She trusted Andie’s judgment, even though Lily was rumored to have been a stripper in another life and had only been in town a few years. Meg hadn’t lived here full-time since leaving for college and took all such gossip with a grain of salt.
Besides, despite Lily’s sometimes acerbic sense of humor, she struck Meg as the biggest heart of gold walking, especially given the fundraiser she was spearheading for Molly Dekker. Molly was another sweetheart—a kindergarten teacher and single mom whose only son had been injured last fall. Meg had genuinely wanted to help once she heard what Lily was trying to do for Molly.
The fact it had allowed her to lob another snowball in Linc’s direction was icing on the cake.
“What do you mean?” Meg asked with an innocent glance at him that actually made her heart skip as she took in his folded arms and planted feet. He was genuinely mad.
She cleared her throat and made herself face him, even though her blood stung a warning through her veins. At the same time, the worst of her girlish hormones fluttered, filling her with nervous excitement and giddy warmth.
“Why did you set that woman on me?” he asked.
“Lily? She asked me about Blake. She was disappointed to hear he’s engaged. She asked if I could think of any other eligible bachelors in town. I said I had just met a perfect one-date wonder.” Blink. Blink. Blink.
These baby blues had pulled Meg from basement cable interviews of small time activists to a relief position with a syndicated station. She wasn’t afraid to use them.
Linc was really tall. And had perfected his glower of intimidation. She privately admitted he worked that like a hot damn, but she’d made a career for herself in what was still a world heavily seeded to men. Outwardly, she didn’t falter.
“Can you tell me if these are self-screwing?” She held up the box in her hand.
His scruffed beard seemed to bristle as his jaw hardened. “Oh, you’ve got a handful of screw yourself,” he assured her.
She swallowed back a laugh, pretty sure that would get her into more trouble than she already stood in. Instead, she turned the box over in her hands. She hadn’t had this much fun in ages. “Maybe one nail would be simpler?”
“Why are you so angry?” he demanded.
“I’m not, I’m really not,” she insisted. “I think it’s funny.”
“You think tricking me into standing on a stage and have women bid on me like a stud bull is funny?”
“I didn’t think you’d agree,” she defended. “It was an impulse to mention you, since you walked right by us and you’re, I assume, single?”
He narrowed his eyes.
Seriously? He didn’t see the humor in this?
“Look, I just…” She couldn’t explain it. Not without getting into how she’d let go of something today. Found herself again. She felt cheerful and sassy. She wanted to flirt. He drew her.
But she’d made him mad.
“Come on,” she cajoled. “It’s not my fault you didn’t say no. It’s a good cause,” she tried.
“You don’t even know me.”
She had to look away. Her cheeks began to sting. She suddenly felt very gauche and juvenile. Rejection was always a tough one for her and all she’d wanted was to keep playing with him. Now he hated her.
“I’m out of practice,” she allowed quietly, genuinely sorry. “Honestly, I didn’t mean anything by it.”
“Practice?” he repeated. “Doing what?”
Seriously? She lifted a gaze that let him see how uncomfortable she was, while scolding him for being obtuse.
He let out a choke of disbelieving laughter. “This is you trying to get a man’s attention? Are you twelve?”
She looked away, frowning, trying to hide that her eyes began to burn along with the back of her throat. Pointing Lily at him had been meant in fun, but it was becoming personal and hurtful. She felt twelve. Hell, she felt seven, realizing for the first time what it really meant to be adopted: that your ‘real’ mom and dad hadn’t wanted you.
“Look—” she started to say, ready to apologize, but only saw his back. He was walking away.
Canadian Dani Collins spent twenty-five years dreaming of becoming a romance author, made her first sale in 2012, and promptly won a Reviewer’s Choice Award from Romantic Times. Best known for her Harlequin Presents, she has also published a romantic comedy, a medieval fantasy romance, and The Bachelor’s Baby is the third in her series of novellas for Montana Born. Married to her high school sweetheart, Dani has two mostly-grown children (one of each) and doesn’t have any hobbies. She’s too busy writing.
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You could win a print anthology of the five-story Homecoming Series Dani co-wrote plus amazing reader swag! We can’t get enough of the Tule <3 Book Girls tote.
Marietta is obviously a very special place for both readers and authors alike. Leave a comment with your favorite Marietta moment from any of the Montana Born Books, and you’ll be entered to win! One lucky commenter will be chosen Friday, March 13th when the fourth bachelor arrives!
Bachelor Auction Series
Book 1: Bound to the Bachelor by Sarah Mayberry – Available now!
Book 2: Bachelor at her Bidding by Kate Hardy – Available now!
Book 3: The Bachelor’s Baby by Dani Collins – Available now!
Book 4: What a Bachelor Needs by Kelly Hunter – Coming soon!
Book 5: In Bed with the Bachelor by Megan Crane – Coming soon!
Book 6: One Night with her Bachelor by Kat Latham – Coming soon!