Thursday, December 29, 2016

Blog Tour: In Your Arms by Shannyn Schroeder


For Your Love #2
Shannyn Schroeder
Releasing Dec 27th, 2016
Zebra Shout


Sean O'Malley has never tried to hide who he is. He shows it in the motorcycle thrumming between the legs of his tight jeans…the shaggy hair that falls in his gorgeous eyes…the wicked gleam in his smile when he asks Emma out for a drink. Sean is a rebel, a bad boy, and a ton of fun: exactly the kind of guy she's sworn off forever.

Emma isn't just the prim kindergarten teacher she appears to be. And somehow Sean can tell. As soon as he pulls up to her overheated car he knows that a fast bike and a cold beer will fix her rotten day better than compliments or a bubble bath. Her straitlaced exterior and her wild heart light him up. But Emma wants to escape her past and settle down—and if her desk jockey dates don't understand where she comes from, at least she doesn't worry about them bringing her back.

One weekend of intense connection can't change the paths Sean and Emma have chosen. But with a little space to be themselves together, maybe the rest of the world can wait...

They climbed back on the motorcycle and left the parking lot. Sean drove them into a quiet residential neighborhood of single-family homes. Not an apartment in sight. Her radar immediately pinged. This was not a guy who had his shit together enough to own a house.
She could write a book on how to pick up the man-boy. Sean parked and she shoved the thought away. This was about the weekend. About her getting what she wanted—no, needed—for the moment. Then she’d go back to her real life and look for what she should have. What she really wanted. At least find a guy who was adult enough to not live at home with mom.
Sean held her hand and pulled her to the back of the building. When he moved toward basement steps, she pulled from his grasp. “Where are we going?”
“My place.” He hitched his chin in the direction of the door. “My room’s in the basement.”
“What are you? Twelve?”
“My brother Tommy and I have it set up as our own place.”
She sighed. “Do you at least have your own bedroom? Or am I supposed to screw you with an audience?”
He laughed and reached for her hip. His voice dropped into the sexy range. “While I share a lot of things with my brother, a woman isn’t one.”
Then he turned and pushed her toward the steps leading upstairs. “We can have a drink upstairs first so you can see I’m not a crazy guy looking to lock you in my basement.”
She laughed a little at that. For a bad boy, Sean was pretty adept at reading things. He opened the back door and flicked on the light, flooding the kitchen. As he locked up, she saw how beat up his hand was. His knuckles were red and swollen.
She winced. “You should ice your hand.”
Sean reached into the refrigerator and handed her a bottle of beer. With his own bottle in one hand, he grabbed a bag of frozen green beans with the other. Emma took his beer from him and opened it.
He flexed his hand and looked at it as if he hadn’t noticed before. “No big deal.”
But it was a big deal. She’d been in similar situations too many times to recall. Her mom had taught her to smile and laugh it off, but Emma had never been able to do that. It rattled her every time. Memories of the guy pressing against her, trapping her, washed over her now. From deep in her bones, she felt every part of her start to tremble. To cover it, she gulped some beer.
She gripped the bottle tightly as she set it on the table and took a seat across from Sean. He watched her closely. “You sure that guy didn’t do anything to you? I mean, other than get in your face?”
She shook her head and didn’t like the way the room started to spin, so she answered, “No.”
“You look really upset.”
“I’m fine. Are we going downstairs or what?” Right now, she’d give almost anything to forget this day. She pushed off the table, wobblier than she’d thought she was.
Sean stood, still eyeing her, and tossed his vegetables back in the freezer. She finished her beer and suddenly realized the goldfish crackers she’d eaten in her car were the closest thing she’d had to dinner. No wonder the alcohol had hit so hard. Sean grabbed her hand and led her downstairs.
The basement was mostly unfinished. Concrete floor and walls. A washer and dryer sat against one side. Sean pulled her toward the back of the basement. Actually, the front of the house. There, crudely constructed walls divided the space.
He pointed toward the corner. “That’s the bathroom. Tommy’s room is next to it. This one’s mine,” he added with his hand on the doorknob.
She snickered. “This is your idea of having it set up like an apartment?”
“It’s better than a mattress on the floor or sleeping on the living room couch.”
The last remark hit home because that was exactly where she’d found Nicky more often than she cared to consider. So at least Sean was a step up from her loser brother.

Meet the Hero (In Your Arms) – Sean O’Malley
By: Shannyn Schroeder

I love the O’Malleys. From the first moment I wrote about them in my O’Learys series, I fell for them. And Sean is one of my favorites. Everyone describes him as a live-and-let-live kind of guy who happens to be quick with his fists. And that really sums up who he is.

Sean is all about enjoying life. He works as a mechanic because he likes working on cars. It’s not a stepping-stone to some other career. He plays hockey every chance he gets and rides his motorcycle until the weather prohibits it. He does whatever he wants, pretty much no matter what. When he has a chance to enjoy a long motorcycle ride due to some unexpected awesome weather, he goes, even though it costs him his job. He knows he won’t have a problem getting a new one.

Sean loves his family and likes having them around. It’s part of why he continues to live at home. He can afford to live in his own place, but he chooses not to. He’s very protective of everyone he cares about, and that’s the reason he’s usually so quick to use his fists.

Part of why Sean refuses to be more than an “overgrown boy” is because he grew up watching his older brother Jimmy take care of everyone. Jimmy is ultra-responsible and Sean doesn’t want to live with that kind of burden.

When he meets Emma, he starts to want a relationship with her and doesn’t understand how he could fall for a woman who is a female version of Jimmy. She expects him to be something he can’t be, but for her he’s willing to try.

Meet the Heroine (In Your Arms)– Emma Long
By: Shannyn Schroeder

I had a great time writing Emma Long. She came to me in pieces a while ago as a character. I thought about a Kindergarten teacher who normally has a potty-mouth, but limits how many times a day she can swear (five) and the rest of the time, she improvises (fudge monkey). At first I had no reason why she was like this or any of the rest of her backstory, but I wanted to know.

As I started thinking about Sean O’Malley, I knew she would be a good fit for him. The O’Malley boys use the word fuck in every other sentence, so pairing Sean with a woman who really tries not to swear would be fun.

But as I got to know Emma, there was so much more to her. She has an older brother, Nicky, who is completely unreliable. She was raised by a single mother, Brandi, who wasn’t the best provider. The only thing that Emma could count on as a kid was birthday cake on her birthday. As she says, it’s the one thing her mom got right. So now, birthday cake is comfort food for Emma.

Emma grew up as a wild child. School was hard, so she charmed her way through. Once she got out of high school, she worked random jobs, often at the same bars where her mother worked. The party lifestyle suited her.

Until they were evicted (again). Then Emma decided she wanted more out of life. In order to make that happen, she needed to change. She went back to school and became a teacher. She’s now the responsible member of the family and her brother and mother rely on her.

Emma wants everything she didn’t have growing up. She wants a husband, kids, and house with a backyard. She needs something she can count on and she’s working her ass off to make that happen. Unfortunately, she tends to be drawn to guys who don’t fit the bill.

When she meets Sean, she knows he’ll be great for a night, or maybe even a weekend, but she can’t count on him for the long haul. Or can she?

Playlist for In Your Arms
By: Shannyn Schroeder

For a few years now, I’ve been developing my process for writing a book, especially since I’m not a plotter. I can’t outline a book before I write. One of things I do that I find really helps ground me in a book is having a playlist. I create the playlist before I ever write a word. I choose songs based on what I know about the characters and the arc of the story. Sometimes I choose songs that still fit by the time the book is done, other times, not so much. Once the playlist is created, I listen to it almost nonstop before writing (to the point of annoying my children) and every time I sit down to write.

It’s been almost a year and a half since I drafted In Your Arms and I have to say this is one of the best playlists I’ve ever created. It still holds up for the characters and the book. It’s also one of my favorite lists. It’s mostly fun and upbeat, just like the book.

If I had to choose just one song to represent the book as a whole, it would have to be Shut Up and Dance by Walk the Moon. It’s all about being attracted and belonging together, but she holds back and he knows it. Running a close second would be Bad Enough for You by All Time Low because Sean knows that Emma loves his bad boy side. It’s what she’s drawn to, and she doesn’t really want him to be nice to her.

Shut Up and Dance – Walk the Moon

Bad Enough for You – All Time Low

All I Wanna Do Is You – Bon Jovi

Stay with Me – Sam Smith

We’ve Got Tonight – Bob Seeger

Lonely Tonight – Blake Shelton

I Need You – Saving Abel

Touch – Josh Abbott Band

Free Me – Joss Stone

Tell Me What We’re Gonna Do Now – Joss Stone

Head Over Feet – Alanis Morissette

Stand Here with Me – Creed

I loved getting to know the O'Malley boys in Nora's book, Under Your Skin, so I was super excited to dig into In Your Arms knowing I was going to see one of those boys knocked out by love.   In Your Arms, Sean's story was just as fabulous as Nora's; full of emotion and unexpected feelings.  

There's was a meeting by chance, the bad boy with no care for responsibility stopping to help the nice and proper respectable teacher on the side of the road.  What could have been a weekend tryst of unexpected pleasure led to so much more. 

Emma wants stability in her life, she wants things smooth and following her plan; Have a good steady job, find a nice man, marry, and the babies will follow.  It works out perfectly in her head and she knows jsut the type of man she should be aiming for.  But the heart doesn't always listen to the head and when Emma finds herself in the sphere of Sean O'Malley, well all bets are off. 

If Sean had dreamed up who the perfect woman for himself would be, he couldn't have gotten close to who Emma is, because Sean wouldn't have realized that its not really about the traits of a person, but more who they truly are.  I really enjoyed that aspect of this book, the fact that Sean had to grow up and change during the story, to figure out what love really is and what it takes to find it.  Sean knew he wanted to get to know Emma, he wanted to add something to her life, but it took him a little while to figure out why that was.  

In Your Arms is a fun romantic tale, that left me laughing, swooning and also sometimes a little frustrated with the characters and the things they were doing/thinking.  Shannyn Schroeder pulls it all together with relatable characters and details that grab you into the story.  This book proves that love truly is unexpected and sometimes we find it where (and with whom) we least expect it.  It also shows us that for the right person and at the righ time, people can and do change their life outlook.  Sean shows a lot of growth throughout this book, from the carefree attitude of a single and happy male at the start to something more worthy of a relationship.  

I love how Schroeder hooks me into the story by making me fall for each of the characters, giving me the chance to root for them as the rest of the story unfolds.  I can't wait to see what comes in future books in this series. 

Don't miss the other FOR YOUR LOVE titles!

Shannyn Schroeder is the author of the O’Leary series, contemporary romances centered around a large Irish-American family in Chicago and the Hot & Nerdy series about 3 nerdy friends finding love. Her new series (For Your Love) will release this summer with the first title Under Your Skin. When she’s not wrangling her three kids or writing, she watches a ton of TV and loves to bake cookies.

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  1. Thank you for sharing your lovely review for IN YOUR ARMS!

  2. Thanks for hosting me today! I'm so glad you liked it.