I’m so glad that Laura Briggs stopped by today to share her newest book – I’m sure this one is going to appeal to just about every romance reader out there! Love the idea of using fictional romances as dating advice 🙂
I want to thank Julie for agreeing to feature Boyfriend By the Book on her lovely website. I had so much fun writing this book and I hope that readers will have that same kind of feeling should they choose to pick up a copy. If you can’t already tell from the blurb and the excerpt, this a Romantic Comedy that puts the heroine in lots of disastrous situations with men. Specifically, men who resemble book heroes, such as Mr. Rochester, Heathcliff, and (of course!) Mr. Darcy. But it’s not a storybook scenario for poor Jodi–which makes it a lot more humorous, of course. If you love fast-paced, lighthearted romances then check out Boyfriend By the Book–it’s perfect for curling up with on a rainy day or sitting by the pool–or just wherever!
by Laura Briggs
Jodi Nichols isn’t the most romantic girl on the planet. She doesn’t get mushy over fictional love stories, or picture herself getting swept away by a handsome hero. She’s much too grounded in reality—and much too busy working as a concierge at the luxurious Regent hotel. Helping customers is Jodi’s passion in life, and while romance may be on the back burner for now, she is nursing a little crush on Levi, the cute and friendly deliveryman for the hotel packages. And unless she’s imagining things, Levi feels the same way about her.
But Jodi’s friends think she’s turning into a lonely workaholic. They try to fix her love life, buying her a copy of the bestselling relationship guide that claims women can find true love by channeling the wisdom of famous storybook heroines. Jodi thinks it sounds crazy—no way is she acting like Jane Eyre or Lizzie Bennet to find a man! But when Levi suddenly grows distant and Jodi’s chances with him seem to fizzle before her eyes, she wonders if her friends might have a point after all. Disheartened and lonely, she decides to give the so-called relationship guide a whirl, with unexpected consequences.
Before you can say ‘Pride and Prejudice’, Jodi is up to her neck in handsome, brooding men that seem too much like fictional heroes to be true. Her attempts to think like the greatest heroines in romance lead her to meet everything from a modern Mr. Rochester to an angsty Heathcliff, and even a Darcy-esque novelist. But when a former crush re-enters her life in the form of a modern day Romeo, Jodi wonders if there might be something to this ‘inner heroine’ thing after all. Now, if she could just stop thinking about Levi, then maybe her happy-ever-after will fall into place…or is something still missing from Jodi’s storybook romance?
“Pride and Prejudice or Jane Eyre?”
Stephanie waved the DVDs around like bait, waiting for us to vote. My mouth was full of popcorn, and Monique was talking on her cell phone—as usual. That left Kristen, who claims to have read Pride and Prejudice the novel more than fifty times. Guess which movie she chose.
Romance movie night. This was how my circle of friends loved to kill a Friday evening that wasn’t spent on a date. Or, for that matter, any free evening. They squeezed into my cozy apartment, a spot which was always a jumble of books, magazine collages, and other clutter that I had collected over the years. I loved big stuffed armchairs and my chintz sofa with its brightly-colored pillows was oversized and comfy — that was the reason they picked my place, I felt. That, and my special popcorn made with a light dusting of garlic and chipotle.
This evening, however, was the beginning of where everything went wrong for me, not that I knew it at the time. I thought it was just another innocent movie night, which proves I’m not psychic in the least — otherwise, if I had seen the future, I would have ejected that DVD and opted for a horror movie instead.
“Wouldn’t you kill to be Lizzie for a day?” Kristen asked, pulling her blond layers into a ponytail as Jane Austen’s characters shared an elegant dance on the screen. “You’d spend all your time drinking tea and going to parties at English manor houses.”
I was pretty sure that wasn’t an accurate description of Regency life, but Kristen would just roll her eyes if I said that. You’re being a spoilsport, Jodi, she would say. Next to me on the carpet, Stephanie wore a dreamy smile, chin propped on her knees. “I could do tea and dancing for awhile,” she decided. “I mean, who couldn’t?”
“Sure, you could,” Monique quipped. She was curled up on the sofa behind us, laying claim to my plushiest throw pillow, a pink one embroidered with flowers. “Someone like me would be stuck serving the tea or cleaning up the mess that’s left after the ball,” she added, with a reference to her dark skin and sleek, black hair with its natural kink tamed by a salon. “Plus, electricity and plumbing weren’t invented yet. Think about it, girls.”
We shared a collective giggle for this. Stephanie reached for the popcorn bowl, exclaiming over the fact it was almost empty. “What, did you guys skip dinner or something?” she asked. Stephanie herself eats like a bird and has the figure to prove it — skinny and sleek, perfect for her red hair and ceramic skin. Grabbing the bowl, she headed towards the kitchen, muttering something about bad manners. Meanwhile, on the screen, Darcy and Lizzie shared a look fraught with significance.
“Can’t you just picture yourself in Lizzie’s place?” Kristen asked, still clinging to her fantasy.
I tried to summon a vision of myself in a beautiful empire-waist gown like the one in the movie, but it didn’t work. All I could think of was my uniform at the hotel. Knee-length black skirt, a matching vest and silk tie over my crisp white blouse. My dark hair in a neat ponytail as I asked Mr. Darcy if he wanted a pot of tea sent up to his room, or needed additional clean towels? I smiled at the ludicrous thought.
“I just think foregoing modern conveniences would be worth it to dance with Mr. Darcy,” Kristen continued. “Don’t you think so, Jodi?”
“Not really,” I admitted, reluctantly. “I mean, I can’t really picture it. It’s just a story, after all.”
Bad choice of words.
Laura Briggs’ first stories were written in crayon about a rooster named Henry–but she was pretty young at the time, so it’s understandable. She eventually graduated to writing more complex plotlines and characters and writing her stories on a laptop. She tends to write stories with a romance edge, but as a reader she has a soft spot for mysteries, including those by Agatha Christie and Mary Roberts Rinehart. She also enjoys books by Jane Austen, Alexander McCall Smith, Anne Tyler, Amy Tan, and too many others to name. In her free time, she likes to experiment with new recipes and tries to landscape her yard (a never-ending project).
Author website: http://paperdollwrites.blogspot.com/
Twitter link: https://twitter.com/PaperDollWrites