A problem that gets worse when he is sent to retrieve her, the runaway bride, who left his best friend at the altar. When an innocent mistake compromises both their reputations, Sean does what heroes do. He agrees to a forced marriage with this girl who has no problems letting him know she considers marriage to him a fate worse than death. Can Sean battle through his fears and win her over, while protecting their town from nefarious bank robbers, dodging the town gossip that could ruin everything at any moment, and contending with baby sister Ellie who is up to her old matchmaking schemes again?
From The Runaway Bride:
He definitely didn’t want to talk about this. What was going on with everyone lately? Was he doing such a bad job of managing his life that everyone felt he needed to listen to their advice? He was glad that Lorelei wanted to talk about spiritual things. It signified a deepening in their relationship. But, why this? Why now, when he was finally getting things in hand? He cleared his throat. “That’s a lot to take in.”
She left it at that to glance up at the sky thoughtfully. He should probably have done the same, but he noticed a long hairpin working its way loose from her fashionable chignon. “Your pin is falling out.”
She found it but couldn’t seem to fix it with only one hand free, so he reached over to do it for her. He barely touched the silly thing before it wobbled and fell from her hair. Lorelei gasped, then turned her head toward him abruptly, sending her long brown curls spilling over her shoulders. “Thank you so much for helping.”
“Anytime.” He grinned as the wind took complete control of her hair, tossing it across her face and teasing his cheek. At its fleeting touch, the tension immediately fled. He caught his breath. How is that possible?
He brushed her hair out of her face, then allowed his hand to stray into her curls. They were soft and full and like nothing he’d ever felt before. He met her wide blue eyes. Suddenly, he recognized the girl he’d known at eighteen when past tension seemed easily buried and new possibilities were at hand. He saw the future they could have had if a misunderstanding and childish pride hadn’t stood in the way. He saw the woman she was now. The woman he was beginning to care for. It scared him, and he was tempted to bring the past between them again but he didn’t want to. He wanted for one day, one moment to let his guard down enough to see her as she really was—the woman he’d always longed for.
Excerpt © Harlequin Enterprises 2012. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.
Gallant Score - Sean earns his three for much more than marrying to save a compromised reputation. He carries his heroine through mud and rain, protects her from the bank robbers, and rode across Texas for days to rescue her from the perils facing a single woman traveling alone.
About the novel (Releasing July 3, 2012):
The only husband Lorelei Wilkins ever wanted was Sean O'Brien, but she's wasted too much time waiting for him to love her back. When another man proposes, she accepts—until she stands at the altar…and realizes she can't marry without love. Bolting out of town toward a fresh start, she never suspected her parents would send Sheriff O'Brien to bring her home!
After an innocent mistake leaves Lorelei and her reluctant rescuer with compromised reputations, marriage is their only option. But first they must triumph over suspicious locals, shady characters, an inconvenient groom and the bride's own stubborn heart. Will it take putting their lives on the line for Sean and Lorelei to realize that only love can conquer all?
Noelle is a Houston-native who graduated from Houston Baptist University in May 2012. She received a bachelor's degree in Mass Communication with a focus in Journalism and Speech Communication.
Find her on her website, noellemarchand.com where she blogs or follow her on twitter @noellemarchand or over on Goodreads.
Now for the Fiction Hero Feature Exclusive from the author not found in the novel:
Despite Sean's denial in Unlawfully Wedded Bride, the first book in the series, he did receive his first kiss from Lorelei at the age of twelve.
Now for the giveaways:
FHF has three copies of Sean O'Brien's novel The Runaway Bride to give away on July 14th when the drawing ends at noon. Print or e-book, winners choice. Winners will be randomly chosen from among the comments, so if you are not a blog follower please leave your e-mail address in a format to help you avoid spammers such as nancykimball (at) hotmail (dotcom) so I can notify you. I want to know what you think of Sean and if you like the new format of FHF, if you've read Unlawfully Wedded Bride or not, or who your favorite fiction hero is and Noelle will be dropping by when she's able so make her and Sean feel welcome!