July 1, 2012

Sean O'Brien

          This hero has no trouble filling the tall boots of a small-town Texas Sheriff. The readers that remember him as a child from Unlawfully Wedded Bride will be pleased to know Sean's need to protect even then has grown along with him to encompass their entire town. But Sean is also protecting his heart, especially when his childhood sweetheart Lorelei Wilkins becomes his best friend's girl. And since the best defense is a good offense, sparks fly when he goes out of his way to convince himself, and her, he doesn't care for her anymore. The only problem is he does.
          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.
Wounded Score - Sean's done a terrific job of hiding his pain from all but his closest family. The tragedy of his parents' death taught him all about love and loss. That wound deepened when he was finally ready to express his intentions to Lorelei but before he could, she chose his best friend and he lost her too. It's too much of a spoiler to tell you what the affliction is, but Sean's early loss has given him a physical condition he's hiding from everyone too that made my heart need a band-aid.

 Softie Score - For being a no-nonsense Texas Sheriff, Sean hasn't lost what readers loved about him in Unlawfully Wedded Bride. He loves his family as much as ever and isn't afraid to show it and keeping spoiler free prevents me from justifying this score but trust me, between a picnic and a precious little girl and a swing he makes for Lorelei, Sean earns it.

Stupid Strikes - Sean gets zero. Yes, he should have trusted his gut and put more thought into the chaperone situation after retrieving Lorelei, but he's the Sheriff and he needed to get back to town quickly. Yes, he should also have told Lorelei how he felt sooner, but he was still sorting out how he felt so I won't fault him for that.

Swoon Score - A perk of what I do is sometimes getting to see the author's images of their hero. We wanted to share it with you but weren't able to get permissions. So sorry! You'll learn this from reading but Sean is oh so handsome with green eyes, light hair, and that two day beard trapped between stubble and soft. Then he pins that star on the vest and goes to work saving the day for the town and whether she likes it or not, for Lorelei too and the faces start turning orange pretty fast!

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?

Amazon     Harlequin     Barnes & Noble     Christianbook.com

About the author, Noelle Marchand:

Noelle Marchand's love of literature began as a child when she would spend hours reading beneath the covers long after she was supposed to be asleep. Over the years, God began prompting her to write. Eventually, those stories became like "fire shut up in her bones" leading her to complete her first novel at fifteen. Now, at the age of twenty-three, that fire of inspiration continues to burn.
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!


  1. Dawn CrandallJuly 1, 2012 at 7:43 AM

    Nice first post, Nancy! I'm so excited about faithfully following and reading this blog! I've not heard of this book but I do look forward to reading it now. I love a well-written hero. ;D

    1. Noelle MarchandJuly 2, 2012 at 9:26 AM

      Hi, Dawn! Thanks for stopping by! I am so glad you are planning to read my book. I hope you like it. :)

  2. Clari DeesJuly 1, 2012 at 2:24 PM

    Well done, Nancy! I love the new Fiction Hero Feature! I did read Unlawfully Wedded Bride and Sean's story sounds even better. Can't wait to read it. I'm also looking foward to your next hero feature. ☺

    1. Noelle MarchandJuly 2, 2012 at 9:28 AM

      Nancy did a fabulous job on this! I am so glad you like UWB! I happen to think that Sean's story is a little better too but then I'm always a bit bias when it comes to my most recent work whatever it might be. lol.

  3. Ashley RobertsJuly 1, 2012 at 6:32 PM

    Hi Nancy! Hi Noelle! I can not wait to get my hands on Sean's story! I read Unlawfully Wedded Bride and loved it!! Of course, my favorite hero was Nathan. I really like the new fiction hero feature. My email is flwhizkid(at)yahoo(dotcom).

    Ashley Roberts

    1. Noelle MarchandJuly 2, 2012 at 9:31 AM

      Hey, Ashley!!! It's great to "see" you. I am so glad you are excited about The Runaway Bride. Nathan is quite a fella and Nancy is right. You'll get to see more of him in The Runaway Bride. Annnnd since the next book (which comes out in March) takes place on the O'Brien farm, he'll be even more of a factor in that one.

  4. Nancy KimballJuly 1, 2012 at 8:33 PM

    DAWN > Thanks! You are in the right place for well-written heroes. =)

    CLARI > Thank you! I also love the FHF. It has made blogging fun again! You will appreciate seeing how Kate and Nathan have grown because Noelle has written them into Sean's story very well. And the next hero feature is posting 7/15 and I'll be giving hints on my facebook page as we get closer to his feature.

    ASHLEY > Welcome and thank you! Nathan was a great hero. My favorite line of his is STILL "I never said I was mistaken." ;-) Sean is as well written and the astute reader will catch that his horse has a bible-name too like Nathan's. Those are the little things I like to pick up on by following a series. I like the new FHF too. I can't believe no one was really doing this before, but again, I'm kind of glad. Hero girls should stick together!

    All three of you are entered for the drawings.

    1. Noelle MarchandJuly 2, 2012 at 9:33 AM

      Ahh! Good catch on the Bible name horse, Nancy. :)

    2. Nancy KimballJuly 2, 2012 at 10:01 AM

      Thanks, Noelle. I'm a details person with a very good memory. Very little gets by me, hehe. =)

  5. eyeballlucyJuly 2, 2012 at 8:16 AM

    I am soo excited about Noelle Marchand's new book.....'The Runaway Bride'....the book sounds like a wonderful romantic book...just what I want to read...I have shared on facebook and twitter.....babyruthmac16@yahoo.com

    1. Noelle MarchandJuly 2, 2012 at 9:34 AM

      I'm excited too!!! lol. Thank you sooo much. I really appreciate the social media shares. They make a big difference. I hope you enjoy my book. :)

    2. Nancy KimballJuly 2, 2012 at 10:06 AM

      Thank you! It's very romantic if you're into that whole love/hate dynamic, and I so am, LOL. It's like Skeeter's mother said in "The Help", love and hate are two horns on the same goat. You are in the drawing!

  6. PattyJuly 2, 2012 at 8:20 AM

    I'm new to your blog, but I think I like your angle on things! I look forward to reading Noelle's book.


    1. Nancy KimballJuly 2, 2012 at 10:13 AM

      Patty, welcome! You are in the drawing. And thank you, I finally found my niche in the blog world. I know novels, and I know heroes. =) I'm looking forward to getting to know other "hero girls" here on the blog.

  7. MarianneJuly 2, 2012 at 8:30 AM

    Great blog and post, Nancy. i am following your blog via email, as i don't do rss very good at all. Although i have read some of Noelle's novels, i have not read Unlawfully Wedded Life, yet, but it's on my tbr list. i am looking forward to reading both of these soon. Thank you for the chance to win!

    1. Nancy KimballJuly 2, 2012 at 10:18 AM

      Marianne, delighted to have you. Unlawfully Wedded Bride is great and you are in for the drawing. Right now and for the foreseeable future, heroes will be featured twice a month, on the 1st and the 15th. If you have any you would like to suggest, please do so on the How Does This Work page or on my facebook. I look forward to getting to know you (and your taste in heroes!)

  8. karenkJuly 2, 2012 at 9:34 AM

    a wonderful posting...thanks for the chance to read this fabulous novel...i haven't had the pleasure of reading Noelle's other books...yet!
    i follow your blog by email, nancy :)

    kmkuka at yahoo dot com

    1. Nancy KimballJuly 2, 2012 at 10:20 AM

      Karen, thank you and you are in the drawing for sure. If you read one of Noelle's novels, you'll end up reading the other, hehe.

  9. Noelle MarchandJuly 2, 2012 at 9:37 AM

    Patty and Karen, thanks for stopping by!

    Marianne, I'm glad you are interested in my work. Best of luck in the giveaway!

  10. beckydoughtyJuly 2, 2012 at 11:22 AM

    Nancy - Wow! The site looks great! Kudos to you!

    Wonderful post on Noelle's book - haven't read Unlawfully Wedded Bride yet so I must go hunt that one down now because it sounds great. One of my favorite old classic James Garner movies was Support Your Local Sheriff and reading the little you have here about Sean and Lorelei reminded me of that movie.



  11. Nancy KimballJuly 2, 2012 at 12:20 PM

    Becky, thank you and welcome. You are in the drawing. I like James Garner movies too. Reminds me of watching movies with my dad.

  12. MerryJuly 2, 2012 at 2:58 PM

    What a fun review of a hero! Sean sounds awesome and I can't wait to meet him in the pages of The Runaway Bride. Please add me to the drawing, thanks.
    I'm a new follower.
    worthy2bpraised at gmail dot com

    1. Nancy KimballJuly 2, 2012 at 3:16 PM

      Merry, welcome and love the e-mail addy. You are in the drawing. (I've had to make a spreadsheet to keep track of you all now, hehe. It's a good problem to have.)

  13. JoJuly 2, 2012 at 7:48 PM

    I just love finding new to me authors and reading their books. Another book that sounds like a interesting read.


    1. Nancy KimballJuly 2, 2012 at 9:26 PM

      Me too, Jo! We have you in the drawing for one of the three copies of The Runaway Bride.

  14. RachelleJuly 5, 2012 at 4:20 PM

    Thank you for the opportunity to win this book. Sounds like a great one. Beautiful cover and interesting premise. :)

    biblioprincess15 (at) yahoo (dot) com

    Thanks again!

    1. Nancy KimballJuly 5, 2012 at 10:21 PM

      You're welcome, Rachelle. Thanks for stopping by Fiction Hero Features. You are in the drawing!

  15. Nancy KimballJuly 8, 2012 at 7:11 PM

    I got the e-mail the three copies of Sean's novel have shipped and will be here Wednesday. I will have them packaged up and ready to mail this weekend when we draw for our winners!

  16. AngiJuly 12, 2012 at 6:30 PM

    Wow, I loved the excerpt from "Runaway Bride". Sean sounds like a such sweetie. I read "Unlawfully Wedded Bride" and fell in love with it, so was very happy to see Noelle had another story out from this family. Can't wait to read it. Nancy, I like the FHF format. It really helps to set up the story with features like this. Thanks for an opportunity to enter. And thanks to Noelle for putting out another book that sounds really wonderful.


  17. Nancy KimballJuly 12, 2012 at 8:13 PM

    Sean is a sweetie. Do you see that softie score? Totally well-earned. Angi, I happen to know Noelle is working on book 3, which will be Ellie's story, so we'll look forward to that together.
    Glad you like the FHF format. I do too. A lot.
    You are in the drawing which is happening in less than 48 hours! Pictures are up at www.facebook.com/authornancykimball

    1. AngiJuly 12, 2012 at 9:13 PM

      Oh YAY! So glad to hear that bit of news about Ellie's story. I loved those two kids in the first book. Thanks, Nancy, for the heads up on the pics. :)

  18. Amanda MJuly 13, 2012 at 1:51 AM

    Sean sounds like quite a swoon-inducing man! I follow Noelle's blog, but I haven't read her books yet...Can't wait! New to FHF, but I absolutely love the format and I'll be back. :)

    Funny, but I'd have to say that my favorite fiction hero is Sean in 'Sean Donovan' by Lori Wick - what a patient, handsome, and loving man...Must be something about the name Sean!


    1. Nancy KimballJuly 13, 2012 at 9:11 AM

      Oh he is or he wouldn't be here. ;-)
      Glad you like the new format. We do to. Hero Girls UNITE!
      Thanks for the tip on Sean Donovan. I will have to check him out.
      You are in the drawing happening tomorrow, Amanda and I look forward to getting to know you.

  19. Sandra OrchardJuly 13, 2012 at 1:02 PM

    Love the new format, Nancy. You've hooked me. Noelle it definitely sounds like you have another winner. Looking forward to reading it!

    1. Nancy KimballJuly 13, 2012 at 1:15 PM

      Thank you, Sandra. I look forward to getting to know you and our next hero features this Sunday and you are in the drawing for tomorrow. We're giving away three copies of Sean's novel so odds are still very good for everyone!

  20. Nancy KimballJuly 14, 2012 at 12:31 AM


    Ashley Roberts, Amanda M & Dawn Crandall

    Courtesy of List Randomizer at Random.org
    Timestamp: 2012-07-14 05:06:05 UTC

    eyeballlucy, Patty, Merry, Jo, beckydoughty, Marianne, Angi, karenk, Clari Dees (glad you broke down and bought it and loved it), Sandra Orchard and Rachelle... THANK YOU ALL for sharing your thoughts and hanging out on FHF. Our newest hero features tomorrow with more giveaways and we hope to see you again soon.

    Noelle Marchand, fellow HBU alumni and fiction author, thank you for everything. We'll let you get back to writing us another great hero. ;-)



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