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Friday, November 22, 2013

Tour! A Review of Baby by Design by Elley Arden. Plus an Interview with the Author

Baby By Design (Designing Love #1) by Elley Arden
Genre: Adult Fiction (Contemporary Romance)
Date Published: November 11, 2013
Publisher: Self

The Blurb:
Trish DeVign knows what she needs to be single, successful and satisfied. She needs a baby. With recent relationships falling short of her expectations, she’s single by choice. With a thriving interior design company, she’s got successful covered. It’s the satisfied part that eludes her, and that’s her mother’s fault—not her adopted mother, but the mother who gave her away, sentencing her to a privileged life with two good people who don’t share with her a single drop of DNA.

Tony Corcarelli has spent his adult life as the black sheep of his large Italian-American family ever since he turned his back on running the family carpentry business so he could live a more laidback life, forcing his sister to take the reins. Now, Tony’s grandmother has cancer, and he’s expected to join the family in making her wishes come true. Unfortunately, the two things Nonna wants most for Tony are two things he can’t fathom: a wife and kids or the priesthood. There has to be another way.

When Trish asks her best friend’s brother, Tony, to escort her to a wedding, a night of fun and flirtation turns serious, with Trish confessing she wants a baby. Could a calculated conception be the answer they’ve both been looking for?

My Review:
Baby by Design is the first book in the Designing Love series by Elley Arden. This was a fun little read. The characters were easy to relate to and very likable. Tony was very swoon worthy. Italian guys are pretty hard to resist anyway, and Tony is no exception. Coming from an Italian family myself, it was fun to read about another Italian family and pick out the similarities. Trish and Tony come together for different reasons. Love not being one of them. Though they fight it, they have chemistry and attraction to one another. I enjoyed the tension between the two as their symbiotic relationship grew into more. This was a cute and fun story. I'm curious about the upcoming books in this series.

The ARC of Baby By Design by Elley Arden was provided to me by Reading Addiction Blog Tours for review. The opinions are my own.

The Excerpt:
Tony turned back to the chairs and Trish, who had removed the plastic covering and settled onto the cushion, crossing her long legs and bouncing one barefoot with red painted toes in his direction. As she sat, she rubbed her palms over the arms of the chair and breathed deeply enough that he risked hypnosis by the rise and fall of her breasts. Not the sort of thing he wanted to notice about a woman he couldn’t pursue.

“You really do great work.”

He smiled and stepped closer, because he was a gentleman who’d just been complimented. “Thank you.” He squatted and ran his hand along the nailhead trim, grazing her covered calf muscle, because he was a guy who liked the way her face flushed whenever he stood too close. “I’m glad you like it. When you’re in need of my

skills again, you know where to find me.” And then he stood, taking two steps back toward the hall, because even a screw-up like him knew where to draw the line.

She sat ramrod straight, gripping the arms of the chair. “Tony, I need a favor.”

He stopped. “What’s up?”

“I need a…guest for my cousin’s wedding on Saturday. Would you happen to be interested?”

“I take it the good doctor wasn’t so good.”

A nervous chuckle escaped her lips. “Not good at all. And I RSVP’d for two with the hope that he’d still be around, and now my mother is driving me crazy, saying I can’t embarrass myself and her by cancelling this late in the game. I’m stuck.”

It was Tony’s turn to chuckle. “So you want me to unstick you?”

She shrugged, managing cute, coy, and sexy with one pouty-mouthed look. “Would you?”

If he was sane and sensible, no, he wouldn’t. “Absolutely. What time should I pick you up?”

“Thank you,” she breathed on a noisy exhale. “We should leave at three, but I’ll drive.”

“You don’t trust my driving?”

“It’s a wedding, Tony, and I’m wearing a dress. You should wear a suit, like the one you wore to Nonna’s party.” He liked the way she pulled her bottom lip between her teeth when she paused for a breath. “Dress clothes can’t be worn on the back of a motorcycle.”

An image of her creamy leg stretching out from beneath a short skirt and hanging alongside the chrome of his bike made his skin itch. He grinned to cover the not-so-innocent thought. “No bike. Got it. I’ll pick you up at three.” And before she could protest, he turned around and walked away.

He’d never been the kind of guy to let a woman down, and that was a blessing and curse. Now he needed a car worthy of escorting Trish DeVign to a family wedding, in addition to a grand gesture for Nonna’s wish list.

Talk about pressure

An Interview with Elley Arden:
How long have you been writing?
I’ve been writing my whole life, but professionally, I’ve been writing for about fourteen years. Ten of those years were spend as a non-fiction writer and editor.

What inspired you to write Baby by Design?
I come from a large Italian-American family, and I married into another one. The dynamics of these loud, outspoken, fiercely loving units are forever entertaining to me. I married all of that with my family’s background in interior design and home improvement, and Baby by Design was born.

When you first started writing it, did you plan for it to be a series? 
I did not originally intend for this to be a series. In fact, I thought it would be a single-title (longer length) contemporary romance, but then my critique partner started gushing about Tony’s sister Angie. By the time she asked me straight up if Angie would get her own book, I decided she would.

Which of your characters(in any of your books) do you relate to most and why?
For anyone who knows me in real life, this is an easy question. I’m Maggie in Save My Soul. I am peace, love and harmony, Baby. I see merit in almost everything, and I believe anything is possible. I’ve been called flighty and flaky before. Better yet, I’m married to a driven, successful, cynical man who adores me despite our glaring differences—just like Maggie and Jordon.

What is a secret about you that nobody else knows?
Wow. This is hard, because I have a very high level of disclosure. I’m going to go with this one: I used to pretend I wasn’t feeling well after dinner at my grandmother’s house and go into her bedroom to “nap,” but what I really did was look at unwrapped Christmas presents in her closet.

What book have you read too many times to count?
Do I lose my writer’s card if I say none? I’ve read a few Judith McNaught and Susan Elizabeth Phillips books a couple times, but I don’t believe I’ve ever read a book more than twice.

What is the best piece of writing advice you ever received?
My editor told me not to long ago to “dig deep.” Those are such simple words, but the implication is huge. After every scene I write, I tell myself, “Good. Now, dig deeper.” Inevitably the scene ends up richer.

If you could hop into the life of any fictional character, who would it be and why?
I would love to spend some time as Emma Woodhouse from Jane Austen’s Emma, because she lives such a charmed life, and Knightly is incredibly dreamy.

What was one of the most surprising things you learned in creating your books?
I was shocked to learn I could write three amazing chapters, sucking everyone in, and then I could lose them at Chapter Four. For some reason I thought those first three amazing chapters could carry the rest of the book. (This makes me laugh hysterically now.)

What do you like to do when you're not writing?
I like to redecorate my house and think up new renovation plans. (I’m pretty sure this is some sort of addiction.) I also love to go out with friends…or stay in with friends. I adore laughter, and whenever we’re together, there’s plenty of that to go around.

Are any of the things in your books based on real life experiences or purely all imagination?
I’d say most of what I write has some basis in my real life. Of course, nothing is exact, because then it would be terribly boring. The characters might share quirks and even careers similar to people I know in real life, but I have never written a character as a true representation of someone I really know.

About the Author:
Elley Arden is a born and bred Pennsylvanian who has lived as far west as Utah and as far north as Wisconsin. She drinks wine like it’s water (a slight exaggeration), prefers a night at the ballpark to a night on the town, and believes almond English toffee is the key to happiness.

Elley writes provocative, contemporary, series romances for Crimson Romance.

To learn more about Elley Arden and her books, visit her website.You can also find her on Goodreads, Facebook, and Twitter.


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