Friday, August 14, 2020

Blog Tour & Giveaway: THE SECRET OF YOU AND ME


Genre: Women's Fiction / Romance  
Publisher:  Graydon House (Harlequin)
Date of Publication: August 4, 2020
Number of Pages: 352 

  Scroll down for the giveaway!

True love never fades—and old secrets never die . . . 
Nora hasn’t looked back. Not since she fled Texas to start a new life. Away from her father’s volatile temper and the ever-watchful gaze of her claustrophobically conservative small town, Nora has freed herself. She can live—and love—however she wants. The only problem is that she also left behind the one woman she can’t forget. Now tragedy calls her back home to confront her past—and reconcile her future. 

Sophie seems to have everything—a wonderful daughter, a successful husband, and a rewarding career. Yet underneath that perfection lies an explosive secret. She still yearns for Nora—her best friend and first love—despite all the years between them. Keeping her true self hidden hasn’t been easy, but it’s been necessary. So when Sophie finds out that Nora has returned, she hopes Nora’s stay is short. The life she has built depends on it. 

But they both find that first love doesn’t fade easily. Memories come to light, passion ignites, and old feelings resurface. As the forces of family and intolerance that once tore them apart begin to reemerge, they realize some things may never change—unless they demand it.
“A compelling story of second chances and being true to yourself.” —Harper Bliss, bestselling author of Seasons of Love

“Lenhardt convinces in her portrayal of the conflict between desire and control.” —Publishers Weekly


(Personalized/signed copies available through Interabang)

A portion of royalties are going to the It Gets Better Project (Click for more details.)

Six Lesbian Romance Books I Recommend
by Melissa Lenhardt,
author of The Secret of Me and You

Confession time: when I started writing The Secret of You and Me, I hadn't read a lesbian romance novel. A friend of mine recommended a few authors to me, and I was hooked. I’ve loved romance since I was a teenager and started reading adult books by Sidney Sheldon, Danielle Steele, and The Thorn Birds by Colleen McCullough. Second confession: I prefer books, no matter the genre, to have a love story, romance, or romantic partnership. Book series that throw increasingly stupid obstacles in a couple's way to keep them apart annoy me. I'm looking at you, mystery series. Romance novels are in my blood, I suppose, and it's been exciting to discover an entirely new subgenre with a backlist of great romances that will take me years to read. Below are six of my favorites, but this list could have included twenty or more. 

CASTING LACY by Elle Spencer 
Casting Lacey was one of the first lesfic novels I read, and this was the one that hooked me. I had no idea I loved celebrity romance or fake relationship plots, but I totally do. Spencer creates two amazingly nuanced characters in Quinn Kincaid, as the closeted superstar who wants to come out, and Lacey Matthews, the gay actress hired to pretend to be Quinn's girlfriend. Casting Lacey is a slow-burn romance that's interrupted by sex scenes they are required to do on the show they star in, which makes this book one long tease, but in the best possible way. Bonus rec: 30 Dates in 30 Days might be my favorite Spencer novel because of the brilliant chemistry between the leads and how witty it is from page one. 

FIRE AND ICE by Rachel Spangler 
If you like sports romances, then Rachel Spangler is the lesfic author for you. Trails Merge (skiing), Love All (tennis), Edge of Glory (skiing, snowboarding) are all fantastic, but I chose Fire and Ice because it’s about curling. You know, the sport everyone pays attention to once every four years, during the Olympics. I learned a lot about curling, not the least of which is that curlers are athletes and just as skilled and competitive as athletes in other sports. The love story was remarkable too. Bonus Rec: Full English, which is an English countryside romance which is also totally my jam. (This I knew; Jane Austen is my favorite author, after all.) 

BLEND by Georgia Beers 
To give you an idea about how much I love Georgia Beers’s books, when looking up Blend, I pre-ordered Beers's next three books. I'm sure I'll read them all in one sitting and start right back over from page one. If you're looking for an author with a big backlist to keep you occupied, Beers is your author. Blend is my favorite because it's set in a wine bar, obviously, but what made this book the most reread of the lesfic books in my Kindle library is the fantastic chemistry between the two MCs. If you're heterosexual and want to try a lesbian romance, I highly recommend Beers. The sexual tension between her characters is off the charts, and the sex scenes are very well written and detailed, but not as explicit as some of the other authors. Bonus Rec: All of her books. Seriously. Not a bad one in the bunch. 

A LESSON IN LOVE by Harper Bliss 
If you’re looking for another prolific lesfic author's backlist to dive into, check out Harper Bliss. She writes a long-running series, standalone novels, short stories, novellas, and erotica, and edits anthologies. A Lesson in Love is another English countryside romance and, as I said, those are my jam. An Oxford English professor who moonlights in secret as a cozy mystery writer falls for her younger student. That's a generic description, but trust me when I say that these two characters are utterly charming, the build-up is lovely, and so is the payoff. Bonus Rec: In the Distance There Is Light. This storyline isn't for everyone, but romance novels are formulaic, and it's always refreshing to see a touchy subject deftly handled. Harper Bliss is a master at tackling difficult issues. 

BEFORE YOU SAY I DO by Clare Lydon 
Maybe all lesfic writers are prolific, or perhaps I just pick prolific writers to have a lot to read! 😊 In Before You Say I Do, the wedding planner and straight bride to be can’t seem to stop thinking about the other. Unfortunately, one’s professionalism and the other’s future husband keep getting in the way. Until they don’t. I liked absolutely everything about this book. I read it in one sitting. Bonus Rec: Lydon's London Romance Series has six books so far, with more to come. 

POPPY JENKINS by Clare Ashton 
Oh, Poppy Jenkins. You are one of my all-time favorite characters. Bright and lovely and kind and funny and happy, until your best friend from high school returns, the friend you secretly loved, the friend who cut you off when you were seniors and was incredibly cruel about it. You are still attracted to her, Poppy, and who can blame you? She’s smokin’. Lucky you, the attraction goes both ways. A wonderful second-chance romance with Ashton’s trademark wit. Bonus Rec: The Goodmans. 

These six books are only a tiny sample of the tremendous lesbian romances out in the market. If you would like more to choose from, visit these small press websites:Bold Strokes Books, Bywater Books, Ylva Publishing, and Bella Books.

Melissa Lenhardt is a women’s fiction, mystery, and historical fiction author. Her debut mystery, Stillwater, was a finalist for the 2014 Whidbey Writers’ MFA Alumni Emerging Writers Contest, and Sawbones, her historical-fiction debut, was hailed as a "thoroughly original, smart and satisfying hybrid, perhaps a new sub-genre: the feminist Western" by Lone Star Literary Life. The New York Times called her sixth novel, Heresy, “An all-out women-driven, queer, transgender, multiracial takeover of the Old West." The Secret of You and Me, her seventh novel and her first contemporary women’s fiction novel, was published on August 4, 2020. 

When Melissa isn’t writing, she’s thinking, “I really should be writing,” and eating Nutella or peanut butter straight out of the jar. A lifelong Texan, she lives in the Dallas area with her husband, two sons, and two Golden Retrievers.

TWO WINNERS each get a signed hardcover copy of the book and their choice of either a FaceTime call or virtual book-club visit with the author.
 August 11-21, 2020
(U.S. Only)


Or, visit the blogs directly:

Author Interview
Top Six List
Guest Post
Audio Spotlight

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