Shannon here: Through my job as Acquisitions Editor for Scrivenings Press, I get to discover great books and sweet authors. Back in June of 2022, I got to call Mary Pat Johns with good news and a contract offer for her Contemporary Romance, Counting on Jesse. Over a year later, we’re on the verge of release day, and the book is available on preorder. Comment or answer the question in this post to enter the drawing for an e-book copy. Deadline: Sept 9th, 11:59 pm central time. Here’s Mary Pat:
- What’s the most romantic thing your hero ever did for your heroine?
In Countin’ On Jesse, Jesse plans a day trip with Brenna to Port Aransas beach. He wants to keep her safe from the thug who’s been following her around, but Jesse also wants to make it a day she’ll never forget. Especially since her last date was at a posh restaurant with a man Jesse considers a rival.
- What’s the most romantic thing your heroine ever did for your hero?
Since I stand firmly in the “romance begins in the kitchen” camp, my characters aren’t often romantic with over-the-top gestures. Brenna thinks she’s just doing her job, but when she organizes a pickleball tournament and gives Jesse a to-do list on how to execute it, Jesse falls a little more in love with her. It reminded me of a time when my husband brought a dozen red-stemmed roses to my workplace to celebrate our anniversary. I loved the roses but the real kudos came when he helped our daughter with her science project that same weekend.
- Where is the most romantic place your hero and heroine have ever been?
At the beach, they take a long walk on the jetties, a seawall-like structure, watch a sea turtle, and feed the seagulls. Even though Jesse won’t call it a date because their boss-employee relationship forbids it, they begin to fall in love.
- Do your hero and heroine have a favorite romantic restaurant?
After the beach, Jesse took Brenna to Mixon’s, a seafood restaurant on Padre Island. Time stood still as motorboats kicked up sea foam in the ship channel and pelicans flew lazily from post to post. Sitting at a table on the wraparound boardwalk, they noshed on hushpuppies and redfish and talked about their pasts. Brenna opened up about her grief, and Jesse saw his anger issues in a new light.
- How soon after meeting the hero did the heroine know he was the one?
Brenna is attracted to Jesse, but she’s super cautious because of the no-dating rule. It takes a long time and some weird circumstances for her to realize she’s in love with him. Even then, she feels like she betrayed her deceased boyfriend. Part of her character arc is learning how to move on from past grief.
- How soon after meeting the heroine did the hero know she was the one?
Jesse is fascinated with Brenna before they officially meet, but when she shows up for a job interview, he’s totally smitten. Almost to the point of not wanting to hire her because of his attraction. When she shares his keen desire for Peeps’ accreditation, he falls fast and hard. Too bad, she’s off limits because of the no-employee-dating rule.
- What is the most caring thing your hero has ever done for your heroine?
Jesse loves his job as Director of Operations at Peeps. But when Brenna’s safety is threatened, he sets aside his dreams and goals to protect her, even if it costs his job.
Question for Readers: Have you ever gone to a gym? What’s your favorite exercise?
About Mary Pat: Countin’ On Jesse is Mary Pat Johns’ debut novel, book one of the Valiant series. God put it in her heart to tell stories of brave veterans and their reintegration into civilian life after suffering the traumas of war. As she kept writing, her focus generalized to include ordinary people who learn how to move forward after devastating events. Her writing includes a strong spiritual thread.
She lives in South Texas with her husband and their two dapple dachshunds. Her grown children and five grandchildren are useful sorts who keep her grounded with her reading/writing obsession. You can find her at the gym, at her computer, or reading a good book. Learn more & connect:
About the book – Counting on Jesse:
Accountant BRENNA MCKINLEY only wants what’s best for Peeps, the wildly popular gym in Valiant, Texas. But when money goes missing, and she’s the obvious suspect, will she be able to clear her name or face criminal charges? Keeping her dream job matters, but falling in love with her boss isn’t part of the plan. Neither is the creepy guy stalking her.
Young veteran JESSE JACOBS manages and co-owns Peeps, an exercise facility in Valiant, Texas. He needs help to gain accreditation for the gym, and his new accountant is all in. But is she who she seems? Too bad he’s falling for her like a man with no parachute. When the pressure builds, PTSD renders him moody and volatile, risking everything he loves.
Can’t wait for the drawing? Worried you won’t win?
Get your copy now!
Pre-order link (good until 09/12/2023): Counting on Jesse
Come back Sept 5th for Donna Schlachter!