Second Chance in Laguna
by Claire Marti
GENRE: Contemporary Romance
When Sophie Barnes’s fiancé jilts her at the altar, her carefully planned life implodes. Considering her ex’s betrayal to be a rude wake-up call, she leaves everything she knows in San Diego and flees to Laguna Beach. She vows to transform her life by avoiding men for a year and by fulfilling her dream of writing a wildly successful novel.
Sophie’s new landlord, Nicholas Morgan, is a gorgeous, successful architect with a player reputation. He makes it tough for Sophie to remember that she’s sworn to be single. Nick’s avoided the intimacy of a long-term relationship–until Sophie’s independence, courage, and beauty touch his guarded heart. Both Sophie and Nick are terrified of being hurt again, but can they resist the pull of true love?
Nick arrived right on time, looking gorgeous in faded jeans and a plain white t-shirt. How did he always manage to start the butterflies fluttering in her stomach? Just by standing there with the setting sun framing him? She was in trouble.
“Hi beautiful, ready to go?” He clasped her face in his hands and planted a soft kiss on her lips.
Returning his kiss, Sophie wound her arms around his neck and deepened it. She couldn’t resist. His strong arms wrapped around her waist, hugging her close to his broad chest.
“Mmmm, feel free to greet me like that every time I come over,” he said, lips curved up into a sweet smile.
Heat washed her cheeks and she returned his smile. “Let’s go. Prepare to be blown away by the movie snack of the century.”
Determined to keep things light and enjoy the movie before “the talk,” Sophie thrust down the lick of panic bubbling in her gut. She’d accomplished next to nothing all afternoon, instead wrestling with whether she needed to tell him about Doug.
The angel on her shoulder whispered to tell him because if they were going to have any kind of relationship, even a friends-with-benefits one, honesty and trust were vital. The devil urged her to zip it. They’d only known each other a few weeks. What if he lived up to his “Player of Laguna” reputation and expected only a fun fling? Even though he seemed deeper than that. What if she scared him off with a premature talk?
Welcome Claire Marti! Please start off by telling us a little about yourself.
My name is Claire Marti and I live in Encinitas, California, a sleepy beach town about twenty-five miles north of San Diego. I’ve been writing stories since I was a child. I majored in English at the University of Virginia, practiced law briefly, and transitioned into teaching yoga and writing full-time over the last few years.
My debut novel, Second Chance in Laguna, launched on March 31, 2017. The story grew from themes of starting over, carpe diem, and of living life to the fullest.
Is Second Chance in Laguna a single title, or part of a series?
Second Chance in Laguna is the first in the Finding Forever in Laguna series. It’s a contemporary romance set in, surprise, Laguna Beach, California. At Last in Laguna, the second book in the series will release later in 2017, and Sunset in Laguna, the third book should launch in early 2018.
What were your inspirations for the story?
Taking a negative experience like learning that the person you love is a serial cheater and turning it into an opportunity to transform your entire life. I love the idea of a new door opening when another one closes. Life is a cycle of growth—we’re always changing and learning. My heroine in Second Chance in Laguna, Sophie Barnes, is jilted at the altar and it’s a wake-up call for her. She realizes she isn’t living her most authentic life and takes a risk to follow her dreams.
Please share your setting for (book title). Have you ever lived or visited there? If so, what did you like most?
As you might guess from the title, the setting is Laguna Beach, California. I chose the setting because of its romantic atmosphere. With its gorgeous green hills, charming architecture, breathtaking beaches, and proliferation of art galleries, Laguna feels like a sanctuary. The first time I visited the tiny beach enclave, I felt transported to a magical new world.
On a personal note, Laguna holds a special place in my heart: I got engaged on the beach there. My passion for Laguna fuels my writing and hopefully sparks the same enthusiasm in readers.
When did the writing bug first bite?
I was a voracious reader at a young age. Writing came naturally for me and I started writing stories in elementary school. We rescued a baby squirrel and I fell in love with Squeaky. Naturally, he deserved a book. My cat Tom and my brother’s boa constrictor, Napoleon Bonaparte, each also starred in a book. Second Chance in Laguna features a rescue dog named Bailey and cat named Zack.
Who are you favorite authors, book/series?
Nora Roberts: Gallagher’s of Ardmore trilogy, Irish Born trilogy, Key trilogy, Three Sisters trilogy—did I mention I love her trilogies?
Kerrigan Byrne: Victorian Rebels series,
Ernest Hemingway, A Moveable Feast and The Sun Also Rises,
Jane Austen, Ayn Rand, Julie James, Lisa Kleypas, Sarah Maclean
If you could have an author roundtable discussion with any authors, who would you invite?
Nora Roberts, Ernest Hemingway, Oscar Wilde, Kerrigan Byrne, J.R. Ward, Sarah MacLean, and Anne Rice.
Do you have any hobbies or special things you like to do in your spare time?
I love walking on the beach every day, reading, listening to live music, traveling every chance I get, practicing and teaching yoga, and spending time with my husband and friends. I love delicious food, as long as someone else prepares it!
What’s the strangest thing you’ve heard or seen?
A few years ago, we visited The Stanley Hotel in Estes Park, Colorado. It’s the place that inspired Stephen King’s terrifying story, The Shining. You can feel otherworldly energy in the hotel and I have the shadows of nightmares to prove it.
What is the one thing that you would tell an aspiring writer to do?
Never give up. Keep writing. Trust your voice. Here’s one of my favorite quotes: Don’t forget-no one else sees the world the way you do, so no one else can tell the stories that you have to tell. Charles de Lint
First of all, congratulations on your debut. I remember when my one an only book came out. I was over the moon and also in disbelief that someone took a chance on me. But enough about me; on with the review.
This book starts off fast and doesn’t let up. I like that when reading a new/debut author. Ms. Marti doesn’t bog down the story with unnecessary details and since this is the first book of a series, I feel that we will get more of the Morgans, including Nick’s sister, Alyssa. In fact, I feel like she has only scratched the surface with Alyssa and Brandt, Nick’s BFF. I mean like, WTH? Denial, denial, denial with those two. I loved it but I’m sure there is much more going on. That’s what I truly liked about this story. It has a sense of family surrounding Nick and Sophie. Sophie’s mom is a piece but she does love her daughter. Sophie has Kelly, her BFF. Nick has Brandt and Alyssa. The turn to each other through the tough times but also through the fun.
Sophie’s ex, Doug…OMG! What a douche and it didn’t help that Heather, Nick’s office manager, just acerbated the romance between Nick and Sophie. I don’t think that Heather is through with her quest but we will have to see. Too bad that Doug and Heather didn’t realize that Sophie and Nick’s love for each other is stronger than what those two tried to do. Ugh! But that makes for good drama in a romance book and Ms. Marti nailed it.
Zack, the cat, and Bailey, the dog were great, too. Ms. Marti makes good use of all the characters that she has created in this book and also in the series. I believe in love at first sight and while some might think that the book is full of instalove, I don’t think so. Nick had to figure out why he could never settle down and Sophie had to realize that men like her dad and Doug were just stupid. She is lovable and finding Nick made her finally stand up for herself to everyone around her and to fight for what she and Nick had. I won’t give you exactly what Nick finally figured out with his lack of commitment but I will say…AWWWWW! He’s such a sweetie.
Overall, I really liked Ms. Marti’s writing, her characterization, and the plotting of the book. It’s fast with no filler. I can’t wait to read the rest of the series later this year. Bring on Alyssa, Brandt, and Kelly.
AUTHOR Bio and Links:
Claire Marti started writing stories as soon as she was old enough to pick up pencil and paper. After graduating from the University of Virginia with a BA in English Literature, Claire was sidetracked by other careers, including practicing law, selling software for legal publishers, and managing a non-profit animal rescue for a Hollywood actress.
Finally, Claire followed her heart and now focuses on two of her true passions: writing romance and teaching yoga. Her debut releases from The Wild Rose Press on March 31, 2017 and is the first in the Finding Forever in Laguna series.
The Wild Rose Press, Inc.: http://bit.ly/2jk8iQY
Barnes and Noble: http://bit.ly/2mpGgq9
GIVEAWAY INFORMATION and RAFFLECOPTER CODE
Claire Marti will be awarding a $10 Amazon/BN GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.