Tuesday, March 30, 2021

Review of The Engagement Gamble (Love's a Gamble #3) by Nancy Fraser


Welcome to the book tour for The Engagement Gamble by Nancy Fraser! It's the third book in the Love's a Gamble series. I have an excerpt and my book review for you. Plus Nancy gives us some insight into becoming an author. Be sure to follow the rest of the tour, leaving questions and comments along the way. Best of luck entering the giveaway!

Marshal Zack McAlister has made it his mission to protect the good citizens of Greenville, MS. In particular, one very opinionated and independent lady doctor. The only hinderance to his professional obligations are the dozen or so single women vying for his attention.

Suzanne Martindale, M.D., has quickly become a fixture in Greenville since taking over for her semi-retired predecessor. And, like Marshal McAlister, she’s been inundated with unwanted suitors.

When Zack proposes a fake engagement, Suzanne is reluctant at first and claims in order for anyone to believe they’re actually courting and in love, there has to be chemistry between them.

Zack sets out to prove they can easily fool the people of Greenville into believing their ruse. Will his smooth Cajun charm and steamy-hot kisses do the trick? Or, are they destined to be victims of their own charade?

When outside forces threaten the entire McAlister clan, can Zack keep his family, and his faux fiancé, safe? And, will a life-threatening accident show them anything, even love, is possible if you have trust?

~ ~ ~

The McAlister family welcomes you back to Mississippi with a third adventure, and maybe a sneak peek at yet another devastating seductive McAlister man!

Read an excerpt:
Greenville, Mississippi
June, 1868

“Evening, Marshal.”

“Good evening, Miss Winston.” Zack McAlister greeted the young school teacher with a nod and a tip of his Stetson before setting his hat squarely back on his head.

“I brought you some cookies,” she told him, “as a thank you for stopping those boys from tipping over our privy.”

“It was my pleasure.” Accepting the proffered plate of cookies, he added, “I’m sure my deputies and I will enjoy these immensely.”

About to open the door leading to his office and step inside, Zack was halted by Gloria Winston’s next words. “I absolutely love your accent. It’s so…so…New Orleans.”

“Why thank you, ma’am.” Zack took another step forward, anxious to extricate himself from the unwanted attention. “If you’ll excuse me, Miss Winston, I have reports to complete.”

“Please, Marshal, call me Gloria.”

He reached for the door handle and nodded. “Good day to you, Gloria.”

“Good day, Marshal.”

“Another batch of cookies?” Pete Bailey asked when Zack came through the door, a snicker slipping through the deputy’s handlebar mustache, the sound of his laughter followed quickly by a broad, tobacco-stained grin.

Zack turned toward Pete and shot him a glare. “I don’t hear any complaints from you or Tom when you’re enjoying your fill.”

“I just wish these young fillies would learn how to cook something substantial, like a stew or a loaf of bread. A man can’t live on cookies alone.”

Zack sat the plate down on the corner of the desk and took a seat on the other side. It had been the same for the past two months, ever since he’d come to Greenville from New Orleans to take over for the ailing sheriff. He couldn’t walk down the street without one of the town’s available young women throwing herself at his feet. It had been a novelty at first, but now it was just plain tiring. Zack could almost feel his jaw twitching from the hundreds of smiles he’d forced across his face in the name of civility.

“I wish they’d just give up,” Zack muttered. “Surely they can see I’m not interested.”

“You McAlister boys do tend to attract every available female for miles. It was that way for Matthew, then Jake. It’s your turn to wallow in the McAlister charm.”

“I don’t want to wallow in anything. I just want to do my job.”

“You know what you need, Zack. You need a wife,” Pete said. “Then, this parade of girlies would stop.”

“I’m not in the market for a wife. And if I were, there’s not one that interests me in all of Greenville.”

“What about that doctor lady? You two seem to get along just fine.”

“We get along because we’re both professionals, out to do a job. And, Suzanne Martindale is the last woman I’d want for a wife.”

“She seems fine to me. She sure is a looker.”

“She’s also opinionated, stubborn, tied to her career and, at her best, infuriating.”

“It sounds to me as if you’ve given the doc some serious thought.”

Zack shook his head, dispelling any notion of ‘thinking’ about Suzanne Martindale. “My idea of a good wife is someone who stays home, keeps a neat house, raises the children, and is waiting by the door when her husband gets home from a long, hard day at work.”

“That sounds about right, assuming all you want is to make babies and eat a home-cooked meal.”

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**My thoughts**
I have to say that if I only looked at the cover and the blurb, I would expect this to be a contemporary romance. I've not read the other books in the series, so without looking at the actual genre, I would not have known it was a historical romance. So it did take me a little bit to readjust my mindset, though it is quite obvious from the characters' banter and situation that this is over 100 years ago.

And like I said, this book is a part of a series. However, I did not have any difficulty following the characters and storyline in spite of not having read the other ones. So rest assured that this does work as a standalone.

Suzanne is a fiercely independent woman, especially for this time period. Zack is everything you would expect a marshal to be. The two of them are quite attractive and seem to have a never-ending barrage of suitors knocking on their doors. Neither of them are interested in a relationship right now. So they decide to fake one between themselves to hold those suitors at bay. The thing is, despite his protests, I think Zack is really into it right from the start. Suzanne tries to deny it a little bit longer and can't do it. But it does take them a while to get things going. And of course, life is going to drop in some drama to try to trip them up along the way.

I haven't read a historical romance in this particular trope before. It was an interesting change of pace to read a fake fiance book taking place in the 1800s to mix up my usual reading habits.

I received a requested review copy of this title. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Becoming Nancy Fraser, Author

I’ve been writing forever and published in romance since 1996. However, my road was definitely unconventional.

I’d always intended to be a writer. The great American novel, a memoir, poetry. Encouraged by my ninth-grade English teacher, I’d try my hand at writing almost anything—as long as I could write. However, quite honestly, I never expected that “anything” to include romance.

In the very early nineties, I was working in the publication department at Wayne State University in Detroit. My job was to take the professors’ rambling notes and turn them into something that could be published—either in journals or book form.

One of my co-workers was an avid romance reader and often brought books with her to work to read on break and lunch. One day, she offered me a book to read: Chain Lightning, a Silhouette Intimate Moments by author Elizabeth Lowell. I politely declined and tacked on the stupidest thing I’ve ever said: “No thank you. I don’t read romance. Anyone can write one of those.”

She handed me the book, and said, “I dare you to try.” Never one to back down from a dare, I took the book home with me. My husband and boys were away for the weekend at a hockey tournament, so I made myself a cup of coffee and started to read. Three hours later, I thought ... that doesn’t look difficult. So, I sat down at my clunky old computer (can we say 8-inch floppies?), and I wrote. One chapter. Two. On Sunday, I re-read what I’d written and then wrote a third. I printed everything out on my noisy dot matrix printer and took the chapters to work on Monday.

“Here, your dare,” I said proudly, tossing the sheets on her desk.

She took the pages so she could read them on her lunch. After lunch she came to my desk and tossed the pages back at me. “You copied those from a book, didn’t you?”


“Prove it. We’re not busy today. Write another chapter here at work. I’ll grab the phone if it rings.”

I fired up the Wang word processor and created another chapter, writing my first actual love scene complete with French kiss and groping hands. I ran it off on the department printer, standing protectively in reach in case a stray professor might wander in unannounced.

“Here, you’re double-dare.”

She read it, pursed her lips, smiled and apologized for doubting me. “Can I keep these?”

“Sure. Be my guest.”

Over the next couple of weeks, I totally forgot about the pages, but did continue to read other romance novels, discovering an infinity for steamy contemporaries.

My co-worker showed up at work one day and handed me a letter, the Silhouette Books insignia in the corner and my name on the envelope. “Quick. Open it. I’m dying to know what it says.”

Little did I know, she’d sent the book off to an editor with a cover letter, pretending to me be. We opened the letter together. I admit, I was expecting a “thanks, but no thanks”—the author equivalent of a Dear John letter.

“Dear Ms Fraser, we were very intrigued by your proposal for Dream Lover and would love to see the remainder of the book when it’s complete.”

Well, damn! Over the course of the next two months, I finished the book and sent it off.

They never bought the book but I received some lovely constructive criticism. (They actually did that back in the day.) I read and re-read the gentle rejection. I started a second book. Then, a third. I was hooked.

That third book was my first sale and still holds a special place in my heart. I’ve published over forty novels, novellas, and short stories since then. And, I’m still hooked, and I still get all goose-bumpy when I see the title “Author” next to my name.

NANCY FRASER—Jumping Across Romance Genres with Gleeful Abandon—is an Amazon Top 100 and Award-Winning author who can’t seem to decide which romance genre suits her best. So, she writes them all.

Like most authors, Nancy began writing at an early age, usually on the walls and with crayons or, heaven forbid, permanent markers. Her love of writing often made her the English teacher’s pet which, of course, resulted in a whole lot of teasing. Still, it was worth it.

Published in multiple genres, Nancy has published over thirty-five books in full-length, novella, and short format.

When not writing (which is almost never), Nancy dotes on her five wonderful grandchildren and looks forward to traveling and reading when time permits. Nancy lives in Atlantic Canada where she enjoys the relaxed pace and colorful people.


Website: www.nancyfraser.ca 

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Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/Nancy-Fraser/e/B004AOL61Y/ 

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Nancy Fraser will be awarding a $15 Amazon/BN GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.

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  1. Thank you for hosting this stop on my tour. I will check back later for comments.

  2. Fake engagements are fun to read.

  3. Hi Nancy, love your story about your writing journey. May the rest of the years be as wonderful.

  4. So nice to learn even more about you! I think we’re all thankful to that coworker for challenging you! My favorite part of the story is the image of you standing nervously by the printer in case a professor should stumble across your steamy read! Suzanne and Zack’s story sounds very compelling. Can’t wait to read it!

  5. My favorite part of this post is the image I have of you nervously standing by the computer, hoping no professor stumbles upon your steamy pages! I think we are all grateful to your coworker for offering you the challenge and following up on it by sending it to Silhouette Books on your behalf. Here's hoping that THE ENGAGEMENT GAMBLE touches a lot of people and offers them a pleasurable getaway from real life. Thanks for sharing your talent with us!

  6. I loved the excerpt! I've got this series in my TBR pile!

  7. Do you ever suffer from writer’s block and, if so, how do you overcome it?

  8. I love the story about your co-worker sending in your chapters! And of course i look forward to the story of Zach and Suzanne.


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