Saturday, August 1, 2015

A Man for Working Days

Once upon a time, I read Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing and fell in love with witty banter.

Snark-crossed lovers Beatrice and Benedick constantly try to one-up each other with their cleverness. But it’s a quiet moment between Beatrice and another man, the prince Don Pedro, that contributed to Rob, the hero in Her Shirtless Gentleman. The prince asks Beatrice if she would consider him husband material.

She turns him down, saying, “No, my lord, unless I might have another for working days. Your Grace is too costly to wear every day.”

Now, she’s poking a bit of fun at his finery as a gentle way of declining, but the broader context struck a chord with my hero.

Rob is a man for working days. He’s the kind of everyday-special hero who treats even small actions with thoughtfulness instead of relying on grand gestures. When he brings flowers for his date, they aren’t an overpriced bouquet of red roses that took all of two seconds to snatch from the refrigerated rack. They’re hand-picked from his garden, tended with patience and chosen with care.

We live in a fast-paced world, and it’s easy to be distracted by the trappings and not take a close look at the man beneath when it feels like time is running out or we’ll never find the right partner. Maybe we think the flaws aren’t so bad — okay, he forgot a date and didn’t show, or he lied about where he was, or he said some extremely hurtful things in that argument, but it was just one time. He promised it won’t happen again.

The thing is: It’s never just once. What seems like a good bargain grows into something stifling and ultimately into something smothering, until you no longer have the reflex to speak up for yourself and you forget there’s another kind of relationship out there.

Rob? He’s that other kind of guy. He’s the honest, dependable man who works until the job is done, and done right. He grew up on a farm and went straight into the Air Force afterward, trading the disciplined rhythms of one life for another. Now he’s finding success in his civilian life at a cyber security firm, but he’s missing the contentment of another kind of rhythm — the day-to-day life of a family man.

Rob is longing for the right woman, the kind of woman who wants a man for working days. Lucky for him, Eleanora had all she could take of a costly man in her first marriage. Her ex-husband cost her quite a lot in the currency of self-worth and sexual confidence. Together, she and Rob can turn things around, if they can learn each other’s rhythms and find the everyday-special to fit them both.

Fireworks-flashy guys can be fun to take out for a spin — billionaire playboys, I’m looking at you — but when you’re settling down and building a life together, a steady burning heart can’t be beat.


Her heart is in his hands…

After her marriage ends in betrayal, Eleanora Howard finds herself struggling to navigate the dating scene as a thirty-one-year-old divorcee. But feeling undesirable and living alone in the house she once shared with her ex is hardly the recipe for finding new love—until she meets Rob. He’s just the kind of charming, old-fashioned guy she needs—but he’s also eager for intimacy…

After serving in the Air Force and getting a well-paid civilian career, Rob Vanderhoff planned to settle down with the right woman and raise a family. But at thirty-six, he’s still single and searching—until he meets Eleanora. She’s everything he wants. All he has to do is draw her out of her shell. Soon he’s taking her on high school-style dates, fanning the flames of her desire—and helping Nora re-discover the sexy, adventurous woman they both know she really is…

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About the Gentleman series

HER SHIRTLESS GENTLEMAN is the first book in the Gentleman series. Each book is a standalone HEA story with a well-intentioned hero and a strong heroine finding each other on a sweet, erotic journey.

AN ACCIDENTAL GENTLEMAN, the second book in this contemporary romance series, will be available in 2016.

Signing up for the author’s monthly newsletter at will deliver free short stories and updates on upcoming books to your inbox.

About M.Q. Barber

USA Today bestselling author M.Q. Barber likes to get lost in thought. She writes things down so she can find herself again.

Often found staring off into space or frantically scratching words on sticky notes, M.Q. lives with one very tolerant, easily amused husband and one very tolerant, easily amused puppy.

She has a soft spot for romances that explore the inner workings of the heart and mind alongside all that steamy physical exertion. She loves memorable characters, witty banter, and heartfelt emotion in any genre.

The former Midwestern gal is the author of the Neighborly Affection and new Gentleman contemporary romance series. Pick a safeword, grab a partner or two, and jump in.

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