Wednesday, March 15, 2017

I grew up in a small town...

I grew up in a small town. I mean really small. Like just smidge over 500 souls small. There was no Wal-Mart, no McDonalds, no movie theater. Not even a high school (that was in another town 10 miles away).

 It. Was. Awesome!

There are so many things I didn’t realize were unique about growing up in a community that small and I certainly did not appreciate them while I lived there.

For one thing, everyone knew everyone else. And not just that. We knew each other’s complete dating, family and employment history. Heck, if they’d been there a couple generations, people were most likely related to all the other legacy families, either by blood or by marriage. You had to be careful about what you said about someone…you might be talking to her cousin!

In a way, knowing so much about your neighbors (and having them know so much about you) was comforting. It could also be stifling, and embarrassing at times. As a kid, if I was doing something I shouldn’t be doing (like riding my bike too close to the highway), my mom knew about it before I even got home because at least one neighbor had already called the house to tell on me. You didn’t get away with much!

In a town that tiny, your neighbors are your extended family. That’s why I wanted to set A Limited Engagement in a small town. When Derek and Lilly stage a fake an engagement to help Derek land a sponsorship deal for his race team, they plan for the ruse to happen over one weekend, far from home. They never expected their families and friends to learn of it at all.

But they return home to find that not only does the whole town know about it, they are waiting at the airfield to meet the happy couple, and there’s a surprise engagement party already in full swing at Derek’s house!

How are Derek and Lilly going to tell all these people who have known them their whole lives that it was a big, fat lie? Especially when their coupledom makes everyone so happy?

Having people learn something you wanted to keep secret is bad. Having that happen in a small town is a disaster…one that gets stickier the longer the lie goes on. But it sure was fun watching how Derek and Lilly tried to wriggle out of the situation. I hope you’ll enjoy it, too!

She stepped out of the plane and onto the stairway first. There really was a small crowd. As soon as Derek appeared behind her, everyone started clapping, and there were even a few wolf whistles.

“I didn’t know there was a fan thing today.”

Then she realized it wasn’t random strangers, but her parents, her grandmother, a few of Derek’s cousins, a couple of guys dressed in Stewart-Sawyer Racing polo shirts, and a dozen or so family friends. It was a welcoming committee.

Derek’s mother was there. She had tears in her eyes and met Lilly at the bottom of the steps, wrapping her in a tight hug.

“This is the happiest day of my life,” Derek’s mother told her. “I’ve prayed and prayed this day would come. I’m just happy I’m alive to see it.”

“What’s going on, Mama? Everything all right?” Derek asked.

Lilly heard the sliver of panic in his voice.

His mom wrapped him in her embrace, too. Lilly could barely breathe through the heavy gardenia perfume Judy Sawyer always wore, but there was no chance of getting free.

“I oughta ring both your necks,” she said, letting them up for air. Lilly glanced at Derek, but he looked just as confused as her. “I can’t believe I had to find out from the TV of all places that my oldest son is engaged to the girl next door.” She turned to Lilly. “I always knew you two would end up together. From the time you were kids, didn’t I, Maryanne?” She glanced at Lilly’s mother, who was just behind her. “I always said these two would end up together.”

Derek shook his head. “It’s not really like that—” His words were lost in a chorus on congratulations and handshakes and hugs.

Lilly’s father emerged from the crowd and hugged her tight. “I’m proud of you, Peanut. Real proud.”  He clapped Derek on the back and shook his hand vigorously. “I can’t say I approve of you getting a head start on the honeymoon, but I guess it’s all water under the bridge now that she’s wearing your ring. Welcome to the family, son.”


Derek Sawyer, sexiest bad boy on the racing circuit, is about to land a huge sponsor. The only problem is the oil baron’s daughter wants to make Derek part of the deal. Worried he’ll offend the old billionaire if he rejects his daughter, Derek comes up with the perfect plan—pretend he’s already engaged to his friend Lilly.

Lilly Harmon used to daydream about her childhood crush Derek proposing to her…but not like this. Of course, she just lost her boyfriend and her job, so her five-year plan is already smashed to hell. Pretending to be with Derek might help her get her PR career back on track.

But the oil baron’s daughter won’t give up that easily, and Derek’s parents believe the engagement proves he’s become the son they always wanted.

Money. Family. Love. The truth could destroy everything. And to think this engagement was supposed to be the easy way out. 

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About the author:
Bethany Michaels is the author of over a dozen contemporary novels and novellas as well as a handful of Regency-set historicals and light paranormal romances. The first book in her Nashville country music series, Nashville Heat, was an RT Book Reviews Reviewers' Choice Award nominee.

When not working on her next book, Bethany enjoys movies, traveling, camping, hiking, and volunteering with her kids' scout troops. She lives in Nashville, Tennessee with her husband and four teens.

Bethany loves to hear from readers and can be reached at or through her website at

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Author Twitter: @bmichaelsauthor

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