Today at My Written Romance, I am thoroughly chuffed to host a stop on the Tasty Book Tour for Something to Prove by Shannyn Schroeder. I read the first in the O’Leary series early last year, and I’ve been really keen to see how Shannyn was going to write Colin’s story. I was not disappointed!
So, tell us a little bit about Something to Prove:
Elizabeth Brannigan is determined to show her father she’s capable of running the family business. Saving his struggling Chicago bar seems like the perfect project. But she’ll need a little help dealing with the rough crowd. Who better to assist her than the handsome co-owner of a thriving Irish pub? Of course, with so much work to do, there are bound to be a few late nights…
Colin O’Leary’s father passed away before he could prove to him that he wasn’t a screw-up. Now he wants to show his brother he’s responsible enough to own a bar of his own—and Elizabeth may be able to help him. But when their professional aspirations clash, tempers—and passions—flare. Are they mature enough to mix business with pleasure—or will they have to choose between the two?
Here’s what I thought about it:
The title of the third in Shannyn Schroeder’s O’Leary series perfectly encompasses her characters. Both Colin and Elizabeth have something to prove, albeit for different reasons.
Colin is trying to show his family, and in particular his brother Ryan, that he is back for good. He ran when things got too hard after the death of his father, leaving Ryan and the rest of the family in the lurch. After three years trying to outrun memories, Colin returns. However, rebuilding trust and relationships is proving harder than he expected.
Elizabeth has one goal: to be the one who succeeds her father as CEO of the family hotel business. Always in competition with her older brother Keith, Elizabeth is using this trip to Boston to show her father that she is just as capable and worthy of running the business as Keith is.
These two balance each other really well. Colin’s laid-back and easygoing demeanor is the perfect foil for Elizabeth’s somewhat uptight, business-centric personality. Their romantic and physical chemistry is really well done, and each brings something out in the other that not many people get to see.
Early on in the book, Elizabeth’s complete lack of willingness to trust and her attitude towards certain things left me scratching my head on occasion. That was until I got the full story behind why she was like she was. I can’t imagine being pitted constantly against my sibling like gladiators in the ring – which is exactly what Elizabeth has been made to do to win her father’s favour. When I read what triggered Elizabeth’s current behaviour, I totally see why she couldn’t trust anybody. To be treated that way by family is just awful. At least Keith was trying to make amends for his behaviour. Dear old Dad on the other hand…what a nasty pastie he was.
I also really liked how the tension between Colin and Ryan was resolved – there were no false, super-sweet promises made or signing angels involved, just honest feelings and talk between the brothers. I had been waiting to see how this would happen from book one, and I was so happy with how it was done in the end.
Hopefully there are more stories to come from the world of the O’Leary family, because I am thoroughly enjoying their tales. Maybe one of the sisters will get their happy ending….
I give Something to Prove 4 out of 5.
Here’s a little excerpt to whet your appetite!
Elizabeth has been researching bars in the area and has just arrived at O’Leary’s. This is the first time she meets Colin.
This bar was doing something right.
The bartender came over as she was reading the menu. “Hi. What can I get you tonight?”
She looked up and swallowed hard. The man in front of her was mouthwateringly gorgeous. His mussed black hair framed a face dominated by a happy-go-lucky smile. She lost her ability to form coherent sentences. “Uh…”
He tilted his head and studied her face. “You look beat. Tough day?”
She nodded. What was wrong with her? She didn’t do this around men. She’d had no fewer than eight different men try to pick her up tonight. This one was just doing his job, and she had to fight for focus.
“How about an Irish coffee?” Dark brows arched over navy eyes.
She cleared her throat. “Sounds good.”
He walked away. She studied the menu. It wasn’t fancy. Like the rest of the bars, it offered burgers and hot wings, but they had more traditional pub fare, like fish and chips and shepherd’s pie. Her mouth watered at the thought of real food. The drink menu was plain as well, but at least displayed a list of drinks with the basic ingredients. Pictures and descriptions would’ve been better, but this bar had already exceeded the competition from the other Chicago neighborhood pubs she’d visited.
The bartender returned with her Irish coffee. She sipped and found it perfect. The whipped cream puffed and floated on top and she used her straw to scoop some up. She ran her tongue over the cream-laden straw and heard a groan.
She looked up to find the bartender looking at her. Replacing the straw, she waited for an explanation.
His mouth quirked up at the corner. “Sorry. I couldn’t help it. That was downright sinful.”
Her cheeks flamed. She was blushing? No. The alcohol from earlier in the evening was catching up with her and colliding with her exhaustion. He broke eye contact and mumbled, “Give me a holler if you need anything else.”
He walked away and picked up a conversation with other customers. She tried not to be obvious in studying him and the way he interacted with people. This was something the other bars had been missing as well. A personal touch.
She finished her drink, tossed cash on the bar, and took a few moments to wander toward the back of the bar. There was a small stage, a jukebox, and dartboards. Down a dimly lit hallway were the bathrooms. Too tired to think, she opted to leave. Part of her wanted to talk to some of the patrons, get their perspective as to why they came here, but it would have to wait.
By morning, hopefully Meg would have information about The Irish Pub and, with any luck, the books wouldn’t be as bad as she imagined. As she wound her way back toward the front, raucous laughter exploded at the bar. The sexy bartender was enjoying something.
He caught her eye as she passed. His laughter made his eyes twinkle with mischief, his smile lighting his face, like he had the best life in the world. She wondered what it would be like to feel that even for a night. It wasn’t that she was unhappy; she liked her life very much, in fact, but it had been too long since she’d experienced a laugh that shook her whole body.
Now for the giveaway!
As part of the tour, Shannyn is giving you, the lucky reader, a chance to win one of two copies of A Good Time, the second in the O’Leary series.
To be in with a chance to win this awesome prize, simply complete the Rafflecopter form below. Good luck!
Where can you buy the book?
Here’s a little bit about Shannyn!
Even though she wrote from high school through college (mostly poetry), she’d never considered a career as an author. Writing fell by the wayside as she focused her energy on creating lesson plans and new and fabulous ways to torment her teen students. One group in particular dubbed her “The Torture Master,” a title she carried into motherhood.
After the birth of baby number two, Shannyn resigned from teaching and fell in love with reading romance novels. She read so many books so quickly that her husband teased, “If you’re going to read so many damn books, why don’t you just write one?”
So she did.
That first book is safely buried on her hard drive, but the process set Shannyn on the path to where she is today—agented with a debut ebook coming out with Kensington in late 2012.
She is recovering from her Diet Coke addiction, fears putting her foot in her mouth on social media, and has a renewed appreciation for the bad girls of the world.
Where can you find Shannyn on the web?
Note: I was provided with an advance reader copy of the book by the publisher, author and Tasty Book Tours. My thanks to them.