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#Spotlight NEVER BEEN GOOD by Christi Barth @christi_barth @avonbooks @puretextuality #Interview #Giveaway #Excerpt

Title: Never Been Good
Author: Christi Barth
Series: Bad Boys Gone Good #2
Publisher: Avon
Format: eBook
Release date: April 03, 2018

Flynn Maguire isn’t really a bad guy. Sure, he worked for the mob, but he ran a legitimate business—on paper anyway—and it paid enough to keep his brother out of the lifestyle. Until they turned on him. Now he’s stuck in Witness Protection, tending bar in Nowheresville Oregon…and pissed the life he knew is gone.

The only bright spot? Fantasizing about his quiet, secretive, beautiful coworker.

Sierra Williams is a woman on the run. All she wants now is to settle into small town life… and ignore the brooding, sexy bartender who can’t seem to take his eyes off her. Flynn’s bad-boy vibe pushes all her buttons, but Sierra fell for the wrong man once already. She can’t afford to let her guard down again. Except Flynn’s tough exterior is slowly melting away to reveal the sweet man beneath and their attraction is too strong to resist.

Sierra and Flynn are falling fast, but they’re both keeping so many secrets. The truth could ruin everything… unless a girl who’s a little bad is perfect for a guy who’s never really been good.

Seven Months Earlier
Graceland Cemetery, Chicago
11:30 p.m., October 31
“This is nice.” Frank Mullaney’s brother nudged him, flashing a grin from behind the enormous fake white beard. “We haven’t celebrated a Halloween together in years.”
Yeah. His brother Ryan had lost his mind, no doubt about it. His brother, who happened to be currently dressed like Santa Claus. On freaking Halloween.
Not that it was any better than his own off-season costume. Frank had flat-out refused—at first—when Ryan laid the leprechaun costume across his bed. Until he pointed out the two best points of the costume. A big red beard and hat that would totally disguise Frank’s features, and a fake pot of gold. Aka something that wouldn’t look weird for him to be carrying, just like the bag good old Santa had draped over his shoulder.
Since it turned out that just under two million in cash couldn’t be stuffed in your pockets.
Especially not when traipsing through a cemetery. On Halloween. At almost midnight, surrounded by drunken, screaming people on ghost tours.
“That’s probably because we’re grown ass men. Trick or treating would be weird at our age.” The thought of candy made Frank remember that he’d skipped lunch. And dinner. Because Ryan showed up at his front door with costumes and this crazy plan. “Although I wouldn’t say no if you pulled a Snickers out of your pocket and tossed it my way.”
Ignoring him, Ryan continued, his voice a little softer. “We haven’t celebrated Halloween since Mom died.”
Way to bring the mood back to serious-as-fuck. Grim enough to match the gravestones they were skirting. “You mean since she was murdered.” Because Ryan had just shared that little bombshell with him. It was still rattling around in his head like a pinball. God knew it hadn’t sunk in yet.
Ryan stopped at the edge of a replica of a Greek temple. He dropped his sack onto the concrete foundation of the tomb. Fisted his hands on the red velvet and padding near his waist. “Can we not talk about that right now? One thing at a time. Let’s get through tonight. Through the next couple of weeks. Then, I promise, we’ll sit down and hash everything out.”
Classic Ryan. Solving problems. Staying focused on the long game. It was exactly what he did as the right hand man for the leader of the Chicago mob.
Did…past tense. Seeing as how today he and Frank had stolen all of the mob’s cash. And then tomorrow, they’d watch their colleagues and friends get arrested in a sting—and hopefully the missing money would be attributed to the Fed’s raid. After that, the Mullaney brothers would disappear forever, courtesy of the U.S. Marshals Service.
Frank shifted his weight from one foot to the other. The frost-bitten grass made a crunching sound. Probably similar to the one his bones would make if this whole plan failed and the mob ever caught up with them.
“Are you going to talk to Kieran, too?” Because their little brother was out of the loop on all of it. He had no idea that his big brothers were even in the mob, let alone close to the top. He was balls deep in law school.
Until tomorrow.
Until they ripped that away from him.
Just to save Frank.
How was that fair? God. Frank swallowed so hard he swore he could hear his Adam’s apple scraping against his throat.
Ryan’s blue eyes shifted to the side. Easy enough to see his discomfort at being pinned down, with the whole place lit up with spotlights and luminarios along the paths and footlights edging the most famous tombs. “You and I will talk first. Then we’ll decide, together, how far in to dial Kieran.”
“You think he’ll hate us?”
Ryan’s mouth turned downward into a bitter smirk. “Since it was all my idea to put us into Witness Protection, yeah, I’m sure he’ll hate me. For a while. Pretty sure that you will, too. Once our new reality hits.”
“No way. Not possible.” The only way they’d survived the death of their mom was by banding together as tight as stucco on drywall. Their dad dying…ah, no. Being murdered by McGinty, per the other surprise truth Ryan laid on him today. Their dad’s death had made their bond more unshakeable. Strong enough to get them through their worst days. It made them strong enough to survive anything, as long as the three of them were together. He could never, would never hate Ryan.
“I’ll check back in with you in a month, when you’re jonesing for an MMA fight.”
How many more surprises were coming? Frank shook his head. “I can’t fight anymore?” The mixed martial arts training started as a way to prove that even though he sat behind a desk, he was just as tough as everyone else in McGinty’s organization. Appearances mattered. Respect had to be earned.
 Kicking ass in the ring went a long way to making sure people stopped calling him a pencil pusher. But he liked it, too. Liked teaching the skills to kids so they could defend themselves. A good fight worked out all his stress. And yeah, he’d cop to getting a thrill from winning the competitions, too.
“Keeping our noses clean is a pretty big requirement in WITSEC. I think an underground fight club wouldn’t go over—” Ryan broke off. Grabbed Frank by the neck and pulled him down behind the marble tomb.
Ryan put his finger to his lips. Then he pointed at another tour group, coming at them from the edge of the lake. This one was full of shivering women in skimpy versions of superhero costumes, hanging on the arms of already drunk and stumbling men.

Does writing energize or exhaust you?
Absolutely both! While I’m doing it, I’m revved and excited and focused. And then when I stop, I’m utterly drained.

What is your writing Kryptonite?
Sex scenes. Weird for a romance author, right? But for me, it is getting caught up in making sure the hero doesn’t ‘caress’ too many times. The heroine has to do more than just ‘stroke’. The emotional stuff is easy. The tab A in slot B stuff requires a White Russian.

Do you try more to be original or to deliver to readers what they want? 
I write the story that interests me. It takes four months to churn out a book. I’ve got to be fascinated with that story and those characters…and just hope that readers will feel the same way.

Do you want each book to stand on its own, or are you trying to build a body of work with connections between each book?
I’m a firm believer that each book must stand on its own – because that’s what I enjoy as a reader. However, my preference is to

If you could tell your younger writing self anything, what would it be?
To believe sooner that I could publish a book. I was such an awestruck, fan girl reader that actually publishing seemed unattainable. I’d noodle around, writing a chapter and then letting it sit for three months, because finishing meant trying to sell, and only brilliant writers did that. I would’ve screwed up my courage much earlier.

What was the best money you ever spent as a writer?
I went to a two day workshop with Alexandra Sokoloff on screenwriting for writers. It was a gamechanger for me, and allowed me to grow from writing one book a year to four.

How many unpublished and half-finished books do you have?
None. Well, aside from what is currently out on submission. I’ve published every book I’ve ever written, and I hope that streak continues!

What did you edit out of this book?
This one, nothing big. I had to do the opposite. Flynn and Sierra both adore children. Flynn was a part of Big Brothers, and Sierra wants to be a teacher. My brilliant editor pointed out that I really ought to show them interacting with children on the page. I added two whole scenes with adorable kids to more fully flesh out those character aspects.

How do you select the names of your characters?
Oh, I do a ton of research. I start by looking up the 100 most popular names the year they were born. For my series, I make sure that all three heroines don’t end in y/ie. And that the number of syllables in all the series names aren’t the same. That everyone doesn’t start with the same letter. I research ethnic names where appropriate. They also have to match the personalities…it is a loooong process.

Do you read your book reviews?
Absolutely. Every single one I can find. How do you deal with bad or good ones? I pay attention to the less-flattering ones to see if there is a pattern that would indicate someplace I can improve. Reader feedback can be useful (aside from people who complain that a novella is too short, LOL). The good ones give me a reason to happy-dance, and then I scan them for quotes that I can use in promo. And I also read every single one because those awesome readers took the time to comment on my book – they deserve my attention.

Do you hide any secrets in your books that only a few people will find?
I do. I name evil/annoying characters after people who have done my friends wrong (just first names, so I won’t get sued). In my wedding planning series, I included several stories from real weddings, but changed the names to protect the happily married. 

What was your hardest scene to write?
In my Naked Men series, two heroines are best friends who survived a mass shooting at college. In each of their books, I had to describe what they went through as they shared the experience with the hero. Getting in that mindset absolutely gutted me.

What one thing would you give up to become a better writer?
I think I already did, LOL. I am a huge TV-a-holic. (I blame growing up in Los Angeles). In order to write more than one book a year, I made a conscious decision about five years ago to cut back massively on my watching. I mean, I still have my  I still yearn for it, every night. I hear about people binging through a series in a weekend and I whimper. But I need that time to write. (Shout out to Supergirl, Lucifer, LA to Vegas, Blindspot….oops, I’d better stop!)

How long on average does it take you to write a book?
I’m pretty regimented, so I can tell you exactly how long it takes! A novella takes five weeks, and a single title takes four months. I have word count deadlines I have to hit every week, so there’s a whole, planned out schedule. And I stick to it, through pneumonia and conferences and even broken fingers.

Do you believe in writer’s block?
Absolutely not. I think writing gets hard. Generating ideas gets hard. It can be frustrating to push through. But ultimately, writing is a job. The words are due. An advertising company can’t be late getting a campaign to a client by claiming writer’s block. A lawyer couldn’t tell a judge that he doesn’t have an opening statement….Writers just have to gut it out and keep going.

USA Today bestseller Christi Barth earned a Masters degree in vocal performance and embarked upon a career on the stage. A love of romance then drew her to wedding planning. Ultimately she succumbed to her lifelong love of books and now writes award-winning contemporary romance.

Christi can always be found either whipping up gourmet meals (for fun, honest!) or with her nose in a book. She lives in Maryland with the best husband in the world.


Go HERE for the giveaway

GIVEAWAY TERMS & CONDITIONS:  Open to US shipping addresses only. Two winners will each receive a paperback copy of Bad For Her by Christi Barth.  This giveaway is administered by Pure Textuality PR on behalf of Avon Romance.  Giveaway ends 4/9/2018 @ 11:59pm EST. Avon Romance will send the winning copies out to the winner directly. Limit one entry per reader and mailing address.  Duplicates will be deleted.

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