Early Novels

Mad About Mindy...and Mandy

A MATCH MADE BY MINDY IS ONE WORTH KEEPING!

Professional matchmaker Mindy McCrae has her work cut out for her. She has a 95-percent success rate with her clients, but Benton Maxwell III is going to drop that stat like a stone. He wants Suzy Homemaker, not a modern independent woman! But Mindy's determined to fulfill her part of the bargain. He wants the perfect woman? She'll become his perfect woman ... in more ways than one!

A Note from Toni ~
In February 2001, I had a skiing accident in which I fractured my femur and injured some ligaments in my knee. So one night as I lay in bed unable to sleep due to the ache in my leg, I thought - Hmm, maybe I'll try to come up with an idea for a Duets book. By morning, I knew Mindy and Benton's entire story : ) This book was so much fun to write that it practically wrote itself. And like Something Wild and Seducing Summer, it's set in Cincinnati, so that added to the ease and enjoyment for me, too. This is definitely my favorte of my books for Harlequin.
Mad About Mindy ... and Mandy Harlequin Duets #98 April 2003 currently out of print

Mad About Mindy ... and Mandy
Harlequin Duets #98
April 2003
currently out of print


Something Wild

SHE'S GOING TO TAKE A WALK ON THE WILD SIDE!

Penny Halloran is confused. Her boyfriend has proposed, but they've never ... Well, before she makes her decision, she needs to know if they're ... compatible. What better way to find out than seduce her man in the back of a limo? If sparks are there, she'll say yes! She just never intended to say yes to the wrong man!

Ryan Pierce wants to start over. No longer the swinging bachelor - he'd gotten into too much trouble! - he's sure life will be much simpler. But when he mistakenly gets a sexy invitation for a night he'll never forget, he doesn't know what to expect. Certainly not the sweet restaurant owner from downstairs ... who turns out to be a wild woman! What's a reformed bad boy to do? Help Penny discover her wild side, of course, and turn those sparks into a full-blown inferno!

A Note from Toni ~ 
Something Wild was conceived when my editor suggested I write a book for Temptation's Wrong Bed mini-series. It's more of a "sexy romp" book than anything I've written before, and many readers told me it was their favorite book of mine up to that time. A fun aspect of the book for me was setting the story in Cincinnati, where I live. It allowed me to add a lot of fun area details that I think local readers really enjoyed.

I also loved the cover of this book. I requested Cameron Mathison who plays Ryan on All My Children, since I knew he'd posed for a few Temptation covers in the past, and although you can't quite see his face, I'm 99% sure it's him : ) This is one of the rare occasions when the artist's rendition of my characters matched my vision of them perfectly!
Something Wild Harlequin Temptation #870 March 2002 currently out of print

Something Wild
Harlequin Temptation #870
March 2002
currently out of print


Seducing Summer

SHE'S HAVING HIS BABY ...

Summer Avery thought her life was perfect. Her career was on the rise and she had her independence. What she never expected was have it all turned upside down in one night. Now, instead of worrying about sales figures and market changes, Summer's thinking about her expanding waistline and changing diapers. And if that weren't hard enough, her gorgeous one-night stand wants to marry her!

When Brett Ford met the aloof blonde, he knew there was something beneath her icy exterior. He was right. She's determined ... determined not to have anything to do with him! She won't accept his proposal and he won't take no for an answer. His only option? Seducing Summer until she says yes!

A Note from Toni ~
Although Seducing Summer was my second book for Harlequin Temptation, I'd actually written and submitted it a couple of years earlier - it was simply a matter of another book I'd submitted making it to the top of the editor's pile first : ) When I came up with the idea, I was trying to write "the book that sells," meaning the book that's rich with the hooks that grab romance readers and editors, and fortunately, it worked : ) And despite how calculated that may sound, I truly loved writing it and think it was one of my more poignant earlier stories. As with Something Wild and Mad About Mindy...and Mandy, this book is set in Cincinnati.

Seducing Summer Harlequin Temptation #825 April 2001 currently out of print

Seducing Summer
Harlequin Temptation #825
April 2001

currently out of print


Hotbed Honey

WHAT HE NEEDS...

P.I. Max Tate needs a woman. The only way he can trap a sneaky jewel thief is to have a gorgeous wife as bait. Enter sexy Kimberly Brandt. She's perfect for the part, even though she's already mangled his heart and his career once. This time, though, he vows to keep his distance ...

WHAT SHE WANTS...

All Kimberly wants is the chance to prove to Max that she's a good P.I., so she'll give this job her all. Turning up the heat, she soon has the crook right where she wants him, but there's one problem. The irresitably sexy Max seems equally attracted by her fiery attitude ... and as a "married" couple, they have to share a bed ..

A Note from Toni ~ 
Hotbed Honey is a book that's near and dear to my heart, not only because it's the first book I sold to Harlequin, but because I simply love the characters and the story. I wrote the book in about two weeks and recall the words flowing almost effortlessly. I can't say for sure where I got the idea for the book, but I remember it coming to me as I was falling asleep one night - the idea of forcing two people to work together who had shared a passionate past but didn't necessarily trust each other. If I could change anything about this book, it would be the title - but sometimes authors don't have complete control over such things. I've gotten great response on the book and will always cherish it!

Hotbed Honey Harlequin Temptation #800 September 2000 currently out of print

Hotbed Honey
Harlequin Temptation #800
September 2000

currently out of print


October Moon

ENCHANTED EVENING...

Julie hated Halloween - and that included everything from costumes to haunted houses. But a bad break up has her feeling down, so her best friend forces to go to a wild Halloween party where she encounters the most aggressive, and suggestive, man she's ever met. Dressed as a skeleton, his costume is skin-tight, his remarks are off-color, and he won't leave Julie alone. When the party moves to a haunted house in the middle of nowhere, fate intervenes and Julie and the Skeleton Guy get locked inside. The long night ahead of them seems like a nightmare - little does Julie know that before it's over she will have fallen in love.

A Note from Toni ~ 
Even years after it's release, October Moon remains one of my favorites. It's one of the very first books I wrote and it came straight from the heart. The idea for the story was a simple one - I wanted to write a funny book about all the amusements and absurdities of Halloween, and I wanted it, of course, to be a romance. I also employed a fairly daring format - the entire book takes place in twenty-four hours. I remember calling my editor at Precious Gems in the spring of 1998 and asking her to read it since I knew if the book were to be on the shelves in time for Halloween, a sale would have to come quickly. The next day she called me and said, "I read it. I love it. I want to buy it." More than one reader has told me they reread the book each October, and I couldn't be more honored.

October Moon Kensington Precious Gems #166 October 1998 Written as Toni Blair Available again in a revised, expanded edition retitled The Bewitching Hour. Buy now

October Moon
Kensington Precious Gems #166
October 1998
Written as Toni Blair

Available again in a revised, expanded edition retitled The Bewitching Hour. Buy now


Baby Love

ON HER OWN...

Holly Blake's husband died before she gave birth to her daughter Emily. Now Emily is six months old and the stress of working all day and trying to be mother and father to her child all night is getting to her. She needs a break. She needs something new and exciting in her life. And she thinks she might just have found it in her new neighbor, construction worker Derek Cassidy.

The last thing Derek Cassidy needed was a lady with a baby. But Holly is too much for him to resist and she and the baby come as a package deal. He's not cut out to be a father and doesn't want Holly - or Emily - to start thinking of him in those terms. But fate seems to have other plansÉ

A Note from Toni ~ 
Baby Love is what I consider my requisite "baby book." I don't have any children, which made the writing more challenging for me than it would have been for most women, but two friends who had just had babies happily answered all my questions, as well as supplying a few anecdotes that made it into the story. I also think of Baby Love as my John D'Salvo cover book, something which I'm sure pleased many readers and netted me more than a few sales ; ) Although neither person on the cover looks anything like the characters I'd envisioned, I've always thought it's a bright, colorful, lovely cover. 

Baby Love Kensington Precious Gems #145 July 1998 Written as Toni Blair Available again in a revised, expanded edition retitled The Guy Next Door. Buy now

Baby Love
Kensington Precious Gems #145
July 1998
Written as Toni Blair

Available again in a revised, expanded edition retitled The Guy Next Door. Buy now


The Cinderella Scheme

ONCE UPON A TIME...

Cassie Turner was ready to quit her waitressing job at the diner. For one thing, it wasn't a great place to meet her Prince Charming - until Evan Hunt, the devastatingly handsome CEO of a cosmetics empire, happened to walk in. Cassie rushed over to introduce herself and accidentally poured tea down his very expensive tie.

Then Cassie crashes the charity ball Evan is sponsoring, and he doesn't seem to recognize her. Instead, Evan is smitten with this unknown beauty - and Cassie is too nervous to reveal her deception. When the clock strikes twelve, she knows there's no turning back and no way she can keep from falling in love.

A Note from Toni ~ 
The Cinderella Scheme will always be very near and dear to me as it's the very first book I sold, to Kensington's Precious Gems line, in January of 1998. I'll never forget getting the phone call I'd been awaiting for so long. Unfortunately, the book underwent some difficulties during editing - which is to say that four hours before going to print, it was discovered that the book was too long, and my editor was forced to cut several scenes with very little time to do it. Despite the last minute changes, though, it's a fun, playful look at first love, as well as going after dreams and attaining them. I've always loved the cover of The Cinderella Scheme - just like with my later book, Something Wild, the cover truly captures the characters perfectly, and the picture suits the story to a tee.

The Cinderella Scheme Kensington Precious Gems #139 June 1998 Written as Toni Blair Available again in a revised, expanded edition. Buy now

The Cinderella Scheme
Kensington Precious Gems #139
June 1998
Written as Toni Blair

Available again in a revised, expanded edition. Buy now