One of my most anticipated books this year was Be Mine Forever, the third book in the Bennett Series by Kennedy Ryan. I love this series so much! In the first two books we meet a secondary character I happened to like very much, I thought she was a stand up gal, loyal and strong, her name is Jo Walsh. I was so happy when I found out she was getting her own book and I was pleasantly pleased when she agreed to an interview with me.
Scene: Coffee and scones at a local coffee shop:
Me: Hello Jo. Thank you for taking the time to talk to us. For starters, tell us a little about yourself.
Jo: Thanks for having me and for being flexible and patient with scheduling this. My life is bonkers. I’m excited to chat. About me…I work with my family’s charitable organization, the Walsh Foundation. We serve displaced children in orphanages domestically and abroad, as well as those in foster care here in the US. It’s one of my passions. Fashion, too! My favorite designer, if you want to know, is Zac Posen. My greatest passion, of course, is Cameron Mitchell. If I say much more, I’ll spoil things for folks who haven’t read my and Cam’s story yet. Let’s just say my life keeps getting fuller.
Me: That sounds like a very self-less & rewarding job. Kudos to you and your family for doing what you do. Oh and I have read your story and I love it.
Me: Tell us what it was like growing up the only girl with two boy best friends.
Jo: It was pretty awesome actually. Well, for the most part. Walsh, Cam and I were the Three Musketeers. Walsh split his time between Rivermont, NC, where Cam and I live, and New York City, where he lived with his father, my Uncle Martin. We always made the most of our time together, especially on the river. Good grief, we were river rats! If that old tire swing could talk! Walsh and Cam spoiled me for girls as friends. They were the best friends a girl could ask for. They were protective and sweet to me in a way they weren’t sweet to anyone else. It made me feel special. It also taught me a lot about how guys think. Don’t ask. You don’t want to know! I got all my girly stuff with Walsh’s mom, my Aunt Kristeene. The only drawback was that I could never keep a boyfriend. Walsh and Cam ran them all off! LOL!
Me: I grew up with bunch of boys too and I can say we were all equally territorial of each other growing up, so I do know what you mean. But I loved having guy best friends I wouldn’t have changed them for the world.
Me: How did you know Cam was the one for you?
Jo: Cam and I met at camp when we were twelve years old. I had never felt anything for a boy but ugh, cooties! Hahaha. Cam was…beautiful. That was first. I’d never seen anyone who looked like him, even when he was a boy. And he fought Walsh the first day they met. No one ever challenged Walsh. Aunt Kristeene forced them to be friends even though they nearly killed each other more than once. From the beginning, I know she saw the same thing I saw. That Cam was extraordinary. She loved all the kids our foundation served, but she became…attached to Cam almost right away. So did I. Cam is a brilliant artist. I’ve been fortunate to see his gift grow from the beginning. We were just kids when he drew his first picture of me on a napkin. He mismatched my socks on purpose, and that made me laugh. Cam has been capturing my heart in little ways like that, and in bigger ways, for more than seventeen years. Even when it seemed hopeless, I knew he was the one for me. I always suspected I was the one for him, but he had to see that for himself. If he had never seen it, I would still have known what an amazing man he is and would want him happy no matter what. The fact that he inspires that feeling in me makes me know he is the one.
Me: I admire your strength girl…God knows I could not have done what you did. You are a good person Jo.
Me: It was so hard for us as readers to watch you give him away to another woman. I am sure not as hard it was for you, how did you do it?
Jo: That is a really hard time to talk about. Not just the wedding, which Aunt Kristeene and I planned together, but that whole season of our lives. My two closest friends being at such odds was wrenching. I know people didn’t understand why I was so involved in the wedding. You have to realize I didn’t actually think Cam was an option for me. I had let him know, in several subtle ways, that I had feelings for him. Every time, he shut me down and out. Pretended it wasn’t there so we could remain friends. When you love someone the way I love Cam, a love that is so stubborn and hasn’t gone anywhere for over a decade at that point, you want them to be happy. Cam had an awful childhood. He is a survivor and incredibly strong. He deserves happiness. If I couldn’t give that to him, if he couldn’t find that with me, he still deserved it. I’ve always wanted him in my life – friend, lover, husband – whatever capacity, and I always sorted through my shit – excuse my French – so I could have him in whatever way was possible. He makes me laugh. He considers me before he considers himself. He takes care of me. Those are things he’s always been to me and for me. I wanted those things in my life no matter what.
Me: *stares at this woman in awe*
Me: What are your favorite things about Cam?
Jo: His sense of humor, which so many people don’t get to see. How he pays attention to the things that make me happy, and makes sure I have them. His eyes. Yes, they are this beautiful blue-gray color, and I know it makes girls swoon, but the way his eyes get soft when he looks at me. I’ve never seen him look at anyone else the way he looks at me. I think secretly, maybe that gave me hope. I love his strength. All that he’s overcome has made him who he is, and I respect the tenacity it took for him to be the good guy he really is. I love his loyalty. I think that was why it was so hard for him when things happened between him, Walsh and Kerris. He doesn’t love or trust easily, and he saw that happened as the deepest betrayal because he is loyal to the bone.
Me: He does seem like a good stand up kind of guy.
Me: How is your relationship with Kerris these days?
Jo: Better than it’s ever been! I will admit things were rocky between us. That is well documented. It was never because she had Cam. I was, as much as I could be, happy for them because I honestly thought she was the one who would make Cam happy. And that is really all that mattered to me at the end of the day. But was it a sacrifice to hand him over to her? To plan their wedding? To watch him marry her in my back yard? Yes. And I felt like she threw away the one thing I wanted my whole life. The worse things became between Cam and Walsh, the more I resented her. It wasn’t until Cam left and Walsh wasn’t around that she and I started healing our relationship on our own terms. She asked for my forgiveness for how things happened. Don’t ever underestimate the power of an apology. That started the healing between us. She took responsibility for her part in what happened. She did the work in therapy to figure her issues out and managed to find happiness with my other favorite guy in the world. I know some people think we’re weird because of the dynamic between the four of us, but I can only say I love her like a sister now. The four of us are very close, and I look forward to raising our families together the way Walsh, Cam and I grew up together.
Me: That is really, really amazing. And I’m glad you get to stay close with your best friends.
Me: How did you and Cam spend Valentine’s Day?
Jo: Wow. Cam is very…thoughtful. He pays attention to details. At least my details! I’m a little bit of a workaholic, and I must admit that Valentine’s Day really snuck up on me because of a new initiative I’ve been working on for our Kenyan orphanages. I showed up at work like normal on Friday, only to find Cam had my assistant cancel all my appointments. He’d cleared my schedule. He’s the only one who would ever dare to do that! Ha! And we flew to Paris, one of his favorite cities and mine, for very different reasons. I used to go to Paris several times a year to shop, and of course Cam lived there while attending the Sorbonne. But we’ve never been together! Experiencing that city with him was so much richer than it’s ever been without him because he makes everything more fun. He knows that I have an ongoing love affair with the Louboutin flagship store, so we went there and I did some serious damage. We had dinner at my favorite restaurant then did the tango by the Seine. At least we tried with all the other couples! With all the pressures we’re both under for our careers and family, it was just amazing to slip off on our own for a bit. He is so romantic. Don’t let me gush! LOL!
Me: Well that just made my crush for Cam even deeper! And you have every right and reason to gush! Gush girl gush! He seems very sweet and sincere.
Just a few more silly questions…Answer the first that comes to mind.
1. On Top or on bottom? Um…it really doesn’t matter as long as Cam is above or below! LOL!
2. Chocolate or vanilla? Chocolate. Do people ever say vanilla?
3. Book or eReader? Book! I’m very tactile and sentimental, so even though e-readers are great, and I have my Kindle like every other self-respecting modern girl, I still like to curl up with pages that turn!
4. Clean shaven or scruff? Scruff, for sure!
5. City life or beach life? River life!
I loved all you answers!! I adore your love story with Cam! I love that you all, Walsh and Kerris included, are living your happily ever afters!
Thank you so much for talking with us!
If you haven’t read Be Mine Forever now is your chance! I am giving away two copies here! Please comment on this post or on the Facebook thread of this post and I will pick two winners on Friday, February 20, 2015!
Can a secret crush . . .
Jo Walsh has loved Cameron Mitchell for as long as she can remember. Whether front and center in her life or on the periphery, the tall, brooding artist has made his presence seductively and irresistibly known. But whenever they start to get close, Cam pulls away. Jo’s tired of keeping her feelings in a box Cam is afraid to open. If he wants her, he’ll have to prove it. And if he doesn’t, Jo will need to know the real reason why . . .
. . . become the love of a lifetime?
How do you walk away from your soul mate? Cam wishes he knew. No matter how far he runs from Jo, he can’t resist looking back at the silver eyes that seem to see right through him. But as well as Jo thinks she understands Cam, the dark truth about his past is something she shouldn’t have to handle. Cam’s sure that setting Jo free is the right thing to do. Too bad his heart has other ideas . . .
“So you had a good time, huh?” Cam asked.
Jo caressed the gold leather of her shoe and trapped her bottom lip between her teeth for a moment before looking back at him.
“It was probably one of the best dates I’ve ever had.”
You asked, masochistic bastard.
“So you like this guy?”
“I like this guy a lot.”
Cam had no right to feel like a froth-mouthed rabid dog at the thought of some other man having Jo. He’d spent the last decade and a half doing everything in his power to convince her, without words, that they would never work.
Looked like she finally believed him.
And it was a stiletto twisting in his gut. Cutting through his good intentions. Slicing through flesh, tendon, sinew—until it reached the evil, selfish bone. He wanted to cut the gold confection right off Jo’s lean, curvy body. Snip it away from her lush ass and splay her on the desk. Spread her, eat her, consume her until she didn’t even know her name. Couldn’t even speak because pleasure stole her words, stole her breath, stole her reason. Show her what it really felt like to be possessed by a man who couldn’t keep his eyes off her, as hard as he’d always tried.
Who cared enough about her to keep his damn hands to himself.
It was much harder watching Jo ride off into the sunset with some other guy than he had thought it would be. Even one so obviously perfect for her. So obviously much better for her than he would be.
Cam stood and walked toward Jo, stopping just shy of her immediate orbit. The truth and a lie wrestled in his mouth until they both escaped through tight lips, sounding exactly the same.
“He asked me out again tomorrow.” She tilted her head, considering him like a misbehaving theorem. “Should I go?”
Cam refused his face what it wanted—to frown, scowl, furrow, squeeze his displeasure out through each feature. Instead he freeze-dried all his emotions for later and blanked his expression.
“I can’t tell you what to do.”
Jo searched his face with those eyes, the color of the moon and as omniscient. So like Ms. Kris’s eyes. Not the color or the shape, but gifted with true sight. Insight. In her wisdom, surely Ms. Kris had seen the darkness that even now threatened to swallow Cam whole, but she had loved him in spite of it. And Jo had those eyes, too, only something had changed since he had so deliberately hurt her in New York with Etty. Something in Jo’s heart was dying a slow but certain death. Probably the misplaced affection she’d held on to for years. He wasn’t sure if he wanted to place a pillow over its head or give it mouth-to-mouth. Kill or save. Alive or dead, it threatened his peace of mind.