Bad Girls Don't Marry Marines (Rock Canyon Romance #3) by Codi Gary : Spotlight, Excerpt & Author Interview

Book Blurb & Info

The bad girl who stole his heart …

Valerie Willis has done it all: tattoos, one-night stands, even strip poker. And now she can add getting a messy public divorce to that list. Back in her hometown of Rock Canyon, Val just wants to bury her head and wait for the scandal to pass. But when she suddenly finds herself at a singles' weekend face-to-face with former flame Justin Silverton, hiding from her heart—and the sexy Marine—won't be that simple.

Is just too good to let go …

It's been ten years since Justin kissed Val, but he still remembers the way they just seemed to … fit. Since then he's served his country and helped his father keep their ranch intact, but he's never forgotten Val or her wild ways. So when a twist of fate brings him the chance to chase her across state lines and spend a weekend winning her heart, Justin's all in. Because when he sees something he wants, he fights for it. And he's ready to fight for the right to call this bad girl his one and only.

Goodreads / Amazon

Book Excerpt

Val stood in front of her stove stirring in the powdered cheese packet of her mac and cheese while her English bulldog, Gus, sat at her feet, licking his monstrous chops.

“This is my lunch, Gus-man. Your belly is starting to drag.”

The dog whimpered and pawed at her with his short front leg, his brown eyes begging for her to share. She loved her dog, a gift from Cole for her twenty-third birthday, and she had fought hard to keep him during the divorce. Cole had wanted Gus for breeding but had finally relented when she’d let him have her Porsche. It was a silly car to have, especially in winter, and Gus was worth it. She’d had his sperm collected, since he did have champion lines, and neutered him.

She was just pouring the milk into the saucepan when there was a pounding on her front door and she sloshed it all over the counter.


Whoever it was, they were knocking so hard it was shaking the door of her comfortable little ranch house. It couldn’t compare to the huge mansion she’d lived in with Cole, but the house actually felt like a home and not a prison. She hurried to the door and swung it wide open, ready to give whoever it was a piece of her mind.

Ellie stood on her doorstep with three suitcases and a woebegone expression. Val’s heart sank.

“What happened?”

“Nothing, Dad’s just overreacting. Again.” Ellie hefted up one of the bags and gave Val her best pleading look. “Can I stay with you for a while? Please?”

Val groaned and leaned her head against the doorjamb. She loved her sister, but she was five years younger than Val, and instead of going off to college somewhere, she’d decided to just take classes at the local junior college, where she was barely passing and spent more time skipping class than going. Her friends were the troublemakers in town, and Val did not want them coming over all the time, wrecking her house and pissing her off.

Standing firm, Val laid down the law. “Rules first.”

“Come on, Val, it’s freezing,” Ellie whined, making her usual dark beauty dim a little in Val’s mind. Her sister had definitely gotten their mother’s body, with curves to make a man sweat, but she wasn’t as mature as she looked.

“Rule number one: pick up after yourself. I am not a maid.”

“Fine. Sure. Hurry up,” Ellie pleaded, hopping from one UGG-booted foot to the other.

“Number two: your little friends are not allowed in the house when I’m not here.”

“God, you really need to get laid,” Ellie said, but when Val started to shut the door, she yelled, “I’m sorry, I’m sorry! Yes! No friends over when you aren’t home.”

Val stepped back and Ellie started dragging her bags in, kissing Val’s cheek on her way. As she started down the hallway, Val remembered one last thing. “And no men in this house. This is a man-free zone.”

Her sister muttered something Val couldn’t hear, but she let it go. Her sister could think she was being an uptight prude all she wanted, but Val believed her attitude was more about self-preservation.

Looking down into Gus’s smushed face, she frowned. “Did I make the right choice?”

Gus growled, and Val had to agree with him.

Hi Codi,

Thank you so much for sitting down with Toot's for an interview. If you don't mind, I have some questions for you about your series Rock Canyon Romance, your new book, Bad Girls Don’t Marry Marines, and your process for our budding authors as well as fans.

So first off, your newest book is part of your series, Rock Canyon Romance. Let's talk about the series as a whole....

In your own words, what is the Rock Canyon Romance series about?

Rock Canyon could be any small town, and what it means for me is home. I grew up in small towns and love them to pieces, but there are major cons. Everyone knows your business, sometimes before you do, and that can make having a private life hard. However, when the worst and best things happen to you, you’d be surprised how fast the small town community will rally around you. For me, Rock Canyon is about finding out who you are and that one person that lets you be the best version of yourself.

What inspired the series? 

I had just moved to Idaho with my husband and two small children. We had one car and were renting a basement from someone, in the middle of winter. I was reading voraciously, and finally, I sat down at my computer and said, “I’ve wanted to write a book since I was eleven and by the time I’m thirty, I will have fulfilled that dream.” Rock Canyon was born from exploring Idaho with my family and falling in love with it.

Can you tell us a bit about the newest book in the series, Bad Girls Don’t Marry Marines? 

Bad Girls Don’t Marry Marines is a star-crossed lover’s story. Valerie Willis is the middle daughter of a local politician who is, to put it bluntly, a controlling jack ass. After her mother’s death, Val followed in her older sister’s foot steps and developed a reputation, but it wasn’t until her father caught her sneaking in from a date with his enemy’s son that he really started cracking the whip. He sent Val off to an All-Girls school, and although she continued to rebel, she eventually married the man her father wanted her to and it ended badly. Now, she’s back in Rock Canyon and trying to keep a low profile, but between her younger sister’s wild antics and her father’s meddling, she finds herself back in the scheme of things…and reunited with the same boy her father tried to keep her away from. Only he’s not a boy anymore. He’s a six foot tall former marine named Justin Silverton and he still wants Val…bad.

How did you come up with the title of your newest book in the series and can you tell us its significance? 

LOL well, actually, the marketing team at Avon came up with my title, so I can’t take credit for it, but I will say it’s straight and to the point. Justin and Val are polar opposites, and yet, they complement each other. No matter how much they’re messed with or separated, they always come back to each other.

How does the new book, Bad Girls Don’t Marry Marines, fit into the series? 

Marines fits in because, even in a small town, not everyone is going to hang out together or even know each other well. In my first novella, I introduced Gracie, Gemma, and Mike, who have their own circle of friends and in Things Good Girls Don’t Do, I introduced Katie, Steph, her husband Jared, and Justin, the hero of Marines. Even though circles may overlap and get to know each other, it gives a lot of room to maneuver. So, in Marines, I got to show you the people in Justin’s life (his older brother, his father, his best friend, Jared and his wife Steph from Things) and then introduce you to a new branch of characters from my heroine’s side; Val, of course, her little sister, Ellie, and father Edward, her older sister, Caroline) and then, the fantastic folks in True Love, Nevada, a fun little town with a rich, matchmaking history. So this book was important because it’s the third one…it’s like the third date rule. By the third date with a guy, you have a pretty good idea whether you have a future with him or not. The third book is your expansion, your future builder and with four more books coming in the series, the future is looking pretty good. J

How many books are planned for the series? 

Right now, Rock Canyon will have a total of seven and the novella from Kiss Me.

What genre would you say Bad Girls Don’t Marry Marines is and what sets your book apart for fans of the genre? 

It’s definitely contemporary romance and I guess the thing that sets me apart is my voice, and that I try to make my characters as realistic as possible. My characters are flawed, big time. They make mistakes, they make bad choices, they act stupid, but we all do. I didn’t want to write about the girl who was perfect in almost every way, I wanted to write about the screw up that always felt less than or unworthy or skeptical that she could ever find anyone right for her. And the heroes who do their best to change their minds.

What was your favorite scene to write in Bad Girls Don’t Marry Marines? 

Anytime I got to put Val and her sister, Ellie, together, I was smiling. My favorite scene is when Val comes back from the matchmaking weekend and Ellie is ready to give her hell, and is floored by the change in her sister. Ellie has some great lines.

What was the hardest scene to write for Bad Girls Don’t Marry Marines? 

For me, it was probably the scene between Val and her father when he catches Justin and her together. I tried to put myself in the mindset of the middle child who never stood out, who never seemed to do anything right, even when she tried, and how it would feel to realize that she was never going to get the father she wanted. I was sitting in my local coffee shop, wiping at my eyes so no one would notice my tears.

What is your favorite line or quote from Bad Girls Don’t Marry Marines? 

When Val accuses Justin of trying to take advantage of her, and he shoots back with, “Because when I have my way with you, you'll be awake, you'll be well, and you'll be begging me for it.” It was one of the scenes I did a massive rewrite on and I just couldn’t lose that line.


Do you recall how your interest in writing originated and what made you decide to pursue it as a career?

I was a voracious reader before I could read. I used to sit with my books on tape and turn the pages to my favorite fairy tales and Disney books, and when I was eleven, I remember someone asked me what I wanted to do when I grew up, and I said, “I want to be a writer.”

What inspires you to put the pen to paper or fingers to the keyboard? 

Almost anything, but my best ideas come in the shower. One of the funniest writing moments was the Thunderstorm scene from Things came to me while I was washing my hair, and I ran out of the shower, streaking to my laptop and my husband was like, “What the hell?” My response: “I don’t want to forget this.”

What are some of the elements in/of your writing process? 

I need good music, relative quiet (which is never easy with two small kids), and a white mocha or coffee in my hand.

Are you a Plotter or a Panster? 

I started off very pantser, but I think I’m getting better about writing a synopsis and planning out things. Now I find myself making scene notes during my synopsis brainstorms because once my brain starts going, the dialogue flashes through my mind.

Have you released anything under a different pen name, and if so, is there any difference between them? 

Not yet, but hopefully soon ;-)

What's next for you? 

Right now, finishing book 4, which belongs to Val’s older sister, Caroline, and recovering from RT so I can get ready for RWA!

Is there anything you’d like to add or say to your fans? 

Just how honestly grateful I am that they picked up and read my books in the first place. The reaction from them…the comments, the private messages, the reviews, the tweets…I actually bumped into a reader at RT who read my name badge and says, “Oh, my God, I love your books.” It’s humbling and exciting and I just want to thank everyone for taking a chance on me and I hope I can keep writing stories for many years to come.

Personal questions......

Now I know this is like asking you to choose between your own children, but out of all your amazing characters, who is your favorite and why?

I feel bad but I don’t even have to think about it. Chase. Hands down.

Are there any of your stories or characters that hold a special place in your heart? 

Gracie Lou holds a special place in my heart and when I write her story, I want it to be EPIC!

If the book or series had to have a theme song, what would it be? 

Wow…really? Ummmm…Small Town USA, maybe? Or More Trucks than Cars by Craig Morgan? Ahhh it’s so hard!!!!

Lastly, What 5 things do fans not know about you and 5 they don't know about the series?


1) I am slightly narcoleptic. No official diagnoses, but I fall asleep at awkward times….maybe I just need more naps. J

2) I was a cheerleader, peer counselor, and FFA member in high school.

3) I went to a tech school, and spent 6+ years working as a Veterinary Assistant in a cat only hospital.

4) During Tech School I interned at a Zoo/Wildlife sanctuary and LOVED it, especially the big cats. I fell in love with a tiger named Misty in the 3 ½ months I spent there and realized my loathing of monkeys.

5) I have six half brothers and sisters and my oldest brother is 21 years my senior.


1) Gemma and Travis’s story was rewritten twice. Once because it was my first book and horrible. The second because I needed a stronger hook.

2) The only title that I came up with was for my novella, The Trouble with Sexy.

3) Although Rock Canyon is a work of fiction, the majority of towns and places I write about are real. Especially Snow Bunny…yum!

4) My favorite scenes are usually between my female characters. They are funny and can talk about the hero out of ear shot. No, the reason I adore these relationships is because true friends are really hard to come by and I think that they should shine on the pages.

5) I had actually debated on putting Gemma and Mike together (like my bestie thought I should) but in the end, I though Mike deserved to be with someone who was going to take one look at him and think he was an arrogant ass (who, Mike?) and then fall in love with him. But you’ll get to read more about that in Book Six! :-P

THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU for taking time to answer some questions. Congratulations on the new book and I can't wait for everyone to read it!

Author Info

From the time I could put a Disney Book cassette into my little stereo,and read along, books have held a fantastic distraction. When I was eleven, I decided I wanted to be one of those magical people that brought stories to life. Devouring a book a day sometimes, my first romance novel stuck with me. I've always been a sucker for a happy ending (and the great romantic gesture)and that's what I try to put into my stories. I am so honored to be a part of Avon, and am so excited to have my own dreams coming true.

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