All About The Hero of Tycoon’s Delicious Debt

by Susanna Carr, author of Tycoon’s Delicious Debt

When I was invited to write for The Chatsfield series, I was told that my book would be about Serena Dominguez and Cooper Brock.

In the notes the editor sent me, Cooper was a thirty-two-year-old American and he was a multimillionaire deal collector. I knew I could work with that but there was something about the hero’s name that conjured up an image of rugged masculinity. My idea conflicted with what I saw in the notes. I started writing the story but I couldn’t figure out Cooper until Serena called him “cowboy.”

That’s when I knew Cooper was a sophisticated millionaire but his tailored suits didn’t hide the fact that he had the spirit of a cowboy. He was aggressive and demanding. Uncompromising and possessive. When he wanted something, he took immediate action.

Cooper reminded Serena of the mythical cowboys from the Wild West and it wasn’t just his Texan drawl. He didn’t ride a horse or wear a cowboy hat, but he defended his territory and took care of his family. He followed his own rules and had a strong sense of justice. And when he fell in love, he would do anything for his woman.

Months later I finished the manuscript and reviewed the editor notes before I sent it in. Imagine my surprise when I realized there was no mention of cowboys! I guess I only needed the name to warn me that Cooper Brock approached the world as if it were a rough frontier ready to be tamed.

Tycoon’s Delicious Debt will be available in paperback, ebook and audio in July 2015!

What do you look for in a Presents hero?  Do you prefer your heroes commanding and controlled or possessive and passionate like Cooper Brock? 

About Tycoon’s Delicious Debt:

0715-9780373133512-bigwHe has a debt to pay…

Cooper Brock knows Serena Dominguez can ruin him with a snap of her delectable fingers, but he won’t give in to her demands easily. Instead, he gives Serena his own ultimatum: to confront the smoldering attraction between them.

And she’s ready to collect!

Serena has spent her life planning the downfall of this man. But when she yields to his challenge, Serena is stripped bare by Cooper’s raw passion. As he holds her in his arms and whispers her name, Serena realizes she may have just fallen in love with her enemy…

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Maggie Cox on Making Gluttony a Sexy Sin

by Maggie Cox, author of A Taste of Sin

The spectre of poverty haunts the restaurateur Gene Bonnaire. It was where his parents came from and even though they transcended their own tough beginnings to run a small local restaurant when he was young, it wasn’t enough to convince him that he could ever be satisfied with what he deemed as ‘ordinary’ and un-ambitious as that. There was a gnawing need in him to be unequivocally successful in life—more than that—to make the kind of fortune that most people would believe was way beyond the realms of what was possible.

Being driven by such a need was never going to be an easy road for someone like Gene. And when that need turned into the epitome of gluttony—defined as wanting more than what is needed and going beyond the bounds of reason in pursuit of it—that’s when his ambition and need starts to unravel and backfire.

The unravelling begins when he meets antiques dealer Rose Heathcote…

Rose runs the antiques business housed in the listed building he craves to turn into an unmatched restaurant that the glitterati of the world will frequent. But Rose is not so easily persuaded. She is appalled that Gene isn’t interested in the antiques but only wants the building. But even though she despises what he stands for, she very soon begins to intuit that there is so much more to this driven charismatic man than meets the eye.

And when she learns about the tragedy that haunts him, her strong sense of compassion coupled with her own shocking unexpected desire, starts to challenge the very foundations that she has always lived by…

Find out what happens next in A Taste of Sin…available soon from Harlequin Presents®!

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And in the meantime, tell me…Would you be willing to try and see beyond what seems unreasonable, be it a way of life, a disagreeable character trait, or a desire for riches that goes beyond understanding, to reach the ‘nugget of gold’ that you intuit is really in a person’s heart?

I look forward to hearing your views!

Maggie x

About A Taste of Sin:

A hunger for the forbidden

Even before he strides into Rose’s London shop, billionaire restaurateur Gene Bonnaire’s merciless and seductive reputation precedes him. Antiques dealer Rose Heathcote has encountered men like him before and is determined never to give in to one again!

Charismatic Gene always gets what he wants, and what he wants now is Rose’s shop space for his new restaurant—and its current alluring owner in his bed! Securing the shop will be easy; Rose can’t deny the benefits of his business offer. But seducing this defiant beauty will be more of a challenge…and Rose stands to be his greatest acquisition yet!

Seven Sexy Sins—The true taste of temptation!

 

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Which Real Life Society Wedding Got YOUR Attention?

by Andie Brock, author of The Sheikh’s Wedding Contract

I was thrilled to be offered the chance to write the fourth book in the Society Weddings miniseries! Not only did it mean working closely with the three other fabulous authors, Jennifer Hayward, Michelle Smart and Tara Pammi, (and believe me, we had so much fun!), but I had my own super-sexy-sheikh to play with, the utterly gorgeous Zayed Al Afzal.

Along with his best friends, Rocco Mondelli, Christian Markos and Stefan Bianco, Zayed believes that life is for living and the faster the better! Now hugely successful billionaire businessmen, and international heartbreakers to boot, the bond between these four alpha males is as strong as ever. They think they’ve got life sussed.

But fate, and four fabulously feisty young women, are just about to prove them wrong!

My story, The Sheikh’s Wedding Contract, starts when Zayed has to return to his country to become the Sheikh of Gazbiyaa. This desert kingdom is on the brink of war with its neighbour, Harith, a situation Zayed knows he has to rectify ASAP. But first he has to figure out just why the beautiful Nadia is splayed across his bed and determined to tempt him with her considerable charms!

Nadia was a complete delight to write, I love her to bits. So brave and principled she is prepared to sacrifice her freedom, even her life, for the sake of her country. But she is vulnerable too, and as it turns out it isn’t her life at risk the night she creeps into Sheikh Zayed’s bed—it’s her heart.

Zayed, meanwhile, is battling to cling on to the rigid control he is so famous for, something Nadia is testing to its limits—and beyond! She drives him crazy, but the explosive attraction between them will not be ignored!

I loved writing the lavish wedding scene for this story and it set me thinking; which real life society wedding would I have killed to have an invite for? Charles and Diana? Jackie and JFK? Kim and Kanye?!

How about you? Which society wedding would have seen you dashing for a front row seat?!

About The Sheikh’s Wedding Contract:

0715-9780373133536-bigwThe Sensuous Sheikh: Married for Duty

Newly crowned Sheikh Zayed Al Afzal needs to earn his people’s allegiance. And that means the one thing this wicked playboy has always avoided—marriage! His viziers may have a bevy of beautiful options for him, but when Zayed meets exquisite Nadia Amani he makes a choice that’s all his own.

Now, with the wedding contract signed and sealed, Zayed learns the shocking truth—Nadia is his enemy’s daughter! But in the dark desert nights Zayed’s desire for his princess intensifies and anger gives way to a sensual hunger that begs to be satisfied…

The world’s sexiest billionaires finally say “I do!”

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Harlequin Legends!

by Senior Executive Editor Joanne Grant

M&B Legends Book Club on the Green #1

Last Wednesday, as the sun beamed down on leafy Richmond, the London Editorial team took to The Green for the long anticipated book club on Harlequin Legends! The aim was to take a step back into the past to educate ourselves on the foundations of our current series books and discuss how we have evolved and what has stayed the same.

We had read classic books through the ages from 1943 to 1997 by authors such as Violet Winspear, Essie Summers, Betty Neels, Charlotte Lamb and Anne Mather. The discussion from the get-go was lively. The fashion! The smoking! The age gaps! The uber alpha heroes! There was so much to discuss I could fill a series of blogs, but for now, I will content myself – and hopefully you! – to highlight some of our key findings:

Theme, theme, go away – come again another day!

The very young heroine and older hero might have caused a few raised eyebrows amongst our present readers, but back in the day this was a popular theme. We may prefer less of an age gap today, but why was this such a popular and much loved trope? We had many theories:  was it because of the post-war period? Were readers and writers longing for security and experience in a relationship? Which begged the question – are we looking for something so very different today? And dare we ask – could it be time to bring back the age gap?

While we may have lost sight of the age gap, there are some aspects of our novels that are still very much alive and kicking. Marriages of convenience littered our selected titles, pregnancy will – it seems – always bring a hero and heroine together, exotic locations were a must and it was abundantly clear that international heroes were all as popular as they are today.

Speaking of heroes…

Judging by the reactions of some of the team, the alpha hero of the bygone era was bordering on unforgiveable in his behaviour! (Although admittedly a few of us wouldn’t have much minded going head to head with these really quite spectacular individuals.) Yet the one thing we all agreed on was that he was still recognisable as a version of the Presents hero of today. So what was the main difference?

There was no hero point of view! Back then, this allowed him to be utterly inscrutable, broodingly dark and incredibly mysterious. What is he thinking? Our heroines would ask. Why can’t he love me? They would wonder.  In our current books, we want to see our hero’s motivation, we want to understand why he won’t let himself love the heroine. And this may be so that we can be completely assured that our heroine will spend the rest of her days with a hero who is worthy and deserving and loving of her. But we also want him to still be that gorgeous, powerful hero! Safe to say, that our 21st century authors really don’t have it easy!

One of the key reasons that Harlequin has survived the test of time is that our books have evolved with the changing tastes of our readers or more importantly, the changing roles of women in society. Nowhere is that clearer than in the depiction of our heroines. Trembling, virginal and at the mercy of the hero – from our perspective today, the heroine of the bygone age seemed to lack strength. She certainly didn’t have her independence! Current readers will know that whilst our Presents heroines can most certainly still be virgins – they are also women of their own means, confident, willing to stand up to the hero and wanting take her life’s path in her own hands.

However there was one thing that had definitely remained the same. It didn’t – and it still doesn’t – matter how imbalanced the power dynamic was between the hero and heroine at the beginning of the story – by the end it was the heroine who was in the position of power. She was the only woman in the world to bring that alpha hero to his knees, the only one to tame him, and as he offered her unconditional love she was the only one who could accept it. So maybe she had strength all along…

The reaction was mixed as to whether these stories had survived the test of time – maybe it comes down to individual taste, or simply at what age you started your relationship with Harlequin books. But whether you look back at Harlequin Romances through the ages as a litmus test of women’s attitudes or secret desires, or view them as the pure enjoyment of escapism and romance, one thing is for sure – we were and are incredibly proud of the books that we produce; we love them as much as you do. And we will still be publishing the best of the best in romance in fifty or even another hundred years… so what will those readers make of our books today?

But that is a question for another generation. In the meantime, we want to know – who was your favourite Harlequin legend? And what do you think was the appeal was of the older stories? Is there anything you would like to see brought back? And please don’t say the denim suits or the brown suede vest…

If this blog has intrigued you to read some of our Legends of Romance, or simply to re-visit some of your old favourites then visit our Harlequin Presents Treasury to find many classic favourites!

M&B Legends Book Club on the Green #2

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Giveaway: Choose your favourite SOCIETY WEDDINGS couple for your chance to win!

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Rocco & Olivia in The Italian’s Deal for I Do

Christian & Alessandra in The Greek’s Pregnant Bride

Stefan & Clio in The Sicilian’s Surprise Wife

Zayed & Nadia in The Sheikh’s Wedding Contract

Contest Details:

  • Contest is open from April 18th to 25th and open to North American readers only.
  • All you have to do is choose your favourite Society Weddings couple and submit your vote!
  • 15 winners will receive a signed copy of Jennifer Hayward’s The Italian’s Deal for I Do and an exclusive invitation to society’s most opulent weddings.
  • One grand prize winner will win the signed book as well as a Jennifer Hayward poster and a $50 dollar Visa® Gift Card
  • Click here for full giveaway details.

Society Weddings

Dedicated bachelors Rocco Mondelli, Christian Markos, Stefan Bianco and Zayed Al Afzal met and bonded at university, wreaking havoc amongst the female population. In the decade since graduating, they’ve made their marks on the worlds of business and pleasure, becoming wealthy and powerful. Marriage was never something Rocco, Christian, Stefan or Zayed were ever after…but things change and now they’ll have to do whatever it takes to get themselves to the church on time!

RSVP and get ready to enjoy the pinnacle of luxury and opulence as the sexist billionaires from Harlequin Presents® finally say ‘I do’!

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