Inspiration can be found in the most unexpected places! The idea for the heroine in my May release Harlequin Presents Captive in His Castle came to me after I had watched a documentary about young adults when they leave social services care. The program focused on vulnerable teenagers who often struggle without the support of a family, and it got me thinking…
Jess Harper is a survivor – brought up by an alcoholic father until he died and she went into social services care at the age of eleven. With no family to love and support her, Jess was easy pickings for a ruthless criminal who befriended her and forced her to unknowingly commit fraud.
Jess was left with a criminal record and a broken heart. Desperate circumstances led her to make a desperate decision that haunts her for the rest of her life. But Jess was determined to get on with her life. A painter and decorator by trade, she stands her ground in a male dominated world, but beneath her tough exterior lies a soft heart. She takes pity on a homeless immigrant worker Angelo and allows him to stay at her flat.
Angelo disappears, and Jess is amazed when a gorgeous Italian hunk Drago Cassari turns up on her doorstep claiming to be Angelo’s cousin. Even more staggering is the news that Angelo belongs to the hugely wealthy Cassari family. Angelo is lying unconscious in a hospital in Venice, his inheritance has disappeared from his bank account, and Drago is certain that Jess – a convicted fraudster – knows more than she’s saying about the missing money.
Tricked into going to Venice with Drago, Jess finds herself imprisoned in his palatial home on the banks of the Grand Canal. But fiery Jess won’t be bossed around and plans a daring escape – which goes horribly wrong when she falls – literally – into Drago’s arms!
Drago takes his responsibility for his family and in particular his younger cousin seriously. He is determined to retrieve Angelo’s money, but he had not reckoned on his blazing attraction to Jess. He has never met a woman like her, but secrets in his past mean that he is wary of falling for the beautiful and unpredictable woman who has turned his life upside down.
Jess vows to prove she is innocent of any crime – and she can’t wait for arrogant Drago Cassari’s grovelling apology. If only she didn’t find his sexy charm so irresistible!
I love writing books where the hero and heroine have had difficult pasts, and issues which maybe they haven’t yet resolved. Then I give them a new set of problems to deal with – and let the fireworks begin!