As quickly as that I knew I had to write a story about a wounded hero and the woman who heals him. I didn’t know who or what she was – a cook perhaps, or a governess or maybe a female chauffeur in a trim uniform, and she’d get under his skin in ways he’d never expected. All those stories I’d read from my teens onwards, starting with ‘Jane Eyre’, seemed to flash before my eyes – delicious stories about women working for powerful men, living under their roofs, not as their social equals but nevertheless they are more than a match for the oh-so-powerful men who employ them.
I love the sense of sizzling expectation and gradual recognition in these books, the realisation by the hero that the woman he wants is right under his nose, the tug of attraction as they get to know each other and the tension inherent in falling for the boss. How could I resist?
I admit too that I’ve been watching lots of renovation shows recently, from local DIY efforts to programs like ‘Country House Rescue’ where aristocrats with crumbling mansions learn how to make the most of their stately pile and save it from the wrecker’s ball or the tax man.
AN ENTICING DEBT TO PAY features a tycoon who’s inherited a neglected country mansion and the woman he takes as his unwilling housekeeper. I didn’t mention Ravenna is unwilling? That would be where the revenge comes in. Imagine being blackmailed into living under the same roof as the man who’s planning to send your mother to prison unless you complete the impossible task of single-handedly fixing up his vast country house. Even worse for Ravenna is the unwilling realisation that this boss from Hell is the one man who makes her body sing with pleasure. And that, beneath the façade of ruthless manipulator, is a man she could actually care for.
As for Jonas, falling for Ravenna should be impossible. He tells himself he’s not like his father, a man who destroyed the family by running off with the hired help. Jonas has no intention of running anywhere, but he soon discovers his scheme for revenge brings unexpected consequences.
Do you have a favorite story about a boss/housekeeper or boss/nanny? Or maybe a favorite renovation show? Do you like the up-close-and-personal element of falling for the boss?