It Begins with a Mask + Giveaway!

by Dani Collins, author of The Ultimate Seduction

About this time last year, I was collaborating with the wonderful Maya Blake and Victoria Parker on this series. We were all under the gun with deadlines and life stuff like jobs and kids. The project was exciting and we were charged with inventing the secret club. We popped on to Skype to work out some rules.

First a shout-out to Maya and Victoria—reading the thread made me laugh all over again. The best thing about hanging out with writers is that we make one another laugh. Maybe it’s nervous laughter because we don’t spend much time in society, always locked in our writing caves, but I couldn’t have asked for nicer, funnier women to collaborate with. By the time this posts, I’ll have met Victoria in person at the conference in San Antonio. I can’t wait!

Top of mind for our Skype meeting was working out how members were allowed in. I’d done some research on exclusive clubs and they’re often invitation only. Usually prospective members must be recommended by a certain number of current members to be considered. But those clubs have boards. Ours is privately owned. “Zeus” decides. That made the first part of the job easier.

Then we asked ourselves how an invitation is issued. We all loved the masquerade idea and each wanted a ball, but we were planning to have our books in consecutive quarters, not all taking place at the same time as the others.

Side note: I’m glad I cut my teeth on this sort of collaboration. The kind where you are intertwining your characters’ actions with another author’s characters would be very challenging. I think I’d have to be in the same house with the author for six weeks to write it. I have questions All. The. Time. And yes, by admitting that, I just frightened off the entire Presents line of authors from ever collaborating with me.

Back to QVirtus, which is the name we gave our club. We decided the members walk around masked because it’s so überconfidential. That way people don’t always know who is talking to whom. The owner remains a mystery. Members could also take private meetings in very private settings… This was another advantage to our having quarterly meetings in different locations. I was able to do things with my location—sliding doors à la Maxwell Smart, underwater meeting rooms—that Maya and Victoria weren’t then bound to use.

The masks, we decided, were the invitation. They have a chip embedded with the member’s identity, which allows them to pass through security. Just before each quarterly meeting, the location is inscribed with the date inside a mask and sent to the members. So the masks change for each meeting, thus improving privacy, and also because it was easier for us as authors.

This is how my heroine, Tiffany, discovers she is a member. She walks downstairs to see her father and brother grumbling that the mask is for her. Much like a writer, she has been living like a shut-in since her wedding-day accident that killed her groom and left her scarred. She doesn’t want to go anywhere, but her family business and her father’s aspirations hinge on her meeting with Ryzard at QVirtus.

Pressed into going, she quickly discovers the mask restores her confidence by hiding her scars. Feeling pretty and free, she joins the party and lets an intriguing stranger dance with her, then seduce her. It’s a memory to keep her warm through the rest of her spinster life, she reasons.

Until she walks into her high-level meeting the next morning and discovers her stranger is Ryzard, the man she’s come to meet. I’ll let you read the book to find out what happens next.

If you could invent a secret club, what criteria would you have? We place clubs in Macau, Venezuela and Zanzibar. Where would you set yours?

I’d love to send a signed copy of The Ultimate Seduction to one lucky commenter. If you’d like to enter to win a masquerade mask, please visit my website:

Giveaway! Let us know all about your secret club to win. Contest will end on August 26th at 11:59 pm ET, and a winner will be selected by random draw from all eligible comments on August 27th. Open to residents of US and Canada, excluding Quebec. For full giveaway rules, click here

Update this giveaway is now closed.

About The Ultimate Seduction:

theultimateseduction “I’m about to make you an offer you can’t refuse.” 

Tiffany Davis takes her first delicious step into the exclusive masquerade ball hosted by the secretive Q Virtus gentleman’s club. Here, behind the mask, Tiffany can hide her scars and reveal her true self—a powerful businesswoman with an offer for the president of Bregnovia, Ryzard Vrbancic. Astounded by her audacity, only the fire in Tiffany’s eyes makes Ryzard look twice. He has no interest in her business deal, but the promise of a woman who can match his ruthless determination makes him eager to seduce from her the one thing she’s not offering…


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Comments ( 20 )
  1. bn100
    August 14, 2014 at 8:01 pm

    a tropical island

  2. Colleen C.
    August 14, 2014 at 9:40 pm

    Love the sound of this book… the mask idea is great! I always wanted to go to a Masque… would be cool to go to some exotic locale… enjoy some music… be more open while hiding behind a mask… letting ones shyness or insecurities slip away.

  3. Marcy Shuler
    August 15, 2014 at 1:23 am

    This book is on my wishlist! I love wounded characters and the idea od them meeting at a masked ball is swoon-worthy.

    Maybe I’d set a club in Scotland and have all the wait staff wear kilts. LOL

  4. jcp
    August 15, 2014 at 12:05 pm

    my only criteria could be no criteria except that you the introvrted quiet type while not in the club. It would be located in a warm climate.

  5. Jennifer Hayward
    August 15, 2014 at 2:09 pm

    Can’t wait to read this one Dani! The whole series sounds brilliant!

  6. Melanie J
    August 15, 2014 at 2:12 pm

    The location will be someplace warm, and I wouldn’t really have a criteria.

  7. Dani Collins
    August 16, 2014 at 7:30 am

    Thank you all for your wonderful comments!

    I’m wrapping up my vacation in Australia visiting my sister. It’s been a whirlwind and has kept me very busy spending time with my little niece and nephew so I fear I haven’t been as attentive as I’d like with my blog tour. I wanted to drop in very quickly and say I really appreciate your comments though! Please keep them coming!


  8. Laney4
    August 16, 2014 at 12:00 pm

    Salem, Massachusetts. I’ve never been there, but the location would add to the atmosphere.
    How about for librarians/library card holders only? Hehe.

  9. Debbie Holbrook
    August 18, 2014 at 12:29 pm

    A mountain retreat where no cell phones are allowed for business calls but can be used for a romantic scavenger hunt.

  10. Toni Brigman
    August 19, 2014 at 5:03 am

    I’ve read this book Dani and I LOVED IT! I couldn’t put it down. I read a LOT and this is the best book with modern influence and “old time values (dad and brother being slighted when they seem to hold all the business cards) I’m in the process of trying to find any others in the series. Dubai has always held an exotic tropical intrigue for me with elephants and camels, Australia safaris, or Zeus’ privately owned island…..

  11. Sally
    August 19, 2014 at 7:46 am

    Ohhh this blog entry has me intrigued. I love the idea about exclusive clubs. Now I’ll have to check this series out!

    If I were to have a secret club, I’d like to set it in an alley way.

  12. Tina Laws
    August 19, 2014 at 9:59 am

    I read the online book about this club and I am very interested. My favorite place for a club would be either a tropical private island or somewhere in wine country.

  13. Dani
    August 19, 2014 at 12:58 pm

    Thanks Toni!
    The others in the series are The Ultimate Playboy by Maya Blake and The Ultimate Revenge by Victoria (out now!)

    Sally – great idea about a dark alley! Wine country sounds good too, Tina.

    Library card holders only sounds great, Laney! lol

  14. Liz
    August 21, 2014 at 3:23 pm

    Probably Australia somewhere – probably Sydney or Melbourne.

  15. Lori Howe
    August 23, 2014 at 2:56 pm

    I think a mountain ‘cabin’ hideaway would be great – hard to find, hard to get to unless you know the way but most would be met at an airport and driven or helicoptered in to the hideaway – with a lake nearby, hot tub, room to roam, great deck with fire pit for drinks, chats and stargazing.

  16. Dana
    August 23, 2014 at 3:42 pm

    Since decadence seems to be the keynote of the places, I would put the meeting at an ice castle – probably in Slovenia since remoteness also seems to be important

  17. veRONIca
    August 23, 2014 at 4:11 pm

    I think I would choose just outside a large European town. It could be an escape from the chaos of say London or Paris. I don`t know what criteria I would have–better to leave our options open lol

  18. Kim Baker
    August 23, 2014 at 7:27 pm

    My club would be on a yacht. Invitations would be hand delivered to and signed for by the recipient only. The invitation and a small identifying bobble of some sort would be included in an exquisitely wrapped box. The “bobble” would be placed on your person at a requested location to be allowed entry. No member would be able to speak of the club outside of the yacht. Members would identify themselves to one another by a secret hand sign & response sign. Members would show loyalty to the club & it’s members.

  19. Elissa
    August 27, 2014 at 9:03 am

    This giveaway is now closed and congratulations to our winner by random draw, Marcy Shuler. Please check your inbox for a message from me. -Elissa from Harlequin

  20. Marcy Shuler
    August 28, 2014 at 12:31 am

    Thank you so much, Elissa! I’ve sent you an email. 🙂