The UK Editors take a leaf from the Presents Heroine’s Playbook!

by Associate Editor Pippa Roscoe

One thing that we especially love about Presents is the amazing locations that the heroines find themselves in. And with summer holidays just around the corner, I’ve been looking into where our very own editorial heroines have been jetting off to. We might not have heroes with private jets, but we won’t let that stop us from leading a glamorous and global lifestyle!

Laura in Mexico for Holiday Blog

Last month you heard about Laurie Johnson’s fabulous honeymoon in Hawaii. Safe to say we were all a little green-eyed over that one! Presents’ very own Laura McCallen has been doing her best to out-glob-trot us all with trips to Mexico and Budapest. Not content with just the one trip, Charlotte Mursell has been to France THREE TIMES (and provided us with a beautiful photo as proof!)

Charlotte's France Picture

While Linda Fildew stuck closer to home, heading to the heady heights of Scotland’s Edinburgh, Sheila Hodgson has visited the delights of Egypt and Sardinia (but not to be outdone, specifically reminded me of her trip to Malaysia last year).  Bryony Green made us all jealous when she set off for Cape Town and kept us updated on the wonders of South Africa via twitter.

Julia Williams is looking forward to a gorgeous holiday in Crete and Barcelona has proved to be a very popular destination for the editors in the UK with both Clio Cornish and Kathryn Cheshire enjoying lots of tapas and even more sangria!

AnneMarie Ryan will be visiting family in America, which does count because it’s a very glamorous setting to us Brits! Nic, also spending time with family, is heading to the sunny climes of Italy.

As for me, some of you may have seen my tweets from Toronto – from the amazing food in Montreal, to the fabulous shopping at Young and Bloor and the giddy excitement of meeting the Canadian editors. (Ladies, I did try to keep my eye out for an alpha hero, but sadly I was too busy having fun!)

Pippa in Canada For Holiday Blog

And whilst we’re warmed by the happy memories of holidays past, we’re heated by the anticipation of holidays to come!

Australia and New Zealand – keep an eye out for our very own Flo Nicoll who’s packing the sun screen and can’t wait to see you all!

And batten down the hatches Texas, because the UK editors are on their way for the RWA!

But in the meantime, ladies, if you could be whisked away to an exotic location, where would it be and why?!

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Finding Those Sicilians Irresistible!

by Michelle Smart, author of Taming the Notorious Sicilian

Regular readers of this blog will (hopefully) recall a post I did back in March about standing at my kitchen sink when a snapshot of a scene came into my mind. That snapshot was of Grace walking into her kitchen to find Luca, the husband she was in hiding from, there. That snapshot became the basis for What a Sicilian Husband Wants and, by extension, the Irresistible Sicilians trilogy. At the time though, I wasn’t thinking that far ahead! Pepe and Cara’s story, The Sicilian’s Unexpected Duty, evolved naturally but it was Francesco, the nemesis of the Mastrangelo brothers, who really demanded his own story.

Ahh…Francesco…

What can I say about him? Devilishly dangerous are the two words that spring to mind. Whereas Luca flirted reluctantly with the gangster lifestyle, Francesco Calvetti has seemingly embraced it. He’s a man feared by all, his power assured. But he has demons, secrets from his past that have been revealed and that he has sworn to avenge. His thirst for revenge is consuming him and the last thing he needs are distractions, especially of the female kind!

As I already ‘knew’ Francesco before I started writing his book, it was a simple (ha!) case of finding the perfect heroine for him. I knew from the outset that he needed someone pure of heart, who could reach inside and touch his soul—exactly the kind of woman he swears away from, not wanting to bring them anywhere near his dark world.

While the ideas were fermenting in my head, a personal tragedy struck my family when my two-year-old nephew was diagnosed with cancer. He’s in remission now (and doing fantastically well) but there were many months when everything was on a knife’s edge, us not knowing what the outcome would be. During those months, I spent a lot of the time in the children’s oncology ward with my sister and nephew, surrounded by all these amazing people working so diligently to try to save him and all the other suffering children there. These people were like angels. There was one doctor in particular who fascinated me—she looked so young, as if she should still be in secondary education! Of all the people in all the world who should be swept away by a gorgeous Sicilian billionaire, she was the one…and so Dr Hannah Chapman was born.

Hannah Chapman is an amazingly dedicated doctor. Her whole world revolves around her job, leaving her (deliberately) no time for any kind of social life, which is just the way she likes it. All that changes when she’s knocked off her bike, and the knight in shining armour who saves her life is none other than Francesco!

In some respects, Taming the Notorious Sicilian is a reworking of the classic Beauty and the Beast with a hero who can’t find the prince he is beneath the skin until he can cast off the demons plaguing him. But his Beauty has demons of her own to face, too…

So all of this makes me wonder—who out of all the people in all the world do you think deserves to be swept away by a gorgeous Sicilian billionaire? And if the answer to that question is you, then where would you like to be swept away to?

About Taming the Notorious Sicilian:

tamingFrancesco Calvetti. He has the face of a god and a body made for sin!  

Francesco doesn’t do nice, and he doesn’t do damsels in distress. Apart from that one time. He never thought he’d see Hannah Chapman again. A woman like her, pure and untouched, has no place in his world. 

Ever since losing her sister, Hannah has sheltered herself from the world, but being knocked from her bike is a wake-up call. A call she’s ready to accept. There’s one thing left on her to-do list and there’s only one man who can help her. But will the dangerous, devastatingly gorgeous Sicilian oblige her?

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Haunted by a Dark Secret

by Janette Kenny, author of Bound by the Italian’s Contract

I thoroughly enjoy getting wrapped up in a romance that is rife with emotional twists and turns that sweep me around the world.  Add shared pasts, dark secrets and the sweet twist of revenge and I am in writers’ (or readers’!) heaven.

In my Presents out this month, I have used all of the above.  A downward spiral of bad luck forces Colorado physiotherapist Caprice Tregore to seek help from celebrated Italian ski champion Luciano Duchelini, the man she once loved, the man she swore she would never speak to again.  But he has the money and power to convert the old ski lodge she inherited into a top-notch rehabilitation center she envisions.  And, he is the only backer who is willing to help her achieve her dream – for a price!

After they grudgingly come to contract, he whisks her off to his elite resort in the Italian Alps, tossing her right back into the rich lifestyle she ran from seven years ago and bringing her face to face with the vicious ghost who haunts her memory.

Caprice is desperate to distance herself from the enigmatic billionaire until the job is done, but a chilling brush with death throws her into Luciano’s arms and in his bed.

The years had changed them:  she was no long the naïve innocent, and the fearless Alpine champion she remembered was now physically and emotionally scarred.  I loved watching how these two headstrong, proud and wounded characters came to terms with their sizzling desire, past regrets and fears, and awakening love.  I hope you enjoy their romantic journey as well.

Happy reading!

Janette

 ***

Excerpt:

For seven years Caprice had pulled into a shell.  She was sick and tired of hiding, jumping at shadows.  She wanted to confront life again.

All she had to do was reach for what she wanted most.  Right now.

She turned in his embrace. “What if I said I’d changed my mind?” she asked.

Luciano pulled back, eyes searching, assessing.  “That’s the shock of surviving danger talking.”

“You don’t feel it too?” she asked, voice hoarse.  “I feel it,” she said, breathless.  “I want you.  Need you now.  What more can I say?”

“Nothing.  In the end you will expect more than that.  An affair, commitment.”

She shook her head.  “Not anymore.  No ties.  No promises.”

His eyes narrowed, and his hopes and desires soared.  “You want my financial backing and sex?”

“Yes.  We are bound together by a contract, there’s no changing that.  But when the job is finished, so are we.”

“Of course,” he said, his eyes dark and unreadable.

***

About Bound by the Italian’s Contract:

boundbytheitalianscontractBound by business… 

Physiotherapist Caprice Tregore steels herself as she prepares to meet the man she had vowed never to see again. She needs his help, and she can only guess at what the captivating Luciano will demand in return. But the years have changed her, and she’s no longer the naive innocent he once knew….

Branded by passion? 

Luciano Duchelini needs Caprice to insure his brother’s recovery. But two months in her company shows that the tantalizing attraction he turned his back on years before is still there, and this time he’s determined to satisfy his every desire…regardless of the cost.

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“Switching the hero and heroine’s roles”: Melanie Milburne on At No Man’s Command + Giveaway!

by Melanie Milburne, author of  At No Man’s Command

I’m currently hiding away at our beach house on the east coast of Tasmania in order to finish a book with a horrifyingly close deadline. It’s winter here so I have the place to myself, apart from my three miniature poodles! Each day I walk along the long isolated beach and watch for dolphins and whales and the amazing birdlife. Yesterday I saw a seal who was playing just metres off the shore.

I absolutely adore the solitude, which is exactly what my hero James Challender is after when he turns up. No, not here in Tasmania but in the highlands of Scotland!

But his mother’s isolated mansion is currently occupied with someone from the past- Aiesha Adams, a former street kid and wild child, and now Vegas lounge singer.

Aiesha has run away from the press after a scandal in Vegas and taken shelter in the home of the woman who took her from the streets of London years ago when she was a troubled teenager. But when the uptight James Challender arrives expecting to have the place to himself, while his mother is abroad, sparks soon fly.

She sashayed over to him, deliberately trailing one of her fingertips along the whitened tendons on the back of one of his clenched fists. ‘Loosen up, James. You’re as wound as a tight spring. If you need an outlet for all that pressure- ’ she batted her impossibly long eyelashes at him, ‘-just call me, OK?’

James forced himself to endure the electric shock of her touch without flinching. He forced himself not to look at her mouth, where the tip of her pink tongue had left a moistly glistening trail. He forced himself not to slam her against the nearest wall and slake the fireball of his lust by plunging into her hot, wet warmth and doing what he’d always wanted to do to her. Every cell in his body was vibrating with need, and what sickened him the most was she damn well knew it. ‘Get the freaking hell out of my sight.’

Her eyes glinted with devilment. ‘I love it when a man talks dirty to me.’ She gave an exaggerated little shiver that made her braless breasts jiggle beneath her sweater. ‘It makes me come in a flash.’

What I really enjoyed about writing this story was switching the hero and heroine’s roles around. I’ve written a lot of bad boys but this time I wanted my heroine to be a bit naughty. James is repressed compared to Aiesha, which made it a heap of fun isolating them in a snowbound Scottish mansion.

I have a signed copy of At No Man’s Command for a reader.

Where do you go when you need some space to think? Or if you can’t get away, where would you like to go?

Happy reading!

Melanie Milburne x

Giveaway! Answer the above question to win a signed copy of At No Man’s Command. Contest will end on July 24th at 11:59 pm ET, and a winner will be selected by random draw on July 25th. Open to residents of US and Canada, excluding Quebec. For full giveaway rules, click here.

About At No Man’s Command:

atnomanscommandThe shock engagement of the century! 

It looks like our favorite tearaway, the notorious Aiesha Adams, is trying to change her spots. Inside sources have revealed that not only is she currently holed up in the Scottish countryside with the gorgeous aristocrat James Challender, but the pair are secretly engaged!

We’ve always had a soft spot for Aiesha, and with rumors of her unhappy childhood trailing her footsteps wherever she goes, we knew her wild streak hid something more. But we thought Aiesha and James were sworn enemies…perhaps when there are fireworks outside the bedroom, the sparks are just too impossible to resist!

 

 

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Meet Narciso Valentino from The Ultimate Playboy

by Maya Blake, author of The Ultimate Playboy

My name is Narciso Valentino. Yes, my father thought it would be a cruel joke to give me that name. Little did he know I’d grow comfortably and effortlessly into it!

I love money and power and the fact that they allow me to indulge in Q Virtus, my playground and, unfortunately, my father’s, too, but let’s forget him for now.

The anonymity Q Virtus provides means I can lower my guard a little, be whatever and whomever I want to be for a little while. I can indulge in my most decadent wishes, my every whim fulfilled before I even think it. In a world where decadence and excess are becoming boringly commonplace, Q Virtus excels in whetting even my jaded appetites.

I make no apologies for my appetites.

After all…

I have money.

I have power.

I love Q Virtus and the oblivion it provides…every now and then.

What I don’t love is Ruby Trevelli. Her innocence calls to me. Her determination and talent dazzle me. Her body sends mine into a state of maddening want. I want to take her. Ruin her…bask in her warmth and light so I don’t feel so cold…

But that’s impossible. I am Narciso. I have no conscience. No love. No mercy. I will take what I need and the rest can fall to ashes. And if Ruby stands in my way, I may listen to her for a moment or two.

Because this sizzle-under-the-skin feeling is intriguing. She intrigues me. It will not last. Nothing ever lasts. But, si, she is an indulgence I’m prepared to accommodate for a while. Maybe more than a little while…

About The Ultimate Playboy:

theultimateplayboyA virgin in the lion’s den… 

Tonight at the gaming tables of the impossibly exclusive gentleman’s club Q Virtus, ruthless billionaire Narciso Valentino is finally about to destroy his enemy. But one look at the club’s curvaceous hostess assigned to see to his every need and he’s willing to delay the moment of satisfaction—for another kind altogether… 

Talented chef Ruby Trevelli is there to force Narciso to save her business—not give him her virginity. Yet beneath Narciso’s lethally sexy exterior is a tortured man who believes himself beyond redemption, and Ruby is soon facing the ultimate temptation—with the ultimate playboy!

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