Using Your Childhood as Inspiration

by Rachael Thomas, author of Craving Her Enemy’s Touch

Inspiration can strike at any time, usually when it is least expected and that is how the idea for Craving Her Enemy’s Touch came to me. I grew up with three younger brothers and motor racing was something that my family loved. We would spend many weekends at amateur race meetings. A few years ago, I was on holiday in Spain and found myself in a harbour full of luxury yachts and fast cars and instead of taking holiday snaps of the view, I took photos of cars and yachts!
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Then during Christmas 2013, just after SYTYCW had ended and I was still dreaming that my entry would become my first published book, I was watching a behind the scenes television program with my husband about an F1 team. A female apprentice mechanic caught my imagination, and I wrote a few sentences about her in my ideas book as I was at that point in the middle of writing another story.


By the time I came to look at this idea, the story had grown from that initial inspiration and Charlotte Warrington and Alessandro Roselli were born. Sandro is the only man who knows what really happened the day Charlie’s brother died. He is determined to honour Seb’s memory and keep his promise to the friend he lost and not reveal the truth to Charlie.

One year on, the day he has dreaded arrives and he has to keep the other promise he made to Seb before he died and ask Charlie to promote the launch of the car her brother died in. What he didn’t expect was the intense pull of attraction from the moment he sees her, which makes keeping his promises even harder.

Charlie has always known there was more to her brother’s accident than her father had told her. So when the chance to find answers arrives in the form of Sandro Roselli, she knew she had to put aside the fact that it was his car her brother was test driving when he’d had the fatal accident and find out what she wants to know. The truth.
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She accepts the biggest challenge of her life when she agrees to promote the Italian billionaire’s latest car but on arrival in Milan painful raw emotions of grief mix with an ever increasing attraction to Sandro the man she believes responsible for the loss of her brother. A powerful and dangerous situation she is unable to resist.

As she gets caught up in the world her brother loved so much, she finds she cannot ignore what she feels for Sandro any longer and embarks on a weekend affair in the hope it will get whatever it is, out of her system. But things don’t go at all to plan.

I had such fun writing this story and it came partly from my childhood being immersed in motor sports and partly from a television programme. What did you do with your family as a child that still captures your imagination and is it something you still do today?

About Craving Her Enemy’s Touch:

0515-9780373133420-bigwThe only man she hates…

Captivating king of the racing circuit, Sandro Roselli might send Charlotte Warrington’s pulse into overdrive, but he’s also hiding something about her brother’s death. Sandro has offered her a job, but Charlotte will make sure she’s in the driver’s seat to uncover his secret.
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Is the only man she can’t resist!

Yet life in the fast lane with Sandro is dangerous. As Charlotte’s craving for his touch intensifies, she begins to lose herself in his intoxicating world. The irresistible Italian is driving her senses crazy, but can their heady affair survive the dark truth he hides?



Charlie could barely hear Alessandro. Her heart was thudding with the excitement of being behind the wheel of a powerful car again. It had been too long and she had no intention of stopping now. This was exactly what she needed to chase the demons away.
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She pressed harder on the accelerator, elated to find the powerful engine still had more to give. As the countryside blurred to a sway of green she knew this was the right thing to do. Seb had driven this car, felt its power and had been at one with it. Driving it now brought her closer to him; it was as if he was here with her.

‘Slow down, Charlotte. Now.’ Alessandro’s curt tone was full of authority but she couldn’t stop now, couldn’t deny herself this moment.

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Enter the Magical World of St Petersburg

by Michelle Conder, author of Russian’s Ruthless Demand

One of the things I have always loved about reading—and now writing—Harlequin Presents books is the exotic locations the novels are set in. In Russian’s Ruthless Demand my research took me to St Petersburg (not literally, unfortunately) where I learned all about the white nights of summer and the long, dark days of winter, building ice hotels (an amazingly quick process all things considered) and the fascinating history of the city. On the downside, I also learned that St Petersburg has an incredibly high population of street kids and homeless animals.

As it turns out my hero, Lukas Kuznetskov, is a street kid and therefore heavily involved in taking care of them as best he can. But as caring as he is on this issue he remains aloof from others and doesn’t invest in personal relationships. So you can imagine his surprise when he finds that his new Ice Hotel project manager, the very bright but uptight Eleanore Harrington, arouses his protective instincts—not to mention his more primitive instincts as well!

Eleanore is a good girl with her head screwed on right (according to her) whose main ambition in life is to prove her professional worth to her family and get ahead in the family business. She has no time for relationships with men and certainly not with a cold-hearted, ruthless type like Lukas Kuznetskov. Lukas, of course, has no intention of becoming involved with a prissy little heiress virgin who wouldn’t know the meaning of the word fun if she had a dictionary open in front of her. But oh, how she intrigues and challenges him and before he knows it he’s thinking about her all the time.

And even though Eleanore knows her sister will never respect her if she were to ever give in to her riotous emotions and sleep with her new temporary employer, Eleanore can’t get her too handsome boss out of her head, either!

Sparks fly as they both try to resist the temptation of each other and then find out that first impressions aren’t always the most correct, and perhaps there is more beneath the surface than either of them first believed. And that realisation causes even more issues—particularly for our loner hero dead-set on a bachelor lifestyle.

Here’s a snippet from when Lukas comes across Eleanore’s notebook listing her life goals.

‘Give me that—it’s private.’

‘“Long-Range Goals.”’ His eyes sparkled mischievously. ‘“1. Promotion. 2. Investment property. 3. Own business? 4. Marriage. 5. Family.”’

‘Don’t you have any conscience at all?’

‘You already know I don’t. I take it family refers to some future event and not your siblings.’

‘Give it back.’

‘I must say I’m surprised to see marriage way down on your list. It’s usually on the top of the list of the women I date.’

‘Just another reason why we’ll never date.’

‘That only makes me want to date you even more. You have your head screwed on straight.’

‘Just knowing you’re one of those lame commitment-phobes warms my heart.’

He smiled.

I hope you enjoy entering the magical world of St Petersburg and reading about Eleanore and Lukas’s tumultuous journey to their happy ever after. I know one day I simply have to visit St Petersburg. Have you ever been inspired to visit a place after having written or read about it? And have you actually done it? I’d love to hear about your experiences if you have!

About Russian’s Ruthless Demand:

0615-9780373133437-bigwOut of the ice, into the fire!

Determined to prove herself to her illustrious family, Eleanore Harrington accepts an offer to create a glittering new ice hotel. The catch? Her new boss is Lukas Kuznetskov, a man as cold and unyielding as the ice she works with.

Lukas assumed that Eleanore would melt to his every command. But his blood is fired by the white-hot embers smoldering between them, and his focus shifts from professional to pleasure! When he discovers Eleanore’s body is as pure as the driven snow, the ruthless Russian makes her virginity his final demand…

Welcome to The Chatsfield!

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It’s Always the Most Vulnerable That Don the Toughest Shell

By Tara Pammi, author of The Sicilian’s Surprise Wife

From the minute the Presents team sent me the ‘bible’ to the Society Weddings Quartet, I was super excited! It was such a fun learning experience to work with Andie, Jen and Michelle. Now, we feel like these heroes and of course, the heroines belong to us. :) I’m sure our editors feel the same…

Rocco Mondelli, Christian Markos, Stefan Bianco and Zayed Al Afzal are Columbia University graduates, billionaires in their chosen fields, and gorgeously sexy, but what I LOVED was the inviolate relationship the four men had and nurtured with each other for over a decade and through so many changes in life.
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And then it was time to start thinking about how to crack the most cynical of all four: Stefan Bianco!

Having been deceived once by the woman he loved, Stefan turned all his vulnerability into cynicism, his fury into billions as a successful real estate mogul, and despises deception of any kind.

As I dug into his character, I realized what Stefan hides behind that hard shell, what he has buried so deep beneath his arrogant, distrustful exterior…

It’s always the most vulnerable that don the toughest shell, isn’t it?

And it takes the woman who knew his heart, his dreams before that deception changed him, Clio Norwood, an old friend from Columbia, to shatter that shell.

Clio’s one of the strongest heroines I have ever written and I adore her for that.
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She walked away from a safe life to make it on her own. But when the story begins, she learns that her fiancé of three years has been cheating on her. Her life, her career, everything is in ruins and at her lowest, it is Stefan who reminds her of what she had set out to do a decade ago.

And Clio decides to rise from the ashes of her life.

Stefan and Clio come together to destroy the man that deceived them, instead the two old friends discover a new fire that challenges their very beliefs about themselves.

I loved writing this book so much because I do believe there are certain people in everyone’s life that bring out the best in one.

Do you think it’s true? Have you met that someone in your own life?

About The Sicilian’s Surprise Wife:

0615-9780373133451-bigwThe Suave Sicilian: Married for Revenge

Stefan Bianco is a man with one thing on his mind. Revenge. And the last person he expects to see hanging on the arm of his nemesis? The stunning Clio Norwood—the only woman to ever resist his near-lethal brand of seduction.

Clio’s life has become a mere shadow of what it once was. But Stefan’s searing gaze returns her to the fiery, passionate woman he once knew. Clio has the key to his revenge, and Stefan has the key to her freedom…but only if he agrees to her shocking proposal!

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


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Presents Loves…(More) Royal Babies

by Laura McCallen, Assistant Editor/Editorial Assistant

There are few things in the world that captivate an audience quite like an adorable baby. And when that baby is not only royal, but also the product of two parents as gorgeous as the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, public interest is sent into overdrive. Two years after the arrival of Prince George of Cambridge, it’s still easy to recall the media storm that was ‘The Great Kate Wait’. News outlets staked out their spots outside the Lindo Wing at St Mary’s Hospital in the early days of July and settled in for what would be weeks of waiting – didn’t they know you can’t rush the future King of England?

And when he finally arrived it wasn’t just the crowds outside the hospital that erupted in euphoric frenzy; it seemed like the entire human population shared in the joy of beautiful baby George. But how could they not? With the chubby cheeks that earned him his nickname (and the hashtag #Cheeks) and a mischievous grin that only seems to get cuter as he grows and becomes even more rambunctious he captured our hearts from day one and hasn’t let go. It’s no wonder that I, along with everyone else, can’t wait to meet Baby Cambridge #2!
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Yet this time around the rules have changed. Instead of scores of cameramen and journalists sitting around on ladders and in makeshift ‘studios’ the media has been banned from the grounds of the hospital until such time as the palace confirms that Kate has been admitted (which leads me to suspect that there are dozens of media interns spending their days acting inconspicuous in coffee shops and retail outlets around Paddington. Probably with strict instructions to hightail it to the Lindo Wing as soon as it’s time and stake the company’s claim on prime real estate before anyone else…) But when that moment comes I’m looking forward to watching and reading all of the coverage. I love the details that trickle down (Will and Kate ordered a pizza from Italian restaurant chain Zizzi’s!) and it amazes me how the media can spin the smallest nugget of new information and discuss it for hours.

I know a lot of people are desperate for a new princess but I’ll be excited either way. A gorgeous girl (hopefully with her mom’s glossy locks…) would be delightful but so would a baby boy – sure to be a charmer just like his big brother. And I certainly hope this isn’t the last Baby Cambridge we see. It’s clear that both Will and Kate love babies so here’s to hoping there are many more!
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In the meantime, satisfy your craving for royal baby excitement by getting your hands on the latest story from legendary Presents author Lynne Graham…featuring royal baby twins! Find out what happens in The Sheikh’s Secret Babies:

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Twin royal heirs!

Prince Jaul of Marwan’s royal duty is to marry a suitable bride. But first he must divorce the woman who betrayed him. Locating his estranged wife? Easy. The intense passion still burning between them? Manageable. Discovering he has two royal heirs? Impossible!
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Devastated when her handsome prince deserted her, Chrissie Whitaker’s beautiful twin babies were the only balm to her broken heart. Now Jaul will stop at nothing to claim his legitimate heirs, but can Chrissie forget their painful past and recognise him as her husband in every sense of the word?

And as we (im)patiently wait to meet the newest Baby Cambridge tell me: do you think it’ll be a boy or a girl? And what do you think Will and Kate will name it?

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A Night With Consequences

by Sharon Kendrick, author of Carrying the Greek’s Heir (Harlequin Presents)

This blog post was originally posted on featured on the Harlequin Blog.

Every action has a consequence. Water a plant and watch it grow. Neglect it, and it will wither and die. A little like the human heart—only that needs love, not water.

Someone who grows up without love is deprived, no matter how many material possessions they have. They feel a nagging emptiness and pain inside—a sense of being different from other people—and that was the starting point for my story about Alek Sarantos and Ellie Brooks.

Alek is the son of a billionaire and he grew up on a beautiful Greek island—a real paradise of a place. But there are serpents in paradise, and no serpents are more poisonous than the ones which slithered around Alek’s childhood home.0415-9780373133314-bigw As a consequence, the handsome boy built barriers around his heart to protect himself from emotional pain. He hid his dark secrets from the world. Brick by brick, he guarded himself—until one day he met a waitress called Ellie Brooks.

Was it chance or circumstance which made him confide in the kind of woman who would never normally cross his radar? Did something about her softness reach out to the hard and unforgiving core inside him? Whatever it was, he told her one of his secrets….and Ellie broke his confidence. She removed one of the bricks so that the whole edifice surrounding Alek came tumbling down.

When a man has his prejudices about women reinforced, it makes him angry—and anger can take all kinds of forms. Alek didn’t know what he’d planned when he went round to confront the woman who had betrayed his trust. He certainly hadn’t planned to kiss her. And, no matter what the old song says—a kiss is not just a kiss. It has consequences…

You can find out what happened next in Alek and Ellie’s story, Carrying the Greek’s Heir.

Sharon KendrickA few years ago, another author asked me to step in to take a writing course in Scotland for her. I was busy at the time with life and a deadline but I said yes. The course was a success and it became another—and then another. It moved from glorious Aberdeenshire to the soaring green hills of romantic Tuscany, where I shall be heading next month.

This is a photo taken last year in one of the exquisite gardens which stud the beautiful city of Lucca.

This city has given me such pleasure and inspiration and you’ll find it featured in Alek and Ellie’s story. Discovering Lucca and the surrounding Italian countryside has been a direct consequence of stepping in to take my friend’s place.


Has something good/bad/funny happened to you as a consequence of an action?

About Carrying the Greek’s Heir:

Pregnant with the billionaire’s baby! 

From the moment hardworking Ellie Brooks met mogul Alek Sarantos her life has gone off the rails. First she was fired. Now she’s pregnant with the ruthless Greek’s baby!

It was only supposed to be one wild, passionate night. Yet when Ellie shows up demanding Alek legitimize their unborn child, he shocks himself…and agrees to her outrageous request!

Catapulted into a world she wasn’t meant for, with a husband she shouldn’t desire, Ellie’s resolve wavers. Until a tiny kick from within reminds her why she made a deal with this handsome devil: her baby, his heir…

When one night…leads to pregnancy!

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