What New Thing Have You Tackled? + Giveaway!

by Tara Pammi, author of A Deal with Demakis

In my latest release, A Deal with Demakis, the hero Nikos plans to use the heroine Lexi to lure her ex/his sister’s current boyfriend away from his sister. Until, in a strange little twist of fate, he begins to fall for the spunky Lexi himself.

I had so much fun writing the interactions between my heroine Lexi and the hero Nikos. Even though they have both had rough upbringings, they are such polar opposites in temperament and their outlook that it was both hilarious and energizing to see them understand the other and then understand themselves better.

Lexi’s naiveté, compassion and her big heart, despite where her life started, drives Nikos crazy. While his harsh words shatter the safe and false cocoon Lexi has woven around her life to keep herself safe, Lexi’s capacity for compassion unravels Nikos.

Nikos pushes Lexi to look out for her own financial security, gives her the strength to trust her artistic talent, reveals how she’s been hiding beneath her fear of having no one who would love her.

So of course, what does she do with her new lease on life?

Lexi decides to tackle it head on by diving into a heated affair with Nikos…

Here’s a small snippet of what Nikos had unleashed… :)

“Ever since I have realized what a pathetic idiot I have been all these years, I have also realized I’m not completely without appeal.

I might not be packing in the boob and leg department and probably hold little attraction to a man with refined tastes like you, but there are other fish in the sea. Cute, dimpled, down-to-earth fish like Piers, for example, who find me attractive and wouldn’t dream of calling me names in a million years.”

Obviously you can imagine what Nikos is thinking right now, don’t you? ;)

Like Lexi, I have been trying to tackle some of the things I have been hiding from because of fear. No, it doesn’t involve a six foot three inch Greek male but small things that I have believed to keep myself safe – like how I’ve hidden myself behind work and kids for the past few years and forgotten how to make friends…

How about you? What new thing have you tackled lately – big or small?

Drop a comment and let me know. I’ll pick a winner and send a signed copy of A Deal With Demakis and you can read about where Lexi’s new lease on life led her.

About A Deal With Demakis:

dealWhen the devil commands… 

Nikos Demakis’s plan is set. With his eye firmly on the CEO position of his grandfather’s business he will finally lay his past to rest. And Lexi Nelson holds the key. She might resist, she’ll definitely try to negotiate, but Nikos always gets what he wants.

Lexi has never met anyone like Nikos. The power that he exudes is almost overwhelming. Almost. She’s determined to prove that she’s more than a match for him. But as the playing field changes from power to passion, it soon becomes a battle of wills that she’s not sure she wants to win!

Giveaway! Let us know what new thing you’ve tackled, and win a copy of A Deal With DemakisContest will end on July 20th at 11:59 pm ET, and a winner will be selected by random draw on July 21st. Open to residents of US and Canada, excluding Quebec. For full giveaway rules, click here.

 

Update this contest is now closed.

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Presents loves Honeymoons!

And our very own Laurie Johnson has just returned from…

The Ultimate Honeymoon

Even after the excitement of the wedding, there’s still a continued buzz of ‘it’s not over yet’ because now comes the honeymoon! For some newlyweds it’s straight after the big day, others indulge in a mini-moon or, like me, go a year later and celebrate their first wedding anniversary too.

For my new husband (still not used to having a husband!) and I, our ultimate honeymoon destination was Hawaii! Halfway round the world from London, we embarked the holiday of a lifetime for almost three weeks. We’ve just returned and I wish I was still there, sipping cocktails by the pool, watching stunning sunsets and oh the luxury! We figured ‘we only get one honeymoon’ so spared no expense…now I’m thinking a second honeymoon sounds like a great idea!

From the premium flights with Champagne welcome drinks to platinum elite five star resorts and divine convertible sports cars, I felt like a true Presents heroine being swept into the glamorous world of her billionaire hero. Of course a Presents tycoon would have his own private jet, but this close enough. I even had a Cinderella-style make-over, donning my (now shortened) wedding dress, designer shoes and diamond jewellery for a decadent night at the Four Seasons – oh how our Presents heroines live!

Island hopping between the Big Island and Maui – the island of romance! – our honeymoon was the ideal mix of adventure and relaxation. From swimming with wild dolphins and manta rays to fabulous waterfall spotting and adrenaline-raising surfing – yes I stood up! My husband even whisked me off on a helicopter ride – I was originally nervous, but this was an amazing way to see those unreachable and untouched parts of the island – needless to say my camera memory is full. We also went star gazing. Reaching the top of the tallest (not highest) mountain in the world, drinking hot chocolate and wishing on shooting stars was spectacular and unbelievably romantic!

Long walks on a private beach, turtle spotting and skinny dipping ;) Hawaii is a great place to begin your married life with your very own Harlequin hero! So tell me ladies, where is your ultimate honeymoon destination?

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Under the Microscope: Read on for an exclusive interview with Nicolo Chatsfield

by Chantelle Shaw, author of Billionaire’s Secret

If you had to pick your most public scandalous moment, what would it be?
In my early twenties there were too many incidences when I was snapped by the paparazzi falling out of a nightclub or casino, blind drunk and accompanied by one – probably two – beautiful women.

Was there an even more scandalous event that didn’t make it into the press?Only the members of my family ever knew that I had started the fire at the London Chatsfield. My father managed to keep the scandal away from the press.

What is your biggest secret?
I had proof that my father had been unfaithful to my mother when I caught him with his mistress. No one, including Gene, knew what I had seen.

What do you love most about Sophie?
Her compassion, and also her incredible bravery.

What were your first thoughts when you saw Sophie?
That she was beautiful – and could be dangerous to my peace of mind!

If your house was on fire and you could only save one thing, what would it be?
Assuming that all occupants of the house, including my dog Dorcha, had already escaped, I would try to save a photo of my friend Michael who I met in the specialist burns hospital. Like me, Michael had been badly burned in a house fire. His sister gave me the photograph after Michael died of his injuries.

What is the naughtiest thing you did at school?
When I was a young boy I loved to play pranks and once I dropped a dead slug into my teacher’s cup while she wasn’t looking. I’ll never forget her shriek when she discovered it after she had drunk the coffee!

What is your guiltiest pleasure?
It used to be single malt whisky – to excess! Now I no longer drink alcohol and my new guilty pleasure is waking early in the morning and watching my wife Sophie sleeping.

What is your worst habit?
Not talking about my feelings. After years of stifling my emotions, I still find it hard to open up, but with Sophie’s help I am becoming more relaxed and I am determined that she will never doubt how much I love her.

What is your favourite film?
The Last of the Mohicans – It is a historical epic film combining adventure with a strong romantic element that I often watched when I was recovering from my burn injuries as a teenager.

What present would you put beneath the Christmas tree for Sophie?
The moon and stars if she wanted them! Sophie is not really interested in material possessions but she loves the garden at our new house and so I would buy her plants for the flower garden she is designing.

How will you spend your first anniversary as a couple?
Celebrating the fact that we are now three! Our beautiful baby daughter Lily will be three months old on our anniversary. I have planned a surprise trip for the three of us to Paris to visit Sophie’s mother. I’m hoping to persuade Lily’s grandmother to babysit while I take Sophie to a five-star hotel for the night – after all, Paris is the city for lovers and my wife is the love of my life!

About Billionaire’s Secret:

billionairessecretWhen the secrets of the past won’t stay buried…

Once the heartthrob of London’s elite, gorgeous Nicolo Chatsfield now lives alone in his family’s crumbling estate. No one dares reach out to his tormented soul…. Until a glimmer of hope enters Nicolo’s lonely world, bringing light to the shadows….

Sophie Ashdown knows about painful pasts and has no intention of redeeming Nicolo—she just needs him to attend the Chatsfield shareholders’ meeting! But she’s not prepared for this darkly compelling Chatsfield, and soon Sophie is under Nicolo’s spell, easing his pain in the most pleasurable way!

Welcome to Chatsfield House!

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The Chatsfield Uncovered! Read on for an exclusive interview with Chantelle Shaw

billionairessecretCreating a world as large as The Chatsfield must be very exciting – did you discuss the hotels with the other authors?
Yes, we were in constant contact via email and discussed details such as the lay-out of the hotel. One of the authors suggested that we have a Chatsfield Hotel signature scent which was a great idea. I think that scents and smells are very evocative, and for my hero, Nicolo, the Chatsfield scent reminded him of his childhood and his mother.

What was the most fun bit about creating this luxurious, scandalous world?
I suppose it was the fact that the Chatsfield characters were bad boys and girls! It was fun to push the boundaries with them and then to find a way for them to redeem themselves and their outrageous behaviour.

Did you do any extra special research for writing this book? A sneaky cocktail at an exclusive hotel perhaps?
Now why didn’t I think of that? Actually there was a suggestion among the authors that we should meet up at a five-star hotel and drink champagne while soaking up the glamorous atmosphere. Sadly it didn’t happen as we all live in different parts of the world, but I hope we do all get a chance to meet up and toast the Chatsfields!

My research was mainly about burns victims because Nicolo was badly burned in a fire when he was a teenager. I wanted to understand how this would have had an emotional as well as physical impact on him.

What did you most love about writing your story?
That Nicolo was such a complex character. He had suffered great hurt in the past and had felt abandoned by his mother who he had adored, at a time when he had desperately needed her. Since then, he had shut a door on his emotions and become a recluse, shunning contact with other people, even his siblings. His reaction when he discovered Sophie in his house was extreme! He certainly did not want this bright, breezy, beautiful woman around, especially when she started to chip away at his armour!

I also really empathised with Sophie who had survived a life threatening illness. She is brave and fearless, and yet beneath the surface she is vulnerable and I felt that her past experiences made her very compassionate.

When writing your hero and heroine’s story, did they surprise you in any way?
Definitely, as I got to know them better and learned more about how the traumas in their pasts continued to affect them. Sophie’s reaction when she discovered she was pregnant was a surprise to me and not something I had planned, but it seemed to be an honest response to a situation that she had never anticipated.

To your mind, who is the most scandalous Chatsfield?
The playboy twins, Lucca and Orsino both lead high-octane lives.

If you could have given your hero or heroine a piece of advice before they started on their journey in your story, what would it have been?
I would have told Sophie to trust her instinct that something special and magical was developing between her and Nicolo, but that she would need all her determination and patience to break down his barriers.

chantelleshawphotobigwName five things on your table when you write.
On my desk I have a cartoon picture of a smiling pig called “The Pig of Happiness” with the caption “May his joyful smile remind us how much there is to be happy about!” (I love pigs)

A card saying “Well Done Mum” – it was from my daughter Rosie when my 12th book was accepted (she knew I’d struggled with that book). Inside the card it says how proud she and the rest of the family are of me. I really appreciate all the support that my husband and children give me.

A photo of Mum – I’ll always miss her.

A notepad which says – I am a USA Today best-selling author! – I look at it when I’ve got a blank screen in front of me and remind myself that my brain hasn’t really turned to sludge – it’s just taking the day off!

Do you listen to music when you write?
No, I like silence – and the sound of the gulls (I live on the coast).

What is your worst habit when writing?
Drinking endless cups of coffee! The addition of chocolate biscuits makes the situation (and size of bottom) even worse!

Do you have a writing routine? If so, could you share a bit about it with us?
In school term time, I aim to be at my desk at 9am and work until 3pm when I pick up my son. After a cup of tea and a chat with him I’ll usually work until it’s time to cook dinner which could be any time depending on how the book is going (fish fingers and oven chips feature highly on my menu, I’m ashamed to say).

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Maggie Cox on Young Love and The Man She Can’t Forget

by Maggie Cox, author of The Man She Can’t Forget

He wasn’t the love of my life but I’ll never forget my teenage crush on a good looking family friend from Australia. From the moment I saw his wavy chestnut hair and twinkling brown eyes, I was smitten! I was only thirteen but to me he was everything that epitomised a romantic hero. Even then the magic and mystery of romance wove through my dreams more than anything else. What made my teenage fantasy even more delicious (not to mention agonising) was the fact that this gorgeous young man had a real yen for travelling the world and every now and then he’d take off and disappear for two or three months at a time. And every time he returned, I fell a little bit more in love with him. This pattern continued until I was sixteen.

And then the day came when he told my family that he’d fallen in love with a Welsh girl and he was going to marry her and take her back with him to Australia. One night before he left, I engineered a private chat with him (simply to have him to myself for a while) and we laughed and joked and he told me how pretty I’d grown. I never saw him again. But I dined out on the memory of that evening for many, many years and often wondered where he was and what he was doing (my family lost touch with him after he left) did he marry the girl from Wales and did they have a family? Most of all, I hoped that he was happy and enjoying his life. And sometimes in a private moment, I would wonder if he remembered that shy un-confident girl who was the eldest daughter of the family he’d often stayed with when he was in England.  But in truth, I think there are those infinitely magical moments in our lives that should remain sacred so I rarely think about him at all these days. Except that I needed an idea for a new story and somehow into my mind, stole the arresting image of Gabriel Devenish and the teenage girl who was the daughter of the family he had befriended when he was young. That girl became Lara Bradley, my heroine…

I was wondering… was there anyone that you had a secret crush on when you were young that you never forgot?  Does it ever cross your mind where they might be now and how their life has worked out?  I’ll be so intrigued to hear your answers!

Maggie

x

About The Man She Can’t Forget:

themanshecantforgetOnce forbidden…

Lara Bradley’s breath catches in her chest the moment millionaire Gabriel Devenish swoops back into her life, bringing with him a whirlwind of emotion. Because the man who stands before her is no longer the carefree object of her teenage desires, but a man hard, distant and ruthless….

Now desired!

Gabriel knows he should walk away from Lara, and must show her that a happy-ever-after with him is futile. But proving just how wrong he is for her only makes him realize how just right she makes him feel…threatening the very foundations of the wall he’s built around his heart.

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