Nancy Robards Thompson: Today is an exciting day for Jaunty sisters Kathleen, Katherine/Kathy and me. It’s launch day for the SCANDALOUS BILLIONAIRES. The three of us joined forces with our friends Mimi Wells and Eve Gaddy and each wrote a story in the SCANDALOUS BILLIONAIRES collection. I’m so excited to have Eve Gaddy as my special guest today to share with you a little about our collaboration and the sexy heroes of our stories. Please give a warm Jaunty welcome to Eve!
Eve Gaddy: Thanks, Nancy! It’s great to be here.
I want to tell you about a very special project I’m proud to be part of. Scandalous Billionaires is a sizzling set of stories set on the Amalfi Coast. Four of my friends and I–Katherine Garbera, Mimi Wells, Nancy Robards Thompson, Kathleen O’Brien and Eve Gaddy– wanted to set our stories on a fictional island off the fabled Amalfi Coast. We decided that all our heroes were billionaires because, well, billionaires are hot. Ours certainly are.:) The setting is the fabulous Isola Del Sole at the Hotel dei Fiori and we gave our billionaires strong, feisty women to fall for. There’s a little bit of everything in the Scandalous Billionaires box set. Intrigue, deception, mistaken identities, and a lot of long, steamy nights!
The Billionaire’s Temptation by Katherine Garbera
Rocco De Luca lives and loves in the fast lane. A past Formula 1 champ, he has been jetting around the world arranging celebrity charity races and partying with the world’s elite. Coming home to Isola del Fiori and filling in for his older brother for a few weeks sounds…well, boring. Until he meets Steffi Harlan.
Steffi Harlan is sophisticated, elegant, and way too smart to fall for a tanned chest and a bad-boy smile, or so she thinks, until she’s put in charge of keeping the jet-set playboy out of trouble while he’s gone. Sure, no problem. Except Steffi isn’t immune to Rocco’s charms.
They burn up the nights they spend together, and the last thing Steffi wants is to crash out and end up with a broken heart… Can they both survive love in the fast lane?
The Billionaire’s Deception by Mimi Wells
After quitting her first “real” job, Janine Pike takes off for Europe, saving an excursion to the famed Isola del Sole for last. But when her travel-mates sail off with her backpack, phone, and passport after a night of partying, she’s left only with the euros in her pocket and the faint hope that her estranged half-sister, who works at the renowned Hotel Dei Fiori Isola del Sole, might help her.
Shel Myerson, amateur racecar driver and wildly successful TV mogul, oozes wealth and prestige. What he doesn’t have much of is privacy, thanks to a recent and ugly public breakup. What he doesn’t expect is to be mistaken as an employee by a very pretty—and very broke—Janine, the one person in Europe who also doesn’t have any idea who he is.
Shel and Janine discover their chemistry is combustible—but will their budding relationship survive the heat once the press catches on?
The Billionaire’s Betrayal by Nancy Robards Thompson
As heir of Dei Fiori Enterprises, Matteo De Luca‘s single focus after his father’s untimely death is rebuilding his family legacy and hotel empire. After two years, he’s close to achieving his goal, but there’s one person standing in his way… A sexy distraction he’d never anticipated.
Two years after her beloved husband’s death, Helena Von Lienz knows it’s finally time to let go. With her share of a hotel business, Helena heads to the Amalfi Coast in search of closure, and a portrait created for her by her late husband. What she doesn’t anticipate to discover during those hot Amalfi nights are some unexpected truths about her late hubby, and a strong sensual shared desire with Matteo, the sexy and ambitious CEO of Dei Fiori…
Will mixing business with pleasure be the end, or just the beginning, for Matteo and Helena?
The Billionaire’s Secret by Kathleen O’Brien
High School art teacher Sophie Smith is usually the most honest of women. But when her dearest friend and mentor asks her to be her stand-in on a two-week vacation at an Amalfi Coast luxury resort, she won’t let her down… even if it means posing as a rich, pampered socialite.
As it turns out, Sophie could get used to this, especially handsome, enigmatic gardener Declan Muldoon who’s strangely more thrilling than any of the billionaires buzzing around. She ends up falling for him—hard.
Then Sophie discovers she’s not the only one pretending. Declan’s gardener gig is temporary. He’s actually the black sheep of a very wealthy, powerful family, a man who appears to be in need of an heiress.
An heiress exactly like Sophie is pretending to be…
The Billionaire’s Charade by Eve Gaddy
Summer St. Croix hates weddings. But when she meets hot-as-sin Luke Vanetti at her oldest friend’s ceremony, he promises to give her a reason to like them.
It’s all sexy fun and games until Summer realizes that Luke is none other than her new boss. Summer refuses to continue to have a fling with her superior, even though the passion between them still runs wildfire hot. But the billionaire private investigator doesn’t see the problem, especially since he knows that one night with Summer won’t be enough.
When Luke’s cousin sends an SOS asking for help in stopping a ring of jewel thieves from robbing his luxury hotel on the Amalfi Coast, Luke agrees. And Summer’s first assignment will be posing as his very sexy, rich, and bejeweled fiancée at the Hotel dei Fiori Isola del Sole.
Playing the happy couple is hard enough during the day, but the nights… will those romantic Amalfi nights turn the charade into more than just a job for both Summer and Luke… for good?
To find out how you can win a gourmet Italian basket, please check out the SCANDALOUS BILLIONAIRES Facebook page
Before you do, what is your dream vacation and with whom would you spend it?
Escape to Italy’s fabled Amalfi Coast with five USA Today Bestselling and award-winning authors for a limited time at a special price! Order the Scandalous Billionaires box set now, for only $0.99! Get your FREE copy of Nona’s Cookbook when you preorder the box set. Just send a screenshot of your preorder page to email@example.com . Copies will be sent out starting next week.
Eve Gaddy is the award winning, nationally bestselling author of twenty-five novels and novellas. Eve’s books have won and been nominated for awards from Romantic Times, Golden Quill, Bookseller’s Best, Holt Medallion, Texas Gold, Daphne Du Maurier and more. She was nominated for a Romantic Times Career Achievement Award for Innovative Series romance as well as winning the 2008 Romantic Times Career Achievement award for Series Storyteller of the year. Eve’s books have sold well over a million copies worldwide and been published in many foreign countries. Eve’s writing career began when she was in search of the perfect job and a friend challenged her to write a novel. Naturally, she thought of romance, since that is one of her favorite things to read. Once she began it was love at first type and she’s been writing ever since. Eve loves her family, spring and fall in east Texas, the Colorado mountains, dogs, chocolate, books, and electronics. She enjoys cooking except when she is in the throes of creating, and has been known to tell her husband that is what peanut butter and jelly was created for. Eve also loves a happy ending. That’s why she writes romance.
I’m so pleased to welcome one of my favorite people in the world to the Jaunty Quills. She’s Manda Collins and she writes smart, sexy historical romance with a strong dash of suspense – pretty much all of my fave writing things wrapped up in one great package. Manda has a new book out, and she’s here to tell us all about it:
Hello, Jaunties! I’m so pleased to be celebrating the release of GOOD DUKES WEAR BLACK, Book 3 of the Lords of Anarchy trilogy, with ya’all! My thanks to the lovely and talented Vanessa Kelly for inviting me!
As a special treat, I’m sharing an exclusive snippet from Trent and Ophelia’s story with you here today. This hasn’t been posted anywhere else, and I hope you’ll enjoy it! But first, the description:
A writer for the Ladies Gazette, Miss Ophelia Dauntry’s passion is her pen. So when she sees a fellow writer kidnapped before her eyes—and the trail of evidence leads to the Lords of Anarchy—Ophelia vows to find her friend and take down the notorious London driving club in her column. But before she can argue her case, she needs the inside scoop from its newest leader: Piers Hamilton, the Duke of Trent.
Headstrong, handsome Trent joined the Lords of Anarchy after a decade in the British Army. He’s made it his business to tame the misbehavior within the driving club—and the infuriatingly attractive Ophelia is only getting in his way. The deeper she digs into the case, the more she puts her own life at risk. Can Trent convince Ophelia to trust him to seek justice…and find protection, and passion, in his arms?
Now, for the excerpt. In this scene, Miss Ophelia Dauntry and the Duke of Trent are, in the company of their friends the Earl and Countess of Mainwaring and the Lisles, discussing her plans to attend a ball later that evening.
“Don’t tell me you mean to attend a ball after the drama of the past couple of days,” Trent said with a frown. “You suffered quite a serious blow to the head yesterday.”
Ophelia frowned at his high handed tone. Just because they were working together did not mean he had the right to make decisions for her.
“And now I am feeling much better,” she said coolly. “Besides which, my sister is betrothed to the Marquess of Kinston so my mother is expecting me to attend whether I feel up to it or not. And I most certainly do feel up to it.”
He looked as if he would like to say more, but perhaps seeing the mulish set of her jaw, kept silent.
“I can promise to look after her,” Leonora exchanging a sly look with her husband, who winked. “Unless, of course, you mean to attend too, Trent.”
“He must attend,” Freddy said guilelessly. “For I mean to keep you busy dancing, my dear. You will have no time to watch over Ophelia.”
“I’m sitting right here, you know,” Ophelia said rolling her eyes. “And I have no need of a keeper. At least not the last time I checked.”
Trent muttered something under his breath, but when she scowled at him, he shrugged as if to say “Who, me?”
Annoyed with all of them, she stood. “I believe I’ll walk home. It is a fair enough afternoon and my house is only a few streets away.”
“Of course I’ll take you,” Trent said looking offended. “As I said, you’ve had an eventful couple of days. And as I am going in that direction anyway it will be no inconvenience.”
It would serve him right if she refused, Ophelia thought stubbornly. But it was true that she was tired. And if she were going to attend a ball that evening she’d do better to conserve her energy. “Very well,” she said.
“We’ll see you there tonight,” Hermione said as she and Leonora ushered their friend into the hallway and toward the front entrance.
Trent made to follow Ophelia, but was stayed by Freddy’s hand on his arm.
“What’s going on here?” his friend asked with a speaking look in the direction of the departing ladies. “I was unaware that you and Ophelia were more than speaking acquaintances.”
“Certainly not close enough to ride about town together in your curricle for two days in a row,” Mainwaring added his eye bright with mischief.
“Don’t be daft,” Trent said with a frown. “We are only working together to find the her friend because George Grayson is a member of the Lords of Anarchy. Nothing more than that.”
“But it would be easy enough for you look for Maggie Grayson on your own, surely?” Freddy asked, pinning him with his blue gaze. “Especially considering that you don’t know what’s in store when you find her. Shouldn’t you leave Ophelia to her own devices for safety’s sake if nothing else?”
At the suggestion he was endangering Ophelia in some way, Trent stiffened. “Now see here, Lisle,” he said with a voice that sounded threatening even to his own ears. “I am doing my utmost to see that she remains safe. If I were to leave her to her own devices as you so helpfully suggest, then she would be god knows where poking her nose into the devil knows that. That lady is as stubborn as a mule and the only reason she is still safe is because I’ve ensured that she doesn’t take the sort of risks she’d doubtless undertake if she were allowed to go about unchecked.”
There was an eerie silence in the hallway for a moment as Trent realized his mistake.
Damn. Double damn.
“That was some speech, old fellow,” Mainwaring said diffidently picking a bit of link from his sleeve. “I believe you’ve made our point.”
“You are both asses,” Trent said turning his back on his oldest friends and stalking down the stairs toward the entry hall.
“You don’t suppose I was too hard on him?” he heard Freddy said from above. “I sometimes can go a bit too far.”
“Not a bit of it,” Mainwaring replied. “How else were we learn the truth of things. It’s not as if he’ll tell us he’s head over ears on his own.”
Grateful that Ophelia and her married friends were already outside, Trent collected his hat and coat and stomped out the door.
PS. That’s Toast, Manda’s furry buddy, enjoying his copy of GOOD DUKES WEAR BLACK.
Manda also has a special giveaway today – a GOOD DUKES WEAR BLACK tee shirt and a copy of the book. Zounds! For a chance to win, just tell us what you like your heroes to wear. Do riding boots and breeches on a manly man make you swoon, or are you more of a low-slung jeans and a tight tee shirt kind of gal? One reader who comments will win Manda’s prize! And for more info about Manda and her books, please visit her website.
Michelle Major: Nancy, thank you so much for having me back to Jaunty Quills. I love working with you on the Fortunes of Texas and I’m so excited to be here!
Nancy Robards Thompson: Michelle, it’s always a pleasure to welcome you to the blog and to work with you on the Fortunes. The Fortunes gang is a wonderful group of women, aren’t they? And speaking of wonderful, Michelle’s book Suddenly a Father was recently named the best Special Edition of the year by RT Book Reviews magazine. Congratulations on this well-deserved honor!
Let’s talk about your latest book, Fortune’s Special Delivery. Tell us about the book’s hero? Why will we fall in love with him?
MM: Oh, Charles Fortune—how I loved him. I’m pretty much a sucker for a British accent so he had me at ‘hullo, luv’. But his character was a mix of Hugh Grant from About a Boy and Robert Pattinson if Cedric Diggory from Harry Potter had gotten the chance to grow into a man. In fact, I watched the trailer for About a Boy at least a million times while I was writing this book. My favorite part of Charles (besides the accent) was that he thought he had his life together but finding out he had a son turned everything upside down and forced him to grow into the man he was supposed to be.
NRT: Tell us about the heroine. Why is she the absolute perfect woman for the hero?
MM: Alice Meyers is the exact opposite of Charles – sweet, shy – but she is a perfect complement for him. I have a soft spot for nice girls who manage to still have a lot of backbone and becoming a mother has given that to Alice. She also wears incredible shoes (and I do not) so it was fun to research high-heels without the pain.
NRT: What life-lesson do your H/H have to learn before they can find their happily-ever-after?
MM: They are not defined by their pasts or who other people expect them to be.
NRT: This book is part of a continuity series, tell us about your experience writing connected stories with other authors.
MM: I love being part of the Fortunes of Texas continuity. Writing is such solitary work most of the time so it’s fun—and sometimes challenging—to bounce ideas around with other authors and make sure character development and plotlines work together. Because all of us see the outline for each of the six books, I really enjoy reading the books when they release to see how each author has made the story their own.
NRT: Working together is fun, isn’t it? What was your favorite scene to write?
MM: Charles is a well-meaning, if somewhat clueless new father. I love seeing the ladies’ man navigating the treacherous waters of parenthood and being totally out of his element. But he really wants to do the right thing and it’s quite charming to Alice that he’s trying so hard. So one of my favorite scenes is when he shows up at her apartment with every fancy baby contraption his son might need until he starts college. Just like in life, sometimes it’s those tiny moments that make all the difference.
NRT: Can you share if there were any real-life inspirations for a particular scene or character in the book?
One of the interesting things I discovered about Austin, Texas, when researching the story was the popular tourist attraction of the Congress Avenue Bridge bats. The world’s largest urban bat colony lives under this bridge near downtown Austin. Every night in the summer, people gather to watch all 1.5 million of them emerge and take off into the night. I’m deathly afraid of bats so I’m not sure I could actually bring myself to stand there in person, but there are some great videos on YouTube if you want to check them out. I loved using the bats as the backdrop for one of Charles and Alice’s evenings out. Bats as harbingers of romance – who knew? 🙂
NRT: That sounds like quite a scene! Thanks so much for being here today, Michelle!
MM: I’d love to share a print copy of Fortune’s Special Delivery with one person who comments. Tell me what was your favorite baby book – either one you remember from your childhood or one your kids loved to have read to them? Mine is the classic Are You My Mother?. Oh, that sweet baby bird. 🙂
Please welcome Darcy Burke to the blog today. She writes wonderful historical romance and contemporary romance, too. She joins us with her Regency bonnet on to talk about her latest historical romance:
Thank you so much Vanessa for having me here at the Jaunty Quills today! I’m thrilled to share my newest historical release, the first in my new series, The Untouchables. Here’s the blurb for THE FORBIDDEN DUKE:
Spinster Miss Eleanor Lockhart is suddenly homeless and employment is her only option. Ruined after succumbing to a scoundrel’s excessive charm nearly a decade ago, she’s lucky to obtain a position as a paid companion and committed to behaving with the utmost propriety. She definitely shouldn’t be in the arms of a man capable of utterly destroying what little remains of her reputation…
Titus St. John, Duke of Kendal, is known as the Forbidden Duke, a mysterious, intimidating figure who enters Society just once each year at his stepmother’s ball. A decade ago, he was a devil-may-care rake until his idle roguery brought about the ruin of Eleanor Lockhart—and his resulting self-imposed isolation. Now she’s back, and she needs his help. But by “saving” her, he may just ruin her life all over again.
I love Titus and Nora so much. They’re grown-ups in that they’re long past their youthful indiscretions, even if they’re still sort of paying for them. They have (I think!) great chemistry and a lovely connection. Titus doesn’t have much interest or patience with Society. He attends just one event each Season—his stepmother’s ball.
Here’s an excerpt:
“We need to take our place,” he said, guiding her to the dance floor, where Lord and Lady Satterfield were already in place at the top of the line that was forming. Kendal positioned Nora to stand beside Lady Satterfield so that they were second in the line. The musicians, set in the far corner of the makeshift ballroom, began to play, and panic seized Nora’s chest. Would she remember the steps? Would she make a fool of herself, or worse, of him?
She felt like an imposter in a scenario she’d mistakenly stumbled into. Surely someone would point her out and tell her she needed to leave. She was a pariah, an outcast. She had no place being here, let alone dancing with a duke.
But it was far too late to run away. The dance had started, and the line traveled the length of the drawing room. This dance would last quite some time, during which Nora would be the center of everyone’s attention and the source of everyone’s gossip. She could hear the exchanges now, imagined them starting up and spreading like a freshly-ignited fire.
“Look at who he chose. Who is that Nobody?”
“Don’t you remember? She ruined herself nine years ago.”
Lord and Lady Satterfield started, dancing their way between the lines. They were rather spry, given their age.
Nora nervously looked over at the duke. “Lady Satterfield is an excellent dancer.”
“Indeed.” The rich tone of his voice soothed her rioting nerves. “She always insists on calling the first, though it’s the only set she’ll dance.”
Nora nodded. Dancing was typically reserved for the young.
She tried not to stare at her partner, but it was difficult as he was situated directly across from her and she should look at him. Look, yes, but not gape. And he was gape-worthy. His reputation suited him for he seemed forbidden, otherworldly almost. Not in an ethereal way, but in a rustic, rough sort of manner, as if Society couldn’t possibly contain him.
Despite that or perhaps because of it, he wore his costume with ease. However, she suspected he was more comfortable in riding breeches and boots as he galloped his horse across the Lake District—she’d ascertained that was where his seat was located—his powerful thighs hugging the animal’s flanks as they moved as one.
Goodness, where had that astonishing image come from?
And then it was their turn to traverse the line. She prayed she would remember the steps and focused on the music as they moved toward each other.
“You look as if you’re headed to the guillotine,” he said just loud enough for her alone to hear.
“Do I?” She tried to laugh but was afraid she sounded like a wounded bird. She longed to ask why he’d chosen her and immediately wondered if Lady Satterfield had put him up to it. She decided she didn’t want to know.
“It’s just a dance.”
The superbly absurd comment coaxed a genuine smile to her lips and alleviated some of her discomfort. “With the ‘Forbidden Duke’ who only dances once each Season. Yes, you’re quite right to characterize it that way. Thank you for putting me at ease.”
He chuckled, and like his speaking voice, it sparked a tremor that seemed to start in her bones and move outward making her flesh tingle and her chest warm. “Don’t be nervous. And certainly don’t be nervous on my account.” He said the last with a tone so dry, she feared it might curl up and blow away in the breeze.
“That is easy for you, a duke, to say. I am just a simple girl who’s been away from London a long time.”
“I daresay you aren’t ‘just’ anything.”
THE FORBIDDEN DUKE is a long novella and kicks off The Untouchables series—you’ll read about the upcoming heroines in the epilogue.
I hope you’ll find me on Facebook—I give away a backlist book each week to one random commenter. http://www.facebook/com/DarcyBurkeFans
And be sure to sign up for my newsletter where I have monthly giveaways. http://www.darcyburke.com/newsletter/
One random commenter will win a signed copy of the first book in my Secrets and Scandals series, HER WICKED WAYS and a swag pack! (Contest is open to North America). My question for you today is what’s one event you’d like to do in Regency England—attend a ball, visit Almack’s, stroll in Hyde Park, or something else?
Do Overs, Mulligans, and other Second Chances
I don’t know about you, but when I look back on the unrolling spool that is my thread of life, I sometimes forget about the sinuous curls of discovery, the multicolored braids created with family and friends, or the shining ribbon that is purpose. Nope, I see the snags clear as day–probably because I am an inveterate perfectionist and can rarely sit back and enjoy something for what it was. I always see the flaws first.
I think that’s especially true of those “The Road Not Taken” moments where you have one path that bends in the undergrowth and the other, grassy and wanting wear. Apologies for the shameless theft from Robert Frost, but if there’s a man who understands lost opportunities, it’s Frost. We make a choice that seems right at the time, but we always wonder what would have happened if we’d gone the other way instead.
I have a bunch of these moments in my life, like choosing the tiny private college out of state instead of taking the scholarship to the big university whose football team is on TV every Saturday. Dating that one guy twice and not getting engaged either time. Resisting the urge to go to law school after the GRE scores came in. Staying in my high school classroom instead of making the leap to the university level. Cooking dinner for a man I hardly knew as a first date and talking about religion and politics the whole night (I married that one). All of those, in retrospect, were exactly right for me.
But what about the others, the ones you’re sure you should have done differently? I have a few of those as well. Like not buying Apple stock in the late 80s. Not taking political science or rhetoric classes, which I would have adored. Or saying yes to that nice young man who asked me to be his date to the West Point Hop because I had a boyfriend. THE WEST POINT HOP, ladies. That boyfriend turned out to be a dud, so I totally should have frozen my toes off in the gray stone castle by the Hudson and gone to the ball with a handsome future officer. (Did I mention he played football for Army? I was so lame as a college freshman.) But then again, who knows? Would I have ended up talking politics and religion with exactly the right man, who most certainly did not go to West Point? I’ll never know. But it’s fun to think about.
In my book The Devil You Know, Domnhall and Calla met young. Like most young people, they both made mistakes and spent far too much time wondering where they went wrong. When they get a second chance, they have to work through a decade’s worth of resentment in order to find their way back to each other.
I had a great time putting Dom and Calla through the wringer–I hope you have just as good a time reading how it all turns out!
I’ll gift a copy of The Devil You Know to one commenter who’s willing to share a do over (successful or disastrous!) in the comments below.
From Nancy : Keep reading for five more chances to win!
Sister Jaunties KathIeen O’Brien, Katherine Garbera and I had the pleasure of working with Mimi on a contemporary romance series called the Scandalous Billionaires, which is set on Italy’s fabled Amalfi Coast. The exclusive Isola del Sole is a billionaires’ playground. Intrigue, adrenaline, and deception rule the day for the wealthy De Luca brothers and their closest friends—but only the right women can ignite their passions during the hot Amalfi nights. For a limited time, the set is available for a special price! But today, in honor of Mimi’s visit, we’re giving away five copies. This prize won’t be available until after the pre-order period, but if you comment today, you just might find one waiting in your in-box on May 3. So, please tell us about your do-over moments and check back tonight at 8pm to see if you’ve won one of the five Scandalous Billionaires sets. We will announce Mimi’s The Devil You Know winner Sunday.