Okay, so maybe I should have opened with a big Texas “Howdy” since I’m blogging about the Fortunes today, but I can’t seem to wrap my head around horses, ranches and bluebonnets when this is my temporary office view.
Since I never leave home without my laptop, I had this same view for a week while I was writing Wed By Fortune. And now that the book is finally on the shelf, I’m back at Kaanapali Beach on Maui, my favorite vacation spot. It’s a perfect place to rest and play, as well as read.
So how ‘bout them Fortunes? I love this series—not just taking part in the creation process, but by reading each of the books as they become available. But then again, who doesn’t love reading about the trials and romantic escapades of the Fortune and Mendoza families? It’s also fun to catch up on the lives of the characters we met in the past.
As a romance author, I have the best job in the world. But I must admit, it can be lonely at times, especially when I’m holed up in my office… Well, not the one with a view of the Pacific, as well as Lanai and Molokai. I’m talking about the one at home, which isn’t a bad place to work—unless I’m trying to finish a manuscript by the deadline. But there’s something special about working with five other authors and our editors to create a series of books.
While working on the 2016 Fortunes of Texas, Karen Rose Smith and I emailed back and forth to get certain details, descriptions and characterizations right. Karen’s book, Fortune’s Secret Husband, introduced rancher, Chase Parker, who runs a horse rescue organization. In my book, Wed by Fortune, Graham Fortune Robinson took some of Chase’s horses to Peter’s Place, a home for troubled teens. There, the boys learned how to work with the horses, how to gentle them and care for them. In the process, they began to change their own lives.
Following her divorce, Sasha-Marie Smith returns to her uncle’s ranch and is surprised to reconnect with Graham, who’d been an older teen she’d once known—and crushed on!
Even though that spark of attraction still exists, Sasha knows there isn’t a chance of anything romantic happening between them, especially since
Graham is cowboy sexy, single and unattached. On the other hand, Sasha has come back to Texas with a four year old daughter—and a good size baby bump! But little does Sasha know, Graham is going to struggle with all kinds of warm, fuzzy feelings—and plenty of romantic thoughts.
I hope you enjoy reading Wed by Fortune as much as I enjoyed writing it. And now, if you don’t mind, I’m going back to my temporary office. 🙂 The white sand and tropical breezes are calling me!
Nancy chiming in here: Thanks for joining us today, Judy! And for offering such a generous prize! Readers, please tell us where your dream office would be located. One person who comments will win a couple of Judy’s books and a $10 Amazon gift card.
Since 2002, USA Today bestselling author Judy Duarte has written more than fifty books for Harlequin Special Edition and Kensington Publishing, earned two Rita® finals, won two Maggies and received a National Reader’s Choice Award. When she’s not cooped up in her writing cave, she enjoys traveling with her husband and spending quality time with her grandchildren. You can learn more about Judy and her books at her website: https://www.JudyDuarte.com Or on Facebook at: https://www.facebook.com/JudyDuarteNovelist
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.
- My Dad’s birthday! He had a heart attack last summer and that made this birthday so much sweeter. He’s the best dad in the world and I love him very much.
- Paris! I just spent the weekend in Paris at a Romance Festival where I met so many enthusiastic readers and writers and I was in Paris.
- Sunshine…well, sort of. In the UK Spring heralds a change from many hours of darkness to sunshine from about five a.m. to nine p.m. I know that other places in the world have this but I grew up in Florida where our days stay pretty even. 🙂
- Two New Releases!!! First is the Scandalous Billionaires box set with four of my best friends. This box set includes five stories and is only .99. If you pre-order it, we have a gift for you of a cookbook with our favorite recipes in it.
- Celebrating a milestone with one of my best-friends. His Seduction Game Plan is my 50th Harlequin Desire. And our own Nancy Robards Thompson is celebrating her 25th book for Harlequin with Fortune’s Prince Charming. This week we are celebrating together on our Facebook pages (Kathy and/or Nancy) so stop by if you’d like to win some signed books and other goodies!
What’s your top 5 for April? Tell for a chance to win a signed copy of His Baby Agenda!
Today is release day for FORTUNE’S PRINCE CHARMING! I can’t think of a better way to celebrate here on the JQ blog than to invite my buddy Susan Gorman, of Lady Celeste Reads Romance With Friends, to stop by for a virtual cup of coffee and a chat.
Sometime you meet someone and you know you’re destined to be friends. Sue and I share a love of corgis and romance novels and we both have daughters named Jennifer who were born just a few months apart. So, it seemed only natural that she and I would become fast friends. Sue, I know it’s a busy time of year. Thanks for joining me today to talk books, corgis and college graduation.
Sue Gorman: I’m glad to be here. Can you believe that our daughters will be graduating from college next month? Where has the time gone? Are you ready for graduation? I’m not!
NRT: It only hit me a couple of days ago that Jen (College Girl) will be graduating. Sue, four years ago when we drove away, I thought my heart would shatter into tiny pieces, but it’s gone so fast. Isn’t it wonderful to see the strong, confident young women our Jennifers have become?
SG: It’s amazing! My daughter spent her second semester abroad last year. It was tough saying good bye to her at the airport knowing that I wouldn’t see her for 6 months. Jenny studied at King’s College and travelled all over England and she visited Wales, Ireland and Amsterdam. The semester abroad provided her with lots of new experiences and Jenny returned home confident and determined to pursue a career in law. She starts Suffolk Law School in September. Has Jen made plans?
NRT: Congratulations to Jenny! My Jen has a job working with an interior design firm where she interned for several summers. I’m so proud of her and happy that she’s found something she likes to do.
While we’re on the subject of things we like to do, I love your Lady Celeste Reads Romance blog. How did you start reviewing books?
SG: I “won” a book on Facebook and the author mentioned she’d appreciate a review.
I reviewed it on Goodreads and she appreciated it. I am on a few street teams and receive ARCs for honest reviews. Sometimes, if the book doesn’t resonate with me I contact the author and explain. I don’t leave negative reviews on GR or Amazon. For Lady CelesteReads Romance…we review books, movies and audios that we love. We buy a lot of our books and audios. And it’s all positive! We choose our own books.
NRT: In case the readers are wondering about Lady Celeste, she was inspired by Sue’s adorable Pembroke Welsh Corgi, Celeste. Samantha sends Celeste a corgi kiss.
SG: How is Sammy? Is she still enjoying her walks?
NRT: She lives for her walks. I’ve been on deadline and lately she hasn’t been able to spend as much time outside as she would like, but I’ll make it up to her. How about you and Celeste?
SG: It’s finally Spring and I have started to walk the dogs each morning. Celeste enjoys seeing the school bus in the morning. Children love corgis!
NRT: They sure do! I hear you and Celeste, recently accomplished something major, would you care to share?
SG: Sure! Celeste finished her Beginner Novice obedience title on April 16th! We have worked very hard to accomplish this goal. Celeste wasn’t keen on learning the “sit/stay” command so, we were at a training impasse. After completing her CGC (Canine Good Citizen test), Celeste decided she could sit and stay—so we were able to move towards our goal.
Speaking of goals, congratulations! I saw the gorgeous cover of FORTUNE’S PRINCE CHARMING on Facebook! And it’s your 25th book for Harlequin!
NRT: Thank you, Sue!
SG: I love the small town sense of community in your books and that your characters have to deal with every day issues. I remember you told me that a group of you author the Fortune series. There is a great sense of continuity in the series and characters appear in different books. What’s the secret to keeping the small town feeling in each book?
NRT: Thanks so much for the good words about FORTUNE’S PRINCE CHARMING. One of the reasons that story is so near and dear to my heart is because it’s part of the Fortunes of Texas 20th anniversary. I love writing the Fortunes stories and I also enjoy my Celebrations, Inc. series (I’m working on another Celebrations book right now). One of the things both series have in common is that small town sensibility. I love taking readers to a place they’d to return to over and over again – a place where they know everyone and feel like they’re part of the community. I guess it goes back to the old adage write what you know. The town where I grew up is a lot like Celebration, Texas. I continue to draw on the sense of belonging I felt when I was growing up.
SG: Can I have a hint about FORTUNE’S PRINCE CHARMING? Just a little hint..please?
NRT: Absolutely! The book (and the 2016 Fortunes series, for that matter) is set in Austin, Texas and it’s all about family secrets. In this series we’re introduced to the Robinson family who may or may not be related to the notorious Fortunes. Gerald Robinson, the patriarch, insists he isn’t related to them, but his own children have uncovered some pretty compelling evidence that he might not be telling the truth. If so, why the secrecy and the distancing? His daughter, Zoe, is the heroine of my book. She is the lone holdout, taking her father at his word. But soon she and hunky Joaquin Mendoza (who hails from the Miami branch of the beloved Mendoza family –long-time regulars in the Fortunes series) discover that not only are they both on a mission to uncover the truth about their respective families, they also discover they are perfect for each other.
Here’s the back cover copy:
Zoe Robinson had never known true love—until Joaquin Mendoza rode into Austin and stole her innocent heart. The new guy at work is brilliant and aloof, but Zoe’s nursing a secret of her own: her dad might be connected to the famed Fortune clan! But the determined beauty has never backed down from a challenge—not when it comes to her family, and not when it comes to love.
Joaquin believes he’s all wrong for the wealthiest gal in Texas—he’s got one too many family issues keeping him from surrendering his heart to lovely, innocent Zoe. Until shocking allegations surface about her family drama and Joaquin realizes that he might be the ideal match for his Texas princess after all!
Sue, thanks so much for stopping by and helping me celebrate the release of FORTUNE’S PRINCE CHARMING.
Readers, since release days are always a happy day, tell me something good, something positive — anything as long as it makes you smile. I’ll give away a $10 Amazon gift card to one person who comments below.
Susan Gorman is an avid reader of historical and contemporary romance and mystery novels. She reviews books on her blog Lady Celeste Reads Romance with her friends Gayle Cochrane and Lisa Hutson.
A graduate of Saint Anselm College, she works in the financial services industry and breeds, shows and trains Pembroke Welsh corgis. She lives in southeastern Massachusetts with her husband, daughter and corgis.
A while back, I saw the move Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, starting Kate Winslet and Jim Carrey. It’s about a couple who dates, breaks up, and ultimately employs a firm to erase all memories of their relationship.
It was fascinating to consider that concept and it made me think about past relationships with friends, family members and exes. And certain times in my life when I wasn’t at my most stellar.
After considering the good, the bad and the ugly, I realized I wouldn’t want to completely wipe out memories of anyone I’ve encountered in my life. Maybe I’d forget some of the getups I wore in the ‘80s or some of the what-was-I-thinking hairstyles or some of life’s embarrassing moments. Although, I seem to be good at erasing those from my memory on my own since I know they happened, but I can never seem to recall them when the subject comes up. Anyway, if you can’t remember, did it really happen?
But memories of people? Nope. I wouldn’t do away with a single memory of anyone I’ve ever met. Not even the people in my life who have been…er…challenging.
In my book Fortune’s Prince Charming, (paperback available April 19; e-book available May 1; both available for pre-order now) both my hero and heroine face family challenges that might be worthy of forgetting, but in the end, they help each other come to terms with the family skeletons and become much stronger in the process.
Just a side note — I’m particularly proud of this book for a couple of reasons: It’s the fifth book in the Fortunes of Texas’s 20th anniversary celebration and it’s my 25th book for Harlequin. Doesn’t seem possible, but it’s true. 🙂
How about you? Given the opportunity, would you erase any memories of your past?
To celebrate the Fortune’s 20th anniversary and the release of my 25th Harlequin, I’ll give away a copy of Fortune’s Prince Charming to three people who comment below.