Champagne with a Celebrity

Available in stores

Mills & Boon Modern Heat

Oct 2010

ISBN: 9780263877472

 

Harlequin Presents Extra

Jan 2011

ISBN: 9780373527991

Pride, passion - and the paparazzi!

Beautiful socialite Amber Wynne is constantly in the press - usually for her spectacularly bad love-life! But when Amber meets gorgeous Frenchman Guy at a wedding she begins to wonder if her very public life could be stopping her finding love,..

Darkly brooding perfumier Guy Lefèvre shuns the press, and he'd like to shun Amber too. She may be stunningly sexy, but a heated affair with Amber would risk the media discovering the secret that could shatter his world. But now he's getting to know the real woman behind the celebrity facade, can he really let her walk out of his life?

Also released as:

  • UK hardback (Oct 2010, ISBN: 9780263214338)
  • Australian paperback (Dec 2010, ISBN: 9781742550701)

 


Behind the Book

The South of France. Sensuality, sunshine, perfume and red wine...

So I'd already told Xav's story in Red Wine and Her Sexy Ex. That meant it was Guy's turn.

I loved doing the research on this. Y'see, I like perfume. I'm a bit set in my ways, as I tend to go for one of Dior's florientals. But then I discovered there was a 'design your own perfume' course. All of fourteen miles away from my front door. Now, if you're going to write about perfume, you're going to have to know how it's made, aren't you? And so I went on the course, made my own perfume (and yes, it did turn out to be a clone of Dior Addict - even though I consciously set out NOT to do that), and grilled Dale Evans mercilessly. She was brilliant and answered lots of my questions.

And then my ed said, 'I hope this is going to be one of your celeb books...' The first version didn't quite work, when my heroine was trying to hide who she was. The second version (cue lots of rewriting and black circles under my eyes), she became a bit larger than life. And that worked.

Guy Lefèvre is a parfumier who used to be married to a supermodel. What's the worst person he could fall for? An It Girl who looks like his ex... Meanwhile, Amber thinks she has the perfect life - but she's not admitting to what she really wants.

This book is all about irresistible attraction. There's a tango scene (yes, of course I watched Antonio Banderas's tango a lot for inspiration). Oh, and Amber loves amazing shoes. (Just as I decided this, I was meeting my friends Jo and Sarah for my birthday lunch - and Sarah had these amazing shoes. I had to pinch them for Amber.)

The book's recipe - Amber, like me, reads menus backwards. And she eats pudding for breakfast. This roulade is lovely (but it does need to be eaten soon after making it!).

The book's soundtrack

Book 1 in the duo has a lot of Def Leppard in it. Guy listens to classic rock. Loudly. (In the original version, he played lead guitar in a band as a student. But I cut that in version 2.) So my Joe Elliot phase continued quite happily...

  • Def Leppard - Scar (this is the big song of the book - it's all about healing the scars people leave behind - and I LOVE the guitar on it)
  • Def Leppard - Armageddon it (has to be one of the sexiest Lepps tracks ever)
  • Mary Wells - My Guy (Amber's ringtone for Guy - Gerry bought me a new phone for Christmas and I discovered you could use songs as ringtones. Mine are pertinent. Amber does the same)
  • Eva Cassidy - Time after Time (connecting it with Book 1, as this is the first dance at the wedding - and it makes Amber all wistful)
  • Por Una Cabeza (aka the tango music from 'Scent of A Woman' - Guy and Amber dance to this and it gets just a little bit steamy!)

Read a Bit

CHAPTER ONE

We'll have to wait and see. The phrase that Guy had come to hate most in the entire world. How the hell could he be patient about this, when it could turn his entire world upside down?

But this was the second specialist to say it. His third medical opinion in as many months. And while 'we'll have to wait and see if your sense of smell returns' might be perfectly acceptable advice for most people, it absolutely wasn't fine for a parfumier. Guy couldn't do his job properly without his sense of smell.

He'd been covering it up for three months now. It was only a matter of time before someone found out. And then things would get seriously difficult; as it was, his business partner wanted to accept a huge conglomerate's offer to buy out the perfume house. Guy had resisted, so far - he wanted to keep them focused on what their customers wanted, and continue to support local suppliers - but this would give Philippe the ammunition he needed to force the sale. How could GL Parfums possibly continue as it was, when its head of research and development had lost his 'nose'?

Hell, hell, hell.

He'd been banking on this last specialist being able to help him. On being able to offer him something more than just waiting to see if it cleared up by itself, because the only possible reason for it was damage caused by the virus. He'd sat perfectly still and gone through the truly nasty procedure of having a camera on a tube fed up his nose and into his sinuses. He'd taken vitamin supplements. He'd spent hours online, scouring every possibility, reading the forums of every support group. And still he was being told, 'We'll have to wait and see.'

Worse, the specialist had added that it could take up to three years for his sense of smell to come back, and even then it might not come back fully.

Three years?

The last three months had been bad enough.

The prospect of spending three years like this was torture.

Besides, he couldn't wait for three years. The perfume house couldn't afford to stand still - if they didn't develop new fragrances or extend their current lines, they'd have no chance of competing in the market. And then it would go under and everyone would lose their jobs. His staff had supported him and believed in his dreams so much that they'd even taken a pay cut, in the early days, to keep the perfume house going. How could he let them down?

Unless he hired someone to be his 'nose' at the perfume house in his stead… and then his own role would have to change. He'd have to shoulder a lot more of the admin and the marketing - the things he'd always been relaxed about delegating, because he'd been happiest in his lab developing new fragrances. Hiring another parfumier would mean that he could keep the perfume house going; but it also meant that the perfume house would stop being his dream. It'd just be a job. He'd be living half a life, unable to do what he loved most: without his creativity, the thing that got him up in the mornings and made him glad to be alive.

He knew it was selfish of him - and unfair - but he really didn't think he could bear that.

Thank God he'd finalised the formula for the new perfume before his sense of smell went. That would buy him a few more months. And then he'd just have to hope to hell that whatever the problem was with his nose could be fixed. That he could find a specialist who could help him.

And somehow he had to drag himself back from the brink so he could be smiling, urbane, sweet-natured Guy Lefèvre, best man at his brother's wedding. He wasn't going to drop the vaguest hint that his life was turning into a nightmare: no way was he going to ruin Xav and Allie's happiness with his own misery.

'Smile,' he told himself harshly, 'and look as if you mean it.' And he was supposed to be out here cutting roses for the table arrangements, not making clandestine calls on his mobile phone to an ENT specialist and brooding in his garden. Better get on with it, before someone came out to find out what was taking him so long.

***

'Sheryl, it's gorgeous. It's just like what I expected a French chateau to be like. Did you get the photo I sent you?' Amber asked.

'Yes. All tall windows and old stone. Very glam.'

'It's a bit shabby inside,' Amber admitted, 'but a little bit of work could fix that. Change the faded drapes for voile and light damask, paint the walls white with just a hint of rose, and get someone to polish the parquet and the panelling. And there's this amazing chandelier in the hallway. Needs cleaning, mind, but it's a stunner.'

Sheryl laughed. 'Don't tell me you're going to persuade Allie to lend you the place for a party?'

'I'm tempted,' Amber admitted. 'How much would people pay for a weekend house party in France, do you think? Or maybe a Marie Antoinette-themed dinner?'

'I don't believe you. You're meant to be having fun at a wedding, and you're spotting locations for a possible charity ball.'

'Well, yeah. It's gorgeous, Sher. The kitchen's to die for. It's enormous. There's this old terracotta floor, cream-painted cabinets - and they're obviously handmade - gleaming copper pans and a scrubbed wooden table.' The kind of kitchen she would love to have, herself.

'Just as well the paps can't hear you,' Sheryl teased. 'If only they knew that Bambi Wynne the party girl likes being all domesticated.'

'Just as well you won't tell them, then,' Amber retorted, knowing that her best friend was completely trustworthy and would never betray her to the media. She pushed away the thought that she'd actually quite like to be domesticated, pottering round at home with a family to settle down with. Being the centre of someone's world.

How ridiculous.

She had a fabulous life - one that most people would envy. A nice flat in a fashionable part of London; good friends to meet for lunch and go shopping with; invitations to celeb parties and cinema premières. Her time was her own, and if she fancied shopping in Milan, Paris or New York she could just hop on a plane without having to worry. She was on decent terms with all her family, even though her mother could be a bit tricky sometimes - so why on earth would she have this hankering to be tied down?

She shook herself. 'And the rose garden here. I've never seen so many in one place before. You know that corner of the handmade soap shop we like in Covent Garden? Walking through here's even better than that. Like drinking roses every time you breathe in.' On impulse, she wandered over to one choice bloom and picked it. She sniffed deeply and sighed. 'This has to be the most beautiful scent in the world.'

***

Guy rounded the corner and stared in disbelief.

Véra?

Common sense kicked in. No, of course Xav wouldn't have invited his ex to the wedding. Even if Allie knew her through work, he very much doubted that Allie and Véra would be friends. Allie wasn't in the least bit princessy, whereas his ex-wife had turned out to be a demanding, selfish diva. More fool him for letting his heart rule his head and not letting himself see what she was really like before he'd married her.

p>From the book Champagne with a Celebrity by Kate Hardy.

Harlequin Mills & Boon Modern Heat
Publication Date: October 2010
ISBN: 9780263877472
Copyright © 2010 by Pamela Brooks
® and ™ are trademarks of the publisher.
The edition published by arrangement with Harlequin Books S.A.
For more romance information surf to http://www.eHarlequin.com

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Reviews

From Romantic Times: 4 stars

Sexy dialogue and a hero with a unique personal challenge make for an appealing read.

From Cataromance:

Written with all the sensitivity, tenderness and heart that have become synonymous with her award-winning romances, in Champagne with a Celebrity best-selling author Kate Hardy has penned a poignant, uplifting and beguiling tale so beautifully written that you will feel the French sunshine on your face, smell and taste the gorgeous scents and flavours so exquisitely described and bask in the magnificent depictions of the French countryside which she so effortlessly recreates.

Atmospheric, enjoyable and gloriously feel-good, Champagne with a Celebrity is another first-rate romance from an outstanding storyteller who delivers time and time again!

From Marilyn's Romance Reviews:

It was extremely romantic. Two people who had been hurt by past relationships and the press, who in only a few weeks fell in love. To share so much with each other and had to come to terms with a lot of issues and unfolding events, I wondered if they had a chance. Sometimes secrets have to be exposed, dealt with to get that happy ending. Because in the end, both Guy and Amber wanted to live their dream together. Thanks to clever and gifted Kate Hardy for this wonderful series for providing readers with the Lefevre brothers.

From Amazon:

Worth the time, and reads really well. It is cute and fun - and who doesn't like a mis-understood female? :-)

From Goodreads:

Despite the corny title (which seems to have little to do with the story, unless you consider socialites to be celebrities),this book was very enjoyable. It's refreshing to read an HP book where hero and heroine are likable and have realistic flaws and problems. I understood why they were attracted to each other. I enjoyed their friction and disagreements but also appreciated that for the majority of the book they were having fun and enjoying each other's company.

What they’re saying on e-Harlequin

Good story about two opposites who are attracted to each other.

The second book in a duet, which begins with the marriage of the previous two characters (Red Wine and her Sexy Ex). :-) Just like the previous book was a beautiful glimpse into the life of a vintner, this one immerses the reader in the world of a parfumier. It has Kate's trademark yumminess (I am always hungry when I read her books!) and a generous helping of hot sex.

 

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