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Shortlisted for the RNA Romance Prize 2009

Mills & Boon Modern Heat

March 2008

ISBN: 9780263863727

 

Harlequin Presents, title tba

date tba

ISBN: tba

A bid for her house - and her body!

Jack Goddard is a man who know what he wants - and he always gets it. Right now, Alicia Beresford's not at all happy with his nid for her beloved family home. But Jack is determined to go ahead with his property plans... andwith taking the alluring Alicia to bed as part of the bargain!

Playboy Jack is the sexiest, wickedest man Alicia's ever known. The more time she spends with the gorgeous businessman, the more tempting his suggestion of hot loving becomes. But she also knows that, though Jack will make the highest offer to buy her body, he's not looking to put down roots... Can she handle the fact that he's just looking for a temporary, no-strings investment before he moves on to pastures new...?

Also released in Australia in paperback (May 2008, ISBN: tbc).

 


Behind the Book

This is where I admit, I've always wanted to live in a big sprawling country house. One with a moat and a walled garden and an orangery and a kitchen garden and... despite the fact that most Modern Heat novels are set in the city, I talked my editor into letting me do a country house book. And it's set in my favourite place in the world (Norfolk - with a trip into Norwich where I sneak in some of my favourite places... so if you're intrigued by what you read, get hold of Norwich: Street by Street and you'll see some of the places for yourself).

My heroine's house is most definitely wish fulfilment. Except I've put her in the position of being about to lose it because of death duties.

Even worse, the man who buys the house is planning to turn it into a recording studios and hold music festivals there... and part of the stage is smack in the middle of what he thinks is a lawn but what she knows was the house's original garden and it's her dream as a lecturer in horticulture to restore the garden. (I'm fascinated by the idea of garden archaeology.)

The physical reaction between them is explosive - but there are problems there, too. Lissy is older than Jack and her biological clock is ticking, whereas he's adamant he doesn't want to settle down.

Jack cooks Lissy Thai yellow vegetable curry - this is another one I like.

The Book's Soundtrack

For me, a country house has to have a piano. Especially as I started to learn the piano in February 2007. So some of the tracks are ones I could play (in a simplified form and we're talking main theme only, not the whole piece), and some are those I'd love to play but were technically way beyond me at the time!

  • Beethoven - Pathétique Sonata, 2nd movement
  • Chopin - Nocturne in E flat minor
  • Chopin - Fantasie Impromptu
  • Bryan Adams - In the Heat of the Night (this was also my working title)
  • Seahorses - Blinded by the Sun

Read a Bit

CHAPTER ONE

He was half an hour early.

Some people would call it rude. Jack Goddard called it a good opportunity to scope things out properly, make sure there were no hidden catches.

Would Allingford Hall look as good in real life as it had in the brochure? Or had clever photography hidden some kind of eyesore right next door?

So far it looked promising. Norfolk would be the perfect place to chill out. There was so much blossom on the blackthorns and in the cow parsley growing on the verges, it looked as if there had been an unseasonal fall of snow. Jack knew that if he wound his window down, the air would be thick with scent.

Two more bends and, according to his satnav, the narrow opening on the left was the driveway to Allingford. A long drive, flanked with copper beech trees. Better and better: no neighbours meant there would be no complaints about noise.

And when the house finally came into view, he smiled.

Exactly what he'd hoped it would be.

The house was E-shaped with crowfoot gables and angled chimneys; the middle bar of the E was a double-storeyed porch, while the end gables were three-storeyed. The house was perfectly symmetrical; clearly it was the original design rather than having bits added higgledy-piggledly over the years.

This place, he thought, had a history. A heart. And if it turned out to be haunted, so much the better. If the gardens were big enough, it would be the perfect backdrop.

All he needed was the planning permission, and he'd be open for business.

He parked on the gravel in front of the house, and as he got out of the car a yellow Labrador came bounding over to greet him. Although the dog's bark was muffled by the teddy bear it was carrying, the sound was clearly loud enough to have alerted the woman who came rushing behind the dog. A woman dressed in jeans and a T-shirt that had both seen better days, teamed with elderly tennis shoes. Her hair, the colour of winter wheat, was pulled back in a scrunchie. And there was a smudge of dirt across her cheek.

He blinked.

In his world, women wore power suits and high heels, with immaculate and fashionable coiffures - not to mention make-up. This woman didn't look as if she was wearing so much as a slick of lipstick; and although her eyelashes were thick and dark they didn't look caked in mascara.

What you saw was exactly what you got.

And he wanted. The sheer desire that flooded through him actually made him sway slightly towards her.

He couldn't remember the last time he'd felt like that about anyone. Including Erica.

And he really hadn't expected this today.

'Jack Goddard?' she asked.

Her voice was gorgeous. Low-pitched but not over-quiet. Cultured. In control.

He found himself wondering what she'd sound like when she'd lost control. When she was so turned on that she couldn't see straight. . .

He pulled himself together. Just. 'Yes.'

She wiped her hand on the back of her jeans and held it out towards him. 'Sorry about the dirt. I was expecting you a bit later.' Not quite a rebuke: there was nothing snide about her tone. Not quite an apology, either: more like, This is me - like it or lump it. 'Alicia Beresford.'

She was the owner of the house? He'd been expecting. . . well, someone posh. A battle-axe or a princess. This woman was neither. She was well spoken but she didn't have that snooty air that most of the Hons he knew had. She was slightly scruffy and very, very touchable - and suddenly all he could think of was stripping off her grubby clothes and lifting her into the shower. With him.

Ignoring the fine layer of soil that still remained on her palm, he took her outstretched hand and shook it. She had a good handshake, dry and firm, but it felt as if a bolt of lightning had just shot through him when the skin of his palm met hers.

And from the way her eyes widened slightly, it was obviously the same for her.

Oh, hell. He really needed to get himself under control. Number one, he never mixed business and pleasure. Number two, Alicia Beresford didn't seem the type to do flings - and he never did more than a fling, nowadays. Not since Erica.

The dog, clearly not wanting to be left out, dragged the teddy bear across his knees, leaving a muddy smear on his trousers. And although Alicia clearly made an effort to hide her grin, her amusement still showed in her eyes. 'I apologise for my dog's bad manners,' she said. 'We can sponge your trousers in the kitchen. Hopefully it won't leave a mark.'

Sponge. Jack had to close his eyes for a moment to get rid of the mental picture of Alicia Beresford kneeling before him, wielding a sponge against his naked flesh. This really wasn't supposed to be happening. He never let himself get distracted in business. So why on earth was he letting this woman affect him like this?

It wasn't as if he were sex-starved. Quite the opposite.

But it was a long time since he'd last felt a pull this strong towards anyone.

From the book Sold to the Highest Bidder! by Kate Hardy.

Harlequin Mills & Boon Medical Romance
Publication Date: March 2008
ISBN: 9780263863727
Copyright © 2008 by Pamela Brooks
® and ™ are trademarks of the publisher.
The edition published by arrangement with Harlequin Books S.A.
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Reviews

From Cataromance:

A poignant and emotional page-turner that will tug at her readers’ heartstrings and leave them breathless as they fall in love with the deliciously sexy Jack and the earnest and lovely Alicia...Warm-hearted, sensuous and wonderfully romantic!

What they're saying on e-Harlequin:

  • A very satisfying category romance read. The title and cover made this one seem like it would be a very strong alpha male Modern/Presents story, but I was pleasantly surprised to see that this hero really was a nice guy.

 

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