Get into Bed with Dani Collins (Author Interview)

web-14Keira: An Heir to Bind Them is a marriage of convenience plot — what do you love best about them?

Dani Collins: I love the forced intimacy of a marriage of convenience. No matter what has happened between the hero and heroine, they have to share space and work it out. And, of course, when they’re in close proximity, they can’t resist the pull of physical attraction!

Keira: The hero, Theo, is newly the guardian of his niece and nephew and he needs a wife to help him take care of them. So why Jaya?

Dani: Theo is only a temporary guardian. The children are from previous books of mine. Evie is the daughter of Nic & Rowan from No Longer Forbidden? and Androu is the son of Adara & Gideon from More Than A Convenient Marriage? An emergency forces Theo to helicopter them off of Gideon’s ship for a few days.

Theo turns to Jaya on instinct, partly because he knows she is within fuel distance and that he can trust her discretion. This situation could be a media nightmare if it leaks out. But he also remembers her helping a lost little boy at one of his hotels and recognizes her as a natural with children where he feels completely inadequate.

Keira: From the blurb, it sounds like there might also be a secret baby twist! How will that affect the hero?

Dani: The last time Theo saw Jaya, she was leaving her employment with his family’s hotel chain. They both had reasons to seek solace in each other, but Theo had a brutal childhood. He has zero faith in his ability to be a good father and never wanted to be one so discovering he has a son is a huge shock.

Keira: What kept Jaya from sharing the baby information with Theo?

Dani: Jaya did try to tell him, but he never returned her calls. He had a family tragedy that distracted him, but he did warn her that their affair was only for one night. She only wanted to inform him, not trap him, so when he didn’t respond after her first couple of tries, she took the hint and left him alone.

Keira: If you were to cast the characters for a movie, who would play them?

Dani: I always struggle with these questions! I feel like I don’t watch enough tv to know who the hip actors are these days. I’ve had a terrible girl crush on Aishwarya Rai, the stunning Bollywood actress, since Bride and Prejudice came out.

For Theo, Ian Somerhalder has the right mix of handsome and vaguely wicked.

Keira: You started reading romances in high school, what do you love best about the genre?

Dani: The uplifting endings! I don’t think I’m alone in needing that promise that no matter how dark your days seem, there is a brighter day coming. Somehow, whatever you are facing, will work out in the end.

Keira: How do you define love? What makes it work? How do you recognize it?

Dani: Love is unconditional acceptance. Generosity of spirit makes it work. Love isn’t something you expect or hold back or only give if you get something. I think there’s a calm and a joy and a sense of security that helps you recognize it, but fear too. Fear of losing that person or pet or child. Not a jealous type of losing, but a need to protect and hold dear, support and, you know, love.

Keira: If you could travel any where on an unlimited budgeted, where would you go and what would you do?

Dani: I don’t think I’d stop traveling! And I’d do the high-end stuff in fancy-shmancy hotels with obscenely expensive food and views of beaches and gentle river cruises with drinks with umbrellas. My husband and I are keen on natural wonders, so I suspect there’d be more rock formations than rock concerts, but I like history too so castles and ruins would definitely feature as well.

Keira: What is your favorite office equipment for writing your stories?

Dani: Ha. I don’t think I’m alone in having a fetish for office equipment in general. I write on a Mac laptop, which I love. I recently bought a widescreen monitor, not expensive, but I love the extra real estate it offers. I write in Word, which I don’t love, but I’ve tried other things like Scrivner and they didn’t work for me so I make do with what’s familiar. I sit on a ball rather than a chair. I spent a long time trying different To Do and Calendar apps and finally went back to my spiral-bound business calendar to track deadlines and goals. I have a whiteboard—super love that along with my many colored dry-erase pens. (Neon pink, hello!) I also keep lots of colored post-it notes handy for my many genius moments. I prefer to write at my desk, but I do drag the laptop when I travel and usually manage to produce something edible.

Keira: What are you working on next?

Dani: My first Sheik! He’s half-English and I intended him to reside in England, but after some chats with my editor, we decided to move him into the desert and I’m both terrified and excited—which tells me I’m in a good space to write the story. Fern, the heroine, is a very shy red-head who is completely out of her element with Zafir. The story is still in early stages, but I have high hopes for it.

9780373132546BOOK BLURB:

Off the boss’s payroll…and into his bed

Jaya. Her name reverberates around Theo Makricosta’s head in time to the whirring blades of his private helicopter. He must find her; only Jaya can help with the care of his infant niece and nephew…. It’s not because he hasn’t stopped thinking about the single night of mind-blowing passion he shared with the exotic beauty.

Jaya Powers couldn’t refuse her gorgeous millionaire Greek boss when she worked for him, and she can’t refuse him now! Only this time she has a secret. Their night together had consequences that will change Theo’s perfectly ordered existence forever!

Buy: An Heir to Bind Them

EXCERPT:

“There’s not a woman in the world with enough training to fix me. Don’t try.” Another warning, his tone a little cooler.

She shook her head. This was about fixing herself, not him. “I just keep thinking that if I leave without kissing you, I’ll always wonder what it would have been like.”

That sounded too ingenuous, too needy, but his quietly loaded, “Yeah,” seemed to put them on the same page, which was remarkable. He stared at her mouth and hot tingles made her lips feel plump. She tried to lick the sensation away.

His breath rushed out in a ragged exhale. He loomed closer, so tall and broad, blocking out her vision, nearly overwhelming her. But when his fingers lightly caressed her jaw and his mouth came down, she was paralyzed with anticipation.

There’d been a few kisses in her life, none very memorable, but when his mouth settled on hers, unhurried and hot, she knew she’d remember this for the rest of her life.

The smooth texture of his lips sealed to hers. He didn’t force her mouth open. She softened and welcomed his confident possession, weakening despite the nervous flutters accosting her. He rocked the fit, deepening the kiss so she opened her mouth wider, bathed in delicious waves of heat. Their lips dampened and slid erotically. His tongue was almost there, then not, then—

He licked into her mouth and she moaned, lashed with exquisite delight. This was the kind of kiss she’d only read about and now she knew there was a reason they called it a soul kiss. Her hand went to his shoulder for balance. She lifted on her toes, wanting more pressure, more of him settling into her inner being.

With a groan he slid his arm around her and pulled her tight against him, softly crushing her mouth while digging his fingers into her bound hair. It was good, so good. She reached her arms around his neck, loving how it felt to be kissed and held so tightly against his hard chest and—

He was hard everywhere.

Like hitting a wall, she pushed back, perturbed by how intensely she had been responding and the dicey situation she’d put herself in.

He didn’t let her go right away, kind of steadied her first while staggering one step himself, then he ran a hand through his hair and swore under his breath. “Hellfire, Jaya. I suspected it’d be good, but I didn’t know it’d be that good. Are you sure you don’t want to spend the night?”

Buy: An Heir to Bind Them

BIO:

After a brilliant debut in the UK with No Longer Forbidden, a Mills & Boon Modern Book Of The Month January 2013, Dani’s first Harlequin Presents, Proof Of Their Sin, won the Reviewer’s Choice by Romantic Times Book Reviews for Best First In Series. While her focus is Harlequin Presents, Dani also writes romantic comedy, medieval fantasy, and coming August of 2014, erotic romance. Whatever the genre, she always delivers sexy alpha heroes, witty, spirited heroines, complex emotions and loads of passion.

Enter Dani Collins’ Masked Desires Contest for a chance to express your secret desires from behind a masquerade mask.

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Review: Come Home to Me (Whiskey Creek, Book 6) by Brenda Novak

come home to meReviewed by Lynn Reynolds

Aaron Amos and Presley Christensen are in a bookstore. They are reconnecting after she left the area for a couple of years. This is a will they or won’t they kind of story as well as one about second chances.

Presley is starting a new business as well as providing for her son. Riley Stinson is going to do a little work for her and Aaron doesn’t seem to be happy about that – this will make you sit up with interest. Brenda has created quite the conflict so you have no choice but to pick sides and see who “wins” and hope the “loser” shows up in another book.

I don’t read the blurb ahead of time because I don’t want to go in with any expectations – I was one of those bad readers that would read the ending first. If I didn’t like the ending, I wouldn’t buy the book. So in order to get the best experience possible, I go in with no expectations. And my review is more honest.

I find that with this book I have to think a lot more – I question, “What would I do?” Also, what would a woman go through to get something she desperately wants? Sometimes an author can put into perspective what we only hear about but never experience. The reader gets to see how awkward things can feel when you see an old flame. As well as see the effect secrets can have on a relationship.

This is one book that will be hard to put down. You will find that you will not know the outcome almost until the very end. So you will want to get comfortable. I found it a book that was hard to take to appointments – once started; I didn’t want to stop reading. It’s not like you can tell the doctor “I’ll be with you as soon as I finish this chapter!”

It’s interesting to watch and read how this author develops her story. It makes you wonder what the process was. Where did the idea come from? There’s just something about her writing style that I love – everything just seems so believable. She is one of those authors that I love to read anything that comes out. You won’t be disappointed if you add this book, or even the series, to your library.

[Rating:4]

Buy: Come Home to Me (Whiskey Creek)

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Review: You Belong to My Heart by Nan Ryan

you belong to my heartReviewed by Lynn Reynolds

The setting is Civil War-era Tennessee.

Mary Ellen Preble goes down to the river but gets a surprise when she gets there. Clayton Knight grew up alongside Mary Ellen. As you read this story, you will find that it is linked with actual historical figures. It shows the amount of research or love for the time period that went in to developing this story.

If you like setting your ambience as you get into the mood for reading, I can almost picture reading while sitting on a swing under a huge tree. There would be a gentle breeze and the dress would have to be one from that time period – and don’t forget the bonnet. Or maybe you’re even sitting on a blanket under said tree waiting to enjoy a picnic with your true love.

Maybe you like to travel. Why not take this book and travel around the state of Tennessee and learn about some of the state’s history. It may sound a little morbid but why not go to an old cemetery and find a comfortable spot to sit, read, and try to think if some of those people around you were friends with our couple.

I had no trouble picturing everything in my mind because this author’s descriptions are that good. Nan shows the reader how two people can go from first love, to summer love, and then to a forever love. But with any first love, life and parents can get in the way.

We also see the sad parts – one being a female during that time period. Women had few choices back then and it seemed as if it was always the wife’s fault if the husband didn’t get the things he wanted – just a big bully. It’s also a reminder of how far we have come with a lot of things. But pain doesn’t change no matter if it’s the 1800’s or now.

It also must have been a hard book to write since we know how some of it ends. But you can still feel the emotions that come alive with Nan’s words. If you love(d) the film “Gone With The Wind”, this would make a great follow up. It helps to fill in some of the more romantic scenes that they couldn’t shoot back in the 1930’s.

As you get toward the end, just like the family members of the military, this author has the reader holding their breath until they find out for sure if the main characters got their happily ever after. But you have to keep reading because you want to know if you’re going to be right or wrong. I’ve been reading all types of romance novels for a long time and it’s sad to say that this is the first Nan Ryan book I have ever read. Now that I have, I know it won’t be that long before I read another one. And I hope you won’t wait as long as I did. And if you love a good historical romance, you will get your money’s worth with this book.

[Rating:4]

Buy: You Belong to My Heart

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The Search for Fresh and Original

proof of their sinGuest blog by Dani Collins, author of Proof of Their Sin

I’m still a relatively new author and this is my first organized blog tour. This post is my tenth on Proof Of Their Sin and I’ve written three books and two partials since it was accepted. I’ve been moving the writing of this blog down my To Do List for a few days, mind drooling as I attempted to find something fresh to say about this story.

It’s the same struggle we face when writing the book in the first place. To counter that old argument that all romances are the same, we writers struggle to make this story different and fresh and fun.

But how? Especially when writing for a well-loved line like a Harlequin Presents? At its heart, Proof of Their Sin is a secret baby with a reunion romance. The hero, Paolo, is Italian and rich. I know you’ve seen these elements before and when it comes to certain things—a tone of voice, a heated caress—it’s really easy to fall back on a nice bit of phrasing as common as tycoons and virgins. (She husked, while stroking light fingertips across her keyboard.)

Characters, however are unique products of their personal history and life experience, bringing that stab of freshness we’re looking for, so I thought I’d give you Proof of Their Sin’s backstory.

Before I sold in May of 2012, I was working with Suzy, one of the editors at Mills & Boon. She had recently rejected one of my manuscripts (ouch) and asked me to submit three fresh ideas for consideration. Proof of Their Sin was one of them, sent under the title Kidnapped For Keeps. She wound up suggesting I pair the heroine from one synopsis with the Russian hero from the other.

There’s a whole long epic Russian tragedy about how that story marched toward eventual cold and wintry death. (It may yet see resurrection.) After its demise, I wrote No Longer Forbidden? It was accepted in a two-book contract and I still had this lovely synopsis entitled Kidnapped For Keeps which hadn’t exactly been rejected so I sent it along as my second book.

I already had a jump start on the story with a stunning dress for Lauren and a white tie ball and a revelation of an unplanned pregnancy. Wait, have you seen that in a romance before? Yeah, me too. Fortunately, I had plenty of questions to answer: How does she get in? How did she get pregnant? How does she know Paolo?

Pretty soon I was getting to know Lauren and Paolo. He’s a banker who only succeeds in that field by tempering his natural, high-octane, surf-typhoon-waves-in-Indonesia nature. For all his projection of aloofness, he was incredibly devoted to his best friend, Lauren’s first husband. Lauren is an absolute mouse when the story opens, but she steps into her grandmother’s vintage designer gown and dares Paolo to judge her. In her quiet way, she keeps Paolo on his toes and offers him the excitement he craves.

Due to another epic saga, my first Mills & Boon will release with my third this December, making Proof of Their Sin my North American debut. It will hit shelves in my hometown, on July first. I’m ridiculously excited. (I actually went into a store today to check for it and they groaned in empathy when they saw me. “It’s not here yet.”)

I hope Proof of Their Sin strikes a chord with you. Here’s the blurb:

A beautiful mistake…

Pregnant. Lauren Bradley’s heart stops-there’s only one man who can be the father and it’s not her late husband, the man everyone thinks is a celebrated war hero….

Ravaged with guilt at sleeping with his best friend’s wife, Paolo Donatelli closes his heart to Lauren forever. But in nine months’ time, the proof of their incredible night together will be there for the world to see.

Marriage is Paolo’s answer to avoiding more scandal, but it’s Lauren’s worst fear-she still bears the scars from the first time she said I do. Can she trust Paolo enough to reveal the truth?

Buy: Proof of Their Sin (One Night With Consequences)

What makes a romance stand out from the pack for you? Do you have an example of something really different that worked really well for you—or didn’t at all?

GIVEAWAY: I have a copy of Proof Of Their Sin for one lucky commenter.

dani collinsBio: Dani Collins spent two decades submitting to every publisher with a transom while holding down a day job and raising a family with her high school sweet heart.

When The Call finally came, Dani ran with it, going to contract on eight books in that first year. Along with her Harlequin Mills & Boon titles, she has an epic fantasy romance, The Healer, with Champagne Books and an indie-published rom-com, Hustled To The Altar.

While her stories span very different genres, she always delivers alpha-male heroes squaring off with spirited heroines in a deeply emotional, unforgettable romance.

Buy: Proof of Their Sin (One Night With Consequences)

I’d love to hear from you. Find me at:

www.danicollins.com | FB:DaniCollinsAuthor | @DaniCollinsBook |Goodreads

Buy: Proof of Their Sin (One Night With Consequences)

Review: The Highest Stakes of All by Sara Craven

Heroine: Joanna Veron is somewhere around 19. In her father’s world she plays at being a high maintenance vapid beauty, but inside she’s really just a sweetheart looking for a way out of her father’s lifestyle (without having to go to her perfectly nice uncle) ever since a particularly bad incident when they were living in Australia where they swindled a youngish man named Peter out of a lot of money. She extracts a promise from her father to never use her in such a manner again, but of course Denys doesn’t hold to it for long.

Hero: Vassos Gordanis (I see his name and think vaseline) is somewhere in his 30s. He’s out for revenge against Denys and Joanna (though of course she’s clueless.) When he wins Joanna in a high stakes poker game he believes he has the chance to accomplish both punishments as he believes Joanna is Denys mistress. Obviously he’s not buying the “she’s my niece” they both claimed ever since Joanna joined her father on his jaunts around the gambling dens of the world. (Why does Joanna allow this? Gross.)

Favorite Moment: The first and second time they make love when he learns of her innocence (read virginity surprise!) and then tries to teach her about lovemaking which she tries so hard to hate … There’s flavors of Stockholm Syndrome in this, but honestly it worked for me because there’s also the play on the Persephone myth.

Missed Opportunity:
If I remember right they were talking about her real relationship to Denys, but it could also have easily alluded to her virgin state.

Vassos: Why didn’t you tell me?
Joanna’s answer should have been: Would you have believed me?

It seems like a perfectly standard response, but it never came up.

TSTL Ending: Why did the HEA have to include a flowery all is forgiven resolution between Joanna and Denys? What a crappy way to tie it off. Sometimes splitting family units is okay and in this case her dad is such a scumbag there’s really no way I’d buy his remorse and sudden “Oh shut up” speech to his new wife (whom he married right after Joanna was taken by Vassos to avoid his debts and to get the hell out of dodge, the bastard didn’t even look for her to get her back.)

[Rating:4] – I know the rating seems incongruent with the story’s flaws, but I’m also factoring in the *guilty pleasure* I got out of it, because what worked, worked really well for me.

Buy: The Highest Stakes of All (Harlequin Presents)

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