Guest Blog by Tea Cooper, author of The Protea Boys
Thanks for the invitation Love Romance Passion. I’m Téa Cooper. I write Australian contemporary and historical romance. I arrived in Australia from the UK, via India and a few places in between, with 40 cents in my pocket and no possessions (my backpack had gone missing somewhere between Singapore and Sydney) and I never went home!
From the moment I set foot in the country I knew it was where I wanted to be. The sky is higher, the sun brighter and the country is alive with promise, needless to say my love of the country is reflected in my books.
Tree Change, my first book, begins on the beach, my favourite beach, just north of Sydney. Cassia is a sculptor, determined to make her mark in the Sydney art world. She has to make a choice between her career and the man she loves, an environmentalist, Jake who is determined to preserve the pristine beach setting where they live. Imagine her surprise when she returns and discovers Jake has transformed their little shack over looking the Pacific Ocean into a million dollar mansion. Not only that he’s taken up with his brother’s wife and they have a child.
Here’s a snippet …
“Are you ready for this? Come on,” he said as he spun on his heel and walked away from her.
The beach track gave way to sandstone steps. Her breath quickened as she walked up, regretting her daily cappuccinos and taxi rides. The steps leveled out, and she stood on a paved veranda.
“Well, what do you think?”
She gaped at the unexpected transformation and sucked in a breath, her eyes stretched wide as she attempted to take it all in. “It’s gone. Where’s our house? I mean, your house, the Shack.”
“What do you think?” he asked again in a low, husky voice, raising one eyebrow and smiling lazily, his white, even teeth highlighted against his suntanned face. He rested his arm against the timber doorjamb, giving her a meaningful glance that made her bare toes curl.
She clamped her lips together, still short of breath. She didn’t know if it was exertion or anticipation, but she was certain she knew what he was thinking, what he’d been remembering. She pushed the thoughts away. They belonged to another time, long gone. Stunned, Cassia stumbled past Jake through glass doors that seemed to slide apart of their own accord.
“Where are we? What have you done? Where’s the Shack?”
“This is the Shack. You’re standing in it. I decided it was time to reap the local real estate benefits. The auction is next week. The agents have several people interested. Mostly investors looking for a weekender to add to their portfolio.”
She gasped. “A weekender? It’s more like a resort in Fiji. You’ve sold out, Jake. I thought this was our”—she shook her head, correcting herself—”your unspoiled place in paradise.”
“Times change,” he said, cutting her short as he followed her through the huge sliding doors. “It’s time to move on.”
The Protea Boys is more of an outback romance and draws very heavily on my own experience. I once owned a wildflower farm—sadly the wonderful team of “boys” who make up The Protea Boys are but a dream. They are the product of some serious wishful thinking. My girlfriend owned a plant nursery at the time and one evening we were lamenting the difficulties in finding anyone to employ …. and that’s where the story begins.
There’s a little bit of personal experience in all my stories and whenever I read a book I always wonder which bit of the story is ‘real’. What about you?
Blurb: Protea Boys
Georgie can run but she can't hide from the man who stalks her dreams and throws her ordered life into a tailspin.
Emotional entanglement is not on Georgie Martin's to do list. She has turned her back on her sophisticated Sydney lifestyle, determined to renovate her parents old flower farm and her shattered ego. However, the challenges prove more than she bargained for until a madcap scheme comes to fruition and the Protea Boys are born. The team of efficient, well-tapered six-packs solve her farming problems, but their leader presents a different kind of challenge—their first spark of attraction ignites a passion she cannot ignore.
Tom Morgan likes his women "pretty and entertaining," not "efficient and driven," but the threat of being co-opted as a wine waiter or worse, chef in his brother's restaurant encourages him to take up what he sees as the highly amusing challenge of managing the Protea Boys. It is the perfect distraction while he waits for a new assignment—or so he thinks until he realizes he has found the one woman he cannot run away from.
Blurb: Tree Change
Despite her success in the Sydney art world, Cassia yearns for the idyllic life she once lead with Jake in their shack over looking the Pacific Ocean. Seeking closure she falls, like an addict, straight back into his arms, and out again equally quickly. Not only has he taken up with his brother's wife, but it seems they have a child.
Truth is, Jake’s living a lie, sworn to secrecy, and hamstrung by the debt he owes his estranged family. But one glimpse of Cassia and he knows he cannot live without her. Her fey, artistic character and magical body possess his imagination and his heart. Can he convince her to trust him long enough to save the crumbling remains of their relationship?
Bio: Téa writes contemporary and historical romantic fiction featuring strong-minded women and sexy Australian men. Love and life Down Under isn't always easy. Her heroes and heroines have to fight long and hard for what they believe in before they reach their happy ever after.
The Protea Boys is Téa's second Australian contemporary romance, and her third Passionfruit & Poetry will be published in mid-2013. She is currently working on a series of nineteenth-century historical romances set in Sydney and the Hunter Valley. The first two, Lily's Leap and Matilda's Freedom, will be released in 2013.
To keep up with all of Téa's news visit her website www.teacooperauthor.com where you will find links to her blog and social media pages.