Guest blog by Dani Collins, author of The Russian’s Acquisition
I often struggle for a fresh angle on a book for a guest post. I started to list all the weird behind the scenes facts about this book that I could think of, looking for inspiration, then thought, actually, the list itself is pretty fun.
- I call this ‘the book I rejected myself.’ It’s a bit of a long story, but basically I was given the chance to revise this one once more or start something fresh. I honestly didn’t know what more I could do with this one so I chose to start something fresh. After I hung up the phone with my editor, I realized that she hadn’t rejected this one. I had.
- I then rewrote this book after I’d had half a dozen other manuscripts accepted by London. They bought it immediately (with a few minimal revisions.)
- The kernel of this story is at least fifteen years old. Clair appears to be having an affair with an older man, but he’s actually impotent. I wrote a version of this for Silhouette Special Edition when it was still in business. (Rejected, obviously.)
- Clair’s hero, in the various incarnations of this story, has been: a special agent, a smuggler, a high-born Bostonian, a loner on a sailboat and finally, a Russian with a scar and a terrible secret.
- I’ve started this story in New England, Paris, the Appalachians and finally, London.
- When I pitched it to my editor in London, I actually pitched three different stories. Aleksy was the hero of a different proposal and she suggested (ahem) marrying them. It worked!
- This is the book where I really started to understand the Presents promise of glamour and luxury. Initially I wrote scenes in remote forested locations in Russia, but wound up moving them into Moscow, the Bolshoi Theatre and St. Petersburg.
- I made Clair blond because I wanted her as angelic as possible against Aleksy’s scarred face and grim, sinful past.
- I gave Aleksy a past that included sawmills because I knew through my husband that the Russian lumber industry is booming (although mostly on the eastern side of the country.) I considered setting the book close to Alaska.
- The Russian’s Acquisition is my ninth release this year. It’s my seventh Harlequin Presents and, as noted in #1, might have been my first book with them if I hadn’t been such a dip.
Giveaway: I’d love to send a signed copy of The Russian’s Acquisition to one lucky commenter. Please share a strange or interesting fact you heard about a book or movie. Or tell me something eccentric you like to do when settling in with a book. Do you drink a specific kind of tea? Put the blanket just so over your legs and coax the cat to snuggle in?
Here’s the blurb:
Subject: Contractual Offer
You will find $100,000 in your charity’s account today, provided I find you in my bed tonight.
Aleksy Dmitriev is after the ultimate revenge. Yet his plan backfires when he discovers that his new mistress, Clair Daniels, is a virgin who could not have been her former employer’s lover.
Revenge may be out the window, but that won’t stop Aleksy from enjoying the perks of his purchase…. But Clair is destined to be more than just this Russian’s acquisition!
He knew what he was doing to her. A smug gleam lit his narrowed eyes as his gaze dropped to her lips. He started to lower his head.
Jerking hers back, she gasped, “I haven’t agreed.” But did she really want to step onto the street at midnight with her meager possessions and become one of the homeless? Her few shallow friendships were all with people she worked with. They wouldn’t take her in for fear of losing their jobs. She didn’t have a cushion of savings, just a credit card she couldn’t pay off if she didn’t have an income.
The direness of her situation began to hit home. At least this afternoon she’d been sure she could find some kind of menial work, but not now. Any character reference out of the firm after today would be career-stoppingly negative. Flicking a look from his set jaw to his penetrating eyes, she whispered, “You’re a real piece of work, you know that?”
“I lost my redeeming qualities years ago,” he agreed, something dark flickering in his gaze. “Which means there’s no appealing to my better nature. Make this easy on both of us and give in, Clair.”
She was tempted to. She didn’t have anything to lose and no one to answer to while he was dangling—what? A night? A reprieve at any rate, one that advertised a fringe benefit of physical satiation she had never expected to want. The emptiness of a one-night stand was, well, empty enough to make her ache, but she wasn’t in the market for a real relationship, so…
“Why extend your takeover to include me?” she asked in a voice more husky than the disparagement she was aiming for. “Didn’t you get enough out of scooping up the firm from a dead man?”
“He was still alive when I started proceedings and no, I didn’t get anything near what I wanted. Don’t make out like you’re some kind of prey just because you’re used to being the predator. You get to keep the money,” he taunted softly.
“No matter what?” The jerky toss of her head was supposed to convey brash confidence. The question was real, though. She couldn’t help being seduced by the prospect of running the foundation her way, without needing approval on every detail. Without having to reveal that each of those details touched her personally and that was why she was fighting so hard for them. “I’m not into anything kinky,” she warned. “If you’re looking for someone to spank you, move along to the next girl in the secretarial pool.”
“I’m not the submissive in any relationship,” he assured her dryly. “I like straight sex and lots of it. I don’t hurt women, ever, if that’s what you’re dancing around asking. I might play with dominating one, controlling her…” He flexed his hands on her elbows, making her breasts press into his chest.
Excitement returned with a spear of pleasure straight into her loins. She gasped.
“If she likes it,” he murmured.
She struggled, but he held fast and to her chagrin the short tussle only caused her heated desire to kindle into a shivery anticipation. His vital strength was incredibly sexy and she must have had a kinky strand after all if she responded to having pleasure forced upon her. No guilt, she supposed.
“Too bad the money hasn’t cleared,” she said with breathless regret. “Go back to your own suite. I’ll talk to you tomorrow.” After she’d had time to talk herself out of the rash agreement she was considering.
He slowly let his hands release her, his fingertips oh so slightly brushing the sides of her breasts, making need pierce her belly and leaving her shuddering with longing.
“So you can disappear with my money? I don’t think so. Van Eych might have been teased into giving without return, but I don’t tolerate cheats or thieves. Fetch your passport and we’ll take whatever you’ve left in that case. I have properties around the world. Lady’s choice where we go, but by the time we land, you’ll have your money and then—” He skimmed a proprietorial glance over her. “I’ll have you.”
Award winning author Dani Collins writes Harlequin Presents, romantic comedy, medieval fantasy, erotic romance, and lately, even small-town rancher novellas. Whatever the genre, Dani always delivers sexy alpha heroes, witty, spirited heroines, complex emotions and loads of passion.
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