Monday, January 31, 2011

Perfect Time for a Royal Romance

You guessed it, my February Presents Extra is a royal romance.

Being Australian, I was particularly fascinated several years ago when an Australian woman, Mary, married a Danish Prince. Now she's Princess Mary of Denmark, leading the sort of life that gets featured in glossy magazines here and, I assume, all over the world.

There's something about the pomp and ceremony of a royal wedding, the glittter and excitement and, above all, the Cinderella factor when an 'ordinary' girl marries a royal, that is absolutely fasincating. There's the dress to ponder over, the pageantry, the guest list of celebrities, the chance to spot any young, handsome, unattached minor royals waiting for their own Cinderella (I know there aren't many but who cares about long odds?).

Imagine my pleasure when I discovered the release of PROTECTED BY THE PRINCE slots in nicely to the approaching royal wedding in the UK. Thank you Kate and William! I couldn't have timed this better. It would be nice to think I had an inkling that wedding bells would be in the air when I planned this story, but it's just serendipity.

Serendipity had a lot to do with this book, with so many wonderful experiences feeding into my research. There was a marvellous day spent with fellow Presents author Abby Green in Dublin, which included a visit to the old library at Trinity College. That place is amazing, and the visit helped me create my heroine, Tamsin, a book curator and expert in old languages. There was a visit to see crown jewels on a day when it wasn't crowded (yes, really!) and the staff were particularly helpful. A visit to a fabulous gothic cathedral full of stunning stained glass just as the clouds cleared and washed the interior with the most gorgeous light. Christmas night markets in Austria and Germany alive with the smells of mouth watering food and the sounds of music and laughter. There were castles perched on high mountains and a fabulous night spent in a tower room looking down on the Rhine. There was even a sleigh ride on the clearest day imaginable, after fresh, deep snow had fallen and the alps looked unbelievable. Well, yes, our sleigh ride wasn't like Tamsin and Alaric's - there were several of us in the sleigh and I wasn't being whisked off to an isolated mountain lodge for royal seduction. But the tinkle of the bells (they really do tinkle) and the swish of the sleigh and the sparkle of the snow were completely magic.

However, it was Tamsin and Alaric who made this royal romance such fun to write. He is handsome, debonair, charming and troubled, weighed down by the ghosts of his past. She's hard-working, almost reclusive and determined to concentrate only on her work of preserving old documents, rather than let herself fall for another charming man who can't be trusted. She's not glamorous. She wears dowdy grey and brown, she hasn't a high heel to her name and she shuns male attention. Fortunately Alaric can see beyond the surface and is intrigued by what he finds. As for Alaric - sigh. Well, let me just say I had a wonderful time with him. Here he is as seen through Tamsin's eyes at their first meeting:

He could have been Prince Charming, standing there in his elaborate hussar’s uniform, her discarded shoe in one large, capable hand. A bigger, tougher Prince Charming than she remembered from her childhood reading. His dark eyebrows slashed across a tanned face that wasn’t so much handsome as magnetic, charismatic, potently sexy. Like Prince Charming’s far more experienced and infinitely more dangerous older brother.

I was thrilled when PROTECTED BY THE PRINCE received a 4.5 star review from Romantic Times: With genuine chemistry and vulnerable characters this modern-day fairy tale delights from start to finish. I hope you enjoy it too, along with the other Presents and Presents Extras this month. For more about the book, visit my website. To celebrate the fact this is my first post on the fabulous new Harlequin Presents Blog I've decided to give away a backlist title to one person chosen at random from those who leave a comment. Just tell us one time serendipity or coincidence gave you or someone you know a lovely surprise.

Monday, January 17, 2011

January Sunshine

Isn’t this new-look website lovely? It’s just the thing to chase winter woes away. In January, holidays seem a long way off, although I’m still celebrating as this month sees the release of my latest Harlequin Presents title, The Master of Bella Terra. It’s the story of Kira and Stefano, and the setting is loosely based on a beautiful old villa in the Tuscan hills where my family and I spent a wonderful holiday, not long ago. 

I love Italy, and doing research there is always such a pleasure. During the cold winter months it’s lovely to think back to days spent lounging in the dappled sunlight of a citrus grove, listening to the gentle hum of bees and breathing in the lovely blend of sharp and sweet fragrances coming from the flowers and ripening fruit that can often be found nestling together, among the leaves. When I look back through the pages of The Master of Bella Terra now, it’s a lovely reminder of those days spent beneath the Italian sun.

Romantic Times awarded The Master of Bella Terra a four star review, saying: “Landscape consultant Kira Banks doesn’t appreciate it when Stefano Albani invades her countryside existence, but she can’t resist his lucrative contract to turn his houses into homes. Kira and Stefano are searching for ways to escape their painful pasts and protect themselves from future hurts. So while their passion is hard to resist, they’re determined not to fall in love. From the Italian countryside to the Caribbean, beautiful surroundings come to life as Hollis does a good job of maintaining tension between the characters.”

I hope you enjoy The Master of Bella Terra, along with all the other great Presents titles available this month.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Happy new year! Happy new Presents!

There's something special about this time of year - the rush of holiday festivities behind us and the new year still shiny bright and filled with promise. And this year is all the more special to me, because it sees the release of my latest title, Reckless in Paradise.
Reckless in Paradise (Harlequin Presents)

I visited the paradise that features as the setting in this story some eighteen months ago. In the depths of a southern hemisphere winter, my hubby and I spent a weekend visiting Far North Queensland. We rented a cabin right on the beach, swam in pristine sapphire waters and explored the hinterland and all its treasures.

There were waterfalls, tangled rain forests, tropical flowers and birds in bright exotic colours. There were tiny towns, colourful and vibrant and selling ripe sweet mangoes straight from the tree, while out to sea lie the spectacular coral reefs that form part of the Great Barrier Reef.

Simply stunning!

But of course, every Paradise has a catch and its hidden dangers. Here's one not-so-hidden danger we saw lurking on a slippery river bank...

In Reckless in Paradise, wedding planner, Sophie Turner, is similary struck by the beauty of the region when she arrives to state the case for her clients' wedding. Her brother, Jake, is about to marry the woman he loves and as it happens, Daniel Caruana's little sister. Sophie will do anything to make sure they get the best wedding ever, while Daniel knows it will never happen. Not on his watch.

And that's when Sophie learns that paradise comes laced with danger, and not only in the shape of a man who threatens both her equilibrium and her heart...

Romantic Times Reviews has awarded Reckless in Paradise a 4 star review - saying "Daniel Caruana has gotten rid of all of his sister Monica’s greedy suitors by paying them off, but his archenemy, Jake Fletcher, refuses the money. To make matters worse, the happy couple hires Jake’s sister Sophie as their wedding planner. Daniel refuses to forgive Jake for the car accident that killed his fiancĂ©e, but was Jake really responsible? Will Daniel realize his feelings for Sophie before it’s too late? Here’s a sweet story about letting go of the past with a thrilling ending that will make readers say, “I didn’t see that coming!”

Thanks to all those fabulous readers who've already made Reckless in Paradise a Borders Group top 10 bestseller. I hope you enjoy reading Sophie and Daniel's story along with all the other fabulous Presents reading coming your way in 2011!

Happy reading,


Saturday, January 1, 2011

January 2011 Releases

The Society Wife - India Grey

Infamous playboy Tristan Romero meets ordinary Lily at a lavish ball, and arrogantly predicts that she will wake up the following morning between his designer silk sheets! Powerless to resist this wicked billionaire, Lily knows Tristan is only offering one night. But then she discovers she's pregnant….

Tristan's aristocratic duty demands he take Lily as his bride. However, Lily's shame over accepting a loveless proposal is heightened when she realizes that, as the Spaniard's wife, she'll be expected to fulfill his every need….

Visit for more information.

Master of Bella Terra - Christina Hollis

Kira Banks far prefers plants to people—after a heartbreaking affair, she lives alone in the beautiful Italian Bella Terra Valley. But her peaceful existence is shattered forever when restless, self-made billionaire Stefano Albani arrives home by helicopter.

Notoriously charming but weary of worldly women, Stefano is fascinated by cautious, shy Kira—this seduction will be unforgettable! However, his polished routine goes awry. Could it be that the tycoon, who can have anything or anyone he wants, might need someone for the very first time…Kira?

Visit for more information.

The Bride Thief - Jennie Lucas

If anyone present knows of a reason why this marriage may not lawfully take place, please declare it now…

Xerxes Novros is about to do more than just voice his reasons why Rose's marriage should be stopped… He's hoping to steal this beautiful wife-to-be away and whisk her off to his private Greek island!

But Rose was to be a virgin bride…and Xerxes is determined to give her the wedding night she's been stolen from. Rose is torn; pride dictates that she should refuse Xerxes his pleasure. But, secretly, she can't deny a startling truth—she's fallen for her dark, handsome captor!

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Reckless in Paradise - Trish Morey

Merciless Daniel Caruana will do anything to prevent his sister marrying his nemesis! It just so happens that her wedding planner is the groom's sister—and in the flesh, despite her prim clothes, Miss Sophie Turner is very tempting.

An eye for an eye, a sister for a sister….

Daniel will have Sophie exactly where he wants her—with him on his private island and willing in his bed! But when Daniel realizes that true love does exist, it's not just his sister who's in trouble….

Visit for more information.