[Manga Maniac Cafe] Good morning, Eliza! Describe yourself in five words or less.
[Eliza Redgold] Bookish, romantic, curious, (mis)adventurous.
[Manga Maniac Cafe] Can you tell us a little about Hide & Seek?
[Eliza Redgold] It’s about the birds and the bees…
Hope Buchanan runs Hot Tropics Bird Sanctuary in steamy Broome, Western Australia. When American hotel developer Sullivan O’Dare arrives and threatens the birds’ natural habitat, she’ll fight him any way she can … but is her heart really in it? Or has it taken flight?
[Manga Maniac Cafe] Can you share your favorite scene?
[Eliza Redgold] When a stranger appears unexpectedly in a bird hide at Hot Tropics Bird Sanctuary in Broome Western Australia, and ruins the publicity ‘pin-up’ photo Hope Buchanan is taking of a bowerbird, she doesn’t exactly give him a warm welcome. To her horror, she discovers the good-looking man is her arch nemesis, Sullivan O’Dare, the head of O’Dare Property Developers, who has just flown in from New York.
[Manga Maniac Cafe] What gave you the most trouble with the story?
[Eliza Redgold] Not putting in all the information I discovered during my bird watching research! Birders, also known as ‘twitchers’ and ‘bird nerds’ can become a bit obsessed, and I did too. Bowerbirds and hummingbirds became my favorites, but don’t get me started.
[Manga Maniac Cafe] What’s one thing you won’t leave home without?
[Eliza Redgold] Binoculars
[Manga Maniac Cafe] Name three things on your desk right now.
[Eliza Redgold] I am in New York right now, and not at home in Australia, so I’ll just close my eyes: A painting of a bird with the word HOPE scrolled beneath it that I found while writing Hide and Seek (with my bird-watching heroine being called Hope it seemed like serendipity) a photo of my daughter, and a feather quill pen.
[Manga Maniac Cafe] If you could trade places with anyone for just one day, who would you be?
[Eliza Redgold] As I am here in New York city not far from the Algonquin Hotel where she used to hang out, I’d have to say Dorothy Parker. Who wouldn’t want to be that witty?
[Manga Maniac Cafe] You have been granted the use of one superpower for one week. Which power would you choose, and what would you do with it?
[Eliza Redgold] To be able to fly! (Of course!) I’d love a bird’s eye view of the world. We could all do with a higher perspective sometimes.
[Manga Maniac Cafe] What are some books that you enjoyed recently?
[Eliza Redgold] At the moment I’m reading some old romances by Sophie Cole, who wrote the first ever romance novel for Harlequin Mills and Boon just over a hundred years ago. I found a dusty old copy of one of her books, ‘Witchery’ in a vintage shop. I’m reading the rest as e-books on Kindle.
[Manga Maniac Cafe] How can readers connect with you?
[Eliza Redgold] Webpage:
Come and say hi!
Hope landed in Sullivan’s lap as if he was Santa Claus.
Water churned around them as he caught her in his arms. ‘It’s okay, I’ve got you.’
Helplessly Hope tried to find a grip with the soles of her feet. Her skin must have been as slippery as a fish as his hands glided over her hips and up to cinch her waist. For a moment she realised how neatly their bodies fit together, his lower body cupping hers from behind. Her toes slithering in the mud, she struggled to stand, but he kept hold, his fingers firm as they pressed into her bare flesh, before he plonked her back on her feet as easily as if she weighed no more than a small child asking for a pony.
Splashing to his feet he came around in front of her, his white teeth gleaming. A shout of laughter burst from between his lips, the same strong, confident laugh she’d heard when she first met him in the bird hide at Hot Tropics, arcing through the air as bold and raucous as a kookaburra.
The sound faded into the trees as their eyes met. The colour of his had turned from sea to sky, so clear and blue she wanted to soar into them.
She couldn’t say who took the first step beneath the waist high water. As they moved together his body pressed into hers, his hands wrenching her closer as their lips found each other. He tasted clean and water fresh, with another taste all his own that she hadn’t known she hungered for, until now. She opened her mouth; her hands sliding up his wet, muscled back and into the damp tendrils of hair at the base of his neck. In return his hands moved, his fingers tangling in her hair, and up to cradle her face, drinking her in like nectar from a flower.
Nothing mattered but that kiss just then, and what he told her with his lips.
He wanted her.
She wanted him too, she told him with her searching tongue, with something deeper than desire, more real, more powerful.
But this was Sullivan O’Dare.
Jagged breaths heaved through Hope’s body as she wrenched herself away. She couldn’t speak; she could only stare, as her hand went flying to her heart.
‘Hey — why are we stopping?’
His teeth flashed again, and his tone stayed light, but his eyes held a more serious emotion.
He’d felt it too.
‘I don’t think this is a good idea,’ Hope gasped.
His breathing sounded unsteady too. ‘No? It didn’t taste like such a bad idea to me. It tasted good. Very, very good.’
Hope hadn’t known she could flush when soaking wet. She discovered she could.
Drops of water went flying as she shook her head. ‘I don’t think we should…fraternise.’
Once more his laugh soared skyward. ‘Fraternise? Is that what we were doing?’
Around his muscled thighs water frothed up as he came closer. She backed away, keeping her arm diagonally across her chest, fending him off.
‘We should keep this trip professional.’ Sullivan O’Dare. O’Dare Luxury Developments. Silently she repeated the words to herself, as if they could halt her beating heart.
He raised an eyebrow. ‘Should we?’
‘Yes. No. I mean, it’s a business trip for both of us really, isn’t it? We don’t want to complicate things…’ Hot Tropics. She instructed herself. Think of Hot Tropics.
Laughter tilted his chin. ‘No indeed.’
Yet again his blue eyes searched hers without the laughter, sending her a signal that spelled more than desire.
Before he could mesmerise her again Hope turned and fled. Splashing through the water she clambered up the slippery stones and out of the hot springs.
Grabbing her towel and backpack she ran through the forest as fast as she could, away from Sullivan O’Dare.
About the book:
He thought he knew all there was to know about the birds and the bees, but he’s about to get schooled.
A little birdie tells Hope Buchanan that American hotel developer Sullivan O’Dare isn’t just in town for a holiday. As the manager of Hot Tropics Bird Sanctuary, Hope has more than a vested interest in protecting natural habitats.
Hope pulls out all the stops to convince Sullivan to come out with her to the WA bush, with its beautiful trees and unique wildlife. Surely the stunning scenery and a dose of ‘Broome time’ will show him what is at stake. But what is initially about saving the Sanctuary soon becomes about finding a connection. Could it be that Hope has finally found the bird of a feather to form her own flock?