Excerpt: The Billionaire’s Christmas Baby by Victoria James

Entangled Publishing and Victoria James wanted to share an excerpt from Victoria’s holiday romance The Billionaire’s Christmas Baby.  Enjoy!

Excerpt: The Billionaire’s Christmas Baby by Victoria James

Jackson poked the logs in the fire a little too harshly and muffled his cough as a cloud of smoke engulfed his face. He tried to appear calm and natural even though he felt like he’d been backed against a wall by letting this woman and the baby into his home. How had he gotten into this mess? He could tell Hannah was trying to figure him out, and the look in her eyes was unsettling, like she was pleased when he told her about Charlie being a stray. He glanced over at her as she pulled off her red hat and a mass of caramel colored hair came tumbling out. He didn’t want to notice how shiny and soft it looked. He turned his attention to the fireplace again, but watched from the corner of his eye as Hannah straightened out her clothing.

Hannah was definitely beautiful—not in a made up, high-maintenance sort of way. She had high cheekbones and full, rosy lips. And even though he didn’t want to notice, her eyes were like dark emeralds, large and almond shaped, with impossibly thick black eyelashes. Even more perplexing than their indisputable beauty was the emotion and the warmth they held in them. They weren’t vacant, they weren’t flirty, and they weren’t the eyes of someone who had been friends with his sister. They were clear and sharp, not hollow like someone who was stoned all the time. No, she was too pulled together to have been friends with Louise. So then who the hell was she?

He willed himself not to look lower than her chin. Dammit. Too late. She was curvy and slender in all the right places. He felt himself fighting back a surge of complete and total unwanted desire that gripped him out of nowhere. What was going on with him? Must be a natural reaction to a woman who wasn’t thinner than a twig. The last woman he’d slept with had been so skinny he wondered if she had ever eaten a carb in her entire life. But this Hannah woman was off-limits. He didn’t date women with children or people associated with his family. And even though there wasn’t a wedding band on her hand, she was probably with some guy. Not that it mattered. Not in the least, because he wanted nothing to do with her. Anyone connected to his family was the enemy.

“Look, I really am sorry for barging in like this.” She folded her hands in front of her and bit gently on her lower lip. Why were her lips to appealing? Focus buddy, focus. He shrugged, dragging his eyes away from her mouth. “Don’t worry about it.”

“I really wasn’t planning on getting here so late—”

“How did you know I was going to be here? No one knows about this place except my business partner and PA.” He saw the exact moment that her embarrassment turned to discomfort.

She waved a hand dismissively, but her voice sounded forced. “Oh, you can find anything online these days.”

He crossed his arms in front of him. She wasn’t looking so confident now. “No, you can’t. You can’t find anything about this cabin online.”

She averted her eyes. “It wasn’t her fault. I was probably a tad dramatic.” Maybe it was the sudden change in tone or the softening of her expression that made him get defensive.

Jackson narrowed his eyes. “Whose fault?”

“I think her name was Ann,” she said, biting her lip and looking away. Jackson tried to hide his shock. In all the years Ann had worked for him, she’d never released any personal details about him.

“What did you tell her?” He was genuinely interested in knowing how the hell this woman had managed to get the address of his cabin.

“I may have said it was a matter of life or death.”

He rolled his eyes. He was surprised Ann fell for that. “You seem to use that line as a catch-all, don’t you?”

“Well, I really did need to find you. And she was quite concerned when I mentioned the death part,” she said, lifting her chin. Something about the way she stood, the way she wouldn’t stop looking at him made him uneasy.

But no matter what, he knew she was here to tell him something he didn’t want to know. Not that it should matter. Nothing she could tell him would make him change his mind about his family. He turned his back to her, focusing on the fire that didn’t need his attention at all. He heard her shuffling around and then the quiet padding of her feet across the wood floor.

“I’m sorry to bombard you with this.”

He ignored her attempt to open up the conversation. He turned to look at her, eyeing her snow-soaked pants. “Do you want to take off your jeans?”

Her green eyes grew comically large. “Pardon me?”

He almost laughed out loud at her expression. “I mean, you’re soaked. I can get you a blanket or something and you can put your jeans in the dryer.”

“Uh, no, I’ll stand here for a few minutes. I’m sure they’ll dry quickly by the fire.” Her face was still red as she moved closer to the fire.

Why should he care if she wanted to stay in wet jeans all night? “Why don’t I show you and uh—” He motioned to the baby with his chin. “—the baby your room?”


You can learn more about Victoria by visiting the following:

Visit Victoria James: www.victoriajames.ca

Twitter: @vicjames101

Facebook Page – www.facebook.com/pages/Victoria-James/412431258807271

You can learn more about Entangled by visiting their website.

If you enjoyed the excerpt, you can order The Billionaire’s Christmas Baby from your favorite bookseller or by clicking the cover below

 

About The Billionaire’s Christmas Baby:

Jackson Pierce didn’t make his fortune entertaining every half-cocked idea, especially one involving diaper changes. Not even the cute brunette who links him to the baby in her arms can crack his icy heart.

A baby on the doorsteps is the least of Hannah Woods problems–she has to find the baby’s uncle, or the child will end up in foster care. She sleuths her way to the reclusive CEO’s doorstep only to find six feet of holiday sexy–and a door slammed in her face. But when Jackson comes around, and urges they marry for little Emily’s sake, Hannah finds herself falling for the jaded billionaire and wishing for a holiday miracle of their own…

About Victoria James:

Victoria James is a romance writer living near Toronto, Canada. Victoria is a mother to two young children, and one very disorderly feline. Victoria attended Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario and graduated with a degree in English Literature, where she met and then later married, her own hero. After Queen’s, Victoria earned a degree in Interior Design. After the birth of her first child she began pursuing her life-long passion of writing. Her dream of being a published romance author was realized last February, 2012, when Entangled Publishing bought her manuscript. Victoria is living her dream-staying home with her children and conjuring up happy endings for her characters.

Win The Marriage Mistake by Jennifer Probst!

Thanks to S&S, I have FIVE copies of The Marriage Mistake by Jennifer Probst to give away!

About the book:

Carina Conte has had a crush on her brother Michael’s best friend, Max Gray, since she was a teenager. Now she’s earned her MBA and come to work at Michael’s new venture, America’s fastest-growing bakery empire. But some things never change: her family still treats her like a child. With three drop-dead gorgeous siblings, she’s still the ugly duckling of the bunch. And Max, the company’s new CEO, still barely notices her.

Max knows Carina Conte is strictly off limits. But hot-blooded lust wins out at a conference when the two share a scorching one-night stand—and are busted by her mother! Now, forced by old-world Italian tradition into a marriage he’s not ready for, Max is miserable—and Carina is furious. Her new husband is about to realize that hell hath no fury like a woman transformed…

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Review: Blackmailed by the Italian Billionaire by Nina Croft

 

Title: Blackmailed by the Italian Billionaire

Author: Nina Croft

Publisher: Entangled Publishing

ASIN: B007KGQQCS

 

May Contain Spoilers

From Amazon:

Seduction by any means necessary…

Olivia Brent is happy with her quiet life in the country, until the imminent loss of her home forces her to embark on a search for her estranged father. Catapulted into a world of criminals and totally out of her depth, Olivia is rescued by the stunningly gorgeous and enigmatic billionaire Luc Severino.

Luc has never considered himself a knight in shining armor, and if he had been, then Jimmy Brent’s daughter was the last person he would choose to rescue. But Olivia is the key to finding her father, and Luc is willing to use any methods available, including blackmail, to persuade Olivia to help him find Jimmy and finally put the past behind him.

And if blackmail doesn’t gain her total cooperation, then perhaps a little seduction will…

Review:

Blackmailed by the Italian Billionaire is yet another example of of why I don’t like to read the blurbs on the back of the book before picking up a new category romance to read.   I am not enamored by billionaires, Italian or otherwise.  I have a hard time relating to them, and, in all honesty, I don’t really like them.  The stress of having to juggle finances to get all of their bills paid gives the guy next door more character than that billionaire who jets off to seal a new lucrative business deal.  Luc, the wealthy hero of Blackmailed by the Italian Billionaire wasn’t always a rich guy, and that made him more interesting for me.  He actually had to scrabble for his success, which he earned through sheer determination.  His sole goal in life, exacting revenge against Jimmy Brent, has given him the drive to make things happen.  Jimmy did him wrong, and Luc is going to make him pay – if he can ever track the weasel down, that is!

Olivia Brent is in dire straights herself.  She is also desperate to locate the whereabouts of Jimmy Brent, the father that abandoned her family years ago.  Jimmy was a louse, everyone knows that, but Olivia has been shielded from his most terrible indiscretions.  Her mother remained in love with her errant husband until the day she died, and she refused to speak ill of him.  Olivia needs to find her father, so she can persuade him to pay the bills she has looming over her head.  If she can’t find him, she’ll lose the family home, leaving her, her younger brother, and their housekeeper on the streets.

The plot is standard series romance fare, and while it didn’t bring anything new to the table, Nina Croft’s writing kept me turning the pages of this spicy romance.  Certain plot elements drove me bonkers, the main one being Olivia’s career.  She works for a horse trainer, teaching lessons and competing on the eventing circuit.  That just seemed far-fetched to me, considering her lack of discretionary funds.  It is a rare individual who makes it big in the pricey horse world.

A hot night of steamy, passionate sex in his office, which was recorded on closed circuit cameras, is all the ammunition that Luc needs to get Olivia to help him find her father.  With a sponsorship on the line, Olivia can’t afford to allow any scandal to taint her reputation.  Instead, she agrees to Luc’s plan to lure her father out into the open.  All of this was far-fetched and very silly, but the book was like crack and I couldn’t put it down.  Why did Luc need a bedroom with a king-sized bed attached to his office?  Does he often entertain clients in the intimate decadence of those finely woven linens? 

There are some stories that I enjoy for no other reason than they keep me distracted from reality, and this is one of those.  If I stop and over analyze the plot, Blackmailed by the Italian Billionaire would probably fall flat on its face.  Seeing how Luc and Olivia overcome their distrust of each other, and how they reconcile their feelings of betrayal by her father, kept me engaged in the story.  Reading this book is like opening a bag of Jalapeño Kettle Chips.  I know I shouldn’t give in to the temptation in the first place, but once the bag is opened, I can’t stop myself from eating every last chip, one after another.  The book is fun, angsty, and zings with sexual tension, even if it contains the nutritional value of a bag of potato chips.  For escapist reading and a disconnect from reality, give this book a try.

Grade: B+

Review copy provided by publisher

 

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Interview with Nina Croft, Author of Blackmailed by The Italian Billionaire and Giveaway!

Nina Croft is the author of several romances, with latest, Blackmailed by The Italian Billionaire, just hitting store shelves.  Nina dropped by the virtual offices to discuss her book, and she brought along a digital copy for one of you to win!  Enter for your chance to win after the interview!

[Manga Maniac Café] Describe yourself in 140 characters or less.

[Nina Croft] I’m English, but live on an almond farm in Spain. I love animals, can be obsessive, and I’m a voracious reader and writer of romance.

[Manga Maniac Café] Can you tell us a little about Blackmailed by the Italian Billionaire?

[Nina Croft] Blackmailed is contemporary romance with believable characters and situations, but with that edge of fantasy that women dream about (well I dream about anyway!)

I think one of the reasons we read romance is to be transported to fabulous places and Blackmailed does just that, taking the reader from the English countryside, to sophisticated London, to a dreamy Italian island hideaway. Add to that a gorgeous hero, a strong heroine, and a pretty good reason why they can’t just fall in love and live happily ever after!

And here’s the blurb:

Blurb: Blackmailed by the Italian Billionaire

Seduction by any means necessary…

Olivia Brent is happy with her quiet life in the country, until the imminent loss of her home forces her to embark on a search for her estranged father. Catapulted into a world of criminals and totally out of her depth, Olivia is rescued by the stunningly gorgeous and enigmatic billionaire Luc Severino.

Luc has never considered himself a knight in shining armor, and if he had been, then Jimmy Brent’s daughter was the last person he would choose to rescue. But Olivia is the key to finding her father, and Luc is willing to use any methods available, including blackmail, to persuade Olivia to help him find Jimmy and finally put the past behind him.

And if blackmail doesn’t gain her total cooperation, then perhaps a little seduction will…

[Manga Maniac Café] How did you come up with the concept and the characters for the story?

[Nina Croft] I’ve always had a love for all things Mediterranean. When I first started reading my mother’s romances, I was always drawn to the stories with tall dark, bad-boy heroes; Spanish, Italians, Greeks… Luc, the hero from Blackmailed by the Italian Billionaire, was inspired by all these.

Luc is actually half-Italian and half-English. And that also gave the basis of the conflict in the story, as Luc is man with two distinct parts; he’s a billionaire, he lives in a gorgeous penthouse in the poshest part of London, but he also has a somewhat shady past…

[Manga Maniac Café] What was the most challenging aspect of writing the story?

[Nina Croft] I think probably not introducing a vampire into the story. This is my first pure contemporary romance. The last couple of years I’ve been writing a lot of paranormal and it just seems not right to not have a vampire. I had to keep reminding myself—contemporary!

[Manga Maniac Café] What three words best describe Olivia?

[Nina Croft] Impetuous, loyal, brave

[Manga Maniac Café] What are three things Luc would never have in his bedroom?

[Nina Croft] A woman other than Olivia (well, not from now on anyway).

A romance novel—he reads thrillers and science fiction

Pyjamas—he never ever wears pyjamas

[Manga Maniac Café] What are your greatest creative influences?

[Nina Croft] Books. I think it’s impossible to be a writer without having a deep love of books. They inspire me; make me want to write better, try new things, explore new worlds…

[Manga Maniac Café] What three things do you need in order to write?

[Nina Croft] Time, ideas and my laptop

[Manga Maniac Café] If you had to pick one book that turned you on to reading, which would it be?

[Nina Croft] Lord of the Rings – it wasn’t the first but probably had the biggest impact.

[Manga Maniac Café] What’s the last book you read that knocked your socks off?

[Nina Croft] I reckon A Game of Thrones by G.R.R. Martin. It was a book that made me want to devote the next ten years of my life to writing a gigantic epic fantasy story (one day…) And the great thing is—there are loads more in the series.

[Manga Maniac Café] What do you like to do when you aren’t writing?

[Nina Croft] I live on an almond farm in the mountains of Southern Spain, so much of my spare time is spent pottering around the place. I have a small vineyard, and I make (and drink) a lot of wine. I read a lot. I have four dogs who love going for walks, and a horse called Gencianna, who I ride most days.

[Manga Maniac Café] How can readers connect with you?

[Nina Croft] Website

Twitter

Facebook

[Manga Maniac Café] Thank you!


GIVEAWAY TIME!

Want to win a digital copy of Nina Croft’s Blackmailed by the Italian Billionaire? Thanks to Entangled Publishing and Nina, all you have to do is fill out the widget to enter for a chance to win.  Following will get you extra entries, too!

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Blurb: Blackmailed by the Italian Billionaire

Seduction by any means necessary…

Olivia Brent is happy with her quiet life in the country, until the imminent loss of her home forces her to embark on a search for her estranged father. Catapulted into a world of criminals and totally out of her depth, Olivia is rescued by the stunningly gorgeous and enigmatic billionaire Luc Severino.
Luc has never considered himself a knight in shining armor, and if he had been, then Jimmy Brent’s daughter was the last person he would choose to rescue. But Olivia is the key to finding her father, and Luc is willing to use any methods available, including blackmail, to persuade Olivia to help him find Jimmy and finally put the past behind him.
And if blackmail doesn’t gain her total cooperation, then perhaps a little seduction will…

Read an excerpt here.

Nina’s Bio:

Nina Croft grew up in the north of England. After training as an accountant, she spent four years working as a volunteer in Zambia, which left her with a love of the sun and a dislike of 9-5 work. She then spent a number of years mixing travel (whenever possible) with work (whenever necessary) but has now settled down to a life of writing and picking almonds on a remote farm in the mountains of southern Spain.

Nina writes all types of romance often mixed with elements of the paranormal and science fiction.

Review: Kidnapped by the Greek Billionaire by Rachel Lyndhurst

 

Title: Kidnapped by the Greek Billionaire

Author: Rachel Lyndhurst

Publisher: Entangled Publishing

ISBN: B007947U4O

 

May Contain Spoilers

From Amazon:

Kidnapped!

Or that’s what it feels like to Kizzy Dean when a business disagreement with arrogant Greek lawyer Andreas Lazarides leaves her no choice but to accompany him to the Greek Isle of Rhodes. It doesn’t help matters this sexy brooding stranger, who is unaccustomed to the word No and the very idea of commitment, shows her what it feels like to be truly desired.

Amidst the ancient myths and alleyways, tensions run high as Kizzy feels an immediate attraction for the man she wants to both ravage and strangle.

Accustomed to gold-digging women, Andreas is mesmerized by Kizzy’s feisty nature and Gypsy beauty. Guilt and sorrow have been his only bedfellows since his sister’s death, but Kizzy stirs up a desire he’s unwilling to succumb to… until she makes him an offer he simply can’t refuse.

Review:

I love series romance, so it’s exciting to see a few new faces in the field.  The latest entrant into the world of wealthy alpha males and headstrong heroines is Entangled Publishing, with their Indulgence line.  For shorter reads, take a look at their Flirts and Ever Afters lines. 

I usually don’t like stories with billionaires, because I have a very hard time relating to the heroes.  They are richer than Midas, and don’t have to worry about things like paying their utility bills or stocking the pantry with food.  They don’t even have to think about cleaning the house or doing their own laundry; they have domestic help to take care of stuff like that.  While I would love to experience the thrills of having someone else clean the bathroom, I admit to having a certain respect for a guy who will scrub his own toilet.

Kidnapped by the Greek Billionaire starts off with protagonist Kizzy making an awful first impression on uber busy rich guy, Andreas, a Greek billionaire who is about to ruin her life by demolishing both her home and her dreams.  Having invested most of her life savings into a  restaurant in London, she is dismayed to learn that the new owner is going to have it torn down to make way for a new housing development.  Timi’s has been her safe haven since her mother’s death, and the previous owners were like family to her.  When they retired, they sold their business to Andreas, assuming that he would keep the business operating with Kizzy as the new manager.  Nope!  That plan was never on Andreas’ agenda!

Desperate to change his mind, Kizzy is soon swept into a fiery affair with the passionate Andreas.  Despite her misgivings, Kizzy can’t resist Andreas’ bold advances.  Their relationship is stormy and steamy.  Andreas is Kizzy’s first lover, and as he introduces her to sensual pleasures she hadn’t even dreamed of, she finds herself falling in love with him.  This leads to lots of angst and self-recrimination on Kizzy’s part.  She doubts that Andreas will stay faithful to her, and she knows that he doesn’t want a permanent relationship.  He marriage ended disastrously, and he’s not about to trust another woman.  He’s keeping his tragic past firmly to himself, and Kizzy despairs at his secrecy.

I liked Kizzy from the start, but Andreas was harder to warm up to.  Early in the story he chastises Kizzy and rebuffs her efforts to keep the restaurant open. He tells her everyone is suffering with the poor economy, and that remark just grated on my nerves.  Here is a guy with a luxurious yacht, a private plane, and several residences, and he is lecturing a woman who can barely afford to pay her rent about the realities of a bad economy.  Er….right.  Sorry, Andreas, but it made you sound like a pompous ass, especially when you insisted on purcahsing a whole new wardrobe for Kizzy instead of letting her pop home to pack a suitcase after dragging her off to Greece because you are afraid that she will tell the former owners of the restaurant that you’re going to have the building torn down.  Ugh.

Despite a weak premise and a hero who was occasionally hard to like, I enjoyed my time spent with Kizzy and Andreas.  I loved the exotic setting and probably wouldn’t have protested much if I was dragged to a Greek island.  I think that Andreas should have groveled a bit more before Kizzy forgave him, but because she jumped to conclusions too quickly and refused to communicate with him, I’ll cut him some slack.  Kizzy acted immature near the end of the book, and the wedge that is driven between the couple is based solely on her inability to talk to Andreas.  This was frustrating for me, because it showed that she hadn’t developed much from the start of the story. 

Grade:  Waffling between a B & B-

Review copy provided by publisher

 

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