Please join me today in welcoming Rachel Lyndhurst as she tours the blogosphere celebrating the release of her second Entangled Indulgence romance: The Spanish Billionaire’s Hired Bride! I got to interview Rachel about the novel, the inspiration behind that smoldering sexy hero and more behind the scene secrets So join us and discover this sultry story (that you could even win)!
Stella: Hi Rachel, welcome to BLI! Can you please tell us a bit about yourself?
Rachel: I’m a British mother of two, formerly an accountant, but now a full-time author. I live on the south coast of England and can sometimes smell the sea from my back garden.
Stella: Describe a typical day of writing? Are you a planner or pantser?
Rachel: I’m a reformed pants girl. I plot these days, it’s the only way I could ever put forward a decent proposal to an editor, but flying by the seat of your pants is fun!
Stella: What do you think is the difference between a reader and a real Book Lover?
Rachel: Interesting question! And a tricky one …I guess it’s a difference in the level of passion and interest between the two types of people. A reader enjoys newspapers, magazines, books and all manner of written word on paper, their computers or similar devices. Readers take the information they desire in and then generally move on to the next thing. A real Book Lover is someone who might actually read a book they love more than once and have a ‘keeper’ shelf, whether it be a physical bookshelf or an eReader library. I’m tempted to say that a real Book Lover craves the feel and smell of a shiny new book and the ambience of a good bookstore, but these days there’s also place for digital content in a real Book Lover’s world. They have the opportunity for instant gratification – a worldwide library of books, including those ones long out of physical print. A real Book Lover can spend so much more time actually reading when new joys await at just the click of a button.
Stella: Your latest release The Spanish Billionaire’s Hired Bride is your second Indulgence release, how was this experience different/similar to the release of Kidnapped by the Greek Billionaire?
Rachel: Kidnapped by the Greek Billionaire was my first title with Entangled Publishing and was also one of the launch titles for the new Indulgence line in February 2012, so there was a bit of a learning curve all round. The experience with The Spanish Billionaire’s Hired Bride was similar in that things turn round and happen very quickly with digital publishing. Then, when you’re sitting there trying to catch your breath, retailers like Amazon take their own sweet time in getting your baby out into the world. Or that’s how it feels, anyway. I was a lot calmer about everything the second time round – patience is a virtue!
Stella: Your latest novel, The Spanish Billionaire’s Hired Bride was just released last month, congratulations! Can you tell our readers what they can expect of it?
Rachel: Thanks for the congratulations, Stella!
A Spanish billionaire banker weds a debt-ridden English farmer’s daughter for a bet. It’s a sexy marriage of convenience story set in the sun-baked Balearic Islands, mainland Spain and the English New Forest. Your readers can expect tension as the protagonists push each other to the emotional limits, glamour, luxury, and a very open bedroom door. It gets pretty hot in other locations too …
Stella: Oooohh Do you still remember what inspired it? Was there a specific moment/event that sparked the idea for the story?
Rachel: I saw a spectacular male underwear model on a huge billboard in Marks and Spencers. Nobody in the store (or even marks and Spencer’s HQ in London) could tell me who he was, but we all agreed he looked Spanish. So I had to write a Spaniard, didn’t I? Soon after that I holidayed in Ibiza and fell in love with the White Isle. Watching a very wealthy couple get off their flashy yacht and then dine expensively at a posh harborside restaurant was also a defining moment. I wanted to write about a poor but proud British woman, feed her lobster and champagne, and then plonk a gigantic diamond ring on her finger!
Stella: I so knew it you visited these places, the descriptions were so vivid and colourful! Could you introduce Ricardo and Helen, the hero and heroine of The Spanish Billionaire’s Hired Bride?
Rachel: Ricardo Almanza, six foot plus tall, dark hair, amber eyes. Dangerously handsome, so approach with caution. Don’t try to out bargain him, because you’ll lose – he doesn’t ‘do’ failure. Don’t say no to him either. Ferociously loyal. Will not cry.
Helen Marshall, five and a half foot tall, not afraid to fight dirty. Blonde hair, green eyes, likes her food spicy and tells it like it is. Won’t leave home without her handbag though.
Stella: The Spanish Billionaire’s Hired Bride is quite a mouthful, was it the title of the story from the start or was there a working title? And if so, what was it?
Rachel: It’s a mouthful, yes, but those five words hopefully give a potential reader a good idea of what they’re going to get. The title’s been through a few changes, but I finally submitted it for approval under the name The Balearic Billionaire’s Hired Bride. However, it was felt that The Spanish Billionaire’s Hired Bride would be more accessible. In house we call it TSBHB!
Stella: The Spanish Billionaire’s Hired Bride is a marriage of convenience story. This is one of my favourite tropes, but I’m curious to know that as an author, why did you choose it for your novel? What are its attractions, challenges, opportunities?
Rachel: I love marriage of convenience stories too. It’s a great trope for an author because it gives you a really good starting point for your characters’ goals, motivations and conflict. There has to be a reason why both parties agree to this marriage and go through with it, and this usually gives an opportunity to show one of the party’s selfless side, a sacrificial lamb if you like. The scope for them ultimately becoming intimate is also wide, because they have to keep up appearances, like sharing a honeymoon suite for example. The biggest challenge for me is coming up with a good enough reason for this marriage of convenience to be required in the first place, especially as we live in times where the institution of marriage is becoming less and less relevant in modern society. But we’re allowed a little fantasy now and then, aren’t we?
Stella: Can you tell us 3 reasons why people should read The Spanish Billionaire’s Hired Bride?
Rachel: People should read it because it’s a sexy romance, it’s totally indulgent and it’s cheaper than a takeout lunchtime sandwich.
Stella: Can you summarize The Spanish Billionaire’s Hired Bride for us Twitter-style (140 characters or less)?
Rachel: Billionaire banker weds debt-ridden farmer’s daughter for a bet. A sexy marriage of convenience story set in the sun-baked Mediterranean.
Stella: Can you share with us some little secret trivia connected to the writing of The Spanish Billionaire’s Hired Bride (a scene/character that did not end up in the final version, a real person inspiring a character, scene, etc.)?
Rachel: Hmmm, not sure I really should spill, but seeing as it’s you, Stella … Okay, Lady Lidia Skiptree is a horrible character in The Spanish Billionaire’s Hired Bride. Her character is, in fact, an amalgam of a number of people who’ve been awful to me in the past. No names naturally, but they had it coming! One of the perks of being an author – very cathartic.
Stella: I bet, better than therapy What is next on your schedule Rachel? Any future plans you’d like to share with us?
Rachel: Currently I have a few category length projects going on in varying states of completion. I can’t say too much about those, but they have Sicilian, Australian-Greek and American heroes. I also have a couple of longer novels simmering away and a head full of inappropriate ideas.
Stella: Can you share with us some little secret trivia, something that not many people know about you?
Rachel: When I was about eleven years old I met a fairly well-known television presenter of the time at a farmer’s market. His name was Jack Hargreaves and when I asked him for his autograph, he said something along the lines of “Certainly young man.” It’s little wonder I’ve spent so much on lipstick and push up bras since then …
Stella: LOL, thanks so much for stopping by Rachel, and I’m a lipstick addict too!
The Spanish Billionaire’s Hired Bride
He bought her with cold, hard cash, but can she stop him from stealing her heart?
Blackmailed to marry against his will, Ricardo Almanza needs a wife before he’s thirty, and time is running out. A notorious playboy, marriage is the last thing he wants, but his stepmother’s sexy, debt-ridden personal assistant is the perfect solution. He makes her a business deal she can’t refuse—one million euros for three months as his wife. He might even enjoy being married to her … if she doesn’t kick the crap out of him again.
Helen Marshall can’t believe she’s considering Almanza’s outrageous proposal, but she must help clear her parents’ debts or they face financial ruin. The small print on the marriage contract changes to read three months as his wife in every way—including in the bedroom. Has she gotten in too deep, or will she need a new contract addendum, extending their marriage forever?
He paused for a moment and watched her shake the water from the parsley. “Yes.”
“I think I understand it all a bit more now.” She felt awkward, but the question had to be asked. “Weren’t you angry about what your dad did to your mum?”
Ricardo frowned. “He was still my father, whatever he’d done. He gave me life.”
“So did your mother.”
Ricardo nodded and sent her a knowing look. “She did, but she was no angel either.”
“Perhaps I’d better not ask any more questions right now. I’m getting hungry.”
His body visibly relaxed. “You’re always hungry.”
“There’s always something good to eat when you’re around, that’s why.”
“Well, tonight you’re going to help. We’ll get you cooking up a storm in no time.” He produced a mortar and pestle. “Peel the garlic, chuck in some of these salt crystals, and bash it all up until I tell you to stop.”
A few minutes later Helen plunged down the stubby wooden pestle and a clove of garlic flew into to air. “Told you I was hopeless…”
“Just a little too enthusiastic,” he said and moved to stand behind her. She felt his breath on her neck as he reached around and took her hands in his, guiding her until they had established a steady grinding rhythm. “There, you see. You just need to be a little more gentle, take your time …”
Helen closed her eyes and savored the feel of his body, warm and hard against her back. “It smells amazing.”
“And then we throw in some of this parsley that I’ve chopped for you…”
“And keep grinding?”
His voice had become low and husky. “Just stir now while I dribble in some of this virgin olive oil.”
She could feel a distinct ridge pushing into the small of her back and a spark of lust made her blood flare. “Nice circular movements, that’s it, use your hips if it helps. And when it feels loose and slippery it’s ready.”
“You bastard.” Helen dropped the pestle and spun round to pull his mouth down on hers. Their tongues meshed angrily as she crushed her breasts against his chest willing him to push harder against her.
Squeezed between the edge of the heavy kitchen table and the hardness of his erection was exactly where she wanted to be, where she wanted him to have her again. “You know exactly what you’re doing.”
“I don’t know what you mean,” he said but she could feel his lips form into a smile as he lifted the skirt of her bohemian sundress.
Her breath was already coming in gasps as she fumbled with the zip of his black chinos. “You turned me on deliberately. Underhanded, not at all gentlemanly.”
“Then we have gone far enough,” he said and pulled away from her embrace and carefully lowered her dress back down.
“I don’t keep condoms in the kitchen, my darling, and I’m supposed to be teaching you how to cook.”
“And I’m not just after one thing like all the others.” He kissed the top of her shoulder lightly. “I want to prove that to you.”
“But don’t you want to, here on the kitchen table? It would be so incredibly erotic.”
“Later,” he said and gave her a look of mock admonishment. “Build the excitement, layer by layer. It’s more fun that way. For both of us.”
“You’re cruel,” she whispered, but rewarded him with a provocative smile.
“But I’m always right.”
I write full-time now my children are at school, but I’m still a teeny bit proud of my law degree and accountancy qualifications. I’ve also had a lot of fun in the past working in the space industry, pharmaceuticals, insurance, a supermarket, a bus station, a railway depot, and a lingerie department.
I live, and write, surrounded by laundry and old newspapers most of the time with my daughter, son and The Exec in Fareham, on the south coast of England. Sometimes I can smell the sea from my back garden and I have grand designs on a luxurious garden office one day. Or a castle, I’m not fussy.
When I’m not working, I do enjoy a good rummage through a decent antique shop, and popping into Sainsbury’s. Oh, and wine and expensive lipstick are non-negotiable .
I love to hear from my readers (especially the male supermodel ones), so please feel free to drop me a line or leave a comment on my blog.
Entangled Publishing has generously offered an ebook copy of The Spanish Billionaire’s Hired Bride to a lucky commenter!
All you have to do is answer Rachel’s question:
Helen Marshall has never been that interested in cookery, but is very happy to learn if she’s being tutored by her sexy new husband, Ricardo. If you could choose to learn a new skill what would it be?
(You can read our full giveaway policy here)
Please be sure to include a valid email address in the comment form (need not be in the actual body of the comment).
This giveaway is open to all!
Giveaway ends on Saturday, 1 December 2012; we will announce the winner on Sunday.