Guest Post: The Lure of the Mediterranean by Nina Croft + Giveaway

Filed in featured , Giveaways , Guest Post , Nina Croft , The Latin Lover Posted on April 2, 2012 @ 7:00 am 35 comments

Today I am happy to welcome to Book Lovers Inc. Nina Croft, author of sci-fi and paranormal romances. Recently she released a sizzling contemporary romance set in sunny places with a  dashing hero, so of course I was curious to hear more about what inspired Luc, the irresistibly charming rogue of  Blackmailed by the Italian Billionaire (you can read my review here). Please give Nina a warm welcome and answer her question to be entered to win a copy of her novel.

The Lure of the Mediterranean

I think one of the things I’ve always loved best about reading romance is being transported to fabulous, exotic places—preferably hot.

I’m English, and I grew up in a small town in the north of England, in an area known as the Lake District. It was a beautiful place, but the sun rarely shines and it rains there—a lot.

I yearned for the sun, and when I started reading romances in my early teens, I was always drawn to the ones with hot, sultry settings and with tall, dark, handsome heroes; Greeks, Italians, Spaniard’s, all hot-blooded and spectacularly rich (owning their own island always helps). I dreamed of one day lying on a sun-kissed Mediterranean beach with a stunningly gorgeous, very-nearly-naked hero of my own. He’d be all golden skin and rippling muscles, and one look from his dark eyes would melt me into a puddle in the sand.

It never happened. I found a lovely English guy instead, but we did travel a lot when I was younger, and I spent a lot of time lying on sun-kissed beaches. And when it came to settling down, it was hardly surprising that I ended up not far from the Mediterranean. In fact, I now live on a farm in the mountains of Southern Spain, which looks down onto the Mediterranean Sea. I love the area, the people, the food, the fiestas… It’s a fabulously inspiring place and it’s not unexpected that I now find myself unable to resist the lure of writing about Mediterranean men.

Luc, the hero of Blackmailed by the Italian Billionaire, wasn’t inspired by any one man in particular, but by an amalgamation of all those Mediterranean heroes I dreamed about. Here’s my heroine’s first impressions:

Where Nina lives now

“He was very tall and lean, with midnight black hair and golden skin all wrapped up in a dark business suit, maroon-colored tie and pristine white shirt; he was the most beautiful man she had ever seen, with the sleek, carnal good looks of a fallen angel. A deep scar ran from his right eye down across his cheek lifting the corner of his mouth, turning his masculine beauty into something dangerous, and Lia felt the muscles in her belly clench.”

One of the other things I love including in a story, is contrast. Contrast between the hero and heroine and between the various settings where the book takes place. And having one of the characters of a different nationality immediately increases that contrast. Lia, my heroine is typically English and comes from a small village in the countryside. Luc’s half Italian. His mother was Italian and came from a wealthy background, his father was a small-time London crook. So the story shifts between the sleazy strip clubs of Luc’s upbringing, to the London of the staggeringly rich, and finally, to Luc’s fantasy Italian island and that sun-kissed beach I still dream about.

And my next Indulgence includes a stunningly sexy Spaniard, so I’m sticking to my love of Mediterranean heroes. Is there a type of hero you go back to again and again? Let me know for a chance to win an ecopy of Blackmailed by the Italian Billionaire.

Blackmailed by the Italian Billionaire by Nina Croft

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 and excerpt here

Buy at: AmazonBarnes & Noble Books on Board

Read my review

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.

Website | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads


Entangled Publishing have generously offered an ebook copy of Blackmailed by the Italian Billionaire to one lucky commenter!

All you have to do is leave a meaningful comment about the post and answer Nina’s question: is there a type of hero you go back to again and again?
(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, April 15th, 2012; we will announce the winner on Sunday.

Good luck!

About Stella

Stella is a proud bookaholic and a self-taught multilinguist in training. Besides reading, her other great passions are travelling and baking. When she is not globetrotting she lives in sunny Budapest, where she loves to spend her free time preparing (and feasting on) delicious cookies or devouring equally yummy books. Her favourite genres are urban fantasy and romance and she couldn't live without her daily dose of sunshine. Besides being the Latin Lover on BLI Stella also blogs about books and a bookish life on Ex Libris.

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Join the Discussion
  • Patricia Eimer April 2, 2012 at 9:47 am

    I always got into cowboys when I was younger, then it was English rakes but after reading this book and Kidnapped by the Greek Billionaire the Med is taking over for me.

    • Nina Croft April 2, 2012 at 10:16 am

      I love cowboys – Clint Eastwood was one of my earliest crushes!

  • ChristineWarner April 2, 2012 at 12:45 pm

    Hi Nina! I’ve always enjoyed reading romance for the same reason as you. It’s almost like taking a mini vacation to another exotic locale.

    Love your blurb and have to say I wouldn’t mind being bribed by Luc! He sounds delish!

    • Nina Croft April 3, 2012 at 3:36 am

      Hi Christine – that’s just what it’s like – a mini vacation – without all the hassle and with a handsome hero thrown in!

  • Clarissa Yip April 2, 2012 at 12:48 pm

    I would live to move to Europe! So very jealous that you live in Spain. Can wait to read Luc’s story!

    • Nina Croft April 2, 2012 at 1:02 pm

      Lol – you’d hate it here, Clarissa – no Starbucks!

  • Lisa Kessler April 2, 2012 at 1:13 pm

    Great blog Nina!!!

    I LOVE the pic of your pool!!! Can’t wait for the slumber party at your place! LOL

    Congratulations on the release!

    Lisa 🙂

    • Nina Croft April 2, 2012 at 1:14 pm

      Thanks Lisa! I built that pool myself (okay with a little help from hubby) it nearly killed me. And I’ll get the slumber party organized!

  • Bethanne April 2, 2012 at 1:59 pm

    I always, always go back to the black sheep, the seeming bad-boy with the golden heart. Like in The Reef. Love that hero like crazy. LOL 😀

    bstrasser35 at gmail dot com

    • Nina Croft April 3, 2012 at 3:32 am

      Hi Bethanne – I love a black sheep as well. Don’t know The Reef – I’m off to look it up now!

  • Natalie J. Damschroder April 2, 2012 at 3:03 pm

    I grew up in New England, which has a pretty good balance of sun and everything else. But I still identify with your cravings for it! Spring is so much more awesome after a dreary late winter. 🙂

    I don’t think I have a particular type of hero I gravitate toward. I love them all! 🙂

    • Nina Croft April 3, 2012 at 3:28 am

      New England sounds beautiful – I’d love to visit some day.

  • Diane April 2, 2012 at 3:44 pm

    No I go from hero to hero and am quite satisfied with who’s there. I read a lot of different genres from paranormal to romantic suspense to contemporary and so long as I get my HEA I’m happy.

    • Nina Croft April 3, 2012 at 3:30 am

      Hi Diane, I’m like you and tend to read (and write!) in a lot of genres, but I do like my heroes alpha and even Rico the hero of my Sci-fi/paranormal is Spanish so I obviously have a real thing for Mediterraneans!

  • Cynthia Selwyn April 2, 2012 at 4:18 pm

    Funny…I’m married to a mostly Italian man who looks Irish. There’s something about that particular combination that makes for a spicy man. 😉

    Great book, Nina, even if I’m not a huge fan of alpha males (in fictional life, anyway). 🙂

    • Nina Croft April 3, 2012 at 3:31 am

      Lol, Cyn – so do you like them in real life?

  • Paige Cuccaro April 2, 2012 at 4:46 pm

    What a great post! Can’t wait to read Blackmailed by the Italian Billionaire!! You’re pool looks awesome!

    • Nina Croft April 3, 2012 at 3:27 am

      Thanks Paige – hope you enjoy!

  • Jennifer Probst April 2, 2012 at 5:57 pm

    I’m so excited to read this Nina, it’s loaded up and ready to go…after my deadline! Great interview. As for some of my faves, I do love those sexy alpha executives/CEO types.

    • Nina Croft April 3, 2012 at 3:25 am

      Thanks Jennifer – don’t those deadlines eat into your reading time!

  • Annie Seaton April 2, 2012 at 8:32 pm

    I love the pool photo, Nina! Blackmailed is next on the TBR virtual pile on my kindle. Can’t wait. Nothing like a brooding hero!

    • Nina Croft April 3, 2012 at 3:26 am

      Hi Annie – yeah I think I was hooked on brooding heroes at an early age with Heathcliffe!

  • Marika Weber April 2, 2012 at 9:01 pm

    For me I would have to say its the billionaire Englishman or Aussie. Its their tone of voice that gets me every time. When I read a book with an Aussie or Englishman, I just melt.

    Congratulations on the release.


    • Nina Croft April 3, 2012 at 3:26 am

      I love Aussie accents as well – I watched Paperback Hero the other night with High Jackman – wow – he was hot!

  • Robin Delany April 2, 2012 at 11:46 pm

    I love conflict between the hero and heroine. Especially when there’s a lot of sexual tension because of it.

  • Shelley Bagby April 3, 2012 at 7:51 am

    I love rich men who are not used to things not going their way. It always takes the right woman to bring them to their knees.

  • Tamsyn April 3, 2012 at 10:13 am

    I enjoyed the post. I’ve heard about England’s famous dreary weather but when I was there it was beautiful so I must have been lucky! I love a Highlander hero and always enjoy reading books about them. When they are in kilts, wheeew! Love them!

  • erinf1 April 3, 2012 at 10:38 am

    Thanks for the fantastic post and giveaway! Oh.. .I’m so jealous of that pic of where you live!!! I live in the smack dab middle of the US where we have weather extremes of everything… lots of snow in winter, lots of rain in spring, steamy hot in summer… you get my drift. I would loooooove to live in a mild, tropical climate 🙂

    I love smart, snarky semi alpha heroes. They can be ugly or handsome, as long as they have self confidence. I say semi alpha heroes, cuz I can’t stand the alpha males who streamroll the women and completely take over. A semi alpha guy can swoop and rescue if needed but allows the woman to make her own damn decisions and acknowledges that she can think for herself!

  • Yadira A. April 3, 2012 at 1:33 pm

    I love the bad boys! No matter how frustrating they might be they get me every time in the end:)

  • Victoria Zumbrum April 3, 2012 at 10:21 pm

    I would go back to a hero again and again who is considerate, loving, caring, a bad boy but who would do anything for the ones he loves including sacrificing his life.

  • bn100 April 4, 2012 at 3:15 am

    I like to read about the tortured, scarred hero.

  • MJB April 8, 2012 at 11:26 pm

    I’m drawn to the dark and damaged hero who needs to the right woman to love and want to live, instead of just survive. Yums.
    Thanks for the giveaway,
    msjb65 AT gmail DOT com

  • Marlene April 10, 2012 at 12:53 am

    In romance I love bad boys with dark pasts. Especially the tortured heroes who might, just might be redeemed by the right woman.
    And Nina, I adore your Blood Hunter series and can’t wait for more. Talk about tortured heroes!
    Marlene (at) readingreality (dot) net

  • Justine April 11, 2012 at 3:02 pm

    I have a soft spot for geeky, nerdy heroes. Besides Attachments by Rainbow Rowell, I haven’t encountered many of them in romance novels, so please send recommendations my way!

    I know some hot Greeks who are engineers, enjoy anime/manga, and can dance, so geeks and nerds can definitely be sexy!

  • StacieD April 14, 2012 at 4:47 pm

    I have a weakness for dark and tortured heroes. I like them to be closed off and cranky at the beginning of the story. I like to see the heroine get under his skin.

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