Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Tuesday Talk-Time- Romance Sans Frontières

The Pink Heart Society is delighted to welcome Shoma Narayanan - the first Indian Mills & Boon author to be published overseas - who shares her perspective on diversity in category/series romance. 

Hi, I’m Shoma, and I write romances for Harlequin/ Mills & Boon – I’ve just finished my sixth book for them (yaaayy!).  My books are set in India, and except for one book which has a half-British hero, they all have Indian characters. 

So – romance in different cultures.  It’s something I’ve thought about a lot in the last three years, ever since I started writing.  My first book was also the first Indian romance to be published overseas, and I’m so thankful my editor, Anna, didn’t tell me that the book was going out of India – if she had, I’d have botched it up completely, trying to ‘explain’ India between love scenes. 

Anna’s British, very patient, and a complete sweetheart to work with – she read through pages and pages of notes where I’d tried to give context to things like why my super-hot, alpha male hero would consider an arranged marriage.  Then she gently explained how the story could work without bringing in the parents, neighbours and the whole extended family plus dog.   

(Note: As anyone who’s ever watched a Bollywood movie would know, all super-hot, alpha male Indian men have scarily perfect moms, who choose well-behaved, obedient wives for them.  The pretty heroine always has a gun-toting dad and both of them have several wicked aunts and uncles).

As it was, it was a bit of a fluke, my getting into romance writing, because I initially trained as an engineer, and then ended up doing an MBA and becoming a banker.  The broader implications of being the first Indian writing for Harlequin globally hadn’t really occurred to me.  It was only when I spotted my name coming up in blogs as an example of a POC writing mainstream romance that I realised there was this whole debate going on about  the lack of cultural diversity in romance writing. 

It took me some Google-time to figure out that POC meant ‘person of colour’ – I’ve lived my whole life in a country where everyone is some shade of brown, and it wasn’t a term I was familiar with.  But when I read some of the posts by South Asian readers who’d grown up in the UK/ US, I realised that they’d felt alienated growing up, because there were no books/ movies / TV series starring South Asian characters.

Rather surprisingly, this particular aspect hadn’t struck me before.  When I was growing up in small-town India, there weren’t too many Indian authors who wrote light fiction in English, and we were used to reading books about English and American characters.  To us, the blue-eyed British heroines were quite as exotic as the Greek, Spanish and Italian heroes.  I remember finding the books with Arab sheikhs a little puzzling – my dad was a college teacher, and at that time, had a lot of Arab and African students.   I was used to all these tall Arab boys wandering in and out of our home – they bore absolutely no resemblance to the sheikhs in the books! 

Many years later, when I’d just started working, the penny dropped.  I was in London on training, and a perfectly charming young man called Tim Something-or-the-other beamed at me and an Argentinian trainee and said, ‘It must be so exciting for you guys, living in exotic countries!’  And there me and Diego were, so happy to be out of boring India/ Argentina, and in lovely, exciting, slightly-damp-and-drizzly England…..

I guess what I’m trying to say is that part of the lure of romance novels was that the characters were so different from the people we were used to.  I guess that works the other way round as well – a lot of my non-Indian readers have written in to me saying how much they like getting a glimpse of normal life and romance in a different culture. 

India’s a pretty complex place, and for a country that produced the extremely explicit Kamasutra some two thousand years ago, it can be alarmingly conservative.  So while most women I know between the ages of sixteen and sixty read romances, they’re a bit secretive about the whole thing. 

When I was in school and college, most of the books I read were bought second-hand/ borrowed – romances weren’t published in India, and the imported books were hideously expensive.  When I think about it now, I feel terrible about all the royalties the poor authors lost – every Mills and Boon book that India imported was read by at least twenty six people!   Now that the books are published in India, they’re more affordable, and I think a lot more people actually buy them firsthand.  The secrecy continues though, and I’m regularly asked if I ‘write under my own name’, and ‘aren’t romance novels all soft-porn?’  (Yes, I do, and, no, they’re not!)

Why are so many people anti-romance-writing anyway?  Partly, I think because romance novels are written for women – so men diss them as a matter of policy, and women are a bit embarrassed to admit they read romance.  Then of course, they’re escapist fiction, and make people uncomfortable because they’re ‘unrealistic’, and ‘a bad influence’, especially for young readers. 

So maybe they’re unrealistic, and a bit formulaic.  But so are thrillers, and detective fiction, and vampire novels…..  And the main objections against romance novels – that they’re regressive – is no longer true.  Romance writing has evolved a lot, and the best-written ones have very strong female characters.  My response to people who diss romances is to ask them when they last read one – and then recommend a list of books to read!

What I’d love to read is more mainstream romance set in different cultures.  And cross-cultural romance – that’s a huge untapped area with a lot of scope - people from different countries meeting online or even when they travel on work… Perhaps slightly challenging, because of the potential minefields, but would make for very entertaining reading!

What aspects of diversity would you like to see more of in category/series romance?  Do you have a favourite cross-cultural romance?  #JointheDiscussion and let us know in the comments!

Shoma Narayanan's latest book, Twelve Hours of Temptation, is available to buy right now:

The best mistake of his life?

Being chained to her desk is not how copywriter Melissa D'Cruz envisaged spending the night before her first major awards ceremony. No Cinderella moment for this award nominee--instead she's facing a night of deadlines! But Melissa is determined to get to the event...she just has to work out how....

New boss Samir Razdan catches Melissa burning the midnight oil and offers to drive her to the event himself. But the minute they set off Samir knows he's in trouble--because being this close to Melissa is already driving him crazy, and they've got twelve torturous hours of temptation ahead...!

To find out more about Shoma and her books, you can visit her website or follow her on Facebook

Monday, September 29, 2014

Male On Monday - The Men of NCIS

This Monday at The Pink Heart Society, Harlequin Romantic Suspense and Nocturne author, Karen Whiddon talks to us about the treasure trove of hero inspiration which can be found in the NCIS franchise.

Yes, I admit it. I am a big NCIS fan. I watch both the regular NCIS and NCIS Los Angeles. And now there’s NCIS New Orleans! Talk about some male eye candy. 

Let’s start with the most popular show, NCIS. Everyone – and I mean everyone – adores Mark Harmon.

Mark Thomas Harmon was born September 2, 1951 in Burbank, California and plays former Gunnery Sergeant/Marine Sniper turned NCIS Special Agent Leroy Jethro Gibbs. Series creator, Donald P. Bellisario initially didn't think Harmon would suit the role of a 'flinty type with a strong sense of honor and respect for the military' but changed his mind after viewing a tape of him on The West Wing

Could you imagine anyone else playing the part of Gibbs? Is he the Agent you'd want to rescue you?

Like a fine wine, Harmon just gets better with age!

But the beauty of NCIS is there's a fine cast of men, no matter what type you prefer. 

Take Anthony (Tony) DiNozzo, for example, the charming lady’s man played by Michael Weatherly.  

Michael Manning Weatherly Jnr. was born July 8, 1968 in New York City. In the role of Tony he often provides comic relief, earning slaps across the back of the head from Gibbs for his efforts. 

Then, of course, there are his numerous romantic interests. Fellow Agent Caitlin Todd once described him as an 'X-Rated Peter Pan' who was annoying but whose absence was nevertheless keenly felt. But it was his relationship with another Agent, Ziva David, which caught fans attention and led to a particular hashtag online. 

Are you a fan who wanted #Tiva to get together? Do you hold out any hope for her return?

Next up we have Sean Murray, who plays the part of Agent Tim McGee, a kind of nerdish, yet cool guy. 

Sean Harland Murray was born November 15, 1977 in Bethesda, Maryland and spent his childhood in New South Wales, Australia. In his role as McGee, he has been nick-named everything from Probie to McGeek to Baldy McBald by Tony. But we have watched this timid, inexperienced agent grow from season to season, evolving into a bolder, more assertive character with an ever-present streak of honesty and responsibility which gained Tony's respect. 

Do you love McGee for his nerdy streak or is it his sense of honor and duty you love most?

Last but by no means least in the original series, we have Rocky Carroll who plays director Leon Vance.

Roscoe 'Rocky' Carroll was born July 8, 1963 in Cincinnati, Ohio and didn't appear as Director Vance in NCIS until season five. When he first took over the position he had a tense relationship with Gibbs and his team, parting them into new assignments at the start of season six. By season ten, he was on friendlier terms with Gibbs, who was empathetic after the death of Vance's wife, having been through a similar experience himself.

What do you think about Vance? Is he a better director than his predecessor or do you find him hard to read at times?

He also makes regular guest appearances in NCIS: Los Angeles and on that subject...

This show has three of my favorite drool-worthy men. Starting with the coolest of the cool, LL Cool J, who plays Sam Hanna, an uber-tough, devoted family man and friend. 

Born James Todd Smith on January 14, 1968 in Bay Shore, New York, LL Cool J (short for Ladies Love Cool James) became famous for his hip hop tracks before becoming an actor.  In the role of Sam, he's a former Navy SEAL with a strong sense of honor, determination and loyalty. He can become emotionally involved in cases and is incredibly protective of the people he cares about. His wife, Michelle, is a former CIA undercover operative and they have a young daughter together.

Is Sam your man or are you more taken by the mystery which is G Callen?

Callen is played by Chris O’Donnell and the character was first introduced in a 'back door pilot' during season 6 of the original NCIS. 

Christopher Eugene O'Donnell was born June 26, 1970 in Winnetka, Illinois. In the role of Callen, he's a former CIA operative who specializes in deep undercover work and has been partnered with Sam for more than five years. He's Romanian, knows little about his past and had a troubled childhood, living in thirty-seven foster homes from the age of five. He uses the initial 'G; because the system never told him his first name. And apart from Sam, he doesn't 'do' close relationships and is a loner. 

What do you think the letter G stands for? George? Gordon? Graham? Gorgeous works...

Then there's Eric Christian Olsen, who plays Detective Marty Deeks. 

Eric Christian Olsen was born May 31, 1977 in Eugene, Oregon and in the role of Deeks, he’s a California surfer, former lawyer and when we first met him was working undercover for the LAPD. Deeks is a fun guy, often providing the same comic relief as Tony in NCIS. He’s also secretly in love with his partner, Kensi Blye and their relationship led to the creation of another hashtag on social media where there is a large following of fans keen to see the show follow through on the growing intimacy we saw develop between them last season.

Are you a #Densi fan eagerly awaiting the return of the show? Do you think we will (finally!) get to see them together? Will it end their working relationship if they're officially a couple? Say it ain't so!

In case you hadn't heard, we have another NCIS spin-off to watch this season - NCIS: New Orleans.

And you know what that means? More NCIS men! YAY!

The lead role of Special Agent Dwayne Cassius (King) Pride is played by Scott Bakula. Need I say more? I used to love him in Quantum Leap. Sigh

Scott Stewart Bakula was born October 9, 1954 in St. Louis, Missouri and made his first appearance as Agent Pride in another back-door pilot during the last season of NCIS. Pride is a New Orleans native, long-time friend of Agent Gibbs and established the branch of NCIS which handles cases from the Mississippi River to the Texas Panhandle. Beyond that, we don't know much about him, yet. But we have another case of fine wine in Bakula, don't you think?

Are you looking forward to the new show? Do you think Pride will be able to live up to the legend that is Gibbs? Were you a Quantum Leap fan?

And to round out this Male on Monday selection, we have Lucas Black who plays Agent Christopher LaSalle. 

Lucas York Black was born November 29, 1982 in  Decatur, Alabama, which makes him the youngest of our NCIS actors. Agent LaSalle was a Deputy Sheriff prior to joining NCIS and once worked on a Vice Squad. He has been working closely with Agent Pride and in the back-door pilot, they were initially the only two agents in the office. He also mentions that he volunteers at a local hospital where the kids keep him honest and help him keep his head on straight. But beyond that, again, we have much to learn.

Can you foresee Agent LaSalle helping to create another hashtag on Social Media? Will he provide some of the comic relief like DiNozzo and Deeks or would you like to see him bring something new and unexpected?

I can't wait to see them in action! 

N.B.: Theo Colton, the hero in my latest book might be a former rodeo superstar who has lost everything and has to start over. But between you and me, in my mind, he looked a lot like Chris O’Donnell/Callen.

Are you one of the millions of fans who tune into the NCIS shows every week? Will you be tuning into the new show? Who is your favourite NCIS guy? Let us know in the comments!

Karen Whiddon's latest book for Harlequin Romantic Suspense, A Secret Colton Baby, will be released on October 7th.

A new addition to Wyoming's most scandalous family.

Is Theo Colton the father of a baby dropped at his doorstep by a dying socialite? Even more shocked than the sexy bronc-riding champ is his beautiful cook, Ellie Parker. Just as she becomes the baby's nanny, she discovers a terrifying stalker has followed her to Dead River.

What's worse - as a mysterious virus quarantines the town, danger goes viral, too. But to Theo and Ellie the biggest dangers are their sizzling attraction and profound new feelings. Can Ellie tame the cowboy who wants nothing more than a wild ride with women? Or must she deny her heart to save his life?

To find out more about Karen and her books, you can visit her website and follow her on Facebook or Twitter.

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Call Story - Elisabeth Hobbes

The Pink Heart Society is delighted to welcome Debut Historical author and last year's SYTYCW finalist Elizabeth Hobbes with her call story.

Have you ever wondered how writers feel when they finally get The Call?  I know I have.  Whenever I fantasised about it I imagined whooping with delight and grabbing devastatingly attractive strangers in spontaneous hugs (because one should never pass up the chance to grab an attractive stranger if the opportunity arises).

I certainly didn’t imagine the main sensation would be all encompassing queasiness.  Not because I wasn’t completely over the moon, but because my call came after a 5am start, on a cross-channel ferry in February -remember those storms?- with the White Cliffs of Dover coming into view.

As it happens I had three calls before the big one because I entered the manuscript that would eventually become Falling for Her Captor into Harlequin’s So You Think You Can Write contest 2013.

I found out I was through to the final 50 of SYTYCW2013 after pulling over at the side of the road whilst on holiday in Cornwall to pick up an answer message.  It was an editor from Harlequin asking me to check my emails because I was through to the final 50 of the contest and could they please have my full manuscript by the following day - slightly alarming as the manuscript was at home in Cheshire.

I don’t remember much of that journey other than driving down narrow Cornish lanes with shaking legs, hoping I wouldn’t collide with a tractor before I got to tell my husband and in-laws the news (the news being that I’d written a novel in the first place and entered it into a competition without telling anyone).

I had two further calls.  One telling me I was through to the final 10 which came while I was cooking dinner and almost resulted in me burning it, then another telling me I had finished third in the competition (yippee) but that the manuscript wasn’t quite right for the Harlequin guidelines (sob).  Fortunately the editors saw promise so sent me revision notes and I set to work revising and redrafting.

A week or so before going on holiday I sent my revised manuscript to Sarah at Harlequin and kept everything crossed that the changes I’d made were enough to make the grade.

And so onto The Big Call.  The one that mattered, and the one I never really believed I would get.
A week skiing almost managed to take my mind off things, and the drive back from the Alps to Calais finished me off so all I cared about at that point was getting home in one piece.  There I was, settled on a lumpy chair with a cardboard cup of lukewarm lemon and ginger tea, trying to ignore the way the horizon kept lurching, when the phone rang showing a number I didn’t recognise.

“Hi, it’s Sarah from Harlequin…”

Yes, they liked the changes.  Yes, the manuscript fitted much better with Harlequin Historical’s reader promise.  Yes, the emotional conflict between Aline and Hugh worked much better (and I can’t wait to share that with you all).
I tried to sound intelligent and sophisticated, but who am I kidding?  I know I apologised for sounding vague, burbled about crossing half of France before breakfast, almost spilled my drink and tried to resist saying ‘please tell me if you want it before the ferry sinks!’

Which of course, she did.

Cue huge grins and self-conscious glances at the other passengers in case they wondered why I was acting so strangely.  Then Sarah mentioned the words ‘two book deal’ and I wished I’d ordered something a little stronger than tea!

As fate had it we were heading back to pick up our children from my in-laws so it was lovely to be able to turn up with such exciting news and a few bottles of Breton cider to celebrate.

And now I’m nearing publication date how do I feel?  Absolutely thrilled.  From the first call in Cornwall to seeing my words in print has been less than a year.  It’s been so exciting to follow my characters on their journey from my laptop to the pages and learn about what happens once that first life-changing phonecall is over.

I hope readers love Hugh and Aline as much as I do.  It’s been an amazing year since I sent off that first chapter, and with the first draft of my second story almost finished the fun is still going on.

Falling for Her Captor is available for pre-order now. You can find our more about Elisabeth’s books at her website.  

"Set me free. Say I escaped, or that you never found me."

Kidnapped heiress Lady Aline of Leavingham has surrendered any hope of rescue when a mysterious figure casts her assailant aside. But it's soon clear Aline's savior has no intention of setting her free—he's sworn to deliver her to the Duke of Roxholm, her family's enemy! 

Sir Hugh of Eardham has never seen anything quite like Aline's beauty and fighting spirit. There's no doubt he's tempted more to protect her than keep her bound. But could this loyal knight ever break his oath of allegiance for Aline's sake?

To find out more about Elisabeth and her books you can visit her website and follow her on Facebook or Twitter.

Friday, September 26, 2014

Friday Fun - Tropes and Hooks and Christmas, Oh My!

Pink Heart Society regular, Donna Alward, joins us today to talk about tropes and hooks and all those things that get readers caught up in a book...

It's Friday, which means it's THE WEEKEND and it's time to think about cutting loose a little bit. I love Friday. Sometimes I do my weekly cleaning so I have the weekend "off". Quite often around 8 or so it's time to say fuggedaboutit and open a bottle of wine (see below) and chill with a book or a movie or something I've taped on the DVR. Right now I have about 30 hours of stuff I haven't watched thanks to deadlines and season starters (and that's a whole other post. Maybe two. Trust me). And we won't talk about my TBR...

Which made me think about what kinds of books and shows I like to watch, and why, and that led me to thinking about different tropes and hooks in stories and why they resonate with readers.

And that led me to thinking about my upcoming release, Christmas at Seashell Cottage.

Bear with me here.

Here's what happened. St. Martin's bought my Jewell Cove trilogy (which was cause for much champagne and cake) and then this past winter, my editor asked if I'd be interested in doing a shorter Christmas story for digital release, set in Jewell Cove. Of course I said yes! Christmas at Seashell Cottage is right around 50,000 words (series romance length) and it made sense for the characters to be someone we've met already - at least the heroine, Charlie. Dave, on the other hand, is a bit of a mystery man. A mystery man that Charlie has been fantasizing about just a wee bit...


But what was the hook? What was going to set this book apart?

Now, I'm a girl who likes a challenge. Once, several years ago, I mentioned I didn't like amnesia hooks. And then my critique partner challenged me to write one and I did. Amnesia is still not my favorite hook but I did enjoy writing that story (Remember Me, Cowboy).

So the my editor mentions that they were in a meeting and the words "baby in a manger" came up.


And in the words of Ted and Barney: CHALLENGE ACCEPTED.

So yeah. Christmas at Seashell Cottage features a baby in a manger. An abandoned baby, to be precise, and a mystery man, and a by-the-book young doctor, and a small town full of Christmas spirit (including the annual Christmas festival).

Here's what I think makes a hook or trope really work (or not): plausibility. So if I take on a hook that seems far-fetched or whatever, the trick is to make it REAL like it could actually happen. And the emotions around it have to be real too.

So there you go. Now it's time to challenge YOU! What sorts of tropes or hooks do you love, hate, or love to hate?

Find out more about Donna Alward and the rest of her Jewell Cove series at her website, as well as on Facebook and Twitter.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Time Out Thursday - Nail Art

Our Pink Heart Society columnist Jenna Bayley-Burke dreams about taking a time-out. On the beach with a pina colada. Until she actually runs away from home, she's always on the lookout for ways to take a little time to herself, even if it's only by doing her nails.

Sure, writers can touch type and bang out an entire scene without looking. Unfortunately, we'll also spend hours staring at a blinking cursor or watching our hands resting on the keys. And since the story is stalled we'll be looking for any excuse to get up and do something else.

Nice nails are a preventative measure for me. I distract easily as it is, I can't resist nails that need filing or polish that's chipped. I mean, I must take care of it and I know how. So off I go, expecting the magic story faeries to finish my work for me.

Just since I sat down to write this blog post, I noticed my bare nails and had to do something about it. Incoco Autumn Night to the rescue! Fall has begun, after all. 

Nail art started in ancient Babylonia when men - yes, men! - would color their nails with Kohl. The colors they used were an indication of social status, a tradition which continued in ancient Egypt when women would use the juice from the henna plant. Nefertiti apparently preferred red, while Cleopatra preferred rusty shades with an undertone of gold. The everyday woman on the street, however, wasn't allowed to copy their queen.  

The Chinese made the first nail lacquers and varnishes during the Ming dynasty, mixing a combination of bees wax, gelatin, egg whites, gum arabic and vegetable dyes. Nowadays we have acrylics, gels, microbeads, holographic particles and recently some very clever guys came up with a color changing polish which will tell women if they've consumed a date rape drug.  

I love painting my nails, yet I'm not so much for sitting still while they dry. Most of the time, I opt for nail strips - dry polish that goes on like a sticker, lasts for weeks, and is chip-resistant. I've been using them for years, so I can do a French manicure in five minutes. I can't even get a base coat to dry in that time!

I do so love fancy nail designs. Polka dots and stripes, hearts and flowers. Having polished nails helps me feel...polished. And then when I get stumped by my latest story, I'll have to find a better distraction than doing my nails.

Are you a nail polish addict? Do you have a steady hand or is a weekly manicure one of the little luxury's you allow yourself at the end of a tough week? Is painting your nails on your procrastination list? Let us know in the comments.

Jenna Bayley-Burke is known for her fun, sexy romance novels, baking banana bread and over-volunteering. She thinks she has the best jobs in the world—mother, wife and author. When she’s not lost in her latest story, she can be found pursuing whatever hobby her characters are enamored with—photography, Zumba, shoes, gardening, crafts and cooking up a storm. 

Look out for Jenna's book, Just One Spark, which will be released on Kindle next month and is available to pre-order on Amazon, right now!

For more info on Jenna and her books you can visit her website or follow her on Facebook and Twitter.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Writers' Wednesday - A Writer's World: The Appeal of the Billionaire Hero

Pink Heart Society regular Annie West returns with the latest installment of her A Writer's World column, focusing on the appeal of the illustrious, ever-seductive, billionaire hero...

I've got a new book out this month and, as I've got a soft spot for Damaso, who's busy claiming his heir in this book, I started musing over the sort of hero he is. Time was when this book might have been titled 'The Billionaire Claims His Heir' or 'The Tycoon.....' It's so easy to try to categorize a hero with one descriptor,  the cowboy, the millionaire, the bad boy, the surgeon, the sheikh. To me each hero is far, far more complex than that, but I understand why that short descriptor is so popular. With the huge number of books we have available, it helps to narrow down our choice by deciding we want a particular style of hero.

So, why do rich men pop up again and again in our romantic fantasies? Why do we love to read about them? We know that not all rich men are pleasant or handsome or full of the qualities we want in a man, but then nor are all cowboys, doctors or firefighters. But the Mr Darcys of this world recur again and again in romance.

The easy answer is that it's pleasant to read about a man who can provide well for his heroine. Money doesn't trump happiness or health but it can go a long way towards making life easier, especially for a woman who may have had to scrimp and save in a harsh environment. More, it's fun reading about a world where the day to day financial concerns we face just don't appear. Instead there's an opportunity to indulge in exotic, often glamorous locations, wonderful fashions or jewelry, eating out that those places most of us only read about. This is an opportunity to experience a fabulous world most of us might only see in the media.

Personally though, I think the allure of the rich hero is more complex than that. For instance, is the hero a self-made man or was he born to wealth? Damaso was born in a slum and owes his success to a grim determination to succeed, talent and a lot of luck. Because of his background he never takes his current success for granted and in fact his past plays a huge part in his thinking and decision-making, giving him facets that make him quite different to someone born with a silver spoon in his mouth. In Damaso's case he's still haunted by demons that he and his heroine must overcome if they're to find his happy ending.

I love it when we get a sense that the hero is far more complex than the label they wear. In the case of the uber-wealthy hero there's a chance to delve behind what everyone sees - his corporate success, and discover hopes, dreams and fears that are kept well-hidden. That sense of a hero's private world hooks me every time.

Another plus with tycoons is that they make great alpha heroes. These guys are used to success on a big scale. They're capable and decisive, used to getting things done. I don't know about you but I adore a hero who's competent - whether it be competent at fixing a leak in the roof or at something else.

Yet another reason to enjoy rich, powerful heroes is the fact that they have such a long way to fall. Yes, that's the mean romance writer in me! If the hero is ultra successful and used to getting his own way, how much harder is it going to be for him when he meets a woman he can't easily control? A woman who upsets his neatly organised world, turning it and him, on their heads? Yes! I love seeing a strong hero struggle to grasp the fact that he's no longer king of all he surveys.

How about you? Do you like rich heroes? Billionaires, millionaires or princes? Do they appeal to you or would you rather have a down-home kind of guy in your romance reading. Do you have any favourite wealthy heroes?

Damasco Claims His Heir is out now, available from The Book Depository, Amazon, Barnes and Noble and Harlequin:

When opposites attract!

Damaso Pires should have known better than to get involved with Marisa—the scandalous princess of Bengaria! Yet soon he sees her true beauty and flawless virtue, which touches a place in him he thought ruthlessly destroyed by his childhood on the streets of Brazil.

But their brief affair becomes permanent when Marisa reveals she’s pregnant.

Damaso knows the sting of illegitimacy and, having fought tooth and nail to claw his way up to the dizzying heights of international success and financial infamy, he won’t let his child slip from his grasp. There’s only one way to claim his heir, and that’s marriage!

Find out more about Annie and her billionaire heroes at her website, and follow her on Facebook to keep update with all her news.