Too Much Pride & A Little Pregnancy…

…mean plenty of complications in Pride & A Pregnancy Secret, the second book in our Diamonds Down Under continuity series. Creating a continuity series was a challenge, and streched me to the limit as a writer. Tying the characters, the details, the settings together was complex. But at the end of the day it all came together. And I’m utterly thrilled with the final result that is DIAMONDS DOWN UNDER. Let me share with you 6 things about the story, the characters and the places where the action take place.

1. JESSICA’S CAT
The cat ALMOST didn’t survive the first draft of P & A P S. And Picasso certainly wasn’t welcome in Ryan’s blue-chip-bachelor penthouse.

Picasso? Ryan’s frown deepened. Who the hell was Picasso? Oh, yes…her ragbag cat.
 
No pets. No kids. No press. No diamond rings. Those had been the ground rules of their affair. He wasn’t sure which item on the list he detested most. They all reeked of the insidious ways that women curtailed a man’s freedom. If he’d allowed the cat, the designer elegance of the penthouse would’ve been transformed into homely before he’d had time to take a breath.

But this ragbag feline has nine lives!

2. THE PYRMONT PENTHOUSE
Ryan’s luxurious penthouse on Pyrmont Peninsula, Darling Island, is in one of the most sought-after waterfront locations in the world. Overlooking Sydney Harbour, the penthouse has amazing views of the city skyline.

After Jessica was promoted from the Blackstone’s Adelaide store to become manager of the flagship Sydney store, Ryan talked Jessica into all but moving to his penthouse. It’s private. It’s luxurious. It’s the perfect tryst for lovers. Surely the spacious penthouse has everything a woman could want? A state of the art kitchen, an interior furnished by Sydney’s top designer, a spa on the deck, an in-ground plunge pool and an endless deck right on the water to laze away the summer evenings. He’s even convinced her to sublet her own apartment—or so he thinks!

But a multi-million dollar penthouse is not what Jessica most desires… And when Jessica walks away from the sterile life, Ryan finds that he’s restless…and the penthouse-that-has-everything no longer holds Jessica. It loses much of its appeal for this millionaire bachelor.

3. BLACKSTONE’S SYDNEY

At the top of the stairwell lay the salon-style showroom, with its thick marbled columns and glittering crystal chandeliers, redolent with the rich patina of wealth.

The Sydney Blackstone’s store is the place to go to find magnificent diamonds. From clear colourless stones to pinks and yellows the choice is endless. Jessica has the job of her dreams—manager of the prestigious Sydney store. She loves the diamonds, she enjoys helping couples pick out an engagement ring—despite the bittersweet emotion that fills her at such times. Because Ryan Blackstone made it clear he’ll never give a diamond ring to any woman.

After discovering that she was pregnant she had no choice but to walk away from Ryan Blackstone. Work is all she has. She’s good at it—and she loves it. Right now she’s working with Kimberley Blackstone-Perrini to put together the upcoming Something Old Something New launch of next summer’s best jewellery designs. With sparkling, unique pieces put together by designers such as Xander Safin—and Dani Hammond. Jessica couldn’t be more fulfilled from a career perspective—until Ryan decides he wants to be involved in the launch too…

4. FLEMINGTON RACECOURSE, MELBOURNE AUSTRALIA

The annual St. Valentine Diamond Stakes, sponsored by Blackstone Diamonds would be held next week in Melbourne. Jessica had been considering giving the event a wide berth this year. Prickles of tension spread across her skin. Last year she’d spent the day pretending to barely know Ryan and the night going wild in his arms…

“It would be a pity to miss that.” She glanced at him hoping that none of her memories showed in her eyes.

A frown pleated his brow. “I’m too busy to go to Melbourne.”

Because she knows she will be safe, that Ryan will be far away, Jessica attends the race on Valentine’s Day at Flemington Racecourse (famous for the Melbourne Cup—first run in 1861). Only to find…

The emerald turf of Flemington racecourse provided a dramatic backdrop for the jewel-bright silks worn by the jockeys. In the parade ring, the best of this year’s fillies circled. Some walked on a loose rein, while others snatched at the bit and kept breaking into a trot, showing high spirits.

“Beautiful, aren’t they?”

At the sound of Ryan’s rough voice, Jessica lowered the binoculars. He was dressed in entirely in black. A black suit, black shirt and black highly polished Italian shoes. He looked debonair, dangerous…and every inch a Blackstone.

“I wasn’t sure that you were coming.” She met his gaze squarely. “I certainly didn’t expect to see you here.”

Ouch! But as unlucky as Jessica might be in love, she has a talent for picking the winner each year. And this year her eye is caught by a Blackstone filly fittingly named Diamond Lady.

“Here they come!” Ryan’s exclamation had her leaning forward to squint at the horses in leading bunch. “And Diamond Lady is right up there.”The fillies thundered past the stands, the jockeys bent over their necks, their bodies in rhythm with the horseflesh beneath them. The roar of the crowd was deafening.“She might make it!” The excitement in Ryan’s voice was contagious. Jessica grabbed his hand, squeezing it tightly as the horses flashed past the finish line.

As Jessica discovered there’s a definite excitement at the races. Adrenalin? Maybe. It’s a sexy kind of energy. And Ryan and Jessica are not immune!

5. BUNDABERG GINGER BEER
 Jessica and Ryan enjoy a picnic lunch which is accompanied by my fave drink of all time: Bundaberg Ginger Beer. An Aussie treasure. Truly. Bundaberg Ginger Beer—named for the town—is made from honest-to-goodness root ginger which is grown in central Queensland. The ginger taste is sharp and refreshing, but without too much spiciness. Perfect for the 30 degree plus days were having in Auckland right now! I love the sound of the Brown Pelican—a recipe from Bundaberg’s website.

Brown Pelican
125mL Apple cider
75mL Bundaberg Ginger Beer
Ice
Combine all ingredients, stirring gently and splash over ice cubes in a highball glass. ENJOY!

6. BYRON BAY
When I visited Byron Bay several years back I thought it was one of the most idyllic places on earth. Wide beaches. Endless ocean. And a stunning lighthouse perched on Australia’s most easterly point. So it was easy to locate the Blackstone family’s beach house in Byron Bay to which Ryan and Jessica pay an all to fleeting visit.

“There quite a few pods of dolphins who make Byron Bay their home.”

Ryan had come up soundlessly behind her. And Jessica struggled to keep her composure as his warm breath winnowed her hair as he spoke. “And in winter the humpback whales come to visit. The bay is full of stingrays.”

His arms slid around her from behind, and his chin rested on her shoulder, his cheek against her hair.

And while there are sad memories attached to the beach house for Ryan—it’s the place where his mother died—it also holds happy memories. Memories of quality family time spent together with his father, times that Ryan holds sacred. So it’s no surprise that it’s here where we see a more tender, more emotional side of the tough, uncompromising Ryan Blackstone.

I have no doubt that despite the poignant memories associated with the beach house, despite the possibility that the family might need to raise funds to fight off a takeover of Blackstone’s, the beach house will always be there for the Blackstones.

Pride & A Pregnancy Secret is now available in North American bookstores and on-line from Amazon and Barnes & Noble as an e-Book from eHarlequin.

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17 Responses to “Too Much Pride & A Little Pregnancy…”

  1. Oh good to read your ‘behind the scenes’ and I love Ginger Beer so thanks for the recipe!! I will make some this week and taste it.

  2. Rebekah Elrod Says:

    I can’t wait to read this book. I loved the first one and I’m sure I will love this to. Reading this behind the scenes make me even more excited to read it.

  3. limecello Says:

    Hi Tessa,
    I really enjoyed this post – and I just *knew* something was going on with Jessica while reading “Vows.” Bundaberg ginger beer sounds delicious, and I’m not even a beer drinker! Reading about Picasso also made me smile. I can’t wait to read your book!

  4. I knew I was risking fate reading this BEFORE I did my pages today. Now I just want to grab my copy and enjoy more of Ryan and Jessica’s rocky road to love. Love all the snippets, Tessa, and you know I’m a sucker for a racecourse scene. Must see if Diamond Lady won…

  5. Bundaberg Ginger Beer is a staple in our drinks fridge. Nothing the man of the house likes more on a hot day (except maybe a real beer, of course!)

  6. Heh – I realized my “gaffe” while reading Pride last night, and when I saw Ryan had brought it on the picnic, I realized it was a soft drink. (And then I had to google it this morning and check – and found it can be alcoholic or nonalcoholic?) I guess the student life and too many girlie beers (raspberry, pumpkin, apple, strawberry) made me assume it was alcoholic. I loved this book – I can’t even really regret I read it last night – started around 2 am, finished around 4 am. Ack. 🙂

  7. Great post, Tessa. If I do all I’m supposed to do today, I will reward myself with reading Pride and a Pregnancy Secret, how fitting it’s a rainy day!!!
    And WHERE did you get a photo of my Minnie? Picasso is so like my wee girl, it’s not true! In fact, we got her from a batty old lady at the Cats Protection League who called her Smudge because of her unusual markings. DH calls her that when he wants to annoy me. She had obviously been kept inside the old woman’s house all her short life (she was 2 mths) because she nearly had a heart attack when I put her on the lawn. That was in 1990 and she is still going strong!
    Hope you have a quiet day planned, JSL…

  8. Hi everyone! Tessa was dragged, bound and screaming, on a holiday with her DH (lucky her) so she’s going to try and pop in this week via cafe.

    JSL – I looove Bundaberg GB, full-strength sugar, no substitutes. No other brand comes close and the diet version is yucky.

    Jan – I found Picasso on Wikipedia 🙂 We got a new kitty over NY (white Persian cross) and she freaked outside too. She’s so elegant and proper, unlike her adopted sister, who was a stray – angry and beligerent LOL. Man, I love having new cats! Actually, I love cats altogether. They’re very tactile and affectionate and cuddly…

  9. 2paw-it sounds refreshing, doesn’t it? I’m a ginger beer nut–and Bundaberg is the best!

    Great to see that you’re already into the series! Rebekah and Limecello, thanks for popping in. I loved Kim and Ric–I really got a sense that they BELONGED together. Forever.

    Tessa

  10. Bron, I’m not answering that 🙂 You’re going to have to read!

    JSL, I’m so thrilled to hear Pride & A Pregnancy Secret kept you up all night. That’s the BEST compliment in the world. Thank you! And my Bundaberg is non-alcohlic but so so tasty.

    Jan, isn’t that ratbag cat gorgeous–Paula found the perfect baby. Easy to see why Jessica adores Picasso.

    Paula and Yvonne, great to see we share the same tastes 🙂 Have to agree the non-diet is nicer, the stubby bottle is better too. But I can survive with the diet version IF I have to.

    Sun is shining, sea is beckoning…I’m gonna dash off.

    Tessa

    Paual

  11. Tessa, I’m glad you made it, despite that beckoning sea. You did a great job with this post. I’m sure everyone’s interest has been whetted even more to read your book. Or should that be ‘wetted’, seeing that you’re at the beach.

  12. That is seriously not fair Tessa! *pout* This teaser is fabulous. Can’t wait to get my hands on this book. I’m really looking forward to reading Jess and Ryan’s story.

  13. Tessa Radley Says:

    Thanks, Maxine! 🙂 That reminds me of that line in Sea-Fever ‘the wind’s like a whetted knife’. Thank goodness it wasn’t!

    Nikki, glad you’re looking forward to it. Let me know what you think!

    Tessa

  14. Patricia Cochran Says:

    I’ve been counting the days until today, with plans to hit the bookstore for my copy, then………….
    Then Honey and I came down with a nasty case of the flu! Now, I’ll have to wait until I’m clear enough
    of this virus before I can leave the house!! Oh, well, maybe I should start pre-ordering!!

    Pat Cochran

  15. Patricia, what a lovely compliment :-). Thank you! But I’m so sorry that you’ve got flu. I loathe that virus infested feeling…you and Honey have my sympathy.

    I must say, even though I sometimes order books – usually when I’ve managed to miss them in store – nothing beats a visit to a bookstore. I love browsing, reading the blurbs, fossicking for the books I want and finding other treasures along the way. Somehow a parcel in the post – while exciting – just isn’t the same for me. I simply love bookstores. 🙂

    Tessa

  16. Patricia Cochran Says:

    Tessa, I got out for a few minutes on Sunday, just long enough to pick up my copy of Too Much Pride
    & A Little Pregnancy. Needless to say, I’ve already finished your book and I thoroughly enjoyed it!!

    Pat Cochran

  17. Patricia, THANK YOU! I’m thrilled that you enjoyed it 🙂 🙂 🙂 You’ve put smiles in my day!

    I’m sure you can guess who the heroine of the next story is….

    …the beautiful Briana.

    Don’t forget to stop by the Blog to read the snippets that Maxine will be telling us about Mistress & A Million Dollars.

    Tessa

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