Archive for March, 2008

6 Fun/Interesting Research Discoveries

Posted in general post with tags on March 31, 2008 by Bronwyn Jameson

Researching this series was fun, exhaustive and exhausting, but always interesting. We’ve come up with 6 fun or interesting things we discovered while researching Diamonds Down Under.

Bronwyn: You know the hardest part about this blog piece? Deciding on one fun or interesting thing from all the cool research for this series. I started a list: conflict diamonds, Argyle pinks, uber-rare greens, diamond cutting in India, famous diamond houses, the ice roads to Canada’s mines, choosing a private jet, the rate of body decomposition in warm water.  Loads and loads of fascinating stuff, so my list grew and grew and still I couldn’t decide.  In the end I decided to go for fun and to choose a simple piece of trivia, and not only so I could use this picture. 

Did you know that the best way to preserve your diamond’s sparkle is to soak it in vodka? 

Tessa: Okay. I admit it, I like graveyards, particularly old graveyards. In the daytime they can be beautiful, peaceful places. At night the same spot might be lonely…ghostly…spooky. But every cemetery has its own atmosphere and character. I love reading the old, leaning headstones and trying to figure the stories behind the engraved words.

I’d never been to Rookwood Cemetery in Sydney where Maxine suggested Howard Blackstone’s funeral would take place, but I knew that it would have its own character. Dating back to 1868 it’s one of the largest Victorian era cemeteries in the world. I found a map online, discovered the winding roads, the old section of the cemetery, and saw that there was a large section with war graves—something I always find heart-wrenching. I contacted Friends of Rookwood who advised that the war graves would be visible to Jessica and Ryan on entering the gates.

One photo of Rookwood with a stretch of curving road with the palms in the distance and rows of agapanthus along the Serpentine Canal caught my eye—so that went into PRIDE & A PREGNANCY SECRET too. I learned that magpies, ravens, white crested cockatoos and my personal favourite, kookaburras, live in the trees—I love their distinctive slightly insane giggle so felt quite comfortable describing it. Rookwood is also home to many varieties of trees among them Norfolk Island Pines, Canary Island Palms, Eucalyptus and Cedars of Lebanon.

And I even learned that the Aussie slang expression ‘crook as Rookwood’ to describe feeling ill came from the name of the cemetery. That’s one of my best parts of writing—all the new weird (mostly weird this time!) and wonderful things you discover!

Maxine: While it was great fun researching the likes of diamonds, settings, family dynamics, I find it fascinating to look back and see exactly how much research went into this series. And it was a LOT. Thanks to the Yahoo Group that Yvonne set up for the 6 of us back in March 2006, it’s easy to see that in the intervening two years we’ve populated it with approximately 5,900 messages. Like the ebbing of the tide, there were some months that were quieter than others, other months where we stormed our brains out. There were brief emails asking just a question, and lengthy emails with suggestions and opinions attached to the original message until it turned into a game of who said what.

And try to remember that when you’re in the middle of writing another book, or a couple of months have passed before you need that information again, it got pretty crazy at times. Then there were the messages celebrating good news like the senior editor had approved someone’s synopsis, and the messages commiserating the not-so-good when one of us had revisions to do. At the most, in one month we managed 721 messages. Not bad for just six of us. All in all, it was definitely a unique experience that showed me one thing in particular. Putting a story together was hard work, but putting six of them together was a miracle.

Jan: The most fun and hands-on research for me was a visit to a local manufacturing jeweller who specialises in diamonds. I sat across from Richard as he idly toyed with tweezers and a pile of diamonds on his desk, and gave me all sorts of fascinating facts about sourcing, designing and cutting – and the cleaning of his office when he drops a diamond on the floor and can’t find it! Then he invited me to peek over the shoulders of his three jewellers as they fashioned some lovely diamond rings. I took notes on the tools and technology used and the impressive security measures necessary for an operation like this.

I also got my old solitaire cleaned for the first time in forever and was told it was ‘disgustingly’ dirty! It was a fun day. What was meant to be an hour turned into four and I got caught up in their enthusiasm and passion for jewellery. I brought them some wine and muffins, but writing this article has just reminded me that I promised them a couple of books when it finally came out.

Paula: A few interesting facts spring to mind about the research I did for the series – and the first two relate directly to my writer’s brain 🙂  The first is that diamonds can actually come from outer space (imagine the stories you could tell – precious stones, warring worlds, greedy kings and noble warriors…)  The other is that missing diamond from the bonnet of Klien’s car in the 2004 Monaco Grand Prix. 

This picture, courtesy of Jaguar racing, says: Gentlemen, if you would please empty your pockets… Christian Klien in the wall and missing a precious diamond!  Paula says: Ahh, I think I’m going to have to tell the “real” story about that missing diamond sometime in the future…!

And lastly, thanks to the wonderful Andrew Burden from Canberra’s Aviation Search and Rescue Centre who answered all my questions about planes crashing into the coastal waters of Australia (did you know there’s a trench a couple of miles off the coast and if you crash in there, there’s no hope of recovery?), how long it would take for someone to respond, who could survive, how long government departments would search before giving up etc etc. 

Yvonne: What I enjoyed the most about researching for the continuity was discovering how many experts in their field are incredibly forthcoming with information when they realise you genuinely are researching for a book and are not just yanking their chain. I admit I was at the receiving end of a bit of scepticism from the Co-ordinator of the Diving Unit, Marine Area Command NSW Police, but once he was assured of our intention to find out what was realistically involved in the recovery of bodies that had been trapped in a wreck in the sea for some time he was a fount of information.

Also, too, the Crim Trac scientist, who gave me amazing detail as to the identification process required for those fictional bodies, which obviously wouldn’t have a visibly identifiable characteristic left. It was heartening to hear her enthusiasm for our scenario, and to get scientific verification that our original timelines would work. Honestly, the back story research was worth a book in itself!

Lets talk about all the fun and interesting and diverse knowledge we pick up between the covers of romance novels. What have you learned recently while reading? One winner will be drawn from the comments on April 5. The prize: a Desire Duo from the UK pairing of Bronwyn Jameson’s THE RUTHLESS GROOM and Jan Colley’s TROPHY WIVES.

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6 things I love about writing romance!

Posted in general post with tags , , , , on March 23, 2008 by yvonnelindsay

I’ve often kidded people that I never knew what I wanted to be when I grew up until I became a romance writer, but when I think back, I’ve always been the type to day dream and scribble stories for all sorts of things. English was one of my favourite, and best, subjects at school (horrors!) and even now there’s nothing I like more than getting lost in a well written story. So why romance? Let me tell you: 

1.    Because no matter how awful the situation you’re always guaranteed a happy ending. Where else in life can you be assured of that. I felt positively cheated when I watched the movie Message in a Bottle through to the end. After all, how hard would it have been to give the poor guy a happy ending? Argh!  I love knowing that no matter how hard the trials that I put my characters through they’re going to win through in the end. 

2.    You get to visit all parts of the world through another’s eyes. In the books I’ve read I’ve learned a great deal about American cities, American towns, life in Australia, Europe, the UK, you name it. There’s been a book set there and that special flavour that is imparted by the author for the place she’s writing about gives the book another character in the setting.  For me, I get to write about the country I love and the places I’ve been to and have enjoyed. In fact everywhere we go, whether on holiday or simply for a day’s drive out of the city, I’m looking at setting to see how I can incorporate it into my next manuscript. 

3.    Being “The Boss”. Basically I’m my own boss. I call the shots as to when I’m working and what I’ll deliver to my editor (who is probably my other boss but she’s too lovely to be mean J) and I love it! If I get myself all stressed out over deadlines and things I only have myself to blame and only I can get it right. Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m not a control freak, but there’s a lot to be said for being in charge…of yourself. 

4.    The hours. Because my man about the house is a shift worker we get to spend plenty of time together on his days off while I still manage to meet my deadlines. Plus, I’m always home if one of the progeny aren’t well and need a tender hand to their brow. Okay, maybe I’m going a bit overboard here. So I select a stack of DVDs, give them a bottle of water and some snacks and park them in front of the DVD player with their blanket and pillow. The important thing is I’m home and able to do that without having to ask anyone else to either  (a) let me have time off work, or (b) look after them for me, both of which I’ve done plenty of in the years preceding my life as it is now.  

5.    You get to fall in love with a new guy in every book. Not only do you get to write about whatever kind of guy takes your fancy, you get to go deep inside his head and his heart and find out exactly what makes him tick. And you get to give him his heart’s desire—the woman he’s going to love for all time and who will love him in return.   

6.    This is the most important reason of all—because it makes me happy. It makes me happy to write stories that have happy endings. It makes me happy to find out new things about my characters and their worlds. It makes me happy to be my own boss and work my own hours and to fall in love every time I start a new book. And it makes me even more happy to know that those books resonate with my readers and in turn make them happy too. How can you argue with that? 

What about you? If you’re a romance writer, what do you love the most about writing romance? And if you’re a reader, what is it that you love the most about the books you choose?

From your comments I will draw a random winner to receive an Australian/New Zealand edition of my TYCOON’S VALENTINE VENDETTA!

Australia: 6 Perfect Romantic Settings

Posted in general post with tags , , on March 16, 2008 by Bronwyn Jameson

When it comes to writing romance, we Aussies are blessed for choice. Not only do we have a wealth of hero potential in Hugh and Eric and Julian and co., but there’s also those gorgeous, smart, deprecatingly-witty Aussie girls as heroine fodder and some of the most vivid settings in which to place our pair of potential lovers. Here are my top six settings for Australian romance.

1. BEACH: with over 36,000km of coastline (that’s further than the flying distance from New York to Sydney to London and back to New York!) Australia boasts A LOT of beaches, from tourist favourites such as Sydney’s Bondi and Queenland’s Gold Coast to pristine stretches of sand in remote wilderness locations. If size really does matter, how about Eighty Mile Beach (WA) and Ninety Mile Beach (Vic)? There is something elemental and evocative about an isolated beach, the sound of waves crashing against rock, the sight of two pairs of footprints meandering along the water’s edge. It really sets you in mind of THAT scene in From Here to Eternity, doesn’t it?
Try: Robyn Grady’s For Blackmail…or Pleasure. (How hot is that cover?)

2. SYDNEY: our most famous and populous city (4.28 million) is always a high rater in the world’s most livable city survey. If I could afford to live there, quite possibly I would. Sydney is reknowned for the world’s most beautiful* harbour and beaches and the iconic Opera House, which is more than a landmark. It’s also a symbol of the sophisticated side of a city better known for the laidback lifestyle represented by the building’s white sails. (*According to the Bron Not-Very-Scientific Survey of harbours and beaches.)
Try: Vows & A Vengeful Groom, Pride & A Pregnancy Secret, Boardrooms & A Billionaire Heir.

3. OUTBACK: the sheer scale of our country’s interior is awe-inspiring, as is the harsh beauty that awaits after the long journey to get there. As a setting for romance, there is much to be made of the isolation, the city-country disparity, the fish-out-of-water story trope, and the parallel of a strong, rugged Aussie bloke and the land that is his. As for romance itself, how about you, Mr Tall Dark and Enigmatic, and the clarity of diamond bright stars against a velvet dark night sky?
Try: my Rugged Loner or any outback title by Barbara Hannay.

4. THE TROPICAL NORTH: Is it just me or has there not been enough made of the sumptuous beauty of Australia’s tropical north? Think about the prospects of an island paradise set amidst lush rainforest, the scent of frangipani on the evening breeze and the white sand of a private beach dazzling in its purity. Imagine lazing beside a horizon pool sipping cocktails–the kind with tiny umbrellas and a fruity kick and colours as vivid as the coral and fish in the reef lagoon. Or if that’s too laidback for your kind of romance, how about the wild energy of a tropical storm unleashed after a sultry day’s brewing….
Try: Jan Colley’s Satin & A Scandalous Affair.

5. MELBOURNE: our second largest city (3.74 million) much loved as the sporting and events capital of Australia. Home of the F1 Grand Prix (today, as it happens!), the Australian Open tennis, our biggest horseracing carnival The Melbourne Cup, and site of Australia’s first Summer Olympics (1956.) But we love it for the shopping, the cafes, the footie, the trams, the blending of many cultures. As for romance, there is plenty of scope in the lux hotels and the glamourous suburbs and in the beauty of the nearby Dandenongs, the Yarra Valley, and the Bellerine and Mornington Peninsulas where the wealthy like to unwind.
Try: Maxine Sullivan’s Mistress & A Million Dollars.

6. WILDERNESS: there is something primal, majestic, magical about the mountains and forests, and I love romances set in a remote area where the couple are stranded by harsh weather. Often they are pitted against the environment in a battle for survival; always they battle the tension of forced proximity and survival becomes more about protecting a closely guarded heart.
Try: my Tycoon’s One-Night Revenge, which is set at a fictional Tasmanian wilderness resort.

Tell me which of these settings most appeal to you as a reader and/or which books/authors have sold you on a particular setting. I will be drawing one winner from the comments on Saturday March 22. The prize: my out-of-print outback romance, RITA-finalist The Rugged Loner, a signed copy of my April release Tycoon’s One-Night Revenge, plus a Colours of Australia address book.

Guest Blogging With Robyn Grady!

Posted in guest blogger on March 9, 2008 by yvonnelindsay

We’re thrilled to have as our guest blogger the gorgeous Robyn Grady. Robyn is a very busy lady writing for both Silhouette Desire and Mills & Boon’s Modern Heat (Presents Extra in the US.) But she’s kindly agreed to be available to us this week to answer some questions on writing for two different lines/houses and working with an agent. So, without further ado…heeeerrrrre’s Robbie!

Thanks so much, Yvonne, Bron, Tessa, Maxine, Jan and Paula for the invitation! If the world doesn’t know it yet, let me say again how much I’m enjoying your Diamond Downunder Series. I’m totally hooked!

Agent representation is the topic of the day! It happens to be one of my favourite subjects. After almost eight years of writing and submitting – submitting and writing – late in 2006 I was offered representation by a New York Agent and it made all the difference!

The DDU ladies have kindly put together a few questions. If anyone has any other questions, fire away! I’ll answer as best I can.

Firstly – the big question. How did you acquire your agent?

That’s a good story. Robbie Williams had been touring Downunder. On the Romance Writers of Australia loop there were a pile of messages with the heading ROBBIE!!! A good friend rang to see if I’d finally sold. I explained the misunderstanding and said I was still waiting for The Call. Waiting, waiting, waiting…. My friend suggested I contact her agent in New York. The week before, I’d emailed off a revised manuscript to the London editor I’d been working with for more than two years. Although the editor hadn’t rejected my two previous stories, this was the third manuscript to receive a revision request from her desk. I was going a little crazy: how long would I need to wait this time!? I decided, ‘What the heck do I have to lose?’ So I ran a brief email off to Spencerhill Associates outlining my background, including my working relationship with this editor and my US contest finals, which numbered 13 in 2006. (Contests are a very good thing J) The return email came back so quickly, I thought it was an auto reply. Then things started to happen!

What is the biggest advantage of having an agent (as a category author)?

From my experience, there are many advantages. The biggest would be that I feel I have an expert in the industry in my corner. Editors expect agents to follow up. That doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll always hear back sooner, but, rather, you don’t have to worry about when or how to approach again if you haven’t heard back. A good agent will be on top of things and keep you up to date. Which leaves more time for writing! J

What do you see as the key requisites in an author-agent relationship?

Honesty, patience, professionalism. I work mainly with Jennifer Schober from Spencerhill and we’re a great fit. I’ll be honest about any concerns or questions I might have, she’ll advise me on what she believes to be the best course of action, although she’s always clear that ultimate decisions are mine. When I say patience, I don’t mean hanging out forever for a reply to an email. I can’t think of a time that either Karen or Jennifer haven’t replied to an email the same day/night. Rather, I mean respecting the other person’s point of view and, from the author’s perspective, looking at the bigger, or smarter, picture.

I also think it’s important to keep in mind that an author-agent relationship is a professional relationship. I’m stoked that Jenn and I get on so well (it wouldn’t suit me to work with someone who’s abrupt or doesn’t share a similar sense of humour), but I’m very aware that everyone’s time is precious. We talk only when something pertaining to work needs to be discussed or addressed or celebrated. But social chit-chat emails I save for others.

How do you manage working for two lines?

 It’s a challenge! But a wonderful one. My first year, I had revisions on my first Desire, plus two other books to write. I also had a 10,000 word online story to write and chat about on eHarlequin for the eight weeks leading up to Christmas, which was fabulous!

But alongside that went line, copy and final edits. Art Fact information to supply. A website to create. I realised there was a lot to do besides writing the book. By late last year I knew I needed to rearrange my life to accommodate the workload. I have someone in to clean my house regularly (I refuse to feel guilty!) Our eldest daughter, who’s in university now, drops off and collects the younger two from school, which means two more working hours in my day. I don’t cook every night. (If anyone else wants to, they’re welcome to it!) But I give myself two nights off a week, more if I’m on a major deadline. The afternoons and early evening I spend with family, but, because I’m a night owl, it’s not unusual for me to write till two or three in the morning. Which is handy for talking to Jenn on New York time J

Why do some stories suit Desire and not Mod Heat and vice versa?

It comes back to the promise of each line – what a reader expects when she sits down to enjoy either a Desire of a Modern Heat (Sexy Sensation Downunder and Presents Extra in NA). Desire promises powerful, passionate, provocative reads – books “filled to the brim with strong, intense storylines”. Although they’re contemporary stories and in every way relevant to today’s women, they’re more traditional in tone. I always feel swept away by the fast-paced plots that impact on the characters and drive the romance to a heart-stopping and inevitably satisfying HEA.

Modern Heats are also gripping reads — but the tone tends to be flirtatious rather than dramatic. The heroes are still alpha — wealthy, dynamic, powerfully alluring — but he can be a bit younger and tends to share his fun side more. Think urban, big-city, jet set, girl-about-town lifestyles, and there’s no need to be shy about being creative with the characters and the passionate romance. When I write a story for either line, I pay close attention to tone (dramatic or flirtatious?), and use of hooks (more traditional or ultra contemporary?). At the heart of both lines, of course, are characters to identify with and care about

What is your schedule like writing for two lines?

 I work pretty much every day, whether it be actual writing or business relating to it. I’m always mindful of upcoming deadlines. I haven’t missed a deadline yet, although I once sent through copy edits at 6.55am, which is 4.55pm New York time after I’d worked through the night. That was a close one! When I was offered the 3 book deal with Modern Heat/Presents in January, my agent spoke with both my editors to make certain it could all be done, and done to everyone’s satisfaction. So I have four books to write this year (two Desires and two Modern Heats – one already complete). There may be another Desire toward the end of the year (fingers crossed!). I have another Modern Heat due in March 09.

Did you ever believe you would be where you are today?

No! LOL. Certainly not writing for my two dream lines, anyway. Eighteen months ago, I was pulling my hair out. I knew I was close but struggled with the idea that, no matter what I did, I wouldn’t be able to cross that shifting, invisible line into Harlequin/Silhouette Publication-land. How I wished someone would please just hand over that magic ingredient! I remember one night, putting our youngest to sleep, lying beside her with tears rolling down my cheeks. All the hours, months, years, I’d put into my writing…would it ever pay off? But, of course, I could never, and would never, give up. (Determination is my middle name J ) Not long after that night, I sold to Melissa Jeglinski and then to Kimberley Young. It’s taken me a year not to wake up and want to pinch myself.

Jennifer Schober of Spencerhill Associates has very kindly offered a three chapter and synopsis critique as a prize to one randomly chosen lucky winner who comments on this blog and if you’re a reader and not looking for agent representation Robbie is giving away a copy of FOR BLACKMAIL OR PLEASURE and a copy of A WILD NIGHT & A MARRIAGE ULTIMATUM to one randomly chosen lucky winner. So there you have it DDU bloggers, we look forward to your comments. Remember to say  which draw you want to go into, i.e. Agent draw or Robbie’s books draw.

UPDATE!!! The agent and book prize winners will be drawn at the end of the week, Saturday 15 March Aussie time (Friday for most of the rest of the world 🙂 )

Diamonds Treasure Hunt: March Clues

Posted in Treasure Hunt with tags , on March 7, 2008 by Maxine Sullivan

The month of March signals the end of summer Down Under and is a beautiful time of year. In Melbourne, it’s a time to celebrate the Moomba Festival and the Grand Prix, and everywhere it’s time to celebrate Easter. It’s also the time to hunt not only for Easter eggs, but for that gorgeous diamond pendant valued at US$350 in our Diamonds Down Under treasure hunt.

Here are the March clues:

Clue 1: What is Briana’s hobby in Mistress & A Million Dollars?

Clue 2: What is the name of the book of short stories written by 26 romance authors and includes 26 delicious recipes? (Hint: you’ll find the answer on Maxine’s website)

Don’t post the answers here. Collect them, save them, and when you have the answers to all twelve questions in June/July, send them to the contest email address. More details can be found on the Diamonds Down Under contest page. If you missed the January clues for Vows & A Vengeful Groom posted by Bron on 10 January, you’ll find them here.  If you missed the February clues for Pride & A Pregnancy Secret posted by Tessa on 14 February, you find them here. GOOD LUCK!

Six Things About Mistress & A Million Dollars

Posted in general post with tags , , , on March 1, 2008 by Maxine Sullivan

1. The Heroine:     

Briana Davenport is an Australian supermodel who is the “Face” of Blackstones. She is tall with a gorgeous figure, beautiful, with long wavy golden-blonde hair and blue eyes that capture a person beyond the camera. She’s intelligent, classy, and fashion-conscious though sets her own standards. She lives in a modern apartment in Melbourne’s eastern suburbs, but also has an apartment in Sydney paid for by Blackstone Diamonds for her numerous model engagements.

Framed by the Opera House and Sydney Harbour Bridge, and dressed in a silky, pale-blue pantsuit that flowed as she moved, she was elegance and sophistication. The epitome of glamour. A crowning glory for the diamond company she symbolized. He could see why Howard Blackstone had chosen her to represent his business.

2. The Hero:

Jarrod Hammond is tall and very handsome with short dark hair and blue eyes, and is a successful property lawyer who lives in a high-rise apartment building in the heart of Melbourne. He’s always had an affinity with this city, having been born here before being adopted by the Hammonds and moving to New Zealand. He is extremely close to his younger adopted brother, Matt.

Dressed in dark trousers and sports blazer, a white t-shirt underneath, he could have been a male model himself, Briana mused, if there hadn’t been such a hard edge inherent in him, those blue eyes clearly showing that hardness… an arrogance… that would never let anyone dictate to him, let alone a camera.

3. Diamonds in the safe:

Were those pink diamonds really a girl’s best friend?

Her father looked over his shoulder with a frown. “Diamonds?”
 “The ones Marise left in my safe,” Briana reminded him.
His face cleared. “Oh, that’s right. You found them in your safe after the plane crash, didn’t you?”
 “Yes, but with everything happening at the time, I’d forgotten them. It was only when I was going to Howard’s funeral, I remembered Marise asking for the safe combination to keep some jewellery in there.”

4. The Settings:

The Casino

No other setting seemed so perfect for an indecent proposal storyline than the casino:

And then Briana’s gaze caught Jarrod’s by accident and everything came tumbling back. Until now she hadn’t let herself think about being here, but returning to “the scene of the crime”, the sounds of the casino, the scents of perfume and aftershave, of food, the gleam in Jarrod’s eyes, reminded her what they had done together here in one of the casino suites – all for the sake of a million dollars.

The Surf Coast

Being at the beach was such an integral part of the Australian way of life, Briana thought as they walked along the path cutting through the tuffs of grass to the sand. She loved Aussie beaches… loved the smell of the ocean and sand… the sun evaporating the stresses of daily life…

Little did Briana know that a day at the beach would almost end in tragedy and bring about a defining moment for her.

5. The Events:

Moomba was a chance to relax a little after their first night together at the casino… or was it?

An hour later they’d found a good vantage point along Swanston Street. The Moomba Festival was Australia’s biggest community festival and a Melbourne tradition for over fifty years, with firework shows, outdoor movies, the Moomba parade, and lots of water-related activities on the Yarra River. The parade was the highlight of the Moomba Festival and Melbourne families turned out in droves, creating a sea of colour and excitement.

At the Melbourne Grand Prix, Briana put her career on the line by letting the Blackstones know she and Jarrod were now an item.

Briana had attended the Grand Prix last year, so had previously witnessed the sensation of the world’s fastest men racing at incredibly high speeds around the track. It was a four day action-packed extravaganza of on and off-track activities, culminating in the main race on the Sunday.

6. The Cheque/Check:

Neither Briana or Jarrod could deny wanting each other, but was the million dollars merely the means to take their attraction further?

Tension rattled inside her as the suite flooded in darkness, leaving only a faint glow from the city lights beyond the glass. She still didn’t turn around. She needed to focus on those city lights, to remember she was here for a purpose tonight.
 “Will you respect me in the morning, Jarrod?” she heard herself mutter the cliché, but needed to say it all the same.
“Yes,” he said quietly, close behind her, so close his breath stirred strands of her hair, but not touching. “But will you respect you in the morning?”
She thought about that, surprised by his astuteness. His question had dispelled any hint she was selling herself, and she was grateful to him for that. “Yes,” she murmured.

Tell me what you would do with a million dollars and every comment this week goes in the draw to win a three-book collection of my Australian Millionaires series.

 Mistress & A Million Dollars is now available in North American bookstores and on-line from Harlequin, Amazon, and Barnes & Noble and as an e-Book from eHarlequin, Fictionwise or wherever you buy your eBooks. It will be available in Australia and New Zealand in April 08.