Exclusive Excerpt: The Irredeemable Prince

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The ultimate royal bad boy is about to meet his match…


Your bad boy image isn’t something the press has over-exaggerated, is it?’ Mackenzie accused.

Prince Devereaux crossed his arms over his broad chest and an unrepentant smile spread across his mouth. ‘No.’

She hesitated. ‘It’s going to be very difficult to change public perspective.’

So, you’ll be tearing up the contract, refunding the huge deposit my brother has already paid you and flying back to England?’

Although the words were drawled lazily, she detected an energetic undertow designed to pull her in the direction he suggested. His words were a temptation, but he was in for a hell of a shock.

Mac was no quitter.

Despite every shred of sense that warned her that ripping up the contract was the safest course to follow, a stubborn streak bubbled to the surface.

I said it would be difficult to change public perspective. I didn’t say it would be impossible.’

He uncrossed his arms and his smile thinned. ‘But, be honest, that’s what you’re thinking.’

You’re going to resist any change I suggest, aren’t you?’

Absolutely.’ His tone was resolute, his expression unapologetic.

So, I may as well quit now?’

He smiled. ‘You’ve got the picture.’

She stared him down. ‘I intend to fulfil this contract and there are a few things we need to get straight from the outset. You’re my client, but make no mistake about who’s in charge. From now on you’re going to do what I tell you, when I tell you, and exactly how I tell you to do it.’

He held her regard for the longest ten seconds of her life, his expression one of idle amusement. ‘I like a woman who wants to be on top of the situation.’ There was no missing the double entendre. ‘In fact, I can picture you there.’

Mac tried to ignore the prickling heat which spread across her chest like a blazing bushfire. ‘Really? I can picture you with a tomahawk through your skull.’ He burst out laughing, but she ignored him. ‘I’m sure I’m not the only one to have visualised the image. It’s probably only been the presence of your royal bodyguards to have saved you from such a fate.’

Oh, Mackenzie. So much unhealthy aggression coiled up inside you, and I know the perfect way to release it.’

Stop it, or the only thing I’ll need to be released from is a prison.’ She glared at him.

He reached out and ran the tip of his index finger right down along the delicate slope of her nose. ‘You need to relax, sweetheart. In my experience, it’ll work better if you follow my lead.’ How was it possible that his deep voice lowered another octave? ‘I promise you it’ll be very, very good between us.’

Common sense warned her to place as much distance as possible between them. But, oh … the heady sensual promise in his bedroom blue eyes …

She held out a hand to his chest to push him away.

Big mistake! For a crazy half-second, she wanted to pull him towards her instead of thrusting him away. Thrusting … Oh Lord. She shook her head to dispel the X-rated mental images the word conjured.

I generally succeed with my clients because I find something good about them. You’ll be much more of a challenge.’

So leave.’

No. I’ve never failed an assignment and I’m not going to fail with you either.’

For a few moments his expression was shuttered. Finally, he said, ‘Like hell!’

Friday Five: Alyssa J Montgomery

2215Author: Alyssa J. Montgomery
First published with Escape: November 2013
Favourite romance trope: Contemporary
Ideal hero (in three words): Alpha yet sensitive
Ideal heroine (in three words): Sassy, Determined, Loyal
Latest book: The Billionaire Meets His Match

What began your romance writing career? Why do you write romance?

About thirty years ago, whilst on University break, one of my sisters and I decided to co-write a romance. We didn’t ever finish it, but had a lot of fun with what we did. Over a decade later, she suggested I write a romance, and I decided to give it a go. Although I read widely in other genres, I’m a romantic who loves a happy-ever-after ending. I love the challenge of having characters overcome seemingly unsurmountable differences or obstacles to find their soul mates.

How do you write? What is your process like?

I don’t have a set process other than that I identify and ‘interview’ my characters first and get to know them. As for the storyline…At times a character forms very clearly in my head and prompts me to write his or her story, other times it’s a scene that springs vividly to mind and the story grows from there. Sometimes the story evolves as I go, other times I plot it out, but there are times when my characters/storyline deviate from the planned plot line. Everything is fluid. The time of day or days of the week I write vary depending on my family and work commitments!

What do you do when you’re stuck with a scene?

Talk to the characters and find out why it isn’t working. Sometimes they’ll tell me something I didn’t know and with that piece of the jigsaw everything falls into place!! If they’re not cooperating, I phone my sister, Kathy. I tell her the problem and sometimes she’ll provide a solution, or she’ll suggest something that then leads me to think of something else that I think will work. Other times, in just voicing the problem aloud to her, I come up with an immediate solution as I’m speaking.

Where is your favourite place to write?

I’m very fortunate to have a dedicated writing room. Sometimes I write at my desk, sometimes on the couch in the room. My husband designed the stained glass window, and despite the timber in the room, my writing space is light and airy. I have a beautiful rural view and glimpses of the lake and ocean in the distance. It’s lovely to look up from my computer screen and look out. One of the neighbours has a dressage area on the hill, so I can sometimes see her riding. Otherwise I see horses in the paddocks, or watch our goats at play! And always, I have flowers in the room from my garden.

What’s the thing about writing that surprised you the most?

That my characters have a mind of their own and I can sit down to write a particular scene, and in the first few minutes of my fingers hitting the keyboard, I’m writing something else.

After I’d written The Defiant Princess, Kate Cuthbert asked me to write a series titled Royal Affairs. The Irredeemable Prince is the second title in the series, and I’m currently working on the third story. The heroine in the latest W.I.P. wasn’t the one I’d planned. As I was ‘interviewing’ my characters, I had the present heroine intruding constantly. I took notice of her and did her backstory and decided to her story next, but she has just pushed her way into this story and the heroine I planned for my hero has disappeared into the ether! Even the hero’s backstory changed in the first two pages…Sometimes I wonder just who is writing the story!!


Mista25826ken Identity

Greek tycoon Alex Kristidis will do anything it takes to prevent his brother marrying pop star Susie Hamlin, and Susie’s twin sister Leah will do whatever it takes to stop him. But, posing as Susie to throw Alex off the trail as she and her lover rush away to get married has unexpected consequences: Leah is attacked by a drug dealer’s henchmen, whisked off to Alex’s private island, and becomes entangled in a web of lies.

Something is different about Susie, and Alex can’t put his finger on it. No longer the self-absorbed, selfish celebrity, she is warm and innocent and inspires feelings in him that he thought impossible. But the last thing he will do is indulge in an affair with his brother’s manipulative cast-off. He just has to find the strength to stay away…

Echoes Of The Heart

Australian media tycoon Jake Formosa does not believe in forgiving…or forgetting. So when he discovers that Amanda — the woman who once broke his heart — is newly widowed, he immediately enacts his revenge.  Jake is intent on making Amanda remember him, and making her suffer for what she did. He will leave her broken and alone, and finally have his closure.

But Amanda is not the sweet girl that Jake remembers, and her life is far from perfect. As the web of lies surrounding her begins to unravel, Jake finds himself once again ensnared. Can he learn to overlook the past and risk his heart again?

Roses For Sophie

To convince the court that his playboy days are over and to keep a desperate promise, Australian billionaire Logan Jackson needs a wife…fast.

To make her grandfather happy and sway him into making her managing director of the family company, mining heiress Sophie Hamilton needs a husband…fast.

With common goals, similar values, and a very definite end date, there is no reason why Logan and Sophie shouldn’t be able to strike a deal to satisfy them both. No reason except that the sizzling attraction arcing between them is too hot to trust.


 

Bundles of Joy!

Do you like big books and you cannot lie?

So do we.

So. Do. We.

So we put together some bundles, just for readers who won’t deny…

Australian Historical Bundle!

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Two thrilling stories about Australia’s convict past and the path to true love.


Billionaire Bundle!

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From the passionate, pacy pen of Alyssa J Montgomery comes a trilogy about powerful men, and the women who own their hearts.


A Bundle to Treasure!

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For the first time in one place, award-winning Kendall Talbot’s fresh new Treasured series is available in one convenient box-set!


The Next Season of Outlander is still months away Bundle!

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May we humbly suggest Allison Butler’s Sexy Scots as a more than suitable stand-in?


The I Really Only Read For The Heroes Bundle!

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From the critically acclaimed Ainslie Paton comes three men you’ll never forget – in one convenient package.


We Want More Billionaires Bundle!

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Look, we get it. We can’t get enough of the high stakes romance of billionaires either. So we put together three of our top authors for a billionaire sample pack – satisfaction guaranteed.

My book settings: flight attendant edition!

by Alyssa J Montgomery

What seems to have been a lifetime ago, I took a break from my full-time position as a speech pathologist and became an international flight attendant with Qantas Airways. Ever since, I’ve had the travel bug!

So many wonderful memories are tucked away, but these days when I travel, I have a writer’s appreciation for the places I visit and always keep my pen and notebook handy. My brain goes into overdrive imagining different scenarios playing out in some of the places I visit.

greeceDuring my stint as a flight attendant, Qantas flew to Athens twice a week and I used to have five days off every time we landed in Greece. I did a lot of travelling through the countryside. Basing Mistaken Identity in Greece was inspired by my love of the Greek islands and culture and also by my interest in Greek mythology

I’ve set stories in London and Barcelona, but my entire storyline of The Defiant Princess was inspired by my musings on a night I spent at a Bedouin camp. Gazing up at an endless galaxy of twinkling stars with the lingering scent of spicy food and the camp fire was bound to fire my imagination! Having ridden by camel across the dunes and into the desert camp that afternoon, I reflected on a rich culture so very different from my own. I’d been entertained by traditional dancers, held a bird of prey and my daughters and I had our hands painted with henna.

hennaI conjured up a princess heroine and began to wonder… What if this desert land was my heroine’s native land—one she’d been born to rule—but she’d lived in Australia most of her life? What forces would have torn the princess from her birth land, how would that have impacted upon her emotionally and what would it take for her to return? How difficult would it be for her to make the necessary cultural adjustments? Most importantly, how would she find her true love and HEA when the circumstances surrounding her return meant her very life was in danger? How would she be drawn to her hero, even while some sort of conflict kept them apart?

I ‘interviewed’ my defiant princess and discovered her story. I especially adored being introduced to her prince.

Venice is one of my favourite places, and one I believe lends itself naturally to romance. I’d go back there in a heartbeat and will definitely revisit as I plot a contemporary romance. Stay tuned!

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What is the country or city that most appeals to you as the setting for a romance novel? Have you ever found romance in a far-flung land? I’d love to hear your responses!


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When faced with the choice between the life she’s built and the duty she’s left behind—what’s a reluctant princess to do?

Reformed (billionaire) Hero

by Alyssa J. Montgomery

He’s super-confident, sexy as hell and is committed to not committing! He can have just about any woman he wants in his bed—except our heroine…unless he reforms. In regency novels he’s a rake eg the Marquess of Leath in A Scoundrel by Moonlight by Anna Campbell: in Roses for Sophie, he’s Logan Jackson, a lethally handsome, billionaire playboy.

Whatever the time period, the reformed hero is frustrating as hell—making our heroine want to shake him even while she wants to kiss him, and yearning to have him as her lover even while every shred of common sense tells her to run in the other direction in world-record time!

Yet, even with all that push-pull of mental angst and physical and emotional need, there’s an overriding and intrinsic appeal for the heroine to know she has what it takes to make this strong, powerful bad boy reform. It’s empowering to know she’s so precious to him that he’ll change his mindset and his lifestyle in order to win her love.

As a writer, there’s also the appeal of being able to give the hero an emotional backstory that allows the reader to empathise with him and understand why he’s in need of reform in the first place, so that he is likeable and not loathsome!

roses

Logan in Roses for Sophie is an unrepentant playboy who needs to appear to have reformed in order to win a custody case, but in reality he has no intention of settling down. He’s sworn he’ll never put himself in a position where he’ll make regular appearances at the divorce courts like his father did. It’s only when he meets Sophie that he realises the risk is worth it.

He has an incredible ability to make her laugh when she’s at a point where she really wants to throw something at him, and he slowly strips her of her defences—and her clothes—in his single-minded determination to gain her trust.

‘You’re deliberately trying to rattle me,’ she snapped.

‘Am I succeeding?’

The man had incredible cheek. ‘I don’t care if you offer me a two-for-one deal, there’s no way I’m having sex with you.’

He raised his eyebrows in an expression of sardonic amusement and laughed. ‘Two-for-one? Honey, I promise you, if I’m your one, you won’t need two.’

‘I’ve never met anyone who…who…’

‘Who turns you on so much?’

Damn it, if that weren’t the truth!

Like all popular tropes, the reformed hero has been written countless times. As with any trope, the challenge is to keep it fresh. The motivation for the reform is one way to mix up the plotline and emotional impact a little. In Roses for Sophie, the custody case Logan needs to win is what triggers his need to appear reformed, rather than an initial, straightforward need to change his ways to win Sophie.

I’ve aimed to make this story a little different is by making both Sophie and Logan incredibly wealthy, whereas in many romances it’s the hero who is the billionaire. In these, the heroine is often unsure how she will fit into the hero’s world. In Roses for Sophie, the fact that both hero and heroine are powerful and wealthy business people means they understand the pressures of the other’s professional and social spheres. The strength of the characters, hilarity of their initial meeting and the romance I’ve been able to weave through the tale—particularly by using the meanings of roses to show the deepening of this reformed hero’s feelings for Sophie—makes it my personal favourite of the contemporary romances I’ve written to date. I hope you’ll love it just as much.


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From the polished, pacy, passionate pen of Alyssa J Montgomery come a delicious billionaire, a mining heiress, a marriage of convenience and a very inconvenient attraction.

Enemies to Lovers: kiss or kill?

by Alyssa J. Montgomery

To kiss or to kill – that is the question.

Maybe that might have been a line Shakespeare could have used, because the Enemies to Lovers trope has age-old popularity and he certainly used it to effect in Much Ado About Nothing. Certainly there have been great romances since then, which have absorbed us as readers and entertained us in theatres.

JK Rowling is a more modern exponent of this trope with Ron and Hermione in her Harry Potter series. She could have used the Friends to Lovers trope and had Harry and Hermione falling in love, but somehow to me the whole scenario of antagonists becoming lovers makes things much spicier and far more fulfilling. Using the premise that all is fair in love and war, Enemies to Lovers can be highly entertaining with a great deal of sexy—and sometimes hilarious—one-upmanship.

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Alex and Leah in Mistaken Identity are enemies because each is playing to win a high-stakes game with single-minded determination, where their agendas conflict. To make matters more complicated, their goals are vitally important to each of them because they involve safeguarding the personal happiness of their siblings. So, when they meet sparks fly. There’s loads of energy and antagonism leaping from the page and an imperative need for them to resist the slow-burning sexual attraction they feel. Throw in an identity swap, a dangerous drug dealer and a kidnapping, and there’s a roller-coaster ride that rivals a theme-park attraction.

I love the challenge of bringing the hero and heroine together in this trope – of having them overcome all the obstacles lying between them that made them enemies at the outset. In fact, I love it so much that I can’t, at this point, ever see myself writing a Friends to Lovers trope.

It takes some crafting to shape enemies into lovers so their characters grow believably and don’t switch too dramatically. I think the best authors do this gradually by peppering little signs through the dialogue or plot as the story progresses. It should be a slow transition to bend the mindsets of the hero and heroine so they start seeing characteristics in each other that they can admire, respect and grow to love. There needs to be a very good reason to get rid of their prejudices apart from just giving in to the sexual chemistry between them. If done well, the slow build up to the HEA ending makes the resolution much more satisfying.

The lines-drawn-in-the-sand, hands-ready-at-holsters, obvious friction can also lend itself to some dynamic, snappy dialogue, which is also fun to write and to read. Toward the end of Mistaken Identity, it seems as though Alex has won the battle but lost the war. But the slow burn that was ever-present between him and Leah simply will not be extinguished, and the walls are finally broken down, proving that the making up can be very sweet.

I hope you enjoy reading Alex and Leah’s transition from enemies to lovers in Mistaken Identity. I’m fairly certain it won’t be my last foray into this trope!


mistaken An irresistibly indulgent novel about identical twins, an autocratic tycoon, and the sensual, sophisticated Greek seaside.

A Second Chance at Love, part 3: the one that got away

This is the third ‘A Second Chance at Love’ post in our series about tropes in romance literature


 

by Alyssa J Montgomery

Katy Perry sings In another life, I would make you stay so I don’t have to say, You were the one that got away, and as we’re singing along to this upbeat song, there’s something that pulls at our emotions at the thought of losing such an intense love.

Life doesn’t always go according to plan and, being human, we screw up. Part of the appeal of the very popular ‘second chance of love’ trope is the recognition of human imperfection, which to me can make the trope more believable.

As a true romantic at heart, it also appeals because I like to think that true love can win through and that people can be forgiven for their mistakes and find their way back to each other. Rachael Johns uses this trope in her wonderful novel, Jilted. It’s also the trope that dominates Jake and Amanda’s story in Echoes of the Heart.

When a couple have already been lovers, sparks fly instantly because they’ve already shared a deep connection – and, in Jake and Amanda’s case, an explosive chemistry. Because it ended the first time with a bang that left them both emotionally wounded, the risks seem higher the second time around. Conflict abounds as the plot zigzags and the reader is asking will they or won’t they, and how can they possibly?

There are many challenges for the author in writing this trope. Firstly, why will this couple end up together now when they didn’t earlier? This becomes even harder if the backstory isn’t merely a drifting away or missed opportunity but some emotionally explosive circumstance that has opened up an incredibly wide chasm between them. Another challenge is to make the characters worthy of having that second chance.

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I think the story can be more satisfying if the author is able to bring the reader to a point of disbelief initially – to make it seem impossible that the couple can ever resolve their differences and move forward from the heart-rending circumstances that tore them apart – but then to show the character growth and the changes made so the resolution and happily-ever-after ending is believable.

I find the HEA ending deeply satisfying after having suffered alongside the hero and heroine on their harrowing emotional journey – their remembered love but painful memories of separation; their inner conflict and agonising recriminations, bitter accusations, and all the tension and drama of their former relationship as it flows into their present circumstances and must be overcome.

Jake has never forgotten Amanda, nor forgiven her for leaving him and marrying a much older man, and believes she has always been a gold digger. As soon as she’s free, he finds it impossible not to pursue her and tells himself he wants the chance to have her again as his lover so he can achieve the closure on their relationship that was denied him. There’s so much angst and bitterness in him that he’s harsh and unforgiving initially when they’re alone, even though he can’t help but be heroic and stand by her publicly when she needs his defence. He tells himself he wants revenge, yet very quickly, he rediscovers all there was that had him falling in love with her in the first place. He has a lot to deal with because he’s built such barriers around his heart because of their initial break-up, so he not only has to learn to open up to loving her again, but has to learn how to get back to being the same loving guy he once was.

Even though the passionate sexual chemistry is still at hazardous high-octane levels, there’s much inner conflict and tension as each struggles to recognise and come to terms with feelings that have never been extinguished. They must find the courage to communicate, to trust and to expose their hearts again. After the rough ride, the resolution in Echoes of the Heart becomes sigh-worthy and, happily, Amanda and Jake don’t join the ranks of ‘the one that got away!’


 

echoesShe betrayed him and left him to be with another. Now that she’s alone again, nothing is going to stop him from coming for her.

Feed Your Reader – January Releases

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A sexy new adult duology about falling in love with completely the wrong person. Best friends do everything together—including falling in love …


 

Now available, two new bundles at fantastic prices…

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From the passionate, pacy pen of Alyssa J Montgomery comes a three-book bundle about the most powerful men in the world – and the women who bring them to their knees…


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From Lena Dowling comes two emotional, heart-wrenching, heart-warming stories about second chances at life – and love. 

July New Releases: Feed Your Readers!

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When faced with the choice between the life she’s built and the duty she’s left behind—what’s a reluctant princess to do?


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From SE Gilchrist comes the next big thing: The Starburst Rock Band – coming to a galaxy near you…


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Jaz is back in another explosive mission – but her hardest task is keeping her secret from her friends…

Roses are Red…The Language of Flowers

By Alyssa J Montgomery

In Roses for Sophie, the hero – Logan – uses the language of flowers to communicate the development of his feelings for the heroine – Sophie. Like most modern women, Sophie knows red roses symbolise love, but is unaware of the symbolism behind the other colours of roses which Logan gives her. She is happy to receive each bouquet and enjoys his explanation of the sentiments the roses represent, but longs for him to bring her red roses.V871_330x370The language of flowers, or floriography, has been part of human culture world-wide for centuries and I’ve been rather fascinated to explore this. I discovered that the Romans used to hang roses over a meeting table to indicate that all discussions were to remain secret; that stories from the Ancient Greeks, Egyptians, and Chinese refer to the use of flowers; and that evidence suggests people communicated through flowers widely during the Ottoman Empire. It was in the mid 1700s that the French and English discovered that the Turks had an entire language of flowers depending upon different flower types. The Victorian culture adapted this to create an elaborate system of expression based on the type, number, and colour of bloom. Meanings were even attached to the way a single bloom or bouquet was presented or received – that is whether it was given and received with the left hand, right hand or both hands!

Like Sophie, most people today still associate the red rose as a symbol of passion and love – an association which was popular in ancient Greek times as the red rose was the flower of Aphrodite, goddess of love. Apart from this, the symbolism behind each bloom is largely unknown. Did you know, for example, that the colours of flowers hold meanings –

Perfect-white-roses-bunchwhite for purity and innocence

Nice-bunch-of-pink-rosespink for love, happiness, beauty and friendship

BQPPS003-2purple for faith and devotion

And while Roses for Sophie only refers to the meanings of various shades of roses, other flowers also have meanings:

define-camellia-1the camellia is a bloom symbolising admiration

TaraxacumOfficinaleSeedthe dandelion represents faithfulness

carnationthe carnation expresses fascination

Even the number of flowers presented holds significance in the language of flowers.

Regardless of the historic symbolism, the giving of flowers is still popular in our time on special occasions and to send messages of thanks, ‘get well soon’ or as a means of apology and friendship. It’s also acceptable for a woman to give a man flowers, and bunches of virtual flowers are increasingly popular!

The Human Emotion Laboratory at Rutgers University studied the giving of flowers and found that people who give flowers are generally perceived as successful, caring, strong and capable with higher emotional intelligence. A Harvard University study found that flowers in the work environment increased productivity.

Receiving flowers has the potential of increasing an individual’s happiness, and swaying opinions regarding the person who has sent them. Powerful stuff!

We continue to be drawn to the beauty and fragrance of flowers whether it is purely for adornment and appreciation or the expression of intimate feelings. Flowers continue to speak in ways that touch human emotions. Logan found them a perfect way to reach Sophie’s heart. I hope you’ll enjoy their story.

Princess Diana was known to love white waterlilies, Elizabeth Taylor and Nicole Kidman both listed white gardenias as their favourites and although I’m not sure of Madonna’s favourite flowers, it’s widely reported that she has an intense aversion to hydrangeas! Tell us about your type of flower and what it is that makes it your favourite, for a chance to win a copy of “Roses for Sophie”.


23091From the polished, pacy, passionate pen of Alyssa J Montgomery come a delicious billionaire, a mining heiress, a marriage of convenience and a very inconvenient attraction.

To convince the court that his playboy days are over and to keep a desperate promise, Australian billionaire Logan Jackson needs a wife…fast.

To make her grandfather happy and sway him into making her managing director of the family company, mining heiress Sophie Hamilton needs a husband…fast.

With common goals, similar values, and a very definite end date, there is no reason why Logan and Sophie shouldn’t be able to strike a deal to satisfy them both. No reason except that the sizzling attraction arcing between them is too hot to trust.