Poll: How would you spend the fall season if you were a Presents heroine?

Autumn is just around the corner, and while the icy weather isn’t here yet, there is a definite chill in the air. Luckily, Harlequin Presents is here to keep things warm and toasty. How would you spend the Fall season if you were a Presents heroine? Pick your answer in the poll below, or sound off in the comments!

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“What more could a Harlequin Presents writer ask for?”: Victoria Parker on the 21st Century Gentleman’s Club

by Victoria Parker, author of The Ultimate Revenge

A hero to die for…?

When my Q Virtus compatriots and I (waves to Maya and Dani) received the official nod to create a 21st Century Gentleman’s Club, my brain took its usual excitable spin and whipped up a hero who would blend and merge into that astoundingly powerful, complex world. And since I’m an adjective queen, I’ll throw in a few more for good measure because Q Virtus was a concept I fell madly in love with. It’s ostentatious. It’s daring. Dazzling. Evocative. Glamorous and so absolutely extravagant, it will make your head spin. So really, what more could a Harlequin Presents writer ask for? I was in seventh heaven. Especially when Nicandro Santos burst into my imagination—stunningly handsome, charming, yet fiercely arrogant and limitless in his wants and desires. Before I could blink, I knew his main agenda. It was dark and devastating. He wanted to destroy the very world we had spent months creating: Q Virtus and ultimately Zeus, the man behind the phenomenon “himself.” A plan ten years in the making. Total annihilation.

Unless someone stopped him, of course.

But who on earth would be strong enough to give this guy a run for his money? She had to be unique. Strong. So strong that she could handle anything he threw her way. Because I knew for a fact this man had darkness in his soul and revenge on his mind. Nothing would stop him. Nothing on earth.

Or is the female of the species truly deadlier than the male…?

Enter Olympia Merisi.

I have been incredibly lucky to have met and known many strong women in my life. I tend to be drawn to their strength and success, their intelligence, their sincerity and their usually dry wit. Where some may find these women intimidating, I find myself wanting to know what makes them tick. How they came to have a steely inner core that radiates a pure kind of feminine power. Since I first began writing, I have tried many a time to create such a heroine of my own. But it wasn’t until The Ultimate Revenge where I realized this was my chance. The perfect opportunity. And so Olympia Merisi was born. A woman with the bleakest, most horrendous past I have ever touched. A phoenix rising from the ashes to become one of the most successful businesswomen of her time. The secret face behind the Q Virtus mask. The “woman” behind the enigmatic persona of Zeus.

Oh, she’s Nicandro’s perfect match. In every way. The only woman on the planet who could derail him. The only woman who could make his heart beat once more. Ease the blackness from his soul. The only woman who could tie him into knots—literally, with ropes and all—and bring him down to his knees.

Such a shame Nicandro has no clue who she really is. That he’s toying with the enemy “‘herself.”

So what happens when you realize you’ve single-handedly destroyed the woman who has given your life new meaning? The woman who holds your heart.

On the flip side, for Olympia, what happens when you realize that everything you’ve worked so hard for has been ripped away by the man who shared your bed? The only man you’ve allowed to see behind the femme-fatale exterior to the real woman beneath.

Find out in the final installment of The 21st Century Gentleman’s Club: The Ultimate Revenge. I hope you enjoy Nic and Pia’s story as much as I loved writing it.

About The Ultimate Revenge:

the ultimate revenge“I will annihilate your world. As you destroyed mine.” 

For over a decade Nicandro Santos, heir to a legendary diamond legacy, has lived with one unrelenting purpose: to infiltrate the ultraprestigious Q Virtus gentleman’s club and bring it, and its leader, Zeus, down.

What he doesn’t know is that Olympia Merisi, the daughter of his enemy, is now in charge. Olympia has her own reasons for wanting to keep Nicandro close, and she will stop at nothing to protect what’s hers. But what happens when the battle lines between them blur and they enter more dangerous—sensual—territory?

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From SYTYCW…To Publication!

by Laura McCallen, Assistant Editor/Editorial Assistant

It’s that time of year again…the time where we editors greedily watch our inboxes as the So You Think You Can Write entries start to flood in and we delve into them eager to find the next Harlequin Presents author!

lastheirIn order to whet your appetite (and hopefully inspire you to submit!) we’re looking back on Andie Brock’s journey from the competition to Harlequin Presents author. I had the pleasure of reading Andie’s story quite early on in the So You Think You Can Write 2013 competition and thought it was fantastic. We all loved her voice and her fresh take on the classic marriage reunited theme and were so pleased for her when she placed 2nd overall in the competition. I was particularly delighted because it meant I got the opportunity to work with her to make the most of the terrific potential of her winning manuscript! The first time I called Andie was to tell her she had won 2nd place and she was standing at a bus stop which we both found rather amusing!

Coming off the high of that initial phone call Andie and I were both eager to get started. Even though we threw her in at the deep end with her revisions she kept a smile on her face the whole time, committed herself to the process and the revised manuscript we received back absolutely made my jaw drop. Andie had taken the revision suggestions and run with them in a way I never could have anticipated making changes that brought the story together beautifully and left me both laughing out loud (literally!) and crying (happy tears!).

Once I got the official go-ahead to offer Andie a contract I got in touch only to find out she wouldn’t be available for hours. When the time (finally!) rolled around I called Andie who answered in a whisper as she was at the academic library where she works. I immediately launched into all the things we loved about her revisions and what a fantastic job she had done and then casually dropped in that there were still a couple things still to be done with the manuscript. (After she had put in so much hard work and waited so patiently to get feedback I did wonder if Andie might be cursing me in her head…) And then I got to say the magic words:
“But, Andie? We absolutely love this book and would like to offer you a two book contract”

…and there was silence on the phone. Just as I was beginning to get concerned I heard – in the most dignified British whisper you’ve ever heard – “Thank you so much. I’m absolutely thrilled!” We chatted through some details but we were both so excited I don’t think either of us could tell you what was said! After we had hung up I got to share the great news with the rest of the office and there was lots of celebration. We editors love ‘The Call’ moment just as much as authors do and there’s always a ton of excitement in the office whenever anyone gets the opportunity to do it!

The Presents team is ecstatic to have Andie on board and can’t wait for you to read her debut!

Watch for:

The Last Heir of Monterrato

Coming from Harlequin Presents in January 2015

 

In the meantime, we want to know. Are you participating in this year’s SYTYCW competition? What dazzling new take on our readers’ favourite themes can we look forward to? :)

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The Ruthless Hero

by Kate Hewitt, author of Captured By The Sheikh 

Captured By The Sheikh is the first in my Rivals for the Crown of Kadar duet, and it started with the idea of a Sheikh kidnapping a queen in order to secure his throne. As I wrote the story, I worked hard to make Khalil’s motivation for kidnapping Elena by force on the very first page of the story understandable—and to keep him both likable and yet still ruthless when it came to his kingdom.http://www.newbalanceoutlet.cc magasin new balance paris

It got to me thinking what is justifiable, or at least forgivable, when it comes to the hero’s actions. Do the ends justify the means if a kidnapping secures his kingdom, or blackmail restores his business, or similar?

In another Presents of mine, The Husband She Never Knew, the hero Ammar kidnaps his estranged wife in order for them to reconcile—he even goes so far as to have her drugged and spirited away on a private plane. Some readers loved this, and others found it too much to take. What about you? Do you like a hero who will do whatever it takes to secure his kindgdom, inheritance, business, or whatever? And if he’s ruthless when it comes to matters of state, does it bother you so much as long as he’s gentle in matters of the heart?

Let me know in the comments!

Happy Reading,

Kate

About Captured by the Sheikh:

captured“I took your bride. I’ll take your throne. Because both are mine by right.” 

Banishment and shame has turned Sheikh Khalil al Bakir into a man determined to reclaim the crown of Kadar from his rival. Khalil’s campaign begins by kidnapping his enemy’s bride-to-be. She’s a means to an end, so why is he so inflamed at the thought of her in anyone’s bed but his own?

Queen Elena Karras of Thallia was prepared for a cold, mutually convenient marriage. Instead she is carried off into the sands, where the virgin queen soon discovers an unexpected desire for her sinfully sexy captor that leaves her craving more….

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What makes a hero?

by Chantelle Shaw, author of A Night in the Prince’s Bed

Watching (ok, drooling over) heart-throb Danish actor Nikolaj Coster-Waldau in Game of Thrones was one reason why I decided to write about a Scandinavian hero, to show that men from the icy north can be as sexy as Italian and Greek heroes!http://www.newbalanceoutlet.cc

Inventing a fictional country Storvhal in the Barents Sea (above Norway) allowed me to create a royal dynasty which had begun with the Vikings. The hero Prince Aksel, although he is a modern-day prince, is as fierce and powerful as his warrior ancestors. But Aksel is haunted by a secret from his past that he fears could bring down the monarchy if the truth about him is ever discovered.

Aksel is determined to devote himself his duty of ruling Storvhal, and he certainly doesn’t need the unwelcome distraction of a beautiful red-head! After one night of passion with actress Mina Hart the Prince of Storvhal knows he must leave her, but he is furious when he believes that Mina used him for publicity to promote her career.

(Mina is a character I first mentioned in a previous book SECRETS OF A POWERFUL MAN. In this book Salvatore Castellano employs speech therapist Darcey Rivers to help his deaf daughter. The reason Darcey specialised in working with hearing impaired children is because her sister Mina Hart is deaf.)

Writing about how Mina overcame her hearing impairment to become a successful Shakespearean actress was fascinating. Unable to hear, Mina has instead to rely on her other senses to try to understand the brooding and intensely private Prince of Storvhal, and to discover his shattering secret.

I absolutely loved writing about a Scandinavian hero and hope to set other books in that part of the world. To me, Mediterranean heroes are hot-blooded, temperamental and outrageously sexy, while heroes from the Arctic are cool and brooding. But beneath their ice lies volcanic fire and passion as scorching as molten lava.

So, who is your ideal hero – a Latin lover or a golden-haired Viking?

About A Night in the Prince’s Bed:

anightintheprincesbedActions speak louder than words

Beautiful Mina Hart has overcome her hearing impairment to become a leading theater actress. But one stolen night with a gorgeous stranger turns into headline news when it’s revealed he is the prince of Storvhal.

Devastated when he accuses her of using him for publicity, Mina travels to his icy Scandinavian country to proclaim her innocence. But while she’s hiding in his car she falls asleep, and wakes up at Prince Aksel’s private retreat!

A heavy snowfall traps them in, and now she must rely on her senses to read this haunted and intensely private prince!

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