I was tagged by the very lovely Suzanna Medeiros to participate in The Next Big Thing series. Last week she posted about her current Work in Progress, LOVING THE MARQUESS, which you can read about here.
The Next Big Thing is a blog hop of sorts wherein someone is given the opportunity to answer ten questions about their current WIP. They then tag four more people, who will post about their respective WIPs the following week and pass this invitation on to four more writers to keep The Next Big Thing going.
I’ve invited the following people to participate next Wednesday (unfortunately, with the holidays, I had difficulty finding four)–Cynthia Justlin (of course), Alexia Reed and Terri Osburn. And now, on to the questions!
What is the title of your book?
Marriage With Benefits
Where did the idea come from for the book?
Honestly, I’m not sure I can attribute it to ONE place, but the hero, Lucas Wheeler, definitely sprang almost fully formed from a comment made by an editor at Mills&Boon in one of their blogs—“recognize that the alpha male is the ultimate nurturer.” This was a huge revelation to me. I’ve always thought of alphas as domineering and I immediately wanted to write about a hero who likes to take care of people. Then I thought – who is the best person to provide conflict for my hero? Of course the answer is an independent heroine who would rather die than admit she needs someone. Marriage With Benefits was born.
What genre does your book fall under?
Contemporary series—specifically Harlequin Desire.
Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie?
Matthew McConaughey…and Paz Vega.
Here’s the cover Harlequin created. How do you think they did?
What is a one sentence synopsis of your book?
Cia Allende needs a temporary marriage to access to her inheritance so she can help battered women, and Lucas Wheeler is the perfect man for the job, until he decides the marriage should be anything but temporary.
Will your book be self published or represented by an agency?
It’s being released by Harlequin Desire in February. I was awarded the contract for winning Harlequin’s SYTYCW competition. I still have to pinch myself sometimes!
How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?
The first draft took about nine weeks. Then I had to spend time revising and polishing!
What other books would you compare this story to within your genre.
It’s a marriage of convenience story, similar to pretty much every other one out there. I like to think my unique voice differentiates it from the others.
Who or What inspired you to write this book?
I was inspired by the possibility of being published. <big grin>
What else about your book might interest the reader?
Here’s the official blub:
Her ideal ex-husband.
“Will you divorce me?” Those are the four little words Cia Allende wants to hear Lucas Wheeler say. Of course, they have to marry first. The gorgeous Texas real estate tycoon shuns commitment, but a six-month fake marriage will help them both. Cia can access her trust fund and build a women’s shelter, and Lucas’s playboy reputation is repaired. No strings. No romance. Simple.
Except it’s anything but. Lucas intends to seduce his in-name-only wife. It’s a battle of wills, and Cia is losing…and loving it. And now the divorce she needs is the last thing she wants….
As Cia leaped out of the car, Lucas hooked a thumb in the pocket of his cargos and whistled. “That’s a mighty fine point A to point B ride, darlin’. Lots of starving children in Africa could be fed with those dollars.”
“Don’t trip over your jaw, Wheeler,” she called and slammed the door, swinging her dark ponytail in an arc. “My grandfather gave me this car when I graduated from college, and I have to drive something.”
“Doesn’t suck that it goes zero to sixty in four point two seconds either. Right, my always-in-a-hurry fiancée?” His grin widened as she stepped up on the porch, glare firmly in place. “Come on, honey. Lighten up. The next six months are going to be long and tedious if you don’t.”
“The next six months are going to be long and tedious no matter what. My grandfather is giving us a villa in Mallorca as a wedding present. A villa, Wheeler. What do I say to that? No thanks, we’d prefer china,” she mimicked in a high voice and wobbled her head. That dark ponytail flipped over her shoulder.
The times he’d been around her previously, she’d always had her hair down. And had been wearing some nondescript outfit.
Today, in honor of moving day no doubt, she’d pulled on a hot-pink T-shirt and jeans. Both hugged her very nice curves, and the ponytail revealed an intriguing expanse of neck, which might be the only vulnerable place on Cia’s body.
Every day should be moving day.
“Tell your grandfather to make a donation, like I told my parents. How come my family has to follow the rules but yours doesn’t?”
“I did. You try telling my grandfather what to do. Es imposible.” She threw up her hands, and he bit back a two-bulldozers-one-hole comment, which she would not have appreciated and wouldn’t have heard anyway because she rushed on. “He’s thrilled to pieces about me marrying you, God knows why, and bought the reunion story, hook, line and sinker.”
“Hey now,” Lucas protested. “I’m an upstanding member of the community and come from a long line of well-respected businessmen. Why wouldn’t he be thrilled?”
“Because you’re—” she flipped a hand in his direction, and her engagement ring flashed “—you. Falling in and out of bimbos’ beds with alarming frequency and entirely too cocky for your own good. Are we going inside? I’d like to put the house in some kind of order.”
Enough was enough. He tolerated slurs—some deserved, some not—from a lot of people. Either way, his wife wasn’t going to be one of them.
“Honey?” He squashed the urge to reach out and lift her chin. Determined to get her to meet him halfway, he instead waited until she looked at him. “Listen up. What you see is what you get. I’m not going to apologize for rubbing you the wrong way. I like women, and I won’t apologize for that either. But I haven’t dated anyone since Lana, and you’re pushing my considerable patience to the limit if you’re suggesting I’d sleep with another woman while my ring is on your finger. Even if the ring is for show.”
A slight breeze separated a few strands of hair from the rest of her ponytail as she stared up at him, frozen, with a hint of confusion flitting across her face. “No. I didn’t mean that. It was, uh…I’m sorry. Don’t be mad. I’ll keep my big mouth shut from now on.”
He laughed. “Darlin’, I don’t get mad. I get even.”