AUTHOR: Dani Collins
TITLE: Bought by Her Italian Boss
GENRE: Harlequin Presents/Mills & Boon
RELEASE DATE: (July 1, 2016)
Hey guys, help me welcome Harlequin Presents author, Dani Collins who is here for the first time! Welcome Dani!
Hi Amanda! Thank you for having me here today. Hi everyone!!
What genre of books do you read other than romances?
I rarely read anything but romance unless it’s research. Very occasionally I will pick up a travel book like Bill Bryson, but my TBR pile for romance is so huge I don’t often wind up without a romance on the go.
How many hours do you spend on research?
The short answer would be ‘as many as I need’. I’m not someone who does a ton of research, especially before I write. I regularly dig into a story then hit a wall and realize I can’t move forward until I know more about a setting or what-have-you. Then I can easily lose myself online for hours until I remember I’m supposed to be writing a book.
When not writing what’s your favorite pastime activity other than reading?
For a long time I had a day job and young children, so if I had free time, I wrote. I did golf for a brief period and I like it. This year I have resurrected my vegetable garden. I walk pretty much every day for about an hour and I go to the gym twice a week. That’s because, as my massage therapist told me, I’m a writing athlete. I have to stay in shape. (Go ahead and laugh. I did.) But I do try to balance out some of my long seated periods with some movement.
Name one fascinating place you’ve visited.
Australia! I will often tell people that it is truly the most unique place to go if you’re from North America. I’m sure there are other wonderful places and I would love to go to Africa and parts of Asia, but Australia is so different, from the geography to the animals, that I always encourage people to visit it if they have the chance. (Plus the people are awesome!)
I should say I love New Zealand as well. The people there are fabulous and it’s not only a very safe country (really, only the environment can kill you, as opposed to Australia, where almost everything bites, stings or poisons you.) But being a smaller country, NZ is a place where you can get around without losing too much time to travel, yet still see a lot of really different things (like the hot springs in Rotorua.)
Do you have a childhood story book that remained with you as an adult?
Anne of Green Gables.
What are you currently reading?
I’m one of those people who always have more than one book on the go. I’ve recently started reading on my phone at the gym, which I love! I’m currently reading Seducing the Bachelor by Sinclair Jayne, Edge of Temptation by Megan Crane and someone recommended an older Carole Mortimer title: Wife by Contract, Mistress by Demand. Oh, and I recently re-read Kulti, by Mariana Zapata.
What’s the most exciting thing that ever happened to you?
The Call! I waited twenty-five years to publish. I was excited!!
Your latest book is titled Bought by Her Italian Boss. What inspired you to write this story?
The hero, Vittorio, is the cousin of Paolo, the hero from my first Harlequin Presents, Proof of Their Sin. I always knew I wanted to write his story, but I wasn’t sure what kind of heroine he would have.
Both men work at the family bank, which means a scandal would put Vito into a tailspin. I threw Gwyn’s nude photos online and sat back to see what would happen. Vito charged right in there.
Can you share at least one behind-the-scenes tidbit regarding this story?
That’s always a hard one for me because I wrote it about a year ago. My brain has dumped that info to make room for whatever I’m working on now.
I remember when I wrote Proof of Their Sin, I picked Charleston as a location for a Donatelli branch because I had read somewhere that the city had a vibrant financial district and a record number of head offices for international banks. By the time I wrote Bought by Her Italian Boss, however, I couldn’t find that same information and felt like maybe I made up the detail, but I was stuck with it. Most of the story takes place in Italy, so it’s not a big deal, but this is where maybe I could have spent more time on my initial research!
Condense this story in a few lines so as to give readers an idea of what the book is about.
Gwyn is set up by one of the bank’s clients. He’s been siphoning funds and is trying to discredit her and pin the blame on her. It might have worked if she was an underling, but Vito says, “Pretend you’ve been my mistress all along.”
They want to give the impression she’s been aligned very closely with the bank, wouldn’t have betrayed him, and also that she’s been allowing the misappropriation so they could compile evidence against that bad client.
The fake affair then turns very real!
What have you enjoyed most about creating the characters in Bought by Her Italian Boss?
Mostly I love that I was able to show Gwyn that she actually did have a family behind her, even though she thinks that her stepbrother and stepfather more or less only tolerate her. They come through, though, which means the world to her.
Do you have any favorite scene in the story?
Writing the black moment is always hard, but I liked how this one unfolds. I like what Vito goes through and how honor drives him in this scene. (I won’t give too much away.)
The other scene that I adore is when Paolo and Lauren visit mid-book. I had a lot of fun with it. I won’t spoil that either, but I hope readers enjoy it.
What are you currently working on?
Like my reading, I always have a lot going on with the writing. I’m working on a Presents that is part of a multi author trilogy with Jennifer Hayward and Rachael Thomas. It’s a really fun premise, but it’s on the down low for the moment. Look for it in May, June and July of 2017.
I just turned in a Christmas book for Tule’s Montana Born and I have a couple of indie projects that I’m picking away at, hoping to publish them in the last quarter of this year.
Do you have any advice to share for aspiring writers?
Writing and publishing are two different things. If you want to write, write! Embrace it. Love it. Don’t let anything mess with your joy.
Publishing is a business and comes with all the hard knocks that any entrepreneur faces. In traditional publishing especially, there are a lot of gatekeepers. Some people do really well with self-publishing, others languish. It can be really easy to let all that hardship depress you into quitting writing.
If you get to that point, maybe quit trying to publish for a while, but don’t quit writing. The writing side is yours and no one can take it away from you.
And that’s a wrap! Thank you for joining me today, Dani. It has been great fun featuring you. I do hope to see you soon. And folks, do get your copy of Bought by Her Italian Boss out tomorrow! Ahem, Ms Collins is such a sweetheart that she has offered a little something, something for one lucky person! Simply answer the question below and share this post for a chance to win a signed print copy of Dani’s book! Open internationally!
As a reader, do you prefer that linked books come out back to back or are you okay with them coming out this much later?
An affair of convenience!
Gwyn Ellis is in big trouble. Scandalous photos of her have been released online, slandering her as an adulteress and threatening her hard-earned job with Donatelli International Bank. No one wants to hear how she’s been framed…no one except her boss, the darkly sexy Vittorio Donatelli!
Vittorio will do anything to protect his company from scandal—he’s kept the secret of his true parentage hidden for years. So if it means making stunning Gwyn his mistress to combat the vicious rumors, then he’ll do it…with pleasure!
The limo scene! Vito is encouraging her to take advantage of him and the pleasure he can offer her, so she won’t be so upset about those nude photos of her that have appeared online…
“Am I the first woman to find you attractive? I doubt it,” she said caustically.
“You’re the first to be so annoyed by it,” he said with a hint of laughter in his voice. “Why? Because you’re so tempted?”
“I’ve never been a drug user and that’s what it would be,” she muttered. “You’re sitting there like a giant painkiller promising to keep me from feeling the bus that’s crushing me so yes, I’m tempted.” She couldn’t believe how honest she was being. It wasn’t like her to be this blunt, but what shred of dignity was left to lose? “But I’ve never gone to bed with a man purely for physical release. It makes me feel cheap to consider it.”
“You’re incredibly insulting when you want to be, aren’t you? The problem, I think, is that you don’t know how powerful this particular painkiller will be.” He leaned across and set her glass in her door. His was gone and his hands went to her waist. “Come here.”
He dragged her to straddle his thighs, making her stiffen in surprise at the sudden intimacy of having her legs open across him, her inner thighs lightly stretched by the press of his thick, hard ones.
She kept her arms stiff, holding herself off him, but she was intrigued despite her wariness. “There’s no one to see this performance,” she reminded tautly.
“Yes, I know,” he said smokily, and stroked his hands up and down her thighs, massaging in a way that sent ripples of anticipation into her pelvis. With a little shift, he slouched and they were sex to sex, her tingling loins firmly seated against the very hard ridge of his erection.
“If only I still worked for you and could charge you with sexual harassment,” she said, but her voice had thinned and her twitching thighs wouldn’t cooperate enough to lift her away.
“I don’t have to buy women, cara. They come to me for this.” His hips came up just enough to press where too many nerve endings were centered. She bucked in an allover response, gasping.
“You’re so full of yourself,” she told him, shivering, not fighting the hands that pressed her hips so she felt that delicious grind again.
The corners of his mouth deepened in satisfied amusement. “Let’s see which one of us wants to be full of me, hmm?” His hand slid up her side, across her shoulder to cup the side of her neck.
A trail of tingles followed his caress, sensitizing her, making her go still when self-preservation instincts told her to get the hell off his lap.
As he exerted a tiny pressure, urging her forward, asking for her mouth against his, she gave in.
It’s only a kiss. They’d done it before.
But this wasn’t a kiss. It was a match to a flame.
As her mouth reached his, he captured her in a hungry kiss, like last night only hotter. With a confident hand on her butt, he rocked her against his erection, making her shudder and take over the move herself, seeking the rhythm that would build the desire in the heated, dampening flesh between her legs.
Distantly she told herself to be cautious, remember this was about the bank. He was only doing this to prove a point, but her arms went around his neck in a kind of instinctive twine. She pressed to crush her breasts against his chest. Their tongues tangled and they both opened their mouths to deepen the kiss into something flagrant and wildly passionate.
Maybe there was something else she ought to have been thinking about, fretting over, but few thoughts of any clarity stuck after that. She became a being of pure sensation. All her awareness centered on the points where they touched, how he stroked her back and hips, how her body prickled and responded like firecrackers were exploding at different points.
His hand slid to cup her breast, weighing and gently massaging. She rubbed her nipple into his palm, never so free when it came to sex. Maybe if he’d seemed surprised by her lack of inhibition, she would have pulled back, but he groaned with appreciation, encouraging her, giving her all the pressure she needed as he shaped and squeezed her breast. She loved the way the light fabric of her top and silky cami made it easy for him to find and tantalize her nipple, pinching the peak and causing a stab of arousal straight between her legs.
She gasped and moaned approval. More heat rushed to pool in her loins, making her ache there and seek that hard ridge. She rubbed, trying to soothe the needy throb between her legs, unable to remember the last time she’d had any sex, let alone thrown herself into it like this. No man had ever aroused her this quickly and thoroughly with little more than a kiss and a few brazen caresses.
She arched as his other hand found its way beneath her top and pulled her cami askew, so he could pull back and look at her through the translucent film of her overtop. They both watched his thumb circle her nipple, flicking back and forth, stimulating the tight bead so she shuddered and panted, scalp tight, excited beyond what she could imagine could happen from such a simple bit of teasing.
“Come here,” he said, urging her to lift on her knees and push her nipple toward his mouth.
She did, bracing her hands on his shoulders, vaguely aware they were in a moving car. Maybe the blur around them was empty of humans, but the darkened glass at her back wasn’t. She ought to be showing more decorum, but his tongue moved the silk of her top against her nipple in delicate friction. The dampness of his mouth enclosed her in heat, sucking and inciting. She was lost, groaning with delight as he tortured her, licking and moving that damp fabric, squeezing the swell of her breast just enough to push more blood into the tip.
She was going to climax from this alone, she thought, working her nails with agitation against his shirt, thinking she should stop this, but she was compelled to keep going because it felt so damned good.
Her waistband released and his other hand slid in, confident and possessive, cupping soaked lace, saying something in Italian she didn’t have the wherewithal to interpret, but he sounded pleased. Like he was complimenting her. She absolutely flowered when he sounded so appreciative and admiring.
He held his palm steady for her to grind herself into the heel of his hand. She moaned with pleasure as her arousal became acute. She tore at his collar and tried to stroke his skin, wanted to bend and kiss him, but as she pulled back, he stared at her chest.
“Give me the other one,” he growled, eyeing her left breast, still tucked away.
With trembling hands, she lifted her top out of the way, pushed the cami down so her breasts were thrusting out the top of it, brazen in the extreme—
He opened his mouth wide on her bare nipple and she nearly screamed at the sensation of his teeth closing softly, dragging all the way to the tip before he sucked her into the deep, wet cavern of heat that was his greedy mouth.
A rush of need flooded into her sex. Into his palm.
He made an animalistic noise and his fingers pushed past silk, fingertips seeking, two penetrating, burying deep, thumb tracing and finding. Circling.
“Yes,” she gasped, giving herself up to the stunning height of pleasure, welcoming the thrust of his fingers, clasping him hard to her breast as he nipped in a way that was just short of pain. The sensations he was offering were so sharp and intense it was almost too much to bear. She clenched, trying to hold back, realizing how close she was to losing it. This wasn’t what she’d meant to happen.
His arm clamped around her waist and he kept lashing her with those twin sensations until she couldn’t hold back. Orgasm crashed over her. Her body nearly buckled under the power of it. Her cries of abandon filled the backseat and she pressed her hands to the ceiling, all of herself offered to him as he pleasured her, nearly bursting into jagged tears at the intensity of her release. Dying. She was dying and would never breathe again.
The paroxysm held her for a long time, until she slowly became aware that his caress had become soothing.
His damp hand moved, sliding onto her hip then cupping her backside, urging her to nestle her tender, throbbing flesh against the aggressive ridge of his erection straining the front of his pants. He lifted his head and licked at her panting mouth, teasing her into kissing him back.
She was still shaking with reaction and kept her eyes closed as she kissed him with swollen, trembling lips, aware of his hardness everywhere: shoulders, arms, thighs. Even his lips were firm where hers were soft with spent pleasure. His heart was pounding while she was still trying to catch her breath, both of them damp with perspiration.
Finally she dragged her eyes open to see he had a very smug, satisfied light in his half-closed eyes. That arrogance was unnerving, making her realize he had completely taken her apart while losing none of his own control. Only his collar was slightly askew, his hair barely out of place.
He told her in a low growl what he wanted to do to her.
What was wrong with her that she responded with an internal clench of anticipation to his dirty talk?
She pushed off his lap and shakily tidied her clothes, avoiding his gaze, trying not to think of where his hand had been. How she’d sounded as she called out with release. Had the driver heard her? How did things just keep getting more mortifying?
She managed to rally, responding to what he’d said with a scathing, “The way you’re looking so self-satisfied, I’d think we already did that.”
He angled to look at her, reaching to smooth a wisp of her hair from its tangle on her eyelashes. Her pulse leapt with excitement, but his finger didn’t even brush her skin.
“It was bothering me that other men had seen you naked. But no man has ever seen you like that, have they? I’m very satisfied.”
What an egotistical—
“You’re a jerk,” she told him, thinking there were saltier words and she was tempted to find them.
“Are you losing the feel-good already? Because I’m right here, ready and willing to take you to your happy place all over again.”
“Oh, shut up,” she snapped, turning her face to the window. Pride. Who knew it was such an unaffordable luxury?
USA Today Bestselling author Dani Collins wrote and submitted for twenty-five years before getting ‘The Call.’ It finally happened in May of 2012 and since then she has completed thirty romances for Harlequin Presents, Tule Publishing and herself.
When Dani is not writing, she’s asleep. She lives in BC Canada with her high school sweetheart, trying to adjust to becoming an empty-nester.
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