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Grace Marshall Takes a Tour with An Executive Decision

My counterpart, Grace Marshall, is on a week-long blog tour with An Executive Decision, the first novel of her Executive Decisions Trilogy of hot romance. Starting Monday, 19th November, you’ll find Grace at these wonderful sites talking about Dee and Ellis and their oh so hot Executive Sex Clause.

Find Grace at:

19th November: http://authorrainedelight.wordpress.com/

20th November: http://www.bookreviewsandmorebykathy.com/

21st November: http://mylife-in-stories.blogspot.com/

22nd November: http://daydrmzzz.blogspot.com/

23rd November: http://smutters.co.uk/

 

 

Blurb:

Overworked CEO Ellison Thorne has no time for sex, let alone romance. The only answer, at least where his retiring business partner Beverly is concerned, is a no-strings sex clause in her replacement’s contract, designed to make Ellis’ busy life easier – and hotter. But she’s joking, right?

When Dee Henning takes over Beverly’s job, sparks fly between her and Ellis, but work takes priority in driven Dee’s life too. Can one night of passion in a Paris hotel room prove Beverly’s Sex Clause is their secret to success in the boardroom and the bedroom, and what will happen if that private clause becomes public knowledge?

Excerpt:

At last Ellis pushed his chair back and looked up at her. ‘Marston refused the proposal.’

‘I’m sorry,’ Dee said again.

‘Not that it was a huge surprise, but I could have done nicely without him berating me for hiring someone incompetent and irresponsible to take Beverly’s place. That didn’t exactly make my day. What the hell happened?’

She felt the heat rising up her spine and onto her ears. ‘I overslept.’ She forced the words out into the chilled room.

‘You overslept?’

‘Yes.’ She nodded imperceptibly, feeling the scrutiny of his glare.

For a long moment he just stared at her. She forced herself to meet his gaze and held her tongue, afraid if she tried to say anything she’d burst into tears, and she despised women who cried.

‘That’s it, then? You overslept.’

She nodded again, swallowing hard.

‘Well that’s a relief.’ He leaned forward in his chair and rose almost as though he were going to leap over the desk and pounce. The tension in his body was palpable. ‘I was afraid you were lying on the freeway somewhere in a pool of blood. I’m so relieved that it was nothing so dire, and that you simply overslept.’ With each word, his voice grew louder until he wasn’t exactly yelling, but neither was there any way she could miss his message as each word drove her deeper into her chair until she felt as trapped as if she had been tied there.

‘I’m sorry,’ she forced a whisper through the roadblock in her throat, but the stinging behind her eyes warned that a swift exit would be necessary if she were to avoid the flood.

‘Sorry? You’re sorry? Tally had to pick up the slack. Do you have any idea how that looked? Just when I was starting to make progress with Marston, just when the man was beginning to listen to reason, you oversleep. You made Jamison’s deal seem all the sweeter, that’s what you did. Now, tell me what the hell’s going on.’

‘Pardon?’

He moved from behind his desk and paced the carpet in front of her like a bull ready to charge. ‘You’re supposed to be working to shore up the situation with Scribal. I told you up front that’s your major concern at the moment, then not only do you oversleep and miss an important meeting, but I find out you’ve been working on something else behind my back.’ Before she could respond, he turned on her. ‘Is Trouvères what you’ve been staying up half the night and missing meetings for? When I hired you, I never thought you, of all people, would neglect your responsibilities.’

‘I’m not neglecting anything. If you would just –’

He interrupted her. ‘Don’t think just because I gave you this job, you suddenly know it all. I took a big risk hiring you.’ He stopped pacing and rooted himself in front of her, close enough that she had to strain her neck to look up at him. ‘You want to do something; you bring it to me first. You’re not ready to make that kind of decision on your own. You don’t have the experience it takes to…to… You’re not Beverly.’

His words were a hard slap, felt more than heard above the roar in her ears. She wasn’t sure the ragged breathing her brain finally registered in the chasm of silence that followed his tirade was his or her own.

The phone rang into the charged atmosphere and Ellis jerked it from its cradle in a strangle hold. ‘This had better be good, Lynn. Wade? What the hell does he want? Can’t it wait? We’re not finished yet. I can what?’ He heaved a sigh of resignation and slammed the receiver back down. ‘Wade wants to see you right now. He says I can get back to you on this, and believe me, I intend to.’ He nodded toward the door. ‘Well, go on, at least don’t keep him waiting. Pick up the notes on the meeting from Sandra.’

She stood on trembling legs and turned to go. As she reached for the door, he called to her. ‘Dee, I strongly suggest you make no more attempts to prove Marston right about you.’

Sandra joined her in the hall. ‘I have the meeting notes for you.’

‘Just put them on my desk. Wade wants to see me.’

Sandra nodded. ‘Yes, I know. I told him he did. And I told him to give you a few minutes in the ladies to freshen up first.’ She offered a reassuring smile and turned on her heels.

*****

Still breathing like a freight train, Ellis watched Dee disappear shutting the door behind her. He grabbed up the phone and called his secretary. ‘Lynn, hold all my calls. I don’t want to be disturbed. How long? Until I say otherwise, that’s how long.’ He slammed the receiver down, snapped his laptop shut and stormed down the hall to the lounge.

He shoved his way out of his jacket and tossed it across the wingback chair, then practically strangled himself in his efforts to loosen his tie. From the coffee table he grabbed up the remote and plunged the room into the wild raucous ride of the third movement of Beethoven’s Moonlight Sonata. Then he dropped onto the sofa struggling to breath, struggling to regain control, struggling to figure out what the hell had just happened. All through the meeting, when Dee didn’t show up, he was terrified that something horrible had happened, terrified that he would lose Dee the same way he had lost Beverly. And the relief he felt at seeing her. Jesus, the relief was like nothing he’s ever felt before.

If Lynn hadn’t called, if Wade hadn’t demanded Dee’s presence … If Ellis had had one more second with her, he would have yanked her up from the chair and fucked her senseless right there in the middle of the day with all of Pneuma Inc just outside his door, fucked her as though he might never get another chance, fucked her as though his life depended on it, and that’s exactly how it felt. He wiped cold sweat from his forehead and struggled to breathe. If he’d lost her, Jesus! He couldn’t even bear the thought.

Christ, he couldn’t go on like this. It felt like he was always either avoiding her or jerking off thinking about her. And damn if he wasn’t thinking about her all the time; the shape of her, the feel of her, the sass of her. He’d never wanted anything so badly. And then … and then she screws up so royally that all he wanted to do was punish her, to turn her over his knee for giving him such a scare, to … to … to fuck her until she couldn’t walk.

Available from:

eBook
Amazon UK
Amazon US 
Xcite Books

Print
Amazon UK
Amazon US
Barnes & Noble
The Book Depository
Xcite Books

 

 

The Story Behind the Story from Avis Exley

The Story Behind The Story

It’s my pleasure to welcome Avis Exley to Hopeful Romantic to talk about her novels, Love Notes and Lovers In Law.

When Kd Grace asked whether I’d like to talk about Love Notes on her Story Behind The Story guest spot, I didn’t hesitate.   I love talking about romance almost as much as I enjoy writing romantic stories, so this was too good a chance to pass up.   Thanks so much, Kd x

I began writing romances in my teens, not long after I started reading them.   For me, they created a magical world of international locations, spellbinding stories and, of course, happy ever after.

Love NotesLove Notes, was one of my first books and tells the story of Erika Fenn, a world famous singer-songwriter returning to England for the first time in five years.   She’d run away to America to escape a disastrous relationship, pouring her broken heart and soul into her music, and creating songs that turned her into a global superstar.   The last person she needs to see upon her return is Aiden Thirstan, the man who’d broken her heart in the first place, and who’s now saying her future’s under threat too.   Can she trust him to help her and, more importantly, can she trust herself not to fall in love with him all over again?

The story had everything I thought the publishers wanted – an alpha hero, a beautiful heroine and a romance set inside the glamorous music industry.   Full of excitement, I submitted it to a major romance publisher, only to be told that the characters weren’t deep enough and that the background story intruded on the romantic relationship.   Undeterred, I started work on a second novel, Lovers In Law, only to be met with the same rejection, even though I rewrote and resubmitted both novels a couple of times more.

Completely disheartened, I abandoned all hope of becoming a published romance author but it didn’t stop me writing.   By this time I had a young family and wrote whenever they were asleep, stockpiling over a dozen manuscripts in a drawer where they gathered dust and never made it as far as a publisher’s desk.   Then stories began appearing about Print On Demand publishers and self-publishing but the high set up costs in the early days meant this wasn’t an option either.

Still I wrote, adding to the huge pile of paper, until along came Amazon with their Kindle and the easy upload of manuscripts to their e-book store.   Taking my courage in both hands, I decided to give readers the chance to decide whether my work was good enough.   First, I did lots of fun research, reading books from Siren and Ellora’s Cave, and realising that there was no magic formula any more.   I could write exactly what I pleased in a style to suit myself, and even make up a brand new genre if I wanted to!

So, in early 2010, I dug out Love Notes and began rewriting.   The manuscript was so old it had been written on a manual typewriter and before the invention of mobile phones, so it definitely needed bringing into the modern world!   Inspired by the success of Fifty Shades of Grey and erotic romance publishers, I also updated the main love affair, making it far steamier than I’d originally intended.   However, once I started writing, it felt exactly the right way to go.   My characters are hot so why shouldn’t they have hot sex too?

Having done my market research, I knew I needed a unique selling point – a niche of my own.   I began rewriting around the time of the Royal Wedding, with the whole world was going mad for Will and Kate, so I decided to make my books distinctly British.   As I live in London, inspiration was all around me so it made perfect sense to use the city’s iconic locations as a backdrop and to write everything in a British accent.

Lovers in LawI wanted to release two books together so rewrote Lovers In Law alongside Love Notes and uploaded them both to Kindle on the 1st August.   Then I played the waiting game.   A couple of my Facebook friends read them in the first week and posted five star reviews and, after that, the word began to spread.   More five star reviews appeared on Amazon, followed by several on Goodreads and lots of positive comments on Facebook.   Readers didn’t just like my books, they loved them, and couldn’t write a review without using the word “steamy”.   They even made it into the Top 100 of Goodreads’ Best Dirty Talk booklist.   http://www.goodreads.com/list/show/14805.Best_Dirty_Talk?format=html&page=1

But the best reviews of all were the ones that praised the quality of my writing.   I didn’t want my books to be a succession of sex scenes strung together in a weak storyline.   I also wanted a really strong plot, lots of sparky dialogue and believable characters that didn’t race inevitably to a happy ever after.   One Goodreads reviewer even said the writing was so strong, I’d easily sit alongside the mainstream, bestselling writers and she saw no reason why I wouldn’t become one of the great romance writers of al time.  My writing style hasn’t changed much since those very early rejections but now it’s the readers, not the publishers, making the decisions!

I’m currently working on my third novel, a brand new story set in an English stately home, that can only be summed up as Downton Abbey with a huge twist and lots of sexy scenes.   After that, there are still another fifteen dusty stories in the drawer so I might be around for a little while longer!   To whet your appetite, here’s a little snippet from Love Notes.  Enjoy!

Extract

Aiden laced his fingers through Erika’s and pulled her hand close to his chest where she felt his heartbeat through his shirt.   Her pulse picked up the rhythm of his heart and slowed, losing its turbulence.

“I’m not talking about going back to where we left off,” he said.   “We can take it as slowly as you like.   Start fresh and see where it goes.”

“Right back to heartbreak,” she thought out loud, indecision writ large across her face.

“Why?   You can’t deny there’s still a connection between us.   We can’t keep our hands off one another.   Why else would you have kissed me?”

“That’s different.   Of course there’s physical attraction, but you’re talking about a relationship.   Love, commitment, trust and everything in between.”

“Then let’s start with the sex and work up from there.”

“What!”   The suggestion came so unexpectedly Erika could barely gasp out a reply.

“You heard.   And don’t pretend you’re shocked.   You have a body made for sin and the other morning proved you’re still no angel.   If this weekend is about sex and memories, why don’t we play to our strengths?”

Devilment sparked in his eyes as he waited to see whether she’d take the bait.   The hook snagged somewhere close to Erika’s libido and embedded itself, releasing the dam burst of desire she’d held back since first seeing him that evening.

Where would be the harm, she asked herself?   After all, Aiden took sexy to a whole new level and it would be a shame to waste it.   Erika wasn’t the only one with a body made for sin and Aiden’s remembered wickedness had inspired every raunchy lyric she’d ever written, including a few too x-rated to record.   Not to mention the delicious dreams that visited her most nights as she drifted off to sleep.

“I can see you’re thinking about it,” Aiden said after Erika’s silence had gone on too long.   “We could have a lot of fun before you head up to London.”

Erika pretended he had nothing of interest to offer her.   “You forget, I’ve already sampled the merchandise.   Maybe that option won’t appeal to me either.”

“And perhaps you just need a little more convincing.”   His eyes widened suggestively.   “The other morning, you took what you wanted and left.   I wasn’t allowed to join in.”

“Would it have made any difference?”

In reply, Aiden reached up and placed his fingertips on the side of her neck, just below her ear, allowing them to flutter against her skin like butterflies’ wings.   “If I kissed you here right now I’d give you goosebumps along your arms.”

Erika half closed her eyes as a thrill of arousal trickled through her skin, just as Aiden had predicted.

His fingers then moved around under her hair and circled each one of her neck bones before caressing the sensitive nape.   ”When I gave you a massage, I started here and, by the time I was half way down your spine, you’d be begging me to make love to you.”

He whispered the last, leaning so close his cheek brushed hers and the powerful, masculine scent of him engulfed her, goading her into touching him.   Without warning, he dropped his hand and pinched the tender skin on the back of her knee, making Erika gasp.   “After we’d showered, I’d dry you off and kiss you from ankle to thigh before letting my tongue…”

“Okay.   Okay.   You’ve made your point.”   Erika jumped in before he could go any further, her skin temperature having leapt by ten degrees.   “Leave something for the imagination.”

“Are you sure you don’t need reminding how I could make you come simply by touching your nipples?   Or how I’d start at your navel and…”

“Enough!”   Erika glared at him but found it impossible to cancel the image of his tongue travelling down across her belly, and her cheeks flushed.   “People are staring.”

Aiden laughed at her embarrassment, the deep, rich sound setting off sensual vibrations in Erika’s bones.   “So why don’t we escape to your room?”

*****

Lovers in Law US  http://www.amazon.com/Lovers-In-Law-ebook/dp/B008S0LII2/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1345992300&sr=8-1&keywords=Avis+Exley
Love Notes US  http://www.amazon.com/Love-Notes-ebook/dp/B008RXVZXS/ref=pd_sim_sbs_kstore_1
Blog  http://avisexley.blogspot.co.uk/
Tumblr http://avisexley.tumblr.com/
Facebook  http://www.facebook.com/AvisExley
Twitter               @avisexley

 

A Win-Win Deal — An Executive Decision Free!

Ellison Thorne knows a good deal when he sees it and, no doubt, both he and Dee Henning would agree that a FREE download of the Kindle Version of An Executive Decision is a very good deal, indeed. Like most good deals, this one is time sensitive. Beginning October 10th through the 14th, you can download your copy and learn about Ellis and Dee’s secret weapon, which makes them the hottest business team around … in more ways than one.

Now’s the time to take advantage of this win-win deal and get a head start celebrating the anticipated November 1st print release with K D Grace and Grace Marshall. The deal’s on the table. Don’t miss the opportunity.

Blurb:

Sex in the contract – it’s the only way super-focused, over-worked CEO, Ellison Thorne, is ever going to get laid. That’s what his retiring business partner and secret match-maker, Beverly Neumann, thinks. She’s convinced no-strings, stress-free sex in certain employee contracts would raise productivity and minimize stress — perfect for a busy executive like Ellis. But she’s joking, right?

Enter her hand-picked replacement, Dee Henning. Young, hungry, gifted, Dee is the queen of no time for sex. When negotiations on a major project break down, and Dee and Ellis end up in each other’s arms, the Executive Sex Clause suddenly becomes more than a joke. In fact hot executive sex just might be the ultimate secret weapon for success. But secrets seldom remain secret, and Dee and Ellis soon learn there’s no such thing as no-strings where the heart is concerned.

Excerpt:

Ellis,

Just an addendum to the conversation we had earlier about Dee Henning. Before I lose contact with all things Pneuma Inc to bask in blissful solitude of the rainforest, I want to make it clear how I feel. I’ve already told you she’s perfect for the position. And if you were ever going to implement the ESC, she’d be the one to do it with – that is if you’ve got the balls.

 Dee’s exactly what you need on all counts. I know you think she lacks experience, but trust me, with the right training, given half a chance, she’ll be brilliant. Hire her, Ellis. Implement the ESC. Trust me, it’s the perfect strategy, a secret weapon that could make Pneuma Inc even more successful than it already is.  And if anyone could do it, you could. Do this for me and I can retire and enjoy my dotage.

 And in case you’re planning to write this message off as a sign of dementia due to my advanced years, I plan to invite her for drinks after I get back from Brazil and feel her out about the position. Just so you know I’m serious.

                                                                        -Beverly      

Ellis shut the email, took off his glasses and stared for a long moment at the blurred screen. Beverly was always right, he reminded himself. Then he shoved his glasses back on, opened the manila envelope and took out the information Beverly had left him. It was true, the list of work experiences and skills were impressive, and in a couple of years, at the rate she was going, Dee would be his choice for the position, hands down. But it was too soon. She was so unprepared for what she’d be facing. How could she be otherwise under the circumstances? And she was untried. He’d be throwing her to the lions. But Beverly believed in her. He prayed she was right.

He found himself reading over the personal information again, the intimate details about her that he shouldn’t know, but did. He found her intriguing in quirky ways. A love child, parents never married, spending summers in Paris, defying her mother to study business at Harvard instead of pursuing a career in music. The notes were all in Beverly’s hand. He wondered why she thought he should know all these things. Personal lives should be kept personal. There was no room for them in the workplace. But then again, there was no room in the work place for what he had done with Dee eight weeks ago, in spite of Beverly’s Executive Sex Clause.

Maybe Dee would turn him down. There was a good possibility. And then what?  He hadn’t even looked at the other resumes. The only one he knew who was at least halfway qualified, certainly more technically qualified than Dee, was Tally Barnes, but that was a moot point now.  Ellis jumped as a crisp rap on the door broke into his silent reverie. He shoved Dee’s resume back in the envelope, straightened his tie and stood to greet her.

‘Lynn? Are you in here?’ Dee entered the conference room dripping wet, turning to shut the door behind her without looking up. ‘Sorry I’m so wet. It’s pouring out there. The garage was full so I had to park in the drowned-dog section, or be late, and I make it a point to never be …’ She stopped in mid-sentence, frozen to the wet spot she was now making on the carpet. ‘Ellis!  I’m so sorry. I just assumed I’d be meeting with your secretary again.’

The classic lines of her dark blue power suit caressed her curves a little less discretely than they might have otherwise done had it not been wet. The rain had rendered her blouse partially transparent – just enough to reveal the contours of lace beneath, and he knew from personal experience just how nice those contours were.

‘Lynn told me you’d be gone,’ she was saying. But he was having a hard time paying attention to her words. Rhinestone droplets of water clung to her lashes and tendrils of damp hair curled around her ears. For a second, he stood motionless, unable to take his eyes off the woman glistening in front of him. She held his gaze with a half-smile, her cheeks tinged with the slightest hint of discomfort, discomfort he was sure he could match and raise. It took another second before he realized she was waiting for him to respond. He caught his breath and spoke in a mad rush. ‘I felt it was time we met in person about the executive assistant position. Can I get you a towel? I have an extra jacket if you’re chilled.’

‘Thanks, but I won’t melt, and I’m not cold. And if you don’t mind me dripping on the carpet, I have several more prospects for you to look at.’

He motioned her to follow him down the hall to his office. ‘After all you’ve done for Pneuma Inc in the past few years I think you’ve earned dripping privileges.’ He felt stupid the minute he’d said it, but it was out, and it got him the smile he’d hoped for. If she were angry at him for what had happened, if she felt in any way hurt or slighted, she hid it well. In fact she hid it a little better than he’d hoped. He’d hoped to get some idea of how she felt about him after … everything. If they were going to be working together, he needed to know if she harbored enough of a grudge to put cyanide in his coffee or set explosives off under his desk.

Amazon Links:

Amazon.co.uk

Amazon.com

 

A Win-Win Deal — An Executive Decision Free!

Ellison Thorne knows a good deal when he sees it and, no doubt, both he and Dee Henning would agree that a FREE download of the Kindle Version of An Executive Decision is a very good deal, indeed. Like most good deals, this one is time sensitive. Beginning October 10th through the 14th, you can download your copy and learn about Ellis and Dee’s secret weapon, which makes them the hottest business team around … in more ways than one.

Now’s the time to take advantage of this win-win deal and get a head start celebrating the anticipated November 1st print release with K D Grace and Grace Marshall. The deal’s on the table. Don’t miss the opportunity.

Blurb:

Sex in the contract – it’s the only way super-focused, over-worked CEO, Ellison Thorne, is ever going to get laid. That’s what his retiring business partner and secret match-maker, Beverly Neumann, thinks. She’s convinced no-strings, stress-free sex in certain employee contracts would raise productivity and minimize stress — perfect for a busy executive like Ellis. But she’s joking, right?

Enter her hand-picked replacement, Dee Henning. Young, hungry, gifted, Dee is the queen of no time for sex. When negotiations on a major project break down, and Dee and Ellis end up in each other’s arms, the Executive Sex Clause suddenly becomes more than a joke. In fact hot executive sex just might be the ultimate secret weapon for success. But secrets seldom remain secret, and Dee and Ellis soon learn there’s no such thing as no-strings where the heart is concerned.

Excerpt:

Ellis,

Just an addendum to the conversation we had earlier about Dee Henning. Before I lose contact with all things Pneuma Inc to bask in blissful solitude of the rainforest, I want to make it clear how I feel. I’ve already told you she’s perfect for the position. And if you were ever going to implement the ESC, she’d be the one to do it with – that is if you’ve got the balls.

 Dee’s exactly what you need on all counts. I know you think she lacks experience, but trust me, with the right training, given half a chance, she’ll be brilliant. Hire her, Ellis. Implement the ESC. Trust me, it’s the perfect strategy, a secret weapon that could make Pneuma Inc even more successful than it already is.  And if anyone could do it, you could. Do this for me and I can retire and enjoy my dotage.

 And in case you’re planning to write this message off as a sign of dementia due to my advanced years, I plan to invite her for drinks after I get back from Brazil and feel her out about the position. Just so you know I’m serious.

                                                                        -Beverly      

Ellis shut the email, took off his glasses and stared for a long moment at the blurred screen. Beverly was always right, he reminded himself. Then he shoved his glasses back on, opened the manila envelope and took out the information Beverly had left him. It was true, the list of work experiences and skills were impressive, and in a couple of years, at the rate she was going, Dee would be his choice for the position, hands down. But it was too soon. She was so unprepared for what she’d be facing. How could she be otherwise under the circumstances? And she was untried. He’d be throwing her to the lions. But Beverly believed in her. He prayed she was right.

He found himself reading over the personal information again, the intimate details about her that he shouldn’t know, but did. He found her intriguing in quirky ways. A love child, parents never married, spending summers in Paris, defying her mother to study business at Harvard instead of pursuing a career in music. The notes were all in Beverly’s hand. He wondered why she thought he should know all these things. Personal lives should be kept personal. There was no room for them in the workplace. But then again, there was no room in the work place for what he had done with Dee eight weeks ago, in spite of Beverly’s Executive Sex Clause.

Maybe Dee would turn him down. There was a good possibility. And then what?  He hadn’t even looked at the other resumes. The only one he knew who was at least halfway qualified, certainly more technically qualified than Dee, was Tally Barnes, but that was a moot point now.  Ellis jumped as a crisp rap on the door broke into his silent reverie. He shoved Dee’s resume back in the envelope, straightened his tie and stood to greet her.

‘Lynn? Are you in here?’ Dee entered the conference room dripping wet, turning to shut the door behind her without looking up. ‘Sorry I’m so wet. It’s pouring out there. The garage was full so I had to park in the drowned-dog section, or be late, and I make it a point to never be …’ She stopped in mid-sentence, frozen to the wet spot she was now making on the carpet. ‘Ellis!  I’m so sorry. I just assumed I’d be meeting with your secretary again.’

The classic lines of her dark blue power suit caressed her curves a little less discretely than they might have otherwise done had it not been wet. The rain had rendered her blouse partially transparent – just enough to reveal the contours of lace beneath, and he knew from personal experience just how nice those contours were.

‘Lynn told me you’d be gone,’ she was saying. But he was having a hard time paying attention to her words. Rhinestone droplets of water clung to her lashes and tendrils of damp hair curled around her ears. For a second, he stood motionless, unable to take his eyes off the woman glistening in front of him. She held his gaze with a half-smile, her cheeks tinged with the slightest hint of discomfort, discomfort he was sure he could match and raise. It took another second before he realized she was waiting for him to respond. He caught his breath and spoke in a mad rush. ‘I felt it was time we met in person about the executive assistant position. Can I get you a towel? I have an extra jacket if you’re chilled.’

‘Thanks, but I won’t melt, and I’m not cold. And if you don’t mind me dripping on the carpet, I have several more prospects for you to look at.’

He motioned her to follow him down the hall to his office. ‘After all you’ve done for Pneuma Inc in the past few years I think you’ve earned dripping privileges.’ He felt stupid the minute he’d said it, but it was out, and it got him the smile he’d hoped for. If she were angry at him for what had happened, if she felt in any way hurt or slighted, she hid it well. In fact she hid it a little better than he’d hoped. He’d hoped to get some idea of how she felt about him after … everything. If they were going to be working together, he needed to know if she harbored enough of a grudge to put cyanide in his coffee or set explosives off under his desk.

Amazon Links:

Amazon.co.uk

Amazon.com

 

Grace Marshall has made An Executive Decision!

Grace Marshall has made An Executive Decision

Grace Marshall is  very happy to announce that An Executive Decision is now officially available for Kindle in the US and the UK! And you’ll be able to hold the print version in your hot little hand November 1st.

For a project that began its life eight years ago as an erotic short story I wrote just for fun, AED has had a circuitous journey to publication. In its first incarnation, it was called Learning the Business.  From there it expanded into an erotic novel, then grew into a romance novel that was too big for its britches, and too hot for anyone to touch at the time, and wearing the brazen title, The Executive Sex Clause. An Executive Decision has finally grown up and come into its own as the first steamy romance novel in The Executive Decision Trilogy.

Radio or Not, Here I Come!

I had the very big pleasure of being interviewed, along with Hazel Cushion, Managing Director of Xcite Books, by Phil Rickman for his popular Phil the Shelf programme on BBC Radio Wales. Phil Rickman is the author of the best selling Merrily Watkins mysteries, the John Dee series and several paranormal novels. Though I didn’t have the pleasure of meeting the man face to face, I was ushered into the studios of the BBC Radio facility on the Surrey University Campus several weeks ago, and there, alone in the small cubicle, Phil’s ethereal voice filtered into my ear via the magic of techy stuff. The interview lasted about twenty minutes, covering everything from Fifty Shades of Grey mummy porn to interesting uses for truffles in The Initiation of Ms Holly.

As you might expect, I excitedly alerted all of my friends that I was going to be on Phil Rickman’s show, and we all gathered round the ‘radio,’ just like in the old days, tweeting and Facebooking over our glasses of wine, not so much like the old days, only to discover that BBC Wales was running a cricket match instead. No warning, nothing. Just suddenly cricket. None of us knows what happened, and no doubt there will be a pod cast at some point. In fact, I just got a text from Hazel saying she heard it. However, in the wilds beyond the mysterious offices of Xcite Books and Accent Press, we’ve heard nothing. Even Phil has heard nothing, and he’s threatening murder on his end. But he has promised to let me know when the pod cast is up, and I’ll be sure to pass on the word.

Face Time

Just after tweeting and facebooking my excitement about An Executive Decision’s swift release on Kindle, I was off to Wales to the Kidwelly eBook Festival Friday afternoon. I had the pleasure of being on a panel of erotic writers for ‘Sex at Noon.’ and it was lovely to be included with the fabulous Toni Sands and to make the acquaintance of Gillian Brightmore. Hazel was chairing the group. The discussion was lively and the interaction with the small but enthusiastic audience was loads of fun. It’s very heartening to see the growing interest in erotica.

As much as I enjoyed the panel and the short bit of the festival I was there for, the best part of the two days was having face time with Hazel and getting to meet her lovely family. There was much talk of writing and publishing, as you can imagine, and I had a fabulous time watching the opening ceremony of the Olympics with the entire Cushion family.

Book Time

I’m working flat-out at the moment to finish the final rewrite of Riding the Ether, the second book of the Lakeland Heatwave Trilogy. If anything I’m even more excited about it than I was Body Temperature and Rising, which was amazing fun to write.

There’ll be more exciting K D Grace and Grace Marshall news coming up in the month of August, so be sure to keep an eye out on this site and on both K D and Grace’s face book and twitter pages. In the meantime, hope you have a hot August in the very best sense of the word.  I’ll leave you off with a little taste of An Executive Decision.

Blurb:

Ellison Thorne’s business partner, Beverly, and his brother, Garrett, create the Executive Sex Clause as a joke speculating that no-strings, stress-free sex in certain employee contracts would raise productivity and act as a cure for Ellis’s lacking love life.

Enter Dee Henning, the queen of no-time-for-sex. Young, hungry, gifted. When negotiations on a major project break down, Dee and Ellis realise the Executive Sex Clause could be the ultimate secret weapon for success. But secrets seldom remain secret, and Dee and Ellis soon learn there’s no such thing as no-strings where the heart is concerned.

Excerpt:

By the end of the third day negotiations were at a deadlock, and the Paris heat was beginning to take its toll in more ways than one.

Ellis slammed the door to the hotel suite behind them and yanked off his tie. ‘I know the woman doesn’t like Americans, but the only one she’s hurting by not accepting our offer is Trouvères. She has to see this is the only way to move things forward.’

‘It’s got to be some sort of bluff.’ Dee threw her jacket across the couch and rotated her aching shoulders.

‘Can’t you talk to Daniels? Surely he can make her see reason.’

‘I have talked to him. He’s at his wits end as to why she’s behaving like this. Besides, he works for her, remember?’

‘True, but it’s pretty clear it’s you he’s concerned about pleasing.’

She slammed her computer bag down on the couch. ‘I told you there’s nothing between Jason and me, and we’re both too professional to let –’

Ellis interrupted. ‘Look, I said up front that this deal was a long shot. Pulling it off may take a lot more time than either of us expected. Anyway, I should have known better than to get caught up in the excitement. Don’t take it personally. I’m only saying you may have bitten off more than you can chew this time. You’re not exactly working drive-through at McDonalds these days, you know?’

The pain returned to her shoulders with a vengeance. ‘At first it was a real shock, Ellis, but I figured that one out fairly early in the game.’ Dee bit back her sarcasm, remembering his comments about no one making him angry until she came along. She was about to excuse herself for a much-needed shower and time to cool her temper when the phone rang. Ellis answered it.

He dropped the receiver back into its cradle. ‘That was Yvette Rousseau’s secretary.  Tomorrow’s meetings are cancelled. Apparently Yvette sees no reason for further negotiations.’

‘Shit.’ Dee turned on her heels and headed for her room. Maybe she’d have a good cry while she was in the shower. It certainly wouldn’t be her first since she’d started working at Pneuma Inc.

But Ellis grabbed her by the arm. ‘Where are you going? We have a disaster here, Dee. We need to regroup and figure out what to do about it. Your pouting can wait.’

Anger joined frustration and became a seething boil. She jerked her arm away, certain a shower would no longer be enough to cool her down. ‘I’m not pouting.’

He shrugged. ‘What else am I supposed to think when at the first sign of trouble you run off to your room. We have a mess here, we need to fix it.’

It was then that she snapped. She stood facing him nose to nose in a glare-down, no longer caring if she made him angry. ‘Fine, goddamn it, let’s stop the bullshit and fix it then. I’m sick and tired of your snide remarks about Jason and me, and your condescension about my lack of experience. Guess what, Ellis, I know I lack experience, and you knew it when you hired me, so tell me something I don’t know!’

His eyes flashed white hot, and the line of his jaw hardened. The intake of his breath was harsh against the soft hum of the air conditioning. It came as a total surprise when he grabbed her, and for one frightening second, she thought he was actually going to shake her. But before the thought was completely formed, he pulled her to him so hard that she feared whiplash, then he did the unthinkable. He kissed her. He kissed her hard. His mouth was bruising and tyrannical against hers, swallowing her breath even as she fought to swallow his. At first she pushed him, pushed him as hard as she could. But he only yielded enough to step back, pulling her with him, kissing her harder, holding her tighter, tight enough to crush her breasts against his chest. It took a second for her brain to register she was pushing him back toward the sofa, and he was letting her. She bit and nipped at him like an angry wolf, yanking and shoving his jacket off over his shoulders as she pushed.

There was ripping and tearing. She wasn’t sure whose. She didn’t care. At least one button went flying.

With one hand he tugged and yanked her skirt up over her hips, with the other he shoved down the straps of her bra and kneaded and cupped.

It soon became clear they weren’t going to make it to the sofa. She’d just managed to force Ellis’s trousers down over his hips when he plopped onto the chair at the computer desk, pulling her on top of him as he figured out how to release the front catch on her bra.

‘Oh my god!’ she cried out as the chair went over backwards landing them in a heap on the soft carpet …

 
© 2017 K D Grace
The Romance Reviews

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