Hi Joss and welcome to HJ! We’re so excited to chat with you about your new release, How to Undo The proud Billionaire!
Hello and happy new year!
To start off, can you please tell us a little bit about this book?:
This is my first book for Harlequin Presents and it’s such a thrill for me to write about my home country, South Africa. The book is set in Cape Town and on a stunning, six-star safari lodge, the likes of which I can not afford. *sob*
Bri has run away from her family in Johannesburg and is working odd jobs while trying to establish a career as a floral designer.
Radd, a famous Tempest-Vane, is a billionaire businessman, trying to restore his family’s good name and the group of companies his father decimated when he took over as CEO. He is negotiating a deal to purchase a diamond mine his family once owned, but the seller had thrown in a couple of curveballs, mostly centered around giving his spoiled daughter the best wedding money can buy. He owns the best hotel in the country, and the pre-wedding celebrations are to be held at Kagiso Lodge, his safari lodge. But he’s lost his floral designer and needs one, stat!
Brin is the only one he can find at short notice…
Brin travels to Kagiso with Radd and their chemistry is instantaneous and combustible. Chemistry he can handle, but Radd, reserved and proud, finds himself opening up to Brinley.
And that is completely unacceptable!
Please share your favorite lines or quote(s) from this book:
When Brinn needs to move into Radd’s private villa. Love my alpha but so damned decent hero!
He still looked relaxed and worse, amused.
“You are so damn annoying.” Brin pushed her curls back off her face and cupped her hand behind her neck, feeling out of her depth and a little emotional. God, at times like these she wished she were more like Kerry, sophisticated and cool, able to give as good as she got.
People like Radd and her sister could run rings around her without moving at all.
The amusement faded from Radd’s eyes and his expression turned serious. “You’re seriously upset about this.”
Well, yes. She didn’t like feeling as though she was the ditsy hen and he the sly fox.
Radd sat up straight, leaned forward and placed his hand on her knee. “Look at me, Brinley.” Radd waited for her to meet his eyes before speaking again. “I don’t want you to leave Kagiso, not yet. And yes, we need your room and a solution is for you to move in with me. But that’s all I’m asking you to do.”
“But—…” Brin waved a hand between them, “—…you know.”
“Do I want to sleep with you? Hell, yes. Does your moving into my place guarantee that’s going to happen? Hell, no.” Radd tapped his finger on her knee when her eyes slid away. “Keep looking at me, Brinley. You’re in control here, you’re calling the shots. Would I like to see, taste and have you? Sure, I would. You’re a gorgeous woman and making love to you would be a privilege. But that’s your decision, always. If you’re not interested or not ready, I get it, and I’ll either sleep on the couch or in the hammock on the verandah.”
Radd looked annoyed at her questioning his motives. “I’m hard-assed and demanding., I’m abrupt and reticent, but I don’t force, coerce or bully women into sleeping with me.” Radd ran his fingers through his hair. “But if you don’t feel comfortable, if you don’t trust me enough, then I’ll make a call and hire a plane to get you home by nightfall.”
If he’d tried to persuade her, if he’d brushed off her concerns or dismissed them out of hand, then Brin would’ve takening him up on his offer to get her home, but because he did neither, because she instinctively trusted his integrity, she glanced down and stroked her finger over the raised veins in his broad, masculine hand.
“You must think I am desperately naiïve and old- fashioned,.” Brin quietly commented.
Radd took a moment to answer her. “I think you are refreshing and out of the ordinary. I don’t often invite people to share my personal space, Brinley. Neither do I talk about my past, but I like talking to you., I like you. And if all I can get is your company, then I’ll take it.”
Was he being sarcastic? Was he just saying that to get his own way? To manipulate her into doing what he wanted her to do?
Brin looked into his eyes, steady and strong, and the honesty reflected in those inky blue depths reassured her. She allowed her suspicions to drain away. She believed him but, more than that, she trusted him. Trusted him to keep his word, to not push her, to respect her boundaries.
Boundaries that were, let’s be honest, not that solid, barriers that could easily be decimated.
“You’ll sleep on the couch or in the hammock?”
“I will.” Then Radd smiled and her heart flipped over. “Unless you invite me to share my bed.”
Radd stood up abruptly and held out his hand for her to take. “I’ll get Chef to deliver our dinner, and your luggage, to my villa. We can eat on the deck, it overlooks a watering hole.”
He was too self-confident by half, a little presumptuous and a lot arrogant, but that didn’t stop Brin from sliding her hand into his and allowing him to lead her out of the dining room.
What inspired this book?
Oh, there are so many. Cape Town is a beautiful city and The Vane (Radd and Digby’s hotel) has the best view in the city of Table Mountain, which is often mentioned in the book. I’m a bush baby and have spent a LOT of time in game reserves looking at wild animals, unfortunately in tents and not in luxury villas. 😀 But I’ve experienced the African bush in torrential rainstorms and drought, in every season and my love affair with the wild places of Africa grows only deeper the older I get. Please visit my Pininterest page for the images that inspire me! https://za.pinterest.com/josswoodbooks/how-to-undo-the-proud-billionaire/
How did you ‘get to know’ your main characters? Did they ever surprise you?
They always surprise me, every single time.
I don’,t generally, do a detailed character sketch. Before I start writing, I have a vague outline of who they are and that’s stopping them from falling in love.
In my first draft, I let them tell me who they are, what they want, and what they intend to do to get to where they want to be. They frequently do their own thing and I go along for the ride. Sometimes I let them have their own way, sometimes I have to pull them back into line.
What was your favorite scene to write?
I adored writing the scenes in the Treehouse, it’s a simply magical place. (Even if I do say so myself.)
All she could see was rocks. Confused, Brinley exited the vehicle at the base of a massive set of boulders towering above her. Pulling her overnight bag over her shoulder, she followed Radd as he stepped onto a walkway made of anchored wooden planks climbing that climbed in a zigzag pattern up the rocks. Radd easily carried a huge picnic basket and his own small rucksack. A two-way radio was tucked into the back pocket of his cargo shorts and he had a rifle slung over his shoulder. .
Brin turned the corner and looked across the walkway spanning two boulders, and her mouth dropped open. To the left was a rolling carpet of open savanna, dotted by the occasional tree. To the right were more boulders, some of which had tree roots clinging to their mottled surface. Stopping, she pushed her fist into her sternum and looked at the structure in front of her, sophisticated and simple.
At its core, The Treehouse was a wooden deck, encircled with a wire- and- wood railing, thirty feet off the ground. A reed roof covered half of the area and beneath it was an enormous bed dressed in white linen, piled high with pillows and surrounded by a heavy mosquito net, sumptuous and sexy and sensual.
A small table sat in one corner of the deck overlooking the rolling savanna. Ih and in the other corner sat a pile of thick, huge cushions, suitable for a sultan’s tent. Numerous old-fashioned lamps were placed at strategic intervals along the outside of the deck, providing light when night fell.
Man, it was romantic. All that was missing was an icy bottle of champagne in a silver bucket and blood-red rose petals.
Brin followed Radd across the walkway onto the main deck and watched as he set the picnic basket down next to the small table. He tossed his rucksack in the general direction of the bed and gripped the railing, shoving his sunglasses onto the top of his head. He scanned the bushveld, and Brin saw the tension ease in his shoulders and the hard line of his jaw soften.
He loved every inch of Kagiso, but this place obviously held a special place in his heart.
What was the most difficult scene to write?
I always find beginnings hard to write, I always get stage fright and constantly wonder why I’m not living in the country raising llamas.
Would you say this book showcases your writing style or is it a departure for you?
This book for Harlequin Presents is more emotionally intense than my Desire books, which tend to be a little more lighthearted and fun. I cried while writing this book and I sobbed when I wrote the second in this series. (Digby’s book, How to Tame the Wild Billionaire.)
What do you want people to take away from reading this book?
I really hope people understand my love for my country and its awesome, outgoing, lovely people. Africa is an awesome continent and South Africa beautiful. This is where my heart is…
What are you currently working on? What other releases do you have planned?
I’m actually working on my third book in the South Africa’s Scandalous Billionaires series, this time I’m exploring South Africa’s rich wine making traditions and areas.
Thanks for blogging at HJ!
Giveaway: I’m giving away five ebook copies of How to Undo The Proud Billionaire.
To enter Giveaway: Please complete the Rafflecopter form and Post a comment to this Q: Where are your favorite non-US settings for books? Does the setting of a book impact your choice to buy it or its all about the characters?
Excerpt from How to Undo The proud Billionaire:
Still in The Treehouse….
After a delicious dinner, and a conversation filled with laughter, Brin sighed. It was, almost, a perfect evening, but she wanted more. She wanted a night she’d always remember in crystal clear detail, a wonderful memory to give her comfort when she returned to Cape Town and a Radd-free life.
Because a couple of days did not a relationship make.
But it was one thing to make the mental shift to decide to have sex, but asking for one night, a step out of time, was something completely different.
Seriously, Brin thought as she stared at Radd’s gorgeous profile in the romantic light of the oil lamps, why caouldn’t he read myher mind? It would be so much easier.
But that was his point, wasn’t it? He wanted her to make the first move, to take the initiative because then she could never accuse him of pressuring her. But the fear of rejection, something she’d battled with her entire life, kept the words locked firmly between her teeth. Brin tipped her head back to look at the stars, crystals hanging in a pure black sky. It was so quiet, yet, at the same time, it wasn’t. She was used to the sound of vehicles, the hum of their noisy fridge, barking dogs, wind in the tree outside her window. The noise of the bushveld was unlike anything she’d experienced, a dichotomy of silence and noise, both at the same time.
It was the sound of the earth and its creatures sighing, sleeping, dreaming. Even if nothing happened between her and Radd tonight—and she hoped to find the courage soon to ensure it would—it was almost enough just to sit under the low- hanging sky and listen to the sounds of the African night.
She heard the rumble, a displacement of air and, because she happened to be looking at Radd at the time, she saw his attention sharpen, his body tensing.
Brin leaned forward and, needing a connection, placed her hand on his knee. “What? Is everything okay?”
A small smile touched Radd’s face and he held up his index finger in a silent request for her to wait. Brin looked around anxiously.
“Shh, relax. Just listen.” Radd slid his fingers between hers, gently squeezing. Brin immediately relaxed;: he’d protect her, she was safe.
Scooting closer to him, Brin placed her temple on the ball of his shoulder, her thigh aligning with his. Releasing her hand, Radd placed his arm around her back, his hand curving over her hip. His touch felt right and it felt real. I, if she lifted her head, her mouth would meet his…
A deep sound rumbled through the air, sounding as if it were pulled from the center of the earth and raising the hair on Brin’s arms and the back of her neck. It smacked her soul, the deep roar settling in the pockets of her heart and, lungs, and twisting her stomach inside out.
“That’s a big boy,.” Radd murmured, his voice lazy.
“Lion?” Brin asked, though she knew it couldn’t be anything else.
How could he sound so relaxed, like he’d just heard the hooting of an owl or the backfiring of a car? “And he’s how close?” Brin demanded, her voice a little shaky.
“A couple of kilometers, at least.” Brin felt rather than heard Radd’s amusement. “And might I remind you that we are thirty feet in the air, and lions can’t jump that high?”
He was laughing at her, but his amusement wasn’t disparaging or patronizing; it was but gentle. And kind.
“Feel free to climb into my lap if you feel scared.”
It was an offer she couldn’t refuse, a chance she had to take. “Okay.”
She felt the muscles in his arms and thigh contract, heard his swift intake of breath. Brin wasn’t sure how many minutes, or seconds or years, passed, but then Radd’s hand touched her jaw, turning and tipping her face up. His eyes were the color of the sky, his scent as earthy and primal as the African night.
“I’m going to ask this once… Aare you sure?”
And she was. She wanted one night, a perfect night. A night with no expectations but only pleasure, hours of hot hands and wet mouths and for them to pretend that they owned the night.
Radd half turned, and Brin felt his hands on her waist, easily lifting her so that she straddled his thighs. She knew that he was trying to be gentle, but gentle didn’t suit this environment or what she wanted. She wanted primal, sensual, hot.
Radd’s arms tightened around her bottom and lower back. His eyes dropped to her mouth and his fingers tattooed their way up her spine to clasp the back of her head, to pull ithers down. Without a word, his mouth slanted over hers and his tongue slid past his teeth. A hot ribbon of lust rippled from her mouth to her breasts, to that secret, dark place at the entrance of her womb. Radd pushed his hand up and under her clothes to learn the shape and feel of her breast. Brin whimpered, twisting Radd’s linen shirt in her hand. Nothing mattered but his mouth and his hand and the stone- hard length of him pressed between her thighs.
It wasn’t supposed to be this wild, this hot, this quickly. She wasn’t experienced, true, but this felt bigger, deeper, darker. Brin lifted her fingers to his jaw and nipped, her tongue making tiny forays into his mouth. She felt Radd’s hand slide under her top to unhook her bra and then, as his thumbs slid across her nipples, all hell broke loose.
And Brin welcomed the storm.
Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.
Hosting South Africa’s wedding of the year at his exclusive safari lodge is Radd Tempest-Vane’s ticket to restoring his family’s empire. As long as he finds a new florist, fast! Brinley Riddell is the perfect candidate. She’s also an immediate distraction.
For Brin, this lucrative job is her chance to be free of the family who never thought her good enough. Radd may be proud and strictly off-limits, but he’s the sexiest man she’s ever met! Surely one impossibly steamy encounter won’t upend their simple business deal…
Meet the Author:
Joss Wood loves books and travelling— especially to the wild places of Southern Africa and, well, anywhere. She’s a wife, a mom and slave to two cats and a dog the size of a small cow. After a career in local economic development, she now writes full time. Joss is a member of the RWA (Romance Writers of America) and ROSA (Romance Writers of South Africa.)
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