Hi JC Harroway and welcome to HJ! We’re so excited to chat with you about your new release, Bound to You!
Hi every one, thanks for having me.
Tell us about the book with this fun little challenge using the title of the book:
Sometimes we are BOUND to our past, tethered by our pain and remembered fear. Monroe and Hudson must re-examine the professional, physical and emotional ties binding them to find a way beyond the fears preventing them from finding lasting love with each other.
What’s your favorite line(s) from the book?:
‘It’s as if it’s our last night of human existence—we’re both utterly exhausted but aware that every second counts.’
I love the tension and emotion depicted in this line—it covey’s the desperation of the characters at a crucial moment where that must choose to brave and risk it all or continue to guard their hearts.
Please tell us a little about the characters in your book. What first attracts your Hero to the Heroine and vice versa?
Monroe and Hudson are business partners (together with their third partner and Monroe’s ex-husband, Sterling). They also have some secret personal history—a steamy one night stand after Monroe’s divorce was finalised. But they vowed they’d never go there again—they both value their business too much. But never is an awfully long time, especially when a typhoon traps them in Hudson’s Tokyo office for the night!
When you sat down to start this book, what was the biggest challenge you faced? What were you most excited about?
As this is the first book in a duet involving three business partners—Hudson, Sterling and Monroe, I decided that two of them, Sterling and Monroe should be exes and two of them were about to embark on a steamy love affair, Hudson and Monroe. It’s not a love triangle as such—Monroe and Sterling are amicably divorced—but it lends itself beautifully to some juicy emotional entanglements. Corralling three people who are emotionally and professionally invested in each other was the biggest challenge for me in writing Bound to You. But it was also great fun!
What, in your mind, makes this book stand out?
This book, and the second in the Billionaire Bedmates Series is classic DARE. A tortured billionaire hero with everything but love, a driven, successful heroine who wants it all and won’t compromise and glamorous international settings and jet-set lifestyles.
The First Kiss…
She reaches for my glass, slowly takes it from my hand and finishes the last swallow. ‘I think we’d be foolish not to take advantage of the storm and the one bed.’ She places the glass on the table and touches her index finger to one of my shirt buttons, leaving it there to linger.
The air grows stifling with pheromones. I sit stock-still. Waiting. Weighing the pros and cons. But this couldn’t be more risk-free. We work, physically and professionally. We’re too similar to allow sex to disrupt the good thing we have. Fuck, I just want her, and can’t come up with a single convincing reason why I shouldn’t have her.
Monroe extends her hand to my shoulder as if stroking away an imaginary crease from my shirt. Her touch is considered but bold. Exactly the way I know she makes her business decisions. It’s a serious turn-on.
Even as my fingers twitch to reach for her, habit forces me to hesitate. I don’t want to cock-block myself, but we stopped after one time for a reason. I rarely sleep with a woman more than once. Monroe knows what a dead end I am dating-wise, and she’s always wanted more than I offer.
‘Stop overthinking it.’ She slides closer, her fingernails tracing a pattern through my shirt until my skin feels as if it’s been lashed by the needles of rain.
She dips her face close and runs her lips along my jaw. I suck in a breath; I’m not made of stone. Still I hold off, the pressure building. The tip of her tongue touches the skin below my ear and I close my eyes, enjoying the sensation, the anticipation, the way I’ve learned to enjoy all of life’s good things. And Monroe like top-class liquor or luxury cars, is something to be savoured slowly.
The fight in me dwindles. Tomorrow a new day will dawn. The storm will have washed away today. We can go on as if it never happened.
‘Dove…’ A warning or encouragement? I pull her onto my lap so she’s straddling me. Her skirt bunches up her spread thighs, revealing the tops of lacy black stockings. I fist the fabric of her skirt at her hips and search her aroused stare while my heart thuds in time with the waves of rain smacking the glass.
‘Come on, Black, it’s just one more night,’ she whispers seductively. ‘A wild and stormy night. I’ll even let you be on top.’ She bites her bottom lip, subtly thrusts her breasts in my direction a fraction more and I give up any remaining shred of opposition.
I don’t need convincing to re-explore our chemistry in this opportunity delivered by the weather gods.
‘You don’t have to seduce me, sweetheart. I’m all in.’ I’m rock-hard, struggling to think beyond the demands of my dick.
Her eyes sparkle with challenge. ‘Good. But just remember whose excellent idea this was.’ Her fingers glide through my hair at my nape and I drop my head back, looking up at her.
I want to argue the point. To declare that a part of me hasn’t stopped thinking about her this way since the last time. But I’m strung too taut with lust.
Now I’ve committed, my pulse flies with panic—we’ve already wasted two hours playing stupid poker. How much time do we have until dawn and can I legitimately keep her awake all night?
‘Oh, fuck it.’ I crush her to my chest and taste her mouth. A mouth which, in my brutally honest moments, I’ve fantasised about a million times.
She whimpers. Laughs. Groans.
Her lips are soft and plump, her kiss just as I remember. Her arms lock around my shoulders and she shunts her hips forward to the ominous sound of ripping fabric. But Monroe doesn’t seem to care about her skirt, only about kissing me back with equal desperation.
Her fingers tangle in my hair, tugging. Her tongue meets mine thrust for thrust. I buck my hips up from the sofa, seeking fiery, hot friction between her legs.
She pulls away, panting. Her eyes are ablaze with arousal that I realise has been simmering there since we platonically embraced this morning.
If your book was optioned for a movie, what scene would you use for the audition of the main characters and why?
The following scene, told from Monroe’s point of view, follows an interview with some prospective clients. It’s their first disagreement after they crossed the line and slept together, and it’s a perfect scene to test out the chemistry of Monroe and Hudson as the characters have gone from friends and colleagues to lovers to wary business partners within a short space of time. There is so much emotion in this scene, particularly what they leave unsaid.
‘I like them. A lot.’ I return to the conference table and gather their company portfolio together for something to do with my hands. ‘What did you think?’
I wish I didn’t need to ask.
He retreats behind his desk, unbuttoning his jacket and hanging it over the back of his chair. ‘Mmm…I think their turnover projections made no sense. That makes me wonder what they’re trying to hide.’
I knew his heart wasn’t in it. My energy drains away, my body dragging. ‘Seriously… Don’t you think you’re being a little paranoid? Why would they waste our time like that? We’re not naïve amateurs. They’d know we’ll do due diligence before making a decision to invest. I think we could squeeze them a little on the equity stake too, and the growth potential is obvious.’
He watches me in silence, his expression blank. My ire grows, heat rising like mercury in a thermometer.
I push on with my argument. ‘I respected their determined passion. Loved that it’s a family business. This is exactly how I want to spend my investment dollar, because with sufficient funding they’ll grow as a company and grow together as a family.’
Just like we did after Mum died. We might have lost her guiding light, but we still had a part of her to give us a common cause. I believe my brothers and sisters needed that as much as I did after her sudden death. Continuing her work strengthened us.
Hudson’s eyes narrow, razor-sharp. ‘You know I’m not sentimental in my business approach. The risks need to be stacked in our favour or there’s no point investing, in my opinion.’
I snort. No one could accuse Hudson of sentimentality. But I bristle at his inference. ‘I’m not being sentimental. Allowing my emotional intelligence into my decision-making process is what gets me out of bed in the morning, what makes me love my work. I go with my gut. There’s nothing wrong with that. And you’re usually the person taking the biggest, ballsiest risks.’
I can’t help but think he’s being more bullish and uncommunicative than usual. What’s changed?
‘There’s nothing wrong with trusting your gut, but I prefer to put my faith in the figures.’ His mouth tightens with obstinacy. ‘Families argue. Become dysfunctional. Grow estranged. I’m not interested in watching that kind of dynamic sabotage what, as you point out, could otherwise be a highly profitable business venture for Bold.’
I understand his viewpoint, given his childhood. He’d once hinted at the number of foster homes he’d bounced between growing up—Sterling and I had been horrified and frankly a little speechless. But now his hesitance forces me to read between the lines. Would this perfectly standard business discussion, this minor difference of opinion, have mattered as much yesterday? Before we introduced sex into the mix?
I soften my tone in deference to his past experiences. ‘Many family-run businesses are hugely successful. Family loyalty can be their strength. This one has the clear and impressive management structure we normally look for.’
From where I’m standing, Hudson is being unreasonably prejudiced. It’s as if he’s determined to restate his commitment avoidance for absolute clarity and he’s using his reluctance to invest in Kunosu to make his point.
I stare him down, my pulse leaping. ‘Is there something you’re leaving unsaid? Are we just talking about business, or is there some hidden meaning I’m supposed to decipher? I’d rather you just spit it out. You’re acting weird.’
He rolls up his shirt sleeves and loosens his tie as he paces towards me with barely leashed purpose.
‘Weird?’ His face is a cool mask.
‘Yes.’ I fist my hand on my hip. ‘All morning you’ve been unusually quiet. Hesitant. Withdrawn. Is there something you want to get off your chest? About the sex, perhaps?’
He steps closer. I’m hit with the warmth from his body and his familiar scent. My mind helpfully provides images of him in the shower: on his knees, his mouth between my legs, and then later thrusting into me where I was pressed against the tiles.
‘Nope.’ His sensual lips emphasise the ‘p’, drawing my attention to his mouth and the hundred kisses we shared last night. ‘I’m perfectly happy with the sex.’
I look away. ‘Good.’
I’m determined not to think about it. As great as it was, look where it’s brought us. ‘Because for a minute during that meeting it felt as if you were reminding me you’re a lone wolf.’ I snort. ‘I get that, believe me.’
Were we naïve to think we could continue as if it had never happened?
‘Just because I’m thorough about the numbers adding up?’ Mild irritation narrows his eyes but he smiles. The effect is so Hudson, who does whatever the hell he wants. ‘That’s just good business. The reason you and Sterling came to me in the first place when you wanted a partner.’ His inflexible stare shifts over my face.
He’s right. We’d used the trust fund Sterling inherited when he turned twenty-one and my nest egg from the dividends of my shares in Mum’s business to make our first few investments. We were young, enthusiastic and smart enough to see the benefits of a partnership with a man making a name for himself.
‘I agree, and if that’s all this is about then we have no quarrel.’ It’s usually easy to laugh off his arrogance or calmly fight my own corner. I’m a sole woman in partnership with two big dogs. But, today, his attitude is grating on my nerves. It seems like a front to something deeper.
And, despite what he’s just said, the only thing that’s changed is the sex. It’s as if, having given in to our chemistry last night, he’s determined to retreat to a place of comfort and safety, even if it’s professional caution.
My stomach pinches with regret. Things are awkward now, muddy and murky. I feel as if I need to check myself before challenging him in business. I wonder if his motives around the investment are purely profit-driven, which normally I wouldn’t question.
His decision-making process invariably boils down to maximum growth potential for his equity share. It’s what makes him so successful. But sometimes I wonder if he misses the human angle. The potential in people.
‘I just don’t want us to write off investing in any company that happens to be family run. My family is a good example of how to work together successfully.’ I swallow hard, defensive. I’m proud of us. ‘Claire and Jeremy run the day to day side of things and Elliot, Brie and I are silent shareholders. We all manage to act in the best interests of the company our mother loved. Not everything is about the bottom line.’
I’m not expecting the wobble in my voice. I blame fatigue and the constant ache of missing my mum. She kept our family together, was both a wise and sympathetic shoulder to cry on and our biggest advocate. I tilt up my chin and hold his stare to hide my vulnerabilities from the man I’ve just shared an intense night with. Am I surprised he won’t believe that sometimes the best things come out of relationships between people who share a common goal? I’ve known him for five years. He’s always lived alone. He holidays alone. He’s never once accepted an invitation to spend Christmas with Sterling or me.
Acknowledging my part in ruining what was yesterday a perfectly harmonious business partnership, I take a deep breath and back down. ‘I think I need some fresh air. We’ve been cooped up in here for too long.’ I tuck my laptop into my bag and offer my most Zen-like smile. ‘Let’s park this discussion until we can patch in Sterling for his input.’
At the mention of our third partner, the room falls into an uncomfortable silence. I shove my arms into my coat, cursing my timing at mentioning my ex’s name. Bringing him up—a reminder that any investment over seven figures into a single company requires unanimous sign-off by all three of us—feels as though I invited him into the bedroom last night.
‘Yes.’ His tone is brittle. ‘Thank goodness there are three of us.’ His eyes glitter, as if he’s no longer talking about business.
If your hero had a sexy-times play list, what song(s) would have to be on it?
- Call Out My Name, The Weekend
- Hotter than Hell, Dua Lipa
- At Last, Etta James
- Lovely, Billie Eilish with Khalid
- All that Matters, Justin Bieber
What do you want people to take away from reading this book?
I hope readers find this story sexy romantic escapism… I loved writing the complexities of their relationship with each other and with their third business partner and Monroe’s ex-husband, Sterling. And of course, Sterling has his own chance at love in the sequel, Tempting the Enemy, out in May 2021
What are you currently working on? What are your up-coming releases?
With the sad demise of DARE—still sobbing—Bound to You and Tempting the Enemy will be my last two titles for the line. But… I’m currently working on more sexy contemporary stories for release later in 2021—slightly different but still packed full of all the passion and romance and heartache I love to write. Check out my website for more announcements, or follow me on social media.
Thanks for blogging at HJ!
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Excerpt from Bound to You:
MONROE’S EYES ARE wide with appreciation as she moves around my living space, making her way to the floor-to-ceiling windows to look out at my view. I remove my jacket and tie and try to pretend that I’m comfortable having her in my penthouse apartment, just as I pretended to be comfortable talking about my past.
In truth, no woman has ever been here before.
‘It’s a beautiful neighbourhood. I like your view,’ she says about the landscaped gardens below and the distant vista of Tokyo’s skyline.
‘Thank you. To be honest, I don’t spend that much time here. The office is so convenient and comfortable.’ And often full of people.
Yeah, sometimes the echo from these walls is too harsh.
A reminder that I’m alone. Perhaps that’s why I invited Monroe. Her gentle prying, her own revelations about her mum… It opened up not only our contrasts, but also wounds I’d rather not pick at.
Having her in Tokyo this week without Sterling has been an epiphany. I never realised how much his presence prevents me from getting to know her on a deeper level—not through any possessiveness on his part, but because he already knows these things about her.
It’s a double-edged sword. The more time we spend together, the more I enjoy her company. But it emphasises my usual solitary existence. Is that the reason I recounted my childhood?
I try to block out those years. The memories bring inadequacy, as if I’m only good enough to be abandoned. Rubbish to be thrown away time after time. Even when the financial evidence, my string of assets and my net worth says otherwise, remembering my past makes me question my value.
That’s why I avoid relationships. Because the closeness they bring carries expectations of emotional intimacy. Sharing and confiding. I don’t want to be ripped open for all my fears to spill out in an ugly mess.
‘Would you like a drink? I have more of that pink champagne if you’re interested.’ I focus on the simmering arousal I feel when Monroe is close. I need to concentrate on the physical aspects of our relationship. God knows, they’re absorbing enough.
I can keep the rest at bay for a few more days. Then, with this fling over, I’ll return to normal. Focus on things I can control—my simple one-night stands and work. Without this unsettling feeling rumbling away inside me like a volcano.
‘Yes please.’ She takes off her coat and wanders around in her stockinged feet, appraising the sparse, clean and open space. I cast my eyes around, viewing its lack of homeliness as if through her eyes. Her house in London is warm and inviting. Filled with eclectic furniture, from sleekly modern to antiques she’s inherited from her grandparents. Chic, soft furnishings and colourful rugs.
And personal touches are scattered everywhere—family photos of her hordes of nieces and nephews; neat rows of Mason jars lining the kitchen shelves filled with the dry goods and whole grains she likes to cook with; and the tiny yoga studio she’s created in the conservatory, where the morning sun streams in to bathe an array of healthy houseplants.
My place couldn’t be more different. Low, minimalistic wooden furniture, bamboo flooring and lots of natural light. The only clutter comes from a stunning bonsai tree I was gifted by a business associate when I first arrived, as well as two photo frames.
‘I know—it’s far from homely. But I’m the only person who spends time here.’ I bought the Azabu apartment three years ago. The hillside residential area favoured by international executives and diplomats has a cosmopolitan, village vibe. A kind of suburban oasis in the heart of the city. The building boasts a highly useful bilingual concierge and my apartment has a private rooftop garden with stunning views of Tokyo.
She looks over her shoulder and regards me with that curiosity I’m beginning to dread. ‘I thought it would be a bit more…lavish, I guess.’
‘Like a gold-plated toilet seat and walls full of Pollack originals?’ I grin, peeling the foil from the bottle of champagne.
She laughs. ‘No, I guess that’s not you.’
‘I’m rarely here. You know me, Dove. I live to work.’
‘Don’t you ever get lonely?’ Her back is to me, her voice carrying a faraway wistfulness that pokes at me harder than if she’d hurled the words like an accusation. Because it tells me she too feels lonely sometimes, despite her big family. She wants more than this life of financial wealth and work. She wants a lasting relationship, motherhood, things she deserves and will excel at.
The pop of the cork snaps the tense atmosphere. ‘Not really.’ I lie easily, because I’ve told myself the same untruth a thousand times. The need for other people brings out feelings of rejection. I try to keep that shit locked away.
Monroe looks slightly dejected, but she recovers quickly. ‘Who are these gorgeous scamps?’ She holds up one of the framed photos of a group of boys between the ages of nine and fifteen. The other photo is of a younger Sterling, me and Monroe, wearing huge matching, self-congratulatory grins on the day BLD Global Ventures joined the three-comma club.
‘Those are Blackhearts,’ I say, placing two glasses of chilled champagne on the table and fighting the strange disquiet that’s been riding me since we left the office. Talking about the charity I started for foster children won’t improve my mood. But, now I’ve brought her here on some strange impulse, I’ll have to face the consequences.
‘Blackhearts.’ She frowns in concentration. ‘Your charity?’
I nod, loosening my cuffs and rolling up my shirtsleeves, trying not to see my own face among the smiling boys in the picture. ‘Yes. Those are some local boys.’
I take a slug of champagne, restless now she’s looking at me with new interest, as if I’m a previously undiscovered beetle she can catch and observe at her leisure.
Excerpts. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.
When a typhoon traps competitive business partners Monroe and Hudson in Hudson’s Tokyo office, they risk everything…for pleasure! Don’t miss this first scorching installment of bestselling author JC Harroway’s Billionaire Bedmates duet!
Lone wolf billionaire Hudson Black is forbidden fruit—and I’ve already taken a bite! After our unforgettable one-night stand years ago, we went back to business as usual. We care too much about the company we run with my ex-husband—Hudson’s best friend—to let wickedly hot sex interfere with the bottom line.
But when Typhoon Kano traps us in Hudson’s high-rise Tokyo office, the heat between us is as potent as the storm outside. Soon things go from intense to incendiary! Just one wild night—that’s all I want. So why can’t I stop shuddering at his touch, gazing into his dark eyes, craving his body…
After growing up in the foster system, Hudson will never be bound to anyone. And after my failed marriage, I’m not rushing to the altar. But I still want it all—the career, the family, the love of my life. Hudson and I are both risk takers, in work and in bed. Can we trust each other enough to risk our hearts?
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Meet the Author:
Lifelong romance addict J.C. Harroway lives in New Zealand. Writing feeds her very real obsession with happy endings and the endorphin rush they create. You can follow her at www.jcharroway.com www.facebook.com/jcharroway, www.instagram.com/jcharroway and https://twitter.com/jcharroway
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