Hi Robin and welcome to HJ! We’re so excited to chat with you about your new release, Baby Surprise For The Doctor Prince!
So glad to be here again, Sara – thanks for having me!
Please summarize the book for the readers here:
This book is part of a duet with Amy Ruttan called ‘Royal Spring Babies’. My heroine, Aubrey, came to Venice both to support her pregnant friend, Shay, as they take jobs there, and because she and her late mother, who was an architectural preservationist, donated money to restore a fresco there. After meeting Shay’s baby’s father, Aubrey couldn’t resist going out with his brother, Enzo, and sparks fly, resulting in a delicious night together before she leaves for a two month nursing job in Rome. When she returns to Venice for another two months working there, she’s shocked to see that Enzo Affini is not only a doctor, he’s her boss!
Despite not being able to forget their amazing night together,Enzo is none too happy that Aubrey has shown up to work in his clinic. He’s already suspicious of his new sister-in-law, wondering if she knew about the stipulation in the trust that would give his brother and him possession of properties held in trust if they married and produced a child before age 35. Does Aubrey know, too? Is she another woman looking to snag a doctor who’s also Italian royalty? Not that it matters, since the Affini men are notoriously terrible husbands, which is why he’s never going to marry and ruin a woman’s life. Enzo tries to focus on his most urgent goal – getting back the house that’s been in his late mother’s family for hundreds of years before his rotten father sold it out from under him, but finds working with Aubrey a serious distraction! Aubrey wants to help, and as he gets to know her and see the genuine, caring, beautiful woman she is, he comes to wish he could be a different kind of man. Wishes he could offer her a forever-after, but he knows he’d only break her heart like his father and grandfather broke the hearts of Enzo’s mother and grandmother. He decides he must leave Venice for a few weeks to ensure he doesn’t weaken in his resolve, and protect Aubrey from him.
Deeply hurt that Enzo left without a word, she decides she must leave Venice, too, going back home to the US. Then finds out that, incredibly, she’s pregnant from their very first night together months ago! Should she tell him, since he obviously doesn’t love her? She decides that, for the baby’s sake, she must. After much soul-searching, both Aubrey and Enzo realize they must put their pasts behind them and create a new future together with their child.
What’s your favorite line(s) from the book?:
Another emotion in those eyes. Trust. So clear and real, it brought a thick lump to his throat. Listening to her words, looking into her eyes as he held her close, made him finally know.
He’d never be like his father.
When you sat down to start this book, what was the biggest challenge you faced? What were you most excited about?
I was super excited to write a book set in Venice. I was lucky enough to get to go there a few years ago, and absolutely fell in love with it — a city like no other in the world. I enjoyed looking at photos from the trip, conjuring memories, and reading a few great books on the history of the city.
The biggest challenge was making the duet work! It’s the first one I’ve done, and while Amy Ruttan and I brainstormed the stories and sent our editor synopses, I foolishly didn’t understand that my book couldn’t start concurrent with Amy’s, which is book one of the duet. That mistake resulted in my having to hack off the first chapters of the book and rewriting it, and making it work with a new beginning turned out to be a whole lot harder than I realized it would be!
Please tell us a little about the characters in your book. As you wrote your protagonist was there anything about them that surprised you?
I didn’t realize at first that Aubrey was afraid of water, but in various scenes with Enzo that fear showed itself, and I realized it worked for the story in several ways. Aubrey’s mother was afraid of crowds, which kept her from doing things she would have liked to do. Aubrey is tough and her determination to not let her own fears handicap her in a similar way was part of the reason she decided to work in Venice. Living in a city built on water was a sure way to force herself to address that fear–with Enzo’s help, of course! 🙂
What have you learned about your own writing process/you as an author while writing this book?
I’ve realized that setting is really important to me as I write a book. The more I have a feel for it, and how it plays into the story, the more easily every aspect of it comes to life for me. Researching places I’m interested in is really a big part of the fun. 🙂
The First kiss…
“Do you have a curfew, or something?” she asked breathlessly, feeling nearly dragged behind hims as he held her hand tight. “Do you turn into a pumpkin at midnight? Oh, wait, that was Cinderella’s coach, not the prince.”
He turned his head to flash a grin at her that somehow managed to look impish and sexily seductive at the same time. “Guess you’ll have to stay with me until midnight to find out, hmm?”
Then, just as he’d practically started sprinting the second they got off the boat, he came to such an abrupt stop in the shadows beyond a streetlamp, she collided into him as he turned toward her.
“Gee, give a girl a warning, would you?” She pressed her free hand to his chest to separate them and found hard muscle there, and heat, and…and…what had she been about to say?
“Sorry. Here’s your warning. I’m going to kiss you now.”
And with that promise rumbling deeply from his throat, he pulled her flush against that warm, firm chest, lowered his head to hers, and did exactly that.
The kiss started out gentle, sweet, his mouth moving on hers in an unhurried exploration that stole her breath and sent her heart into slow, rhythmic thuds against her ribs. He tasted a little of the Chianti they’d shared, and of fantasies come to life again, and of him.
Did any scene have you crying or laughing (or blushing) while writing it?
“Mrs. Conway, why don’t you sit on the table here and show me where it hurts? Sir, you can sit in one of these chairs.”
“Right on the top of my head, that’s where it hurts! Bleeding too.” She held up a tissue with some specks of blood on it, waving it first at Aubrey, then Enzo, ‘What if I’ve been exposed to some terrible bird infection?”
Aubrey donned gloves and gently pushed the woman’s hair aside to find a small reddened indentation. “I can see this probably hurts. But I don’t think it’s too serious. Let me get some antiseptic to clean it with.”
“Not too serious? You’ll change your mind when I tell you the story.” The woman sat straighter and waved her hands. I’m minding my own business on a park bench in that big main square where the basilica is. Pigeons were walking around, and I pulled a little treat from my purse to give to one. Then this great, giant bird dive-bombs me from the sky and grabs the treat from the pigeon!’
Aubrey pulled the cotton and antiseptic from the cupboard, and, when she turned, saw Enzo’s eyes dancing and his lips obviously working to not smile at the dramatic recitation. Feeling her own mouth dangerously quiver, she quickly turned back to her patient to keep from looking at him. “And then? How did your head get pecked?”
“So I pull another treat from my purse, and the nasty black bird takes it, then scares me to death when he suddenly flies up, flapping his great wings in my face as he does. Lands there, right on my head! I shrieked, of course, and jumped up, and it pecked me. Hard! Why, I’m lucky it wasn’t my eye he put out.”
Aubrey glanced at Enzo. Fatal mistake, as his expression clearly showed he wanted to laugh, and a chuckle bubbled in her own chest when she saw how he was struggling.
She quickly turned to the woman’s husband, who looked more weary than worried. “Did you see what kind of bird it was?”
“Some black bird. Don’t know what kind, I’m not a bird man. Especially Italian birds.” He turned to his wife. ‘You brought it on yourself, you know. Who gives a pigeon mints to eat? The bird that pecked you was probably so shocked and ticked off, it felt it had a right to attack.”
“Well, I never!” The woman looked beyond insulted as she flung her hand toward her husband. “And this is the kind of support I get after giving him thirty years of my life!”
Oh, Lord. Aubrey held her breath. Dang it, she would have been fine if not for Eno’s unholy grin. She would.
If your book was optioned for a movie, what scene would you use for the audition of the main characters?
I think I’d use the scene where Enzo takes Aubrey out in his boat to a mostly deserted island far out in the lagoon for a picnic. They end up rescuing an oil-covered bird, and it not only shows the beauty and nature of the lagoon, it shows how Enzo is helping Aubrey overcome her fear of water as they grow closer.
“Poor bird!” Aubrey leaned over the edge of the boat toward the bird, obviously forgetting about being afraid of the water. “What can we do?”
“It’s not completely covered in the oil, so that’s good.” He glanced at her. Normally, when things like this happened, he’d get the bird on the boat and take it to one of his veterinary friends, but he knew from experience that sometimes the birds didn’t like that too well. He didn’t want to see Aubrey get splattered with the oil, or worse, pecked and injured, especially when they were on the water, which worried her.
“It won’t be healthy for long.”
“So you won’t freak out if i bring it on board and it flaps around? We’ll have to try to secure it with something.”
“The blanket will work.”
While she rummaged through the picnic bag, he got the medical bag he always kept with him in case there was an emergency, and snapped on the gloves. “If we do this, I can’t promise that you won’t get covered with oil, or even bitten.”
“I can handle both of those things. And I know a certain quack doctor who is very knowledgeable about bird bites and pecks.” Her eyes laughed into his. “But we just need to hold him tight, right?”
“Hopefully right. Tell me when you’re ready.”
He draped the blanket over her shoulders, then smoothed it down over her legs as much as possible, and was it his fault he had to linger on each of those spots as he did?
“What kind of man uses rescuing a bird as an excuse to fondle a woman?”
“A man who keeps trying not to touch you, but can’t help himself.”
The seductive look she sent back to him jabbed him right in the solar plexus, along with a few other notable places, and that thing that kept shimmering between them lit the air. This time it was Aubrey who leaning in for the kiss, and he was only too happy to meet her halfway.
Readers should read this book….
If you like a beautiful setting, interesting information about ancient architecture, surprise pregnancy, and how a person can learn that things they’ve always believed about themselves aren’t necessarily true, you’ll enjoy this book 🙂
What are you currently working on? What are your up-coming releases?
I’m currently in the 11th hour of revising my November release, The Spanish Duke’s Holiday Proposal. It’s part of a six-book continuity called Manhattan Mercy ER, but my book is set mostly in Spain.
Thanks for blogging at HJ!
Giveaway: I’ll be giving away two signed print copies of BABY SURPRISE FOR THE DOCTOR PRINCE, and two tote bags to two winners! I’m happy to ship Internationally.
To enter Giveaway: Please complete the Rafflecopter form and Post a comment to this Q: If you could travel to Italy, what would be the first place you’d want to visit, and why?
Excerpt from Baby Surprise For The Doctor Prince:
“ENZO WAS MORE than glad the Restore Venice Association meeting was about to start. That people were finally wandering off to find seats instead of asking him endless questions about the house that was no longer his, talking about how it was going to be ruined if he didn’t get it back, and grilling him on what he was going to do to save it.
He sat toward the back of the room, resisting the urge to slouch in his seat to become semi-invisible. And yes, that probably made him a coward. But since he had no real answers yet, having endless conversations about the house that represented the past seven hundred years of his mother’s family history, and his own, and how he had to keep it from going under the wrecking ball, made his gut churn.
He pulled the program from the pocket of his jacket and just as he was about to look at the meeting schedule, a flash of something bright blue or green in the aisle near him caught his eye. He looked up to see that the flash of color was a dress on what looked to be a very attractive body as she walked.
Who was she? He knew most of the people who attended these meetings and definitely would have remembered that body. The woman turned her head to smile at the person standing to let her sit next to him, and Enzo’s lungs froze in his chest.
What the hell was she doing here?
Her silky golden-brown hair skimmed her cheek as she sat, and a slender hand shoved it behind one ear as she dug into her purse for something, coming up with the same program he held in his hand.
He and Aubrey had managed to work together without fighting, or, worse, kissing, if he didn’t count that one near miss yesterday. But now the suspicions about her that had stayed on a low simmer—along with the sexual attraction between them—came bubbling into full boil. First she showed up at his clinic to work, and now she’d decided to come to an art and architecture meeting attended only by Venetians and academics from universities in other countries?
Tourists never came. Neither did many Italians from other areas, because they had their own preservation concerns. And yet here she was, and how was he to believe it was about anything other than her ingratiating herself into his life even more? Doubtless knowing all about his family’s problems and the house he loved that she happened to be currently living in.
Did she know he’d owned it before and had rented it out to the UWWHA as he’d planned its renovation? Know that his father had sold it out from under him, and it was about to be resold at a profit? Was renting it from the UWWHA part of her plan somehow?
Enzo’s blood ran cold. If Aubrey was trying to charmingly, spunkily wiggle her way into his life, did that mean Shay had done the same thing with his brother? Was there any way this could be another big coincidence?
Seemed incredibly unlikely, but suspicion without proof just festered, and Enzo had enough to worry about right then. So the only solution was to be brutally frank with Aubrey. To ask her some hard questions, and hopefully be able to figure out if she was being honest with him or not. Which might be very difficult, considering he’d had to consciously fight being attracted to her seeming sweetness and smarts and beauty every hour they’d worked together the past few days, but he had to give it a try.
Barely paying attention to the speakers and conversation, Enzo sat through the first half of the meeting trying to decide if he should tackle Aubrey during the break, or wait until it was over. Feeling on edge, he was still pondering that question during the break when the decision was made for him.
A flash of color had him turning from the coffee stand in the front hallway to see her marching right up to him, a militant expression on her beautiful face.
“Just so you know, I had no idea you’d be here today.”
“No?” The woman must be a mind reader. “Then why are you here?”
“Because I’m interested in Venice’s future. In the restoration of its buildings and artwork.”
“So you know nothing about my current situation.” He said it mockingly, and she frowned at his tone.
“What situation? Unless you’re referring to having to work with me, which you’ve made more than clear is something you’d rather not do.”
“I’ve seen you’re a woman who says what she thinks. So I’m just going to come right out and tell you what I’m thinking. Which is that it’s really bizarre that Shay shows up announcing she’s pregnant with Dante’s baby, and within days she’s married to my brother. Then you and I get together, and two months later you magically show up at my clinic to work.” He set his coffee down and folded his arms across his chest. “And now you claim to have an interest in the restoration of Venice’s buildings, which…shockingly…is my passion, too.”
She stared at him, an even deeper frown creasing her brow. “I’m not following.”
“Then let me be clearer.” He stepped closer, hoping to intimidate her and make her come clean. “What I’m saying is that I can’t help but wonder if you and Shay researched Dante and me, and decided two doctor princes would be a nice catch, then figured out how to weasel your way into our lives.”
“What?” Her mouth fell open in a gasp. “You have an ego the size of Mount Vesuvius, you know that? I’m not even going to dignify that accusation with an answer. You can believe what you want to believe. But if you think insulting me is going to get me to leave the clinic, you’ve got another think coming. I’m staying until my contract is over, so just deal with it. And you’re going to feel pretty ridiculous when you realize your fantasies of me wanting to trap you into something were all in your own small mind.”
She spun away and stalked off, and he stood there long seconds just watching that sexy behind of hers until she went through the doorway to the meeting room again.
He let out a long breath. Maybe his strategy had backfired this time. But if she and Shay weren’t what they seemed, he had to believe that, sooner or later, one of them would tip their hand and the truth would come out.
The president of the association spoke in English as he opened the second half of the meeting. The back of Enzo’s brain absently noted that there must be university guests from other countries for this portion of the presentation and discussion. Then his focus snapped big-time to the speaker when the next words out of the man’s mouth were a name.
What the…? He sat up straighter to watch her stand and make her way to the lectern, noticing that plenty of the men in the room seemed to be admiring her swaying walk as much as he had been earlier. Until he’d been shocked to see whose enticing body was wearing that dress.
“Two years ago, Ms. Henderson graciously adopted the renovation of the large fresco depicting angels and warriors in one of the churches at San Sebastiano. The twenty-five thousand dollars she donated have brought this art treasure back to life, and we encourage all of you to visit and admire it. In recognition of this gift, we present this plaque to show our appreciation.”
Applause greeted Aubrey as she accepted the plaque, then stood with the president as photos were snapped. If he’d been surprised before, this time Enzo could barely wrap his brain around what he was witnessing.
Aubrey had donated money to a restoration project in Venice? Two years ago? And not just a little money, but a very nice chunk—enough to completely pay for that project, which was one of so many beautiful old masterpieces in Venice that needed repairs.
Her smile seemed to light the whole room as she leaned toward the microphone, holding the plaque to her breasts. “Thank you. I appreciate this recognition, but it was our privilege to be able to adopt the fresco project. My late mother, Lydia Henderson, lived her life working to save old buildings from being demolished instead of renovated. She led numerous architectural review boards in Massachusetts and elsewhere in New England. During her illness, we decided to donate to this project because she was fascinated with the history of Venice and had always been drawn to images of angels and warriors. She often said that all of us had a chance to be both in our lives. I’m proud to say that she truly was an angel and a warrior, and I hope to live my life at least a little bit like she did.”
Even from the back of the room, Enzo could see her blinking back tears as she said one more thank you, then headed back to her seat. It seemed she’d taken only a few steps before her gaze lifted to his. Her eyes narrowed and her graceful gait seemed to falter for a moment before she turned her attention to finding her seat again.
Dio. What was he supposed to think now?
He stared at the back of her silky head and had no idea of the answer to that question. But one thing he did know?
He owed her an apology.
Obviously, she had good reason to be at the meeting that had nothing to do with him, and, yeah, she’d been right. He did feel ridiculous that he’d assumed otherwise.
Excerpts. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.
Their royal bundle of joy!
Two months after her breathtaking night with Prince Enzo Affini, nurse Aubrey Henderson arrives in Venice to discover he’s her new boss. And even more shocking? The news she’s carrying his royal baby!
Guarded doctor Enzo has long protected his legacy—and his heart. He’s determined not to trust his attraction to irresistible, spirited Aubrey. But as their baby grows, so, too, does their undeniable connection…and a longing for a happy-ever-after that neither can deny!
Meet the Author:
After completing a degree in journalism, working in advertising and mothering her kids, Robin Gianna had what she calls her Awakening. She decided she wanted to write the romance novels she’d loved since her teens. Now she enjoys pushing her characters toward their own happily-ever-afters. When she’s not writing, Robin’s life is filled with a happily messy kitchen, a needy garden, a wonderful husband, three great kids, a drooling bulldog and one grouchy Siamese cat.
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