Spotlight & Giveaway: Billionaire…Boss…Bridegroom? by Kate Hardy

Posted March 2nd, 2016 by in Blog, Spotlight / 35 comments

Today it is my pleasure to Welcome author Kate Hardy to HJ!
Spotlight&Giveaway

Hi Kate and welcome to HJ! We’re so excited to chat with you about your new release, Billionaire…Boss…Bridegroom?!

 
Thank you so much for having me here today to talk about the first in my new Romance duo, Billionaire…Boss…Bridegroom?
 

Tell us about the book with this fun little challenge using the title of the book:

Can I cheat totally and tell you about the book by song, instead? This is sung to the tune of Do-re-mi (and that’s important to the book…)
Billionaire-Boss….-BridegroomBella’s an artist you see
Hugh, he owns the company
But his fam’ly wants him to
Give up music for money…
She becomes his fake girlfriend
Then they kind of fall in love
He has to le-earn to trust
And it’s happy in the end!

 

What’s your favorite line(s) from the book?:

My favourite scene involves a dress made of curtains. (Did I warn you there’s a huge Sound of Music theme running through this?)

A-a-and…
Nothing fazes a Faraday girl. The mantra she shared with Grace echoed through her head. Wrong. This had definitely fazed her.
Then again, Hugh had asked her to play the part of his unsuitable girlfriend, Which was exactly how she felt right now – awkward and out of place, absolutely not fitting in. What would an unsuitable girl do when she was the centre of attention? The only thing Bella could think of was to draw even more attention to her gaffe and ham it up a little.
She walked over to the curtains and did a little curtsey. ‘I promise I didn’t make my dress from these,’ she said, gesturing to the curtains. ‘Because my name isn’t Maria and I’m fairly sure you’re the Moncrieffs and not the von Trapp family – right?’

 

Please tell us a little about the characters in your book. What first attracts your Hero to the Heroine and vice versa?

Hugh starts off by being a kind of modern knight in shining armour and rescuing my heroine and her sister. Bella’s attracted to him because he’s gorgeous and she wants to draw him – and then she finds out he’s her new boss! Hugh’s attracted to her personality because Bella’s lovely and bubbly (and a bit ditzy – but not as much as she thinks she is) but when he realises that she’s his new designer for the record company, it brings up all his barriers.

 

When you sat down to start this book, what was the biggest challenge you faced? What were you most excited about?

It’s the first part of a duo about two sisters who are total opposites but always have each other’s back. My big challenge was to make sure that their conflicts were different and that they didn’t run away with each other’s book 🙂

 

What, in your mind, makes this book stand out?

This book – for me it’s the banter between Hugh and Bella. I had so much fun.

 

The First Kiss…

He drew her into his arms and held her close, swaying with her. Weird how she fitted perfectly into his arms, all warm and soft and sweet. Maybe the romance of the engagement party had got to him, or maybe he’d drunk too much champagne, but he couldn’t resist holding her just that little bit closer, dancing cheek to cheek with her. He could smell the soft floral scent she wore – gardenia, perhaps? It was enchanting: much like Bella herself.
And from dancing cheek to cheek it was the tiniest, tiniest move to kissing her. All he had to do was twist his head ever so slightly brush the corner of her mouth with his lips.
Should he?
And what would she do if he did?
If she moved away, he’d stop, he promised himself.
Except she didn’t move away. When he kissed the corner of her mouth, she twisted her head ever so slightly towards him, so her mouth brushed against his properly.
And Hugh was completely lost.
He tightened his arms round her and kissed her again, teasing her mouth with tiny, nibbling kisses until she let her lips part and he could deepen the kiss. It felt as if he were floating on air. Every sense was filled by her. And it had been a long, long time since he’d felt anything even approaching this.
He wasn’t sure how long it was until he broke the kiss. But her mouth was reddened and her eyes were wide and bemused; he was pretty sure he looked in a similar state.

 

If your book was optioned for a movie, what scene would you use for the audition of the main characters and why?

I’d have the scene where Hugh talks Bella into being his fake girlfriend – because this is kind of a fake within a fake within a fake that’s actually real. (Just think Inception. I’m being, um, pretentious.)

The previous afternoon, they’d had a discussion in the office about which song fitted them, so that evening she’d made little name-cards for everyone’s desk with a quick caricature of them and the title of ‘their’ song in place of their name.
It seemed mean to leave Hugh out just because he was upstairs rather than in the open-plan office with everyone else, so she made a card for him as well. ‘I Don’t Like Mondays’ fitted him to a T, she thought.
That morning, as the rest of the team filtered in to the office and saw the name-cards on their desks, there was much hilarity.
Then Hugh walked in to the office – clearly not in a good mood, again – and Bella rather wished she hadn’t done a name-card for him after all.
‘Ms Faraday – a word?’ It was more of a command than a question, and his expression was completely impassive.
‘Yes, Mr Moncrieff,’ she said, and followed him meekly up to his office.
Even though he didn’t say a word to her on the way up, she had a pretty good idea what this was about. He hadn’t been amused at all by his name-card.
‘I’m sorry,’ she said as soon as he closed the door. ‘We were messing about yesterday –’ Then she stopped as she realised how incriminating her words were. ‘Over lunch, that is,’ she said swiftly, hoping that she’d saved the situation. She didn’t want to get her new colleagues into trouble. ‘We were talking about the song title that could be used instead of your name to describe you, and I drew the cards last night at home. It was just a bit of fun and I didn’t mean anything by it.’
‘You picked an appropriate one for me,’ he said.
Though every single day seemed to be Monday, where his mood was concerned. He really wasn’t a morning person. She winced. ‘Sorry. Are you very cross with me?’
‘No – and, just for the record, I don’t mind a bit of messing about in the office. It helps creativity, and I know everyone on the team puts the hours in. As long as the job gets done on time and within budget, I don’t actually care how it’s done.’
‘Then why did you want to see me?’ Bella asked, now completely mystified. If he wasn’t about to haul her over the coals for unprofessional behaviour, then what?
‘Your hair.’
She frowned. ‘What’s wrong with it?’
‘You were blonde, yesterday. Platinum blonde.’
‘Ye-es.’ She still didn’t follow
‘And today your hair’s red.’
A tiny bit brighter red than she’d intended, because she’d been so busy making the name-cards the previous evening that she’d left the dye in for a few minutes longer than she should’ve done, but she liked it. ‘Yes.’ Where was he going with this? ‘Is there a problem with my hair colour?’ she asked carefully.
‘No, not at all.’
She really didn’t understand. ‘Then why did you call me into your office?’
‘Do you have a boyfriend?’
Apart from the fact that you weren’t supposed to answer a question with a question, what did that have to do with anything? She frowned. ‘You’re not supposed to ask me things like that. My relationship status has nothing to do with my job.’
‘I know. I’m not asking you as your employer.’
She caught her breath. Did that mean he was asking her out?

 

If your hero had a sexy-times play list, what song(s) would have to be on it?

He’d write them himself. Because that’s what he is: a musician, except he’s lost his music and Bella is the one who brings it back to him. (I wrote the song for him at the end, too. Except you really don’t want to hear me sing when I have a hacking cough and a streaming cold…)

But if we’re going commercial – it’d be Tonight by Def Leppard (the acoustic version).

 

What do you want people to take away from reading this book?

That you can follow your dreams – all you have to do is try.

 

What are you currently working on? What other releases do you have planned for 2016?

I’m currently working on a Christmas book (working title ‘Christmas Eve Doorstep Baby’, which might give you a clue about the plot 😉 )

Next up in April is ‘Holiday with the Best Man’, which is the story of Bella’s sister Grace (aka the runaway bride – my working titles for these two were The Unexpected Bride and The Unexpected Groom, but sadly I didn’t get to keep them!).

Then in July it’s Capturing the Single Dad’s Heart (Medical romance – this is the one with my troubled teen and I loved this book so much).

August it’s my cinema book, Falling for the Secret Millionaire (film buffs will love this).

And then the book I’ve just finished is a Medical romance coming out in November (not sure of the title yet, but it’s part of a series of four books about a centre for birth and babies, along with Tina Beckett, Susanne Hampton and Susan Wilson – we had a lot of fun working together).
 

Thanks for blogging at HJ!

 

Giveaway: A signed copy of Billionaire…Bridedgroom…Boss? (Print book, open internationally.)

 

To enter Giveaway: Please complete the Rafflecopter form and Post a comment to this Q: Do you like the Sound of Music? What’s your favourite song? (Mine’s My Favourite Things)

 
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Excerpt from Billionaire…Boss…Bridegroom?:

‘Can you just answer the question?’ he asked. ‘Are you single or not?’
‘I’m absolutely single,’ she said crisply, ‘and I intend to stay that way.’ Just so it’d be totally clear that she wasn’t trying to flirt with him – or anything else.
‘Good.’ He gave her a sweet, sweet smile. One that made a lot of warning bells ring in her head. ‘Bella, remember when I helped you out last Friday night?’
The warning bells got louder. ‘Ye-es.’
‘Good.’ He paused. ‘I need a favour.’
So much for him saying that they’d forget what had happened, Clearly there were strings attached, after all. How disappointing. ‘What sort of favour?’ she asked carefully.
‘I need you to be my date for a family event.’
That was the last thing she’d expected. Had she misheard? ‘To be what?’ she asked.
‘My date for a family event,’ he repeated.
That was what she thought he’d said. The words ‘date’ and ‘Hugh Moncrieff’ were a dangerous combination. ‘Why?’
‘A more pertinent question, in the circumstances, is “when?”,’ he said dryly.
OK. She’d play it his way. ‘When?’ she asked sweetly.
‘Next weekend.’
What? ‘As in tomorrow or as in next Friday?’
‘As in a week on Saturday,’ he clarified.
Talk about lack of notice. Did he think that she didn’t have a social life? ‘Where?’
‘Oxfordshire.’
‘Right.’ She stared at him. ‘So let me get this straight. You want me to go to a family do with you in Oxfordshire and pretend to be your girlfriend.’
‘Yes.’
She folded her arms. ‘Now I think “why” might be pertinent. And I think I deserve a proper answer.’
‘If you want to know the truth, it’s because you,’ he said, ‘will annoy my family.’
She looked at him through narrowed eyes. ‘That’s not very nice – to me or to them.’ And it made her feel as if he was using her. Just like Kirk had. Even though Hugh was being upfront about it rather than pretending he loved her, the way Kirk had, it still stung.
‘Given that you told me you were flaky and unreliable in your personal life, I think that’s a fair assessment.’
He had a point. Just. ‘It’s still not very nice,’ she said.
‘I didn’t expect you to go all Mary Poppins on me,’ he drawled.
She resisted the urge to slap him or to say something rude. Just. ‘That’s because you don’t know me very well. What do you want to achieve?’
He frowned. ‘I don’t know what you mean.’
‘You said you want to annoy your family. What do you really want to happen?’
When he still looked blank, she sighed. ‘Look, you’re at Point A and you clearly want to be at point B. What do you need to do to get from A to B, and is having a fake girlfriend really the most effective way to do it?’
He raised his eyebrows. ‘That’s a bit sensible.’
‘Coming from me, you mean?’ She rolled her eyes. ‘It doesn’t come from me, actually. It’s the way my sister looks at things.’
‘Your sister Grace? As in the woman who downed three glasses of champagne on an empty stomach and threw up all over me in the back of a taxi?’
She put her hands on her hips and glared at him. ‘Don’t you dare be rude about my sister,’ she warned. ‘I already told you, that was really unlike her. It was due to special circumstances – and don’t bother asking what they were, because I’m not going to tell you. It’s none of your business.’
‘Absolutely,’ he said, disarming her. ‘Actually, I like the way you stand up for your sister. And you have a point.’
‘So why you do want to annoy your family?’ she asked.
‘This,’ he said, ‘is even more confidential than anything commercial I talk to you about.’
‘That’s obvious,’ she said, rolling her eyes at him. ‘You’re my boss, so anything you say to me in this room stays in this room unless you say otherwise.’
‘Thank you,’ he said. ‘Since you ask, the reason is because I’m sick and tired of them nagging me to settle down. So if I turn up to my brother’s engagement party with someone who looks completely unsuitable, maybe they’ll shut up and get off my case.’
She digested this slowly. He was saying she was unsuitable because of her hair? ‘So basically you’re asking me to play the kooky wild child. You want me to turn up with a mad hair colour, wearing ridiculous shoes and a skirt that’s more like a belt?’
‘What you wear is entirely up to you,’ he said. Then he looked thoughtful. ‘But, as you mentioned it first, yes, I think you probably have the chutzpah to carry off that kind of outfit.’
She still couldn’t quite work out if he was insulting her or praising her. Instead, she asked the other thing that was puzzling her. Well, apart from the fact that he was single. Even though he tended to be grumpy in the mornings in the office, she knew he had a good heart. He’d rescued her and Grace when they’d needed help, even though at the time they’d been complete strangers – and at the time it hadn’t felt as if there were any strings. Plus he had beautiful eyes and an even more beautiful mouth. The kind that made you want to find out what it felt like to be kissed by it.
She shook herself. That was something she shouldn’t be thinking about. ‘So why does your family want you to settle down?’
When he didn’t answer, she pointed out, ‘If you ask me to design something for you, then I need a brief to know what your target market is and what you want the design to achieve. I need to understand why before I can design something to suit. This is the same sort of thing. If I don’t understand why you want me to play someone unsuitable, I’m not going to be able to deliver the goods, am I?’
‘So you’ll do it?’
‘I didn’t say that. I still reserve the right to say no.’ If saying no was actually an option. Would her job depend on this? ‘But if you tell me why and I agree with your reasoning, then I might consider it.’ She spread her hands. ‘Anything you tell me is confidential. But I would also like to point out that I do have a social life, actually, and I did have plans for the weekend.’
‘I’m sorry.’ He raked a hand through his hair, suddenly looking vulnerable. Which was almost enough to make her agree to help him, regardless of his motives.
Weird.
Hugh Moncrieff was old enough and tough enough to look after himself. You didn’t get to be the successful owner of an independent record label if you were a pushover. He didn’t need looking after by anyone. But that expression in his eyes had touched a chord with her. It reminded her of the look in Grace’s eyes when she’d confessed that she didn’t fit in with Howard’s family and didn’t think she ever could. That she’d felt trapped and miserable.
Was that how Hugh felt about his own family?
And why did she suddenly want to rescue him, when she was usually the one who had to be rescued?
‘Of course you have a social life,’ he said. ‘And I don’t expect you to say “how high” every time I ask you to jump.’
‘Good,’ she said. ‘I’m glad that’s clear.’
He gave her a wry smile. ‘And I know I’m out of order, asking you to play a part.’
‘It does make me feel a bit used,’ she admitted.
‘I don’t mean it quite like that. I need help to deal with a tricky situation.’
‘Just like I did – and you helped me, so it makes sense that I should return the favour.’ Put like that, she thought, his request was much more reasonable.
‘If it’s possible for you to change your plans for the weekend and you do agree to help me by being my date, just be yourself. That’ll do nicely.’
‘Because I’m unsuitable?’ she asked. Just when she’d started to feel OK about it, he’d made her feel bad again. Stupid. ‘That’s a bit insulting.’
‘That isn’t actually what I meant. You’re confident,’ he said. ‘You’re direct. You don’t play games.’
‘But you’re asking me to play a game. Well, play a part,’ she corrected herself. ‘Which is pretty much the same thing.’
‘I guess. I don’t mean to insult you, Bella. I apologise.’
‘Apology accepted.’ She paused. ‘So why do you need a date?’
He sighed. ‘I’m the youngest of four boys. The other three are all stockbrokers in the firm started by my great-grandfather. My family would very much like me to toe the line and follow suit.’
She winced. ‘Ouch. That’s what I called you on Friday. I said you looked like a stockbroker.’
‘I’m not one, and I never want to be one,’ he said softly. ‘Don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying that it’s a bad career – just that it’s not right for me. My brothers love what they do, and that’s fine. I’d support them to the hilt, but I don’t want to join them.’ He gave her another of those wry smiles. ‘That’s why the label has its name.’
‘Got you. Insurgo’s Latin for “rebel”.’ She wrinkled her nose. ‘And, no, I didn’t go to the sort of school that taught Latin. I looked it up on the Internet. The only Latin I know is “lorem ipsum” – the stuff used as filler text in a design rough, and that’s not really proper Latin.’
He smiled back. ‘Actually, “lorem ipsum” is a mash-up of Cicero’s De finibus bonorum et malorum.’
‘Trust you know to that.’ The words came out before she could stop them.
He laughed. ‘I’m afraid I did go to the kind of school that taught Latin.’ He dragged his hand through his hair. ‘I love what I do, Bella. I like hearing artists play me raw songs – and then a different arrangement flowers in my head, and I can see exactly what they need to do to make it a hit without losing their original voice. I’ve never wanted to do anything else but produce music that I love – music that makes the world a better place. But my family worries about me, because the music business isn’t exactly stable. Insurgo’s doing well – well enough for some much bigger labels to have offered to buy me out, though I’ve always refused because I’m not going to sell out my artists like that – but I’m still at the mercy of the markets. We’ve managed to weather a few storms, but all it takes is one wrong decision that loses the business a lot of money, or for a couple of my biggest customers to go bankrupt and not pay me, and we could go under.’
‘Tell me about it,’ she said feelingly.
‘I knew you’d get that bit. You’ve been there,’ he said.
So either Tarquin had told him that she’d once had her own business, or he’d read her resumé. Or maybe both. ‘Small businesses fail all the time,’ she said, ‘and I kept mine going for two years. If my best client hadn’t gone bankrupt, owing me the equivalent of three months’ salary, I’d still be a freelance designer now. But when one door closes another opens – and now I have a job I like here.’
‘I take it back about being Mary Poppins,’ he said. ‘You’re Pollyanna.’
‘I’m just me,’ she told him firmly, ‘not a stereotype. But, yes, I believe in looking for the good in life.’ She whistled the chorus from ‘Always Look on the Bright Side of Life’ and smiled.
‘It’s a good philosophy,’ he said.
‘You’re right – you’re perfectly capable of being a stockbroker, but it’d make you miserable. You’re doing what you love,’ she said. ‘And there’s nothing wrong with that. Why doesn’t your family see that?’
He sighed. ‘They have this little box ready for me. I’m supposed to fit in with a sensible job, a sensible wife, and two point four children or whatever it’s meant to be nowadays. A pied à terre in London for me during the week, and an ancient pile in the countryside for the family, where the kids can grow up until we send them to boarding school.’
Was he describing what his own childhood had been like? ‘I guess I’m lucky,’ she said. ‘All my parents and my sister want is for me to be happy and fulfilled.’
‘Are you?’ he asked.
She nodded. ‘Are you?’
‘Yes.’ But she noticed that he didn’t meet her eye. So did that mean he wasn’t? And what, she wondered, was missing from his life?
Not that there was any point in asking. She was pretty sure he’d stonewall her. Getting the information so far had been like pulling teeth.
‘OK. So you want me to pretend to be your girlfriend, to show your family that you have no intention of meeting any of the criteria to fit that little box they’ve made for you. You already have a job they don’t approve of, so what you need is an outrageous girlfriend to horrify them even more. That will be the icing on the cake, if you’ll excuse me mixing my metaphors,’ she said, hoping that she’d summed up the situation without missing anything.
‘That’s pretty much it.’ He paused. ‘So will you do it?’
‘It’s one way to get from A to B,’ she said. ‘But I think a much better one would be to sit down with your family and talk to them. Make them see how much you love Insurgo. Show them your passion for it. Play them the raw stuff, and then the final version with all the changes you suggested, so they can hear exactly what you do. Then they’ll understand and be happy just to let you do it.’
‘Maybe,’ he said. ‘But, even if they listened to me about my job, that’s only half the problem dealt with. There’s still the sensible wife they want me to have.’
She shrugged. ‘You could always tell them you’d like a sensible husband.’
He grinned. ‘You mean, ask Tarquin to pretend that he’s my life partner as well as my business partner? I think Rupert – his other half – might have something to say about that.’ Then his smile faded. ‘I don’t want a sensible wife. Or husband, for that matter.’
‘What do you want?’ she asked.
***
What did he want?
Never to have his heart broken again.
Which meant no more serious relationships. And it had suited him just fine over the few months, dating casually and making sure that all his girlfriends knew that a diamond ring and a change of name were never going to be on offer. That he was looking for fun, not for forever. And most of the time he didn’t even bother with that. He concentrated on work. Though it wasn’t quite the work of his heart, any more. Not since he’d stopped writing music.

Excerpts. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

 

Book Info:

Gorgeous, rich CEO Hugh Moncrieff might be his office’s reluctant heartthrob, but he does not date employees! Until he needs a fake date for an upcoming engagement and decides his quirky new graphic designer Bella Faraday is the perfect candidate…

Except Bella is anything but the unsuitable girlfriend she’s supposed to be playing! Charming Bella’s life might have been shattered by her ex, but with Hugh she feels all the pieces starting to fit back together…
Book Links:  
 

Meet the Author:

Kate HardyKate Hardy is an award-winning author of more than 50 books for Harlequin Mills & Boon. Her novel ‘Breakfast at Giovanni’s’ won the RNA Romance Prize in 2008 and ‘Bound by a Baby’ won the RoNA Rose Prize in 2014. She’s been shortlisted three more times for the award, as well as for two Romantic Times awards.

She lives in Norwich in the east of England with her husband, two children, a springer spaniel called Byron, and too many books to count. She’s a bit of a nerd who loves cinema, the theatre, history and cooking (which is why she has to go to the gym five times a week – oh, and to ballroom dancing lessons), and adores anything Italian. She loves doing research, particularly if it’s hands-on and means experimenting with cooking (on her website, most of her books have a recipe connected to them). Reviewers say that her books are full of warmth, heart and charm – and also that you’ll learn something new and interesting from them!
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35 Responses to “Spotlight & Giveaway: Billionaire…Boss…Bridegroom? by Kate Hardy”

  1. Trudy

    Love the Sound of Music. I think my favorite song is Edelweiss. Christopher Plummer was so impressive.

  2. Emily Stemp

    Love sound of music. last summer a threater near me show it on the big screen. so exciting

  3. Veronika

    It’s not my favorite musical, but it’s not the worst either. My favorite is probably Do-Re-Mi.

  4. Ellen C.

    Sound of Music is one of my favorites. Edelweiss and Sound of Music are two of my favorite songs. (They are all good.)

  5. Tammy Y

    I love The Sound of Music. One of favorite movies. My Favorite song is Edelweiss. But, Climb Every Mountain gets me every time I see it. Such a powerful song.

  6. Mary Preston

    I do love it. I must have seen it a million times. Edelweiss makes me all misty eyed.

  7. Vicki

    Absolutely love the Sound of Music. All the songs were great, if I had to choose it would be Edelweiss

  8. lorrainereads

    I love The Sound of Music. I was not the biggest fan of the new live musical it just wasn’t the sound of music for me. ;( My favorite song would have to be Sixteen going on Seventeen. An that whole scene “sighs”.

  9. kermitsgirl

    Yes, I grew up watching the Sound of Music with my mother as it was her favorite musical. My favorite song is a toss up between Maria, Edelweiss, and Sixteen Going on Seventeen.

  10. Kate Sparks

    Edelweiss… but when you first said dresses from curtains… I immediately thought of the Gone With The Wind scene from Carol Burnett!!!!

  11. Colleen C.

    I do enjoy watching it… such wonderful music! Can’t pick a fav… they all are great!

  12. Natasha Persaud

    I saw the sound of music once it’s pretty interesting although that was a long time ago and I can’t really remember the songs in it there were so many

  13. ndluebke

    I love the Sound of Music, I actually have the book of music. Do Re Me is a good one for just around the house. But the opening song, The Sound of Music is probably my favorite.

  14. Jen B

    I used to love The Sound of Music, but I haven’t watched it for a long time. I always like My Favourite Things too, and the Yodelling song.

  15. Irma

    I love it! That whole – fake girlfriend – just my kind of read. I like Dancing in the Dark by Bruce Springsteen.

  16. Pennie

    I love Edelweiss and used to sing it to my twins when they were babies to try to get them to sleep at night.

  17. Amanda Thompson

    I love The Sound of Music! I really don’t have a favorite, I enjoy all of the songs.

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