Hi Melanie and welcome to HJ! We’re so excited to chat with you about your new release, Bound by a One-Night Vow!
Please summarize the book for the readers here:
Isabella Byrne is an only child heiress with a soiled reputation will fail to inherit her father’s estate unless she marries within twenty-four hours. She is offered a temporary marriage by the one man she would give anything to avoid- her archenemy, handsome billionaire Andrea Vaccaro. The man she once embarrassed herself by trying to seduce him as a tipsy teenager.
Please share the opening lines of this book:
Isabella Byrne put down her coffee cup in the crowded café with a sigh. Husband-hunting would be so much easier if she actually wanted to get married. She. Did. Not.
Please share a few Fun facts about this book…
I wanted to twist the bad boy story trope a little and make my heroine the one with the disreputable past. I also wanted my hero to be alpha without being a complete jerk. It can be a delicate balance!
Please tell us a little about the characters in your book. As you wrote your protagonist was there anything about them that surprised you?
My characters always surprise me! I often start with a certain idea of who they are and then they decide, no, that’s not how they are at all. It’s one of the fun aspects of writing- a journey of discovery each time I sit down to write. In this story, it was Andrea who surprised me the most. He was a generous and sensitive man who had come from a difficult background. I really liked him, and thankfully, by the end of the novel so did Izzy!
If your book was optioned for a movie, what scene would you use for the audition of the main characters and why?
The café scene where Andrea puts his proposal on the table, so to speak. There is a lot of internalisation going on for Izzy and it’s always wonderful to see a skilled actor pull that off in their micro expressions.
‘I’m just leaving so—’
His broad tanned hand came down on the back of the chair opposite hers. She couldn’t stop staring at the ink-black hairs that ran from the back of his hand and over his strong wrist to disappear under the crisp white cuff of his shirt. How many times had she fantasised about those hands on her body? Stroking her. Caressing her. Making her feel things she shouldn’t be feeling. Not for him.
Never for him.
‘No time for a quick coffee with a friend?’ His mouth curved over the words, showing a flash of white, perfectly aligned teeth. An I’ve-got-you-where-I-want-you smile that made the fine hairs on the back of her neck stand up and pirouette in panic.
Izzy suppressed a shiver and forced herself to hold his gaze. ‘Friend?’ She injected a double shot of scorn into her tone. ‘I don’t think so.’
He pulled the chair out and settled his lean athletic form into it, his long legs bumping hers under the table. She jerked her legs back as far as they would go but it wasn’t fast enough to avoid the electrifying zap of contact.
Hard. Virile. Male flesh.
Izzy began to push back her chair in order to leave but one of his hands came down on hers, anchoring her to the table. Anchoring her to him. She snatched in a breath, the warm tensile strength of his hand making every female hormone in her body get all giggly and excited. Every cell of her body vibrated like the plucked string of a cello. She looked at his hand trapping hers and disguised a swallow. Heat travelled from her hand, along her arm and all the way to her core like a racing river of fire.
She gave him a glare so cold it could have frozen the glass of water on the table. ‘Is this how you usually ask a woman to have coffee with you? By brute force?’
His thumb began a lazy stroking of the back of her hand that sent little shockwaves through her body as if a tiny firecracker had entered her bloodstream. Pippity pop. Pippity pop. Pippity pop. ‘There was a time when you wanted more than a quick coffee with me. Remember?’
What do you want people to take away from reading this book?
That sometimes the false beliefs we have about ourselves make it hard to see other people and their motives clearly. It is like we are looking through a tainted lens.
What are you currently working on? What other releases do you have planned?
I’m about to start a new novel having just put aside five chapters of another one. Yes, FIVE chapters. Argh. It doesn’t happen often but when it does it is annoying. But it just wasn’t working and I’m making a fresh start with new characters. My next release is Claimed For The Billionaire’s Convenience out early 2019.
Thanks for blogging at HJ!
Giveaway: A signed copy of Bound By A One-Night Vow by Melanie Milburne.
To enter Giveaway: Please complete the Rafflecopter form and Post a comment to this Q: Izzy has deliberately misled people about her ‘ racy’ past. Is there anything you have done or do to mislead people about your true self?
Excerpt from Bound by a One-Night Vow:
Andrea saw her as soon as he walked into the restaurant. His body had sensed her three blocks away. She was sitting in the bar area, looking like a teenage boy’s fantasy in a skin-tight silver lamé mini dress that showed the creamy length of her slim legs. She had big hair and more make-up and flashy jewellery than a drag queen. He couldn’t help a secret smile. She knew she would have to accept his proposal, but she was making it as uncomfortable as possible for him. Did she think her wild child party girl outfit was going to put him off?
She was twirling the little colourful umbrella in her cocktail but she turned on her stool as if she had sensed his arrival. Or his arousal. Or both.
Her eyes sparkled with her usual defiance. ‘You’re late.’
He perched on the stool next to her, fighting the urge to stroke a hand down the slim curve of her thigh. ‘I sent you a text.’
Her chin came up and something about the tight set of her mouth made him want to loosen it with a slow, sensual stroke of his tongue. ‘I don’t like to be kept waiting.’ The words came out as cold and hard as ice cubes.
‘Understandable since you’ve so little time left in which to find yourself a husband.’ He hooked one eyebrow upwards. ‘Unless you’ve been lucky enough to find one in the last couple of hours?’
Her glare was as arctic as her voice, making him wonder if he was going to get out of this without serious frostbite. ‘Not yet, but I haven’t given up hope.’
Andrea picked up a loose curl of her hair and twirled it around his finger, holding her gaze with his. She didn’t pull away but her throat moved up and down over a small swallow and her pupils widened like spreading pools of ink. He could smell the exotic notes of her perfume—frangipani and musk and something that was unique to her. He carefully tucked the tendril of hair behind her ear and smiled. ‘So, here we are on our first date.’
Her eyes flashed as if something exploded behind her irises. ‘First and last.’ She turned on her stool and picked up her cocktail glass and took a large sip. She put it down on the bar with a little clatter. ‘You’d better say what you came here to say and be done with it.’
‘I like your outfit.’ Andrea dipped his gaze to the delicious shadow of her cleavage. ‘I haven’t seen this much of you in years.’
Her cheeks darkened into twin pools of pink and her mouth tightened until her full lips all but disappeared. ‘I thought it’d be appropriate, given what I suspect you’re going to say to me.’
He stroked a finger along the back of her hand, the base of his spine tingling when he saw his darker skin against her creamy whiteness. He could resist her. Sure he could. But he couldn’t stop imagining her silky-smooth legs wrapped around his, her soft mouth beneath his own. His aching need driving into her warm, wet womanhood and taking them both to oblivion. ‘You need me, Isabella. Go on. Admit it. You need me so bad.’
She snatched her hand away and used her index finger to poke him in the chest, each word like a heavy punctuation mark. ‘I. Do. Not. Need. You.’
Andrea captured her hand and brought it up close to his mouth, pressing a kiss to the back of her knuckles. ‘Marry me.’
Green and blue chips of ice glittered in her gaze and the muscles in her hand contracted as if his touch burned. ‘Go fry in hell.’
He tightened his hold on her hand. ‘You’ll lose everything if you don’t find a husband by morning. Think about it, Isabella. That’s a heck of a lot of money to forfeit for the sake of six months living as my wife.’
He could see the indecision on her face—the doubts, the fears, the calculations. She had grown up surrounded by wealth. She had wanted for nothing but seemingly had been grateful for nothing. She had wasted the education her father had paid for by getting expelled numerous times for rebellious behaviour and poor academic performance. She had frittered away or sabotaged all the opportunities her father had provided. She acted like a selfish and sulky spoilt brat who had expected to inherit her father’s entire estate without doing anything to earn it. It was no wonder she hadn’t been able to find a husband willing to marry her. Her reputation was of a hell-raiser who deliberately drew negative attention to herself.
But lately Andrea had often wondered if there was more to Izzy than met the press’s eye. It was like she wanted people to think the worst of her. She took no steps to counter the negative opinions written about her in the media. It was like she was playing a role, just as she had done this evening, dressing in an eye-popping outfit that made her look like a wild child out on the town. But in spite of her garish look-at-me clothes and make-up, he could see tiny glimpses of insecurity in the way she carried herself when she thought he wasn’t looking.
Andrea knew most people wouldn’t consider her ideal wife material, but he figured any wife would be better than no wife given the urgency of his situation with his business merger and the man’s upcoming wedding. Besides, he was confident he could cope with Izzy. She was like a flighty thoroughbred in need of skilful handling.
And when it came to handling women, no one could say he wasn’t skilful.
Her eyes suddenly hardened as if her resolve had shown back up for duty. Her hand pulled out of his and she began rubbing it as if it was tingling. ‘I can think of no worse torture than to be tied to you in marriage.’
‘It will be a paper marriage.’
Her eyes widened and her mouth dropped open. ‘A…a paper marriage?’
‘That’s what I said.’
She blinked and then blinked again, slowly, as if her eyelids were weighted. ‘Do I have your word on that?’
He held her look. ‘Do I have yours?’
Her mouth thinned again to a flat white line. ‘You’re assuming I’m going to say yes to your proposal.’
Andrea picked up her left hand and stroked her empty ring finger. Her body trembled as if his touch triggered a tiny earthquake in her flesh. Touching her triggered the same in his. He could feel himself tightening, swelling, his blood heating with want and need. A need he would continue to ignore because when he said it was to be a paper marriage, that was exactly what it would be. Even if he had to put his desire for her in chains. And a straitjacket. ‘You don’t have any choice but to accept and you know it.’ He let her hand go and reached into the inside pocket of his jacket. He handed her a velvet ring box. ‘If you don’t like it you can change it.’
Her eyes flew from the ring box to his, narrowing to slits so only her hatred shone through. ‘You were so sure I was going to accept?’
‘I’m your only chance to get your hands on that money. Even if, by some chance, you found someone at this late stage, you wouldn’t be able to marry without the necessary paperwork. I’ve seen to it. I have a lawyer and a marriage celebrant on standby. Marry me or lose everything.’
She opened the ring box and took out the diamond and sapphire ring. She spent time eyeing it, turning it this way and that. Her gaze came back to his and she gave him a tight little smile that didn’t quite reach her eyes. ‘You want me to wear this?’
‘That’s the general idea.’
She slipped off the stool, standing so close to him he could smell the fresh flowery fragrance of her hair. Her mouth was still set and her eyes as hard and blue as the diamonds and sapphires glittering in the ring. She picked up the tail of his silk tie and tugged him even closer, posting the ring down the loosened collar of his shirt. It bumped and tumbled down his chest until it lodged coldly and sharply against his stomach.
‘Thanks, but no thanks.’ She gave his stomach a little pat as if to emphasise her point.
Andrea captured her hand and held it against his abdomen, every one of his muscles contracting under her touch. ‘I’ll give you two minutes to make up your mind and then the deal is off the table. Permanently. Understood?’
Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.
Heiress Isabella Byrne is on a deadline. She has twenty-four hours to wed or she will lose her inheritance! Her father’s protégé, hotel magnate Andrea Vaccaro, knows she can’t refuse his arrogant proposition for a temporary union. They’ll seal the deal at the altar that very night. But with their ever-smouldering attraction bursting into flames, can Izzy risk surrendering to the temptation that awaits her between Andrea’s sheets?
Meet the Author:
Melanie Milburne read her first Harlequin at age seventeen in between studying for her final exams. After completing a Masters Degree in Education she decided to write a novel and thus her career as a romance author was born. Melanie is an ambassador for the Australian Childhood Foundation and is a keen dog lover and trainer and enjoys long walks in the Tasmanian bush. In 2015 Melanie won the HOLT Medallion, a prestigous award honouring outstanding literary talent.
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