Hi Avril and welcome to HJ! We’re so excited to chat with you about your new release, Escaping Mr Right!
Thank you so much. It’s wonderful to be back for a new year.
Tell us about the book with this fun little challenge using the title of the book:
E is for exasperated – how Chloe feels about the state of her love life.
S is for sex – what Chloe hasn’t been getting.
C is for Casanova – the kind of guy Chloe doesn’t want.
A is for allies – because every girl needs her friends to tell it like it is.
P is for perfect – what Chloe wants to be.
I is for icy – the perfect facade…
N is for Nick – the man who sees past it.
G is for goner – what Nick is, the moment he sees her.
M is for Marcus – the fly in Nick’s ointment.
R is for relentless – Nick’s pursuit of Chloe.
R is for revelations – coming thick and fast.
I is for impossible – to fling without feelings.
G is for goalposts – which keep on shifting.
H is for heartbroken – when they shift too far.
T is for true love – of course!
What’s your favorite line(s) from the book?:
One of my favorite scenes happens in an aircraft restroom, where Nick has Chloe trapped, and this is a snippet of dialogue from that scene. His aim is for them to get physical, and he’s looking around the space working out logistics…
‘Maybe I should have upgraded. The business class facilities are a little more spacious. But needs must. And you look limber enough.’
‘You know, I’d be tempted if it meant I could flush your head.’
‘Well, well – that’s an interesting proposition.’
‘Flushing your head in an aircraft toilet is interesting? Really?’
‘I’m trying to work out the position that would make that a possibility – and I have to say, I kind of like it.’
‘Just bend over.’
‘Oooohhh, Chloe, I thought you’d never ask.’
Please tell us a little about the characters in your book. What first attracts your Hero to the Heroine and vice versa?
The hero, Nick Savage, is a football star – the sexiest player on the team, and the one with the worst reputation for ‘trading’ women with his teammates.
The heroine, television journalist Chloe Masters, has an obsession about being perfect, courtesy of a childhood spent being passed on from one foster home to the next. Chloe knows the kind of life she wants to lead, and with whom she wants to lead that life – and it’s not Nick with his frightening ability to make her lose her hard-won cool; it’s calm, safe Marcus, even if their sex life is practically non-existent.
The moment Nick lays eyes on the Chloe (a year before the book begins), he recognizes the fire she hides under her icy exterior and the flaws under her perfect façade – and everything she is, he desperately wants for himself. Unfortunately for Nick, his friend and teammate, Marcus, has beaten him to the prize.
For a year, Nick has been relegated to watching Chloe from the sidelines, where he keeps trying to attract her while she keeps trying to ignore him. But when Chloe’s perfect life goes haywire and she finds herself assigned to cover an overseas story involving Nick, she can’t run away any more.
For Nick, it’s a chance to go all out to win her; for Chloe, it’s a chance to experience hot passion for one week only, before returning to her a life she intends to wrestle back under her control.
When you sat down to start this book, what was the biggest challenge you faced? What were you most excited about?
I started this book as a NaNoWriMo project in 2014. (For those who don’t know, NaNoWriMo is National Novel Writing Month – a challenge to write 50,000 words of your novel during the month of November). I was excited about taking the challenge for the first time, but quickly found that powering ahead without letting myself stop to think and edit was excruciating! Although I hit the word target, I’d describe the result as a diamond in the rough. It wasn’t until I started fleshing out, cutting and polishing the words, that the story started to properly reveal itself, and I got really excited. As it’s turned out, the book I was most apprehensive about at first draft stage became one of my absolute favorites by the time it was ready to send to my editor.
What, in your mind, makes this book stand out?
There are three things that stand out about this book for me.
- The first is the relationship balance. Although what’s between Nick and Chloe is combustible, it is also at times very funny.
- The second is the setting. Some of the most dramatic action takes place in Manila, in the Philippines – a place I love.
- The third is the relationship between the three friends, Chloe, Evie and Drew. This book is actually book two in a series. (The first book is Wanting Mr Wrong). Although each book is a standalone, the no-holds-barred relationship between the friends is a feature in both. Writing the dialogue between them was like having a conversation with my most warped friends.
The First Kiss…
The first kiss is a real steamer – in fact, it’s the catalyst for the change in Nick and Chloe’s relationship. Here’s how it starts…
Nick looked – no, blazed – down at me. No laughter in his eyes. No softness in his face. I counted his heartbeats as I stared into his dark eyes, wanting to turn away, but unable to move. One, two, three, four. I couldn’t speak. Couldn’t breathe. And then, he lowered his head. I thought he was going to kiss me and waited while my nerves jangled and my head spun, telling myself I didn’t want this. Did. Not. Want. It.
But it wasn’t a kiss. Instead, he nudged his lips against mine. Open. That’s what he was saying. Open for me.
Coffee. Salt. Something else. Something I wanted desperately. And my lips fell open, gasped open.
I waited for the rush of his tongue, the smash of his mouth, longed for it.
But, again . . . no.
He sucked my bottom lip into his mouth. Kept it there, hovering between pressure and release, as every drop of blood in my body rushed between my legs and pooled, heavy and pulsing.
‘You feel it, Chloe, don’t you?’ he eased back just far enough to ask. ‘It’s always been there. Since day one.’
A whimper. That was all I could manage.
‘Ask me to kiss you,’ he breathed against my lips. ‘Tell me to.’
But I couldn’t speak. I was both hot and frozen. Poised, waiting, wondering, caught between guilt and desire. My hand, the one he’d flattened over his heart, was clutching his T-shirt now. Twisting in it. I should not be doing this. Oh but I want it, I want it.
‘No?’ he asked, and laughed softly. ‘Stubborn.’
And then he shifted to my top lip. Licked it, over and over and over, breathing out words in between. ‘Come on, Chloe.’ ‘Ask me.’ ‘Tell me.’ ‘Say it.’ And then, hovering, hovering. ‘I can’t finish it until you do.’
If your book was optioned for a movie, what scene would you use for the audition of the main characters and why?
I’d use the first full-on fight between Chloe and Nick – before their affair starts – because it’s an encapsulation of everything they’re about: the uncontrollable passion, Nick’s bold pursuit of Chloe, Chloe’s need to distance herself, both from him and from the past she’s done her best to leave behind.
In this scene, Chloe and Nick are sitting with Chloe’s friend Evie, and the subject of how they first met, during a football team event, comes up. Things escalate quickly after Chloe expresses her disgust at the way Nick treated his date (who’d brought along a how-to guide for being a sports star’s girlfriend).
I turned to Evie, who was positively bug-eyed. ‘Her name was Ruby, as he very well knows.’ Back to Nick, with a glare. ‘And all she was trying to do was make you like her.’
And it was like a snap-freeze moment. Any hint of laughter – gone. He leaned towards me, over the coffee table, and it was on. ‘I didn’t want her to like me. That was the whole point. Anyone who quotes from that dumbass guide, which she had in her handbag, if you’ll remember, is not for me. And don’t pretend you didn’t feel exactly the same as I did about that guide. I saw you, Chloe. I saw you!’
‘Oh, I agree, the guide is degrading. What I don’t get is why the next girl was practically interchangeable with her. And the next. And the next. Always the same girl, and yet never the same girl.’
‘It’s not about who they were, Chloe, it’s about who they weren’t.’
I couldn’t hear that. Wouldn’t. ‘You’re either a slow learner, or you’re fooling yourself about what you like and don’t like.’
‘I know I don’t need my girlfriend cuddling up to me and saying “well done, honey” just because I kicked a ball. I don’t care if she knows the game, or even if she hates it – and don’t pretend you don’t hate it because I know. I don’t want her feeling like she has to learn my practice schedule, or my teammates’ names, or how many tries I score per season. How big a jerk do you think I am?’
‘Big enough to tell poor Ruby to get lost. While she was sitting on your lap, sticking her hands under your shirt. Nice one. Not.’
‘I didn’t tell her to go, I told her to stop. She interpreted it, that’s all.’
‘It– You– Oooohhhhh. I can’t –. I can’t believe you.’
‘Sure you can. You weren’t sitting on Marcus’s lap, were you? You can be damn sure he would have told you to stop. You talk about interchangeable girls, Chloe, but let me tell you, Miss Ruby didn’t really care whose lap she was sitting on. We were the interchangeable ones. Me, Steve, Trevor, Gary. Any one of us would have done. And Marcus?’ He laughed – short and hard. ‘Ruby would have thrown you to the wolves and buried your bones in the forest for a shot at the team captain, so why are you defending her?’
‘Because I know what it’s like to be that girl – the one looking in.’ The words were out before I could stop them.
‘What the –?’ Frown. ‘What does that mean?’
Oh God. God, God, God! What had I said? ‘Just that I –. That –. I –’ I looked at my hands. Shaking. Close call. Too close. Blink, blink, breathe, blink. Not helping. I turned agonised eyes to Evie, who was sitting, in a state of shock at what was unfolding from nowhere, drink halfway to her mouth.
Evie gave me a superfast nod, understanding. ‘She only means –’
‘Chloe?’ Nick said, cutting her off, keeping his eyes on me.
Evie tried again. ‘She means –’
Blink, blink, breathe, and I shook my head at Evie. I’ve got this. ‘I mean everywhere we go, I’ve seen the girls tying themselves into knots for you. It’s sickening, the way you guys use and discard them.’
‘More sickening than only being wanted for what’s in your pants? Because that’s all she wanted, Chloe – wallet and junk.’
‘Well, you brought her! You must have wanted to show her your . . . your junk. I hear lots of girls are interested in seeing it, Casanova Savage.’ I could hear the jeer, see Evie’s shock, feel the sweat of fury pop out along my hairline. This was not me – and yet it was.
‘I’ll tell you what, Chloe. You show me yours and I’ll show you mine.’
If your hero had a sexy-times play list, what song(s) would have to be on it?
You’d think from the way Nick walks, talks and acts – all alpha male on the prowl – that he’d be a hard rock kind of guy, but in keeping with the way he keeps surprising Chloe as his layers are peeled back one by one, his number one song for sexy-times would be the theme music from Out of Africa.
What do you want people to take away from reading this book?
I’d like readers to think about how Chloe learned to embrace all facets of her personality, finally coming to realize she didn’t have to be perfect all the time for someone to love her. There’s a wonderful freedom in being able to be completely yourself with someone.
What are you currently working on? What other releases do you have planned for 2016?
I’ve recently finished a manuscript that has some of the fastest and funniest dialogue I’ve ever written – but it also has its share of seriously heartbreaking moments. For those who’ve read my book, The Contract, it features two of the secondary characters from there. Hopefully that book will be out in 2016. I’m currently working on a story set in Los Angeles that has a slightly twisted plot involving an arranged marriage. It’s early days, but it’s going to be a very funny and very sexy read. I also have ideas for a medically-themed story set in the world of global aviation. As usual, I have too many story ideas and not enough time!
Thanks for blogging at HJ!
Giveaway: Three e-books of Escaping Mr Right, via Amazon
To enter Giveaway: Please complete the Rafflecopter form and Post a comment to this Q: This book is about figuring out the difference between Mr Right and Mr Wrong. If I thing about heroes from other books I’ve read, I’d have to say Mr Right for me would be Mr Rochester (Jane Eyre) and Mr Wrong would be Heathcliff (Wuthering Heights)! What about you? Any Mr Wrong or Mr Right book boyfriends?
Excerpt from Escaping Mr Right:
This is an excerpt from chapter 1, which gives an idea of Nick’s win-the-girl tactics and how Chloe feels about them. They’re on a harbor cruise celebrating the end of the football season for Nick and Marcus’s football team. Nick has come across Chloe on her own, and Chloe is trying to get away…
Nick grabbed my wrist before I could effect a getaway. His grin had fled. ‘Why don’t you give the act a rest, Miss Perfect Girlfriend, and leave Marcus to enjoy himself with the guys?’
‘I beg your pardon?’ I said, and my voice was so arctic, Nick should have sustained immediate frostbite to at least one extremity.
But Nick was apparently immune to the cold. ‘Beg,’ he said, as though he were rolling the word around on his tongue like a drop of syrup. ‘I like that word coming out of your mouth.’
I snatched my wrist free. ‘Beg is something I’ll never do for you.’ And damn, damn, damn, there was nothing arctic about the way I spat that out!
‘But you just did beg me, Chloe. Although it’s not my “pardon” I’m interested in giving you. I’m interested in giving you something else entirely.’
Oh. My. God. ‘You. Are. An animal.’
‘As are all humans. Mammals, to be precise.’
‘Some have just evolved a little further than Neanderthals since the Ice Age.’
‘That’s me. Savage by name, savage by nature.’ He leaned in, so close his breath stirred my hair, setting off a tiny, unwelcome shiver. ‘But the way I see it, you’re the one trapped in the Ice Age. Brrr.’ Pause as he eased back enough for me to take a normal breath. ‘At least, that’s what you want us all to think, isn’t it, Chloe?’
Enough. I was going. And I wasn’t bothering with an ‘Excuse me’ this time.
But his hand shot out again, detaining me. ‘Don’t worry, the thing I want to give you isn’t an orgasm that’ll blow your mind, if that’s what you’re thinking – although I could. What I want to give you, at least at this moment, is advice. Loosen the reins, Chloe. If you loosen the reins, you and Marcus might both find out where you’re supposed to be.’
For a moment, all I could do was blink at Nick, speechless. Blink, blink, breathe, blink – the way I’d trained myself to do, as a way of mastering the urge to scream and thump and claw when things felt like they were spiralling out of my control.
‘I know where I’m supposed to be,’ I said. ‘With my boyfriend. You know, your friend? Teammate? The team captain? That guy? But I’ll tell you what, Nick. If you really think I’ll spoil his fun with the guys, there’s something very simple you can do to keep me away from him.’ I nodded towards the conglomeration of thick-necked footballers surrounding Marcus on the other side of the cruiser cabin. ‘Just go over there yourself. That’s a sure fire way to keep me all the way over here. And while you’re on your way over there, try to remember it’s not nice to hit on a teammate’s girl.’
‘Except under certain . . . conditions.’
‘Getting a kick out of tormenting a girl isn’t a valid condition.’
‘Then tell me a better way to get you to notice me, Chloe,’ he said, and for once there wasn’t even a hint of a taunt – not in his voice, his face or the words.
My breath jammed in my throat as I looked at him. His eyes, so dark they were almost black, were both serious and watchful, and there was a grim set to his mouth I’d never recognised before. His hand, gripping my wrist, felt like it was branding me. A little trickle of fear etched a path down my spine. ‘I don’t want to notice you,’ I said.
‘Do you think I don’t know that? But circumstances can change.’
‘And are you going to enlighten me as to what those changing circumstances may be?’
Another pause while he looked at me. He half-opened his mouth, as though to speak . . . but then closed it and shook his head. ‘That’s something you’ll have to find out on your own.’
‘Then I suggest you let go of me. And stop hitting on me – you lack the finesse to carry it off.’
He looked down at where his hand engulfed my wrist. In his grip, my wrist looked thinner and paler than usual. Vulnerable. Or maybe it was just that his hand seemed giant to me, which was crazy, because he was the same size as Marcus. Marcus just didn’t seem so . . . so Hulk-like, somehow.
‘I lack finesse, do I? That’s okay, Chloe. I have other attributes.’ His fingers loosened; his hand slid up my forearm, then back down.
‘Which you share around a little too freely for my taste.’
A dare-you-to-lose-it look was in his heavy-lidded eyes. ‘I don’t share all my toys, Chloe. Remember that, when the time comes.’
I tried to laugh, tried to scoff, to sneer, to . . . something. But I wasn’t capable of making a sound. What did that even mean? When the time comes? The time wasn’t coming, as far as I was concerned. Ever.
Then, suddenly, my wrist was free, and Nick was stepping back, holding up his hand as though to say ‘best behaviour’. I found myself rubbing my wrist against my thigh because it was tingling, somehow. And I did not want to do any tingling around Nick Savage. In fact, I didn’t want to do any uncontrolled tingling, period.
Marcus. I needed Marcus to untingle me.
I looked over at him, and I must have been radiating some powerful kind of electromagnetic ‘save me’ rays, because I managed to snag his attention away from the guys – not an easy thing to do once they were deep in football talk. He smiled and waved me over, and I felt instantly steadier. ‘The time you’re thinking about?’ I said to Nick. ‘It’s the twelfth of never. But right now, my boyfriend wants me to join him.’
Nick turned, and I almost groaned as Marcus included him in the wave to join the group. Seriously, could Marcus not see what was happening right under his nose?
But it seemed Nick had filled his daily quota of Chloe-baiting, because he did a smile/headshake/hand gesture pantomime indicating he was going out on deck instead.
And then Nick turned back to me, and his smile slipped. ‘It won’t be the twelfth of never, Chloe. I won’t wait that long,’ he said, and all the hairs on the back of my neck stood up. ‘In fact, time’s almost up.’
And as I stood there, stunned into silence, Nick threw back his champagne and put the glass back on the bar. ‘What are you waiting for, Miss Perfect Girlfriend? Off you go. Run away.’
‘It’s not running away when you’re going where you’re wanted.’
‘You’re wanted here. More. By me.’
I stared at him, desperately trying – failing – to keep the panic at bay. It was as though everything was stripped away with those words. No more innuendo. No ambiguity. Nothing that could be brushed off or ignored. I couldn’t pretend to myself that he was just getting a kick out of provoking me, or that I was being overly sensitive, or that I was reading something into his words that wasn’t really there.
Blink, blink, breathe. ‘Nick, you have to stop this, or I’m going to have to tell him.’
‘Go right ahead, Chloe, if that’s what you want to do. I’m not scared of Marcus.’
‘You should be.’
‘Then there’s a little thing called loyalty you might like to consider, instead.’
‘I have considered it. I admire your loyalty, Chloe, I really do. I always have.’
‘Not my loyalty. Your loyalty. To him.’
‘I’ll tell you what, you let me worry about my loyalty to Marcus, and in the meantime, try to peer into your own murky waters. Love, lust, loyalty. What do you want, Chloe? Who do you want? And why?’
‘You can be sure of one thing, at least. I don’t want you.’ And on those flung words, I stalked off.
‘We’ll see, Chloe,’ he said, just loud enough for me to hear, and as my step faltered, just for a fraction of a second, he chuckled. It’s possibly the most hideous sound in the world, a chuckle. Only villains in melodramas chuckle. Marcus never chuckled, and certainly never at my expense.
Excerpts. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.
Sometimes Mr Right is Mr Wrong, and Mr Wrong is definitely Mr Right . . .
Television reporter Chloe Masters is a woman of cool control . . . except when Casanova rugby league player Nick Savage is around. Then cool control goes out the window. Her boyfriend, Marcus, is everything she ever wanted – but it’s getting harder to deny her body’s reaction to Nick . . .
Nick Savage has been head-over-heels since he first laid eyes on Chloe – just a moment too late to stop her connecting with his team mate, Marcus. But when the goalposts shift and he and Chloe are thrown together on a week away, Nick dares her to get physical in whatever way she wants – with a kiss, a punch or anything in between. And if Chloe claims to feel nothing, he’ll leave her alone for good.
How can Chloe say no to a week of mindless passion with the man she hasn’t been able to get out of her head?
Meet the Author:
Avril Tremayne took the scenic route to becoming a writer, having tried her hand at shoe selling, nursing, teaching and public relations. Along the way, she also studied acting, singing, pottery, oil painting, millinery, German and Arabic – with very mixed results. She figures it’s a perfect background for telling romantic stories. She is a committed urbanite, and lives in Sydney, Australia, where her husband and daughter try to keep her out of trouble – not always successfully. When she’s not writing or reading, Avril can generally be found eating – although she does not cook – drinking wine, and obsessing about shoes!
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