Spotlight & Giveaway: Santiago’s Convenient Fiancee by Annie O’Neil

Posted January 12th, 2017 by in Blog, Spotlight / 29 comments

Today it is my pleasure to Welcome author Annie O’Neil to HJ!
Spotlight&Giveaway

Hi Annie and welcome to HJ! We’re so excited to chat with you about your new release, Santiago’s Convenient Fiancee!

 
Muchas gracias! (Please let me have gotten that right!)
 

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

Oh jeez – this is waaaay too long but how about:
S is for Sizzling
C is for aiiieee Carumba
and
F is for get the freak out of town we’re going to Miami!

 

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

I have to confess, I like a lot of lines in this book. It was incredibly fun to write and my brain was on constant buzaroo status….this one’s pretty fun – the entrance of our heroine, Saoirse:

The skid down the embankment was more snowboarder with a portable defibrillator than cautious EMT adhering to Health and Safety codes. First came the boots in a cloud of gravel and dust, then a set of….decidedly female legs….a swoop of a waist and…kaching! This woman wore her regulation jumpsuit as if she were delivering a sexy singing telegram. Hard to do, harder to pull off.

 

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

The hero is…mmmm….weak-kneed moment! He is one of four brothers….they’re all rebels in their own way because they’ve had a pretty dark past (no spoilers yet!)…but he’s a hottie. Leather jacket wearing, motorcycle riding, ex-military doc turned paramedic with some brothers to reconnect with. What’s not to love?

As for the heroine? She’s great. I would totally want to be friends with her. Her name is Saoirse (pronounced: seeer-shuh) and she is from Ireland. Dumped at the altar. Boo. Reinventing self in Miami…Yea! And is feisty with a capitol F.

 

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

This was the first time I had worked with other authors. Cue: the rather fabulous Amy Ruttan, Amalie Berlin and Tina Beckett.

Let me tell you – these ladies are GREAT and I would write with them again in a heartbeat. Wait…were we talking about the hard part? Well – the challenge of working together turned out to be not that hard, what was great fun was figuring out how to weave our stories together

 

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

The fact that it’s part of four is pretty great, but this book really transported me to Miami (err…confession – not that I’ve been but I had a GREAT screensaver for the duration of writing the book and was super keen on margaritas…wait. I’ve always been keen on margaritas).

Both the characters have super sass. Because there are four books we were really able to create strong environments – the two hospitals where all of the brothers work (you got it – they’re ALL doctors), a great bar – Mad Ron’s – and beautiful, sun-soaked Miami to boot.

 

The First Kiss…

Caution! Woot! Woot! Loud siren noises going off everywhere!
Her eyes were magnetically drawn to his lips.
Beware! Beware the most perfect lips in the whole of Miami.
Her breath became all jaggy and uncontrollable. He did the lip thing. Saoirse had no choice.
She went up on tiptoe and kissed him.
From the moment her lips touched his she didn’t have a single lucid thought. Her brain all but exploded in a vain attempt to unravel the quickfire sensations. Heat, passion, need, longing, sweet and tangy all jumbled together in one beautiful confirmation that his lips were every bit as kissable as she thought they might be.
Snippets of what was actually happening were hitting her in blips of delayed replay.
Her fingers tangled in his silky, soft hair. Santi’s wide hands tugged her in tight, right at the small of her back. There was no doubting his body’s response to her now. The heated pleasure she felt when one of his hands slipped under her t-shirt elicited an undiluted moan of pleasure. He matched her move for move as if they had been made for one another. Her body’s reaction to his felt akin to hitting all 100 watts her body was capable of for the very first time.
She wanted more.
No.
She wanted it all. The whole package. The feelings. The pitter pat of her heart. Knowing it was reciprocated. Being part of a shared love. Not some sham wedding so she wouldn’t have to live in a country where her soul had all but shriveled up and died.
She felt Santi’s kisses deepen and her will-power to shore up some sort of resistance to what was happening plummeted. This felt so real. And a little too close to everything she’d hoped for wrapped up in a too-good-to-be-true package. The sort of thing didn’t happen to her. And it wasn’t. She’d started it, Santi was just responding. She heard herself moan and with its escape – her resolve to resist abandoned her completely.

 

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

I would pick this scene when they are first in the ambulance together – first shift – second impressions…a chance for each of their buttons to be hit..a chance for each actor to shine:

‘You’re not a big fan of speed limits are you? ’ Santi finally broke the silence after fifteen minutes of oppressive quiet in the front cab of the ambulance.
‘I think you meant to say, do you always deal with the heavy traffic of Miami so beautifully, Murphy? Especially since I was late and now require you to take the law into your hands so we can get to our assigned area in time.’
‘Absolutely. That’s exactly what I meant to say,’ He nodded and grinned, his hand slamming against the dashboard as she took another corner without hitting the brakes. ‘Practicing for the racetrack?’ He threw out, trying to add some more light to her thunderously bad mood. Not that his was all that brilliant.
‘You better believe it. I’ve got three races on Saturday and I’m not letting the likes of you hold me back from the winner’s circle.’
‘No joke?’ He pushed against the dash turning in the seat so he could face her, even though her eyes were glued to the road and the last thing he’d be receiving was eye contact.
‘I wouldn’t joke about something like that.’
He felt her mood lift.
‘What kind of races?’
‘Pony car,’ she answered as if there weren’t any other type of racing. ‘They might be smaller than the muscle cars but definitely require greater skill at the wheel!’ She mimicked a television announcer as she spoke then tacked on a little musical sound effects riff for added impact, wrapping up with the first smile he’d seen on her lips all day.
‘Respect.’ Santi flick-snapped his fingers and gave a low whistle. So she was a speed junkie. Now that was sexy. He could picture Saoirse in racing gear a little too easily. The image took fireproof underwear to a whole other level of bowm chica bowm bowm! He swept away a cluster of torrid images and focussed on her fingers, snugly tucked round the steering wheel. Three o’clock. Nine o’clock. The girl didn’t mess around with one fingered casual driving. Chances were, she didn’t mess around with casual much of anything.
‘I’d like to see you in action.’
She shot him a quick sidelong glance. ‘What do you mean by that?’
‘Driving. Why? What did you think I meant?
‘Nothing.’ She answered too quickly, a hit of red streaking along the length of her cheekbone. ‘Nothing at all.’
He turned towards the side window to hide his smile, palm trees and fast food joints flashing past them at a rate of knots. He seemed to bring out the sandpapery side to Saoirse. How long would it take, he mused, the smile still playing on his lips, to shift the rough to the smooth? Not that he couldn’t apply the analogy to himself.
Or know if he had the staying power. Just arriving in Miami – far better by bike than plane – had set off the creeping tendrils of wanderlust. After years abroad he knew his dragon slaying had to happen here, on his home turf. Facing up to the responsibilities he’d left behind. But arriving armed with that knowledge wasn’t proving to make the task any easier.
A flash of blonde caught his eye as Saoirse gave her head a shake, her brain clearly as busy as his was – each of them thinking their way through problems neither of them were ready or willing to share.
All of which suited him to a T.
Working with “Murph” was shaping up to be a much needed anecdote to the tangle of disasters he was trying to sort out in his personal life.
‘Those two chaps,’ Saoirse began tentatively, tossing a quick glance in his direction. ‘The ones standing at the ER desk beside me. Are you related or something?’
The mood in the cab shifted again – the chill factor on his side of the cab growing colder by the second.
Santi swallowed the urge to deny fraternity until he’d set things right. He’d come home to fix the fractured bonds, not make them worse. Who knew how dark a white lie could turn if it crept outside the confines of the ambo.
Her question – innocent enough – was a reminder that he didn’t know Saoirse at all and no matter how un-getting-to-know-you their conversation had been up to this point…he wasn’t up for this sort of fact finding mission.
‘What makes you say that?’
She made a ‘duhh’ sound before putting on a perfect mimic of a Miami Beach party girl voice, ‘I know I’m just a little girly wirly, but I have these things called eyes in my head and I used them and then I added up everything I saw and I am beginning to think your parents had more than one child. What’s the deal? They seemed all fancy surgeon-y. You obviously know a whole lot more than a paramedic? Why the downgrade?’
‘Is that how you see yourself?’ Santi shot back. ‘As a downgraded specialty nurse.’
Saoirse bit back just as quickly. ‘Not in the slightest.’ It was just too painful to stay in NICU. All those little babies…
Her knuckles whitened against the steering wheel as she trotted out her line, ‘I just felt I could be more hands on when I moved here if I drove an ambulance.’
‘Ditto.’
‘But that doesn’t explain why you didn’t say hi. I mean, they are your brothers aren’t they?’
‘Que?’
‘You heard me. I saw the look in your eyes. You couldn’t get out of there fast enough. What’d you do? Steal their lunch money or drop one of them on their heads when they were a baby?’
Santi’s left hand shot out instinctively, his fist connecting with the door in a short, sharp punch. El horno no está para bollos! ‘Remind me not to play darts with you, chica.’
‘Easy tiger…just want to know who I’m stuck with on shift is all.’ There was a curl of an apology woven through the shock in her eyes. And more than a little wariness. Santi wouldn’t have blamed her if she pulled a wheel-screeching U-turn, headed back to the hospital and requested a new partner. Punching things wasn’t his style but she’d aimed, shot and unwittingly scored a bulls-eye. He’d made all of his brother’s lives a whole lot more difficult than they’d needed to be after his parents were killed and hauling around the burden of guilt for the last fifteen years had all but buried him.
‘Sore subject.’
‘No kidding,’ she muttered, slowing the vehicle down and pulling into a parking lot across from the beach.

 

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

Oh my gosh – lots of sexy latin stuff. Anyone here a Mana fan? They’re Mexican so wrong coast really…but you get the idea…lots of slow, sexy roll your hips and shake your booty to….mmmmnnnn….

 

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

I’d love people to enjoy their journey, have some laughs and get sucked in to the Valentino Brothers drama. It’s a great quartet – and I’m not just saying that…I really, really, really enjoyed being part of this. Feel proud.

 

What are you currently working on? What other releases do you have planned for 2017?

I’ve got LOADS this year (someone went a bit bonkers on the keyboard in 2016!). Very excited for Her Hot Highland Doc in March and then I’m part of a great series at Paddington’s Children’s Hospital based in London (my first Sheikh!)…then a duet with myself set in Italy and a Christmas book. I haven’t exactly written it yet but just think…White Knight…and you’ll get a little teaser.
 

Thanks for blogging at HJ!

 

Giveaway: I have got two copies of Santiago’s Convenient Fiancee to give away.

 

To enter Giveaway: Please complete the Rafflecopter form and Post a comment to this Q: What city get you excited to visit. I haven’t been to Miami, but it is TOTALLY on my bucket list (especially since a friend just moved there and I have place to stay now!)

 
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Excerpt from Santiago’s Convenient Fiancee:

Santi clenched his fists so tightly it hurt. Good. There was still feeling in them. He shot his fingers out at full length simultaneously giving them a hard shake. The movement jettisoned him back to memories he thought he’d left back in Afghanistan. Syria. Africa. Wherever. Didn’t matter. Dog tags were dog tags. CPR worked or it didn’t. The need to shake it off and stay neutral was the same no matter where he was.
What mattered now was the chest in front of him needing another round of compressions. Fatigue couldn’t factor. Giving this guy another shot at living did.
‘Where the hell is the ambulance,’ he bellowed to anyone who might be in the vicinity. The only answer…the echo of his own voice reverberating off the cement stanchions of the underpass. Raw. Frustrated.
Santi wove his fingers together again and pressed the heel of his palm to the man’s chest ignoring the worn clothes, the stench of someone who had slept rough too many nights and the fact he’d been providing CPR for twenty minutes since he’d rung for an ambo.
‘C’mon Miami!’ He growled, keeping steady track of the number of compressions before stopping to give the two rescue breaths that just might jump start this poor guy’s system. ‘Give the man a chance.’
He glanced at the man’s dog tags again. Diego Gonzalez.
‘What’s your story, amigo?’ He tugged off his motorcycle jacket, leaving it here it fell on the dry earth before beginning compressions again. He might leave it for Diego once the ambulance turned up and they got a shot or two of epi and some life back into him. From the state of Diego’s clothes, the world had given up on him. Well. He sure as hell wouldn’t. He’d seen it time and again since he’d left the forces. Veterans unable to find a path after their time overseas. Nothing computing anymore. Lives disintegrating into nothing. He might’ve hung up his camos just a few months ago, but the last thing he was going to do was forget the men who’d given the military their all only to find life had little to offer when they came home.
Home.
The word was loaded, and just as dangerous as a sniper bullet. He shook his head again, tightening his fingers against his knuckles as he pressed.
…twenty-nine, thirty.
As he bent to give another two breaths he heard the distant wail of a siren.
‘Finally.’
One. Two. Three…

‘Ready or not! Here we come!’ Saoirse flicked on the whoop-whoop of the sirens, loving the wail of sound that cleared a path in the thick of Miami’s commuter traffic.
‘For crying out loud, you mad Irish woman! You’re not in your racing car now.’
‘Is that you angling for a ride this weekend, Joe?’ Saoirse grinned.
‘I’ll be happy to make it through this shift alive, thank you very much. And then you are bringing me straight to the Cantina. Safely.’ He added with a meaningful as she took the next turn at full pelt. ‘And heaven help your next partner. They’re going to need nerves of steel.’
Saoirse laughed, weaving between the cars as if she were barrel racing a horse she’d known since it was a colt. Smooth, fluid. It was grace in motion if weaving an ambulance through grumpy Floridian drivers was your thing. It was hers. Hadn’t always been. But speed ran through her blood now and the tropical heat suited her to a T.
At least something in the past year had turned out alright.
Life had well and truly shot her in the foot, but it had also given her a visa to the States. It should’ve been fiancée visa, but the student visa did the same trick. Not that the change of direction still wasn’t raw. Still too fresh to discuss. She gave her head a quick shake and refocused.
‘What kind of cake will you be having, then Joe? Not that awful rainbow coloured thing you had on your birthday, I hope.’
‘Hey, little whippersnapper. It’s my retirement party – not your 12th birthday.’
‘I’m partial to coconut.’ She gave him a cheeky wink, eyes still glued to the traffic. ‘We don’t get that sort of thing in Ireland. Want me to call the desk and tell them it’s your favorite?’
Joe pressed his hands to the dashboard of the ambo as Saoirse hit the brakes then the gas pedals in quick succession as a very expensive looking convertible whizzed past them, horn blaring.
‘What’s up with them?’
‘They weren’t expecting Annie Oakley behind the wheel, Saoirse.’ Joe hollered. ‘For the love of my retirement check! You’re going to give me a coronary before we get to the call!’
‘Joe! What are the chances you’re going to pronounce my name properly before our last ever shift is over? Sear-SHUH,’ she over-exaggerated the vowel-heavy name her parents had lumbered her with. Maybe she should change that, too. Chopping off most of her hair had been downright liberating.
Joe made another mangled attempt at pronouncing it as they lurched through the next junction and Saoirse laughed.
‘If I’ve told you once, I’ve told you twice, just go with Murphy. If that’s too much for you “Murph” will do just grand.’
‘Sorry, darlin’.’ Joe spoke through gritted teeth as they shot through another red light. ‘I’m of the generation you do not call a lady by her last name.’
‘Is that what you think I am?’ Saoirse shot him a sidelong glance. ‘A lady?’
‘Well,’ grumbled her partner of two months, ‘Something like that, anyways.’
Saoirse threw back her head and laughed. ‘Don’t you worry, Joe. I’ll get you to your party safe and sound tonight. Your wife won’t have to worry. There’s only one heart attack we’re fixing today and that’s whoever is – ’ She abruptly pulled the ambulance to a halt at the side of an overpass where a motorcycle stood without a rider. ‘ – under this bridge. You ready for a bit of off-roading?’

‘Down here!’ Santi shouted as loudly as he could once the siren’s wail was turned off mid-screech and he heard the slamming of doors. Keeping count as he took in the change of environment was second nature to him. What wasn’t, was registering the stunt woman style entrance of the paramedic.
The skid down the embankment was more snowboarder with a portable defibrillator than cautious EMT adhering to Health and Safety codes. First came the boots in a cloud of gravel and dust, then a set of….decidedly female legs….a swoop of a waist and…kaching! This woman wore her regulation jumpsuit as if she were delivering a sexy singing telegram. Hard to do, harder to pull off.
‘How long you been at it?’
The lilting voice and ultra feminine figure didn’t match the “C’mon, buckaroo. I dare you to say something unprofessional’ attitude her face was actively working. Fine. Suited him. He wasn’t here to pick up a date.
‘Twenty-four minutes. What took you so long?’
‘You look like you know what you’re doing,’ she shot back, all the while pulling out the pads to her 12-lead ECG. ‘Why haven’t you got him back, yet?’ Her blue eyes sparked with confrontation as she gave a satisfied ‘humph!’ in response to his lack of one.
Feisty.
‘It’s a long time to carry out compressions.’
‘That’s very wise for an EMT.’
‘Paramedic,’ she snapped, unshouldering her run bag on the ground opposite him and pressing two gloved fingers to Diego’s carotid pulse point, eyes glued to his. If this was a staring contest he would’ve been happy to stay all day but they had a life to save.
‘Are you sure it’s been that long or are we just guestimating?’
‘”We’ve” been timing.’ His eyes stayed on hers. ‘Still early days yet.’ He gave her a look that said ‘You give up easy,’ received a glare in return as she ripped open the man’s shirt – all without blinking. Even the sea went cloudy sometimes, but not her blue eyes. There were as clear as could be. Limitless.
Santi refocused on his hands. ‘He’s a vet.’
‘You, too?’
Wasn’t much of a stretch to make the link. One life wasn’t worth more than another, but some prodded at your conscious a bit harder.
‘Marines.’ He never gave much more information than that. He nodded towards the unconscious man. ‘Diego Gonzalez. That’s the name on his tags, anyhow. Thirty!’ He gave the two breaths, as she applied the monitoring pads to the heavily tattooed chest.
‘Joe! How’re you coming with the AED?’ She shouted over her shoulder, a swish of short blonde hair following in her wake as she began peppering Santi with questions. ‘Have you sprayed Nitroglycerin, injected epinephrine, anything?’
‘Yeah. I keep it just here in my invisible magic bag of tricks.’
‘Easy there cowboy. It was just a question.’
He checked his tone before he continued. She was just doing her job. He needed to do his.
‘I saw him stagger at the side of the road when I was riding past. Then he fell down the embankment. I’m an off-duty doct- paramedic’ he quickly corrected. Coming to Miami was about looking forward, not what he’d left behind. ‘I was on my bike so…no run bag. That’s why I called you guys. There are some cuts and bruises that’ll need looking at and I’m pretty sure he could do with a saline drip.’ He nodded down at Diego’s dry skin. ‘Dehydrated. Big time.’
‘Right. Guess we better get to it, then.’ She raked around in her bag as her partner skidded to the bottom of the hill in a slow motion version of – what was her name anyway? He hadn’t seen her round the depot when he checked in to get his schedule. Santi’s eyes flicked to her badge.
Murphy.
He gave a satisfied smile. Irish. He’d thought that was what her accent was. Hopefully she’d brought some of that fabled Irish luck along with her, too.
‘Open wide, Diego.’
Santi watched as she swiftly carried out the tracheal intubation and attached the airbag and oxygen tanks together. The woman was no stranger to a cardiac arrest. That was for sure.
‘Joe! Have you got that AED ready or not? And how about some epinephrine for the poor lad?’
‘Give a man a chance, woman!’ Her partner huffed as he handed over the paddles for the AED unit after he’d pressed the power button. ‘I’ll load you up some epinephrine.’
‘Thanks, Joe. You’re the best tutor a girl could ask for – ’ Her eyes zapped to Santi as the AED began its telltale charging noise. ‘Are you clear? Wouldn’t want you getting shocked, now. Would we?’
He lifted his hands away from Diego’s chest and, once again, their eyes met. More of a lightning strike than a tiny click of connection. He didn’t know what she was seeing in his eyes, but the triumphant glint in hers made his raised hands feel more like a surrender than a safety measure.
‘Clear!’
The corners of her lips twitched into a smile at his microscopic flinch. She’d cranked up the volume on purpose. It was easy enough to see she wasn’t flirting, but not so simple to put a finger on the rise she was trying to get out of him. The day was pulsing with tropical heat, but this woman didn’t sweat. But, válgame dios!, did she ever have a glow.
He followed her gaze to the portable heart monitor. Nothing.
‘Joe?’
Her colleague wordlessly handed her a syringe loaded with a 1mg dose of epinephrine as Santi recommenced compressions.
‘Want me to get the backboard?’ Joe asked with an unenthusiastic glance up the steep embankment. The poor guy looked like he could’ve done with an iced coffee in the shade. January wasn’t usually this hot, but it’s what the weather man had brought.
‘Don’t worry, we don’t need it for this phase. Too uncomfortable for the patient while we’re doing compressions.’ Santi threw the guy a get-out of hard labor option. ‘When I finish this round, why don’t you take over compressions and I’ll get it – ‘
‘Hey! You’ll stay exactly where you are big shot.’ Murphy jumped in. ‘You’re not raking round our ambo. We don’t know you from Adam.’
‘He said he’s a paramedic.’ Joe interjected, obviously still hopeful he wouldn’t be clambering up the embankment. ‘Who are you with?’
‘No one today. I’m what they call ‘in-between positions.’ He saw Murphy’s eyes narrow at his words. She didn’t need to know he’d already polished his boots in advance of his first day at Seaside Hospital. ‘Twenty-nine. Thirty.’
He raised his hands away from Diego’s chest and looked directly into Murphy’s eyes as she pressed the charge button on the AED. Through the high-pitched whine of the charging defibrillator he felt an other-worldly surge of electricity hit him in the solar plexus. That indefinable connection that made a man cross a crowded room when his eyes lit on a perfect stranger and the organic laws of chemistry did their explosive best to bring them together. He hadn’t felt that charge of attraction in awhile. On a roadside giving CPR to a vet wasn’t exactly where he thought he’d feel it next, but…he hadn’t really thought there’d be a “next.” Too many ducks already waiting to be put in a row. He scraped a tooth along the length of his lower lip, eyes still glued to hers…the hot Miami sun wasn’t the only thing warming him up.
And then – she blinked.

Excerpts. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

 

Book Info:

Can a convenient arrangement last forever?

Saoirse Murphy came to Miami to bury herself in work, determined to forget the canceled wedding she left behind her, and she wants to stay… But only a green card will do!

Enter former combat doc Santiago Valentino. Having reluctantly returned to face his dark past, he’s only too happy to be distracted by his paramedic partner and her shocking proposal.

But when their “convenient” engagement tips into a very inconvenient passion, Santiago wonders…will she be his forever wife?
Book Links: Amazon B&N iTunes Kobo GoodReads  
 

Meet the Author:

Annie spent most of her childhood with a leg draped over the family rocking chair and a book in her hand. Novels, baking, movies and writing too much teenage angst poetry ate up most of her youth. Now, quite a few years on from those fevered daydreams of being a poet, Annie splits her time between corralling her husband (and real life Scottish hero) into helping her with their cows or scratching the backs of their rare breed pigs and spending some very happy hours at her computer writing.
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29 Responses to “Spotlight & Giveaway: Santiago’s Convenient Fiancee by Annie O’Neil”

  1. Patricia B.

    I like New Orleans for a fun trip. Want to go to New York City and Chicago for the museums, history, and the music.

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