Hi Amalie and welcome to HJ! We’re so excited to chat with you about your new release, Taming Hollywood’s Ultimate Playboy!
Tell us about the book with this fun little challenge using the title of the book:
P – Physical Therapist
L – Lingerie, black & lacy
A – Alpha bonehead
Y – Years since the
B – Big Brother’s Best Friend
O – Overdose
Y — Yearning
What’s your favorite line(s) from the book?:
“But, well, my rewind fantasies of that night were not very, you know, good. In a sexy way. They were mostly about me dragging that girl out by the hair and keying your car.”
That was easier to smile at. Like Grace would ever do either of those things. “If you’d keyed that car I would’ve never noticed,” Liam said, taking another bite of the dessert. “I still have it, though.”
“You do not.” The waiter replaced her dropped spoon, and Grace reached for it and helped herself to a bite this time.
“Yes, I do. It’s at a shop that restores old cars now. They’re gutting and rebuilding it. So, if you decide to key it in the future, I will notice and be very sad. So let’s keep talking about how sad it is that we’re both so hot and can’t have one another.”
“I never said I was hot.”
“No, that was me. I implied it. I thought you’d be better at reading between the lines than that. Or we could talk about why your—what did you call them, rewind fantasies? Why weren’t they satisfying? I’m told that fantasy me is a stallion.”
Please tell us a little about the characters in your book. What first attracts your Hero to the Heroine and vice versa?
This is always such a complicated question to me. So many factors trigger that first realization of attraction, and those factors are 100% in the past, as those feelings started during childhood.
Within the frame of the story, Liam is pampered and always told Yes, doted on, pampered. Grace yells at him, nags him, and all of it is for his welfare, not because she wants something from him. She was the girl next door, but her family was his only link to any family-like anything, so he had to keep his hands off her. Still needs to, and she tests his loyalty, challenges him, tests him, doesn’t let him get away with the same crap that everyone else does…
Grace fell for Liam when he was just her brother’s excessively cute best-friend who started spending every free minute at their house after school. He was broken, and she may have been young, but she wanted to make him whole. It doesn’t hurt that he’s got more cheeky charm than anyone has a right to. And she’s never been able to replace him.
How’s that for a ridiculously long answer? 🙂
When you sat down to start this book, what was the biggest challenge you faced? What were you most excited about?
This book was my first time writing to an outline conceived by someone other than me. So my biggest challenge was figuring out how to make the characters my own–which I think I did manage. It probably wasn’t technically any more difficult than any other book, but it was in my mind 🙂 And I’d do it again because I’m a big believer in challenging myself. It’s the best way to grow!
What, in your mind, makes this book stand out?
The Hollywood Hills Clinic continuity is sexy and glamorous–not exactly home and hearth reading found predominantly in the line–and still manages to pull in those loved storylines.
Taming Hollywood’s Ultimate Playboy has a couple of my favorite tropes: Older Brother’s Best Friend, Second Chance Love(sort of), and has a damaged hero. The hero and heroine are younger than usually found in the Medical line, and I got to run amok with a funny, smart-alec hero–lots of playful scenes to balance out the sexy scenes, or the ones needed to work through their histories.
The First Kiss…
He was going to be the end of her sanity. Should she have trusted that instinct to keep hiding things? She’d not trusted them because when she had, all those years she’d been wrong.
Mr. I-Know-What-You’re-Thinking-Because-of-Your-Feet would never have that problem. He studied body language, she studied bodily injuries. Not the kind of emotional injuries that might help her understand him.
And maybe that was why he was good at reading people. Maybe it wasn’t just study but something he’d developed during a rough childhood.
She sank back into her spot on the seat and looked toward her window as he uttered an expletive and dragged her back to him.
This time, rather than wrap an arm around her, he twisted and grabbed her by the hips. One second she was on the seat, the next she was in his lap. “You’re going to hurt your ankle!”
“Shut up, Grace.” He caught her by the back of the neck and pulled her against him, his mouth immediately on hers.
His lips, soft and sweetened with the lingering taste of berries, stroked and nibbled, coaxing her mouth open within seconds.
Her arms rested against his chest, but as his tongue sought hers and the kiss deepened, the fighting from the past long minutes fled her mind. Instinctively, her arms slid around his shoulders as his went around her. Wide, hot hands pressed against the cool skin of her bare back and on down to her hip to keep her close to him.
She’d seen him kiss countless women, and had always wondered what it was like even while envying them. Even when her coping mechanism was to pretend that she didn’t think anything about him at all.
It felt like a drug. Like it heightened her senses and tuned her into him so acutely that her heart changed rhythm to match his beat. She breathed his air and plowed her fingers into his hair to kiss him better, get him closer. Every kiss dragged her deeper into him.
A kiss like no other. If it was because of all his practice, she didn’t care.
If it was because she’d been starved for it for so long, had imagined it so many times, she didn’t care what that said about her either.
Their time together was almost at an end. Soon they’d be back at the clinic, and frequent visits would dwindle to only a few and then back to none. None, because that was normal for them. They’d done all they could to unweave all their ties six years ago, and she had no illusions that he’d start unweaving them again once he no longer had to have her with him. He might still want her, but there were so many women who could be whatever he wanted. A girlfriend without their baggage, without their obstacles, without jeopardizing the friendship he held dear.
This bubble that New York cast around them, it felt like a different planet. A place where they could talk about that stupid trench coat, and a place where inexplicable anger and hungry kisses could confirm that old desire still clung to them both. The only place it could exist.
If your book was optioned for a movie, what scene would you use for the audition of the main characters and why?
After Grace has decided to go after what she wants, there’s a therapy in a pool scene that I think nicely combines the playful flirting they do, along with some bigger emotions. It was also totally fun to write 🙂
“This exercise is not as advertised,” Liam said, sliding into the hotel’s rooftop pool he’d rented for the evening and had closed an hour early for his therapy with Grace, watching her across the pool where she stood in a black bikini so small only microkini enthusiasts would say it wasn’t revealing enough.
The woman’s bathing suits just kept getting smaller.
She dropped the towels she’d been carrying at the edge and slid into the water.
“It’s water. We’re going to be walking and swimming tonight, working the joint in three different ways.”
“And we could have done this at the clinic. I know what you’re up to, Watson.”
Driving me crazy.
The use of her last name got her attention and Grace swam to his side of the pool, no doubt because it was faster than walking, even though the water wasn’t more than waist deep on him. She stopped and stood in front of him, the water sluicing down her body, rippling over that soft, golden skin. He sighed and leaned back against the side.
True to her guarantees, his ankle improved a little every day. But his willpower? That was now limping along.
What came next? Topless pool therapy day?
Having a private pool suddenly seemed like a really legit reason for investing in real estate.
If he were into one-night stands, he’d find some woman to get naked with just to relieve the stress that spending every day with Grace in progressively smaller bathing suits was putting on his libido control.
“Not going to deny it?”
“Deny that I’m up to something?” The smile she gave him flashed so wickedly that he had to look anywhere but at her.
If your hero had a sexy-times play list, what song(s) would have to be on it?
So going to date myself here, but: Sex and Candy by Marcy Playground, Walk This World by Heather Nova
Also maybe the astoundingly dirty with incredible ear-worm potential: Closer by Nine Inch Nails
What do you want people to take away from reading this book?
Hmmm, I’m deliberately going to flub this question! Mostly because I’m complete crap when it comes to identifying themes 🙂
So, I’d like people to take away a warm happy feeling 🙂
What are you currently working on? What other releases do you have planned for 2016?
I am currently working on the last book in the Hot Latin Docs quartet with Annie O’Neil, Amy Ruttan, and Tina Becket, which is scheduled for release in January and February 2017. Four brothers, all broken by their shared past, and the women who save them 🙂
I have two releases in 2016, back to back. Next month Challenging The Doctor Sheikh, part of the Desert Prince Docs duet with Carol Marinelli.
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(I do. When it happens, I tend to chastise myself for being weird, but there is one who I still occasionally wonder about 🙂
Excerpt from Taming Hollywood’s Ultimate Playboy:
He saw her hand reach for the edge of the pool and heard her rapid breathing. She’d seen him when her head had cleared the water while breathing, or she’d seen someone there with her.
Grace’s head now popped over the edge and before he knew it she was emerging from the water, toned, tanned, and with the kind of curves that made the black bikini she wore look exactly like that lingerie…
No, not exactly. She hadn’t really had much in the way of hips last time. Now even her curves had curves.
His breath caught as their eyes met, but as she swung a leg up onto the edge of the pool one arm buckled and she toppled back into the water with a splash.
“Grace?” Had she hit something when she’d fallen back in? The concrete edge could do some damage…
He hobbled forward again.
Through training and sheer effort, Grace managed not to suck down a lungful of chlorinated water as she went under.
Eyes crystal and blue, like the inside curl of a summer wave.
What the devil was Liam doing there?
She grasped the edge of the pool and kicked hard as she pulled herself up again, turning immediately to plop sideways on the tiles, as graceless as a walrus, and breathing about as hard as one in full flounder.
Through sheer luck, she managed not to smash her face into the floor.
A walrus in a bikini was bad enough, one with an injury would just make it so much worse. And the last time she’d seen him, she’d— Oh, God.
Suddenly, she was eighteen again, and full to bursting with humiliation. Not the years-old variety—the kind you felt and then discarded—it felt as fresh as newly picked daisies, and her inner walrus wanted nothing but to escape back to the water.
Before the blazing heat roasting her cheeks could spread to the rest of her visible flesh, Grace snatched up her towel and climbed to her feet, whisking it around her before she’d even truly found her balance.
This wasn’t happening.
This was…chlorine poisoning. Had to be.
Or maybe oxygen deprivation.
She needed a mask.
Or just to get out of there. Before he figured out her transparent panic. Or saw the scars. Proof of yet more foolishness. And she’d really like him to think she’d come through that unmarked, or that they were basically invisible…since he’d never even deigned to visit her hospital room after it had happened. Not that she’d have wanted him to.
Liam had his hands up, a gesture of surrender, but his eyes reeked of concern—she’d assume it was fake except she’d seen that look before. Same frown. Same posture. Different setting…
But she was practically in the same freaking outfit. It was too much to hope this wasn’t real. She never got that lucky.
“You’re all right.” He said the words more than asked. “I didn’t mean to interrupt. I was just here… Thought I’d say hello.”
As he spoke, he backpedaled from the room about as smoothly as her first attempt to get out of the pool, strongly favoring one leg.
She tucked the corner of the towel to form a tight band above her breasts and, once covered, looked down at his feet—not only to indulge her curiosity but to have something as far from his head as possible to examine kept accidental eye contact from recurring.
Which was when she noticed one ill-fitting shoe, the sides bulging out from a splint supporting his ankle.
She coughed to force words through her tight throat. “You’re usually a better actor than that, aren’t you?”
Thankfully she hadn’t also honked when she’d spoken.
Grace shifted, arms crossing over her waist as if that would cover her better, or make sure he didn’t start drawing the same parallels between this and the last time she’d set eyes on him.
Pretend this was normal. Pretend the thought of running away didn’t make her feet tingle and her knees itch with anticipation. Say normal person words.
“Are you here to see me, Liam…Mr.…Liam?” She usually tried to be professional when addressing prospective patients, but ‘Mr. Carter’ felt even weirder than ‘Liam.’ But all of this felt wrong. Bad-dream wrong. Naked-without-your-homework-on-the-day-of-the-big-exam wrong.
What did a woman call someone from her past she no longer had a relationship with but whom she’d once forced to see her in her underwear? What was the proper, professional comportment for that situation?
“Or someone else, maybe?” Please, God, a lightning bolt would be good right about now. She could use a little smiting. Maybe not enough to die. There were lessons to teach actors to cry on command, where could she get lessons to learn to faint on command? Shouldn’t there be some holistic expert in pressure points who could teach her something for this kind of situation? Just in case it should come in handy again in the future.
“I was thinking…” He stopped the denial and shrugged his affirmation. “Yes. I’m here to see you.” He stopped his limping backward cadence and his arms fell lifelessly at his sides. “I sprained it. And with my schedule right now…”
Treatment. This wasn’t a coincidence. At least treatment meant she had something to do other than stand around and wonder if he could see her nipples through her bikini top as he’d been able to do through that ridiculous bra. Or the other stupid thoughts shouting in her mental echo chamber, none of which would make him go away any faster. But treatment might.
Examine him. Offer advice. Refer him to someone else. Call it a day!
But get dressed first.
Act normal. Like nothing is wrong.
Excerpts. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.
Forbidden to the A-lister…
When Grace Watson last saw Liam Carter she was in black lingerie and a trench coat at his door, while he gently—mortifyingly!—turned her down. Now Liam is Hollywood’s hottest property, and Grace is the top physical therapist he needs to literally get him back on his feet.
Grace tempted him then and she tempts him even more now. As her kindness banishes the demons that have always haunted him, is it possible that their second chance can heal his damaged heart?
Meet the Author:
Amalie lives with her family and critters in Southern Ohio, and she writes quirky, independent characters for Harlequin Medical Romance. Her favorite stories buck expectations with unusual settings and situations, and the belief that humor can powerfully illuminate truth—especially when juxtaposed against intense emotions. And that love is stronger and more satisfying when your partner can make you laugh through the times you don’t have the luxury of tears.
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