Spotlight & Giveaway: Hard Deal by Stefanie London

Posted September 5th, 2018 by in Blog, Spotlight / 36 comments

Today it is my pleasure to Welcome author Stefanie London to HJ!
Spotlight&Giveaway

Hi Stefanie and welcome to HJ! We’re so excited to chat with you about your new release, Hard Deal!

 

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

Hilarious frenemies to lovers banter
Antics, shenanigans and all that good stuff
Reeeallly hot sex scenes!
Down to earth but ultra sexy hero

Duology – this is book #2 in the Melbourne After Dark duology
Entertaining and fun
Antics…did I say that already? These two are so much fun!
Love and laughter

 

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

“But you would turn me down?” He rifled through another box, acutely aware that he was being watched. “And stop staring at my ass.”
“Excuse me,” she spluttered. “I am not staring at your ass.”
She totally was. He could see her in the reflection off the thick poles that stabilised the shelves. “I should have HR write you up for that.”
“See, this is exactly what I’m talking about.” She threw her hands up in the air. “You’re all talk, no action. Face it, I could unbutton my shirt right now and you wouldn’t do a damn thing about it.”
Ka-ching! “Try me.”
He turned and leaned against the shelving unit, mimicking her pose. The crappy florescent lighting of the archive room did nothing to hide the delicious flush in Imogen’s cheeks. The colour spread all the way down her neck, and he imagined farther past the modest neckline of her shirt.
“It’s an expression,” she muttered.
“Now who’s all talk?”
She narrowed her eyes at him. “You think I’m a chicken?”
“Free range, obviously. Possibly organic.” He grinned. “Definitely one hundred percent chicken.”

 

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

Caleb is a joker, the second (and least favourite) son to an very successful CEO. He needs to forge his own path and start taking himself seriously, so that others will do the same – but without losing his cheeky sense of humour.

Imogen is Caleb’s opposite. She’s serious, hard working, ambitious. But she also needs to find her own way in life, and not be shaped by the things in her past which have dampened her vibrancy.

 

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

The biggest challenge was working through Imogen’s defensive shell. She’s a tough nut to crack! But I love a stubborn heroine, and she was a blast to write.

 

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

I love that it has a totally concurrent timeline with the first book in the series, Unmasked, as well as the short companion story, Masked Seduction. So we get to see the masquerade ball from three different perspectives, and it’s fun knowing other characters are off doing things at the exact some time Hard Deal is taking place.

The masquerade ball/mistaken Identity themes runs through both books and the story, and it as so much fun to keep twisting that environment to make the stories different from one another.

 

The First Kiss…

This scene takes place after Imogen has been busted spying on her target at the masquerade ball, and he’s holding her phone and the “incriminating” photos hostage.

“What if I gave you a kiss in exchange for my phone?” The words tumbled out before she could stop them. But it wasn’t a terrible idea—a kiss in exchange for walking away free of consequence.
A kiss she would most absolutely enjoy.
“A kiss, huh?” His smile turned wolfish. Hungry. “Sounds fair to me.”
“You have to let me go first. I don’t kiss men who’ve got a hold on me—literally or figuratively.”
The masked man immediately released her. He’d been holding her so gently there wasn’t even a sign that his fingers had been wrapped around her wrists. She’d be able to pretend it never happened. Though something told her she wouldn’t forget it anytime soon.
“Okay, ground rules for this kiss.” She sucked in a breath. “It’s a kiss, nothing more. You try to pin me down again and I’ll knee you where it hurts. Got it?”
“Got it.”
Adrenaline pumped through Imogen’s veins, giving her body a jittery, overstimulated feel. Everything was sensitive—from her nose sucking in the scent of his cologne mixed with the grass beneath them to her palms pressing against his muscled chest. Even the cotton beneath her fingertips was sublime.
“Do you want a countdown?” he asked. “I’ll start with three.”
She placed one hand by his head, the blades of grass tickling her skin. Music floated softly from the ball, the garden otherwise peaceful and quiet. Luckily for Imogen, no one could hear the blood fizzing in her veins.
“Two.”
Leaning forward, she angled her head over his, her lips parting in anticipation. There was a slight scent of alcohol on his breath, but it was richly pleasant. His lips were curved and full, and his jaw was freshly shaven and smooth.
“One.”
She closed the remaining distance and pressed against him, fusing them from the lips all the way down. Heat enveloped her as she melted into him, her thighs softening as she rested on her forearms. His tongue greeted hers, gently at first, probing and tentative. But it only took a second for the kiss to turn wild.
Then his hands were at her back—one sliding up to cup her head and the other sliding down to press her hard against him. The kiss was confident, possessive. She groaned into him, eyes fluttering. He flexed beneath her, rolling his hips up to meet the tender space between her legs. Rubbing…no, grinding. It was sensual and basal and more than a little dirty. The kind of kiss that a girl like her never seemed to get.

 

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

IMOGEN UNLOCKED THE door to the archive room and held it open for him, making a sweeping gesture with her hand as though she were leading him into a ballroom. “Now hurry up. It’s home time.”
Caleb chuckled to himself as he started hunting for the box of archived promotional materials. “You never did answer my question.”
“Which one?”
“About whether you had a date tonight.” He pulled the lid off a box and rifled through the contents. Nope, not that one.
“Why do you care about my love life?” She leaned against a steel rack that housed row after row of identical brown boxes. The way she folded her arms under her bust made the buttons strain on her shirt. “It’s not as interesting as yours.”
“Your love life isn’t interesting because you keep turning me down.”
She rolled her eyes. “I’ve come to the conclusion that you’re all talk, Caleb. You make these pithy remarks and dirty little jokes but you haven’t actually asked me out. I’m not sure I would go so far as to use the C-word, but…”
“The C-word?”
“Chicken.”
Was the Prim Miss Hargrove calling his bluff? He raised a brow. “You sure I haven’t asked you out?”
“Nope, not once. And I know you have asked out other women in the office. Tiffany from accounts. Stella from payroll.” She ticked the names off with her fingers. “Bethany from the assistant pool. She was a temp, but I’m still counting it.”
“I had no idea you were keeping track.” That pleased him greatly. “Are you aware they all said yes?”
“I am. Seems nobody turns you down.”
“Except you.”
“I haven’t turned you down.” She clicked her nails against the metal shelf behind her. “Yet.”
“Yet.”
“You’re too busy beating around the bush to ask.”
“But you would turn me down?” He rifled through another box, acutely aware that he was being watched. “And stop staring at my ass.”
“Excuse me,” she spluttered. “I am not staring at your ass.”
She totally was. He could see her in the reflection off the thick poles that stabilised the shelves. “I should have HR write you up for that.”
“See, this is exactly what I’m talking about.” She threw her hands up in the air. “You’re all talk, no action. Face it, I could unbutton my shirt right now and you wouldn’t do a damn thing about it.”
Ka-ching! “Try me.”
He turned and leaned against the shelving unit, mimicking her pose. The crappy florescent lighting of the archive room did nothing to hide the delicious flush in Imogen’s cheeks. The colour spread all the way down her neck, and he imagined farther past the modest neckline of her shirt.
“It’s an expression,” she muttered.
“Now who’s all talk?”
She narrowed her eyes at him. “You think I’m a chicken?”
“Free range, obviously. Possibly organic.” He grinned. “Definitely one hundred percent chicken.”
She licked her lips. Stalling. “There are cameras in here.”
“So turn the light off. Dad’s big on security but he’s too tight to spring for infrared.” He waited for her to back down. “No one will know.”

 

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

Caleb doesn’t need music, he’s got moves all on his own!

 

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

That it’s important to stay true to yourself and when you do, you’ll attract the right people to you.

 

What are you currently working on? What are your up-coming releases?

I’m currently working on the third and final Bad Bachelors book, Bad Influence! This is the story which answers all the unanswered questions, which wraps up all the loose ends and hopefully will give readers the closure they’ve been looking for. It’s emotional and sexy and sweet, and I had a blast writing it.

Bad Influence will be out in February 2019.
 

Thanks for blogging at HJ!

 

Giveaway: One signed copy of Unmasked and some Stefanie London swag.

 

To enter Giveaway: Please complete the Rafflecopter form and Post a comment to this Q: Have you ever made any important relationships – romantic or platonic – at work?

 
a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

Excerpt from Hard Deal:

As far as Imogen Hargrove was concerned, this week could take a long walk off a short pier. Or go into space and take its helmet off. If she was a potty-mouthed kind of woman, she might’ve had a few more words to employ in explaining exactly how much she’d hated this week.

But alas, she could taste the soap in her mouth before any four-letter words had the chance to form.

“Breathe,” she said to herself as she tidied her desk. “The day is almost over.”

Most days she loved her job. Being an executive assistant to the CEO of the most respected architecture and construction firm in Australia had its perks. Like getting to work with a host of amazingly talented, smart and passionate people. Not to mention the little blue box that appeared on her employment anniversary every year.

But today had been the cherry on top of a giant pain-in-the-butt sundae. Not only had she managed to spill her morning cappuccino all over herself, but then she’d missed the start of the management meeting because she’d been frantically trying to get the stain out. Which wouldn’t have been so bad, except that her arch-nemesis had swooped in and made her look disorganised by handing out the wrong agenda. Imogen was positive he’d done it on purpose. Then—like a sign from the gods that she really should have stayed in bed—her boss had demanded she shuffle his entire afternoon five minutes before he was due to present at the finance team’s quarterly town hall.

Thank God Jason had been able to step in. Imogen bit back a smile as she thought of the CEO’s son. Apart from being a total hottie, he was being groomed to take over the company. Good looking and ambitious, traits that went together like peanut butter and chocolate as far as she was concerned. Chances were she’d be working for him. Intimately. All the long hours and late nights trapped together in the office sounded like a scene straight out of one of those raunchy books her friend Lainey loved to read.

You could do with something a little raunchy in your life. You’re one bad date away from becoming a born-again virgin.

Ugh. How was it her fault the dates she’d been on recently had less snap, crackle and pop than her morning bowl of Rice Bubbles? She’d tried to be funny and interesting and cute enough for a guy to take her to bed…but either she was picking the wrong guys, or she had no idea how to be any of those things.

She brushed her hands down the grey pencil skirt that covered her knees and matched the pearls around her neck. Her friends teased her for her “limited colour palette” but Imogen knew what worked for her. Monochrome made her mornings easier. Besides, it was important to look professional. She had a feeling Jason would appreciate that about her.

“What’s got you looking so dreamy, Imogen? Wait, don’t tell me.” Caleb Allbrook sauntered into her office with a swagger that made Imogen’s thighs automatically press together. “Daydreaming about me again?”

Then there was the CEO’s other son. The one who managed to get her feminine hormones singing like an opera of canaries at full volume even though he was bad news in every sense of the word.

The guy was trouble enough for an entire Taylor Swift album.

“I can barely restrain myself,” she said drily, not even attempting to keep the disdain out of her voice. “You should leave before I throw myself at your feet. It would be best for us both.”

Caleb raised a brow. He was as handsome as his brother, without a doubt. But whereas Jason was all serious, moody glances and smooth, in-command tones, Caleb was his polar-opposite. The younger Allbrook brother was always quick with a snappy comeback, and he didn’t take anything or anyone seriously. The guy oozed so much sex appeal he should be listed as a controlled substance. He was cocky as all get-out and most women in the office swooned whenever he walked past, which only inflated his giant ego further.

“Who am I to turn down a woman in need? Should I close the door or do you want an audience?” He wrapped a hand around the doorknob and waited for her response.

It was times like this that Imogen wondered if she should start swearing, because it seemed like the perfect time to use the F-word. Preferably with either a “you” or “off” following it. “What do you want, Caleb?”

His full lips curved into a wicked grin and Imogen had to tamp down the excitement zipping through her. Dammit, when was her body going to get the memo on this one?

Caleb Allbrook is not your type. It doesn’t matter if you never have another date in your life, he’s not for you.

“A moment of your precious time, Ms. Hargrove.” He walked over to her desk and planted both palms on the smooth, wooden surface.

“Miss Hargrove.”

“Single and loving it, huh? Good for you.”

She oscillated between wanting to run her fingers through his thick, wavy hair and needing to slap him across the face with her binder. As usual. The guy was her kryptonite. In every other scenario, Imogen prided herself on her poise and level-headedness. On her ability to be the cool cucumber in a room full of ticking bombs. But around Caleb Allbrook, her brain cells packed their bags and flew on a one-way ticket to Fiji.

“Can we get to the part where you tell me what you need so I can do it and go home?” she said, huffing.

“It’s dangerous to agree before knowing what I’m going to ask.” He chuckled. “Okay, fine. Enough with the death stare. I need you to help me find the marketing materials from the fifty-year anniversary campaign.”

“Shouldn’t someone from your team be able to assist you with that?” She raised a brow. “I assume at least one of the people you hired will have the requisite technical skills to navigate our shared folder system.”

“Now, now. There’s no need to be snippy, Miss Hargrove.” He smirked. “And I need the originals, not the files.”

She groaned internally. That meant a trip to the archive room in the building’s basement. The CEO was paranoid about people having access to it. Something to do with a fire-related accident before her time that resulted in a ton of tax paperwork being lost. Never mind the fact that smoking was now prohibited in offices and that they had sprinklers and fire alarms in every section of the building. Oh, and technological advancements meant they had electronic copies of everything. Regardless, there were only three keys to the archive room in the whole company. The CEO’s, Jason’s and hers.

Caleb hadn’t made the cut.

“Does it have to be done now?” she asked, glancing at her inbox. Imogen had a rule about Friday afternoons: never leave the office with outstanding tasks on the to-do list. But today she was itching to get out of there.

An image flickered in her mind—a mask hanging from her bedroom door. The white feathers, crystals and shimmering lengths of rose-gold chain were all waiting to adorn her.

“It’ll take five minutes,” he said, motioning for her to follow him. “If it gives you any more motivation, it’s for Jason. I believe you convinced him to present to the bean counters, so he couldn’t make the request himself.”

She sighed and pushed up from her chair. “Fine, but make it quick. I’ve got somewhere to be.”

“Hot date?”

Hardly. After her last few dates had ended with a “you seem like a nice person but there’s no spark” conversation, she’d started to wonder if it was worth the bother. There was only so much rejection a woman could take before getting paranoid that she had some third head only other people could see. Just once she’d like a guy to get all hot and bothered over her. Just once she’d like to be the object of someone’s desire. Was that too much to ask?

No, tonight was definitely not a date. But she wasn’t about to tell Caleb about the sorry state of her love life. Undoubtedly, he’d laugh in her face. Because as much as he joked and teased and flirted, he’d never once asked her out. Never once made an actual move.

Why do you care? It’s not like you want him to ask.

Sure. But Imogen was sick of being ignored. Unfortunately, that seemed to be her lot in life. In any case, she’d put aside worries over her own lack of love life to focus on someone else’s love life. Her sister, Penny, was getting married in ten short weeks to Daniel the Duke of Douchetown.

It was bad enough that her future brother-in-law’s stuffy old-money family had given Penny hell when they’d first gotten engaged. She’d ended up at Imogen’s place in tears on more than one occasion after they’d made her feel unworthy. But now Imogen had a sneaking suspicion that her fiancé was cheating. She’d spotted him flirting with a blonde woman at a bar when he’d lied to Penny and told her he was in Sydney for work.

So, she’d hatched a plan to catch him in the act. In disguise, of course.

Excerpts. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.
 
 

Book Info:

A deal with the devil…but who comes out on top?

Imogen Hargrove agrees to go on a date with the infamous Caleb Allbrook if he’ll dig up dirt on her sister’s cheating fiancé. After leaving her own two-timing ex, Imogen is determined to save her sister from heartbreak. Caleb might be tempting…seductively charming, even. But Imogen won’t make the same mistake twice: no more playboys!
Book Links: Amazon | B & N | iTunes | Kobo |
 
 

Meet the Author:

Stefanie London is the USA Today bestselling author of over twenty contemporary romances and romantic comedies.

Stefanie’s books have been called “genuinely entertaining and memorable” by Booklist, and her writing praised as “Elegant, descriptive and delectable” by RT magazine. Her stories have earned accolades such as the RT Top Pick and have achieved bestseller status with USA Today and iBooks.

Growing up, Stefanie came from a family of women who loved to read. After sneaking several literature subjects into her ‘very practical’ Business degree, she worked in HR and Communications. But writing emails for executives didn’t fulfil her creative urges, so she turned to fiction and was finally able to write the stories that kept her mind busy at night.

Originally from Australia, she now lives in Toronto with her very own hero and is currently in the process of doing her best to travel the world. She frequently indulges in her passions for good coffee, lipstick, romance novels and anything zombie-related.
Website | Facebook | Twitter |
 
 
 

36 Responses to “Spotlight & Giveaway: Hard Deal by Stefanie London”

  1. bunnyclem

    Yes, I met my husband at work! We’ve been together for 11 years now. Thanks for sharing and for the giveaway!

  2. Kathleen Bylsma

    Platonic but very important in the respect that we worked well together: male and female

  3. Lynne Brigman

    Good friendship but not a romantic relationship!

    Thank you for the awesome giveaway ❤

  4. Joye

    I am friendly with my co workers but that’s as far as it goes. I would never jeopardize my job

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