Spotlight & Giveaway: Secrets of a Bad Reputation by Joss Wood

Posted March 2nd, 2022 by in Blog, Spotlight / 18 comments

Today it is my pleasure to Welcome author Joss Wood to HJ!

Hi Joss and welcome to HJ! We’re so excited to chat with you about your new release, Secrets of a Bad Reputation!

Thanks for having me!

Please summarize the book for the readers here:

Kinga Ryder-White works for the family company as co-head of Publicity, along with her sister, Tinsley. Her grandfather is obsessed with their legacy as aristocratic Americans, and the Christmas before they are about to celebrate the company’s 1ooth year of being in business, Callum gives them a DNA test, demanding they explore their heritage. This test sets off a series of events that runs through the four-book trilogy.

Callum also insists that the bad boy of music, Griff O’Hare perform at the Ryder-White’s world-famous charity ball, a move Kinga protests. She’s in charge of the ball and she’s terrified that Griff will, somehow, sabotage her elite ball. But there’s are reasons why Griff has such an awful reputation…

Please share your favorite line(s) or quote from this book:

“I need to leave now to catch my flight,” she said, digging into the side pocket of her tote bag for a business card. She handed it over and watched him tuck it into the back pocket of his jeans. “I’ll pick up the tab and let you go back to doing what you seem to do best.”
“And that is?” Griff asked, laughter back in his eyes.
“Picking up random women in bars.”
Griff dipped his head and Kinga had the wild thought that he was about to kiss her. She should step back, retreat, but her feet refused to cooperate. She wanted him to kiss her, she realized; she wanted to know how he tasted, whether his big body was as muscled as she expected.
Dear God, this wasn’t good.
But instead of kissing her, Griff’s warm, whiskey-tinged breath drifted over her cheek before stopping an inch from her ear.
“Just to be clear, I wasn’t trying to pick up a random woman. I was trying to pick up you. See you soon, darlin’.”
Kinga stared at his broad back as he walked away, wishing that she could give in to her impulse to throw the heavy crystal tumbler at his head.
Maybe she should just order another drink. She sure as hell could use one.


Please share a few Fun facts about this book…

  • I’m fascinated by DNA and loved exploring the ramifications of having whatever you believe about yourself being blown away by science.
  • Secrets simply wrote itself…it was one of those books that fell together. In fact, the whole series did.
  • Along with DNA, I’m fascinated by the lengths people will go to protect those they love.
  • I once had a hairstyle just like Kinga’s. It was a good look when I was slim, young and bouncy. Hint: I am no longer young and bouncy. Or slim.


What first attracts your Hero to the Heroine and vice versa?

Kinga is a girl boss, someone who likes being in control so her attraction Griff is very annoying!

Lifting her head, she watched Griff O’Hare flash his famous half smile, half smirk at the excited waitress. Most of the men drinking in the luxury bar wore designer suits and thousand-dollar shoes—hair neatly brushed, ties precisely knotted and beards carefully trimmed—but O’Hare flouted the dress code with his faded jeans ripped at the knee, biker boots and a leather bomber jacket, a matte black helmet tucked under his arm. His nut-brown, naturally shot-with-gold hair was overlong and messy, and a thick layer of stubble covered his strong jaw.
A vibe of I-don’t-give-a-crap rolled off him.
If she were honest, she’d admit her stomach did feel a bit mushy, her skin prickly. But that was just biology. She, like most women, was programmed by evolution to look for the fittest, strongest, most masculine guy in the room as a potential mate.

Griff has had women throwing themselves at him since he was in his teens so Kinga’s prickly attitude is very refreshing…

“Nice to meet you, darlin’.”
The darlin’ pissed her off and lightning flashed in her honey-whiskey eyes. He watched her run elegant fingers through her short, bright blond hair. It took a certain amount of confidence to wear her hair so short, but with her high cheekbones, straight nose and cat-like eyes, she pulled it off.
“You can call me Kinga or Ms. Ryder-White but can the darlin’s, darlin’.”
Because he always preferred sass to subservience, Griff smiled. He wanted to ruffle her very proper feathers, so he added some extra drawl to his next words.


Did any scene have you blushing, crying or laughing while writing it? And Why?

There’s a hot sex scene involving cheesecake I wouldn’t want my mother to read!

“… the cheesecake is mine.”
Griff captured her fingers in his and gently, so very gently, kissed the tips. “Bet I could persuade you to share.”
“Bet you couldn’t.”
This was, after all, Junior’s cheesecake. She might not be able to finish a whole pizza pie, but she could scarf down an entire cheesecake with no problems at all. It was her superpower.
Griff’s eyes darkened to intense green, the color of Maine woods after a hard rain. Kinga felt her throat tighten and her nipples harden. She was old enough, experienced enough to know that he was contemplating eating her sweet treat in a very nonconventional way.
It surprised her to realize she didn’t have the slightest objection to combining food and pleasure…
Oh, there were a million reasons why sleeping with Griff was a mistake but, by all things holy, she couldn’t remember one. The ache between her legs needed to be assuaged; her skin craved his touch. Her mouth needed his on hers—immediately—and her hand itched to strip those beautiful clothes from his stunning, masculine body.
Even her mind, normally so clear-thinking, was silent.
“Tell me what you are contemplating, Kinga,” Griff asked her, scooting forward and wrapping his big hands around her thighs, just above her knees.
“I’m thinking that you would like to lick cheesecake off me,” Kinga whispered, surprised by her low, raspy phone-sex voice.
“You’d be right,” Griff replied. “I’ve been having cheesecake-inappropriate thoughts since boarding the damn plane.”
Feeling like she was operating outside of herself, Kinga flipped open the lid of the cheesecake box and, using her finger, scooped up a blob of filling and slowly sucked it off her finger. Griff’s eyes followed her actions and Kinga dropped her gaze to see his erection tenting his pants.
Griff was a big man, everywhere.
“My turn,” Griff said, echoing her actions. He smeared some filling down her neck and took his time licking her clean. Kinga heard someone’s hard breathing, realized it was hers, and shuddered. She’d only sucked her finger and felt his lips on her neck, she shouldn’t be this turned on…
Yet she was. And she had no intention of stopping…


Readers should read this book….

There’s a LOT going on in this book. There are family secrets, a mystery, some steamy scenes and an up-and-down romance between two very strong-willed characters.


What are you currently working on? What other releases do you have in the works?

I’ve just submitted the first book in a new Dynasties series and am currently working on the third book in my wedding-from-hell trilogy for Harlequin Presents. I’m also working on my passion project, a single title.

Thanks for blogging at HJ!


Giveaway: Because I live so far away and posting books across oceans is a nightmare, I’m giving away (5) Five ebook (ARC ) copies of Secrets of a Bad Reputation.


To enter Giveaway: Please complete the Rafflecopter form and Post a comment to this Q: Would you consider doing an hereditary DNA test? Are you an “I want to know to whom I’m related” or an “it doesn’t really matter” person? Curious minds want to know.

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Excerpt from Secrets of a Bad Reputation:

Kinga looked at the notepad he’d tossed on the table, saw the pages covered in his chicken scratch and what she thought might be lyrics.
Despite not wanting to invade his privacy, she nodded to the writing pad before looking away. “Are you writing again?”
Griff’s sigh was long and loud. “Mmm. I’ve been thinking about releasing an album of my compositions.”
Kinga swiveled on the couch to face him. “That’s fantastic!”
Griff grimaced. “It might be, if I knew if the songs were any good.”
It was so strange to hear the usually confident man sound so uncertain. “I’m sure they are great, Griff. I mean, the last album you released went platinum.”
“That was a while ago, Kinga,” Griff responded, looking troubled. “And I had a cowriter.” He placed his hand on the notepad. “This is all me…”
“I can’t imagine how hard it must be to put your creations out in the world,” she mused. “I suppose it must be like having a baby and putting his picture on social media and asking the world to comment on whether he’s ugly or not.”
Griff stared at her for a long time, his surprised expression eventually turning to amusement. “That’s exactly what it feels like. I couldn’t put it better myself.” Griff took his glasses off and put them into the top pocket of his untucked button-down. Today’s jeans were faded and thin, authentically aged, and he wore trendy, expensive sneakers on his feet. His hair was all over the place, probably because he’d spent the morning running his hands through it.
“How are your rehearsals going?” Kinga asked him. .
“Good, mostly. I’m a bit rusty,” Griff admitted. “It should go better now that I’ve finalized the set list.”
“Will my grandfather approve?” Kinga asked him, knowing that Callum had very definite ideas on what music he wanted Griff to perform.
“I’ve gone for jazz and classic standards, very similar to a concert I did in London. But I’ve tossed in a couple of modern songs to keep the younger crowd happy.”
Kinga twisted her lips. “I should warn you that my grandfather is planning to watch some of your rehearsals.”
“That’s not going to happen,” Griff told her, his expression implacable. “Nobody watches me rehearse. Nobody but the band, dancers and crew are allowed into my practice studio.”
“I’m here,” Kinga pointed out.
“Not for long,” Griff told her on a smile. He checked his watch, which was high-end and overly complicated. “I’m about to kick you out—the session starts in five minutes.”
Kinga pouted and fluttered her eyelashes at him. “Just a few songs, please? I’ll be as quiet as a church mouse.”
Griff squinted at her. “Mmm. One song and then you leave.”
Kinga bounced up and down, thoroughly excited. But if she only had five minutes, she needed to discuss business with him. Pulling her tablet from her bag, she powered it up before looking at Griff again. “Uh, a couple of quick questions. I’ve managed to book you onto a hugely popular morning talk show next week to discuss your comeback and the ball.”
Griff looked like he’d rather be hanged, drawn and quartered. “The least favorite aspect of my work.”
“Interviews are a necessary evil. So, what questions are off-limits? Same as for the press?” Kinga asked. She needed to produce a publicity pack for the talk shows and included in the briefing would be a list of dos and don’ts. Some interviewers pushed for more, but most respected the celebrity’s privacy. None of them wanted to run the risk of losing trust and not being able to book interesting guests.
Griff rubbed his hand over his stubbled jaw. “Uh, same as last time. I definitely don’t want to answer any questions about Sian.”
His twin and his former costar. Kinga didn’t know anything more about her than the man on the street. And she was curious, dammit.
“And I refuse to answer questions about my manager, his death or to comment on the rumors surrounding a supposed bust-up between us. They often try to sneak that question in.”
Kinga heard devastation in his voice and noticed fury in his eyes. She tipped her head to the side, wondering, as so many did, why he refused to talk about the man he’d once called his second father, his mentor and his best friend. “Okay,” she said.
“No questions about former lovers, my acting out, or that night in Phuket.”
Kinga frowned. What was he talking about? “What happened in Phuket? I didn’t read anything about you visiting Phuket.”
Griff grinned. “Ah, so you did read up on me?”
Kinga handed him a cool, get-over-yourself-smile. “I read the basics, O’Hare. I didn’t do a deep dive into your life.”
Griff dared to peek at her butt. “Now whose pants are on fire?”
“Jerk,” Kinga muttered. She looked into his eyes, saw the desire blazing within them and placed her hand on her heart, silently telling it to slow the hell down. They’d made love, yes, but she was a modern woman. One hot, wild night did not a relationship make; it didn’t even mean that he wanted a repeat.
It was just sex…
“I’ve been thinking about you,” Griff told her, taking her hand and squeezing her fingers.
She couldn’t deal with him looking and sounding so sincere. It gave her ideas and those she didn’t need.
“You don’t have to lie to me, O’Hare. I know exactly what that night was.”
“And what was it, Kinga?” Griff asked her, his voice surprisingly gentle.
Kinga attempted a casual shrug, hoping to sound blasé. “A wild night, a step out of time, something that wouldn’t be repeated.”
“It was wild, it was unexpected,” Griff admitted. “It’s also a night that I can’t stop thinking about. I can’t stop thinking about you.”

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

Book Info:

He uses his bad-boy persona as a shield until she gets past his defenses…

After years in seclusion, music megastar Griff O’Hare is about to reboot his career. Performing at Ryder International’s elite charity ball will rehabilitate his tattered reputation. But Kinga Ryder-White, who’s managing the ball, is wary of risking its success on a charismatic, but unreliable, hell-raiser. She’s the most uptight woman he’s ever met—and the only one who makes him lose control. After a searing night of passion, will Griff risk revealing the secrets of his bad reputation?
Book Links: Amazon | B&N | iTunes | kobo | Google |

Meet the Author:

Joss Wood loves books and traveling— especially to the wild places of Southern Africa and, well, anywhere. She’s a wife, a mom to young adults and slave to two cats, and the worst behaved dog in the world, who also happens to be the size of a small cow. After a career in business support and local economic development, she now writes full-time from her home in South Africa.
Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | GoodReads |

18 Responses to “Spotlight & Giveaway: Secrets of a Bad Reputation by Joss Wood”

  1. EC

    Would you consider doing an hereditary DNA test?

    I would.

    Are you an “I want to know to whom I’m related” or an “it doesn’t really matter” person?

    It doesn’t really matter to me.

  2. Nicole (Nicky) Ortiz

    Yes, I would like to know who I’m related to
    Thanks for the chance!

  3. Janine

    I am curious about my ancestry as I really don’t know anything about my family. But the cost keeps me from doing it.

  4. SusieQ

    I’ve done AncestryDNA. It’s fun trying to figure out how some of the matches are related.

  5. Amy R

    Would you consider doing an hereditary DNA test? Yes
    Are you an “I want to know to whom I’m related” or an “it doesn’t really matter” person? “it doesn’t really matter”

  6. Pammie R.

    It would be interesting to know what I came from. My sister is tracing our genealogy and I watch “Finding your root” on PBS all the time.

  7. Latesha B.

    Yes, I would do the DNA test because I would like to know if there are any diseases that I need to be aware of. I don’t care if I am related to anyone famous or not.

  8. Ellen C.

    We already know a lot of our family history. Probably wouldn’t take a test.

  9. Terrill R.

    I would consider a DNA, but if I probably wouldn’t need to. There’s been a number of relatives who’ve already done it and I could probably glean a lot from their’s.