Spotlight & Giveaway: Seduction at The Stargrass by Charlee James

Posted July 19th, 2021 by in Blog, Spotlight / 56 comments

Today it is my pleasure to Welcome author Charlee James to HJ!
Spotlight&Giveaway

Hi Charlee and welcome to HJ! We’re so excited to chat with you about your new release, Seduction at The Stargrass!

 
Hi! Thanks so much for having me!
 

Please summarize the book for the readers here:

Seduction at The Stargrass is about a driven heiress who desperately wants to join her family’s corporation to make positive changes to their business practices. Acquiring a trio of seaside resorts is her goal and the only way to obtain the position she wants. All goes according to plan until she meets the single dad who owns them and his spunky daughter.
 

Please share the opening lines of this book:

“You can do this.” Gemma Dalton’s words might’ve sounded convincing, but her reflection in the hand-carved Italian mirror showed a crease of worry between her brows, wide eyes, and flushed skin. Some might say she was hiding in the powder room of Dalton Hotel’s corporate offices located in Manhattan—she called it regrouping.

 

Please share a few Fun facts about this book…

  • When I wrote the first draft, the hero, Zale, wasn’t a single father. Something important was missing, and that something was actually someone…Mila! I loved how Zale’s daughter brought out the sensitive, nurturing side of this alpha male.
  • This book was a labor of love—I rewrote it four times. If you read it, I hope you enjoy Zale and Gemma’s story!
  • Many of my stories are set in New England. Things that fascinated me growing up, like salt marshes, cranberry bogs, beach cottages, and rocky coasts, can all be found in my books.

 

Please tell us a little about the characters in your book. As you wrote your protagonist was there anything about them that surprised you?

The working title of this book was The Hotel Tycoon and The Heiress. I’ve always been interested in writing a hotel series because I worked in the industry for nearly a decade. I love the happy energy that comes from helping and serving others. Zale is very driven and has a rag-to-riches story earned through his tenacity. He’s opened three of New England’s most luxurious resorts, all named for plants native to the area. Watch for Tryst at The Tupelo and Lust at The Ladyslipper!

Gemma Dalton is a shrewd business competitor whose drive and motivation matches Zale Carris. While Zale focuses on luxury boutique properties, Gemma’s family owns one of the top global hotel chains. Despite her inherent wealth, Gemma has used hard work and success to fill an emotional void. As she interacts with Zale and his daughter, Gemma understands that a high-powered career alone won’t fulfill her.

Zale’s world revolves around his daughter Mila. To an outsider, it might seem as though his trio of luxury resorts demands all of his time, but they are only a means to give his daughter the future she deserves. He never wants her to feel the pangs of hunger or inescapable cold. Zale grew up with very little, but the one thing he was never lacking was the love of a parent. His mother risked it all to give him a better life, and the last thing he wants to do is risk that. When the mother of his child leaves them, he vows never to be at the will or whim of anyone ever again.

Gemma Dalton is a shrewd business competitor whose drive and motivation matches Zale Carris. While Zale focuses on luxury boutique properties, Gemma’s family owns one of the top global hotel chains. Despite her inherent wealth, Gemma has used hard work and success to fill an emotional void. As she interacts with Zale and his daughter, Gemma understands that a high-powered career alone won’t fulfill her.

Zale’s world revolves around his daughter Mila. To an outsider, it might seem as though his trio of luxury resorts demands all of his time, but they are only a means to give his daughter the future she deserves. He never wants her to feel the pangs of hunger or inescapable cold. Zale grew up with very little, but the one thing he was never lacking was the love of a parent. His mother risked it all to give him a better life, and the last thing he wants to do is risk that. When the mother of his child leaves them, he vows never to be at the will or whim of anyone ever again.

Gemma Dalton is a shrewd business competitor whose drive and motivation matches Zale Carris. While Zale focuses on luxury boutique properties, Gemma’s family owns one of the top global hotel chains. Despite her inherent wealth, Gemma has used hard work and success to fill an emotional void. As she interacts with Zale and his daughter, Gemma understands that a high-powered career alone won’t fulfill her.

Zale’s world revolves around his daughter Mila. To an outsider, it might seem as though his trio of luxury resorts demands all of his time, but they are only a means to give his daughter the future she deserves. He never wants her to feel the pangs of hunger or inescapable cold. Zale grew up with very little, but the one thing he was never lacking was the love of a parent. His mother risked it all to give him a better life, and the last thing he wants to do is risk that. When the mother of his child leaves them, he vows never to be at the will or whim of anyone ever again.

 

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

If this book was optioned for a movie, I think the scene below would be a great audition. It’s the first time in the book Zale softens towards Gemma and portrays him as more than a powerful entrepreneur but a loving father.

Beyond the glass entrance, Zale spun Mila around, and she did a twirl and curtsey before they both laughed. Her parents owned sprawling estates and chic penthouse apartments around the globe, but none of them had ever been a home. Even the warm smile and shoulder pat Zale gave Mila was more than Gemma could’ve dreamed of. Her family was all business, all the time. With one last sip of her now-cold coffee, she pushed away from the table and walked out into the lobby.
If Zale accepted her sale, he’d have an abundance of wealth and more spare time to spend with his daughter. She straightened her shoulders and walked toward the hotel’s side door that led to the Great Lawn. When the glass doors slid open, she was greeted with the crisp scent of the harbor. She took an easy breath, and her muscles relaxed. The last thing she wanted to do was make holes in Zale’s pristine lawn, so she slipped off the stiletto pumps. All five senses practically purred when her bare feet sank into the lush carpet of grass. The repetitive lap of waves sang her a quiet lullaby while she drank in the sight of the horizon, dark water that mingled with a baby blue sky. Boats with crisp white sails glided along without a care, and Zale’s guests relaxed in Adirondack chairs with refreshing-looking drinks being served by a gentleman in khaki pants and a collared shirt. The man noticed her standing there and briskly strode across the lawn toward her.
“It’s a beautiful day to enjoy our signature peach sparkler, or if you’d prefer a beverage from the bar, it would be my pleasure to bring it to you.”
“These look almost to lovely to drink.” Gemma selected one of the long-stemmed glasses garnished with a kabob of fresh peach cubes and strawberry slices from the tray. “Thank you,” she added.
“My pleasure. Please let us know if you’d like a blanket and pillows while you’re relaxing on the Great Lawn.” He bowed his head and went to wait on another guest. Gemma began strolling down the lawn and took a sip of the drink. The taste of ripe peach burst over her tongue. It was fizzy and refreshing, and she sighed with contentment. There was a vacant chair to her left, but she wanted to feel the grass underneath her feet. She sank down, so she was facing the water with her knees to her chest. Gemma took another sip of the sparkler and tilted her face to the sun. She had forgotten sunscreen, but just a moment wouldn’t hurt.
“Delicious, isn’t it?” The low rumble of Zale’s voice did funny things to her heart rate. She glanced over her shoulder, shielding her eyes from the sunlight.
“Mmm.” She smiled. “It’s heavenly.” And there was that look again. The one she couldn’t decipher. He crouched down on the ground beside her. “She’s quite something, your daughter.”
“That she is.” His face softened. “I can only imagine what she said.”
“I have a feeling she’ll be taking your job sooner rather than later.” She smiled and sipped her drink, the cool liquid bubbling down her throat. “She let me know you’ve both been too busy to look at my proposal.”
“An under-the-sea diorama needed our immediate attention.” The sun highlighted the strong lines of his face, shadowing the hollows of his cheeks and the curve of his jaw.
“Ah. Then that must be the reason for the blue glitter sparkling on your cheek. I was going to ask if there was an interesting nightlife here at the Stargrass.” She smiled up at him from beneath her lashes, pulse pounding in her ears.
“Glitter seems to play a permanent role in our décor these days,” he said, scrubbing his hands over his cheekbones. “Job hazard.”
She laughed, enjoying how he opened up when he talked about his daughter. “I’m sure there are lots of those as a parent.”
“Try going to a board meeting only to discover your fairy princess has bedazzled your suit lapels,” he said.
She puffed her cheeks, and peach sparkler burst from her lips in the most unprofessional way. “I’m sorry. That was just…I could picture it.” Spitting on the man wasn’t exactly going to paint the picture of a competent brand that would make smart decisions for his hotels. She laughed off her faux pas, even as heat warmed her cheeks. She hadn’t had such an entertaining morning in years, if ever.
“That was exactly my reaction—a mouthful of coffee—when my assistant asked me where I purchased my jacket in a room full of people.” His lips quirked. It wasn’t a smile, not really, but the result made her heart forget what an important job it had—mainly beating.

 

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

Throughout this book, I had several changes in my (daytime) career due to the pandemic. My husband is always telling me that I can’t be everything to everyone, and I think it’s finally resonated after some difficult learning experiences. I hope readers take away from this book that it’s okay to make choices for your own well-being. It’s okay to set firm boundaries—something I’m working toward but haven’t quite mastered.

 

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

Seduction at The Stargrass, a Carris Retreats novel, will be released on July 28th.

Northampton Hearts – a new, sweet contemporary series from Tule Publishing
The Twelve Dates of Christmas, 11/7/2021
Fourteen Days of Valentines, 2/7/2022
Six Days of Spring, 5/12/2022

Vision of Justice, Fall 2021 – The first book in a full-throttle romantic suspense series from Evernight Publishing.
 

Thanks for blogging at HJ!

 

Giveaway: $20 Amazon eGift card and a signed copy of Seduction at The Stargrass – open to national and international HJ guests.

 

To enter Giveaway: Please complete the Rafflecopter form and Post a comment to this Q: The signature cocktail of The Stargrass is a peach sparkler. What is your favorite summer beverage? Mine is any kind of Polar seltzer with lime. Thanks for visiting me today at HJ!

 
a Rafflecopter giveaway

 
 

Excerpt from Seduction at The Stargrass:

A chili-pepper-red swatch of jersey fabric peeked out from under a pair of jeans, and she slipped the soft material over her head. The dress pooled at her ankles and nipped in at the waist. She slid her bare feet into a pair of gold sandals that could easily be kicked off if she wanted her feet in the grass or sand. Flutters winged through her stomach, and she touched her fingertips to her collarbone. If only Zale had told her if he’d be attending or not, she could calm the quick clip of her heart. Despite her extended stay, this was a business trip. But the prospect of seeing Zale gave her less than professional thoughts. Utterly indecent ones.
She couldn’t recall the last time she’d been so riled up, and she couldn’t lose sight of all her hard work and aspirations because of a gorgeous man who she was starting to respect. The deal wouldn’t be one-sided. Zale had so much to gain from the sale; she just had to help him see it. Incredible wealth, more leisure time to spend with Mila, all while still having a say in the hotels he worked so hard to build. If at any point she thought Zale would lose something big if he agreed to her terms, she’d tell him so—even if it cost her the COO position. She’d hate to see someone in the role who had no aspirations of altering the current business model, but she couldn’t live with herself if she deceived someone to get what she wanted.
She checked her wristlet for her keycard, then breezed down to the main lobby and out onto the Great Lawn. The warmth caressed her skin, and sweet, smoky scents mingled with refreshing harbor air. A game of croquet was in progress to her left, horseshoe throws to her right, and a long, double-sided buffet was surrounded by round tables straight ahead. She loved the blue and white checkered picnic blankets positioned closer to the water, and the activities for all ages that gave the event a family cookout feel.
“I hope you came hungry.” Zale’s unmistakable voice sounded behind her, and she suppressed a shiver. She turned and glanced up to meet his impossibly clear eyes. He inadvertently licked his bottom lip, and warmth pooled from her shoulders to thighs. She shouldn’t be thinking of what that tongue would feel like licking a trail down her skin, but she couldn’t seem to help herself. He was too darn attractive, too alluring. Surely, he felt it too, this magnetic force field, casting an electric hum in the space between them. It was the first time they stood this close, and she filled her lungs with Zale’s scent: light bergamot, black currant, and sophistication. She was familiar with the Creed Aventus cologne, but on him, the fragrance was even more blissful. A sleep-with-your-T-shirt and wear-your-sweater type scent that drew her a step closer.
“I am.” Her cheeks heated at the breathless note in her voice. What was happening to her? Gemma straightened her shoulders and lifted her chin in an effort to regain some of her dignity. Gemma Dalton did not swoon over men—okay, maybe she’d fantasized about Zale more than once since her arrival, not that she would ever act on it before she got a clear answer about his decision to sell—but now they were out in the open and her palms were sweating, her knees about to buckle. The thunder of feet made her turn just in time to see a trio of girls, led by Mila, chasing after a rogue kite with the Carris seal. Zale ran to the rescue, grabbed the kite’s tail, and returned it to his daughter with a kiss on the cheek.
He made a small signal to the young houseman with shaggy blond hair pulled back into a ponytail. Within moments, the teenager was at his side with two more kites. Gemma recognized the twins Mila played with from the day of her arrival. Something warmed inside her when Mila smiled up at her father and patted his cheek. He was her hero. It was simply beautiful. She cast her gaze out to the harbor, feeling like an imposter on a private moment. Her time here was a solemn reminder that she had little experience with a true family bond.
Zale made a small sound in the back of his throat behind her, and she angled her body toward him. His collared button-down framed his well-built form, and he took on a casual refinement in tan chinos. Zale caught her lingering gaze, and he shot her a grin.
Hopefully her foundation would conceal the blush creeping up her cheeks. So much for swooning. Now she’d been caught staring at the hard lines and planes of his body, too. Of imagining what he’d look like without those clothes on.
“I reviewed your proposal,” he said, eyes focused on her, as if he could see all her most intimate thoughts. Before he could continue, Mila ran in their direction, her hair loose and wild, feet bare. The air was suddenly stripped from her lungs. This was Mila’s home, her playground, and Gemma was trying to take her legacy. Yes, it would give her more time with her father, millions in the bank, and a stable future, but how would it shape her life if the resorts no longer belonged to her family? She’d have to ensure they were able to keep their home here if Zale by some miracle decided to sell.
Mila skidded to a halt before she collided into them. “Welcome to your first clambake.” Gemma couldn’t help but smile when Mila held the corners of her dress between her thumbs and pointer fingers and curtsied. “Red is your color,” she added matter-of-factly before acknowledging her father.
“Did you invite Ms. Dalton to join us for dinner?” When Zale didn’t immediately respond, Mila’s lips pursed, and she turned back to Gemma. “We have a blanket set up on the other side of the buffet. Will you join us?” Two matching pairs of turquoise eyes waited for a response—one eager, and the other hesitant.

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.
 
 

Book Info:

Single father Zale Carris has built his life around The Stargrass Resort on Martha’s Vineyard. He thrives on being in control of everything and everyone, so he and his daughter are never hurt and never abandoned the way they were when the mother of his child walked away. When the largest hotel chain in the world knocks at his door, he has no problem turning them down. Even the gorgeous and business-focused heiress Gemma Dalton won’t sway his decision. They initially clash, going toe-to-toe over everything. She challenges his iron will with a personality that matches his own.
Hotel heiress Gemma Dalton is on a quest to prove she’s the right choice for COO of her family’s empire. The promotion hinges on her ability to purchase three unsurpassed resorts in New England. She’s earned her good name through hard work and grit, and nothing will distract her from jumpstarting the most remarkable resorts in the world-not even the bronze god who capably manages both the Stargrass and fatherhood. He’s overconfident, a control freak, and a bit overbearing, but around his daughter, he’s the ultimate protector and a nurturing family man.
Will a steamy island fling sate their desires or only fan the flames between them? Zale is a match for her in every aspect, but if she bends and accepts the pleasure he’s offering, will it snuff out her chance to prove her significance to her family?

Book Links: Amazon | B&N | iTunes | Kobo | Google |
 
 

Meet the Author:

Contemporary Romance Author Charlee James was introduced to a life-long love of reading listening to her parents recite nightly stories to her and her older sister. Inspired by the incredible imaginations of authors like Bill Peet, Charlee could often be found crafting her own tales. As a teenager, she got her hands on a romance novel and was instantly hooked by the genre. After graduating from Johnson & Wales University, her early career as a wedding planner gave her first-hand experience with couples who had gone the distance for love. Always fascinated by family dynamics, Charlee began writing heartwarming novels with happily-ever-afters. Charlee is a New England native who lives with her husband, daughters, two rambunctious dogs, a cat, and numerous reptiles. When she’s not spending time with her tight-knit family, she enjoys curling up with a book, practicing yoga, and collecting Boston Terrier knick-knacks.

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56 Responses to “Spotlight & Giveaway: Seduction at The Stargrass by Charlee James”

  1. Pamela Conway

    I usually drink water or juice but do like vanilla & blueberry lemonade Polar Seltzer too.

  2. Jennifer Shiflett

    I make a lot of homemade lemonade and limeade during the summer. Sometimes, I add a little vodka.

  3. Caro

    Nothing special. I like water with ice, or maybe some sodas. Don’t have a particular drink in mind.

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