Hi Joanne and welcome to HJ! We’re so excited to chat with you about your new release, The Rebel!
Hello! Thank you so much for having me today! I’ve been looking forward to the launch of my next series and Dynasties: Mesa Falls is finally here.
Please summarize the book for the readers here:
The Rebel kicks off a new series for me, Dynasties: Mesa Falls. There will be six books and an online read for the series. In book one, Marcus Salazar heads to a remote ranch in western Montana to honor his father’s dying wish–and to take control of the company he runs with his half-brother. Things to awry when his brother fails to show and sends his second in command– Lily Carrington–instead. Marcus doesn’t trust her, certain her real loyalty is to his rival. But that doesn’t stop an attraction from flaming out of control!
Please share your favorite line(s) or quote from this book:
There’s an exchange between the hero and heroine early on that I really like. Marcus and Lily are having a tense conversation and Marcus asks her a question that makes her think deeply. It’s the kind of exchange that you have sometimes with someone new in your life– a conversation with a stranger in an airport, maybe, or an unexpected talk with a neighbor where you see a new side of them. I think those kinds of conversations can flip a switch in your thinking:
“Consider it a hypothetical question to help put yourself in my shoes.” Marcus stared out at the Bitterroot River again, perhaps sensing that the conversation was getting under her skin. “If you weren’t worried about other people’s opinions, would you still make the same choices?”
The answer was immediate. Definitive. Surprising Lily with its force.
She had made so many decisions based on people’s expectations of her that it would be difficult to point to those few that she’d made purely for herself. Though her job was one of them.
Still, she would never be able to discount what her grandparents wanted. They’d raised her, taking her in when her mother had quit caring about her. And she would always owe them for that.
But she couldn’t deny that she may have given them too strong of a voice in her future—in everything from her job and her education to, yes, her pick of fiancé. That didn’t make it a mistake, did it? They wanted what was best for her.
In the quiet aftermath of Marcus’s question, she didn’t like the new lens he’d given her to view her own decisions. Because what she saw through his eyes was not the woman she wanted to be.
Please share a few Fun facts about this book…
- Book one in my new Mesa Falls series.
- Set in western Montana at a working ranch turned luxury retreat
- Mesa Falls Ranch specializes in “green” sustainable ranching and the owners want to bring public awareness to the need for environmentally-friendly ranching practices
What first attracts your Hero to the Heroine and vice versa?
The hero is attracted to the heroine because of her cool, composed efficiency that runs counter to his more passionate, instinctive response to life. The heroine is drawn to him because he doesn’t worry about what other people think. She envies his ability to forge ahead with his vision, no matter the obstacle.
Did any scene have you blushing, crying or laughing while writing it? And Why?
This was an emotional scene for me because I identified with Lily’s tension about where she stood with Marcus. She wants to do the right thing, but she also can’t deny that he’s stirred new feelings in her–
“The lack of trust I could work around,” Marcus clarified, closing more of the distance between them. “It’s a matter of me being attracted to you that is presenting the problem.” He stopped less than an arm’s length away from her.
With any other man, she could shut down this line of discussion in no time flat. She understood professional boundaries and knew how to enforce them. But the problem that dogged her with Marcus was that she was attracted, too.
Her mouth went dry as she struggled for words. “I—”
He didn’t seem to hear. Or maybe she hadn’t actually made a sound. Either way, he continued.
“I fell short of making that clear to you the first day, hoping to find an alternative way to address a problem that is one hundred percent of my own making.” He stood so close she could have counted the bristles along his jaw. If she’d been so inclined. “But at this point, I feel like I owe you an explanation—an apology, actually—for my behavior when it’s having a negative impact on your job. I’m sorry.”
“You’re attracted to me.” She thought back to her conversations with Marcus before today, sliding in the new piece of information to see how it fit. Realizing it explained a whole lot. “I’m not sure how to respond to that.”
“I’m still dealing with the ramifications myself.” His brows swooped down low, his gaze narrowing. “The ethics of the situation are clear. Salazar Media put a mandatory disclosure policy on work relationships for a reason.”
She nodded awkwardly, still taking in what he was saying. “We don’t have a relationship,” she reminded him. “So there’s nothing to disclose. And even if we did, you aren’t my direct supervisor.”
She knew company policy backward and forward after sitting in on the committee to revise the standards the year before. Not that she was contemplating a relationship of any sort since she’d just ended one. Her thoughts were just jumbled.
“That’s splitting hairs, as I’m sure you know.” His jaw flexed. “It’s a professional line I can’t cross. And on a personal level, even if we didn’t work for the same company, I’m not the sort of man who would ever make a pass at a woman who is…otherwise engaged.”
His dark eyes glittered with a spark of heat that he didn’t bother to hide.
“I’m sure you’re not—” she began, hoping to divert this line of conversation. Unwilling to acknowledge her newly discovered awareness of Marcus until she knew how to handle it.
“I’m not that kind of man,” he repeated, his voice lowering. “But with you, Lily, I’m tempted.”
Her breath caught. Held. She blinked back at him, feeling awkward about sharing the news of her broken engagement when they stood this close. Then again, keeping it to herself when he’d just made a wrong assumption felt uncomfortably close to deception.
And wasn’t she trying to overcome his lack of trust in her?
“I’m actually—” Her voice cracked, and she cleared her throat, telling herself it wasn’t a big deal to share the truth with him. Telling Marcus was nothing like facing her grandparents. She pulled her left hand from her pocket and showed him her bare ring finger. “We decided to call things off.”
For a moment, Marcus’s eyes remained on hers, not tracking to her raised palm. But then, as he refocused on her hand, she saw his expression shift, transforming from wary tension to something more resolute.
“You ended your engagement.” His dark gaze tracked back to hers, and she could feel the attraction he’d talked about. His. And yes, hers.
Which was highly inconvenient. Uncomfortable, even, given what he’d just shared with her. She felt an invisible barrier between them fall away and wondered how she’d ever recover her defenses.
Or if she even wanted to.
“I did.” She didn’t recognize her own voice, too breathy and uncertain. “I just wanted you to know because it seemed dishonest to pretend otherwise when—”
“Lily.” Something in his voice gentled, undoing her completely.
Her name on his lips, so softly spoken, drew her to him like steel fragments to a magnet. She felt all the fractured, uncertain pieces of her leaning toward him, responding to the heated promise in his dark eyes. And it didn’t matter that they walked a tightrope of professional responsibility. She took a step closer.
“I’m glad I did it.” She didn’t know if she was reassuring him or her, but standing here with Marcus right now underscored how necessary it had been to end her engagement. “I didn’t understand why I was so compelled to pick up the phone and inform him of it yesterday, but it’s starting to make sense.”
Marcus shook his head in silent denial, but he lifted his hand to her cheek, grazing a path down to her jaw. Even when her heartbeat kicked faster, she knew she could still stop this unwise moment before it happened. It wasn’t too late to crush all the needy feelings stirring inside her. She could never allow herself to be one of those women who threw everything away for the sake of sizzling chemistry and heated embraces.
But since she’d also never felt anything like the draw of Marcus Salazar, she thought it couldn’t hurt to see what it might be like just once.
It was simple curiosity. Normal human want. Just this one time, she could step into the fire of combustible attraction and experience the burn.
The flames licked up her already, torching away reason. And by the time his lips met hers, the heady sensation was the most exquisite feeling she could have imagined.
So good, Lily could almost forget she was playing with fire.
Readers should read this book….
…for the scandal, the drama, and the sizzle! The Rebel is a sexy story at heart, but it also introduces a world with lots of secrets and intriguing mysteries to solve over the upcoming books. The wealthy owners of Mesa Falls Ranch use their connections with Hollywood and Silicon Valley to bring high profile guests with deep pockets to western Montana, which keeps an intriguing cast of characters on the property.
What are you currently working on? What other releases do you have in the works?
Right now, I’m penning book 5 in the Dynasties: Mesa Falls series, The Rancher. My upcoming releases include:
The Rival, Harlequin Desire 11/19
The Rule Breaker, Harlequin Desire 2/20
The Heartbreaker, Harlequin Desire 3/20
Her Texas Renegade (Texas Cattleman’s Club), Harlequin Desire 5/20.
Thanks for blogging at HJ!
Giveaway: Two giveaways – one open to US readers only with. a prize pack of book swag and three signed print copies of Joanne’s Harlequin Desires.
One open to US an INTL readers with digital copies of the first two books in Joanne’s Texas Playmakers series, The Perfect Catch and Game On.
To enter Giveaway: Please complete the Rafflecopter form and Post a comment to this Q: It’s November, and that means Christmas is coming to romance books! The Rebel is set in early winter, but I’m curious what time of year do you start one-clicking holiday reads?
Excerpt from The Rebel:
Lily knew this wasn’t wise.
And still she couldn’t scavenge a scrap of restraint where Marcus was concerned. Because just once hadn’t been enough. That first kiss had been too fleeting. She hadn’t really been able to savor the onetime thrill.
Was it so wrong to want a do-over now that she knew what a kiss was capable of? She’d never experienced the kind of melting heat he made her feel with just a look. Never dreamed that a sensual connection could manifest this kind of power over her. It was daunting. Irresistible. What better time to explore it than here, two thousand miles from home, when she needed to reevaluate her whole life anyhow?
At least, that’s what she told herself when she closed her eyes and fell deeper into Marcus’s arms.
His hands roved over her with a possessiveness that thrilled her. She may have initiated the kiss, but he took it over, nipping her lower lip gently between his teeth, licking soothing strokes with his tongue afterward. She clung to him, her arms wrapping tighter around him, dragging him closer.
The meadow and the horses fell away until Marcus was her whole world. His touch. His breath in her ear as he kissed his way along her jaw and down her neck. Pleasure spun out from every place he touched, the heat flaring hotter and wilder. She speared her fingers into his hair, testing the texture of the thick, dark strands. It was silkier than she’d imagined.
A low growl in his throat felt like wordless approval as his fingers clamped on her waist before venturing lower to cup her hips. She felt dizzy from how much she wanted this. Her arms banded around him, anchoring her body to his.
“Lily.” Her name was a whisper against her damp lips.
“Mmm?” She pried her eyes open to answer him, her heart beating madly.
“I don’t want to take advantage.” He sounded so serious. And sincere.
“You wouldn’t be,” she assured him, still dazed from the pleasure flooding her veins. Still trapped in the combustible heat and wanting to stay there. “I kissed you first.”
“A technicality.” He tipped his forehead to hers, his hand cupping her cheek. “The bottom line is things are going to get out of hand in a hurry unless we…rein it in.”
A cloud of disappointment descended on her, snuffing out some of the heated thrill, but not all of it.
“Back to the middle ground,” she mused, wondering why that sounded so difficult with Marcus when she’d never had a problem maintaining professionalism around him in the past.
It was like their time together since her arrival at the ranch had opened the door to a secret side of herself she hadn’t known existed. Now, she wondered how she could have missed out on this kind of pleasure for so long.
He chuckled softly as he edged back from her. “Only for as long as you want to keep things there.” His dark eyes roamed over her in one final caress. “It has to be your call whether or not we move forward from here.”
A shiver rippled over her skin. As reason started to return, she recalled the secret she was keeping from him—that Devon was on his way to the States, but apparently not coming to the ranch right away. Keeping Devon’s confidences while sharing kisses with his brother was not going to end well. Steeling herself against the sensual undertow threatening to pull her under, she huffed out a pent-up breath.
“You’re letting me decide?”
“I already know I want more,” he clarified. “So my decision is made. We declare a relationship to protect ourselves at work. Sign the form that says it’s voluntary, for all the good that does. If you’re okay with it, I really don’t care about any of the rest since we’ll fly back to our respective coasts in the end.” He shook his head slowly, giving her a thoughtful look. “But I also recognize you aren’t used to indulging in the kinds of relationships that I have.”
She was on board with everything he’d said right up until the end.
“What kind are those, exactly?”
“The simple variety. Where the rules are clear and no hearts get broken.” He took his time explaining it. To ward her off? Or so she knew what she was getting into? “It’s easier that way.”
Simple. Clear. Who did he think he was kidding? The stakes were already too high for them to deceive themselves about this unwise attraction anymore.
“I’ll keep that in mind. And thank you for the…er…decision-making power.” Her pulse slugged harder. Faster.
She would think about it, certainly. She wondered if she would think of anything else.
Slowly, she became aware of their surroundings again. Birds calling as they searched the cold ground for food. Tall grasses rustling in the cold wind. She breathed in the scents of pine and dead leaves, hoping to clear her head of the sensual fog enough for her to finish making notes about the ranch. She should be focusing on finding the perfect spot for a launch event to showcase Mesa Falls Ranch.
“Good.” Marcus scooped up his camera from the ground and returned it to his saddlebag. “Then we understand each other. Unless you decide you’re ready to move forward, we find a way to work together and navigate the middle ground.”
He drew Lily’s horse closer so she could mount for the rest of their ride. He even held out a hand to help her, but she waved him off, preferring to handle the animal on her own.
Besides, with the way she was feeling right now, the slightest touch could send her free-falling into a decision she would only regret.
Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.
He’ll take what’s his—
including the woman who stands in his way.
Marcus Salazar has come to Mesa Falls to buy out his half brother and gain control of the media empire that was his brainchild. But when COO Lily Carrington shows up, she poses a threat to his plan—and his libido. Not even her engagement of convenience to another man can dim Marcus’s desire for her, even as Lily fights for her own future at Salazar Media…and against her attraction to Marcus!
A Dynasties Novel
Where family loyalties and passions collide…
Meet the Author:
Joanne Rock is a USA Today bestselling author and four-time RITA finalist. She’s written over eighty books in a wide range of romance subgenres, most recently focusing on sexy contemporaries and small-town family sagas. An optimist by nature and perpetual seeker of silver linings, Joanne finds romance fits her life outlook perfectly–love is worth fighting for. A frequent speaker at regional and national writing conferences she enjoys giving back to the writing community that nurtured and inspired her early career. She has a Masters degree in Literature from the University of Louisville but credits her fiction writing skills to her intensive study with friend and fellow author Catherine Mann. When she’s not writing, Joanne enjoys travel to gather new ideas.
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