Kat asked me to post this for her. It’s a little longer than normal for a blog, but well worth the read.
We’re going to start with a teaser from today’s featured novel, The Billionaire’s Con . . .
. . . Determined to succeed, Chef Meggy Calhoun realizes her dream with the opening of Boston’s hottest new culinary experience. But will her secret connection to one of New England’s most powerful families poison her recipe for success, and leave her heart flambéed?
If that doesn’t make us want to learn more about chef Meggy, nothing will! Where are you from, Meg? Since I’m adopted, I’m not exactly sure where I was born, but I was raised in Palmerton Massachusetts, a small town just north of Boston.
What is The Billionaire’s Con about? It is a lighthearted love story about Trevor Bryce Christos, suspicious heir to a billion dollar empire, and me, a small town chef. In a nutshell, a letter from my birth mother set in motion a chain of events that changed my life. Okay, I set the events in motion by visiting Elizabeth Ashford’s estate on Martha’s Vineyard, but come on. If you suddenly found out you were the long lost great granddaughter of one of the richest women on the eastern seaboard, you’d be curious too. And the visit wasn’t a complete loss. It brought me Trevor. Sure, he followed me back to Palmerton and pretended to be an author doing research to prove I was a con artist bent on cashing in on Elizabeth’s fortune, the sneak, but I’ve forgiven him for that. After all, he was only doing what he thought necessary to protect the woman who raised him. And let me tell you, there is nothing sexier than a man trying to make up for misjudging you, especially one who owns your heart.
What did you think the first time you saw him? Though very attractive, he had that stiff, life-is-serious-business look about him, you know? I immediately thought lawyer, what a waste.
Hah!! Having spent a number of years with lawyers, in and out of the courtroom, we completely agree. What was your second thought? That I’d always had a soft spot for the Greek god type and looking at Trevor gave me a sudden craving for Feta cheese and ouzo.
Did you think it was love at first sight? I think maybe it was, but if you tell my friends, the O’Shea sisters, I’ll deny it. They recognized my feelings for Trevor early on and would be impossible to live with if they found out they were right.
Best friends are often a royal pain, right? What do you like most about him? Besides his sexy, dimpled smile, I love that for all his intensity in doing what he believes is right, he has a playful, whimsical side.
How would you describe Trevor? Did I mention Greek god? He isn’t really a god, but he sure acts like one sometimes. Autocratic at times, he can be stubborn, but I can handle him. He’s intensely loyal to those he loves and has a sweet side. I mean, how could you not love a man who picks up the lunch tab for an old man for an entire week, and doesn’t get mad even when he learns the old man owns the diner?
Our kind of guy. How would he describe you? He’d probably say I’m the more stubborn of the two of us, considering my reaction when I discovered the real reason he came to Palmerton. But hey, he was the one who told the whole town we were engaged when I refused to talk to him, so he has no business complaining that I involved the entire town in my plan to make him prove I was more important to him than the Ashford fortune.
What made you choose the culinary arts as a profession? It’s all I’ve ever wanted to be, well, except for that five minutes I considered joining the circus. Thankfully, it took only a minute or two to decide getting to wear one of those sparkly costumes wouldn’t be worth putting up with the smell from the elephants.
What is your biggest fear? Now that I know where I come from, I wonder what part her family’s incredible wealth played in my birth mother’s decision to walk away from it all. From me. As Elizabeth’s great granddaughter, I’ve been thrust into a world I don’t understand, a world that requires people to constantly be aware of protecting themselves. Does that kind of existence warp people?
We hope it doesn’t effect you like that. So, how do you relax? There’s nothing like a naked picnic in a big feather bed with a well built man. Oh, crap, did I say that out loud? Trevor would laugh his head off if he knew. Okay, a pitcher of martinis with the O’Shea girls is a great way to unwind.
Great way to unwind with anyone—or anything! Who is your favorite fictional character and why? Though I love all the O’Shea girls, I’d have to say Cara. As my best friend, she’s always there for me, and I owe her for my existence, after all. It was while Mac was plotting out a love story for Cara that I came to be.
What is the best piece of advice you ever received? That came from Cara, when I told her my feelings for Trevor scared the crap out of me. “So you like the guy,” she said. “If it turns out he’s the one for you, there isn’t anything you can do about it anyway. You’re already a goner.” Then she wrapped an arm around my shoulder, bumped my hip with hers and grinned. “Spend some time with him. Get to know him. Better yet, seduce him. You know you want to.”
With that, we can’t think of a better way to finish this part of the interview than to read an excerpt from The Billionaire’s Con. . .
“What are you doing in here, Meggy?” Jill moved to stand beside the stepladder. “And why are you painting?”
Meggy frowned at the intruders, ignoring Jill for the moment. Her gaze scanned the tall stranger. She noted his expensive suit and handsome face below a thick pelt of dark, auburn hair. Though very attractive, he had that stiff, life-is-serious-business look about him.
Meggy sighed at the waste and turned her frown to Jill. “I needed something to keep my hands occupied until I can get back into the kitchen.”
Agitated as much with the delay as the mess, she flicked her hand holding the roller. A silken thread of paint danced through the air, leaving a drizzle of pale yellow across the faded denim of her favorite jeans.
Perfect. Just perfect.
“Get back into the kitchen?” Jill placed her hands on her hips. “I thought the kitchen was up and running.”
Meggy hoisted her butt off the top of the ladder and slapped a hand to the wall when she lost her balance. From the corner of her eye, she saw the lawyer take a startled step forward. With a disgusted growl, she glared at the fresh slash of paint coating her hand, and clambered down the ladder backwards before he could reach her.
“We had a leak.” She jumped the last two steps to land on the floor, jamming the roller into the pan at the foot of the ladder. “The plumber is there now, dealing with the aftermath.” Reminded of the calamity in her kitchen, she turned a glower on the silent man and quirked a brow. “And you are?”
“Oh, I’m sorry.” Jill rolled her eyes at Meggy and made the introductions. “Meggy Calhoun, this is Trevor Bryce. He’s a writer who’s interested in renting the Carriage House. Mr. Bryce, Meggy is one of the owners of Palmer House. She’s also the head chef.”
Meggy watched, fascinated, as the stiff lawyer vanished behind a wicked smile, a flash of white teeth, and dimples. There was nothing stiff about the penetrating gaze that met and held hers. The deep drawl of his voice, when he said hello, reminded her of the smooth slide of the aged whiskey found in Palmer House’s well-stocked bar.
She glanced at the hand he held out, and flipped up her own paint-smeared palm. “Sorry, I’m a mess.”
Laugh lines crinkled the tanned skin at the corner of his eyes, and the soft core of femininity within her sighed in appreciation. She’d always had a soft spot for the Greek god type. Looking at Trevor Bryce, she had a sudden craving for Feta cheese and Ouzo.
Whoa. After that enticing entry, we have to talk to Mackenzie Crowne. What movies or books have had an impact on your writing? I like my romance with a smile. P.S. I Love You, You’ve Got Mail, and my all time contemporary favorite, While You Were Sleeping all do it for me. Then again, I’ve been known to curl up on the couch and sigh through Pride and Prejudice on occasion. I lean toward contemporary in my choice of reading as well, though I do love a well written historical or fantasy. Susan Elizabeth Philips always delivers and her It Had to be You is the book I’d write, if I could – and if she hadn’t already written it, of course.
Tell us a bit about your publisher. How did you hear about them? The Billionaire’s Con is my second contemporary title published through Still Moments Publishing. They’re a relatively new romance e-publisher though they do make print titles available through Createspace. They were less than a year old when I heard about them through an author friend and critique partner.
What influenced your decision to submit to them and tell us a bit about the submission process. There were several reasons I decided to submit the first title to SMP but the biggest reason was my desire to work with one of their editors. The experience was as phenomenal as I hoped, and I’ve since worked with another editor and was just as thrilled with the process.
How long did it take from query to release? The query to release time line is from four to six months and their submission guidelines are available at Still Moments Publishing.
This has been a super experience, we thank Mac and Meggy for taking time out of their schedule to stop by and visit with Two Wild Women. Much luck with sales and with future books!!
Kat and Veronica
To learn more about Mackenzie Crowne and the stories she creates go to: mackenziecrowne.com