Mason Christian has twelve weeks to flip something old into something new, and then he's getting the hell out of Footsteps Bay - a tiny New Zealand coastal town. Not even his temporary secretary and personal assistant--the feisty, luscious Billie McLeod--will deter him. But there's no denying she makes him feel alive. More alive than he's felt in three years...
At the use of her nickname, she arrived back in the room with a thud. His eyebrows were raised. “What’s on your mind?”
She dabbed her mouth with her napkin to cover her lapse. “Well, Septimus, I was thinking about the periodic table and its positive benefits on mankind.”
For some reason he looked pissed off. Totally pissed off. “Funny, I didn’t take you to be the lying kind.” His eyes narrowed, and she had the distinct impression he’d just dismissed her.
Her spine straightened and her hands rested on the table. “You think I’m going to tell you everything that’s going on in my head at a given time?” She paused. “Actually, back that up. You think any woman is going to tell you what is going on in her mind whenever you please? There will be times she doesn’t want you to know what she’s thinking. Maybe she’d be thinking, ‘That guy standing over there, is one juicy specimen, and I’m mighty thirsty right now.’ There’s no way on this earth she’s ever going to tell Mr. Juicy she’s thirsty. She’d rather catch bubonic plague.”
His forkful of frittata halted halfway to his mouth. He put down the fork, sat back in his chair and regarded her. A smile spread across his face. Slow to start, it curled his lips, continued upward and settled in his eyes. It was the first time she could remember him looking approachable, real, and open.
“What?” she asked, obviously missing his joke.
“You think I’m juicy?”
What! “No.” Hell no.
About the author:
Hayson grew up in a family made up of scientists and engineers and she was told lovingly but firmly that her ‘day dreaming’ phase would end and soon she’d be entranced by the inner workings of the periodic table. But she loved the lands she created. Oh, the creatures that stopped by. The swashbuckling pirates, sassy unicorns and before she knew it she’d be off on a flying carpet with Frank a friendly chain smoking shark.
It soon became apparent she wasn’t going to be awarded the Nobel Prize for services to science.
She has been a personal assistant, a demon word processor. She’s worked in supermarket deli where she can slice a pound of ham in record time. She’s sorted freight and she’s dreamed of writing gutsy independent heroines who won’t give up on their dreams and who’ll go toe-to-toe with their man. Her dream has now come true thanks to Entangled Publishing.
She lives with her infuriating but adored shoe-dropping husband, two teenage boys plus a tubby opinionated cat. There’s often a resident foster dog who needs love, dog biscuits and hanging with the kids on the couch before finding their forever after home.
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What inspired you to write this book?
I love a boss/secretary trope. I love dark, wounded men and upfront, fun, women who know what they want out of life. Women who aren’t afraid to bring the wounded dark hero, sometimes kicking and screaming into the light. Lordy that sounds like a Dracula story!
There was also the added fun of setting the book in my homeland of New Zealand. There was a lot of Kiwi vs. US language confusion. My US based editor and I had email exchanges like this:
Ed: “Wait, a biscuit is a cookie?”
Me: “Yep. We don’t have cookie unless he’s of the monster variety and is sitting next to Big Bird. Cookies are biscuits and biscuits are scones”
Ed: “You’re missing periods.”
Me: Runs to calendar slightly freaked out, looking around the room. “Not for another two weeks.”
Ed: “Periods on your manuscript.”
Me: ‘Oh, you mean fullstops.”
I could go on.
What characters do you connect with most?
Optimists. I love people who get up and try again. I’m a sucker for Undercover Boss. The guy who’s working four jobs to put his eldest through college and he’s making minimum wage. He’s just happy to be working. I love him.
We’ve had 35 foster dogs through Chez Manning. We’ve had some really damaged dogs, mentally and physically. Some dogs I hug and whisper, ‘it’s okay if you hate the world, the world has been pretty horrible to you and I’m sorry.’ These dogs don’t hate the world. They nuzzle your hand and are ready to try and love again.
What's your favorite book-turned movie?
Probably Harry Potter. The characters in the book were exactly what I pictured them to be. Hagrid especially.
If you could be best friends with one of your characters, who would it be?
Billie in Winning the Boss’s Heart. I had a blast writing her. Ever the optimist, she strong, feisty and doesn’t take Mason’s crap. She’s a what you see is what you get kind of person. She loves the infomercial channel.
I must confess to having a knife that can cut a boot in half along with my treasured ShamWow.
What do you do in your spare time?
I take at least forty minutes a day to read. No matter where I am or what’s happening. The children know unless they have a bone sticking out, they are on fire or a man is asking them to find his lost puppy, they don’t interrupt me.
I’m a horrible plotter. I have shelves of books on how to plot and I’m useless. When I’m really stuck I go for a long walk. Sometimes that helps. Mostly I look like a person in need of prescription meds.
If you were stranded on a desert island which character do you want by your side?
That’s tough. I’ve narrowed it down to about one hundred. Moses would be good because he could part the sea and we’d just walk home. Severus Snape because I’d love to see him hulking around in his black robes on a tropical island. I know we wouldn’t be there for long. I think he’d get impatient and he’d zap us back home.
As an ensemble I’d take the cast of Fast and Furious 6 please, because… have you seen them?
Team Peeta or Gale?
Gale for sure.
What are you reading now?
Beyond Pain by Kit Rocha. I’m so in love with this series. I’ve just finished Chaos by Christine O’Neil, a new YA author that was recommended to me. I read it through in one sitting. I loved it.
**Hayson will be awarding a $50 Amazon GC to a randomly drawn commenter during the tour.