|Willing to Learn|
EmKay Connor, welcome to Romance Lives Forever. We're excited to interview your character, Meredith McKenna from the book, Willing to Learn.
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Publisher: Boroughs Publishing Group
Cover artist: Kim Killion
Length: 50,000+ words
Heat rating: Spicy
Tagline: The fiancee of a prince visits the tropic paradise that is Trésorier du Coeur to learn how to make love, and instead she finds it.
Meredith McKenna is neither graceful nor a beauty, but that’s never stood in her way. She knows who she is and, more importantly, what she deserves. Not one to wish on a star or hang her hopes on a fairy tale like true love, her practical nature won her the hand of a prince. That’s how she ended up here: Trésorier du Coeur. An island paradise.
But becoming a princess is no simple matter. Regardless of the mysticisms mouthed by the island’s proprietress, the jungle waterfalls, and long, pristine beaches, the resort is first and foremost a school for seduction, an ancient tradition of her fiancé’s family, and she must select a man to be her “tutor.” Anders Collier is the most insubordinate and infuriating of the lot. But behind those cool gray eyes lurks a white-hot secret, and behind closed doors lies everything their hearts and bodies have yet to learn.
Buy links: http://www.BoroughsPublishingGroup.com
Willing to Learn is being published by Boroughs Publishing Group in February 2013. Prior to this book, EmKay Connor's manuscripts finaled in numerous contests, including Spring Into Romance, The Unpublished Beacon, and RWA's prestigious Golden Heart. Her freelance writing has been published in print and online media, as well as being featured in several issues of the Romance Writers Report.
What are your main characters' names, ages, and occupations?
Meredith McKenna, 27 years old, holds the title of Vice President, Foreign Philanthropy in her father’s billion-dollar corporation, McKenna Enterprises.
Anders Collier, 35, is an (ahem) undercover special agent with the FBI.
Anders never knew there were so many different ways to be frustrated. And at the moment, he was experiencing most of them while seated in the kitchen of Meredith’s bungalow.
“You’re not even trying,” Meredith griped.
Blinded by a satin sleep mask similar to the one Meredith had worn just an hour earlier, Anders couldn’t see her displeasure but the sound of it came through loud and clear. “I don’t have a knack for sensory stimulation like you do. Can we be done now?”
“No, we can’t be done now.” She mimicked him like a spoiled nine year old who wasn’t getting her way.
Good. There was plenty of frustration to go around so she might as well deal with her share.
“Madame Duval said we were to begin practicing some of the material covered in the workshops. If you don’t like sensual touch we can certainly move on to bondage and domination. And before you get any ideas, let me warn you I’m something of a control freak.” Her flat tone carried the same unyielding steadfastness as a fence post set in concrete. “Come on. This is supposed to be fun.”
Anders pictured her jaw set and clenched, hands on broad, beautiful hips, brown eyes narrowed behind silver eyeglass frames. There was a hint of dare me in her voice, as well as a sibilant plea for his cooperation.
Which brought him back to the tangled web of frustration in which he was ensnared. Instead of tracking down information Sam and the Bureau could use to find Chai and the girls, he was playing touchy-feely games with a woman engaged to another man. And instead of disliking her more and more every day, Meredith was growing on him. She was by turns annoying and entertaining, courageous and reluctant, playful and serious, open and guarded. After spending hours together, he found himself attuned to her moods, fascinated by her quirky traits and attracted to her on both a mental and physical level. He was getting harder and harder, which was making it harder and harder to keep his distance.
“Hell’s bells, Meredith. Enough already.” Fabulous. He needed a bar of soap to wash out his mouth for all the foul words he’d been thinking, if not uttering, since making Miss McKenna’s acquaintance five days ago. Ripping off the blindfold, he shot out of the chair and, blinded by the glare of sunlight, banged heads with her.
“Ow! That hurt.” Her indignant shout blasted directly into his right ear.
“No kidding,” he yelled back.
“Stand still, you dolt, or we’re going to knock craniums again.”
“Dolt?” Anders blinked. “Did you call me a dolt? Who even uses a word like that?” As his vision cleared, Meredith’s face appeared. Her unhappy pout was overshadowed by a bright red lump swelling before his eyes in the center of her forehead. He probably had one just like it if the tender sensation between his brows was any indication. The absurdity of the conversation and the head banging struck without warning, and Anders burst out in a braying guffaw.
“What’s so funny?” Meredith demanded. “Just because I like a little variety in my vocabulary is no reason for you to laugh at me.”
Drawing in a breath to halt his hysteria, Anders saw she appeared just as he’d imagined: hands on hips, jaw clenched, eyes nothing more than narrow slits. That he had so accurately predicted her response triggered yet another bout of howling amusement.
In a matter of seconds, Anders watched her eyes widen, go shiny and narrow again. By the time he realized she had misconstrued his merriment as him laughing at her, not with her, she’d reached for something on the nearby table, upending a bowl of gooey, melted milk chocolate on his head.
“Goll-damn-frick-shit!” he bellowed, wiping the mess out of his eyes.
“Now that’s funny,” she said, forcing a humorless chuckle. She lifted her chin and swallowed hard, eyes raised toward the ceiling in an attempt to hold back the tears. “In case you didn’t get that last one, it was chocolate.”
“Oh, I got it,” Anders muttered, at a loss how to react. He should be furious. A temperamental Beverly Hills heiress had just doused an FBI special agent with chocolate sauce because he’d accidently hurt her feelings.
“I think we’ve had enough practice for one afternoon,” she said coolly. “Please show yourself out.”
As she turned away, Anders hooked a hand under her arm and pulled her back. “No way. Not when we’re finally getting the hang of this.” Startled, Meredith froze…just long enough for him to scoop up a handful of strawberries and crush them into her hair.
In a flash, the gleam of tears flared into fiery astonishment. Something shifted in Anders’s chest, launching twin rockets of reaction--one sexual heat, the other protective satisfaction. His cock hardened while his heart softened. In that moment, he wanted Meredith in so many ways. He wanted her fast and hard, soft and slow. He wanted her happy and smiling, confident and trusting. He wanted her over the back of the sofa, across the hood of his ’72 Chevy Challenger back in D.C., locked in a hungry sixty-nine position. The force of the lust and need flooding his body almost slammed him back into the chair.
“You. Did. Not. Just. Do. That.” She stared at him while thin rivulets of juice ran down her face.
“Your turn.” He held out a can of artificial whipped cream and grinned through the coating of chocolate.
Interview with Meredith McKenna
Tell us about yourself.
I’m not typically one to grant interviews unless it’s related to the philanthropy work I do for my father’s corporation, McKenna Enterprises. I prefer to guard my privacy. After all, people tend to judgmental, especially when it comes to the wealthy or celebrities. Not that I consider myself a celebrity.
But, since you asked, I’ll give you the condensed version of my bio. I am the only child of a billionaire entrepreneur and an ambitious gold digger. My mother died when I was very young so essentially I was raised by my father. Let me correct that: I was raised by staff members who worked at my father’s Beverly Hills mansion. Our relationship improved after I completed my education and took at job in the family business. Now I see him regularly at our weekly business lunches.
My upbringing was typical for anyone born into money. Lots of lessons--riding, dance, foreign language, private schools, summer vacations in Europe, shopping sprees, parties. However, for as long as I can remember, I never fit in with the other richies. I have little tolerance for the back stabbing and air kisses and game playing that seem to come with the territory. Most of these socialites have their heads in the clouds; instead of building a career or doing something constructive with their lives, they seem content to wait for Prince Charming to show up.
My straight forward, practical attitude seems to have paid off though. I’m engaged to Darik Bhantarin, Crown Prince of Tano’air. That’s what brought me to Trésorier du Coeur. Before I can become Darik’s princess, I have to go through this Princess 101 so-called orientation. Darik failed to mention the training program includes the “bedroom arts.” Can you believe that kind of nonsense exists in today’s modern age? I’m expected to choose a mentor, one of Madame Duval’s gigolos, to instruct me on how to give a royal blow job.
Tell us about Anders Collier.
Argh! Just hearing that man’s name is enough to make me scream. He’s the rudest, most infuriating, disrespectful, boorish, insensitive, condescending person I’ve ever met. At the opening reception where I was introduced to the staff--a.k.a. Madame Duval’s lineup of professional lovers--he actually snubbed me. There were more than a dozen men competing for my attention. Any one of them would be thrilled to be chosen as my mentor. Not Anders Collier. As if he can afford to be choosy. Sure, he’s attractive if you have a thing for the clean-cut type: short blond hair, cool gray eyes, tall and lean. Other than that, he wasn’t very impressive. I have to say, he was the only guy at the formal reception who actually appeared comfortable in his tux. It could have been a pair of jeans and a polo shirt as relaxed as he looked.
What do you think is your strongest point?
My realistic outlook on life. I don’t delude myself with fairy tales like riding off into the sunset with a hero or myths like love at first sight. I don’t believe in playing games or lying or misrepresenting one’s self when it comes to relationships. That’s why Darik and I are such a good match. Our mix of qualities and skills is perfect for a mutually beneficial marriage.
What would Anders Collier say is your strongest point?
Gives an unladylike snort.) Anders Collier doesn’t know me well enough to speak to my personal traits. And even if he was acquainted with me, I doubt he’d have anything nice to say. He would probably point out the fact that my breasts are too small and my hips are too wide.
What do you wish was different about your life?
I don’t “wish “anything was different about my life. I don’t believe in wishing for things. You have to face facts and deal with what’s in front of you. With enough determination and hard work, you can achieve anything. Wishing for things to happen is nothing more than a convenient excuse for people too lazy to take accountability for their own success and happiness.
I have everything I want in life. I love my job and I’m engaged to a prince. Did you happen to notice my engagement ring? It’s a nine-carat, two-million-dollar diamond solitaire. Once Darik slides the platinum wedding band on my finger, I’ll have not only a man who shares my honesty and practicality toward marriage but a huge contract for McKenna Enterprises, as well. My father can’t stop telling me how impressed he is with his amazing daughter’s business acumen.
What do you wish I had asked you? Please ask and answer it now.
Again, I don’t believe in wishing for things to happen so I’ll tell you the most important question to be asked: What am I going to do about this ridiculous princess sex-ed training? I have no intention of sleeping with a stranger, not even to become a princess. The key is to find a mentor who wants to avoid an entanglement with me as much as I want to avoid one with him. If I can convince Anders I won’t rat him out and jeopardize his future as a gigolo, I’m pretty sure I can skate through this royal orientation without Madame Duval or Darik any the wiser. What do you think? Is there any possible way I can carry it off?
About the Author
EmKay Connor is a member of Romance Writers of America and several specialty chapters, including RWA-San Diego, Georgia Romance Writers, Yellow Rose Romance Writers, Outreach International RWA, and RWA Kiss of Death. A firm believer in paying it forward (and backward and sideways), she has served as president, vice president, secretary, newsletter editor, workshop presenter and committee chair at both the local and national level. She also contributes her time and experience by volunteering to judge numerous writing contests each year.
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