Paperback

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Mills and Boon

 

 

 

 

 

 

THE WORKING TITLE

 

"RING A DING DING"

 

 

 

 

THE SOUNDTRACK

 

"DURAN DURAN"

 

 

 

THE HERO

 

 

Mitchell Hanover

 

 

 

 

THE HEROINE

 

 

Veronica Bing

 

 

 

 

THE CAR

 

 

 

 

 

 

THE GALLERY

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

THE HANOVER RESIDENCE

 

 

 

 

 

 

BLOGGING

 

To follow the series of blog posts about the writing of this book, click here.

 

 

 

 

 

M&B ROMANCE

- UNITED KINGDOM  October 2008 -

 

 

HARLEQUIN ROMANCE

- NORTH AMERICA October 2008 -

 

 

SWEET ROMANCE

- AUSTRALIA / NZ December 2008 -

 

 

 

 

 

Wander through the book's collage, get the hot goss with the Dear Reader letter only to be found in the front of the North American versions of the book, check out the book's reviews,  or devour a juicy excerpt...

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

««««1/2  Romantic Times

 

"Ally Blake's Hired: The Boss's Bride (4.5) is as breezy, sexy and warm hearted as its remarkable heroine, and its hero is pretty special too."

 

 

 

 

 

 

UNITED KINGDOM EDITION

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

 

 

 

 

4 1/2 stars  Romantic Times

 

"Ally Blake's Hired: The Boss's Bride is as breezy, sexy and warm hearted as its remarkable heroine, and its hero is pretty special too."

NOMINEE BEST HARLEQUIN ROMANCE 2008

Romantic Times BOOKClub Reviewers' Choice

 

 


 

Auctioneer Veronica Bing has left the glitz and glamour and year long sunshine of the Gold Coast to come home to Melbourne, a city that harbours sad memories she'd rather have left behind.  But that's what a girl has to do when she has a touchy feely boss, car payments up the wazoo and a job opportunity of a lifetime...

 

Mitch Hanover is willing to give Hanover House - the venerable art and antique auction house his parents started years before - one last chance to tow the line or the Hanover Enterprises business he has since built into an empire or he's going to have to let it go.  Finding a new auctioneer to run what may well be the last show the crumbling old building ever sees is his last throw of the dice.

 

When a hot pink corvette rumbles up to the kerb outside and out steps a brunette bombshell in knee-high boots and a Rolling Stones t-shirt, he wonders what he's let himself in for...


 

 

Locations play a huge part in my stories and for that I only have my home town of Melbourne to blame.  Take this story for example...

On the very day I planned to sit down and decide on what my next book would be about I received an invitation to attend an art auction in which a friend of mine had a painting listed.  Sounded like too much fun to pass up.  And I wasn’t disappointed.

The gallery was slick and glossy, the inhabitants even more so.  The prices on the artworks took my breath away.  And the hushed chatter over pink champagne and catalogues created enough energy to give a girl serious goose bumps.  Within five minutes there was no doubt where I would be setting my next book; Melbourne’s High Street, Armadale.

High Street is a long thoroughfare bordered by mature trees light on delicate foliage, cluttered by four wheel drives, imported luxury cars and clattering trams, and famous for its run of graceful antique shops and auction houses.

My darling hero, Mitch Hanover, grew from this sophisticated location without my breaking a sweat.  All I had to do was throw in Veronica Bing, a flashy, exuberant, rebellious heroine who would make the elegant people of Armadale, and my Mitch, stand up and take notice.  My beautiful Melbourne did the rest.

If you can, do visit her one day.  If you can’t, I only hope my books make you feel as though you have.

 


 

When Veronica Bing was a little girl her grand plan in life was to have blue eyes and blonde hair.

Long blonde hair down to her waist and the kind of baby blue eyes that made a girl able to get away with anything.  And to be a fairy princess with wings.  And with braces on her teeth and divorced parents as all the kids at school had them.  Oh, and she’d wanted a hot pink car.

Not too much to ask, right?

Instead, her hair had grown in thick, wavy, and dark, and after six months in her late teens when she’d fulfilled her lifelong dream of being blonde, she’d realised she’d looked like a fruitcake and gone back to her natural brunette.  Alas her eyes had also remained muddy brown from the moment she was born and she’d had to learn find other ways to get what she wanted.

The wings had never appeared.  In fact she’d soon discovered she was allergic to flying – if nausea, sweating palms, shortness of breath could be classed as signs of an allergy.  Funnily enough mangoes, apricots and tall dark handsome men who saw her as the answer to all their connubial dreams produced the same symptoms.  Hence the fact that she as yet remained prince-free making the princess dream also null and void. 

Her teeth had grown in spectacularly well, unfortunately without help of braces.  And as she’d been a happy accident, a late and only child of Don and Phyllis Bing who’d been about to hit their fifties at the time she was born and by that stage had been married thirty years already, her parents had never divorced.  Instead her father had died of a heart attack while Veronica was still in high school and her mother had taken her time passing away from a broken heart.  Though the medicos had claimed it was Alzheimer’s, Veronica had left University to care for her mum and thus knew better.

And as to the hot pink car?  Well, one out of seven ain’t bad!

Cruising the backstreets of elegant inner-east Melbourne in her very hot, very pink, very expensive to maintain corvette, Veronica slipped down a gear, slowed, pushed her sunnies onto her forehead, and made sure she was in the right place before curving neatly and noisily onto High Street, Armadale.

Her dark hair flapped about her ears as she trundled at a snail's pace behind a tram.  Together they passed historic shopfronts, antique stores, upmarket boutiques, and art galleries nestled comfortably next to one another along the elegant oak lined street.  Four wheel drives lined up nose to tail with German made luxury cars and the people stepping in and out of them all looked like they’d just come from the salon via a shopping trip in Milan.

‘You sure ain’t on the Gold Coast anymore, Ms Bing,’ Veronica said out loud, before sliding her sunglasses back into place.

The tram creaked to a stop, and so did her ‘vette.  Veronica let her head fall against the headrest and looked up into the bright blue sky.  A web of tram cables glittered over her head and she had to blink against the bright sunlight flickering through the wide gaps.

She sniffed deep, letting the sights and sounds of Melbourne, the town in which she’d been born, come back to her after a good six years away.  She wondered how it would treat her return: with wide open arms, or with a cliquish turn of its graceful head?

She hoped the former because the job she was in town to interview for – in house auctioneer for an established and esteemed art gallery - sounded just perfect.  It was temporary, it was immediate. and it meant working with a close friend she hadn’t seen in yonks.  And super especially it was located at the other end of the country from her last job.  And thus her last boss.

Thoughts of her middle of the day before dash from Queensland with nothing but a suitcase and her car, and the exultant resignation message she’d left on Geoffrey’s answering machine, made her next breath in a tad shaky.  But not because she was worried; because she was free.

So what if she was jobless and homeless?  So what if this job opportunity Kristin had mentioned in passing on the phone the week prior was the only opportunity currently on her horizon?  So what if her next car payment was due in less than a week and her bank balance was laughable?

She caught her reflection in the rear vision mirror and checked her lipstick.  ‘No pressure,’ she said, a wry smile tugging at the corner of her mouth.

The tram heaved to a start.  Veronica saw her chance to slip past while the cumbersome trolley slowly got up to speed, then she purred off down the road on the lookout for what Kristin had described as a two-storey red brick building, the façade of which was reminiscent of an old fire station - one Hanover House Art and Antique Gallery.

*   *   *

Mitch Hanover paced behind the oversized reception desk of stately Hanover House, the enduring antique and art auction business his family had owned for five generations.

‘So what is the time?’ his assistant Kristin asked.

 He looked up from the watch he’d been staring at for the past thirty odd seconds and stared through the large arched front windows to the street outside.  ‘It’s late.  She’s late.  I thought you told me this friend of yours was a pro.’

Kristin angled her hip against the edge of the desk and glowered at him. ‘I said she was the answer to all your dreams.  If you saw “pro” in that then who am I to argue?’

He growled at the back of his throat, and then gave up when he remembered who he was talking to.  ‘You do realise she’s my last interview, do you not?  We are going to have to pick someone for the post by the end of today or next week’s pre-show will have to be cancelled.’

He didn’t need to add that if the pre-show was cancelled the show itself would soon follow.  And after that would fall the business itself.  Everyone in the building knew it.  Knew it, dreaded it, yet somehow expected it.

Kristin, imperturbable as always, grinned.  ‘Don’t panic, Mitch.  She’s perfect.  So perfect that within the hour you’ll be eating humble pie.  You just wait and see.’

He narrowed his eyes, his hogwash radar prickling feverishly in the back of his head until it resulted in a headache.

Trying to distract himself, he picked up and began playing with an ancient fountain pen that looked like it had seen better days.  Better centuries in fact.  Why people liked collecting relics of the past he had no idea.  The future was his game.

He put the pen back where he found it.

‘And stop frowning,’ Kristin said.  ‘Unfair as it is, on the whole men age far better than women, but that doesn’t mean you want to hurry the process.’

‘Has it ever occurred to you that I only frown when you’re in the room?’

‘Never.  You need a massage.  Or a week off.  Ever been camping?  Communing with nature can be very relaxing.  No?  Then how about dinner with someone who can string a sentence together without prefacing every other word with an “um”.  Serial dating walking clichés will age you even more than frowning overly much ever could.  I read that somewhere recently.’

‘Maybe you’re the one who ought to be looking for a new job,’ he said with the kind of humourless smile that usually sent his minions running to their desks in fear.

Kristin merely blinked.  ‘Why on earth would I do that?’

Mitch gave up and ran a hand over his forehead, surprised to find just how deep the furrows in fact were.  ‘When’s my next appointment in the city?’

Kristin poked at some buttons on her Blackberry.  Her eyes widened a tad, but when she looked back to him she was the picture of innocence.  ‘You have plenty of time.  Relax.’

Relax?  As if he could relax.  He’d been blithe for far too long, spending years in London greedily gobbling up emerging markets, IT, telecommunications into the Hanover Enterprises fold and all the while Hanover House, the one time jewel in the crown of the Hanover family business, the business his parents had poured their hearts and souls into before retirement, had been run deep into the ground by lapse and old-fashioned management.

He felt the imminent failure of the foundation business like a heavy weight upon his already overloaded shoulders.  Now he was back, now he had nothing tying him to London anymore, now he was CEO of Hanover Enterprises, he couldn’t relax while something his parents loved so dearly up and died.

The growl of a high end sports car split the taut silence and he glanced up to see a hot pink corvette slip into a tiny no-parking space right in front of the gallery.

‘Idiot,’ he said beneath his breath, the expulsion of the word relieving a very little of his stress.  The council were so hot in this part of town the guy’d be towed within the hour.  He knew well enough.  It had happened to him twice.

The engine cut off, leaving the blare of some god-awful eighties party track pulsating through the gallery windows before that too shut off leaving the room filled with its usual musty silence.

Kristin suddenly made an excited squeak and pushed past him as she ran outside.  She hit the corvette and leaned in so far to hug the occupant her feet came off the ground and Mitch had to avert his gaze so as not to see if her stockings were full or held up by suspenders.

Then it hit him.  The idiot driver had to be Veronica Bing.  His final interview.  Naturally.  It was some time since he’d decided God enjoyed punishing him.  And longer still since he’d known why.  His brow furrowing hit epic proportions.

He took in a deep breath.  He’d interview the woman, he’d hire one of he three other perfectly adequate candidates, and then he’d take delight in informing Kristin her Christmas bonus this year was going to be a canned ham.

Once Kristin’s feet fluttered back to the ground Mitch moved so that he could get a better look at the kind of person Kristin - a woman he’d until this moment trusted with his Christmas shopping, his travel packing, and with ordering just the right kind of flowers with which to say ‘it’s been lovely knowing you but...’ - supposed might be the answer to all his dreams.

The answer was tall with dark brown curls and even darker huge sunglasses covering half her face beneath which surprisingly lush red lips stretched out into a shiny white smile.  He made out the flash of a sleeveless black t-shirt which revealed a pair of long lean arms that had been kissed by a far kinder sun than seen in Melbourne over the long winter.  And when Kristin shook her so hard before enveloping her in another hug he could all but hear the dozen odd black bangles on her left wrist rattling.

Not bothering to open the door of the low slung car she of the red lips vaulted over the side and the soles of her boots came to a loud slap on the pavement.  Black, they were, and knee high.  With the tightest pair of dark denim jeans Mitch had ever seen tucked into them.  Jeans that encased the kind of curves that would make any half-alive man sit up and pay attention.

Mitch cricked his neck.  He was at least half-alive, and when he woke up that morning he’d had no intention of paying such close attention to any woman, much less one he might well be about to hire.  But his eyes were riveted to the creature on the other side of the glass lit by bright spring sunshine.

v

 

From "Hired: The Boss's Bride" by Ally Blake
Harlequin Romance October  2008
ISBN:  978-0-263-20347-9  Copyright: © 2007 Ally Blake
® and ™ are trademarks of the publisher. The edition published by arrangement with Harlequin Books S.A. For more romance information surf to: http://www.eHarlequin.com
 

 


I wholeheartedly dedicate this tome to Mark, Leon, Beverley, Susan, Leith, Dennis and Alli, without whom my gorgeous little girl might never have brightened my world.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


The Secret Wedding Dress  |  The Rules of Engagement  |  The Wedding Date  |  Millionaire Dad's SOS  |  Getting Red-Hot with the Rogue

Dating the Rebel Tycoon  |  A Night with the Society Playboy  |  Hired: The Boss's Bride  |  The Magnate's Indecent Proposal

Falling for the Rebel Heir  |   Steamy Surrender  |  Millionaire to the Rescue  |  Billionaire on Her Doorstep

Getting Down to Business  |  Meant-To-Be Mother  |  Wanted: Outback Wife  |  A Father in the Making  |  The Shock Engagement  

A Mother For His Daughter  |  How to Marry a Billionaire  |  Marriage Make-Over  |  Marriage Material  |  The Wedding Wish

 
 

 

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