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...
"Within the first ten pages of
Surrender you are given a glimpse of the highly passionate, humorous and
tender relationship between Morgan and Saxon, one that will have any reader
hankering for more. The relationship between Saxon and Morgan is explosive,
with each trying to outsmart and sometimes even seduce the other into giving
up in their game of wit and strategy. I also loved how both these characters
are written as down to earth but also intelligent people, people who have
their own demons to bear. Ms Blake is a talented author who never fails to
give me a fantastic story to read as she has done with
is a fantastic read! I read it twice through in two days, and despair of
ever writing anything as good."
"WOW! What a fantastic read. Had me
laughing and crying ...
Thanks for such a wonderful afternoon."
"Adored this book. Super contemporary, gorgeous hero, feisty heroine, fab
setting. A real page turner."
Harlequin Romance author
Don't forget to check out my
heroine inspiration and
hero inspiration pages to see who I cast as
Saxon and Morgan!
THE PARIS APARTMENT
M&B MODERN HEAT
- UNITED KINGDOM
- AUSTRALIA / NZ
November 2007 -
Getting steamy with a millionaire...
Morgan had come from Paris to see her new
inheritance for herself - a row of shops in a Melbourne suburb. Their
spokesman was successful millionaire gelateria-owner Saxon Ciantar,
and he made certain she knew where she stood: she was their evil landlady
and they were at war!
But Saxon soon began to see glimpses of the real
Morgan she did her best to hide beneath that prickly exterior. She'd put her
heart and emotions in the deep-freeze long ago, and Saxon's mission was to
kidnap her to his luxury mountain pad, fast-thaw her with his searing touch
- and bring her to a very steamy surrender!
it, right here and now. I am a chocoholic. More precisely an M&Maholic,
though truth be told my tastes in chocolate are broad and pretty much
But there is
only one other sweet that has the potential to make me switch sides. And that
glistening slabs of ice cold baci and cinnamon flavoured gelato piled
high into a crunchy sugary waffle cone. It can be the hottest Melbourne
summer day or so cold out a person needs gloves and eight layers of clothing
in order to leave the house. It doesn’t matter. A gelato fix can never be
denied. My mouth is watering, and my right foot is tapping impatiently against
the floor just thinking about it!
So when I had
the idea for a simply gorgeous hero whose family owned a chain of
mega-successful gelatarias, the notion stuck. Easily. No arguments
from me. Spending months living deep inside a romantic, sexy love story
is a wonderful way to make a living. Add gelato, and I’m
I was ever convinced to let the book go! Seriously, could a girl have
a better job?
Morgan pushed her
large sunnies higher onto her nose then stared across Como Avenue, the ice cold
Melbourne street in which the cabbie had left her. She rubbed fast hands down
her arms to ward off the insidious chill in the air. And she frowned. This
was reason she had spent twenty-four hours seated on planes, fifteen of those
hours next to a guy who hadn’t showered in at least a week?
When lawyers had
contacted her in Paris less than two weeks earlier with the news that she’d
inherited five shopfronts in Carlton, she’d been silly enough to allow herself
to imagine a quaint florist, a charming café, maybe even a funky boutique or
But considering the
bequest had come from her grandfather on her mother’s side she ought to have
known better. The Kiplings had two great talents; self-preservation, and
intra-family disharmony. Passing on prime real estate in a move of last minute
conciliation would just have been out of character.
As it turned out,
her inheritance offered a city full of savvy shoppers a drycleaner, a real
estate agency with faded advertisements lining a cracked window, an Indian
restaurant with dusty red curtains and crazed vinyl chairs haphazardly lining
the footpath, and a place called Jan’s Wool and Fabric with a sign so old
it was missing the tenth digit which had been added to all Australian phone
numbers many years before.
The final shopfront
was the building’s saving grace. With new signage, golden down lights and clean
windows, the façade of the Bacio Bacio Gelataria was like a sunburst of
panache within the hotchpotch of ancient, dilapidated outlets. And though the
idea of gelato seemed ludicrous considering it was at most five degrees outside,
it was enough for Morgan to decide to start her stealthy reconnaissance there.
She stamped her
half numb feet against the cold cracked concrete, took a gulp of her lukewarm,
over baked, congealing, takeaway coffee for courage, and checked the street
before crossing, reminding herself to look right first and last. Yet while
nearby Lygon Street hummed with constant traffic, Como Avenue had none.
‘You sure ain’t in
Paris anymore,’ she told herself before jogging across the empty road.
Saxon sang along
with his favourite Elvis Costello CD as he turned Bessie, his beloved midnight
blue 1968 MkII Jaguar, off Lygon Street and into Como Avenue.
When she purred to
a full stop in the staff parking area at the back of the run of shops, he gave
her his habitual loving stroke of the dash, and told her what a good girl she
was before getting out.
‘Sheesh,’ he said
to no one in particular when the freezing wind whipped about his face and
leached through his jeans.
He didn’t remember
it having been this cold in years. Not since the halcyon days of cruising Lygon
Street in nothing warmer than a T-shirt and Levi 501s, the tape player in his
hotted up Monaro cranked loud with Billy Joel while his similarly under-dressed
cousins shouted offers to the lucky ladies on the sidewalk as they thundered by.
He pulled his
beanie tighter over his ears and his sheepskin collar higher around his neck.
Not all was lost. The sky was crystal clear indicating fresh snowfall on the
northern mountaintops. He might still get the chance to take Bessie for a run
up to Mt Buller before the week was out. Skiing, mulled wine by the open fire,
with a little Tom Jones on the CD player. If he played his cards right perhaps
even a warm willing ski bunny in faux fur and tight pants might help take the
The sound of a
distant tinkling bell split the air, drawing him out of his daydream. He’d know
the sound of that particular bell anywhere. For him it meant business.
He popped a stick
of cinnamon gum in his mouth, waiting for the peppery sweetness to warm him as
he jogged to the back door of the shop. He knew he ought to just give his
cousin Darius his weekly kick in the pants and leave Trisha to handle the
customers. But the thrill of the chase warmed his blood more than any Tom Jones
song ever had.
wouldn’t get much of a wave before he spent a busy lunch hour doing what he did
best. Selling ice-cream to Eskimos.
The soft tinkling
of an old fashioned brass bell heralded Morgan’s introduction to The Bacio
She slid her knee
length knitted scarf from around her neck and tied it around the handle of her
oversized designer bag - one of a trillion freebies she received as a perk of
working as a photographic set designer for a top fashion mag in Paris. Then she
strolled deeper into the room, her creative eye skimming over numerous visual
Rendered walls were
painted a deep golden yellow bar one feature wall covered in an impression of
Tuscan hills. A huge gleaming bronze espresso machine took up a tidy portion of
the long mahogany counter top, leaving the remainder of the space for curved
glass cabinets, cleverly backlit to make the most of at least three dozen long
trays filled with towering swirls of multi-coloured gelato, flat spoons sticking
out the top of each perfect mound like the first flag on Mount Everest.
It was the kind of
place someone in her job dreamed of stumbling upon. A perfect blend of colour,
texture, and lighting. It bombarded the senses in such a way it sold not just
foodstuffs, but an image, a feeling. She could imagine men in fedoras crowded
around the several tiled wrought-iron tables talking football spreads and
planning heists, and little kids in newsboy caps sticking their noses against
the large window, wishing they hadn’t spent the last of their pocket money on
some silly toy.
It was a pity she
was here on not nearly so pleasant a task as scouting out a Chic Magazine
set. A great pity. Instead, by the end of the week she would have to have made
a decision: up the rent astronomically to make the place viable, or sign off on
the plans burning a hole in her bag and raze the building to the ground.
Once inside, Saxon
replaced his beanie for a black Bacio Bacio cap, left his leather jacket
over a chair in the staff room, and tied a deep red apron around his waist,
tightening the knot in front.
He tucked his hair
behind his ears, decided he’d better get a hair cut before his mother saw him
again, and then hastened out into the warm inviting surrounds of his home away
from home to find a woman had entered his haven.
He slowed. For
this was not just any woman, but a woman who deserved a second glance. And a
third. And dinner and a movie and at least an attempt at a nightcap.
Blonde she was.
Dirty blonde with luscious waves trailing long and unkempt down her front. Huge
dark sunglasses covered half her small face. At least three gold chains hung
around her slim neck, carrying oversized charms that jingled against one another
as she moved through the room, giving her a kind of musical quality. And poking
out from her ridiculously high-heeled bronze sandals the nails of her dainty
toes were painted working-girl-red.
Actually she was
kind of small all over; the class of woman his father would say fit nicely into
one’s pocket. Her pint-sized loveliness was sheathed in a tight gold V-neck top
that adhered lovingly to some seriously eye-catching curves, like caramel sauce
over ice-cream. And a now-you-see-it-now-you-don’t sliver of skin between the
bottom of her top and the top of calf-length cargo pants kept him riveted for a
good thirty seconds.
Saxon made a
concerted effort to rein in his libido which had become overexcited
astonishingly quickly for such a cold winter morning. For simmering just below
the initial wham bam thank-you ma’am attraction he felt a thread of residual
discomfort, like a red flag waving in the very corner of his sub-conscious.
Something about this woman was making him itch.
He caught Trisha’s
eye instead and motioned that he’d get this one. The grin on Trisha’s face told
him she’d been more than half expecting it. He curled his lip and it only made
her giggle behind her hand before she snuck out the back to take her morning
break before the lunch rush set in.
Alone with the
mystery woman Saxon leaned on the counter and began his signature pitch that had
sold a million gelatos and turned his family’s one small suburban shop into a
poison?’ he asked.
From "Steamy Surrender"
by Ally Blake
Modern Extra Sensual
Romance September 2007
ISBN: 978-0-263-85396-4 Copyright: © 2007
® 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
This one’s for
Paul and for Luke – material proof there are good men out there for the girls
lucky enough to find them.