~ANGEL PAYNE and VICTORIA BLUE~
Welcome to UTC! The Secrets of Stone series is a brand new one that you two are writing together. Why did you decide to join forces and what was it about this story that made you want to write it together?
Well, we decided to collaborate on this project after discovering we both had a love for the same type of story. We love a romance where the guy pursues the girl, and really has to work his butt off to win her over, to the point the reader wants to jump through the pages and strangle one or both of them –knowing there’s going to be a huge, mushy payback for it all in the end!
Could you please describe your writing process and how is it different (easier, harder) to write together?
I t was very natural for us to write together. We just sat down and started talking about what we wanted to see happen in the story, and what we wanted for the characters. We’re both really addicted to character-driven stories, so Killian and Claire’s development and motivation s came first, and the rest kind of filled itself in around them.
If you could describe one another in one word, what would it be and why?
Victoria for Angel: Generous -because she is the most giving soul I’ve ever known, in absolutely every aspect of her life. I’ve never seen anything like it. I’m in awe.
Angel for Victoria: (after sobbing her guts out after reading that): Brave–and honorable. Okay, I know that’s two, but they go hand-in-hand when describing this woman. She shows up for relationships even when they’re hard, and that especially applies to the one she has with herself–which is MUCH harder than anyone thinks it is. She never shies away from looking at the things in her heart, or in others, that might be tough or too “deep.” It’s one of the reasons that writing with her is just as exciting and amazing as being friends with her!
Tell us a bit about NO PRINCE CHARMING!
We ’re so happy you asked! The book stars drop dead gorgeous, uber-powerful businessman, Killian Stone. His company is in trouble thanks to the repeated shenaninigans of his brother, Trey, making it necessary for Killian to call in the help of a high-end PR fix-it firm. Enter our heroine, Claire Montgomery , who is part of that elite team. Sparks fly from the minute the pair meets, but Claire is determined to just get the job done, not lose her heart to this billionaire alpha hottie. Of course , Killian isn’t used to taking no for an answer–so the pursuit begins. You’ll have to read the book to see if they find their happily ever after!
What would you consider the biggest hardship with writing this book?
Nailing the characters. You know, getting them just right …especially Claire. There is a very fine line between a beautiful, independent woman and a bitch. LOL
What is your favorite thing about Killian Stone’s character?
Victoria: His sexy, demanding confidence.
Angel: The secrets he’s hiding, and how they weigh on his soul…and how he finally finds light for it in his connection to Claire.
While writing this book, did you have any models/celebrities in mind for your characters? If so, care to share them with us?
Oh hell yeah , we did! Killian Stone is the beautiful, drool- worthy Thomas Beaudoin. Claire Montgomery is Kate Mara. Claire’s dad, Colin, is Michael Fassbender. Trey Stone is Francis Cadieux. …and we’re dinking around with actors and models to slot in for the other roles. Any uggestions, anyone?
What can we expect next from you two?
Together, we will have the next installment of the Secrets of Stone Series out in October 2014 , called NO MORE MASQUERADE. Separately, Angel is working on the next in her W.I.L.D Boys of Special Forces series, called Hot for His Hostage. It’s slated for an August 4th release date.
“Once upon a time, there was a girl who dressed up and went to a big party at the palace. When she was there, she met a prince. They danced and fell in love…”
Damn good line. Too bad I don’t believe a word of it anymore.
My name is Claire Montgomery…and I’m not a princess. I’m a fighter. I worked hard to earn my place on the emergency image repair team for one of the biggest public relations companies in the country. We’ve been called to the renowned Chicago headquarters of Stone Global Corporation, where it’s our job to clean up a heap of the Stone family’s filthiest laundry. Our success will be the biggest victory of my career. I’m on my game. I’m ready.
Why doesn’t “ready” include a contingency plan for Killian Stone?
My name is Killian Stone…and they call me the “Enigma of Magnificent Mile.” That’s just the way I like it. Elite tycoons want into my bank account. Their wives and daughters want into my pants. They’ll all do anything for a piece of the enigma—until a crack in the castle is too huge for anyone to ignore. What they all don’t know is that I’m thrilled about the fissure. Their fascination with the scandal means nobody will look at the bigger secret of the Stone family. I’m safe.
Until Claire Montgomery walks through my doors.
Her honesty, her bravery, her humor…they pull me in, a prism against the gray walls of my tower. I’m captivated. For the very first time, I long to shed the enigma. To share my secret. But what the hell will that get me? Even if she fits the slipper I offer…I’m no Prince Charming.
Out on the street, I quickly blended in with the crowd, grateful as hell for every drop in the human ocean. I fell in step with the late commuters and started walking toward our hotel, setting my mind on recovering my clarity and self-control, hoping lucidity wouldn’t be too far behind. In, out. In, out. I filled my lungs with each breath, inserting a mental chill, brah after each cycle. Chad would’ve been proud.
I resolved to have a balanced dinner at the hotel, then focus on sleeping well tonight. I was worn down, and this unnatural “thing” for Killian had made it worse. I’d just stared into a horrible darkness, and never wanted to revisit that place again.
I was done with Killian Jamison Stone.
Officially, completely, agonizingly, done.
The bustle of the city boosted my confidence. Lively music played from street-level shops. Savory food aromas, representing cultures from across the globe, wafted out from eateries. People around me laughed and swore and yelled. Car horns blasted as traffic rules were bent and broken.
I kept walking, determined to keep my promise. I smiled at a little boy holding an Elmo plush in one hand, his mom’s hand in the other. Took a deep breath of curry-infused air, deciding Indian might be good for dinner.
This was good. Two minutes in. I was doing all right. I could do this. He-who-wouldn’t-be-thought-of remained that way.
I kept walking. Even as a sleek town car swooped to the curb.
A pair of sharp honks cut the air. The town car’s driver had cut off two cars. Their drivers followed with a couple of impressive flip-offs. The town car remained still and impervious, now flashing its hazards, a high-class version of the flip-off. Making nice was definitely not part of that driver’s mission.
I would’ve laughed at the whole scenario, except for the panic that rushed back in the space of three seconds.
The moments it took for me to focus on the vehicle’s damn license plate.
“No,” I snarled beneath my breath.
Had my blissful bubble been too thick to notice it? Clearly, the answer was yes. Clearly, it didn’t have to matter. I could just keep walking. Yes. I’d already vowed not to be this man’s puppet. I couldn’t return to that alarm, that suffocation, that aching, awful need that I’d felt three blocks before, in the heart of the Stone empire’s castle. Forget it. This time, if the man wanted to threaten sending me back to San Diego, he could do just that.
The town car’s back door flung open. Sure enough, Killian Stone unfolded onto the sidewalk. Charcoal suit. Crimson tie. Endless limbs. Proud stance. Penetrating gaze.
I stopped walking. So did over half the women on the sidewalk. Heat curled through me all over again, this time with a not-so-nice possessive streak. What the hell?
He gave me one stare. One. Then simply stood with the car door open.
I rigidly stood my ground. I was not going to do this. My vow was only ten minutes old, and now fate wanted me to climb into a confined space with that man?
That mind-blowing, thought-stealing, logic-altering, man…
Who tilted his head to one side, silently ordering me in.
Chicago whirled and bustled around us. Couldn’t they see the ground tilting beneath me, the sky careening, my world shifting?
He walked toward me. Correction: prowled toward me. My eyes widened. With what? Fear?
He was sexual prowess on two legs. It was both rapture and torture to watch him. As he strode closer, I found myself hypnotized by the flexes of his thighs alone. I tried stepping back, but the crowd trapped me now. A couple of pedestrians bumped me, swearing as they passed. That didn’t ease Killian’s tension level.
“Claire.” His voice was a harsh warning. I battled to ignore him, whipping my head side to side, but my pounding heart led my gaze back to him. Marvelous. Our cat and mouse act had me so jacked up, I didn’t know whether to stay or run—a perfect summation of the last three weeks.
Men on the street stopped with their women now, mere feet from where I’d obviously grown roots. Many pointed and whispered as they recognized Killian.
“Claire.” He used a stricter tone.
“What?” So did I.
A pulse ticked in his jaw. He took a long breath before walking over and gently pulling on my elbow. When he spoke again, his voice was only loud enough for my ears. “Beautiful fairy…come get in the car.”
Wisely, he followed it with a nervous glance. In the end, I didn’t care. I jerked away and slammed my glare to his face. “You do not get to call me that. Ever. Are we clear, Mr. Stone?”
His features hardened to the texture of the sidewalk again. The effect wasn’t softened by the single chunk of black hair that the wind pushed across his forehead. “Get in the car and we’ll discuss—”
“No. We won’t ‘discuss.’ There’s nothing to debate except for the fact that I’d rather walk five miles in these,” —I stabbed a finger at my four-inch Manolo Blahnik peep-toes— “than get in that car with you.”
“Claire.” His eyes turned the color of hurricanes. “Dammit!”
“What the hell are you doing, anyway? Stalking me?”
“I arrived at the lobby right after you,” he growled. “Walter mentioned that you were crying, so—”
“I wasn’t crying.”
“The hell you weren’t.”
“I wasn’t crying.”
He brought a finger beneath my chin. Given the brutality of his tone, his tender tug was a surprise.
Once my face was high, the black probes of his gaze awaited mine. Hell. His eyes pulled me apart from the inside out. I swallowed as he shifted closer, consuming the last space between us. A sizeable crowd had collected, and thankfully one of us had the sense to squash the dramatics. He leaned in so his lips brushed against my ear.
“Get in the car, Claire, or you’ll be cleaning up your own mess by morning. I’m not here to hurt; I’m here to help. What part am I not making clear?”
He backed away by a steady step, then another. God, he was gorgeous.
He was also right.
BUY “NO PRINCE CHARMING” NOW
Today we have a signed paperback copy of NO PRINCE CHARMING and a set of embossed wine glasses.
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