Thanks so much for having me over on Book Reviews and More, Kathy. It’s such a pleasure to be here to talk about my new novel, Identity Crisis, which is book two of the Executive Decisions Trilogy.
Do men believe in romance? Do men even DO romance? And if they do, how much does a man’s version of romance differ from a woman’s? I asked my husband that question, and he assures me that men are, indeed, romantic (In all fairness, he certainly is). But, he informed me, they just tend to be a lot more subtle about it than woman. And at the end of the day, he added, who doesn’t hope to find someone who’s not only a partner but also a soul mate? (He’s good … really good)
Of course in the crazy world we live in now, it’s hard not to be jaded and just take what we can get. In Identity Crisis, I wanted to twist the idea of romance and the way men and women look at romance and see what would happen if matters of the heart were turned upside down and even less clear-cut than they usually are.
Garrett Thorne is a man who most definitely believes in romance. Not only does he believe in romance, but he writes it, and he writes it very well. No one knows that, of course, because he writes under the pen name Tess Delaney. The rest of the world thinks those fabulous and sexy romances that keep flying off the bookstore shelves are written by a brilliant and mysterious woman who values her privacy so much that no one has ever actually seen her. The rest of the world thinks that Garrett Thorne, on the other hand is just the unemployed, ne’er do well younger brother of business tycoon, Ellison Thorne. Garrett can live with that. In fact he’s kept his secret for a long time. Then Tess Delaney is nominated for the coveted Golden Kiss award for romance writing and Garrett’s secret is in danger of being revealed.
Enter Kendra Davis, PR person extraordinaire. Kendra doesn’t like Garrett. Kendra doesn’t believe in romance, and Kendra thinks there’s probably something a little strange about any man who writes it. But Kendra’s the best at what she does, and her specialty is those tricky PR situations that are best kept secret. Not able to turn down a challenge, Kendra agrees to be Tess Delaney for the award ceremony, with Garrett going as her date. It should be a simple job. It should be over right after the ceremony. But chocolate mousse dumped in the lap of a respected literary critic, an angry press camped on Garrett’s front lawn, a twisted stalker and Garrett and Kendra are stuck with each other. If the two don’t kill each other first, Garrett just might convince Kendra that romance is as much for her as it is for him and Tess.
Title: Identity Crisis by Grace Marshall
Genre: Contemporary, Erotic, Romance
Length: 224 pages
PR rep extraordinaire, Kendra Davis, is elated when she gets the chance to work for her hero, reclusive, romance novelist, Tess Delaney. Her elation is short-lived when she discovers that Tess is none other than Garrett Thorne, the bad-boy brother of business tycoon and eco-warrior, Ellison Thorne, who is engaged to her best friend, Dee Henning. Kendra blames Garrett for the comedy of errors that nearly destroyed their relationship. Garrett doesn’t like Kendra either, but he’s desperate. His alter-ego, Tess has been nominated for the prestigious Golden Kiss Award. No one knows who Tess really is, and he needs Kendra to play Tess for the awards.
When Tess is stalked by a rabid fan, the two unite to protect her identity. With Kendra, the body and Garrett the soul of Tess Delaney, is there room in this strange ménage for romance? Can a woman who doesn’t exist understand their hearts even better than they do?
She cocked her head and looked at him in a way that made him think she was expecting to find something, something he was hiding. But just when he was beginning to feel defensive, she shoved her iPad back into her bag and stood. ‘Alright then. That’s all I need today.’
‘Wait a minute.’ He said following her to the door. ‘Don’t we need to … I don’t know … Practice? I mean I barely know you and you said we need to be comfortable with each other.’
She turned so quickly he nearly ran into her. ‘You don’t have to be comfortable with Kendra Davis, Garret. You have to be comfortable with Tess Delaney, and I promise you will be.’ She looked up at him with a smile that might have been teasing, might have been a smirk. Whichever it was, the small alcove where they now stood suddenly seemed even tighter fitting than it actually was. ‘If it’ll help,’ she said, ‘you can kiss me good-bye.’
‘That’s not very professional,’ he managed, feeling like the breath had been squeezed out of him as he fumbled to help her into her jacket.
Her smile was warm, reassuring. ‘Actually, in our case it’s very professional.’ She rose on her toes and brushed a kiss across his lips. ‘Very professional, indeed.’
And before she could pull away he scooped her into his arms, feeling her little gasp of surprise as he took her mouth. What had only been intended to show her he was up for it, very quickly changed to something else, and suddenly they were clawing at each other, hands grabbing collars and hair and anything else to get closer to each other. Clothing brushed against clothing until friction mounted and body heat radiated through. And God, her mouth was sweeter than anything, full lips so soft one second and so hard and demanding the next, parted to allow him access to her tongue and her hard pallet, to her warm humid breath coming faster and faster as her fist clenched in his hair and her own tongue battled for supremacy. And her body, Jesus, her body was hard pressed and tight and mounded and undulating and he’d never felt so much fire just beneath the surface.
But she was Kendra Davis. And just when he was ready to scoop her up and carry her off to his bedroom. Just when he was ready to hold her captive there for the next three of four or more hours, she stepped back with a little sigh and caught her breath. She raised a hand to her lips, almost but not quite covering her teasing smile and said. ‘You get an A Plus for practice, Garrett Thorne. You just convinced the hell out of me.’ Still breathing hard, she ran a hand through his hair, brushed a quick kiss across his lips and let herself out, leaving him leaning against the wall barely able to stand. For the very first time, he allowed himself to think that not only might they be able to pull this whole charade off, but he might actually enjoy it.
Grace Marshall lives in South England with her husband and the growing gang of hooligan birds who frequent their feeders. When Grace isn’t busy writing something sexy and romantic, she’s busy digging in her ever-expanding veg garden or walking across the British countryside. She finds inspiration outdoors in nature, and most of her best story ideas come to her while she’s walking or gardening.
Grace is the author of the fast paced, quirky Executive Decisions Trilogy published by Xcite Romance. The first and second novels in the trilogy are out now.
Grace Marshall’s alter-ego, K D Grace, writes critically acclaimed, best-selling erotic romance. Whether it’s sexy romance or romantic sex, between The Graces, there’s a story for you.