The Perfect Escape with Andie Brock and Harlequin Presents

How wonderful to be welcoming Harlequin Presents author Andie Brock to Get Lost in a Story. I first met Andie – cyberspacially speaking – during Harlequin’s So You Think You Can Write competition in 2013. Andie took out second place with her wonderful manuscript Frozen Lives – which became her debut novel, The Last Heir of Monterrato! She’s since published three more novels under the Harlequin Presents imprint, including the newly released Bound by His Desert Diamond.

About Andie...

Andie Brock has been inventing imaginary friends since the age of four. In those days they tended to be of the sparkly fairy variety whereas now she loves to conjure up gorgeously sexy heroes and spirited heroines and wait for the sparks to fly! Married with three children, Andie lives in Bristol in the south west of England. The family share the house with Pete and Ned, two boisterous young ginger cats. When not writing, or plotting her next romance, or stopping the cats from tearing the sofa to shreds, Andie likes to wander around the local flea markets in search of a bargain or walk along the beautiful beaches of south Devon where she grew up.

Connect with Andie via her website, Facebook and Twitter.

 The Plan: Princess Annalina would do anything to end her arranged engagement... including getting photographed in a compromising position with a handsome stranger!

The Prince: Her mystery man is Prince Zahir Zahani – her betrothed’s brother – and the kiss that sparks unexpected need in them both traps Annalina and Zahir in a whole new kind of royal bind...till death them do part!

The Passion!: Having learned the cost of trusting others, Zahir tries to keep Annalina at a distance. But she challenges him at every turn, and suddenly, giving in to his darkest desires is all Zahir craves...

Read a little, buy the book... 

Clasping the cold metal railings, Annalina stared down at the swirling black depths of the River Seine. She shivered violently, her heart thumping beneath the tight fitting bodice of her evening gown, her designer shoes biting into the soft flesh of her heels. Clearly they had not been designed for a mad sprint down the bustling boulevards and cobbled back streets of Paris.

Oh God. Anna dragged in a shuddering lung full of cold night air. What had she just done?

Somewhere behind her in one of Paris’s most grand hotels a society party was in swing. A glittering, star-studded occasion, attended by royalty and heads of state, the great, the good and the glamorous from the world over. It was a party being thrown in her honour. And worse, far worse, a party where a man she had only just met was about to announce that she was to be his bride.

She let out a rasping breath, watching the cloud of condensation disperse into the night. She had no idea where she was or what she was going to do now but she did know that there was no going back. The brutal fact was, she couldn’t go through with this marriage, no matter what the consequences. Right up until tonight she had genuinely believed she could do it, commit to this union, to please her father and to save her country from financial ruin. 

Even yesterday, when she had met her intended for the first time, she had played along. Watching in a kind of dazed stupor as the ring had been slipped onto her finger, a perfunctory gesture, performed by a man who had just wanted to get the deed over with and witnessed by her father, whose steely eyed glare had left no room for second thoughts or doubts. As King of the principality of Dorrada he was going to make sure that this union took place. That his daughter would marry, King Rashid Zahani, ruler of the recently reformed Kingdom of Nabatean, if it was the last thing she ever did.

Which frankly, right now looked like a distinct possibility. Anna gazed down at the ring on her finger. The enormous diamond glittered back at her, mocking her with its ostentatious sparkle. Heaven only knows what it was worth, enough to pay the entire annual salaries of the palace staff no doubt, and with money to spare. She tugged it over her cold knuckles and held it in her palm, feeling the burden of its weight settle like a stone in her heart. To hell with it. Closing her fist she raised herself up on tiptoes, leaning as far over the railings as she could. She was going to do this, she was going to fling this hateful ring into the river. She was going to control her own destiny.

He came from out of nowhere – an avalanche of heat and weight and muscle that landed on top of her, knocking the breath from her lungs, flattening her against the granite wall of his chest. She could see nothing except the darkness of him, feel nothing except the strength of the arms that were locked around her like corded steel. Her body went limp, her bones dissolving with shock. Only her poor heart tried to keep her alive, taking up a wild, thundering beat.

‘Oh, no you don’t.’

He growled the words over the top of her head, somewhere in the outside world that, until a couple of moments ago she had quite taken for granted. Now she panicked she would never see it again. 

Bound by His Desert Diamond is available from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo and Harlequin. 

Lets talk... 

Where Andie works!
Avril: What’s a typical reading week for you? 
Andie: A typical week sees me splitting my time between my day job and writing at home, although the two do overlap. I work in the library of the University of Bristol Physics department, here in the UK. It’s a beautiful building and the library is a mini Hogwarts type place, wood panelled and quiet and warm with a fantastic view over pretty much the whole of Bristol. I love it! And because the students are so... well, studious... I sneakily get the chance to work on my manuscript while I’m there. I’m sure I shouldn’t be admitting this, but you will frequently find me negotiating my hero and heroine into a passionate clinch, only to be interrupted by a polite young man asking me how to find a book on quarks and leptons. 

Avril: What’s the first romance novel you read and what were your thoughts at the end of it? 
Andie: The first romance novel I remember reading, or at least having a real effect on me, was The Woodlanders by Thomas Hardy. It was one of the books we ‘had’ to read at school for English literature and I was completely swept away by it. There was a television adaptation on around the same time and we all sat down to watch it as a family. I remember being mortified because I couldn’t stifle my choking sobs near the end. It was so sad! My younger brother, of course, had a fine old time winding me up about it. 

Avril: What would you say are the hallmarks of a Harlequin Presents novel?
Andie: Lots of passion and emotion with strong alpha males and spirited heroines. Harlequin Presents stories are the perfect escape from the stresses and strains or maybe just the humdrum monotony of everyday life. They transport you to exotic locations, to a world full of glamour, where true love eventually conquers all. 

Avril: Can you tell us a bit about how you research your novels?
Andie: I start by deciding what trope I’m going to write, then the nationality of my hero - that determines the setting. Then I try and think of a good dramatic opening to kick the story off. After that I’m pretty much in freefall! I’m a terrible pantster, but somehow it all seems to work out in the end. I’m constantly researching facts on the internet – I’ve no idea how writers managed before we had that fantastic resource at our fingertips. 

Avril: Are you an alpha or a beta hero kind of gal, and why?
Andie: In real life I must confess I’m more of a beta hero kind of girl. I like the nerdy, bespectacled guy, who will wear the dreadful sweater his mum has bought him and not care what he looks like. But clearly that won’t do for a Presents hero, who has alpha male embedded in his DNA. Powerful, stubborn and more than a little bit arrogant, it takes a very special heroine to bring him to heel! 

Avril: What are you currently working on?
Andie: My next book, The Greek’s Pleasurable Revenge, is out in June. I’m currently working on number six which sees a young Scottish woman called Harper desperately trying to get her twin sister, Leah, out of trouble. But that involves honouring an agreement Leah had with super sexy Sicilian billionaire businessman, Vieri Romano! This one should be released in early 2018. 

Avril: As a romance reader, what’s your pet hate?
Andie: I don’t like things to be over explained – I’m like, yes I got that thank you! – but on the other hand I hate finishing a book with unanswered questions buzzing in my head. I am that person who googles books, still searching for the definite answers. And please don’t tell me to draw my own conclusions - I want the author to draw them for me. And I do like a happy ending. I blame that on the Woodlanders....

A question from Andie: Princess Annalina has to leave her home and her country, the beautiful Pyrenean principality of Dorrada, and move to a modern palace in the sweltering heat of the Arabian desert. Have you ever dramatically swapped countries/cultures/lifestyles like this and if so how did you cope? Or maybe you have never strayed far from home but would love the chance to live somewhere totally different. Where would you choose?  

Tell us in the comments and enter the giveaway to win an e-copy of 
Bound by His Desert Diamond.

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  1. Replies
    1. Thank you for having me, Angi! It's great to be here!

  2. I have never lived in another part of the United States or the world, so I would say I would possibly want to live close to a beach but I don't know where though (I live in the Orlando, Florida area).

    1. There's always Sydney, Australia (haha - of course I'm biased!)

    2. Orlando sound like a cool place to live to me, Amanda! I used to live by the beach when the kids were small and I still miss it!

  3. I have loved Harlequin Presents since I was a teenager! And I would opt for Uraguay--either Montevideo or Punta del Este. I visited the country a few years ago and fell in love with it.

    1. One place I haven't been but I like the idea of it!

  4. I grew up in rural Northeastern New York on the Canadian and Vermont borders. I had never been far from home, except for my student teaching near New York City. When I graduated from college, I left for the Peace Corps to serve in the Philippines. I served the 2 year tour and extended for a third year. It was quite a change, but a wonderful experience. Coping wasn't much of a problem except for the first Christmas. Being so far from my large family in a place that did not celebrate the holiday anywhere near the same way that we did. If you want to call it coping, I made friends, participated in the community, and took every opportunity I could to explore the country and experience all it had to offer. There was a book locker that Peace Corps supplied. With no TV, not much on the radio, and no library, reading was a nice thing to have available.

    1. Sounds like you had a real change of lifestyle and that you experienced it to the full! Good on you. Glad to hear you had books and reading to keep you company.