Book one in the Haven Security series
Two unforeseen moments in time— One brings them together—the other is a danger so real it could tear them apart.
Antoinette ‘Toni’ Grimaldi prefers to keep out of the spotlight, blend in with the crowd and experience life the same as the bulk of the population. Being a mining magnate’s daughter is a difficult persona for her to uphold. She just doesn’t fit in with high society standards, always managing to say something inappropriate or trip over her own feet at the worst possible moment, resulting in that look of disappointment and embarrassment her parents inevitably wear whenever she’s around.
Meeting a handsome stranger who comes to her rescue and asks her out on a date is so much more than Toni could have ever hoped for on her dream holiday—one she is surprised her parents have even permitted her to take alone. Her fairy-tale moment is short-lived, though, when Toni discovers the stranger has been hired by her family to follow her every move—under the guise of keeping her safe.
Jason finds he is drawn to Antoinette. She is nothing at all like the socialite he was expecting to shadow around London’s nightclubs. After an awkward first meeting, he convinces Toni that there is more to his interest in her than just as her bodyguard. To his surprise, his attraction for the soft-spoken, thoughtful woman grows, despite his usual reluctance to commit to any kind of relationship.
Then a disaster at one of the family-owned mines and a string of death threats force Toni to return home, and her need for a bodyguard becomes a life and death reality.
This thing with Toni—whatever it was—was different. Jason wanted more than just a quick romp in the sack. He wanted to hold her in his arms as they fell asleep, after a round or two of some mind-blowing sex, of course. Jason wanted Toni something bad, wanted to feel his cock push between the folds of her pussy. He wanted to hear Toni call his name as he licked and sucked her clit and drove her wild, until the resulting orgasm left her body quivering with satisfaction. Then he would enter her slowly, savouring every new sensation as his cock found space between those slick, wet walls of her cunt.
Even though he wanted this nearly more than he wanted his next breath, Jason had walked Toni to her door, and, after organising a time for them to meet in the morning, he had kissed her lips gently then walked away. It had taken every ounce of his self-control to leave her there with her eyes burning a hole in his back as she’d watched him go.
As a result, Jason now sat in his room, calling himself every name under the sun for being such an idiot and not taking what he’d wanted—Toni naked and lying stretched out on his bed. All the while he ruthlessly pumped his hand up and down his cock to try to give his balls some relief.
He needed to clear his head so he could email the daily report of Toni’s movements to Nathan. Well, as detailed as he could without giving away the fact that he’d blown his cover and was now lying in bed imagining all the ways he wanted to pleasure the daughter of the firm’s biggest client. Yep, Nathan really did not need to read about any of that—his mate would go ballistic.
* * * *
Toni couldn’t sleep. Looking at the clock again and finding out that only a few minutes had passed, she kicked the sheets off her legs with exasperation. Her body was on fire, the sheets too heavy against her skin. She’d flung off her nightie twenty minutes ago as the fabric had abraded her sensitive nipples—nipples that had remained hard and wanting—or, more precisely, wanting Jason ever since he had left her at her door. This is ridiculous. I should just go bang on his door until he lets me in and gives me an orgasm so I can bloody sleep. What’s the point of knowing he’s next door if I can’t take advantage of it? It had been a bit of a shock at first when Jason had admitted to being in the room next to hers all along. Toni was convinced she had just invented a new form of torture.
She wanted to feel Jason’s hands on her body so badly it hurt. As she unconsciously ground her pelvis against the mattress, imagining how it would feel to have his lips around her nipples with his hard body, heavy and warm, over hers, she’d been close to orgasm. It had taken Toni a few seconds to realise what she was doing. She’d been so busy imagining what it would feel like to have Jason touching her, she had lost control.
“Aaargh,” Toni groaned again as she punched the pillow repeatedly with her clenched fist. I’m going to look delightful in the morning, bags on bags, a bloody set of luggage under my eyes if I don’t get some sleep.
The bed linen felt like it was lined with barbed wire and ultimately won the war declared on her sexually frustrated and sensitised skin. She had suffered enough. Toni got up from the bed, then shook her head as she looked at the tangle of twisted sheets she’d left behind. She found her dressing gown and slipped her arms through the sleeve openings. The light and delicate fabric of her luxurious covering might as well have been a sheet of sandpaper rubbing against her body.
After tucking her room key into the pocket, she quietly opened her door, just enough to poke her head outside and check that the corridor was clear. Finding it empty and not hearing any sound of approaching footsteps, Toni pulled the door closed behind her until the sound of the lock clicked into place—a sound that in the still of the corridor seemed like the boom of a bass drum being struck.
She took the three steps that separated her room from Jason’s and, summoning up all the bravado she could muster, Toni knocked on the door. It was really more like a brush of her fingertips against the two inch thick wood, but it was the best she could manage, given that she was already trying to quell the sound of her heart pumping so loudly that it was probably making enough noise to wake the entire hotel.
For one short moment Toni imagined a squad of firemen, fully suited up, with hoses and axes at the ready, racing down the hallway searching for the source of the loud thumping horn that sounded like an alarm but was in fact her heart beating. If he doesn’t open the door by the time I count to ten, I’m going back to my room and will just have to deal with the sexual tension I’m feeling myself… One… Two…
Did you always wanted to be a writer? If not what did you want to be?
No. I’ve always loved to read, the voices in my head only made themselves known a few years ago.
When did you first consider yourself a “writer”?
I still find it foreign calling myself that. When I attend conferences, I’m usually busy being a fan girl, gushing over (stalking) my favorite authors. I still get a bit of a shock when someone asks for an autograph.
How long did it take to get your first book published?
I was very lucky and hit gold on my first submission. I submitted my manuscript to Totally Bound Publishing and was picked up by my first editor, Amy Parker. With her help we polished up my writing enough to be offered a contract. Then Totally Bound contracted all the books in my League of Love series, so I’ve stuck with them.
Do you do another job except for writing and can you tell us more about it?
Yes, I do boring admin work. Luckily I can work from home and one of the bosses is my hubby ;)
What is the name of your latest book, and if you had to summarize it in less than 20 words what would you say?
An Opportunity Seized. Reluctant heiress gets a good dose of reality and some mind-blowing sex with the help of her sexy, ex-soldier bodyguard.
Who is your publisher? Or do you self-publish?
I’m published by Totally Bound Publishing – they’re awesome.
How long does it usually take you to write a book, from the original idea to finishing writing it?
Before I went through my first official editing, I could pump out a book in about two weeks. Now it takes me a lot longer, my muse is fickle and doesn’t like to hang around when I’m doing promotional work or not fully focused on him/her. It’s one of the things I find the most difficult, trying to keep up with all the promotional aspects of releasing a book. And the time differences, Australia is asleep when everything happens. I also find that I’m getting distracted trying to create a manuscript that won’t need lengthy editing. So far, I’m not really going so well with that, my edits are always extensive.
What can we expect from you in the future? ie More books of the same genre? Books of a different genre?
I’ve started book 3 in my Haven Security series and I’d like to do another footy book to round out that series. I really enjoy reading paranormal books and would love to give that a go at some stage.
What genre would you place your books into?
An Opportunity Seized is a Contemporary Erotic Suspense story.
What made you decide to write that genre of book?
After writing seven books in my sports genre, League of Love series I really wanted to try something else. I love reading ex-soldier turned bodyguard books, so thought I’d give it ago. My heroes are all Aussies.
Do you have a favorite character from your books? And why are they your favorite?
I have a soft spot for JT (Mandy’s He-man) he is always chatting away in my head making smart-ass comments about the other heroes. For my new Haven Security series I think Chris Winters is going to be a favorite. I’m writing his story now. Well I should be but he is missing in action at the moment!
How long have you been writing?, and who or what inspired you to write?
I’ve been writing since 2010 and my first book was published in 2012. It took me a long time to work up the courage to submit the manuscript. So glad I did. It wasn’t so much I was inspired to write, it was more if I didn’t, the voices were going to keep chattering away at me. I wrote to get some peace and quiet.
Do you have a certain routine you have for writing? ie You listen to music, sit in a certain chair?
I’m an avid sports fan – the Aussie footy rugby league is my sport of choice but I will watch anything. So, Foxtel sports channel is usually on when I’m at my writing spot. My work desk is in an alcove just off the living area – we call it a lounge-room, ‘cause you know it has a lounge/sofa in it, and it’s where the family congregates to watch television. The house is empty during the day, just me and my furbaby.
Do you read all the reviews of your book/books?
I really shouldn’t but I do. I’ve been lucky most of my reviews have been very positive.
Do you choose a title first, or write the book then choose the title?
The title usually appears as I’m writing the story.
How do you come up with characters names and place names in your books?
This will sound strange but the voices in my head tell me their names. It’s usually the hero that talks to me but sometimes the heroine chimes in as well. Laura, from Laura’s Light (book 3 in my League of Love series) has been the only heroine that has taken control of a story.
Are there any hidden messages or morals contained in your books? (Morals as in like Aesops Fables type of "The moral of this story is..")
Yes, there does seem to be a reason for each book. I’ve written about coping with depression, single motherhood, low self-esteem, marriage problems due to lack of communication and PTSD.
Which format of book do you prefer, eBook, hardback, or paperback?
I only read ebooks these days. I have my library downloaded onto my phone and iPad, so all my lovely books and authors are with me wherever I go. My husband rues the day he gave me my first smartphone ;)
What is your favorite book and Why? Have you read it more than once?
The Seduction of Shamus O’Rourke by N.j. Walters. I love this book and when I feel a little down I re-read it. I’m not sure why this book, in a fabulous series, sticks out for me but it does. I love that Shamus didn’t judge Cindy by her past mistakes, even if it caused him trouble with his family.
Your favorite singer/group is?
Toss-up between Evanescence and Good Charlotte at the moment but I have many favorites.
Your favorite color is?
Black – Yes, I know it’s not really a color!
Your favorite Author is?
A few years ago when the sensual, male voices in Australian-born Donna Gallagher’s head became too loud to ignore there were only two options available – check herself into a mental hospital or put pen to paper and write.
A voracious reader and avid sports fan it was no surprise that her first seven books were based around her beloved sport of rugby league. A former WAG Donna had plenty of personal experience to fall back on as she created her fictional team of hunky Aussie sports heroes and the women that won their hearts.
A double finalist in the Australian Romance Readers Awards 2013 for Favourite Erotic Romance with her books Emily’s Cowboy and Sarah’s Soldier, Donna was also thrilled to be named a finalist for ARRA’s Favourite Australian Romance Author and Favourite Continuing Romance Series.
While sports romances will always hold a special place in her heart Donna has now expanded her genres to include romantic suspense with her soon to be released Haven Security series and a sexy, short, contemporary erotic story A Fruitful Intimacy set on a tropical island in Australia’s Great Barrier Reef.
Her years as a WAG may not have lived up to the happy-ever-after she creates in her books but a second shot at love has proven a winner. Donna is now happily married to her very own hero. She lives a ten minute drive from Sydney’s iconic Harbour Bridge and Opera House with her three grown sons, two turtles and a very spoilt mini dachshund called Toni.