I've got Rio on the brain right now. That's Illario Mastrangelo, to be precise, the swarthy Italian billionaire who has a knack for turning everything he touches into gold. But Rio wasn't born with a silver spoon in his delicious mouth. Despite the fact his father has a fortune behind him, Rio was an unwanted complication of an extra-marital affair. He was raised by doting single-mother, Rosa, who could barely make ends meet.
I don't think you can write romance novels without falling in love with your hero. I know I have loved (and at times hated!) each and every guy I've written. Just coming up with the ideas for what makes them tick is so much fun. It's not enough that they be arrogant and ruthless. That might be hot, but there have to be reasons for it, or you just end up with a big jerk on your hands. It's the vulnerabilities that really make a hero swoon-worthy for me, and that moment when he finally realises he needs to show that side of himself to the one woman who wields the power to bring him to his knees... So here's a chance to share with you some behind-the-scenes inspiration of the heroes I've fallen in love with, and what makes them stand out for me.
INNOCENT IN THE BILLIONAIRE'S BED is out November 21st digitally and available anywhere great romance books are sold, during December.
Tempted by the tycoon’s touch…
Rio Mastrangelo doesn’t want anything from the father who never acknowledged him. So when he unexpectedly inherits an island paradise, he’s determined to sell it as fast as he can! But the potential purchaser who lands on his shores is not the spoiled heiress he’s been expecting—and her luscious body fills him with a rush of hot, undeniable desire.
Cash-strapped Tilly Morgan accepted a payment to impersonate her best friend, but she hadn’t bargained on sexy Rio. When a storm hits, trapping them together, there’s nowhere to run from their raging hunger—and passion threatens to uncover Tilly’s every vulnerability…
Despite knowing of her impoverished circumstances, Rio's father never once interceded to offer help - even when Rosa became ill and was bed-ridden, eventually succumbing to her illness when Rio was still just seventeen.
Rio was alone in the world, heart-broken after burying his mother, and determined to make his mark. Rosa had been an architect, though her illness had made her unable to work, she'd shared her love of buildings with Rio. His first venture was to buy a crumbling, falling down relic in the centre of Rome, using his considerable confidence to bluster his way into a bank loan.
The venture paid off. He salvaged objects of value from the site, selling them and ensuring they would go on to be used and admired, and turned the site into something he could sell. He continued to buy and upgrade properties until he had more money than he knew what to do with.
When his father came calling, apparently willing to finally claim the son he'd never wanted, it was Rio who was full of rejection. He refused to have anything to do with the man who'd spurned him, and allowed Rosa to live in such poverty and pain.
Upon his father's death, Rio inherited an island - an island so beautiful it took Rio's breath away. An island filled with history he didn't want to dwell up, for Prim'amore was the very place his parents had met and fallen in love.
Our story begins with Rio's fervent desire to sell the island as quickly - and as quietly - as possible. For though he care nothing for the man who never wanted him, he refuses to shame his mother by shedding light on the fact he'd been conceived in an illicit affair.
Rio is a fascinating character - so much more than an arrogant alpha. He's loyal, determined, but the definition of untrusting. It takes a special person to work their way into his heart, but once he welcomes someone there, he plays for keeps... I could see Rio in my head so clearly as I was writing this book (and he looked a lot like that rather dreamy model up there, swoon!) His determination to keep everyone at arm's length is understandable, and yet you can't help but fall in love with him. I hope you feel just like I do when you read it!