Friday, December 19, 2014

**GIVEAWAY** Christmas in Da Conti's Bed - Sharon Kendrick Interview + Review

Well all good things must come to an end and today is the last of the Ho Ho Ho Harlequin Holiday Extravaganza posts but I saved a sensually fantastic feature for last and fabulous UK Harlequin Presents author Sharon Kendrick is here to put the icing on the cake chatting about her holiday romance Christmas in Da Conti's Bed. She's got a great Christmas curry recipe and she's offering one lucky winner a copy of the novel - Open Internationally!!
See below for contest details!
Sharon take it home!!! 

  • ISBN-13: 9780373132973
  • Publisher: Harlequin
  • Publication date: 11/18/2014
  • Series: Harlequin Presents Series , #3291
  • Format: Mass Market Paperback
  • Pages: 192


A Christmas gift she can't refuse…
Billionaire Niccolo Da Conti has everything a man could want—the money, the cars, the business empire—but seeing the unbearably enticing Alannah Collins again has sparked his possessive streak. He'll hire her, seduce her and cross her off his wish list once and for all!

Sharon is offering one print copy of
Christmas in Da Conti's Bed
Please use the Rafflecopter form below to enter
Thanks Sharon!
Good Luck!

Read an Excerpt:

Niccolò da Conti hated marriage, Christmas and love—but most of all he hated it when people didn't do what he wanted them to.
An unfamiliar feeling of frustration made him bite back a graphic expletive as he paced the floor of the vast New York hotel suite. Outside, skyscrapers and stars glittered against the deepening indigo sky, though not nearly as brightly as the Christmas lights which were already adorning the city.
But Niccolò was oblivious to the party atmosphere, or even to the onset of this most hated time of year. All he could think about was his only sister and wondering why she was being so damned disobedient.
:I do not want,' he said, sucking in a ragged breath in an attempt to control his rapidly spiralling temper, 'some tacky topless model acting as your bridesmaid. I have worked long and hard to establish a degree of respectability in your life, Michela. Do you understand what I'm saying? It cannot be allowed to happen, and what is more—I will not allow it to happen.'
From the other side of the glitzy New York hotel penthouse suite, Michela's expression remained unchanged as she looked at him.
'But you can't stop me from having her, Niccolò,' she said stubbornly. 'I'm the bride and it's my decision. That's the thing.'
'You think so?' His mouth hardened and he felt another hot flicker of rage. 'I could refuse to pay for this wedding for a start.'
'But the man I'm marrying is rich enough to carry the cost of the marriage if you decide to take such drastic action.' Michela hesitated. 'Though I'm sure you wouldn't want the world to know that Niccolò da Conti had refused to finance his only sister's wedding, just because he doesn't approve of her choice of bridesmaid. Wouldn't that be a step too far in the modern world—even for a man as old-fashioned as you?'
Niccolò flexed and then relaxed his fingers, wishing there were a nearby punch-bag on which he could vent his mounting frustrations. The world usually ran according to his wishes and he was not used to having them questioned. Bad enough that Alekto Sarantos was acting like some kind of prima donna…without having to cope with the bombshell that Alannah Collins was here.
His mouth tightened with anger as he thought about his sister and the sacrifices he had made. For too long he had fought to keep their tiny family unit intact and he was not prepared to relinquish control over her just yet. Because old habits died hard. He had faced shame and tragedy and had seen them off. He had protected Michela as much as was within his power to do so, and now she was about to enter into marriage, which would see her secure for life. His careful vetting of would-be suitors had paid dividends and she was about to marry into one of the most powerful Italian-American families in New York. She would have the sanctity he had always wished for her and nothing would be allowed to tarnish the occasion. Nothing and no one.
Especially not Alannah Collins.
Even the thought of the minxy little tramp made his body react in a complicated way he found difficult to control—and he was a man who prided himself on control. A powerful combination of lust and regret flooded over him, although his overriding emotion was one of rage, and that was the one he hung onto.
'I cannot believe that she has had the nerve to show her face,' he bit out. 'I can't believe she's even here.'
'Well, she is. I invited her.'
'I thought you hadn't seen her since I withdrew you from that appalling school.'
Michela hesitated. 'Actually, we've…well, we've stayed in touch over the years,' she said. 'We emailed and phoned—and I used to see her whenever I was in England. And last year she came to New York and we took a trip to the Keys and it was just like old times. She was my best friend at school, Niccolò. We go back a long way.'
'And yet you told me nothing of this before?' he demanded. 'You maintain a secret friendship and then spring it on me on the eve of your marriage? Didn't you stop to consider how it might look—to have someone as notorious as this tawdry exhibitionist playing a major role in your wedding?'
Michela lifted her hands up to the sides of her head in a gesture of frustration. 'Are you surprised I didn't tell you, when this is the kind of reaction I get?'
'What does Lucas say about your connection with her?' he demanded.
'It happened a long time ago. It's history, Niccolò. Most people in the States haven't even heard of Stacked magazine—it folded ages ago. And yes, I know that a video of the original shoot seems to have found its way onto YouTube—'
'What? ' he exploded.
'But it's really quite tame by modern standards,' said Michela quickly. 'If you compare it to some of the music videos you see these days—well, it's almost suitable for the kindergarten! And Alannah doesn't do that kind of stuff any more. You've got her all wrong, Niccolò, she's—'
'She is a tramp!' he gritted out, his Sicilian accent becoming more pronounced as his temper rose once again. 'A precocious little tramp, who shouldn't be allowed within ten feet of decent society. When will you get it into your head, Michela, that Alannah Collins is—'
'Whoops!' A cool voice cut into his angry tirade and Niccolò turned to see a woman strolling into the room without bothering to knock and suddenly his words were forgotten. If somebody had asked him his name right then, he thought he might have trouble remembering it. And yet for a moment he almost didn't recognise her—because in his memory she was wearing very little and the woman in front of him had barely an inch of flesh on show. It was the sound of her naturally sultry voice which kick-started his memory and his libido. But it didn't take long for his eyes to reacquaint themselves with her magnificent body—nor to acknowledge the natural sensuality which seemed to shimmer from it in almost tangible waves.
She was wearing jeans and a white shirt with a high collar, but the concealing nature of her outfit did nothing to disguise the luscious curves beneath. Thick black hair like lustrous jet hung over her shoulders, and eyes the colour of denim were studying him with a hint of mockery in their depths. Niccolò swallowed. He had forgotten the pale creaminess of her complexion and the rosiness of her lips. He had forgotten that this half-Irish temptress with an unknown father could burrow underneath his skin, without even trying.
As she moved he could see the glitter of a little blue dragonfly brooch gleaming on her shirt-collar, which matched the amazing colour of her eyes. And even though he despised her, he could do nothing about the leap of desire which made his body grow tense. She made him think of things he'd rather not think about—but mostly she made him think about sex.
'Did I just hear my name being taken in vain?' she questioned lightly. 'Would you like me to walk back out and come in again?'
'Feel free to walk out any time you like,' he answered coldly. 'But why don't you do us all a favour, and skip the second part of the suggestion?'
She tilted her chin in a way which made her black hair ripple down her back, like an ebony waterfall. But the smile she slanted at him didn't quite reach her eyes.
'I see you've lost none of your natural charm, Niccolò,' she observed acidly. 'I'd forgotten how you could take the word "insult" and give it a whole new meaning.'
Niccolò felt a pulse begin to pound in his temple as his blood grew heated. But much worse was the jerk of lust which made his groin feel unbearably hard. Which made him want to crush his mouth down over her lips and kiss all those insolent words away and then to drive deep inside her until she screamed out his name, over and over again.
Damn her, he thought viciously. Damn her, with all her easy confidence and her louche morals. And damn those sinful curves, which would compel a grown man to crawl over broken glass just to have the chance of touching them.
'Forgive me,' he drawled, 'but for a moment I didn't recognise you with your clothes on.'
He saw the brief discomfiture which crossed her face and something primitive gave him a heady rush of pleasure to think that he might have touched a nerve and hurt her. Hurt her as she had once hurt his family and threatened to ruin their name.
But she turned the look into a bright and meaningless smile. 'I'm not going to rise to that,' she said as she turned instead to his sister. 'Are you ready for your fitting, Michela?'
Michela nodded, but her eyes were still fixed nervously on Niccolò. 'I wish you two could be civil to each other—at least until the wedding is over. Couldn't you do that for me—just this once? Then you never need see one another again!'
Niccolò met Alannah's speculative gaze and the thought of her smiling serenely in a bridesmaid gown made his blood boil. Didn't she recognise that it was hypocritical for her to play the wide-eyed innocent on an important occasion such as this? Couldn't she see that it would suit everyone's agenda if she simply faded into the background, instead of taking on a major role? He thought of the powerful bridegroom's elderly grandparents and how they might react if they realised that this was the same woman who had massaged her own peaking nipples, while wearing a dishevelled schoolgirl hockey kit. His mouth hardened. How much would it take to persuade her that she was persona non grata?
He flickered his sister a brief smile. 'Why don't you let Alannah and I have a word or two in private, mia sorella? And let's see if we can sort out this matter to everyone's satisfaction.'
Michela gave her friend a questioning look, but Alannah nodded.
'It's okay,' she said. 'You're quite safe to leave me alone with your brother, Michela—I'm sure he doesn't bite.'
Niccolò stiffened as Michela left the suite and his unwanted feeling of desire escalated into a dark and unremitting tide. He wondered if Alannah had made that remark to be deliberately provocative. He would certainly like to bite her. He'd like to sink his teeth into that slender neck and suck hungrily on that soft and creamy skin.
Her eyes were fixed on him—with that infuriating look of mild amusement still lingering in their smoky depths.
'So come on, then, Niccolò,' she said insouciantly. 'Do your worst. Why don't you get whatever is bugging you off your chest so that we can clear the air and give your sister the kind of wedding she deserves?'
'At least we are agreed on something,' he snapped. 'My sister does deserve a perfect wedding—one which will not involve a woman who will attract all the wrong kind of publicity. You have always been wild—even before you decided to strip for the cameras. And I don't think it's acceptable for every man at the ceremony to be mentally undressing the bridesmaid, instead of concentrating on the solemn vows being made between the bride and groom.'
'For someone who seems to have spent all his life avoiding commitment, I applaud your sudden dedication to the marriage service.' Her cool smile didn't slip. 'But I don't think most men are as obsessed with my past as you are.'
'You think I'm obsessed by your past?' His voice hardened. 'Oh, but you flatter yourself if you imagine that I've given you anything more than a fleeting thought in the years since you led my sister astray.' His gaze moved over her and he wondered if the lie showed in his face because he had never forgotten her, nor the effect she'd had on him. For a long time he had dreamt of her soft body and her sweet kiss—before waking up in a cold sweat as he remembered what he had nearly done to her. 'I thought you were out of her life,' he said. 'Which is where I would prefer you to stay.'
Calmly, Alannah returned his stare and told herself not to react, no matter what the provocation. Didn't matter how angry he got, she would just blank it. She'd seen enough of the world to know that remaining calm—or, at least, appearing to—was the most effective weapon in dealing with an adversary. And Niccolò da Conti was being very adversarial.
She knew he blamed her for being a bad influence on his beloved sister, so maybe she shouldn't be surprised that he still seemed to bear a grudge. She remembered reading something about him in the press—about him not being the kind of man who forgot easily. Just as he wasn't the kind of man who was easily forgotten, that was for sure. He wore his wealth lightly; his power less so. He could silence a room by entering it. He could make a woman look at him and want him, even if he was currently staring at her as if she were something which had just crawled out from underneath a rock. What right did he have to look at her like that, after all these years? Because she'd once done something which had appalled his straight-laced sensibilities—something she'd lived to regret ever since? She was a different person now and he had no right to judge her.
Yet it was working, wasn't it? The contempt in his eyes was curiously affecting. That cold black light was threatening to destabilise a poise she'd spent years trying to perfect. And if she wasn't careful, he would try to crush her. So tell him to keep his outdated opinions to himself. Tell him you're not interested in what he has to say.
But her indignation was beginning to evaporate, because he was loosening the top button of his shirt and drawing attention to his body. Was he doing that on purpose? she wondered weakly, hating the way her stomach had suddenly turned to liquid. Was he deliberately reminding her of a potent sexuality which had once blown her away?
She became aware that her heart was pounding like mad and that her cheeks had grown hot. She might not like him. She might consider him the most controlling person she'd ever met—but that didn't stop her from wanting him in a way she'd never wanted anyone else. Didn't seem to matter how many times she tried to block out what had happened, or tried to play it down—it made no difference. All they'd shared had been one dance and one kiss—but it had been the most erotic experience of her life and she'd never forgotten it. It had made every other man she'd met seem as insubstantial as a shadow when the fierce midday sun moved over it. It had made every other kiss seem about as exciting as kissing your teddy bear.
She ran her gaze over him, wishing he were one of those men who had developed a soft paunch in the intervening years, or that his jaw had grown slack and jowly. But not Niccolò. No way. He still had the kind of powerful physique which looked as if he could fell a tree with the single stroke of an axe. He still had the kind of looks which made people turn their heads and stare. His rugged features stopped short of being classically beautiful, but his lips looked as if they had been made with kissing in mind—even if their soft sensuality was at odds with the hostile glitter in his eyes.
She hadn't seen him for ten years and ten years could be a lifetime. In that time she'd achieved a notoriety she couldn't seem to shake off, no matter how much she tried. She'd grown used to men treating her as an object—their eyes fixed firmly on her generous breasts whenever they were talking to her.

Sharon Welcome to The Reading Frenzy
Tell my readers a bit about Christmas in Da Conti’s Bed.
Hi, Debbie – it’s great to be here.
The story started with a hero – the powerful (and very sexy) billionaire, Niccolo Da Conti.  All his life Niccolo has taken charge of business and his family’s welfare and takes his role very seriously.  The trouble starts when he can’t contain the feelings he has for his sister’s friend – a woman he despises.
Alannah Collins tells herself she doesn’t need Niccolo’s approval – and she certainly doesn’t need the job he’s offering.  Who wants to spend time with an uptight control-freak who makes you long for all the things you can never have?  But chemistry has a habit of sabotaging your best intentions – and Christmas only makes it worse.  And spending the holidays in a snowy cottage with a man you can’t resist is bound to end in holiday heartbreak...

Sharon you’ve published in excess of 90 books, wow! Congrats!!
Why did you choose romance? Or did romance choose you?
Thanks.  Sometimes I have to pinch myself to believe it’s true!  I’ve written stories for pleasure ever since I was in school, but the first book I ever completed was a romance because – well, who doesn’t like to lose themselves in a love-story?  I sat down at wrote it at night when my kids were asleep and then sent it off to Harlequin, who loved it.  In fact, they published it without a single change!

Do you always have to have an HEA?
Always.  I’m a sucker for happy-ever-after and for the belief that true love lasts forever.  No matter how tough the hero and heroine’s journey - when people pick up one of my books, they know they’re guaranteed a real feel-good ending.

According to your bio you’ve been writing and making up stories forever.
Who was your inspiration to become an author?

Like most writers, I had my head in a book from an early age.  I loved the way a well-told story could take me anywhere I wanted to go.  The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe by C. S. Lewis just blew me away with its magic and witches and enchanted candy.  It made me realize I could create any world I wanted from my own imagination.

What book is on your nightstand right now?
I’ve just finished The Winner Stands Alone by Paul Coelho – a dark and stunning novel and inspiration for the Russian hero I’m currently writing.  After that I shall probably flick through a glossy magazine to hunt out a new dress for the holidays!

Sharon Christmas is a special season, from spending time with friends and family to eating.
Is there a special holiday recipe from the Kendrick household that you could share with us?
In England we usually eat turkey for Christmas lunch and we love using our leftovers in an imaginative way.  Christmas Curry is always a winner!

Christmas Curry (serves four)
One onion, finely chopped
Two gloves garlic, minced
cooked turkey
1 tablespoon mild curry powder
One tin coconut milk
Chopped coriander (optional

Heat oil and gently fry onion & garlic until soft and transparent.  Add curry powder and stir for 20 seconds.  Pour in coconut milk and combine.  Stir in turkey, cover, bring to boil and simmer for fifteen minutes.  Add chopped coriander just before you remove from heat.
Serve with rice, mango chutney and lots of festive cheer!  

Sharon thank you so much for participating in my HO HO HO Harlequin December Extravaganza.
I hope you have a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!!!
Debbie, it’s been my pleasure.  I hope all your readers have a happy holiday and that they get lots of delicious books in their stockings!

Christmas in DaConti’s Bed is part of Harlequin's cover story article See it HERE

My Review of Christmas in Da Conti's Bed courtesy RT Magazine

Connect with Sharon - Website - Twitter - Blog

Sharon Kendrick started story-telling at the age of eleven and has never stopped. She likes to write fast-paced, feel-good romances with heroes who are so sexy they’ll make your toes curl! She lives in the beautiful city of Winchester – where she can see the cathedral from her window (when standing on tip-toe!). She has two children, Celia and Patrick and her passions include music, books, cooking and eating – and drifting into daydreams while working out new plots.

Well this ends the Holiday event. It was so much fun I want to thank all my contributing authors for their generosity and all of my visiting friends for their constant support.
I hope you all have the Happiest of Holiday seasons!!
I love you all!

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  1. I have had so much fun this month coming here and seeing all these wonderful books, authors, recipes, and interviews Debbie! Thanks so much for sharing them all with us. I know how much work it must have been for everyone.

    I hope you have a fabulous weekend and holiday season!!

    1. Awe thanks Kindlemom I LOVE hosting these events.
      Merry Merry :)

  2. That's some sexy cover Debbie! I love curry, and that sounds like an easy to make recipe :) Not a bad stop, a good read, and great recipe, plus, as always, a fun interview :)

  3. Christmas wish is for peace and happiness. Looking forward to time with family and friends.