Thursday, July 16, 2015

Interview - Lisa Marie Perry - Hot Summer Nights

Please welcome to the Blog yet another new to me author, Lisa Marie Perry. She's here today to talk about her new novel, Hot Summer Nights.
Give us the scoop Lisa Marie!

ISBN-13: 9780373864096
Publisher: Harlequin/Kimani Romance
Release Date: 06/16/2015
Length: 224pp
Buy It:


California's hottest resort just got hotter
Recently promoted to executive chef of California's hottest high-end resort, free-spirited Gabrielle Royce is ready for anything…except the gorgeous stranger who bursts into her kitchen. Despite her hands-off policy, Gabby's intrigued—until she discovers he's record mogul Geoffrey Girard, one of LA's most eligible bachelors. Now the man who always gets what he wants has decided he wants her.
Read an Excerpt:

"When was the last time you faked it?"
Visions of uncomfortably thorough interviews that left her feeling naked, judged and stripped of her ego, and a few unfortunately memorable occasions of substandard sex came easily to Gabrielle Royce's mind. Too easily. "Faked it?" She darted smoothly through the restaurant's busy stadium-size kitchen to join the classically trained sous-chef and celebrity pastry chef in front of a stainless steel counter. "Confidence? Orgasms? What are we talking about faking here?"
"Dessert." The sous-chef indicated the lone plate on the counter, clearly speaking up for Hollywood's Hardcore Baking Challenge alum Nicola Joon, the pastry chef who could be belligerently bold on her top-rated reality baking show, Confection Affection X, but in actual reality stood subdued to silence, humbled by a trio of what might be champagne-glazed crème brûlée poppers. "When was the last time you faked culinary genius because you didn't want to accept that what you created was no more special than a store-bought snack?"
"Never. A girl can fake her way through a lot of things, and with damn good reason, but when it comes to food there's no point. Food always speaks for itself, and it's louder than any chef's nonsense." Gabrielle was a chef beyond occupation. She experienced and understood food, and demanded more from it than sustenance. For her, cooking was all or nothing. It had to be. At twenty-eight, she had no unforgivable regrets—after a good month of tattoo remorse, she'd even come to cherish the blowing dandelion inked on her left shoulder blade—yet she'd sacrificed more than most people realized just for the chance to study the nuances of culinary arts and put her stamp on the leisure and hospitality industry.
"You've got one of the most critical palates in the biz, Gabby." Nicola handed her a polished fork. The round shape and bite size suggested it was an eat-with-your-fingers dessert, an interesting coupling of gourmet elegance and down-to-earth comfort, but after two weeks of studying Gabrielle's technique, flair and quirks she must've detected that as a practice Gabrielle didn't taste without utensils. "Be brutal."
"How brutal?"
"Bitch brutal. Do your worst."
Gabrielle took the fork, twirled it between her fingers. "Nicola, do you truly think it's no more unique than 'store-bought'?"
"Truly, I haven't formed an opinion. I thought I'd reserve that honor for you."
"And you, Shoshanna?" She addressed the sous-chef hanging on her every syllable. A seasoned professional deserving of her own glory, Shoshanna Smirnov avidly believed that only by mastering a craft did one reach a point where they could start to actually learn it. A student of the kitchen, now and forever. Gabrielle had to admit she liked that about her. "Have you sampled one?"
"No, Nicola cake-blocked me."
Allowing a soft snort, Gabrielle said, "It's not cake, is it? It's crème brûlée that took a bath in champagne. Am I close, Nicola?"
Nicola nodded. "You didn't send spies to my workstation, did you?"
"No. All hands are on deck today, so nobody's spying." Their most versatile line cook on staff had called in sick, which was why Gabrielle had delegated herself to the kitchen for the entire morning and much of the afternoon. Come hell or high water, the restaurant couldn't skip a beat. "But now I'm intrigued. Am I looking at an authentic Nicola Joon pâtisserie prototype?"
"This could be the Pearl's new signature dessert, if you think it's acceptable to introduce to the pastry team."
"At the Belleza, it's not acceptable if it's not perfection" Gabrielle reminded her. It was the mind-set that had earned her the executive chef position at California's most exclusive resort and had catapulted her career to a peak that afforded her the clout to cherry-pick guest chefs and burdened her with the kind of attention that had celebrities interested in seducing her into their kitchens. But if there was anything as iron-strong as Gabrielle's backbone, it was her loyalty to the Belleza—and the Parkers, a family of brilliant minds who were relying on her visions of edge and class to lead the resort's award-winning restaurant, the Pearl, into a new era.
"When would you say a dessert has reached perfection?" Shoshanna asked.
Gabrielle rolled a popper onto her fork, considered the artistic beauty of the fragile dessert before arching a brow at the sous-chef, who pinched one off the plate. "When it triggers an emotional response. Or an orgasmic experience. On three?"
She closed her eyes, counted, then let its tantalizing aroma and airy texture contribute to her impression of the dessert's taste. A drop of citrus in the center was an unexpected burst of flavor that sent a delicate shiver directly down her spine. Heaven had to taste like this.
She laid down her fork. "I want this to cuddle with me tonight and call me tomorrow."
"Bozhe moi! This is all the satisfaction I need," Shoshanna said. "If I wasn't worried about calories jumping like paratroopers to my hips, I'd consider eating this every day and giving up my bob."
"Bob?" the others asked.
"You American girls, act like you know," she teased. "Bob. Bob. Battery-operated boyfriend."
Their evaluation of the sinfully satisfying pastry was interrupted with "Don't walk backward. Dangerously hot garlic saffron broth coming through." The words, accompanied with the harsh footsteps of the harried chef carting a large stockpot haloed with billowing steam, brought back the realities of the hectic kitchen. Gabrielle searched for innovative ways to reduce stress and promote a positive environment, but even the Pearl's staff fell prey to the pressures of providing five-star excellence to the world's elite.
Grateful that Nicola's dessert had allowed her to escape the stress for a few minutes, she nodded her approval to the chef. "Great start, but it needs refining. Perhaps we can experiment with the citrus? Before we get the pastry team fired up, let's play with the recipe. Our produce supplier has a soft spot for this kitchen. We can drive out and consider more options. We'll make a field trip of it."
"Would that soft spot be for the Pearl, or for you?" Chef Stu Merritt jibed as he passed them. Gabrielle had met Stu in London and had considered it a personal win that the Belleza had tempted him to add his seafood expertise to the Pearl. A seven-foot hulk, he cloaked Gabrielle with his shadow as he paused at the workstation. She could pass as average height only in her most ambitious high heels. "There has to be a reason we're getting the best produce in California and the delivery blokes splash on cologne before they get you to sign their forms."
"The Belleza requires we work with the best ingredients. Our current suppliers happen to provide that and a pleasant business relationship. As far as personal relationships go, cologne and high-quality organic produce are nice, but what gal wouldn't ask for more? I'm harder to get than that." This was met with a clipped nod and an unconvinced grunt, but no further debate from the chef. Still, Gabrielle picked up on the curious glance between Nicola and Shoshanna as if it were the strike of a shaft of light against a gem. "Okay, I'm sensing either of you has something to add. Is there something you want to add?"
"You mean to say there's no…ah—" Shoshanna wrung her pale hands, causing the scatter of faint blue veins to appear more vibrant under her skin "—overlap between your business and personal relationships?"
"As in business with benefits? No. To maintain the integrity of this kitchen and the Pearl, I don't allow that kind of overlap. If you're affiliated with the Belleza, you'd better believe that where you're concerned there's an invisible bear trap between these legs." An A plus policy, she figured. In a delicate position as a twenty-eight-year-old executive chef at a resort owned by the family of one of her closest friends, she had enough potential vulnerabilities to draw tabloid attention without courting sex scandals. She didn't need anyone—the press, the staff she managed, her friends and especially her family—to open their ears to gossip. So to minimize the probability of stirring up media hell and then paddling her way to redemption, she was "Sorry, I'm closed" when it came to getting intimate with colleagues, members of the press and Belleza guests.
"But Kimberly Parker is engaged to Jaxon Dunham. The Dunhams are some of the resort's most high-profile clients," Shoshanna persisted. "The precedent's already there. Besides, since your life is all about the Belleza, the only way to save yourself from seeing that invisible bear trap turn into cobwebs is to add a little play to your work."
Gabrielle started to scoff, but Shoshanna was picking up momentum. "Daversya mne, I know volumes about romance. Ask any of my lovers. The Belleza does not need your entire life. We want to share you." She snapped her fingers, beamed a photo-perfect smile. "I know—you'll hook up with the next sexy eligible man you see."
"Don't look at me," Stu said, backing away with his tattooed arms up as if to hold her off, his eyes wide through his fuchsia-framed glasses. "I've taken you out for ale before, Chef Royce. You could drink a pub bankrupt. And pie isn't my preferred dessert."
"Funny, Chef Merritt. So funny."
"Dry sarcasm. Always dry sarcasm. Why don't you laugh more often? I don't know any male who wouldn't fall half in love with your laugh."
"I'm too busy to laugh," she said, freeing her curly hair from its nets, untying her apron and gearing up to check on the Pearl's dining room. All morning she'd fluttered from one kitchen task to another, filling in wherever she was needed while still juggling her executive chef duties. "And I don't want a male who's only half in love with me."
If I wanted to settle for "halfway" and "sort of," I would've stayed in my family's world and lived a life that'd make me half happy.
The coarse, comfortable banter of this kitchen was something she appreciated. As for the aha moment that made it clear that every member of her crew knew she had no man—not so much. "I'm choosing to blame Kimberly for the direction of this conversation, but let me end it with this. Unlike her, I would never get involved with a guest. Things can get messy fast. The Belleza's been through too much recent drama already. I won't invite more."
The Pearl, in particular, had faced the brunt of that drama. A rash of guests complaining about food poi-soning…numerous harsh reviews on several popular travel websites…speculation that had wrinkled the Belleza's stellar reputation and had forced Gabrielle to suspect that any day her employers might tear her a new one or cut her from the resort's staff.
She'd hated wearing that uneasiness, could hardly stomach wondering when the women who'd been her friends since their Massachusetts private school days, Kimberly Parker and Robyn Henderson, might turn on her for the good of the resort. The Parkers owned the Belleza and their histories were intertwined, yet each of the three friends now carried high-level positions and had a stake in its prosperity. Over a span of several decades the resort had endured everything from a grim 1980s recession to whispers of buried treasure, from ownership carousels to rumors of what she'd heard Shoshanna call bad omens.
In a shocking business maneuver that had turned siblings into adversaries, Kimberly's parents had named her general manager—not her brother, the Parker heir who'd been groomed to be the successor. Robyn was the Belleza's lead event planner, who took every success personally and flat-out believed failure wasn't an option. And as executive chef of the Pearl, Gabrielle was caught between two violently ambitious people— Kim, a friend who'd had her back since way back when, and Kim's brother, a guy she admired and whose job Gabrielle had swiped three years ago.
But, somehow, a seed of suspicion that the woman responsible for keeping the upper crust clientele wined and dined was in fact incompetent despite immaculate credentials had caused the foundation of what kept this place running—trust—to buckle.
Gabrielle would do her damnedest to never see that "buckle" give way to complete collapse. She cared too much about the resort, her friendships and her craft to see that happen.
So she was okay with skipping the daybreak yoga class she shared with her friends and streamlining her beauty routine to make it to the Pearl two hours early. She even accepted with tremendous gusto that she'd need to not only substitute for an ill line cook, but also step in for a member of the waitstaff who'd been involved in a fender bender on Hollywood Boulevard. Dividing her morning between cooking and bopping into the dining room to take orders, tend to the breakfast buffet, refill coffee and mingle with guests had left tiny intervals for her to escape to the office and check in with her assistant.
Confronting the Pearl's main dining room, appreciating the quiet grandeur of its bold crystal touches; sharp, clean lines and tasteful blend of pure white against sleek gray, and realizing time had ticked to eleven thirty, she took a bracing breath. The bar was open. The restaurant's exceptional wine service was one of its famous features. The waitstaff was professionally trained in wine presentation and well versed in the Pearl's list, constantly educated through workshops and winery tours. But having been born to alcohol enthusiasts and expert wine collectors, Gabrielle remained the most knowledgeable, and guests often requested her personal recommendations—though she rarely could accommodate. Her schedule didn't normally allow it, and most who attempted to beckon her to their tables did so only because they thought the Pearl's top chef's attention was a sign of their celebrity, and that only annoyed the bejesus out of her.
Not in a mood to bolster the selfentitled's egos, she softened her features to pleasant and approachable and visited the buffet first. Smoothly, her staff was changing the offerings from European-influenced breakfast foods to afternoonoriented selections ranging from fruit to salad options to an array of fresh breads.
"The air's so refreshing and cool in here, but the food stays just hot enough," a woman wrapped in pale chiffon said, pinching the buttered bread roll on her plate. "I spent the morning sorting out appointments and answering email in one of the cabanas at the pool, but the heat said it was time for a break. In here you wouldn't know it's a stifling California July out there."
My hair knows it. Gabrielle's gold-brushed auburn coils always seemed to know when heat and humidity were in cahoots. No scrunchie, barrette, bandanna or salon stylist's diligence could wrestle her curly hair to submission, so she'd finally embraced expensively messy as her style. Today she'd had to double up hairnets to secure it all out of the way, and now the loose curls lounged against her shoulders.

Lisa Marie, Hi! Welcome to The Reading Frenzy.
Tell us a little about your latest Kimani release, Hot Summer Nights.
This book in second in the California Desert Dreams trilogy from Harlequin Kimani Romance—sandwiched between installments from Pamela Yaye and Yahrah St. John. There’s an overarching mystery about some shady happenings at a five-star resort. In my book, the executive chef and her famous kitchen are targeted. Combine this with the fact that she’s hot for a guest (and has a no-sex-with-guests policy), and you’ve got a recipe for delicious drama.

Which character in this novel gave you the most trouble and how?
I knew Gabrielle was trouble when she walked in. (Yes, I’ve got that Taylor Swift song in my head….) As fun as it was to write an alpha heroine, it was equally difficult because she’s such an intense character. She takes zero **** from anyone, but she has a way of blocking herself from what she wants.

Great cover, I want to go to that resort!
Have you ever attended one of the Harlequin cover shoots for one of your novels?
Sadly, no. But I am hoping to be invited. (Harlequin, I hope you’re reading this! *smiles sweetly*)

What’s one MUST that your heroines have to have?
My heroines are all differently layered women, but they all need to be strong in the sense that there is something they stand for and won’t sacrifice. That bit of personal integrity is key.

Is a happy ever after ending a must for your novels?
Oh, this is a difficult question to approach, and the reason why is when readers pick up a certain book, they’re expecting a happy ending—and I deliver that. With that being said, my books don’t always end with weddings or even proposals. A happy ever after can come in many forms, and I try to explore this in my fiction.

Okay I just read on your bio that you collect Medieval literature.
What’s the crème de la crème of your collection?
THE CANTERBURY TALES!  Sorry for the crazed all-caps, but it’s truly my favorite and I’m mesmerized by it every time I reread it. Also, Sir Gawain and the Green Knight. Beowulf. Arthurian literature. Seriously, I can go on.

Lisa Marie you write contemporary romance.
Do you for see any other genres in your future?
I’m fairly faithful to contemporary romance. The fabric of the characters and worlds I write may change, but readers will always find a deep and sultry story in my books.

Are you a reader?
Most definitely. I’ve heard a true love lasts a lifetime, and I think that’s true when it comes to fiction and me. We get each other.

Who are your literary idols?
Jane Austen—she’s my soul sister, but never knew it. Also, Nora Roberts, Debbie Macomber, Julie Anne Long.

Thanks Lisa Marie, good luck with the new novel!
Thank you! This has been great fun.

Are your events/signings listed on your website?
Ah, yes, my website. It’s undergoing a facelift, but should be fully updated by the end of July.

Connect with Lisa Marie - Website - Twitter - Pinterest - Goodreads

MEET LISA MARIE:Lisa Marie Perry encounters difficult fictional men and women on a daily basis. She writes contemporary romance fiction with plenty of sizzle, energy and depth. Flawed, problematic, damaged characters are welcome. Her tales feature exciting multicultural mash-ups, sexy guy-next-door heroes and powerful larger-than-life alphas who are brought to their knees by the love of complicated women.

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  1. I love the idea of an alpha heroine! This sounds fantastic!

  2. Replies
    1. I bet you are Anna, and Oh BTW I tried and loved your corn casserole this week yum :)

  3. Oh Debbie...I adore foodie books and a strong heroine who is a chef..hello yes please!!

  4. Canterbury Tales! Oh how cool... although I was very challenged reading it the first time. I wasn't aware the copy I checked out was in Old English! Hahaha! I managed to read a few stories, liked some of it...

    I like that there's an overarching arc, a good mystery will keep most readers hooked!

    1. I know Braine I LOVE English Lit especially Olde English, Beowolf and The Canterbury Tales are my faves.
      Thanks for the comment