HOLLY AND THE MILLIONAIRE
Fleeing from her ruthless English in-laws who are intent on stealing her child, Holly Kirwan boards a flight home to Australia and meets Justin Devereux. They are instantly attracted to each other.
Justin doesn’t want a permanent woman in his life, particularly one with a baby in tow. Holly, still grieving for her soldier husband who was killed in Iraq, doesn’t want to be disloyal to his memory.
Can the young widow and the commitment shy tycoon ever find happiness together?
HOLLY AND THE MILLIONAIRE by Margaret Tanner
Justin Devereux fumed as he strode on board the aircraft. Heads would roll over this debacle. If he hadn’t needed to get out of England so urgently, he would have waited for another flight. To hell with the risk of being grounded by a blizzard.
He showed his ticket to the flight attendant. He hadn’t flown in economy class for years, wouldn’t be doing it today if he had any say in the matter, either.
“I’m so sorry about this mix-up, Mr. Devereux. The airline did everything it could to get you a last minute business-class seat, but like first class it was completely booked out.”
Well, you didn’t try hard enough, he nearly said, but bit back the angry words. It wasn’t the flight attendant’s fault that his booking still floated around in cyber space.
“We were able to get you an aisle seat near the front.”
“Thank goodness for that at least.”
On being shown to his seat, he took off his cashmere coat, folded it neatly and stowed it in the overhead locker. If he had even an ounce of luck, the seat beside him would remain empty, but he wouldn’t take bets on it. Setting his briefcase on the floor, he rested his laptop on the vacant seat. What a shocking few hours it had been.
At least it was a little more spacious here. He couldn’t understand why there was extra leg space and only one other seat, when there would be normally at least three, sometimes four jammed together.
Closing his eyes he thought back on the last twenty- four hours. Deanna and Simon had betrayed him. He didn’t care so much about Deanna dumping him for Simon as their relationship had just about run its course.
Running off with millions of dollars of his employees’ pension funds. Now that was something else. Despicable and criminal, and they did it in such a way that the blame fell on him. He was ruthless. He had to be to claw his way to the top of the business world, but he had always acted with integrity. There were only two choices in the short term. Risk tarnishing his good business reputation or discretely pay the money back. He chose the latter.
I’ll hound them to the ends of the earth; I don’t care how long it takes. No one cheats Justin Devereux and gets away with it.
“Hell,” he yelped, as something hard and sharp rammed into his groin. His eyes flew open. God, someone was trying to castrate him.
“S… sorry,” the wavering female voice said.
Justin looked up into a pair of blue eyes that were swimming in tears.
“Here, let me help,” he growled, pushing the weapon away from his crotch and handing it back to her. It’s a wonder they let her bring the thing on board. She took the folded-up baby’s stroller, but dropped a large pink bag onto his foot. Where were the attendants when you needed them? This was definitely going to be the flight from hell.
He watched the girl struggling with the stroller, her handbag and a baby all at the one time. His first thought was she didn’t look old enough to have a baby, his second was how tiny and frail she appeared, with the fine, ice-blonde hair tumbling out of its restraining clip.
“It’s all right, don’t get flustered.” He felt strangely moved by her pale, heart shaped face and trembling lips.
As she reached across his briefcase to sit the baby on the floor a swathe of hair brushed his face, and he smelt a faint elusive perfume. Flowers perhaps? Like enticing fingers, it captured his senses.
Before he could offer to help, she lifted up the pink bag, trying to put it in the overhead locker, but she wasn’t tall enough to reach. As he got up to assist her the bag tilted and a jar of baby food hit him on the head.
This girl was a walking disaster area.
“It’s all right. Accidents happen.” Grimacing, he rubbed his head. “Let me put the bag up for you.” And that lethal pram too, he thought, not wanting to risk being run through again. He valued his manhood too much.
As he stowed everything in the locker, he noticed that the white-haired and blue-eyed baby was playing with his briefcase – its plump little fingers trying to pick the lock.
The girl darted under his arm and scooped up the baby, and sat down as quick as a flash. Thank goodness, he’d be safe for a little while at least.
BIO – MARGARET TANNER
Margaret Tanner is an award winning multi-published Australian author. She loves delving into the pages of history as she carries out research for her historical romance novels, and prides herself on being historically correct. Many of her novels have been inspired by true events, with one being written around the hardships and triumphs of her pioneering ancestors in frontier Australia.
Her favorite historical period is the 1st World War, and she has visited the battlefields of Gallipoli, France and Belgium, a truly poignant experience.
Margaret is a member of the Romance Writers of Australia, the Melbourne Romance Writers Group (MRWG) and EPIC. In 2008 she won Author of the Year at AussieAuthors.com.
Margaret is married and has three grown up sons, and a gorgeous little granddaughter.
Outside of her family and friends, writing is her passion.
Sharon: Let’s have a warm welcome for Margaret Tanner. Welcome Margaret!
Thunderous applause explodes as Margaret bounds across stage on her pet kangaroo. She reaches into the pouch and removes a hot off the press copy of Holly and the Millionaire. Margaret blows kisses to her fans and gives her hostess a warm embrace before sitting on the Victorian sofa of mint green silk on claw foot legs.
Sharon: Make yourself comfortable, Margaret and let me call my butler to serve us tea and Potato crisps while we chat. Oliver, we’re ready for refreshments.
Oliver wheels out the sterling silver caddy with a porcelain tea set and delicate floral tea cups. He pours and uncovers the potato crisps, freshly fried and steaming with mouth-watering appeal. Ah, thank you, Oliver. That will be all until I order the dessert. So isn’t this grand, Margaret? We get to visit on cyber stage across the world.
Margaret: Thank you for inviting me to not only visit you blog but to partake of tea. “Earl Grey I hope, Oliver?”
Oliver blushes and nods as he expertly pours, sneaking quick peeks at Margaret.
Sharon: Ah, that will be all, Oliver. So, Margaret, do tell us about living in Australia. I know you and I have talked a bit about the kangaroo. And you’ve told me there are two different types. Can you tell readers about them?
Margaret: Well there are actually several varieties. A wallaby is a small kangaroo, probably a cousin to the larger ones. We have red and gray kangaroos. The babies who live in their mothers’ pouch are called Joeys. Some male kangaroos can grow over 6 feet in height. The males can be very aggressive, they have been known to kill a man. Sometimes kangaroos are called ‘boomers’ because as they hop along they hit the ground so hard they make a booming noise.
Margaret’s pet “Boomer” demonstrates by hopping on command.
Sharon: Hastily assures her gasping audience that Boomer is not the vicious male type of kangaroo who is on the attack. And for you animal lovers, another unique to Australia is the Koala bear. They are so cute and adorable. Can you tell us a bit about them? Are they shy? Have you ever had the opportunity to get close to one?
Margaret: Ooh Sharon, you aren’t supposed to call them koala bears, just koalas. I don’t know that much about them, although I have seen them up close. They give the impression that they are half asleep all the time. They eat only a certain type of eucalyptus (gum) leaf, and this makes them drowsy. They carry their young on their back.
Sharon: You have so many books published by The Wild Rose Press and Whiskey Creek and your reviews are always outstanding. And like me, you are also a medical transcriptionist. Where do you find the time to get your writing in? The chatting on all the Yahoo loops? And all the promoting?
Margaret: I really don’t know where I get the time, but somehow I do, but really, there are never enough hours in the day for me.
Sharon: Well, my hat is certainly off to you. Can you tell us about a typical day in the life of Margaret Tanner? What inspires you to keep going at this pace?
Margaret: Get up out of bed, shower, have breakfast, check my e-mails, trot off to work, type out radiology reports. I am an expert on boobs, as I type up heaps of mammography and breast ultrasound reports. What inspires me, the love of writing. Come home, hubby, bless his little heart, has dinner ready for me, we eat, I do dishes (well you can’t have everything), then I’m up on the computer for a couple of hours, then if I am real lucky I can go to bed. I feel like I’m on a round about going nowhere fast, sometimes, but it is exhilarating.
Sharon: LOL Margaret. We are very honored to have a boob expert with us today! But all kidding aside, I’ve also typed my share of mammography reports and mammograms are something all women need to do. Now let’s talk about Holly and the Millionaire. It takes place in Iraq. Tell us about the research, the setting and about the heroine and hero of this book.
Margaret: I didn’t need to do much research. My youngest son has been in the army, so I got some information from him, and the newspapers are full of the war in Iraq. I actually got the idea for the story when I was flying back to Australia from London, after visiting my oldest son who lives over there. A good deal of the story is set in Melbourne where I live, so I tried to imagine how Holly would feel, all alone in the world, with just her baby, and running from her husband’s ruthless parents who want the baby but not her, and who will stoop to anything to get the child. How devastating and frightening that would be for Holly, especially as her husband was barely cold in his grave. I wanted to make Justin the opposite. Wealthy, confident, ruthless to a point, but underneath that hard exterior, a man with a heart, who falls in love with Holly and her baby but doesn’t realize how much he cares until he almost loses them.
Sharon: Well God bless your son. You write the most interesting and heart-felt stories and this is no exception. You must be so proud to have won so many awards and such prestige in the writing world. What kind of emotions do such honors evoke in you?
Margaret: You are too kind Sharon. I don’t know about prestige in writing. I feel pleased of course, but humble also. It is gratifying to know that people enjoy your stories. Makes all the years of hard slog worth it.
Sharon: It certainly does, doesn’t it? Now do new storylines just pop into your head—or do you have to be inspired by something in particular as a trip or flashing headlines on the media?
Margaret: I don’t need to be inspired by anything, the ideas just pop into my head, sometime at really weird times.
Sharon: Well I do believe it’s time for dessert. Oh Oliver, do bring that scrumptious plum pudding out, the Christmas variety I ordered.
Oliver comes out with the dessert in two Waterford cut glass dessert plates. He winks wildly at Margaret and refills her tea.
Sharon: Holds out her empty teacup as Oliver stands over Margaret, poised at the ready to be at her beck and call. Sharon clears her throat. Ah, Oliver, did you forget about your boss?
Oliver takes a sweeping bow and snaps a crisp linen napkin, grinning broadly and blushing wildly while presenting it to Margaret. Then he stutters. May I have your autograph, Ms. Tanner? He blushes a deep crimson red.
Margaret: “Certainly Oliver, my pleasure.” Margaret signs the linen napkin with a flourish, presses it to her crimson painted lips and leaves an imprint of her mouth on the white linen, then hands it back to Oliver, whose eyes glaze over, then he touches it to his lips.
Sharon: Ah…any time you’re through flirting with my guest, Oliver, I wouldn’t mind a refill of tea and why is it you never asked me for an autograph in all the time you’ve been my butler?
Oliver holds the autograph of Margaret Tanner to his heart and stumbles away, mumbling to himself.
Sharon: Good help is so hard to find. But if you’re in the market for a butler, you can take Oliver. He obviously has quite a crush on you.
Margaret: No thanks. I couldn’t afford him. I am, after all, only a poor writer.
Sharon: LOL! Now back to our interview. Where were we. Ah, yes. What is the message you want readers to walk away with after reading Holly and the Millionaire? Or for that matter, what is the message you hope to leave on this earth? What footprint do you want to leave as your own imprint?
Margaret: I want them to be inspired. To never give up on their dream and know that it is better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all, and that we are all deserving of a second chance.
Thunderous applause explodes through cyber space.
Sharon: Well said, Margaret!So now let’s dish, girlfriend. Who is Margaret Tanner? Who are you and tell us something we might never guess about you?
Margaret: I am a proud 5th generation Aussie. My forebears were pioneers. They came to Australia from England and Scotland, and suffered great hardship as they fought to tame what was once a savage, inhospitable land. They survived the tyranny of distance, floods, fires and their sons fought wars in foreign lands and some paid for it with their lives. It made them strong and resilient and I hope that I have inherited some of these traits.
Audience stands up and cheers wildly!!!
Only to you, Sharon, my friend, would I confess to this. I dye my hair. There you have it, my deep dark secret, that would normally not be wrenched out of me even under torture.
Sharon: I feel so honored you shared that with me, Margaret! And just between us girls, I’ve been known to dabble a wee bit with the hair paint my own self, but don’t tell anyone! And being Irish, I’m very superstitious. I love legends and lore and keep a collection of traditions from different countries, especially holiday traditions or silly superstitions. Can you share a few superstitions with us? Or a favorite Australian tradition near and dear to your heart?
Margaret: Now superstitions – my mother was a great one for them. Did you know, that it is extremely bad luck to bring wattle (that is our national flower), into your home, some older people call it the flower of death. And it is reasonable when you think about it. The little golden balls of fluff that constitute the flower of the wattle, has a high pollen count, it would be deadly I should imagine if you were an asthmatic, especially in the old days when there was no Ventolin pumps or inhalers.
Sharon: I’ve never heard that one. Thanks, Margaret. I’ll add it to my list. And finally, my three questions. If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be and why? If you could star in any literary fiction, which would it be and why? And who would you want playing your romantic hero?
Margaret: Australia because I love it. Gone with the wind. And Rhett Butler please.
Sharon: Excellent answers. And I’m a gonner for Gone with the Wind, a true classic as far as I’m concerned. Margaret, it’s been a pleasure. Thank you for being my special guest today on Wednesday Spotlight. I do hope you’ll come back. Can you tell readers where they can buy Holly and the Millionaire and the rest of your delightful books?
Thank you for having me here Sharon, I enjoyed my visit, and would love to call in and see you again.