Friday, January 31, 2014

The Saint's Devilish Deal

Congratulations to "Bn100" the winner in Kristina's giveaway. Thank you to all who participated.

My Southern roots are going to show just a little bit here, but as a kid I must have heard the phrase 'he/she made a deal with the Devil' a million times over. When I was a teenager I heard that Charlie Daniels song 'The Devil Went Down to Georgia' for the first time and absolutely loved the idea of someone giving the Devil his due – instead of the other way around. Because, in my eavesdropping experience, people who made deals with the Devil never got what they really wanted. 

When the characters of Santiago and Esmerelda showed up in my Waiting Room, I just knew the deal-with-the-devil angle was going to show up – at least for Esmerelda. Because for the million times she refers to Santiago by his nickname (Saint) she actually does kind of think of him as the devil. He's smooth and charming, alluring. She's already been in love with him and gotten burned. She sooo doesn't want to go there again. But she can't not go there, not if she wants to save her family's business and home. And so, dealing with the devil, er, Saint. 

I'm a firm believer in making our own luck, setting goals and coming up with a plan to achieve those goals. I also realize that the best laid plans can go up in flames at the most inopportune moments. I'm lucky, I suppose. I've never been faced with a dilemma similar to what Esme faces, but I have to say I think I'd make the deal – to save my family.

So, my question to you: what kind of deal, if any, would you make to save your family? Leave a comment below and you'll be entered to win an e-copy of my backlist, winner's choice!

The Saint's Devilish Deal:

A billionaire surfer… A down-on-her-luck hotelier… One hot summer fling…
Blurb: Esmerelda Quinn has one shot at saving her aunt's beloved vacation villa – and the only home she has ever known. Putting up with ex-surfer Santiago Cruz's antics? He's burned her before but she can handle The Saint, this time around. 

Santiago Cruz wants out of Puerto Vallarta in a bad way but after hearing the stipulations that could cost Esme her beloved villa, he can't leave. And as long as she's willing to play by his rules, they might just have some fun along the way… 

 As long as he plays by her rules, Esmerelda knows she can salvage the estate – and keep her heart intact. The only problem? The Saint's charms are hard to resist…and soon she finds herself falling for the rich boy down the hall – all over again.

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“You forget yourself, Esmerelda. You’re talking about making this simple for the staff, that doesn’t mean I need to come to you for every new guest registration or idea I have. Besides, we need this campaign.” Santiago waved his hand. “We need more guests of a certain means to make the villa stand out. Families are great, but they won’t make Casa Constance a go-to destination. These people will. So, we use our new guests as features in a new campaign for the high-end travel magazines. A few shots in the tabloids wouldn’t hurt, either.”

“You weren’t even going to discuss this with me?”

“I’m telling you now. While we’re on the subject—” he tossed a few magazines from his desktop onto her lap “—what do you see in these pictures?”

Esme sent him a killing glance and then flipped through the pages. “Boring. Bland. Not home.”

“Exactly. This isn’t a home, or it shouldn’t be a home first. If you want Casa Constance to succeed you need to treat it like a business. So, make-over, what do you like?”

She tossed the magazines back onto the desktop. “Our guests love the color and textures of Old Mexico. They say so all the time.”

“Your guests haven’t been in residence, at least not actively, in more than a year. We aren’t appealing to anyone right now and we need to. So, makeover starts this afternoon and your new training begins in the morning.”

“I know what I need to know about running a vacation resort.”

“You need to experience a vacation to sell it. We need day-trips, we need amenities. I’ll bet you’ve never gone para-sailing or sky diving, much less enjoyed a couple’s massage.” Her cheeks pinked at the last suggestion and Santiago smiled. “Celebrities visiting Casa, playing on our private beach, being featured in an advertising campaign—with a few pictures leaked to the tabloids to get the word out even sooner. Casa needs this.”

Esme took a few breaths and then settled back into her chair. “I can’t afford to pay the salary of a New York advertising crew. Seriously, Santiago, you have to cancel.”

“My three months, remember? It won’t cost you a thing. The photographer owes me a favor. The only cost will be the campaign copy, which will be negligible. I do know what I’m doing, Esmerelda.”

“Okay, mail.” Esme shook her head as if clearing thoughts of the upcoming ad campaign from her head. “Marquez usually separates bills from letters—”

“As the mail will be delivered to the front desk, I’m happy to see to it. And let’s cut to the chase.” He leaned back in the chair and clasped his hands behind his head. “I don’t want to be tied down to a vacation villa for the rest of my life. But if you really want this, there is something you have to do for me. First.”

Esme swallowed, crossed and re-crossed her legs before clasping her hands in her lap. “What do you want? A payoff? You’ve seen the books, you know there isn’t much money. But if it’s money you want, I’ll agree to your price. I just need time to come up with the capital.”

She really didn’t know him at all. He shouldn’t be surprised, but he was. Surprised and a bit disappointed. “I need your money like I need another surfing championship,” he said, sitting up straight. “No, what I want from you is a bit more. . . ephemeral. I want your time. For three hours each day, you belong to me. No villa work. No guest handholding.” He walked around the desk to rest his hip against one corner. “No conferences with staff. No following the maids on their routine cleanings and no visits to the kitchen to give Gloriana instructions. For three hours each day, your time is my time.”

“You can’t be serious. That. . . that’s just. . .” She trailed off when his index finger traced the line of her jaw. He lowered his voice.

“No work. No phones. No villa. You do what I say, what I want.”

About the Author:
Once upon a time, Kristina Knight spent her days running from car crash to fire to meetings with local police--no, she wasn't a troublemaker, she was a journalist. When the opportunity to focus a bit of energy on the stories in her head, she jumped at it. And she's never looked back. Now she writes magazine articles by day and romance novels with spice by night. She lives on Lake Erie with her husband and daughter. Happily ever after.

Find Kristina online:

Giveaway ends 11:59pm EST Jan. 31st. Please supply your email in the post. You may use spaces or full text for security. (ex. jsmith at gmail dot com) If you do not wish to supply your email, or have trouble posting, please email with a subject title of JCR GIVEAWAY to be entered in the current giveaway. US postal addresses only.

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