Join me this morning as Tracey Alvarez talks about her favorite kind of hero and gives us a peek at yummy West from In Too Deep.
Choose your romance hero: A blue-collar works-with-his-hands type. Or, a white-collar rules-the-universe-from-his-Jaguar type. There’s a world of difference between each man but countless different ways to mix up the stereotypes.
Maybe it comes from my teenage years of reading multiple romances where the heroes were filthy rich and hired the heroine as a nanny or a secretary, but it takes a special white-collar hero to snag my interest. I admit to a long-standing lust for J.D Robb’s Roarke. I don’t think he’d appeal to me half as much if he didn’t have such a tough background which made him the man he is in the ‘In Death’ series.
Personally, I’m drawn to blue-collar heroes. Cowboys, construction workers (or the construction company owner—I’m not opposed to some wealth), cops, military men, and any man loaded with testosterone who’d be comfortable in a tool-belt. The kind of man who wouldn’t dream of calling a professional to fix the heroine’s leaky tap. A man with a smidgeon of dirt under his nails when he gets home from work, who takes seven minutes max to get ready in the morning. Who doesn’t own a tuxedo and wouldn’t know how to tie a bona-fide bow tie if his life depended on it.
West, from my first book, In Too Deep, proved a bit of a conundrum. On one hand he’s very much a blue-collar man. He manages a bar/hotel on Stewart Island—a rugged, harsh place where folk spend their whole lives carving out an existence in sometimes inhospitable conditions. West plays poker and rugby with his mates, and rides a motorbike. He’s also a pianist. He knows hair wax isn’t something derived from a bee-hive and he wears a button-down shirt to work—much to the hilarity of his mates. West knows how to fix the heroine’s leaky tap, but why waste time when he could call in a favor? Time mucking about with plumbing could be better spent coaxing Piper Harland into bed.
It’s the unexpected twists that make modern romance heroes so interesting. The construction worker who walks away from his family fortune because he wants to make it on his own merits. The CEO who teaches underprivileged kids basic carpentry skills and drives a classic Mustang, because who the heck wants to be seen driving a Jag.
I hope you enjoy reading about West in In Too Deep. He’s a slightly unconventional blue-collar hero, but he’s my kind of guy.
Author: Tracey Alvarez
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Release Date: 20th January 2014
She vowed never to return.
To save her brother from financial ruin, Piper Harland must do the one thing she swore she’d never do—return to the tiny island hometown where Ryan “West” Westlake crushed her heart. Piper is tough, resilient and a little wild—much like the remote and beautiful Stewart Island where she grew up. As a cop who’s part of the elite New Zealand Police National Dive Squad, bringing the dead back to their families still doesn’t stop the guilt she feels over her father’s drowning death. Now nine years later she’s obligated to return to a hostile community as the outsider, and forced to work with the man who was once her best friend and first lover.
She’s a risk he can’t take.
West is an Island man, through and through. As owner of the local pub, he lives and breathes the local community, and sure as hell can’t imagine living anywhere else. But most of all he refuses to ever fall for a woman like his flighty mother. He lost Piper once to give her the chance to fulfil her dreams of becoming a cop. But now she’s back for an unexpected six week visit to help her brother—his best mate. Maybe West wants her a little bit, maybe he can’t resist the temptation to tease and touch her, but can he fall in love with such a flight risk?
Saying goodbye for the second time might just destroy them both.
Tracey Alvarez lives in the Coolest Little Capital in the World (a.k.a Wellington, New Zealand) where she’s yet to be buried under her to-be-read book pile by Wellington’s infamous wind—her Kindle’s a lifesaver! Married to a wonderfully supportive IT guy, she has two teens who would love to be surgically linked to their electronic devices.
Fueled by copious amounts of coffee, she’s the author of contemporary romantic fiction set predominantly in New Zealand. Small-towns, close communities, and families are a big part of the heart-warming stories she writes. Oh, and hot, down-to-earth heroes—Kiwi men, in other words.
When she’s not writing, thinking about writing, or procrastinating about writing, she can be found reading sexy books of all romance genres, nibbling on smuggled chocolate bars, or bribing her kids to take over the housework.
Author Blog: http://www.traceyalvarez.com
Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/TraceyAlvarezAuthor
“Hey,” she shouted. “I wanna talk to you.”
“Leave me alone, Piper,” West’s voice rose above the running water.
He hadn’t told her to “piss off” or “stop bitching at me and go back to the city.” Progress, right?
“Not this time.” Catching West in the shower meant she’d have a captive audience.
Knowing he wouldn’t have locked it, Piper walked inside and shut the door behind her. In her imagined scenario, the steam-filled room would modestly conceal West in the shower cubicle while she talked.
She hadn’t taken into account an extractor fan. No steamed up mirrors, no fogged up shower glass, just the whirr of the fan and the hiss of the water. Plus the tanned and very bare length of West’s body. She froze beside the door and gripped the doorknob, her heart hurtling into her throat.
Thank God he faced away from her. The sight of his toned ass turned her breathing into an asthmatic wheeze. She debated a quick, quiet exit, but tossed that idea out—West was on the back foot here, since she had clothes on. Besides, the tension etched across the muscles of his back indicated he knew she was already inside.
Just keep it above neck level, say what you need to say, and get out.
She cleared her throat. “That was a crappy way to talk to your mother, you made her cry.”
West pulled his head out of the spray and scrubbed water off his face. “The woman cries at a drop of a hat, it goes with her artistic temperament.”
Then he turned.
Holy guacamole. Piper nearly wrenched the doorknob off the door. Her brain must’ve missed the memo to keep her eyes above West’s neck because, hello—nicely shaped pecs, washboard flat abs, corded thigh muscles…and then her gaze skipped straight back up to his, er, expanding interest.
“True, buhht…” Her tongue unfurled to her knees when West rubbed a bar of soap over his chest, never taking his direct, blue gaze from her.
“So you barged in here to tell me I was rude to my mother?” Water sprayed over his shoulder, running down his body. His soapy hand slid from pecs to the trail of dark hair low on his belly. A happy, happy trail indeed.
“Well, I…” She licked dry lips, looked at anything other than where his hand headed, and found her mud-flecked, crimson-cheeked reflection instead.
So much for West’s awkwardness at being butt naked—she was the one exposed and vulnerable. Her excuses for being there suddenly seemed lame. Under the circumstances maybe his reaction to Claire was understandable, and though she told his mother she’d talk to him, nothing was so important the conversation couldn’t wait until after West had finished being all wet and hot and naked.
The creak of the shower door made her jump.
“Piper?” His voice, low and loaded with seduction, blazed through her.
West left the shower, water cascading off him and onto the tiled floor. She averted her gaze and turned her back, yanking on the doorknob again. It slipped through her damp fingers.
“Is this really about my mother or did you barge in here for something else?”
The spicy scent of his shower gel curled around her and the heat of his skin singed the fine hairs on the back of her arm, but still she grappled with the stubborn doorknob.
“Like because you’re very, very muddy,” he said.
His breath touched the back of her neck, droplets of water falling on her shoulder. “There’s a clean spot here, I think.”
A thumb traced the sensitive skin behind one ear and her vision blurred.
“And another here.” Warm lips trailed along the curve where the cords of her neck met shoulder.
“But on the whole—” his hand snaked around her waist, fingers spread wide across her lower belly.
Hot shivers arrowed through her pelvis and struck its target.
“—you’re a dirty girl who should hit the shower—” He pressed her hips back against his body, shifting so his erection wedged intimately between her Lyrca-covered cheeks, “—with me.”
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