Annie West and the Rebel

Annie researching at Chateau Chenonceau.

Annie researching at Chateau Chenonceau.

It’s always a pleasure to host Annie West and hear about her latest release. This month, she’s put out a doozy of a contemporary romance with REBEL’S BARGAIN, a tempestuous, emotional and very sexy reunion story set in a glamorous French Chateau.

Um, I’ll have what she’s having, thanks!

Here’s the blurb:

When the thrill–seeker strikes a deal!

Five years ago, Poppy Graham married Orsino Chatsfield beneath a confetti of paparazzi flashbulbs. But Orsino spent more time chasing the rush of adrenaline than with his wife and, in her darkest hour, he let her down. Their split was bitter and Poppy’s striven for independence ever since. But now her arrogant husband is back…

Injured in a climbing accident, there’s only one person Orsino can turn to…his deceitful wife! They have unfinished business and he’ll face it before he walks away for ever. But the blazing passion between them reignites in an instant, leaving Orsino to wonder whether it will kill or cure!

You can read an excerpt on Annie’s website here: http://www.annie-west.com/books/rebels-bargain/

I’m not the only person raving about how good REBEL’S BARGAIN is. RT Book Reviews gave it 4.5 stars and called it “imaginative and intensely thrilling.” Coffee Time Romance called it a “delicious concoction of sultry passion and angsty second chance romance.”

Annie, congratulations on the release of REBEL’S BARGAIN, your addition to the steamy Chatsfield continuity for Harlequin. Can you tell us about this story?

Thanks so much for the invitation back to the lair, Anna. You know how I love visiting!

Rebel is my first full-length reunion story and I discovered the situation was rife with emotion and passion. Poppy and Orsino met and married quickly, falling headlong into instant attraction. But when things got tough between them neither had what it took to keep the relationship together. Orsino even believed his wife had betrayed him.

Annie 9They parted on bitter terms and have spent the intervening years burying themselves in activities that keep them from dwelling on the past. Orsino dives into more and more reckless adventure and Poppy concentrates on building the career she thinks will give her security.

But when Orsino is buried in an avalanche (yes, I DO torture my heroes) then spends time in hospital, he realises he still has unfinished business with his wife since he can’t get her out of his head. He ‘persuades’ her into looking after him while he recovers. He thinks a couple of weeks’ proximity will cure him of his lingering feelings.

How wrong he is!

Annie 7The pair are stuck together at a French chateau while Poppy finishes a modelling assignment. Sounds hard to take, doesn’t it? But close proximity (and there’s a lot of that) leads to all sorts of fireworks. They’re forced to face all the problems and the feelings they’ve tried to hide from.

I can attest to the fireworks. I think this is one of your most sensual books ever. How does REBEL’S BARGAIN fit into the Chatsfield series?

It’s fascinating seeing how the stories relate to each other. One thing I enjoy is that, while the stories do link, each can be read as a totally stand-alone book, so if you pick one up out of sequence it’s still a whole complete and hopefully satisfying story.

Annie 3The series centres on the Chatsfield family and their international chain of luxury hotels. Gene Chatsfield has quite a few children and none of them had an easy family life. Now they, and he, are paying for that.

Orsino Chatsfield (yes, it’s an Italian Christian name, because of his Italian mother) is notorious to the world’s press for rebelling, risking his neck again and again in perilous adventures, almost as if he doesn’t care if he lives or dies. My story is about what happens when his devil-may-care attitude finally catches up with him.

There’s a terrific section on the Harlequin website devoted to the series. Here’s the link if you want to check it out. http://www.harlequin.com/store.html?cid=622516

What were the inspirations behind this story?

Well, Anna, I don’t think I need to say much. These photos show you some of the places that inspired the story.

Annie 8Chateau Chenonceau is a gem of a palace that spans the Loire River in France. I knew I wanted to write about it and then along came this story. I found myself putting Orsino and Poppy in that gorgeous Rapunzel tower near the Chateau. Other scenes take place along the riverbank and inside the Chateau itself though in the book the place is never named as I took a few liberties with it.

Another inspiration was the gorgeous antique jewellery I saw in European museums. Poppy is modelling jewellery for an ad campaign for a fabulous design house that has made jewellery for royalty for centuries (think Faberge and Cartier). In my book I got to put her in all sorts of period settings with matching clothes and jewels from the 18th century to the roaring twenties to ultra modern. It was delicious fun.

What’s coming up next for you?

I’m thrilled to have a duet out early in the new year with Harlequin – two linked stories (which can be read as stand alones) called THE SULTAN’S HAREM BRIDE (Jan/Feb) and THE SHEIKH’S PRINCESS BRIDE (Mar/April).

Annie 10

Watch out too for a novella I hope to bring out very soon – the second in ‘Hot Italian Nights’ novella series, called BOUGHT BY THE ITALIAN. I’ll leave you to ponder what that’s about.

Ooh, lots coming up for your fans. I know, like many writers, that you’re a voracious reader. Do you have any recommendations for us on books that you’ve recently read and loved?

Some recent fabbo reads have been Christina Brooke’s THE WICKEDEST LORD ALIVE (what a story, Christina!), Cathryn Hein’s romantic adventure quest THE FRENCH PRIZE (sadly not yet available in the U.S.) and among the a non-romance titles, Julia Spencer Fleming’s marvellous THROUGH THE EVIL DAYS. In shorter stories, I’m currently reading and enjoying Caitlin Crews’s sexy UNDONE BY THE SULTAN’S TOUCH. Plus of course there’s your new Regency novella, Anna, HER CHRISTMAS EARL, which hit the spot beautifully! Just right for a lush, pre-Christmas escape.

Annie 11Great recommendations. I’m chuffed you enjoyed my novella! Thank you. Do you have a question for the Banditas and Bandita buddies to get the conversation going?

Poppy gets to wear some glamorous jewellery in this story (from cabochon rubies in old gold to gem-encrusted armbands straight from a flapper’s wardrobe). I find it impossible to choose a favorite.

But how about you? Do you have a favorite piece of jewellery? Maybe something special because of its sentimental value? Alternatively, is there a piece you’d buy for yourself if money were no object?

BanditBootyGet commenting, people! Annie has very generously offered two signed copies of REBEL’S BARGAIN (international) as prizes to people who visit the blog today. Good luck!

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Comments

75 Comments

  • Helen says:

    Is he coming back to my place ?

    Have Fun
    Helen

  • Jane says:

    Welcome back, Annie. One of my favorite pieces is the watch my aunt gave me for my birthday. My mom received a lot of gold jewelery when she got married and we recently comb through them and I picked out some cute bangles to keep. They’re a little old fashioned, but I thought they were so pretty and I didn’t want her to give away or sell them. If I had money to spend I would head to Tiffany’s and go wild.

  • Helen says:

    Waving Hi to Annie and Anna

    Firstly I loved this story so passionate and emotional with both Orsino and Poppy finally opening up to each during a sizzling rekindling of their marriage 🙂 fantastic story. The setting is just beautiful as is the jewellery that Poppy wears for me I love diamonds and I have my mother’s engagement ring which is very special to me and also lovely as I help re design it with her during the 70’s

    Congrats on the release and I am really looking forward to the new ones coming up

    Have Fun
    Helen
    Also Anna I will be diving into your novella very soon can’t wait 🙂

  • Annie West says:

    Hey, Helen, I’m so chuffed to hear you enjoyed Rebel so much. Yes, sizzling is how I recall it too. I thought maybe I was just biased, but if you say so too…!

    How lovely to have your Mum’s engagement ring. My engagement ring includes a diamond from my grandmother’s ring. She had three sons so each got a diamond from the three in her engagement ring. Now I wear one. It feels very special.

    You’ll love Anna’s novella I suspect. I lovely little Christmas treat!

  • Efthalia says:

    Annie,

    Another one for my list. Congrats on the wonderful reviews, you deserve them. You’re awesome!

    Smiles,
    Effie

  • flchen1 says:

    Ooh… I do love a good reunion story, Annie! Sounds right up my alley! As for jewelry, I don’t have too much that I wear–my wedding set, a few pieces from my parents, and a couple that have the kids’ birthstones, etc. That’s plenty, but maybe an anniversary band one of these years 😉

  • Mary Preston says:

    Hi,

    I have a beautiful string of pearls that my parents gave to me for my 21st. I really should wear them more often. They do say pearls need to be worn.

  • Jennifer Tanner says:

    HI Annie,

    I have a jade pendant with a ruby in the center that belonged to my grandmother. During WWII, she sold the ruby to buy food, and after the war, she had the stone replaced. I’ve worn it a few times, but it resides in the safe deposit at the bank. If money were no object, I’d be at Bulgari or Fred Joaillier. 🙂

    • Annie West says:

      Jennifer, wow, that is a special piece! Good on her for replacing the stone. Now that’s a pendant with real history.

      Interesting to think what we’d be wearing if money were not object. I remember seeing some amazing Art Nouveau enamel jewellery at the Petit Palais in Paris that was just exquisite. If I had the money to buy something like that…!

    • Jen, what an amazing story about your grandmother. Putting on that necklace is like wearing a slice of family history!

  • Shannon says:

    The story sounds delightful, and that castle is wonderful. Castles by rivers remind me that travel was often by boat, not horses.

    As for jewelry, I almost collect costume jewelry. I have a bunch of pieces of quartz in various shade because my Dad once took me to dig for quartz in a place that was going to be flooded by a new dam.

    For those of you who want to feast on jewelry, try this site. The exhibit doesn’t have that many pieces, but whats wonderful is that they also collected her dresses, hats, and purses.

    http://www.hillwoodmuseum.org/whats/exhibitions/cartier-marjorie-merriweather-posts-dazzling-gems

    • Annie West says:

      Shannon, I’m so pleased you like the sound of the story.

      How terrific to have pieces from places you’ve been with your dad. That would definitely make them special.

      Thanks for the link too – just what I need to feed my new-found need for great jewellery sites!

    • Wow, that’s amazing, Shannon! Thanks so much for that link – although my keyboard is now covered with drool! LOL!

  • Laurie G says:

    Poppy and Orsino’s second chance at happiness sounds like it will have some ups and downs. Almost dying does make one face their mortality.

    I was gifted with my paternal grandmother Catherine’s engagement ring which I wear faithfully, 38 years. I did have to have it reset.

    I also have my paternal grandfather Henry’s pocket watch. It still works! he died in 1927.

    My parents gave me a pearl necklace from when they visited Majorca, Spain. I wore it on my wedding day.

  • Annie West says:

    Wow, Laurie, it sounds like you’ve got some amazing family heirlooms. How special too, to wear your parents’ present on your wedding day. Something old is supposed to be good luck too. Smiling here at the pocket watch. There’s one of those in our family too!

  • Caren Crane says:

    Annie, your pictures make me want to jet off to Europe on a grand castle tour! What a perfect setting for poor Poppy’s laborious jewelry modeling job. 😀

    As for spectacular jewels, I love to look at them, but for whatever reason don’t desire to own them. I would love to BORROW them, mind you, but not to worry with insuring them, keeping them safe, cleaning them, etc. I’m far too pragmatic to think I would want to own anything that valuable. So, being a pragmatist, I would need to lay groundwork so I could borrow them from less pragmatic friends and family. LOL

    And I hope these friends/family have some really enormous emeralds set with diamonds. Perhaps an enormous necklace, earrings and, perhaps, a tiara?

    • Caren, one of my problems with beautiful jewellery is that I have a bad habit of losing it. Most recently I lost a really pretty sterling silver brooch that I bought in Scotland for my mother and I claimed back after she passed away. Sigh.

    • Annie West says:

      Caren, wouldn’t a tour of fabulous castles and palaces be wonderful? Yes, I thought it was a great setting for Poppy. I’d never written about a model before and I definitely made her work: sitting in a skimpy flapper dress in a rowboat on the river for hours in freezing autumn weather – with divers there to rescue the gems (not her) if she fell in. Yes, life is tough.

      Oh, yes, I’d forgotten about cleaning those things. Wouldn’t that be awful? As you say, borrowing would be so much easier.

  • Minna says:

    One of my favourite pieces is Kalevala Jewelry necklace I got from my godmother years ago.

  • catslady says:

    I have this gold cross that I got when my mother-in-law passed. She had it made special when she lived in Africa and the craftsmanship is unbelievable. It’s about 3 inches high and the back and front are the same. I wear it for most special occasions. And there is the ring my husband made special for me after I lost the stone out of my wedding ring.

    • Catslady, the African piece sounds just beautiful! And how lovely that your husband got you a new ring. I’m loving everyone’s jewellery stories.

    • Annie West says:

      Catslady, it sounds like they’re both unique pieces. How terrific. It’s nice sometimes to have a remembrance of someone, isn’t it? Hey, good on your husband getting you a new ring!

  • Cassondra says:

    Hi Annie! Always wonderful to see you here in the lair!

    Love the teaser for this book. I have to say that second chance stories are some of the best, to me. So much conflict. So much misunderstanding…and hopefully time to have grown a little in the interim. It’s a different kind of story I think, than the first meet, first love story. Are there things you like about writing each particular kind?

    Oh the question. I have odd taste in jewelry. I like big chunky things, glass and silver or white gold, no yellow gold for me. I don’t spend much on it, I’m afraid. I pick it up at craft shows or get it for gifts. My go-to piece of jewelry is a pair of enormous silver hoop earrings. I wear them everywhere and with everything.

    Lovely visit with Annie–thank you Fo!

    • Cassondra, isn’t it fun to have Annie back in the lair. She’s got some releases coming thick and fast over the next few months so I think she’s going to end up being an honorary Bandita!

    • Annie West says:

      Cassondra, the earrings sound fabulous. I like to drool over pictures of gorgeous pieces, or over the real thing but don’t tend to frequent jewellery stores, so my pieces are mainly less expensive but special to me.

      Yes, absolutely. The feel of writing a reunion story is so different and I’ve realised I tend to write first meet stories so this is a real departure for me. I loved the wealth of emotional history between the couple that got the story off to a bang, and too, the sense of them healing past hurts together (especially since they’d inflicted some of them on each other). It was great seeing how both had past faults to address.

      On the other hand I still have enormous fun with those meet, fall for each other, combustible stories.

  • bn100 says:

    No, I don’t

  • OOOh! I haven’t picked this one up yet, Annie! Putting it on my list! I will have to ask Mom as I am certain she has it, but just in case!

    And I LOVE that setting. What a gorgeous chateau!

    I love jewelry and I do have some lovely sentimental pieces I love to wear.

    I have the sapphire ring my mother received on her 16th birthday. Her family was quite poor, but her mother saved up to buy my mother that birthstone ring.

    I also have my father’s eldest sister’s topaz ring. She wore it all the time and I was so touched she left it to me.

    My very favorite pieces of jewelry are cameos. I often wear the Wedgewood cameo set my father bought my mother when he visited the Wedgewood factory. Many of you have seen the ring, earrings and necklace as I wear them every year at RWA.

    If money was no object I would love to travel England and then Europe buying antique cameos!

    • Wow, Louisa, what beautiful memories you have attached to those pieces of jewellery. That’s one of the things I love about antiques – there’s always a story. Not that I’m saying your stuff in antique, mind you! And can I come when you go on your cameo buying trip? You’ll need someone with an extra suitcase at the very least!

      And definitely pick up Rebel. You’ll just love it.

    • Annie West says:

      Louisa – waving a big hello to you and your mother. Hope you’re both well.

      Love cameos. I received one for my16th birthday and it’s so very beautiful.

      Hope you make it to Europe on a grand cameo search one day. If you do, don’t miss Vienna. I remember being spellbound by a huge cameo in (I think) the Alte Pinakothek with very deep purple browns and whites. I’ve never seen a cameo like it (not that I’m an expert). Hey, I’m excited thinking about you on such a tour. Great inspiration for a story!

  • Annie, welcome back and congrats on your new release! And on your fabulous trip. I love your photos.

    Hmm. If money were no object, I’d buy myself an emerald pendant. That’s my birthstone.

  • Kim says:

    Congratulations on the new release. If money were no object, I’d buy something with diamonds. Perhaps a ring or a necklace.

  • Thanks so much to everyone who swung by. And thanks to Annie for being such a great guest.

    Don’t forget to check back tomorrow to see which two commenters won the signed copies of REBEL’S BARGAIN.

    • Annie West says:

      Thanks so much for having me as your guest, Anna. It’s be great sharing about the book and especially hearing from everyone about all that special jewellery.

  • Cathy P says:

    I have a beautiful purple star sapphire surrounded with diamonds that my beloved husband gave me.

  • Sally Schmidt says:

    Not online yesterday so couldn’t comment, but wanted to chime in that this sounds like a great read and going to the top of my TBR!