BEAUTY AND THE BEASTLY BILLIONAIRE
Eli Crane is one tough bastard. After an explosion left him injured and honorably discharged from the Marines, all he wants is to be left alone. Yet his brothers insist he take a greater role in the family business. They’ve hired him ten personal assistants—and Eli sent each one packing as fast as possible. But when beautiful number eleven walks through the door, Eli will do anything to make her stay.
Isabella Sawyer’s employment agency can’t afford to lose Eli Crane’s business. Her plan: to personally take on the role of his PA, and secure her reputation with the wealthy elite in Chicago. But this beauty and her hot billionaire bad boy soon find themselves mixing business with pleasure in the most delicious ways. And passionate, stubborn Isabella won’t rest until she tames this wicked beast…
The elusive third billionaire brother appears! Actually, you met Eli Crane in Tag’s book, The Billionaire Next Door. It’s hard to bring him up without giving away spoilers, but I’m committed. Okay, here we go:
Eli, the middle brother, is one tough customer. He knows how to be a good Marine, but now that he’s home for good, he’s not confident he can be a good man. His go-to of running people off works on everyone except his family…and his 11th assistant. Surely she’ll be the last, right? Not as long as Isabella has a say in the matter. She’s unflappable, and arguably as stubborn as Eli. At one point, Reese tells her she and his younger brother are “an exact match.” But this tale is not without its challenges. When two hard-headed, sexually attracted people are forced to spend time together… well… I’m sure you have a pretty good idea how things turn out. Eli isn’t sure he knows what love is, and to Isabella, Eli is the ultimate no-go: an emotionally unavailable Marine. The book is available February 2017, but you can check out the behind-the-scenes photoshoot of the cover on my website. Excerpt coming soon!
Model Jonathan Cannaux represented Eli Crane on the cover of The Bastard Billionaire. Here are some shots from the original photoshoot, including one with a female model who they didn't end up using. (Thanks Michele, for snapping these pics!)
This question originally appeared in the February 2017 issue of the Lemmon 15.
Question: What made you want to write about a military amputee in The Bastard Billionaire?
What a great question–thank you Laura! For those of you who have read The Billionaire Next Door, you know that Tag goes into the hospital room to see his brother not knowing his injuries. Once he gets there and sees the flattened bit of sheet he realizes his brother has lost his leg below the knee.
The idea to feature a realistic hero with this sort of injury came about when I spotted a photo by Michael Stokes of B.T. Urrela. I was floored by the composition and utter beauty of the photo. Michael often features men home from war missing limbs in his work, and I realized as I perused his Facebook page that this has become the norm rather than the exception. This is how our boys come home now, and they are expected to acclimate to life in a way they hadn’t planned on.
I shelved that idea in a corner of my mind and later stumbled onto a magazine article about amputees and the damage done from roadside bombs. I devoured the article, that fictional hero in the back of my mind stirring to life yet again. But I didn’t have a home for him planned. Was he going to be in my Second Chance (aka, Bad Boy) series? I had a sideline hero named Ant, and I actually made the decision to have him wear pants instead of shorts in case I was ever given the opportunity to write the amputee hero in my head.
Then the bad boy series ended, and my publisher asked for Billionaire Bad Boys. I had been brainstorming bad boy characters for an all new series, and I wanted to write them so badly, I simply swapped out their torn jeans for suits. Reese, Tag, and my ex-military amputee solider, Eli, were born.
As soon as my editor approved my proposals, I immediately became afraid I would fail Eli in a huge way. I made sure to do my research–calling a man who designed prosthetic limbs for a living and peppering him with questions. I read article after article written by soldiers who had returned home without a leg. I read message boards and Q&As written and answered by soldiers. Once I understood the timeline of healing from the injury, I shook off my fears and dove in. I wrote Eli the same way I did any of my other heroes. I dug around in his head until he told me what frightened him, what moved him, and what he needed to heal–not his leg, but his heart.
I’m fiercely proud and optimistic for Eli’s book. My goal in writing it was to not focus on his missing leg so much as Eli navigating through what he calls “the new normal.” (Shoutout to my BIL, David for the priceless phrase!) I balanced out Eli’s super-crabby attitude with a take-charge fiery heroine who never balked when he growled. Isabella is one of my favorite heroines.