What do you do when your big career break might lead to your best-kept secret getting out? If you're Rosie DeWitt, political guru, you might be willing to take that chance and if you're Hudson McCloud, sixth generation Senator trying to rebuild your career, you might only want the best, hoping all your secrets will be kept.
Heat level: medium.
“It’s a pleasure to meet you.” Many women probably found Roger Bartholomew attractive, but his highlighted blond hair and average chin didn’t make near the impression on Rosie DeWitt that Hudson McCloud’s presence did. Roger cradled Rosie’s hand in both of his smooth, pale ones without shaking it at all.
Rosie extracted herself and tried to lift at least one corner of her mouth in a weak interpretation of a smile. Still reeling from the awkward scene with the McClouds, Rosie needed Roger to be a stellar candidate. And quickly, because she had to pick up Casey early today. Once she settled into a chair across from Roger, Rosie looked up to find Hudson McCloud at the maitre de stand. Their gazes collided, sending her heart pounding.
He knows. Why else would Hudson be here?
Because he’s a conceited nuisance who wants to be mayor. Sanity returned, along with a steadier heartbeat.
“Would you excuse me, Roger?” Rosie hurried to the front of the restaurant, grabbed Hudson by the arm and tugged him over toward the restrooms out of Roger’s line of vision should he look. “What are you doing here?”
“You’re not finished with your assessment of me.” Hudson thrust his hands into his raincoat pockets. “We didn’t talk about my ideas for the city.”
"Don’t be a sore loser.” Even in her heels, Rosie had to tilt her head back to look at Hudson, to take in his determined expression on his much too handsome features framed by crisp, well-behaved dark hair. Although her time with Samuel had been impromptu and brief, she’d appreciated the fact that the hair at the nape of Samuel’s neck curled uncontrollably and his nose was a bit crooked. Perfection like Hudson’s was intimidating.
“I won’t lose. I’ll just wait by the door for you to realize I’m a better risk than Roger.” True to his word, tall, dark and annoying went to stand in the foyer.
His political career was so over.
As she walked past him, Hudson leaned close. “What did you think of his handshake?”
Rosie didn’t want to admit that Roger’s handshake gave her the heebie-jeebies. With only two candidates on Walter’s radar, if Roger had other qualities that were marketable, Rosie was recommending him. Handshakes could be fixed. Personality flaws like Hudson’s could not be.
The Story Behind the Story
This was book #4 of a series of romances Harlequin wanted to introduce with single parents. We set our stories in San Francisco. Our friends would meet at one character's coffee shop. We had a lot of fun coming up with story lines and had to double check with the other authors that we were writing their characters the way they evisioned when they appeared in our own books.
This was the book where I really felt I hit my stride in writing about a hero and heroine who were pitted against each other on some level and yet unable to resist falling in love. I applied a lot of what I learned here when I wrote Amber Rules.
I grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area and my mom (who was single btw) often took us to the local museums or parks, out to the Cliff House for Sunday brunch, etc. It was fun to head out there again with my characters. The carousel in the book is very famous - a must see if you are interested in San Francisco's city.
One regret I had was that I had to kill off the mayor of San Francisco so my hero could run for office. The poor mayor died of a brain aneurysm and since Gavin Newsome was the mayor in real time while I wrote the book, I always felt a twinge of guilt whenever they interviewed him on TV. Let's just not tell him.
Cover buzz: I sent in a couple of pictures of sand castles and "I love you" written in the sand. I must say the creative team at Harlequin rocked on this one. It has warmth and sweetness and the feeling that these two really love each other.