by Anna Sugden
... Who could ask for anything more?!
I’m delighted to welcome one of my favourite contemporary romance writers to the Lair, Julie James. If you haven’t come across Julie’s books, where have you been and what are you waiting for?!
Julie pens best-selling contemporary romances that are smart, sexy and laugh-out-loud funny. Featuring delicious heroes and feisty heroines, you won’t be able to put her award-winning books down until you’ve read them from cover to cover.
Her latest release, A Lot Like Love is no exception - I devoured it in one sitting! (But I’ll let Julie tell you all about it *g*)
So, without further ado, let’s give Julie a rousing Lair welcome. Make yourself at home, Julie. Feel free to grab a drink and a cabana boy, gladiator or hockey hunk for your pleasure.
Julie: Thanks for having me here at the Lair! And thank you as well for the nice words about my books! Okay, so let’s see… given the wine backdrop to A Lot Like Love, I’ll grab a glass of Zinfandel and settle in. Feel free to send one of those cabana boys by at any time to take my order. : )
Can you tell us a little about yourself?
Julie: Sure! I’m a lawyer; I practiced law for six years at a large firm before leaving to write full-time. I started my writing career with screenplays, and when the option on my first script expired without the film being made, my film agent suggested that I turn the script into a book. That script then became my first novel, Just the Sexiest Man Alive.
On the personal side, I live in Chicago with my husband and two children—in fact, I just had a daughter four months ago. I took a few months off from writing to spend time with her, but now I’m back up and running and have started writing my next book, which will be about the brother of the heroine in A Lot Like Love.
[Anna: Ooooh - can't wait to see who you're going to pair Kyle with!]
We love call stories in the Lair - can you share yours with us?
Julie: “The Call” came right after my first child, my son, was born. My agent was super-excited (as was I) and said that Berkley wanted to buy my book as part of a two-book deal. She said they wanted to know if I could put together a synopsis for my second book as soon as possible. My first response was, “Um, okay, but can you tell them that I have a ten-day old baby? I can barely find time to shower right now.”
Can you tell us about A Lot Like Love?
Julie: A Lot Like Love is about a wealthy wine store owner who agrees to pose as the girlfriend of an undercover FBI agent (as part of a sting operation) in exchange for her twin brother’s release from prison.
Readers can expect lots of back-and-forth banter, verbal sparring, and an opposites attract dynamic between a sophisticated businesswoman (and billionaire heiress) and a rough-around-the-edges FBI agent from Brooklyn. It’s a fun contemporary romance with a suspense subplot.
Here is an excerpt:
Jordan took a seat at the conference table. She watched the blizzard that raged outside the floor-to-ceiling windows, dreading the snow she’d have to shovel when she got home. Perhaps she should look into getting one of those power snowblowers, she mused. Or a man. Either could be quite handy in inclement weather. Then again, snowblowers took up a lot of garage space, and she generally liked to keep at least a three-foot buffer around the Maserati. Not to mention, most of the men she met presumably had even less interest than she did in shoveling snow—they likely would hire someone else to do that kind of thing. The downside to dating Italian-loafer types, she supposed.
Maybe she needed to find more of a guy’s guy. One of those men who could start a fire with two sticks, change a flat tire with one hand tied behind his back, and wasn’t afraid that a snow shovel would scuff his cashmere-lined leather Burberry gloves.
The door flew open and in walked Nick McCall.
Someone, however, who at least knew what a razor was.
“Sorry to keep you waiting, Ms. Rhodes,” he said.
As Huxley followed Nick into the conference room, Jordan noticed that both men had shed their coats. She also saw that they were armed, catching glimpses of the shoulder harnesses and guns they wore underneath their suit jackets.
“What happened to your file?” she asked.
“Would you believe it? We couldn’t find the darn thing,” Nick said. “Guess we’ll just have to march on without it.” He gave Huxley a nod.
“Everything we’re about to tell you is extremely confidential, Ms. Rhodes,” Huxley began. “You can tell no one about the purpose of this meeting.”
Easy enough for her to do, since she didn’t understand the purpose of the meeting. “All right.”
“You already know that this pertains to Xander Eckhart. For some time now, we’ve had him under investigation. We believe he’s running drug money through his nightclubs and restaurants for an organized crime syndicate led by Roberto Martino. You may have heard about the recent indictments of Martino and the others in his organization.” Huxley gave Jordan a moment to process all this.
“You seemed surprised,” Nick said.
She shot him a look. “Of course I’m surprised. I had no idea Xander was messed up in anything like this. You’re sure of this?”
Huxley nodded. “Yes. We’ve been watching Eckhart. We’ve seen him on several occasions with a man we know to be one of Martino’s associates. They meet in Eckhart’s office, which is located underneath the main level of his restaurant, Bordeaux.”
“The one down the hall from his wine cellar, you mean,” Jordan said.
Nick sat forward in his chair, interested in this. “You’ve been inside Eckhart’s office?”
"Yes. Last year at his Valentine’s Day party, he gave me a tour of the entire space at Bordeaux.”
“How well do you remember the interior of the office?” Huxley asked. “Would you be able to describe it, tell us the placement of the furniture, that kind of thing?”
“I can certainly try,” Jordan said. “Is that what this is about? You want me to describe Xander’s office to you?” It seemed too insignificant for all the secret-agent rigmarole.
Nick shook his head. “Unfortunately, it’s not that simple. What we want is for you to help us get inside Eckhart’s office. This Saturday night.”
It took her a moment. “You mean during the party?”
Nick folded his arms on the table. “How would you feel about bringing along an undercover agent as your date, Ms. Rhodes?”
Jordan leaned in to meet him halfway. “I think that depends on who the date is, Agent McCall.”
You’ve mentioned that you love the old black and white romantic comedy movies. Which ones are your favourites and have inspired you?
Julie: Oh, pretty much anything with Cary Grant. : ) I particularly like His Girl Friday and The Philadelphia Story. I love the back-and-forth verbal sparring between the heroine and hero in those movies.
And since you brought up the subject of older movies… I’d love to hear from everyone else! What’s your favorite black and white romantic comedy, and why?
One lucky commenter will win a copy of the fabulous A Lot Like Love.
After graduating from the University of Illinois College of Law, Julie James clerked for the United States Court of Appeals in Jacksonville, Florida. She then practiced law with one of the nation’s largest law firms for several years until she began writing screenplays. After Hollywood producers optioned two of her scripts, she decided to leave the practice of law to write full-time. Her books have been translated into six languages and Julie’s most recent novel, A Lot Like Love, hit bookstores on March 1st.
To find out more about Julie and her books, or to read an excerpt of A Lot Like Love, visit her at www.juliejames.com . Julie is also featured in the March issue of RT Book Reviews.