Today, I”m hosting author Alice Gaines and her latest release The Revenge Game, a contemporary romance. Don’t forget to enter the Rafflecopter giveaway.
1. Can you, for those who don’t know you already, tell something about yourself and how you became an author?
My entire life, I’ve made up stories in my imagination and played them out in my head. One day in high school, I was having such an intense conversation with one of my imaginary characters, I pour us two glasses of juice. My parents told me when I was a toddler, I made up a playmate named “Merm.” The world as it is was never big enough or colorful enough. I had to make up my own.
I’m also lazy. I didn’t have the discipline to sit down and start writing books when it was a lot of work. Mark Twain had to write his books longhand. My parents’ generation had typewriters and carbon paper. Too hard for me. But when personal computers became available, I sat down and gave it a try. I was 75 pages into a story when I realized I might actually do this crazy thing. I met another romance author who invited me to her critique group. That year, Romance Writers of America had their convention near my home, and I was able to attend. That got me started, and I’ve never stopped.
This was back in the days before self-publishing or even e-books. There were probably a dozen or so publishers, and you had to go through them to get your books into print. I wrote and wrote and submitted to agents and editors, receiving rejection after rejection. But I kept writing. I’d finished five books and a novella when the novella was accepted by a small press—Red Sage. Then the fifth book was accepted by Leisure Books. I wish I could say that was the beginning of a stellar career, but in reality, my career has gone in fits and starts. I’ve published with an impressive list of publishers, and I’ve dabbled in self-publishing. I hope I’ve found my home now in short contemporary romance.
2. What is something unique/quirky about you?
I’ve always written hot, hot, even erotic, romance, but I’m an old lady of 70 now. People look at me and think that sweet thing must write cozy mysteries like Miss Marple. They do a double-take when they see my covers. Also, I’m a devout member of a very open-minded church. My pastor’s wife reads my books. Again, people don’t expect that.
3. Tell us something really interesting that’s happened to you!
Last year, I was blessed to go to the Galapagos Islands on a National Geographic Cruise. The people of Ecuador have preserved this treasure for the world. Most of the islands are uninhabited by people, but the animal life is amazing. I got to spend a half-hour with a tortoise, just watching him while he grazed. From time to time, he’d look up, notice I was still there, and go back to grazing.
4. Describe yourself in 5 words or less!
Lazy, happy, loyal, intelligent, funky.
Title: The Revenge Game
Author: Alice Gaines
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Print Length: 156 pages
Publisher: Entangled: Indulgence
Publication Date: September 23, 2019
Adam Morrow is a self-made millionaire. But one night with her could ruin everything…
Blurb: I’ve worked my ass off for what I have, and I’m damn proud of it. I started off with nothing and now I’m filthy rich. Let me tell you, there’s nothing like revenge to help you get your ass in gear. And that’s what I’m taking, with every exclusive resort I open—sweet, sweet revenge…on her.
Nicole Westmore was my first love. The poor little rich girl stole my heart with her sweet smile, hot body, and irresistible innocence. The summer I worked for her father was the best time of my life…until he drove me away. Even then, I thought Nicole would wait for me. She didn’t.
And so, I decided to get even, opening rival hotels, slowly driving them out of business. The old man is gone now, but Nicole is still running the company that’s about to collapse. All my hard work will soon pay off.
And then I catch sight of her at a wedding, and all those feelings come rushing back–for both of us. Still, she doesn’t know what I’ve done—yet—and she seems more than willing. What will one night in her bed hurt?
The sex is hotter than ever, and I can’t help wondering if I’ve made a mistake. Until I get up the next morning…and realize I’ve been kidnapped!
Nicole was out there somewhere. Probably on the periphery, too. She never had been good with people but preferred to remain alone. Confronting him must have cost her. And then he’d gone and told her she didn’t have anything he needed. Nice going. The words hadn’t only been cruel—they’d been a lie. As long as she existed in the world somewhere, he’d need her.
The other two showed up out of nowhere, Ryan with a mug of beer, and Grant, another martini glass.
“Why are you hiding out over here?” Grant said. “I thought I was the one who was wedding-phobic.”
“I could get that way,” Adam said.
“I have the solution,” Ryan said. “I met a very adventurous lady, and she came with two friends.”
“Not in the mood,” Adam said.
“I think you’d better take his temperature,” Ryan said to Grant. “Our friend here is sick.”
“Very funny,” Adam said.
“Seriously?” Grant asked. “When are you not in the mood?’
Adam lifted his martini. “Never mind. It’s nothing a few of these can’t fix.”
At that moment, a waiter with a tray of martinis went by, and Adam exchanged his empty glass for a new one.
“Come on, Adam,” Ryan said. “What’s eating you?”
Adam spotted Nicole then, and damned if he could keep his eyes off her. As he’d guessed, she stood apart from the crowd, a nearly full flute of champagne in her hand. Why did she always have to look so damned vulnerable? And why had he hurt her? His mean remark still gnawed at him, even though she deserved it.
“Who is she?” Grant asked.
Oh, hell. He couldn’t hide anything from these two. “Remember the woman I told you about, the one who inspired me to get into the hotel business?”
“Is that her?” Grant said.
Both men turned to stare at her.
“Nicole Westmore,” Adam said. “And don’t look at her. It’ll make her uncomfortable.”
Grant whistled softly between his teeth. “You’re still hot for her.”
“I thought she was hot for me, too, but then she got engaged to a prince from a small European country,” Adam said. “I found out watching TV one night.”
“She doesn’t seem to have a prince with her now,” Ryan said.
“Yeah.” If she was a princess, he’d never heard about it. And being a royal would have kept her too busy to run her late father’s failing business.
“What are you going to do?” Ryan said.
“Nothing,” Adam answered.
Grant clapped Adam on the shoulder. “He’s going to get drunk, like any sane human male when he sees his ex—”
“You’re a pain in the ass,” Adam said, but that didn’t stop him from downing his martini.
“Maybe she still wants you,” Ryan said. “She had the best. Why would she want the rest?”
“It’s been too long.” But had it been? She’d pretended confidence when she’d confronted him, but he knew how vulnerable she’d been when she was younger. That person was still in there. Her eyes gave her away. They still held the hurt that had made him want to protect her back then. She didn’t know how to fight then, and she probably still didn’t.
He, on the other hand, knew little else. He still went with his boxing instincts. They’d served him well in business.
“Wait a minute.” Ryan pointed in Nicole’s general direction. “Westmore. Isn’t that the hotel chain you’re trying to take over?”
“Her father’s company,” Adam said.
“The man you used to work for,” Ryan said.
“As a chauffeur, for one summer.” The bastard treated his staff as if they weren’t fully human, and so he had constant turnover. “Old man Westmore nearly had a coronary when he discovered his daughter had fallen in love with the help.”
“So, what happened?” Grant asked.
“When things got tough, Nicole went along with her father’s wishes.” She’d chosen the bastard over him. Since then, Adam had planned and plotted, going to great lengths to show both of them who was the better businessman. At first, he’d just competed with Westmore’s company. He had more devious plans now.
He’d taken money from Vivian to get his own company off the ground. Together, they’d figured out a way to take over Westmore’s hotels through stock buy-outs, and the upcoming fatal blow—a vote of no confidence in the CEO. Vivian seemed thrilled to sink Nicole now that Nicole’s father had died. Did Adam really feel the same way after seeing Nicole again? Oh, hell.
“The two of you were lovers, right?” Grant asked.
Adam drained the last of his martini. “I took her virginity.”
Grant whistled again. “You two have a messed-up history.”
“You could say that.”
“Here’s what Dr. Ryan recommends,” Ryan said. “See if the spark is still there. If not, just walk away.”
“And if it is… Well, we’re not players for nothing,” Grant said.
Seduce Nicole? First of all, could he? The guys were right. If there was no spark, nothing was lost. But if the old flame hadn’t died out for either of them, well, it was worth exploring. Sex with her had been so amazing. She went from zero to top speed as soon as he touched her. It was the ultimate turn-on. He’d never come across another woman who responded so hotly to his touch. Sex with Nicole wasn’t an exercise in creating orgasms. It was a full-body experience.
“You’re thinking about it,” Grant said.
“It’s a bad idea,” Adam said.
Grant grabbed another martini from a waiter and exchanged it for Adam’s empty. “It’s a great idea.”
“At least one of us will have some fun tonight,” Ryan said.
“Yeah, this is my baby sister’s wedding,” Grant said. “I’d better behave myself.”
This time, Ryan put his hand on Adam’s shoulder. “You can do it, Adam. Put the old ghost from your past to rest.”
Would he be doing that tonight? Could he? Maybe the whole mystique of sex with Nicole was something his memory had created. He’d been a horny kid when he’d known her before. He hadn’t gotten laid as often as he did now. If the two of them had sex—and it was only nice—he’d be able to put her out of his mind once and for all.
He was still playing with the idea when Nicole sealed the deal by walking out onto the balcony alone. He could talk to her there, apologize for the cutting remark, and see where the conversation led. He could find out if the passionate woman he knew so long ago still lurked under her now-cool exterior.
“You talked me into it,” he said. Then he made his way around the crowd, toward the balcony and a date with his past.
Alice Gaines lives in the San Francisco Bay Area in a fixer-upper house she never fixed up. Aside from writing and reading hot, hot romance, she loves cooking, knitting and crocheting, and her church. She has a pet corn snake named Casper and she’s insanely passionate about the funky soul band, Tower of Power.
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