Tuesday, 26 August 2014

Character Interview by Jennifer Hayward + Giveaway

Where I am the weather has suddenly turned chilly, it is clear that summer will soon be over and autumn will arrive in no time. So that means a heart-warming romance to be read under the blanket is in order (along with a cup of hot cocoa)! Well we're in luck, because today's guest is celebrating a new release and stopped by to tell us about it, and introduce us to her heroine. Please give a warm welcome to Jennifer Hayward, who will tell us a bit about Izzie, the heroine of Changing Constantinou’s Game!

This is so much fun to be here interviewing one my favourite heroines I’ve written thus far! Izzie, from Changing Constantinou’s Game, is special to me because she embodies so many of the hopes and insecurities we all have as women, yet when fate puts her in the path of the man of her dreams, she doesn’t shy away from the chance encounter like many of us have done – she goes for it! She’s the heroine I’d wished I’d been at that age.

To set the scene:

Isabel Peters, a community reporter for a Manhattan television station, is on the verge of a career breakthrough. Having lost the fifteen pounds that have plagued her self-confidence since childhood, she’s on a roll, turning in great stories that have the network execs noticing. Then comes the shocking phone call from her boss while she’s on vacation with her girlfriends in Tuscany. An anchor job has opened up at NYC-TV and the network execs want her to compete. She should be over the moon. This is her chance to prove the brainy, less spectacular daughter of Hollywood actress, Dayla St. Peters, can shine in the spotlight just like her supermodel sister. But after spending her whole life trying to live up to her mother’s expectations, there’s no greater opportunity for Izzie to crash and burn than this. She heads back to New York for the interview, diverting first to London to flush out an interview target for her boss. Simple enough? Until elevator-phobe Izzie gets stuck in an out-of-control lift -- with a man straight out of her fantasy playbook.

That man, of course, is Alexios Constantinou, who becomes the subject of the big story Izzie must land to earn the anchor job. Izzie might not regret her one-night-stand, but it’s making her life a big, fat mess.

So now that you have the scoop on Alex and Izzie, I’ll turn it over to Izzie:

What was your first impression of Alex?

Well, first of all, I didn’t know Alex was Alexios when we first met. When we got stuck in that elevator together, he told me his name was Leandros. You see Alex was a famous football quarterback whose career ended in a tragic injury. He’s rebuilt his life as a gaming software mogul, even more successful in his current career than he was as a football player. But he values his privacy above all else. The Leandros I met? Quite simply the most jaw droppingly hunky man I’d ever seen. At first I thought he was a complete snob who’d never be interested in a girl like me, but after he kept me sane in that elevator for hours, and I sensed the attraction between us? Wow was I in trouble. He was charismatic, worldly and had the most delicious dry sense of humor. And I started to want the impossible…

What really happened to you two that night in London?

Well after we got through our near death experience, I wasn’t allowed to be alone in case I’d suffered a concussion from hitting my head in the fall. I didn’t know anyone in London and Alex felt responsible for flattening me in the elevator so he insisted I stay at his penthouse that night. Crazy right? I guess I realized this was my chance to have a super hot fling with the man of my dreams, something I’d never ever done. To finally have the courage to go after what I wanted. So I asked him if he wanted to kiss me. And well… he did. And that’s all I’m going to say on the matter.

Where do you two go from here?

No where. We both agreed it was one night and one night only. So as amazing as that night in London was, it’s going to be just that – a really good memory and the beginning of me not living my life on the sidelines. I am mad at how he left me though, seriously annoyed. That just wasn’t right.

Many people think you’re too inexperienced to win this anchor job. What are your thoughts on this?

I definitely am more inexperienced than most of the reporters in this race. But I’m hoping my visibility in the community will help me. I also NEED to land this interview with Alex to show I can produce a sensational feature. Unfortunately, my boss doesn’t know I know Alex, Alex thinks I set him up that night in London and he pretty much hates me. So things aren’t looking good on that front.

How are you going to convince Alex to do the interview?

I’m going to appeal to his reasonable side. We can help him save his company’s reputation if he gives us the story on what really happened with the end of his football career. But if he’s difficult then I’ll simply have to play hard ball. We do have the man who wants to ruin him ready to go on camera…

Sounds like you have your hands full… Good luck with that!
Why don’t we have some fun to close this off:

If you were a flavour of ice cream, which would it be? 

I would like to be something exotic like Crème Brule but I’m afraid I’m more along the lines of French Vanilla

Favourite Movie – Crazy Stupid Love – although I have to say as cute as Ryan Gosling is, I prefer tall, dark and handsome – eg: Alex

Favourite Book – Anything Stephanie Plum

Biggest Pet Peeve – People in the subway who slam the door in your face

Biggest Guilty Pleasure – Those oozy, amazing cinnamon rolls you see in the subway that’ll put ten pounds on your hips just looking at them

If you had one wish to be granted by a Fairy Godmother – I’d feed the world. Wow wouldn’t that be awesome?

One kiss couldn't hurt, could it? 

Alexios Constantinou is notorious for his lethal charm, so when the exquisite Isabel Peters is—literally—dropped into his lap during a hellish elevator ride, he doesn't waste the opportunity! With tensions sky-high after their near-death experience, an insatiable desire ignites between them, and all bets are off. 

But when Alex discovers that reporter Isabel's next story is him, he's furious…yet determined to use it to his advantage. He's calling the shots, but the closer Isabel gets, the closer she comes to discovering his carefully concealed secret. Now, with everything at stake, he'll need a whole new game plan….

Buy at Amazon - Kindle - B&N - Harlequin

Izzie focused on forking the small amount of food she thought she could consume into her mouth at the small candlelit table Alex had set on the terrace. The herbed pasta was delicious, but it was hard to eat when her heart was still pounding and her hands trembling so much negotiating a fork seemed like a new and highly complex activity. And why wouldn't it when she had literally jumped into the deep end and invited the most spectacularly good looking man she'd ever met to kiss her--and he had! Not to mention the fact that the kiss had been the most incredible of her life and all she could think about was experiencing more of the bone-meltingly delicious heat that had coursed through her veins. It was like every nerve ending in her body had been switched on for the first time and she wasn't sure whether to revel in it or be completely terrified of what she was feeling.

She swallowed hard, forced down the food. The fact that she'd been right--that Alex was attracted to her--made her head feel like it was going to blow off. Maybe Jo was right. Maybe it had been her defensive attitude that had turned men off in the past and not the fifteen extra pounds she'd been carrying. Which had always been her excuse.

She took another sip of the rich, full Cabernet that was going a long way to mellowing her out. But the wine didn't seem to be having the same effect on Alex who'd glowered at her throughout the entire meal-as if she'd committed a crime rather than simply kissed him.

She risked a quick glance at him. He was still watching her with that same, implacable frown on his face, that penetrating blue gaze of his impossible to read. And it occurred to her she hadn't fully thought through her plan. She had the mind numbing confirmation he was attracted to her...the question now was what was she going to do about it?

Her heart pounding in her chest, she set her fork down with an abrupt movement, and the sound of metal clattering against fine china echoed in the still night air.

He gave her half-empty plate a narrowed glance. "That's all you're going to eat?"

"It was delicious, thank you. I think that's about all I can handle.'
"All right." He laid his fork down with a deliberate movement and pushed his plate away. "Let's talk about what happened."

Gladly. She took another sip of her wine to fortify herself and set the glass down.

"That kiss shouldn't have happened."

She was ready for that one. "Why not?

"I'm much more experienced than you, Isabel. I'm not interested in relationships, in fact mine never last longer than a few months, and the women I date are well aware of that."


He did a double take at the belligerent note in her voice. "You're also probably still in shock from what happened today."

"I'm absolutely fine," she countered. "In fact I feel like I have more clarity right now than I've ever had in my life."

He sat back in his chair, his gaze on her face. "What kind of clarity?"

She twisted the stem of her wine glass on the table, watching the blood red liquid shimmer in the candlelight. "That was my worst fear today. Facing it-getting through it-" she paused, looking up at him, "--it's made me realize how much of my life I've lived in fear...how many times I've not gone after what I wanted because I was afraid I wouldn't get it or it would explode in my face."

He gave a wary nod. "That's a good realization."

She shook her head. "I'm not looking for a relationship, Alex." A husky laugh escaped her. "In fact, that's the last thing I need right now."

His eyes narrowed. "Then what are you looking for?"

"I don't want to live with any more regrets."

He shook his head, a wry smile curving his lips. "You're twenty-five, Isabel. How many regrets can you have?"

She took a deep breath, meeting his gaze head-on. "I will regret it if I walk away from tonight without exploring the attraction that's between us."

A muscle jumped in his jaw. He sat there completely silent, staring at her. "I'm not sure you know what you're doing."

She shook her head. "I know exactly what I'm doing."

A long moment passed, it might have been four, five seconds, she wasn't sure. All she knew was that she was holding her breath, sure at one point he was going to reject her. The warm night air pressed so heavily against her lungs she thought they would burst. And then something shifted, morphed on the air between them. And she got her answer in the darkening of his eyes.

Buy at Amazon - Kindle - B&N - Harlequin

Jennifer Hayward has been a fan of romance since filching her sister’s novels to escape her teenaged angst.

Her career in journalism and PR, including years of working alongside powerful, charismatic CEOs and traveling the world, has provided perfect fodder for the fast-paced, sexy stories she likes to write, always with a touch of humour. You can find out more about Jennifer and her books and sign up for her newsletter at her website. Or you can find her on twitter and facebook.


Jennifer has generously offered a paperback copy of Changing Constantinou’s Game to a lucky winner!

All you have to do is leave a comment and answer one of Jennifer's questions from the interview above.

Giveaway is open worldwide and ends on 10 September 2014!

Good luck!

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