Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Out Today: Design and Scandal

My newest book from Ellora's Cave, Design and Scandal, is out today!

Here's the blurb:

Costume designer Kahala Lin didn’t get into her line of work to make clothes for tiny models. She dreams of creating high-fashion masterpieces for BBWs such as herself. When she’s hired to work on costumes for the science fiction movie Laser Sentinel, she passes up the opportunity to dress the film’s heroine and ends up with the hardest job on set—pleasing the demanding and devastatingly handsome star, James Corwin.

James is one of Hollywood’s best known actors, but he’s in trouble when he’s forced into working on this dud of a movie. James can’t relax and enjoy the shoot on Hawaii’s black sand beaches. He needs to prevent this film from becoming an embarrassment, starting with making sure he’s not shot wearing nothing but spandex, a headdress and a ray gun. His collaboration with the new costume designer starts out promising, but soon he’s so busy taking off her clothes that he’s hardly thinking about what he’ll wear at all.

The press, however, discovers their relationship almost before it begins, and the resulting scandal threatens both their livelihoods and James’ chances with Kahala.

A Romantica® contemporary erotic romance from Ellora’s Cave

And an excerpt:

“You’re assigning me to work with your female lead?”

“I believe in delegating.” Costume designer Lawrence Marsh smiled tightly. “I’d planned to work with her myself, of course. I spent months drawing sketches for her. You’ll be following those, making adjustments as needed to the costumes I’ve started creating. I’d do it myself, gladly, but ever since I arrived on set I’ve had a certain problem that’s—James Corwin.”

“James Corwin?” Kahala echoed, confused. “That’s your problem?”

“Oh, James Corwin is about to be his problem, all right,” said a deep male voice behind her. Kahala jumped, turned, and found herself face to face with the screen idol himself, all six solid feet of him. James Corwin had played football in high school, and Kahala could see why. He had a linebacker’s build and muscle. He gripped the doorframe with big hands. His face wrinkled with distaste at the sight of Lawrence Marsh, but as his gaze settled on Kahala, his expression changed. His famous golden eyes focused on her and she caught the subtle flicks he used to check out her body below the neck. Kahala’s face heated and James smiled slowly, his nostrils flaring. His dark skin seemed much warmer in person than it did onscreen. The red tones in it caught the light so he almost gleamed.

“Hello,” James Corwin said, dragging the word out to two syllables and lifting his eyebrows with appreciation.

“Um, hi.” Kahala was relieved that her voice didn’t squeak.

Lawrence dropped a hand onto her shoulder. “I’m impressed again, Kahala. That’s the first civil word I’ve heard come out of this fellow’s mouth. Even if it reeks a bit of the chauvinist pig.”

James Corwin grinned. A slight gap between his front teeth marred his perfection just enough to make him convincingly real. He didn’t take his eyes off Kahala. “I can be nice if given reason.”

“Well I’m afraid I don’t have DD reasons,” Lawrence shot back.

Kahala bit her tongue before she could add that she wished they were just DD. Bra shopping would have been so much easier if Lawrence had been right about her size.

“Lawrence, that’s crass,” James said. He leaned in toward Kahala, his voice dropping and turning conspiratorial. “Don’t think I’m not a gentleman just because of the way I’m looking at you. I’m not saying I don’t appreciate the full package, but I also enjoy learning about a beautiful woman’s personality.”

A thousand red flags went up in Kahala’s mind. This man was trouble. It couldn’t have been clearer if he’d tattooed the word on his forehead in capital letters and accentuated them with glitter. Unfortunately she could be as circumspect about this as she wanted inside the sanctuary of her own thoughts, but that didn’t help to control her glee at the movie star’s compliments. He’d still made her grin like a fool.

James winked, mischief pulling one side of his smile higher than the other. “Well? You didn’t sound shy when you were talking with just Lawrence a minute ago.”

“I’m not,” Kahala admitted. She saw his challenge and raised him. Surveying his body frankly, she allowed herself a wicked grin. “I can’t make a call on your full package yet. I haven’t seen enough of it.”

James liked that response, clearly. He moved even closer. His fingers twitched against the doorframe as if they wanted to move to Kahala’s frame instead.

Lawrence broke into the moment before she could see where it would lead. “Whoo!” He fanned himself and continued with high-pitched sounds of appreciation. “It’s gotten very, very hot in here. Almost as if you two are forgetting the full workday we have in front of us.”

Kahala blushed. She’d gotten so caught up in coming up with cool responses to James Corwin’s flirtation that she’d forgotten to act professionally. “Sorry.” Instinct told her to leave the two of them to their business, but she couldn’t see a graceful exit out of the cramped trailer. Whether she ducked left or right, any attempt to leave would involve an intense negotiation between her body and that of James Corwin. She stepped back instead, then looked to Lawrence for direction.

Lawrence drew himself up even taller, so his Adam’s apple poked prominently out of his long, thin neck. “Before you arrived, Mr. Corwin, I was in the middle of delegating loads of work to Kahala here. She’s going to take over dressing Miss Marin for me, all so I can devote the bulk of my time to satisfying your demanding self.” His words sounded light and irreverent, but Kahala caught a strain of sincere irritation running through them.

Corwin must have picked up on that too, because he scowled in response. “I don’t know if I want any more of your attention, Lawrence. That’s what I came to talk to you about.” He sighed. All the playfulness he’d shown with Kahala had gone out of him. He seemed tired and far less glamorous. “The studio’s leaning on me to be here, but that doesn’t mean I have to like it. I’ll be professional, I’ll do as I’m told, but I won’t tolerate being made to look or behave like a fool.”

“No one’s trying to make you seem foolish,” Lawrence replied. He held his hands out before him as if trying to reassure the actor that he wasn’t armed. “Believe me, all of us want you to look good. We want the teenage girls to swoon over you and spend billions of dollars going to see Laser Sentinel dozens of times in the theater. We want the boys to dress like you for Halloween.”

“I’m not wearing spandex. I’m not wearing stupid headgear. I’m not wearing a ray-gun that makes me look like I’m trying to compensate for something.”

“And no one’s asking you to do that.”

“Lawrence, since you made my costumes, I’d expect you to have seen them. The uniform I’m supposed to wear for most of the film has all three of the things I just named.”

“Headgear is what they call the thing they give kids to hold their braces on. Your costume has a headdress. That’s different.”

James Corwin noticed Kahala again and lifted his eyebrows in appeal. “You see why I’m looking for a second opinion?”

Lawrence waved his hand, looking even more annoyed. “You’re stuck with me, buddy. If the talent’s not happy, I’m the one who’s responsible. You and I are going to be seeing a lot of each other until we come up with something everyone can live with.”

James stepped further into the room. Everything about his body spoke of size, power and animal magnetism. Kahala needed to catch her breath, and all the man had done was walk a little. “This is the fourth design you’ve shown me, Lawrence. I hate them all. We start shooting all too soon. If I’m not going to be recorded for all posterity wearing one of those ridiculous getups, we’re running out of time.”

“Believe me, Mr. Corwin, I’m barely going to sleep or eat until you’re satisfied.”

James Corwin pursed his lips. His eyes drifted toward Kahala again. “There are so many people I’d rather hear that from.”

She knew she shouldn’t respond to the line but couldn’t help quirking another smile. She grasped the serious subtext to the debate, but between James’ innuendo and Lawrence’s funny mannerisms, Kahala struggled to restrain giggles as they continued to argue. She let her mind wander from the conversation, instead simply enjoying the sight of James Corwin, alive and in the flesh, not three feet away from her.
Kahala’s attention jerked back to the substance of the discussion when James’ big hand suddenly landed on her wrist. “Let me have her, then.”

“Excuse me?” Kahala blinked.

He continued to address Lawrence. “I want a fresh eye. She can work under your direction, right? If you were going to trust Madison to her, she’s got to be capable of working with me.”

“Right,” Lawrence returned. “Because you’re so flexible and not at all the kind of guy who could drive any designer insane.”

“I promise I’ll behave,” Corwin said. However, the lustful gaze he raked up and down Kahala’s body made entirely different promises.

“I don’t think Kahala wants to do men’s—”

Kahala needed to speak up quickly. “Lawrence, it’s okay. Really. If you trust me to do it, I’m happy to work with Mr. Corwin.” She softened her expression and gave the lead designer a knowing smile. “You sounded really excited about dressing Miss Marin.”

She could see that Lawrence wanted to give in by the longing touch he lavished on a nearby dressmaker’s form. He cast an impatient look at James, then clicked his tongue and shrugged. “It’s your funeral, girl. If you think you can put up with him, be my guest.”

James grinned. “We’ll get started right away.”

So far, the book is available at Ellora's Cave, Kobo, Barnes and Noble, and Amazon.

Also, be sure to check out the entire Curve Appeal theme series, which features books devoted to Rubenesque heroines!

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