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Nick Sharpe owns a chain of fitness centers. He has money, ambition, and a body honed to perfection, but he’s just discovered he was adopted and never told. To make matters worse, his P.A. has walked out at short notice. His business and personal lives are suddenly in disarray—and then fate hands him Sammie.
Sammie Sherbourne only needs a temporary job until her passport arrives, then she’s off to see the world. The last thing she wants is to become one of Nick’s many conquests. But Nick’s hot and he’s hurting, and Sammie knows she might hold the key to his identity. That’s a lot of temptation for a girl with a tender heart.
Warning: Contains sexy games in beds, bathrooms, and on balconies.
Rocketed up the itunes charts in the USA, Canada, the UK and Australia.
'Oh my gosh. Love this author. Clever writing, hot sex, interesting plot. Didn't think I could like it as much as The Boat Builder's Bed, but I did.' Five stars on Amazon, Anny Mousse.
CHAPTER ONE — BODY TO DIE FOR
Sammie Sherbourne took the stairs at a half run, hoping jeans with a polo shirt and Nikes were appropriate for the sporty atmosphere of the fitness center. She bounced up into a deserted reception area and slowed to watch through the long glass wall as clients stretched, pedaled, and grunted at the various machines. One dark haired man finished his workout on a cross-trainer, slung a towel around his neck, and moved toward her with a loose-limbed stride.
She tried not to stare, but his dampened shorts and tank showed off a tall, sculpted body that appeared hard-disciplined and a great advertisement for the place. The nearer he got, the better he looked. A month here, before she escaped from New Zealand, might be no hardship at all!
She dragged her attention away from his powerful thighs and up past the sweaty tank that showcased his gleaming chest and shoulders. Then found bristling stubble, an impatient scowl, and snapping black eyes.
“You’re the replacement temp?”
She nodded. “Samantha.”
“Nick. You made it on time. Good.”
He scrubbed the towel over his hair, and Sammie darted another glance downward. So this was the boss?
He got as far as saying, “If you can—” and his cell phone rang. He wrestled it from his shorts pocket, which pulled the thin fabric mouthwateringly tight, and waved a hand at the desk.
Sammie took this as in invitation to sit, and watched from the swivel chair as he stalked off sounding far from pleased about something.
She waited. And she waited. Ten minutes passed before he reappeared.
In that time, she’d checked the desk drawers and stowed her bag in the bottom one which was empty apart from a box of staples.
She’d answered the ever-ringing phone. Yes they were open; no, Nick wasn’t available right now but she’d take a message; yes, their special $299 package ran until the end of the month (because she’d read the poster on the glass wall); no, Nick wasn’t available right now but she’d make sure he phoned back as soon as possible; no, she wasn’t Julie. Or Tyler.
Where the hell had he got to?
He came back still barking into his phone, but now smelling sexy as sin and wearing a black suit, charcoal shirt open at the neck, and beautiful shoes. He leaned over the desk while he continued his phone conversation, raised an exasperated eyebrow at her, rummaged amongst some papers, and produced a list that he thrust in her direction.
“Okay?” he mouthed silently.
She shrugged, nodded, and handed him the phone-message slips. He jammed them in a pocket, took the stairs at a lithe run, and disappeared.
And thank you too, she muttered to herself.
Sammie found the list only partially helpful. In slashing black writing it bullet-pointed ‘clear mail box’, (where?) ‘accept no calls from Gaynor or Brian Sharpe’, ‘April promo’, and a number of other items which looked well within her scope but lacked useful details.
As she answered the phone for about the twentieth time— ‘BodyWork Fitness, Samantha speaking’—a very pregnant dark-haired woman appeared at the top of the stairs and lowered herself gingerly onto the reception-area sofa.
“Sorry,” she said once Sammie had concluded the call. “Meant to be earlier, but…” she patted her belly in explanation. “I’m Tyler, Nick’s old assistant.”
Sammie sent her a doubtful smile. Did this mean she no longer had a job?
“I thought you’d left.”
“Yes, I did—three weeks ago. I’m ready to pop. I’m not Julie.” She pulled an exasperated face. “She replaced me and then walked out, leaving Nick totally in the crap.”
Sammie nodded, only partially enlightened. She took the sheet of paper across to Tyler. “He gave me a list of duties but it hasn’t been much help so far.”
“Riiiight...” Tyler’s lips twitched. “He meant well, but a few more details would have helped you. Second drawer down has the mailbox key. The box number’s on the tag, and it’s the big Marion Street depot a couple of blocks away.”
“If you’re here now should I go and clear it?”
“Closer to lunchtime’s better. First up—coffee machine lessons. If Nick doesn’t get his coffee he’s not nice to know.” She heaved herself off the sofa.
“Maybe that’s why he hasn’t been too welcoming yet…”
“Too much on his mind. He’s launching another fitness center in Auckland next week. Sussing out Sydney for possible expansion, too. There are family things he’s trying to sort with his brothers. And Julie leaving of course. God knows what else by now.”
The phone intruded again.
“BodyWork Fitness, Samantha speaking.” She listened a few seconds. “Personal trainers, yes. Hold just a moment please.”
Tyler took over with the ease of long experience, and Sammie learned what she could. “Got a bag?” Tyler asked as she disconnected. “Follow me and I’ll find you a locker.”
She led the way along a carpeted corridor and waved a hand toward the rear of the building. “That’s Nick’s office—big, but no great view.”
Sammie saw the name Nick Sharpe on the door. Nick Sharpe? Something prickled in her brain.
“Rich Richmond, money-man for the whole chain,” Tyler continued as she passed another door. “Not an early starter.” She puffed out a sigh and rubbed her lower back. “Bathrooms there, staffroom in here. The end locker’s spare. If you’ve brought lunch, there’s a fridge.”
Nick Sharpe. The name danced and shimmered in Sammie’s subconscious as she listened to Tyler’s coffee-maker instructions. Surely he couldn’t be Nicky from Grandpa’s orchard? Nicky the surly kid who didn’t want to be there, didn’t want to work without being paid, and definitely didn’t want to be trailed around by a lonely little girl all those years ago. Was his name Sharpe? Or something similar?
‘Her’ Nicky had been dark-haired, too. Dark-haired, dark-eyed, often angry. Sixteen when she’d last seen him. A squat, powerfully built boy with hormones running rampant, hair darkening his jaw and chest, and a chip on his shoulder the size of the Pacific Ocean.
She’d been totally enthralled by him.
At thirteen she’d been getting curious about boys. A glimpse of Nicky skinny-dipping in the river on the north boundary of the orchard was a thrill beyond anything she’d ever imagined. Catching him peeing into the hedge...seeing him with his shirt off as he flourished the sprayer at the weeds around the edge of the huge packing shed...things like that had made him seem so grown-up, so out-of-bounds and fascinating.
But best of all were their times together in the dark, deserted implement shed. She’d shown him the numbers to the combination lock on the side door, and if she saw him slip in she’d shyly follow. Although he always pretended to be annoyed, she thought he was maybe pleased to have company sometimes. Because he did such dirty, exciting things.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Why did I write the book?
'Resisting Nick' came about because of a boy I had a hopeless crush on as a teenager. We never so much as exchanged a word, and he was several years older than me and a real bad boy. He obviously burrowed into my brain and stayed there.
I often wondered what had become of him, so one day I started inventing his future. I even pinched part of his name. I gave him a girl called Sammie (who is definitely not me, although she grew up in a similar small agricultural town). And then I added some angst and problems to pull them together and drive them apart. And an eventual happy ending of course, because this is a romance, after all. There's a trip to Australia, and one to a country in Europe which I won't name here because that would be a real spoiler.
It's a contemporary romance, somewhat sexy, but certainly not erotica. My dear old Mum once famously said "People don't want to read about sex, darling." How wrong she was! A bit of sizzle seems to go down very well with my readers.
If you'd like a holiday in New Zealand, read 'Resisting Nick'. It's an escape from everyday life. It's not all plain sailing for my characters, but it's not emotion-drenched like a lot of romances. Even men enjoy it...
It can take a long time to find the perfect shots for a book cover. Sammie looks pretty happy to be in Nick's arms. Do you reckon she's going to resist him? I really wanted to show you some of the wonderful scenery we have here in New Zealand so this cover features the beach at Whangaroa, well to the north of where this story is set.
And yes, our beaches often are this deserted! New Zealand has more coastline for its land area that anywhere else in the world. We're long and thin and surrounded by water. Come and visit us - and have this much beautiful beach all to yourself.
The next shot is Piha Beach - no doubt in winter because there's no-one there. It looks so idyllic - but the currents are tricky here, and every summer the Surf Life Savers rescue hundreds of people from being swept away. It even has its own TV series because there's so much drama at Piha.
The view from Nick's old house
Wouldn't you love a view like this? It's Kapiti Island, off the coast north of Wellington. It's a protected bird sanctuary, although it's possible to take a guided tour there, provided you obey their strict protocols. Magic place!
Here's a lovely Italian street - just the sort of place Sammie was keen to find when she went off and explored the world.
Each time I set out to write a book, I make a collage to slide me right in to the setting. Here's the one I made for Nick. You can see Nick's old house on the cliff top, Grandpa's orchard, all the places Sammie's parents travelled to (and that she yearned to see as well), Sydney where she and Nick had a very nice time indeed. And his awful parents! I cast two of New Zealand's most famous actors here - Ian Mune and Robyn Malcolm. Kiwis will recognise them. The gorgeous Adrian was my inspiration for Nick. Sammie ended up with much longer hair, but this girl had just the right perky face.