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Captivating the CEO
The Challenge Series from Decadent Publishing
Contemporary, new adult, erotic romance
Heat level: 3, Word count – 23k
When live-for-the-moment massage therapist Willow Jeffries bursts into Colin Vanderhayden’s office, she makes it her mission to loosen up the future-focused CEO, knowing each moment of the present is too precious to waste. Despite her immediate attraction, the only future she can offer is one full of heartache.
The last thing Colin needs is a flighty woman messing up his carefully-constructed plans, but her heavenly massages and addictive personality prove heard to resist. But he has no idea how sick she is.
No longer able to ignore her life-threatening medical condition, Willow slips away to spare Colin a miserable future with her. Is Colin willing to sacrifice his well-laid future plans to get Willow back?
Cupping her face with his hands and angling his mouth, he poured the intensity she’d previously only seen him devote to his work into turning her body into a tingling, craving mass of need. She loved the way he cradled her-so gentle, yet firm.
Stars danced in front of her eyes, but she willed them away to press her tongue between his lips. No matter how light-headed she became, she refused to miss a moment of the kiss. Colin’s mouth made the opportunity to enjoy worth the risk of passing out.
But, too soon, he broke off, panting, his eyes dilated with desire. “I have to get that.”
“Get what?” His words made no sense, then her ears started ringing. No, not her ears. His damned phone.
“Of course you do.”
But he’d already turned his attention to a conversation he gave far more importance to than anything she offered.
Sinking onto the couch, she pressed her fingers to her still tingling lips. Dear God, she hoped she didn’t affect him as strongly as he affected her. If he became emotionally invested, she’d bring pain and misery into his life.
Welcome Sara Daniel! Please start off by telling us a little about yourself.
I write irresistible romance, from sweet to erotic and everything in between. On the personal side, I’m a frazzled maid, chef, chauffeur, tutor, and personal assistant. I battle a serious NASCAR addiction and was once a landlord of two uninvited squirrels. I follow research and new developments concerning tricuspid atresia and other congenital heart defects, and I hold a special place in my heart for “heart kids” and their families.
Is Captivating the CEO a single title, or part of a series?
Captivating the CEO is an office romance and a medical romance, as well as a New Adult story. It’s a stand-alone title, but it’s also part of Decadent Publishing’s Challenge Series. Rather than being connected books, every book in this line deals with a physical or emotional challenge that is integral to the characters’ journey.
What were your inspirations for the story?
As soon as I read the guidelines for Decadent’s Challenge series, I knew this would be a home for the story I’d been too scared to write, the one I couldn’t give the “and they were magically cured and never had any pain or hardship again forever and ever” happy ending. This book would be a romance novel with a real-life happy ending, the type of happy ending I want for every person I know who has a medical problem similar to Willow’s.
Please share your setting for Captivating the CEO. Have you ever lived or visited there? If so, what did you like most?
Captivating the CEO is set in Chicago, and I live close by. I used to work in a high rise downtown like Colin. Unfortunately, my building was just west of the Willis Tower (I still think of it as the Sears Tower.), which blocked any possible view of Lake Michigan. I was a very junior level employee, so my cubicle was never anywhere near a window anyway, let alone in sight of that coveted top-floor corner office. My favorite part of the city is people-watching. Everywhere you turn, you can see something to spark a great story idea.
When did the writing bug first bite?
I’ve been writing since 5th grade. My first “book” was actually a play because that way I only had to write the dialogue, which was the only part I wanted to write anyway! By junior high, I needed a way to fit in all the emotions and motivations, and I started writing novels. I simply love to write romance and happily-ever-after.
Who are you favorite authors, book/series?
My all-time favorite hero is Kenny Karmody from Suzanne Brockmann’s Out of Control. That mix of sweet, vulnerable, tough, fearless, and irreverent made me fall head-over-heels in love. Susan Elizabeth Phillips’ First Lady is probably my all-time favorite book because every single character captivated me on every single page. When I finished that book for the first time, I turned to page one and immediately started reading it again.
If you could have an author roundtable discussion with any authors, who would you invite?
Wow, there are so many authors who have amazing ideas and experience that I could learn from. I think I’d like to assemble a roundtable of authors who have really been able to harness the power of the internet and digital publishing—J.A. Konrath, Amanda Hocking, E.L. James, Marie Force, Courtney Milan, and Barbara Freethy, to name a few.
Do you have any hobbies or special things you like to do in your spare time?
Spare time?? Hahahaha! Between writing and family life, I don’t see much of that. But whenever I get the chance, I like to go for long walks and bike rides, preferably surrounded by beautiful scenery and nature.
What’s the strangest thing you’ve heard or seen?
I was riding my bicycle in the forest preserve last month, and a worm flew up from my front wheel and landed on my bare arm just below my shoulder. I swerved, thankfully didn’t crash, and screamed “Ew! Gross!!” as I flung it off me. I spent the rest of the ride home shuddering and shivering and muttering over the indignity! Bugs and worms usually don’t bother me, but I have limits!!
Let me be the first to tell you that I’m a sucker for medical romances. Yes, I read them through the Harlequin line, Medical and they are so good. I was drawn to this story for that one reason. Plus, Ms. Daniel can write a good story.
At first I was bit confused on how Willow and Colin were going to have their HEA. At first glance, it seems like Colin is a bit of a recluse and buried in his work. He never seems to “shut off” from working while Willow is there trying to give him his weekly massages. In her own way, she is trying to get to know him but Colin would rather be on the phone and basically ignore her during the process.
Which leads me to the one problem that I had with the book…too early sex. Yes, I know, I felt as though they had sex way too early in the book because I didn’t feel as if they were totally connected with each other at that point. Of course, Colin didn’t have a clue about Willow’s medical condition at that time either. That point kinda nag at me but the way that he eventually found out about Willow was great. Social media plays a huge part in that and I loved how Ms. Daniel was able to introduce Willow’s family to Colin with that aspect of the story.
The condition that Willow has is real and Ms. Daniel has done her homework on the subject matter. What really endeared about the relationship between Colin and Willow was that once Colin found out, he really opened up within himself and to Willow. Colin didn’t really know how closed off he had become in his life and opening himself up to Willow was an interesting journey for him and it felt right.
Willow kinda came off as a good time girl but she truly had her reasons. Ultimately, I feel as if this was Colin’s story and how the love of a good woman would change his life for the better. She not only helped Colin overcome his workaholic status but she also found that Colin loved her no matter what her condition was and would fight for it in the end.
I have read other stories in the Challenge series and this one is my favorite. The subject matter is gripping and interesting to read about. 🙂
Sara Daniel writes what she loves—irresistible romance, from sweet to erotic and everything in between. She lives her own happily-ever-after romance with her hero husband.
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