Title: The Australian
Author: Lesley Young
Genre: Contemporary Romance 18+
Publication Date: March 27, 2015
~ Synopsis ~
Charlie Sykes takes everything and everyone at face value and believes life would be a lot easier if everyone else did, too. Aussie Jace Knight, international hotelier and purported playboy, has never met anyone like the absurdly literal and obliviously beautiful American who applies for his personal assistant position. The trouble is, how do you pursue a woman whose definition of flirting comes straight out of the Merriam-Webster Dictionary? That, and he’s not the only one after Charlie. Seems Mr. Knight might not be a reformed criminal after all.
Soon, Charlie’s immersed in a whirlwind of international espionage that takes her from the hip streets of Sydney to the majestic Great Barrier Reef and the wild, desolate outback. A dangerous trap’s being set, but how will Charlie protect herself and prevent a tragic betrayal, when she can’t even sort out what her heart’s telling her?
Purchase The Australian (Book #2): Amazon
Purchase The Frenchman (Book #1): Amazon
I swung my legs around and glanced up into his eyes. Night was just beginning to fall. I had left the window open and a lovely breeze swept across our veranda lifting the curtain behind him. He had added a dress jacket to his dark blue jeans and mauve dress shirt. I picked up the familiar scent of his cologne, sandalwood and lime. His giant gold Rolex glowed in the light. His eyes held nothing but darkness.
I breathed out, smoothed my hair, and spotting my heels, leaned over to strap them on.
“Do you know why I hired you, Charlie?
What a peculiar question. I was about to answer yes, when I realized, given my lack of hospitality and personal assistance experience, no, actually I could not be sure. I shook my head as I took his hand and rose to stand. His brow was stern and his mouth was flat.
“Your’s was the first pair of eyes I stared into in a long time, ever really, that I could see straight through to the bottom.”
Oh. He must be speaking figuratively. Was that a compliment? His thumb rubbed my hand like it was a feather. Perhaps he was practicing pretending to be lovers?
“Maybe that was wrong of me, to think how I wanted to keep you like that forever. Maybe hiring you, bringing in you close . . . maybe that’ll change you.”
I stared up at him, hearing my heart pound. Wait. Maybe . . . he was suspicious.
“Are you saying you regret hiring me, Mr. Knight?” I tugged my hand free.
I could not meet his eyes.
“No.” I did not dare look in his eyes. “But I’m worried I will,” he stated flatly. He stepped close after I stepped away. “Look me in the eye, Charlie, and tell me I won’t regret hiring you,” he demanded suddenly, his voice calm, deep and impending.
I need a glass of water to swallow my heart back down.
What had happened? Why this sudden strangeness?
About the Author
Lesley Young is an award-winning journalist by day and a compulsive romance novelist by night. Her most recent series—Crime Royalty Romance—features unforgettable heroines who fall in love with dangerous men while on adventures abroad. Her fast-paced novels are rich with intricate plots, sizzling romance and gripping character development. You'll root for her characters from page one!
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Fun Facts About The Australian by Lesley Young
Thanks so much for putting the spotlight on the second stand-alone book in my Crime Royalty Romance series The Australian!
First three opening lines of my book. . . .
I glanced at the time on my cell phone and frowned. My temp agency had notified me of this job prospect at the last minute, yet I had managed to arrive within sixty seconds of the appointed time, during Sydney’s rush-hour traffic no less. Meanwhile, I glanced at the closed door several feet from where I sat; the employer was unable to stay on schedule posing a mere series of interview questions. Vexing.
How I wrote this book. . .
-It took me two months, and I was so caught up in the story I would forget to pay bills, call friends, meet deadlines...kind of like when you read a really good book!
-I listened to Big Sugar’s If I Had My Way over 500 times while writing this novel.
If I had to summarize the book for the readers here...
A twist on a coming of age love story (Charlie Sykes is a late-starter!).
What the characters are like. . .
Charlie Sykes is a highly intelligent 24-year-old who makes her first illogical decision when she moves down under to start life over after her mother dies. She’s naive, but only because she sees the world extremely literal. Her ability to suss out the truth in every situation puts people on edge. When she lets down her guard, she’s vulnerable, intensely sensitive and utterly optimistic.
Jace Knight is a powerful hotelier who built up his empire on criminal foundations. And while his moral code is questionable, his honor is not. All he’s ever wanted is a good life. He’s brilliantly manipulative, but also vibrant, and young at heart.
What’s surprising about my characters .. .
I’m a bit of a pantser so no one was more surprised than me when a slightly autistic heroine came out of me. I’d never watched the TV show Bones before but someone mentioned Charlie reminded them of that show’s main character.
What scene makes me laugh out loud every time I read it. . .
In this one scene, Charlie has to drive a car at gunpoint, but she’s still taking driving lessons (and hasn’t even made it out of the parking lot yet). The man holding her at gunpoint is unprepared for just how bad a driver she is. Something about this scene makes me laugh every time I read it. I’m smiling right now! Sharing the scene won’t do it justice here, because you have to get to know Charlie first for it to work.
If my book was optioned for a movie, I would use the following scene for the audition.
In this scene, Charlie asks Jace if he is involved with any criminal activity. It’s pivotal because they’re both laying everything on the line.
“Look me in the eye.”
I did as he asked.
“Now ask me.”
“Are you,” I caught my breath, “involved in criminal activities?” I sounded very quiet. Not myself.
I felt a burn in my nose, and my eyes grew blurry. He blew air out of his nose and stepped closer, but I stepped back, needing space to stay the course.
“Don’t,” I said.
“Don’t what?” he asked, tenderly.
I flashed on him again, surprised. His face had grown lighter, calmer . . . maybe as he took in my sadness. He had uncrossed his arms, and tilted his head to the side.
No. I knew what he was trying to do.
“Seduce the truth away,” I answered, remembering how he had reassured me in Port Douglas with physical affection.
His mouth popped open.
“I deserve better.”
He flinched, and, after a moment, glanced away.
The one piece of advice I’d give my characters. . . .
Don’t make assumptions. Both my characters are so sure of themselves, they miss big problems staring straight at them.
Thanks for featuring me and my Crime Royalty Romance series. Both stand-alone books are available, including The Australian and The Frenchman. Stay in touch at lesleyyoungbooks.com, facebook.com/LesleyYoungBooks and @lesleyyounbks.