Please welcome, Quinn Handry. (And, don't forget to leave a comment for a chance to win $10 gift certificate to All Romance eBooks at the end of the month.)
I appreciate you taking the time to sit down with me. I also appreciate you not trying to run me off or reporting me to the authorities.
Do you consider yourself a Fool for Love, or is that just a recent development?
I’d consider it a very recent development. I’d gotten real comfortable doing my own thing and being by myself—well, as much by myself as one can be while living in a country where there seems to be people everywhere. Women just don’t figure into my line of work that easily, but sometimes one comes along and—bam!
Do you embrace your feelings, or are you fighting them every step of the way?
At first I fought them. How could I not? Miss Joy Debinham isn’t exactly on the same side of the law as I, plus, if I can be candid, she was a bit of a pain in my ass when I first met her. However, once I came to understand her, uncover what drives her to be who she is, I fell hard. I couldn’t help it.
Describe the object of your desire in six words or less?
Determined. Driven. Daring. Vulnerable. Beautiful.
What happened the first time you saw, Joy?
The first time I saw Joy? The meddling woman interrupted a camel race I’d staked most of my remaining money on—and I was riding in. She put herself in direct danger in front of the beasts so I had no choice but to scoop her up and carry her away. Then the damn camel pitched us both into the sand. I’ll admit, I was irritated, but there was something about her, some unspoken emotion in her eyes that compelled me to kiss her. Fine, I wanted to teach her a lessen—and I did, a bit later that evening in an empty tomb.
Is she as much a Fool for Love as you?
I want to say no, but the more I get to know Joy, the more I suspect she’s a romantic a heart. We all do stupid, daring, crazy things for the people we love, and I’ve been put into danger because of her enough times to know she’d do the same for me. I can’t imagine life without Joy in it. She makes me a better man, makes me want to be more than I am right now.
Please provide a bit of your story that showcases your situation best.
This is an excerpt (exclusive to this interview) where Quinn realizes he’s in over his head. He’s talking with his friend during dinner when his friend abruptly leaves as Joy joins them. Also, this is an adult excerpt, with language.
"It's too rich!" Cameron hooted with laughter. "You’re an antiquities broker and Joy, in her spare time, campaigns for the protection of Egypt's treasures. Not to mention she's wealthy and you fight for a couple of coins to rub together. You two are on opposite sides of the moral and financial dilemma in this country. It's priceless."
"How wonderful that my issue can bring you humor." He reached for a second wine bottle, but Cameron moved it beyond his grasp. "Damn it, Cam, you don’t understand. I thought after that little stunt I'd be free of her. As it turns out, my curiosity has been piqued, and I’m unsure of how to proceed." It had been so long since he'd made an actual connection to someone he wished to know for more time than it took to transact a trade, he was in the weeds. It had been even longer since he'd formed a relationship with a female beyond a night of mindless pleasure.
"Bed her. Enjoy her company. Spend time with her and stop being half a man."
“I’m hardly half a man.”
Cameron grinned. "Take a chance. This country is ripe with opportunities and romance. She could be exactly what you’ve been unconsciously searching for, and don’t try and give me some cock and bull story that you haven't."
A frown pulled at Quinn's lips. "That obvious?"
"'Fraid so, friend."
"Lovely." He was tired of uprooting his life to avoid the authorities, tired of living on the fringes because he hadn't been born with the proverbial silver spoon in his mouth and tired of drifting alone because every relationship he'd ever entered eventually broke. "I may not be in Egypt for long." Especially if the hotel management kicked his ass out for non-payment.
"Take a chance."
"We might not suit."
"Bed her instead. No one said you had to promise a lifetime."
Heat crept up the back of Quinn's neck as Cameron's words almost mirrored the words he'd spoken to Joy earlier. "There are the antiquities—"
"And there always will be, in every country of the world."
"I’m near penniless."
"There’s always a deal around the corner. No more excuses. Stop doubting yourself, man, and live. If anyone deserves a bit of happiness, it's you. I want to see you mooning over a woman again, willing to be reckless and take a chance." Someone in the crowd captured Cameron's attention. A wide grin split his face. "Fate isn't done with you yet. Here’s your perfect opportunity to find out where you stand—or where you’d like to."
As his friend shot to his feet, Quinn peered in the direction he'd last looked.
Joy wove her way between the tables, her stride determined. Fury filled her expression yet her clothes appeared fresh and pressed, not at all as if she'd passed a handful of erotic moments restrained in a tomb. He stood as she approached. Even as his stomach churned with nerves, his groin responded to her with renewed vigor and need. Damn. I should’ve taken her when I had the chance. He still felt the warm weight of her breasts in his hands.
"Miss Debinham." Cameron nodded. "Take my chair. I’ve suddenly spied an acquaintance I simply must speak with before it grows later." He took his leave as if a hungry lion were after him.
Quinn swallowed past the lump in his throat. "I highly doubted you’d make an appearance this evening." He gestured to Cameron's vacated chair. "When I left, you seemed ... exhausted from your ordeal." He couldn't resist the reference.
A wash of rosy color stained her cheeks. "Never underestimate me, Mr. Handry, and never assume you know what I will or will not do." She sat and waited pointedly until he'd done the same. "You owe me an apology." Her green eyes glittered with anger.
Seeing her in the grip of high emotion sent a wave of hot lust through his body that centered in his cock. God, she's like no one I’ve ever encountered before. "For what? Abandoning you to the dark, teasing you until the restraints rubbed your wrists raw or—"
"Leaving me unfulfilled, Mr. Handry. That was extremely bad form and I will not tolerate it again." She sprang to her feet. He scrambled to his as well. "Mark my words. I’m not finished with business between us. Unfortunately, I’m too tired to continue this discussion tonight. Good evening, Quinn. I’ll seek you out in the morning."
She swept through the dining area like a small sandstorm. He stared after her for long minutes, watching until she'd moved behind a large group of people and disappeared from view.
If I didn't know better, I'd think the haughty Miss Debinham just propositioned me.
A stupid grin lifted the corners of his mouth. The woman was actually miffed he hadn't fucked her. What a novel reaction. Maybe his fortunes were about to change after all.
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