28 October 2013

{Guest Post and Giveaway} Winning the Boss's Heart by Hayson Manning

Hey, my lovelies!

Today, I'm going to be handing over the reins to one of my fave authors Hayson Manning for a special guest post and giveaway. And let me tell you that Hayson has prepared some pretty, ahem, inflatable stuff for us. Just read her post below and see what I mean.

I will also be re-posting my review for Winning the Boss's Heart today. I loved that book! Mason and Billie's story spoke to me, both individually, as well as their journey towards their HEA. And you guys know how I love my happily ever afters, right?

So I hope you do enjoy what we have prepared for you today. Enjoy!

Guest Post by Hayson Manning

Thanks so much to fabulous Geri for letting me hang out with the cool kids on her blog today.

In Winning the Boss’s Heart, Mason, (aka hunky, broody hottie) doesn’t own a home, instead he stays in the house he’s renovating, flicks it and moves on. Of course that changes when he employs feisty, quirky Billie as his 42nd assistant.

Here in Chez Manning we’ve moved a lot. Hubs works for an airline (no, he’s not a pilot and we should all be thankful for that. The man is challenged changing a light bulb). Our last move was a couple of months ago when we moved from Los Angeles to Sydney, which by my calculation is move seven thousand four hundred and twelve. Hub’s arrived first so Thing 2 could finish up middle school, and you know, attend yet another graduation.

Hub’s found a house in Sydney, said it was all ‘sorted’ and he was waiting for us with open arms. Our furniture was on a rowboat stopping at seventeen countries on the way. Now, here’s where it gets tricky and this just may be a male vs. female thing. Picture it. You’ve just stepped off a long flight. You’re tired and emotional (okay, so that’s me), you walk into a house filled with inflatable furniture and Hub’s beaming beside you.

Yep, we had a blue inflatable couch or ‘love seat’ said a winking Hub’s to which I mouthed ‘you’re on your own, honey.’ An inflatable array of plastic chairs and what I can only describe as something that failed woodshop but was now our dining room table. Hub’s had his hands on his hips. “Isn’t it awesome?” he beamed. “Took me ages to inflate it all.” I could only stare at the man. “Did you think this through?” I asked quietly because my brain was walking out the door and heading back to California.

It struck me that males and females think so differently. A bit like Mason and Billie in Winning the Boss’s Heart. She, like me, would have whipped around some second hand shops, gone to garage sales for some cheap second hand furniture while our furniture is hanging out in Bora Bora sinking margaritas and watching the sun set.

I see the problem with inflatable furniture in an instant. It’s going to last two point five seconds once the cat is out of quarantine and makes a flying leap onto the ‘love seat.’ Its Spring here in Sydney and already we’ve had days nudging one hundred degrees. If you don’t immediately bounce off the furniture due to over inflation, you have to peel yourself off it.

We’d been living with the furniture for two months when Hub’s wondered why more people don’t get behind everything inflatable. He’s now thinking of starting an online club. I did point out that he’ll possibly get people joining but they might think he’s not inflating furniture.

This week Hub’s commented that we didn’t need our actual wooden furniture and we should just stick with inflatables. After careful consideration I sat on the love seat and patted the space beside me. His eyes lit up as he sat. Bang the ‘love seat’ was no more. We were hanging out on the floor. Problem solved. Hub’s a tad dejected. Me hiding a sharp nail.

Have you had a male vs. female scenario? Would you be into inflatable furniture?

Mason Christian has twelve weeks to flip something old into something new for his Japanese client, and then he’s getting the hell out of Footsteps Bay, New Zealand. Not even his temporary cook and secretary—the feisty, luscious Billie McLeod—will deter him. There’s no denying she makes him feel alive. More alive than he’s felt in three years...

Billie has one dream: save enough money to go to college. That’s why she’s agreed to work for hard ass, all-business-no-pleasure Mason Christian—a man who has every intention of destroying through "modernization" the town’s most cherished historical home. But before she can say see ya, she realizes she’s signed the dotted line and is contractually bound for eighty-four days.  Working with male perfection every day is awesome with a capital A—as long as they can stick to a hands-off policy that gets harder every day...

My Review

Mason Christian is a man on a mission. He has 12 weeks to renovate a historic house. The problem was, his latest secretary had quit on him. Again. He has to hire another one fast if he has to make the deadline. Enter number 42. And no, that's not her real name. Her name is Wilhelmina "Billie" McCloud and she's going to be his 42 secretary. Hence, the number designation.

What he didn't count on was that Forty-two was a little crazy herself and is not afraid to challenge him. Every time he calls her Forty-two, she just calls him by other names, too, like Philbert, Sheldon, Engelbert, Jimbo, etc. It was downright hilarious. Mason couldn't quite figure her out. And there is this apparent attraction between them that no matter how hard he tries to ignore, just wouldn't go away.

Billie McCloud has a plan. Work as Mason's secretary for 12 weeks and then after that culinary school. Being raised in a commune with a flighty mother, all Billie wanted was to belong to a community, to be someone's perfection. Her first marriage taught her not to settle for anything less. She was determined to achieve this even if it means putting up with her new boss's inconsiderate demands. Plus, she might also have a chance at saving the historic house that Mason has set out to destroy on behalf of the community she adored.

The Characters

I find Mason's character truly fascinating. He started off like an unfeeling jerk who doesn't allow anyone close to him. He is single-minded in this goal. He doesn't sought human interaction. But even though he was very inconsiderate and unfeeling, we get a glimpse of the pain that he was hiding beneath that impenetrable fa├žade. And let me tell you, his story and the reason why he's changed so much was so heartbreaking, you would just want to reach out and hug him and make his pain go away.

And Billie, as I've said was a strong character. I have to thank Hayson Manning for creating a female character that isn't annoying, whiny or indecisive. What a relief to actually read about a lead female character that doesn't get on your nerves. Billie was such a wonderfully layered character. She had a hard time growing up as a child in a commune, no less. She also married young. It wasn't an ideal marriage and she lost her husband. Even with these hardships, she never complained once. She was optimistic and determined to make a life for herself.

I loved how she recognized the pain that he was hiding and set out to help him. Although, I did feel that her feelings for the Mason were stronger that Mason's were for her at that time, she was no doormat. She wasn't afraid to call him on his bullshit. And when Mason began to thaw a little bit, we see how deep this man actually feels and how capable he is to fall in love again. But he's stubborn so he did some stupid shit there for a while. But nothing too drastic though and it was totally in keeping with his character.

What I loved…
Aside for my obvious love for the two main characters and their love story, there are other things that I loved as well.

First off, the writing. Loved it. The dialogue was superb. It was funny, light and witty. The characterizations were superb. You get these people. The author was able to draw a very vivid picture of each character, even Stanley, the Great Dane was really written well. I love character-driven stories and this book delivers on that 100%.

Another element to the story is Footsteps Bay itself and its townspeople. The author was able to draw me into that world. I was so seduced by the place, I was contemplating moving to New Zealand specifically to Footsteps Bay. The whole thing just worked for me.

The chemistry between Mason and Billie was superb. The sexy was steamy without be overdone. And thank God there was no token, 'I'm-going-to-make-you-come-so-hard-the-neighbors-will-hear-you-scream,' statement that's so common in Contemporary Romance today. Nonetheless, the physical connection between the two characters were palpable.

Overall, Winning the Boss's Heart was a wonderful story from start to finish with wonderful and likable characters. The ending was fantastic. I'm not going to tell you what Mason did to win back Billie's love but let me tell you now, I was oohhed and aahhed and swooned when I read it. It was just so sweet and satisfying. Plus, that epilogue was just beautiful. I will definitely recommend this to Contemporary Romance lovers out there.

5 wonderful stars!!For me Winning the Boss's Heart was a wonderful story about second chances. It had all the right elements that makes for a truly romantic read. Highly recommended!

Purchase Links: Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Author Bio

Hayson Manning writes fun and flirty romances with alpha dudes and sassy woman. She lives in the bush in Sydney with her lovely sloth children, infuriating but much loved shoe-dropping husband and a tubby opinionated cat (as if a cat doesn't ever not have an opinion). There will often be a foster dog parked on the couch waiting for their forever home. She loves a good glass of wine, dreams of winning the lottery, cries while watching Antiques Roadshow and cannot speak she's sobbing so much by the end of Undercover Boss. She is also an expert at finding new and inventive ways to avoid exercise.
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 Hayson will be giving away 5 ebook copies of Winning the Boss's Heart to 5 winners.
a Rafflecopter giveaway