Red Hot Russians, #1
Genre: Sports Romance
Publisher: Carina Press
Date of Publication: February 3, 2015
Number of pages: 250
Word Count: 96,000
A scandal-plagued American figure skater's last chance at gold means pairing up with Russia's sexiest male skater...who happens to be the first man she ever loved.
"The Cutting Edge" with a Russian twist.
American pairs figure skater Carrie Parker’s Winter Games dreams were dashed when her philandering partner caused one of the greatest scandals in skating history. Blacklisted from competing in America, her career is over…until she receives a mysterious invitation and is reunited with the most infuriating, talented—and handsome—skater she’s ever met.
Russian champion Anton Belikov knows sacrifice. He gave up a normal life and any hope of a meaningful relationship to pursue his dream. And he’s come close—with a silver medal already under his belt, the next stop is the gold. All he needs is a partner. While he’s never forgotten the young American skater he seduced one long-ago night in Amsterdam, he never expected to see her again…never mind skate with her.
When what starts as a publicity stunt grows into something real between them, Carrie and Anton’s partnership will test their loyalties to family, country, and each other. With only a few months to train for the competition of a lifetime, can they master technique and their emotions, or will they lose their footing and fall victim to the heartaches of their pasts?
“Speaking of Lake Placid…we ought to consider a new costume designer. That yellow thing you wore at Cup of China?” Carrie grimaced.
Anton looked up and grinned. “Is that why you didn’t want anything to do with me that night? Because of my ugly outfit?”
“It’s hard to take a man seriously when he’s dressed like a giant flower.”
He glared in mock offense. “I was not flower. We were birds.”
“Well that makes all the difference, doesn’t it? Anyway, the guy Cody and I used did nice classic looks. No feathers. No sequins. I could see you in something dark and simple, maybe open in the front. Definitely short-sleeved to show off your…” Her eyes feasted on his gorgeous upper arms. What the man did to a faded T-shirt ought to be against the law. He grinned as he caught her looking. Again. Her face burned and she gave a guilty smile. “…hard work.”
Anton shook his head. “For competition, no short sleeve, no low cut. I would have to get waxed. I hate wax.” He pouted like a little kid about to get a booster shot. “It hurts.”
“You’re such a baby! I can’t believe you’re afraid of a little manscaping.”
“Do you like it?”
Well. Obviously she wasn’t the only one who’d been checking out their partner that day in the pool. Then again, he’d been involved with a skater for years. It wasn’t like he’d never seen a Brazilian before. Her cheeks flushed again. “Only in pair skating would I have a conversation like this with a straight guy I hardly know.”
“What do you mean, hardly know? You know about my family, where I grew up, what music I like, what sports I like, what I studied at university. And now you know how I feel about man-wax.”
“Fine, you win. No man-wax.”
He leaned back, his arms crossed, regarding her with narrowed eyes. “Seems I’m the one who hardly knows you. Every time I ask something, you turn around and ask me instead. Why do you do that? Why do you want to be so much a mystery?”
She rested her chin on her hand and smiled across the table. “What difference does it make?”
He started to answer, then stopped. Shaking his head, he laughed. “God, you are aggravating!”
Talking Books… a Q&A with Debut Author Elizabeth Harmon
This month, Elizabeth makes her debut as a published author, kicking off a contemporary romance trilogy published by Carina Press. “Pairing Off,” the story of a pairs figure skating duo who fall in love while training for the Winter Olympics and is the first book in her “Red Hot Russians” series.
Like me, she also loves to read. I asked her to share some of her favorite books, and why she fell in love with romance novels.
Growing up, what was your favorite book?
When I was about eight, my mom gave me her Nancy Drew mysteries, volumes 1-30, which I quickly devoured. I loved them because they were girl-centric stories, unlike so many TV shows and movies, which were always about boys.
What led you to romance novels?
By middle school, I was already hooked on teen romances, and ready for longer, meatier stories. I read “Gone with the Wind,” and when a neighbor brought my mom a big box of grown-up romances, I discovered Rosemary Rogers, Kathleen Woodiwiss, and Valerie Sherwood. I loved the epic sweep of these stories, the happy endings, and of course, I loved the heroes.
Can you share some of your favorite heroes?
From my early romance reading, I loved Wulfgar from Kathleen Woodiwiss’ medieval classic “The Wolf and the Dove.” Though Wulfgar begins the book as a brutal conqueror, there is more to him and we don’t have to wait until the end of the book to see his honorable, and tender sides. I also loved Mick Tremore, from Judith Ivory’s “The Proposition.” A Victorian-era Cockney ratcatcher isn’t a typical romance hero, but he’s handsome, sexy and very sweet. My kind of guy.
Who are some of your favorite romance authors?
I have quite a few and I am always discovering new ones. Perennial favorites include Lisa Kleypas, LaVeryle Spencer, Sandra Brown, Courtney Milan, Tessa Dare, Judith Ivory, and Susan Carroll.
What genres do you read outside romance?
I love horror, ghost stories and gothics. I’m a long time Stephen King fan, and “The Shining” is one of my favorites. Dan Simmons’ “Summer of Night” is one of the scariest books I’ve ever read, and his historical horror novels, “Drood” and “The Terror” are fascinating. This fall I read Simone St. James’, “The Haunting of Maddie Clare,” and have her next two books on my TBR list.
What other books are on your TBR list?
Susan Elizabeth Phillips’ “Heroes Are My Weakness,” Rainbow Rowell’s “Landline,” and Katherine Locke’s “Second Position,” which features a ballet-dancer hero and heroine. I also plan to read some of Mary Balogh’s books. I heard her speak at a conference last year, and two of my friends are big fans. I’ve not read any of her books before, so I’m eager for recommendations. Any suggestions?
Quirky settings. Loveable, if imperfect heroines. Gorgeous men with hearts of gold. Contemporary romance author Elizabeth Harmon loves them all.
A graduate of the University of Illinois, she has worked in advertising, community journalism and as a freelance magazine writer. She feels incredibly blessed to have a career that allows her to spend her days imagining “what if?” and a loving family that keeps her grounded in the real world.
An adventurous cook, vintage home enthusiast, occasional actress, and entry-level figure skater, Elizabeth makes her home in the Midwest, where life is good, but the sports teams aren’t. She loves to hang out on her front porch, or at her favorite local establishments, enjoy good food and wine, and talk writing with anyone who will listen.
5 eBook copies of PAIRING OFF
I love stories that give a fresh take on classic themes, and feature characters and locations not often seen in romance. Give me a lovable, if less-than-perfect heroine, a gorgeous hero with a heart of gold, take them a little off the beaten path and I'm a happy girl.
I read a variety of genres-- romance to horror and just about everything in between. I am a member of Romance Writers of America. I have worked as a freelance journalist for a number of local publications and am a contributing writer to Romance Writers Report.
When I'm not writing, I love to ice skate, bike ride, hang out at the beach or on my front porch. I love vintage homes, adventurous cooking, spending time with my family and traveling.
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