The staff of Cheryl Harper’s Elvis-themed Rock’n'Rolla Hotel are back with a funny, fresh romance that goes undercover—under the covers!
As a former Marine, hotel manager Tony Ortega has plenty of experience assessing threats, and the hotel’s newest guest, Randa Whitmore, is a code red. Tall, blonde, and with legs for miles, she may look like his every fantasy, but he knows she’s not really visiting for the famed Elvis Week. Though dangerously drawn to his new guest, Tony will do anything to protect his job . . . especially if it means sleeping with the enemy.
Business strategist Randa Whitmore never meant to be undercover in Memphis. In August. Sweating her expensive spa treatments away. But snagging another perfect hotel location for her father’s empire means using all the tricks in her designer arsenal. And even though the sexy, tattooed manager seems oblivious to her charms, Randa’s prepared to bring out the big guns—just so long as she can stay objective and out of Tony’s muscled arms. After all, it’s just business, right?
Series and Secondary Characters in Can’t Help Falling in Love
When I wrote the novella that started off the Rock’n’Rolla Hotel series, I had no plans for a series. I am a true pantser and plot as I go. For a novella, that’s easy enough. When an editor calls to ask if you have any more stories set there and you desperately want the answer to be “YES”, you spend some time thinking deep thoughts and actually plotting. Or I did. And I came up with three ideas that became the series. The first, most important question I asked: What kind of person builds a themed hotel?To hold a series together, I needed the setting so I started expanding my imagined hotel, adding amenities. But meeting owner Willodean Jackson was key. I had to figure out how she got there, where the money came from, why she’s such an Elvis fan, how she treats people, and what her sorrows were. Along the way, I learned she’s the kind of woman who unabashedly has a signature color (green), wears a giant emerald ring, and lives her life to the fullest. The hero and heroine are critical, but Willodean Jackson holds this series together. I wish I knew her in real life. She’d add a whole lot of fun and some real good advice to every day. Plus, she brought along her bloodhound Misty.In Stuck On You, the first book in the series, we meet Willodean and learn she’s an old-school hype genius who’s built a successful hotel with her smarts and her charm. She’s got a long history of helping people with money or jobs or money and jobs or just good advice. In Can’t Help Falling in Love, we find out she’s a shrewd businessperson who understands just exactly what she’s got on her hands with the Rock’n’Rolla Hotel. But she’s also generous and knows that just because people start out in one spot, that doesn’t mean that’s what they’d choose for themselves. She’s given Marine Tony Ortega the chance to run the hotel, and he does so with impeccable military precision. And she generously gives incognito hotel heiress Randa Whitmore a way out of her father’s plans for her life. And in the last book, Santa, Bring My Baby Back (December), we’re going to meet Charlie, Willodean’s son, and learn about some of the mistakes she’s made and see what she does with a second chance.As I said, I’m a pantser. And this is my first series, so the best surprise of all has been how much fun it is to build the people that make the world. I hope you love Willodean Jackson as much as I do.
Willodean traced a finger around the rim of her glass. “Here’s why I’m thinking that. If I wanted a hotel in the Memphis area, maybe something I could get up and running fast, something close to one of the biggest draws in town and not too far from the airport for the business traveler, I might be looking to buy a smallish property with room to grow. One with an owner who was motivated to sell would be best. Second best would be an owner you could charm, cajole, or browbeat into a steal.”
When Randa didn’t answer, Willodean said, “Maybe there’s a property that I thought I might steal at a bargain from some silly lady who has no idea the way a hotel should be run. Then I could strip it down and make solid money.” She shrugged. “Well, I would never do that, but I think some people might give it a try.”
Willodean Jackson might not run her hotel according to Marcus Whitmore’s rules, but she had a fair understanding of the results.
Randa crossed her legs and considered her position. She might be able to distract a man and come up with a solid lie. Here she had only her wits, which she had a feeling were only evenly matched with Willodean, but outgunned in terms of experience and understanding. Still, she was her father’s daughter, had the best education money could buy, and she’d been remaking hotels for quite some time. If she was going to run her own place, she’d have to fight for it. She could do that. As soon as she figured out what to say. Willodean Jackson had surprised her, something that was definitely a problem.
Willodean laughed and patted Randa’s hand. “I’m about to give you the benefit of the doubt. You look like you got no idea what to say to that which tells me I’m too close to the truth for comfort and probably that you’re only following orders.” Willodean took a sip of her ginger ale. “Besides, I can afford to be generous. I’m way smarter than I look.”
Whether she's writing, reading, or just checking the items off of her daily to-do list, small-town girl Cheryl Harper loves her romance mixed with a little laughter. When she's not working, you will find her ignoring housework, cursing yard work, and spending way too much time with a television remote in her hand.
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