Hi, thank you Marlow for inviting me to join you today. I’m looking forward to responding to any comments by your readers.
For those of you who may have read my first book “Worlds Apart” you’ve already met Justin Titirangi, the hero of my new release “Worlds Collide”. He was the heroine’s Kiwi friend who helped Raven straighten out her feelings about Greg. “Worlds Collide” is Justin’s story. It’s a story I long anticipated writing but it took me some years to figure out where Justin wanted to be and what he wanted to say. His first priority was to dispel the possibility of him being gay, an assumption made by many of my readers. I guess this happened because there was a random query in “Worlds Apart” of him ‘discovering his feminine side’ while he was helping Raven decide her fate. There had never been any thought of Justin being gay, as I knew one day I would find his story to tell.
Justin is an ordinary, hard working bloke. He runs maintenance at the New Zealand Embassy in Washington DC and enjoys hanging out at a local youth centre mentoring teens. He’s yet to encounter social snobbery. But a visit to Connecticut soon shows him how the other ‘half’ live. Shocked to discover his unassuming housemate comes from a mega wealthy background, Justin bemoans spending Thanksgiving with the family who do little to welcome his presence. But the presence of the daughter of the house makes the weekend bearable.
Soon it becomes obvious these two are from different worlds. Not only are they from different countries with different cultures, they are also millions apart financially. But as Justin and Nicole get to know each other better, gradually they realize these differences need not keep them apart. Perhaps there is a chance for them to become a couple.
But a taniwha will change that. Nicole cannot understand or accept the hold this spiritual entity has over Justin. She cannot believe an unknown cultural phenomenon has the power to destroy everything she has dreamed of. Their different cultures, different worlds, suddenly collide.
I have been remiss in not acknowledging in the dedication page of this book, the assistance of my friend Aroha, a lovely Maori Kuia (venerable older lady) who helped me understand the impact the presence of a taniwha could hold. Without her guidance as I scribed the black moment for “Worlds Collide” I doubt I could have successfully shared its cause.
While many countries share what they consider a common language – although slang idioms can highlight some differences – there are often other cultural distinctions which might slip by unnoticed. This is what happens to Nicole. She refuses to believe money is of any consequence to their chance of a lasting relationship and sees little other difference between herself and Justin. The arrival of the taniwha shows her just how wrong she can be.
Although a secret dread lays buried deep inside New Zealand tradesman Justin Titirangi he appears content. He enjoys his life in Washington DC. He never dreamed a casual invitation to attend Thanksgiving with a friend's family would impact his life so disastrously. Previously untouched by social snobbery, he's blasted with both barrels.
Nicole Campbell is ashamed of how she'd treated her brother's friend, but is smarting from the demise of a long term relationship. She never expects to see Justin again anyway. A need to escape her smothering parents but without ready funds, Nicole temporarily moves into her brother's house in DC, unaware Justin also lives there.
Sparks fly when Justin and Nicole come face to face but will they manage to control the blaze before it engulfs them both?
“Justin?” The whispered voice coming from behind the door, as it crept open, wouldn’t have woken him had he been asleep. It would normally have filled him with anticipation, but now...
“Are you all right? I heard—Justin?”
The last thing he needed right now was Nicole rushing to his side, bending over him, showing him the enticing curve of her breasts as she reached for him.
“Justin, what happened?” Her hands ran over his naked chest, her gaze darting all over his body. A shiver ran through him. Only a wimpy shiver. It appeared he wasn’t capable of any other reaction despite her closeness, her ministrations, and her loving touch. “Are you hurt?”
For a moment he relished her touch, before reality struck him. With a disgusted groan, he pushed her away and stumbled to his feet only to sink onto the side of his bed, fearing his legs wouldn’t hold him upright.
“I’m fine,” he croaked through dry lips. “I’m sorry I woke you.”
Justin stiffened as she sank down beside him.
“Nothing.” His fingers wouldn’t stop twitching. He clenched them tight, rather than let her guess his weakness.
“Justin? Something’s wrong.” Her fingers scalded a path across his icy forearm. He shuddered, wishing he could slip his arms around her. Wishing he could fall onto the bed with her, and forget. Wishing they could be together, now and forever.
A groan escaped his lips as his body refused to respond to the picture springing into his mind for all of a second. But that dream wasn’t possible. Not anymore. He mustn’t even consider the depth of his feelings for this woman. Now he had only one choice.
He had to push her out of his life.
Anne Ashby grew up in a very small coastal town in Southland, New Zealand. An eagerness to travel, fostered by her mother, led her to join the Royal NZ Navy where she enjoyed a very satisfying career. She has travelled extensively and lived in Singapore and Maryland USA. Anne likes to bring something of her beautiful country to romance readers everywhere by using New Zealand as the setting for most of her clean/sweet contemporary stories. If not set in NZ, Anne has kiwi characters filling her books. Anne has a keen interest in genealogy, an obsession for rugby and a definite dislike of housework. When not reading or writing, Anne finds plenty to occupy her time with her family commitments and her role as the National President of the Royal NZ Navalwomen's Association. She currently lives in Auckland with her husband and one of their four children. She's blessed to have her four grandchildren living close by.
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I’m currently working on Fire Storm, Book 2 in the Gathering Storm Series