Sunday, July 10, 2011

Christina Hollis: CAREER MOVE

My July 2011 release for Harlequin Presents Extra, The Count's Challenge, is the story of ambitious chef Gwen. She'll do almost anything to make her new restaurant in the south of France a success. Etienne is an aristocrat with the money and power to make all her dreams come true, but his huge generosity comes with a price tag to match...

'I have a lot of things on my mind, Gwen. I need distraction - something to take my mind off it all and restore my faith in human nature. Last night I found the perfect solution, in you. We would make a good team. I'm sure of it. With my support you would be released from all your obligations. There would be no need for you to slave away in a kitchen. You would be free to enjoy life as it should be lived, with no  worries.'
She gazed at him, so clearly puzzled that he laughed. When he did that it made her smile, although she still shook her head in bewilderment.
'What do you mean, Etienne?'
'Exactly what I say. I'm so delighted to have found you, cherie, it would be my pleasure to provide for you, financially. I don't want you waiting on other people. I want to keep you all to myself, and support you in the way you deserve.'
He was seducing her all over again, simply by using his deliciously accented voice  and the promise in those beautiful dark eyes...
Copyright Harlequin Mills and Boon Limited, 2011

As Etienne's mistress, Gwen need never worry about anything ever again but she values her independence too highly to accept. Instead, she lets him become a sleeping partner in her business. The arrangement works well until she discovers their one night of passion has resulted in an unexpected pregnancy. Then she has to cope with Etienne trying to dictate her personal future as well as her business plans.  Neither Gwen nor Etienne is used to compromising in their professional lives, so neither sees why their private life should be any different.
You can read a review of The Count's Challenge here: It's available online from at and
I had great fun writing Gwen and Etienne's story, which incidentally has been released in the UK under the title The French Aristocrat's Baby. I once harboured dreams of becoming a chef like Gwen.  What made me decide against it was the long hours worked in the hospitality business. They wouldn't have left me enough time or energy for writing.  As a writer I can cook when I like, as long as I hit my deadlines. 
Do you love your job, like Gwen? Or are you still searching for that elusive position that combines interesting work with enough time off to enjoy yourself?

Christina Hollis writes Modern Romances for Harlequin Mills and Boon, which appear as Harlequin Presents Extra in the US. You can catch up with Christina at her website,, on and Twitter, where she's @christinabooks.


Nas Dean said...

Hi Christina,

The Count's Challenge had a very strong heroine, whom I loved, I thought she was going to let him walk all over her when she became pregnant but no, she turned around and put him in his place. It was an enjoyable read with some unexpected twists!

Christina Hollis said...

Hi Nas, I'm really glad you enjoyed 'The Count's Challenge'. It was a lovely book to write. Thanks for your kind words - they mean a lot!

Anna Campbell said...

Christina, congratulations on the great review. This sounds like such a classic Presents! I have to say I LOVE my job, LOL! Bet you love yours too!

Jo's Daughter said...

Sounds fun, they will challange each other greatly. I too love to cook but would never do it as a profession.

Christina Hollis said...

Hi Anna, thanks for commenting. You're right, writing must be the best job in the world. Dreaming up new characters and devising situations to test them is as creative as cooking, and much longer lasting than food!

Christina Hollis said...

Hi Jo's daughter, cooking is a great way to let off steam-if I've got a problem, working it out seems much easier while kneading bread dough. Working in the heat of a commercial kitchen and under such pressure wasn't my idea of fun, though. Writers may have deadlines, but at least we can sit outside in the shade when it gets hot.
Thanks for commenting!

marybelle said...

I don't LOVE my job, but I am very GOOD at my job. So, best to stay with what I know, for now at least.

Christina Hollis said...

Marybelle, skill at your job is a very good reason for sticking with it. I hope you are recognised for your work. Make sure everyone knows exactly how good you are!

Elanor said...

Hi Christina,
Well my 'job' at the moment is being a full-time student, I guess, but luckily the subject I'm studying leads straight into my dream career! I would happily be a field archaeologist for the rest of my life, even if it meant not getting much free time (a six-day week, anyone...?). Working in a kitchen lost favour with me after watching too many episodes of Gordon Ramsay's "Hell's Kitchen" - the shouting and running around was just too much!

Christina Hollis said...

Hi Elanor, that Gordon Ramsey is one scary beast, isn't he? Give me Raymond Blanc any day.He's such a gentleman, and even better looking in real life than he is on TV!

Pat Cochran said...

My "job" is being a wife, mother, and
grandmother. I don't cook as much as
I used to, it's only Honey and I at
home now. We usually have at least one
family gathering (18 b-days) per month plus all the holidays. For most of the
get-togethers I do the cooking, which
I dearly love to do!! BTW, I don't
watch Gordan Ramsay either. Just a look
at the previews frightened me to the
point where I didn't want to watch the
show. All that screaming and carrying
on is not entertainment to me!!!

Pat Cochran