Miki Durand has always dodged the limelight. As the illegitimate daughter of a French movie star and a Russian billionaire, she craves a normal life—and it’s almost within reach. She’s up for a tenure-track position and has a perfect-on-paper boyfriend. What more could a woman want?
But when an unforeseen tragedy knocks her off cruise control, Miki finds herself leaving sunny LA for cosmopolitan St. Petersburg. With the fate of her father’s international business in her hands, she comes face-to-face with the ultimate temptation: corporate rival Jérôme Michel de Villiers. He’s everything she never thought she wanted, and their sizzling attraction soon sparks into an all-consuming flame.
Notoriously risk-averse, Miki knows it would be a gamble to fall for the sexy French playboy. But for the first time in her life, she’s ready to take a chance and let the chips fall where they may.
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Thanks so much for having me over to Herding Cats, Burning Soup! Since I am also a fan of animal behavior and things that burn, I thought I’d riff on playboys :)
Jérome Michel de Villiers, the hero of Roulette, is what I like to think of as The Quintessential Playboy (TQP). Like all animals in the wild, TQP has many recognizable traits that are particular to his species. Unfortunately for Rome, Miki Durand, the heroine, grew up in Hollywood, knows just what to look for in the showy breed, and she is not about to be fooled.
Here’s what to look for:
1. Firm. Full stop. Even though you will rarely see TQP actually doing any sit-ups, or exercise of any kind really—other than calisthenics of the bedroom variety—he is in top physical condition. Pay particular attention to abs, biceps, and glutes.
2. Adept. TQP is really, really good with his hands. He drives, flies, sails (see: 7. 8. 9.); he also cooks like a Michelin-starred chef and runs his business like Bill Gates.
3. Powerful stare. His eyes are usually a totally unusual color, never seen before (except for many times in romance novels). Burning amber. Jade green. Penetrating sapphire. All shades, regardless of precious or semi-precious jewel connotations, darken with desire, of course.
4. Strong jaw. This is non-negotiable. TQM has spent much of his life becoming a billionaire before he turned thirty. That takes grit and determination! And a very strong jaw.
Mating Rituals & Plumage
5. A foreign accent that makes women want to take their clothes off —preferably French, but Italian, Spanish, and Scottish are all welcome. This is an integral part of all TQP mating rituals. If he is a shipping magnate, Greek considered.
6. Exquisite tailoring. This needs little explanation: Brunello Cucinelli is on speed dial. English tailoring also acceptable, particularly if he is a British aristocrat.
7. Private jet, preferably flown by TQP himself, since he has his own pilot’s license from mysterious military training in his past.
8. Car. This is not an accessory! This is practically an extension of TQP’s soul! Usually a V12 that he drives with absolute precision and confidence (See: 2.), especially on hairpin turns in the South of France while heroine tells him she never wants to see him again. Stick shift a must. Aston Martin preferred; Jaguar, Maybach, Ferrari acceptable seconds.
9. Yacht or other seaworthy vessel: Rome prefers a vintage picnic boat that maneuvers easily through the Venetian canals late at night, but he wouldn’t be opposed to leasing a 120-foot Perini Navi for a month or two along the Turkish coast.
10. Chateau in Provence. Villa in Venice. Apartments in Paris, New York, and London. Despite extensive real estate holdings, when the TQP finally meets his match, you will only find him in one place: the heroine’s arms.
I hope this field guide helps you locate and tag your very own TQP and I wish you the best of luck getting him into captivity. In the meantime, please let me know any additional behaviors you may have observed.
Megan Mulry writes sexy, stylish, romantic fiction. Her first book, A Royal Pain, was an NPR Book of 2012 and a USA Today bestseller. Before discovering her passion for romance novels, she worked in magazine publishing and finance. After many years in New York, Boston, London, and Chicago, she now lives with her family in Florida.
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