Author: Bronwyn Stuart
Bronwyn Stuart was my introduction to both historical fiction and reading e-books, all the way back in 2012 when I read and reviewed her debut Scandal’s Mistress, since then Bronwyn has also been published in print and overseas. Her latest offering is a big change in time period and being published by Escape Publishing.
Mixing Business with Pleasure is a story that Bronwyn has been working on for a few years and it has now found a home with Escape Publishing, being released April 5th.
Alison Marcum is a passionate social worker about to take a huge step back into a life that she walked away from as a teenager as she applies for a modelling job. A job that she isn’t sure she wants and she would definitely not be interviewing for if not for her irresponsible little brother landing her in trouble with loan sharks. She needs cash, fast, and without selling her house she just can’t think how; until her best friend and modelling agency owner hands her the details for the perfect job to solve her problems…. if she can put aside the past that haunts her to get back on the modelling train.
Sam Mason is an advertising agency owner helping out his sister with the launch of her jewellery line, out of his own pocket because she sunk everything she had into the jewellery and left little for a marketing budget. Sam is a talented photographer but in the last couple of years he has been concentrating more on running the business than working behind the camera. He was badly burned by a model and now he tends to employ people to take the photos and work with the models.
Mixing Business with Pleasure brings together two people who would do anything for their family, which sees them both in a position they didn’t think they ever would be again.
Sam is running this campaign in his own time, he’s supposed to be in Adelaide on holidays, and out of his own pocket. He is hesitant to be so close to a model, he got played and he refuses to take that risk again. Alison was introduced to the seedy, sleazier side of the business as an impressionable teen and she has grown into a strong woman who knows better now but is very wary of the business.
I love these characters, they are both strong self-made success stories who had to work hard to get where they are today and they are proud of their achievements but determined not to repeat mistakes of their past.
The chemistry these two shared was both instant and carnal, it wasn’t until they spent time together that it became more than lust driven desire and they fought themselves throughout the entire story; what they wanted at constant war with memories of the past. Had it not been for the family obligations pushing them into this position I think they would walk.
Mixing Business with Pleasure was well paced with some gorgeous scenery, believable tension and intriguing characters that I just wanted to get to know better. I understand wanting to do your best for your family and feeling responsible for your siblings, even into adulthood and especially if there are no parents on the scene, but where do you draw the line? Does there come a point where you decide that you just can’t do it anymore and they have to shoulder responsibility for their own mistakes?
Sam feels that he let his sister down and he is determined to make it up to her, which is why he is going to do all he can to ensure the launch of her jewellery line is successful. He has the time, the means and the know-how so it makes perfect sense. Alison has been looking out for her brother since they were teens and she feels responsible for him, would do anything for him ….. but should that stretch to paying off his loan sharks?
The entire modelling job is set up to play to both of their biggest fears which creates just the right tone of tension. We can see that it’s all legit but past experience tells both of these characters that this might just be a big mistake. It is well written, nicely paced and the characters are well drawn and relatable.
A first foray into contemporary for this talented historical author and she has written another bold and intelligent heroine, scarred by a past trauma and rising above her fears to save her family. Mixing Business with Pleasure is sure to be steamy because we all know sex sells and Sam is in advertising.
Picturesque settings, well developed back stories and a heartwarming sense of family add to the attraction of this funny and entertaining Adelaide based contemporary romance.
Mixing Business with Pleasure is book #14 for the Australian Women Writer’s Challenge 2016