HUMP DAY HUNK with Belinda Williams
Hello Hump Day! Who doesn’t need a Hump Day Hunk on a Wednesday to help get you through the week? Hopefully my Hump Day Hunk will make the rest of the week bearable for you . . .
This week I’d like to introduce you to Paul Nielsen. He’s the leading man in my latest novel, The Pitch, the second book in my City Love series released by Momentum.
As the title suggests, The Pitch is about a pitch. Not the hard stuff on the ground that you play cricket on, but a pitch of the business variety. My leading lady, Madeleine Spencer, is about to pitch for the biggest client of her career. She runs a marketing agency called Grounded Marketing and media mogul Paul Nielsen has offered to mentor her through the process.
It’s tough for a career-obsessed gal like Maddy. She’s trying really hard to keep her mind on the job, but who can keep their mind on the job with the likes of Paul Nielsen around? First of all he’s successful. Big turn on. He runs one of Sydney’s biggest media agencies so Maddy is secretly a little wowed by him (not that she’d show it).
As for his looks, well, I’ll let Maddy sum that up for you. Bit of background first though: Maddy’s mother is her personal assistant. You’ll have read the book to get the detail on that hiring choice!
“Paul is waiting in reception,” she informed me.
“Thanks. Should I be nervous?”
She gave me a quizzical look. “Why?”
“Well, I assume he’s some senior guy like Dad who is seriously busy. Donating his time to a small fish like me is very generous of him.”
My mother gave me a wry smile.
“Prepare yourself. He’s not what you’re expecting,” she said mysteriously.
“Mother,” I hissed, as we rounded the corner to reception. “What on earth – ”
And those were the last coherent words I managed for at least the next minute.
She was right. The man sitting in reception with cropped fair hair was not what I’d been expecting. He was tall. Gloriously tall, in fact. I could tell that much even though he was sitting down. And he was young. Alright, not so much young, but not as old as I’d been anticipating. Because he was a contact of my father’s, I’d assumed he would be in his mid-to-late fifties. Paul was lucky if he was forty.
He wasn’t wearing a wedding ring, I noticed, and then silently reprimanded myself. He was here to mentor me for God’s sake.
Paul stood and I forced myself not to take a step back. This man had presence and it wasn’t just because of his height. He wore a navy suit that accentuated his lithe frame. Some would say skinny, but I’d argue he was just right for his height. It was obvious he exercised because there was the subtle hint of toned muscles beneath the impeccable suit, fitted to his broad shoulders.
My mother cleared her throat.
Get a grip, Maddy. I flashed him a wide smile and extended my hand. I was still speechless, but hopefully he hadn’t noticed yet.
“You must be Madeleine.”
He had a nice voice. It was deep and he spoke quietly, like he was the sort of man who didn’t need to shout to be heard. I increased the vibrancy of my smile and allowed him to shake my hand.
Say something, Madeleine, my thoughts screamed at me.
Nope. It was useless. Who was this guy and why hadn’t I already met him at networking events? Realistically he was probably too old for me, but old was not the term I’d use to describe this man. I got the impression Paul improved with age, much like a fine wine.
“The likeness between you is striking,” he added, gesturing between my mother and me.
It was true. We were uncannily alike and she looked nowhere old enough to be my mother. She smiled graciously at him, then carefully shot me a warning look. “So we’ve been told.”
Finally I managed to find my voice. “I appreciate you finding the time to come out and meet me.”
Satisfied I wasn’t going to embarrass myself, my mother slipped away and returned to her desk outside my office.
Paul turned his full attention on me and suddenly I wished he hadn’t. He studied me discreetly and I noticed his eyes for the first time. A vivid blue and something else entirely unexpected – a hint of irreverence. Good God, why couldn’t he have been at my speed dating evening?
Once Maddy gets to know Paul better, she discovers that not only is he intelligent with a quick wit, he’s kind, and possibly one of the most decent guys she’s ever met. He’s not an ostentatious leading man. He’s more of a quietly confident hero, but he’s a hero nonetheless who is mature and driven.
I very loosely based Paul on the likes of Daniel Craig or Bradley Cooper. You know the sort of men who get better with age? That’s Paul.
She’s in a long-term, committed relationship. With her business.
In three years Madeline Spencer has single-handedly grown her marketing agency, Grounded Marketing, into one of the country’s fastest growing companies. But her success has been at the expense of her social life, and her girlfriends have had enough. They’ll do whatever it takes, from speed dating to blind dates, to show her there’s more to life than work.
Only Maddy is having a hard time forgetting about her business. She’s about to pitch for her biggest client ever and the mysterious media mogul, Paul Neilsen, has volunteered to mentor her. Maddy might just be in with a shot of landing the account—if she can keep her mind on the job.
Working with Paul is not at all what she’d imagined, and Maddy finds herself torn between her ever increasing workload and her feelings for Paul. She’s discovering playing in the big league means making sacrifices…and Maddy must decide what she can’t live without.