The Secret in Room 823

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Step behind the hotel room doors of the Chatsfield, London…

One night a month is all conservative Lady Hamilton-Smythe gets to release her inner sex goddess. With sinfully hot Hayes – real name unknown! – the real Gwen is wicked! And with a suitcase full of naughty toys, she welcomes the freedom of being bound by Hayes. But when the case goes missing, her reputation is at stake. Now there’s only one man who can help her. But will revealing their identities ruin the fantasy…or take them to new heights of pleasure?

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I wasn't sure if you'd be up for what I brought, but I can see you are.

- Hayes, The Secret In Room 823

Note From Dani

First of all, have you heard of The Chatsfield? It’s a fictitious hotel in London created by the team at Mills & Boon, but it’s so much more. There are Youtube videos and an online mystery, cocktail recipes from a sexy bartender, spa tips, blogs to follow (like a chambermaid who is actually an escort!) It’s really more of an entertainment experience.

The Chatsfield was created in conjunction with a bundle of eight Presents novels that tell the story of the siblings who own and run it along with other scandals and spectacles. Then, to further the intrigue and fully exploit the variety of stories that occur within any hotel, the editorial team asked for novellas that offer a peek behind the doors of the rooms.

The Secret In Room 823 is one of those stories. Here’s how I was invited:

My sister and I were shopping. We were between the bra shop (my weakness) and the shoe store (hers.) I picked up an email from my editor explaining the concept of The Chatsfield, suggesting the premise they’d like me to tackle, and advising that the deadline was quite tight. Would I like to participate?

First of all, you really do feel like the biggest deal when you’re walking between the shop that sells lingerie for a hundred dollars a piece to the shoe shop where you need your full two week paycheck to even look around and you pick up an email from your editor, in London, and she’s asking you to write for her. (As opposed to begging for her to take whatever hack stories you manage to scribble into existence.) Right there I was living at the Chatsfield level.

Then I read the concept to my sister and the eavesdropping shoe salesgirl lifted her brows. I mean, bondage. That just made your eyebrows go up, didn’t it?

It was a fairly short novella, I was already down to three days a week at my day job, but it was still going to be tight. Nevertheless, I couldn’t say, No. (Another weakness of mine, if you want the truth.) I replied YES! to my editor. Then I turned to my sister and said, “I have to quit my job, don’t I?” and she said, “Yes,” in the way a sister does when she’s been telling you something all along and then you act like it just occurred to you.

So The Secret In Room 823 will always be special to me because it was the reason I decided to walk through a proverbial door from one life (working stiff) into another (fulltime writer.)

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About Dani Collins

Dani Collins grew up in Maple Ridge, a suburb of Vancouver, when it was still a small town. With a father and both grandfathers switching up between logging and fishing, she grew into a quintessential BC girl: green, natural, and impervious to rain. Despite a lot of canning and hanging of laundry in her childhood, Dani has a habit of leaping into the unknown, which she credits to her ancestor, Samuel Robertson, a boatwright from Scotland who pioneered Maple Ridge and traded furs to the Hudson’s Bay Company in Fort Langley. Given this adventurer’s blood, she’s always been drawn to stories about people braving life in faraway lands.

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