Title: Stripping the Billionaire (Heirs of Damon #4)
Author: Noelle Adams
Release Date: 9/9/2014
For the last eight months, Mandy has lived across the hall from a caveman.
He won’t trim his beard, he mostly talks in grunts, and he’ll hardly emerge from his cave of an apartment. Ben might be a grumpy mess, but she kind of likes him anyway. She’s not attracted to him, of course. Not at all. Those stray feelings are merely a fluke. She’s looking for a man who has it all together, and Ben isn’t even close.
Benjamin Damon is heir to a billion-dollar corporate empire, but he has put his family and that whole lifestyle behind him. No one knows who he is now—not even his pretty princess of a neighbor who refuses to leave him alone.
When she ropes him into taking her with him to work on his mother’s historic Savannah home, he knows it’s a mistake. Mandy represents the world he’s tried so hard to escape, and he can’t let one woman strip him of the new man he’s tried to become. The more he’s with her, though, the more he wants her. Despite his best efforts, he’s falling for her hard—and dreading the day she finds out all of his lies.
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Get to Know Noelle Adams:
How did you come up with the idea for this story?
I’ve had the idea for this book for three years now, since I plotted out the entire Heirs of Damon series all at once. I can’t exactly remember how I came up with the idea, except I know I wanted the contrast between Ben, with his full beard and grumpy attitude, and Mandy, with her perfect appearance and cheerful disposition.
Where do you find your inspiration?
I most often get inspired by random things in my life. For instance, I was inspired for one scene in Stripping the Billionaire when I was sitting in church and thinking that Benjamin’s mother would definitely go to church. I’m also often inspired by other stories (books, television, movies, etc.). It’s usually one little thing that ends up launching the story. For instance, I got the idea for A Negotiated Marriage after watching a scene in a TV show that had a woman rushing around, late for work and wearing very high heels. The show had nothing to do with a marriage-of-convenience, but for some reason, that scene inspired me for Molly. It’s usually a little, random thing, and then the story grows out of it.
Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?
There’s a frustration I often feel when I have so many stories I want to tell but not enough time in which to write them. That sometimes make me feel very anxious—like I’ll never catch up to my inspiration—which distracts me from writing at all. I will also often get inspired for future stories when I’m in the middle of writing a current one. That makes me want to jump around and makes it hard to focus on a current project.
Tell us about your first book in the series. What would readers find different about the first one and your most recent published work?
The first book in the Heirs of Damon series is Seducing the Enemy. I think it’s not all that different from Stripping the Billionaire, which is the last book in the series. The line editing was done differently, so the prose doesn’t rely as much on rhythm to convey emotional power, and the hero is a bit more traditionally alpha, but the plot structure and characterization is quite similar.
Did you always planned to write Benjamin Damon’s story?
Yes, Ben was the fourth Damon nephew, so I always knew I’d get to his story eventually. He had a minor role in Seducing the Enemy, where he talked to Harrison (the hero of that book) in the black moment, and I always knew I wanted a matching scene in Ben’s book, where Harrison talked to him in his black moment. I really like how it worked out.
How would you describe this series to someone who has not read any of the books but is intrigued by the concept?
The Heirs of Damon books follow the four nephews and heirs of a rather eccentric billionaire who wants to live like an 18th century lord of the manor and puts a lot of pressure on his nephews, leading them to the plots of the four books. The books are romantic and amusing and a little bit steamy, with a lot of heart.
About Noelle Adams
Noelle handwrote her first romance novel in a spiral-bound notebook when she was twelve, and she hasn’t stopped writing since. She has lived in eight different states and currently resides in Virginia, where she teaches English, reads any book she can get her hands on, and offers tribute to a very spoiled cocker spaniel.
She loves travel, art, history, and ice cream. After spending far too many years of her life in graduate school, she has decided to reorient her priorities and focus on writing contemporary romances.
“Oh, no,” he said, starting to his feet. “You’re not touching my beard.”
“But you’ll look so much better if you’ll let me neaten it up a bit.”
“I’m not trying to look good.”
She rolled her eyes but didn’t look surprised. “Anyway, I wasn’t thinking about your beard. Right now, I’m after the back of your neck.”
“What’s wrong with the back of my neck?”
“It’s a mess. When was the last time you got your hair cut?”
“I don’t know. I don’t fuss around with things like that.”
“Well, it bugs me, so sit still.”
He stiffened and watched her suspiciously as she walked around behind him.
“I’m not going to touch your big, ugly beard. I promise.”
He rolled his eyes but didn’t object when she started to run the trimmer along the back of his neck.
“Are you sure you want to do this at the dining room table?”
“Better here than on one of my rugs.”
He felt uncomfortable as she worked on him, conscious of her body behind him. When he felt the trimmer come toward his jaw, he muttered, “Don’t get carried away.”
“Relax.” She turned the trimmer off and leaned over to blow the hair off his neck.
The sensation made Ben tense up.
He gave himself a firm mental lecture. He was not—not—going to get turned on by Mandy. He’d done really well about resisting that particular temptation over the last several months, and he wasn’t going to give into it this evening.
“Oh, Ben, you’re a mess,” she murmured. She ran her fingers through his hair, rubbing his scalp in a way that felt incredibly good. “You’re not going to get any action if you’re such a gorilla.”
“I’ll have you know I get plenty of action, and so far I’ve had no complaints.”
He actually didn’t have much a social life, but that was by choice and not because he was incapable of picking up a woman.
He did wish, however, that Mandy hadn’t brought up the idea of sex.
“Yeah, but it might give a woman pause. I mean, how many are going to want to get a kiss from a gorilla?” She moved around to the side of his chair and peered at him. He was pretty sure she was assessing how much damage she was capable of doing to his beard, but her neckline was directly at his eye-level, and the wide neck of her sweater was slipping off one of her shoulders.
He stared at the graceful line from her neck to her shoulder—smooth skin, deep curve, faint shadow—and then he swallowed as her beautiful hair slipped over her shoulder to fall forward as she leaned toward him to ruffle his hair.
He managed to say, “Kissing me is not like kissing a gorilla.”
“Okay. If you say so. Please can I give you just a little trim?” she asked. She was giving him a beseeching look, with a back-note of teasing in her expression.
He didn’t actually care if his hair was trimmed, only he thought it was wiser for her not to be standing so close to him for so long. His body was starting to react to the slipping of her neckline, the flash of full cleavage, and the smell of her drifting over toward him as she moved.
“It will look so much better? I bet you’d even be good-looking if we can just get rid of some of this hair.”
“Being good-looking is very far down on my priority list.”
She laughed and started to massage his scalp again, moving her hands down toward his neck. It felt so good as her fingers pressed hard that he heard himself make a soft moan.
“You’re all tense,” she said, kneading his neck. “A massage now and then would be good for you. So would a haircut.”
He raised his hands to hold onto the table so he didn’t do something incredibly stupid like turning around and grabbing her. She was just being friendly. Neighborly. She was on this search for family-feelings, and right now she was focusing them on him.
But she wasn’t attracted to him—she’d told him over and over again that he wasn’t good-looking the way he was. And sex was the last thing on her mind right now.
Besides, he couldn’t offer her anything more than sex, and she deserved so much more.
So he gripped the table as she moved down to his shoulders. His breathing was getting ragged as his muscles started to soften.
And other things started to harden.