Let's kick it off with one of my most beloved characters.
What is the name of today's Valentine?
Andrew Fullerton, but people know him best as Drew.
How old is he when we meet him?
In his thirties.
What stands out most about him?
He's a powerful billionaire CEO who rules over a family empire... and all that entails. (Particularly when it comes to grooming his son - who is the softer, more innocent, more trusting version of himself.)
Nice guy or douche?
Big time douche. At least at the beginning. He's bitter about a divorce and very cynical about women in general.
Favorite moment with him?
When he meets our heroine for the first time. She's a thicker, Texas girl who takes absolutely no lip. When he tries to condescend, it doesn't go over very well. And then...
“I think you misunderstood exactly what kind of tutor I was seeking for my son. He is going to be a titan in business, following four generations of Fullertons before him. He needs to be prepared. You’ll forgive me if I don’t think measuring ingredients and shopping at the market qualify as the higher education for which I’m paying very good money.”
I placed the fork on the plate, my appetite totally obliterated. “You wanted me to teach your son, and I have done that. More importantly, I’ve reached him. He knows he can trust me, especially after I shielded him from that family debacle yesterday. This morning I gave Jonathan three different tests. In math, he was tested on fractions and word problems. The skills he learned with a simple cooking lesson or quick trip to the store helped him score in the 99th percentile testing at near seventh-grade levels. Likewise on the history essay, in which he researched and wrote a thousand-word document on the Greystone Mansion and Park where we walked and explored, which – if I’m not mistaken – qualifies under your physical fitness requirement. I also tested him on the book he’s been reading for pleasure, with a questionnaire that helped him think critically about the material he was reading simply for the joy of it, giving him several key vocabulary words to note as he read along. It is a book that has been in my own curriculum for years, and I’m confident at least one student who reads it will go on and get an Ivy League education.”
His jaw clenched as he realized what I had done. I had taken Jonathan from a stale, unchallenging classroom environment with endless tests and bookwork, which had been crippling his curious and playful nature. By putting him in an entirely foreign setting, he learned how to do the things Drew wanted him to do, right down to the budgeting skills at the market, but in new ways that would naturally keep him more engaged than the boring ol’ status quo. And Jonathan had never even realized what I had done until I had quizzed him on it.
My green eyes glittered just as hard as Drew’s icy blue ones. “You may question my methods, Mr. Fullerton, but my results are indisputable. Considering I did all this in two days, even playing go-between between you and your ex-wife and your pain-in-the-ass brother, I’d say I’ve done a hell of a lot more than the previous tutors you have hired to do this job, with exceptional results.”
Normally I wouldn’t have cursed at an employer. But his elitist attitude really pissed me off. Did he really believe his son was too good to wash a dish or cook a meal, as if these mundane tasks held no value for such powerful, wealthy people? And if that was true, how did he regard anyone who had the misfortune of being born average? Did he think we were all beneath him, simply because we had no one to treat us like gods? The Texan was coming out, and he was either going to prove he could deal with that or he was going to send me home anyway. I had nothing to lose. In fact, the only one who had anything at all at stake was Jonathan.
“Now, if you don’t approve of my more unconventional methods, then you can gas up the jet and send me home tonight. But I’m willing to bet that you won’t find anyone else who can reach Jonathan the way that I have done. I have a connection with him. That was what you wanted. That is what you got.” I grabbed a glass of ice water and gulped it down. “Do with that what you will.”
Before he could reply, Jonathan raced back into the room, wearing a new jade green kimono, and holding the entire box set of his favorite Anime program. “Thanks, Dad!” he said as he rushed to hug his father. “Let’s watch it together,” he pleaded hopefully.
I used that opportunity to slide my chair back and rise from the table. “I think I’ll retire for the evening. Let you two catch up.”
Jonathan was crestfallen. “No, Rachel,” he said with a plaintive whine in his voice. “Please don’t go. You haven’t even had any pudding.”
“Pudding?” Drew echoed.
Jonathan nodded. “She made homemade Southern banana pudding.”
I shook my head. “You enjoy it. I’m stuffed,” I lied easily. “The dinner was excellent, Jonathan. You did a great job.” I turned to Drew. “It was very nice meeting you, Mr. Fullerton. I trust you’ll think about what I said and let me know if there has been any change in plans.”
Jonathan was panicked as he looked between his father and me. “Change of plans? You’re not leaving, are you, Rachel?”
“No decisions have been made,” Drew filled in before I could speak. “Why don’t you go get us some pudding, Jonathan? That sounds delicious.”
Jonathan nodded and disappeared into the kitchen. Drew rose to his feet and walked around the table to face me. “Obviously I’m not used to being spoken to in such a way in my own home,” he said, his voice hard but quiet. “But obviously I offended you. I apologize.” He offered his hand.
It was a gesture of civility, but his eyes were still lethal as they stared down at me. My hand shook as I placed it in his. His fingers closed around mine powerfully as he pulled me closer. I gasped as I stopped short mere inches from that massive chest. I hadn’t been this close to a man in many years, much less a man as intimidating. I was certain that he could feel the tremble in my grasp when my eyes shot to his. His face broke apart in a victorious smile. “Start over?” he asked softly. “Rachel?”
What do you love about him?
He's powerful. The world is his oyster and he knows it. He's got confidence, charisma. But the thing I like most about Drew is how much he loves his son. He would do literally anything for him. This can be both a good and bad thing.
What do you hate about him?
See above. At first he's very cold. He's been trained to be. He sees the world in a very black and white way. They say hurt people hurt people, and boy is that true with Drew.
If you went on a date, where would you go?
Knowing Drew, he'd probably fly us somewhere on his private jet. But those kinds of dates come later...
Who inspired him?
My first husband, actually. He had that sort of superhero quality that Drew possesses. But there was a cruel streak too. Both complicated men I couldn't help but love.
Who might play him in a movie?
I don't know that I've found him yet, but Henry Cavill comes pretty darn close. That dark hair/blue eye combo, strong bone structure, commanding presence is all needed for Drew.
Do you have a special song that reminds you of him?
Of Drew? No.
Any "Easter Eggs" planted with this book boyfriend?
It's no secret by now that my own personal story heavily influenced my heroine Rachel's backstory. I wrote it after my youngest son passed away, in those long months where I couldn't sleep at night. To keep my mind busy, I immersed myself in this fake, incredible world. All the emotions, though, were 100% real. I also shamelessly plug the book I wrote with my husband, Comic Squad, which was mentioned in the scene above.
Where can we find him?
You first meet him in Enticed, which is FREE today only. You also see him in Entangled as well as Enraptured, which is also on sale with a count-down deal. Get it now before the price goes up.
Thanks to Bookworm Betties for the meme!
Tune in tomorrow, when we get to chat about Drew's pain-in-the-ass brother Alex.