Firstly, I'd like to congratulate Jilly on a great winning chapter, the characters are gripping and I definitely wanted to read more. Bravo!
The chapter opened with the heroine (Felicity) in the middle of a kiss-a-thon. She kisses one man, then is faced with another, who she thinks is 'pretty damned hot' who rips off his shirt, and kneels before her. She kisses him.
I've spent so much time analysing what I thought Modern Heat needed, and somewhere picked up that the first man to appear in the book should be 'him'. I've even culled earlier appearances of secondary characters because of it. In 'The Boss's Intimate Takeover' the hero (Ross) doesn't appear until 'man 3' and this doesn't take from the story at all.
Later in the chapter Felicity spends time with her 4 best friends. The bond between them is livened up with dialog, and their characters are well defined. Once again, this is an element that I would be nervous of introducing, having been told that the focus must be on the main two.
The editors said there were some main elements they loved about the story:
Gill has a cool, sassy, natural voice that leaped out at us immediately.
The hero and heroine were likable, intriguing, well motivated and had real layers and depth to them.
The sexual tension between the couple was absolutely sizzling!
Emotional conflict is woven in subtly but convincingly to ensure that we have a good sense of what will be keeping these two apart.
There is some great dialogue with a good helping of wittiness that had us laughing out loud at times!
To me, Jilly's win was well deserved, she has an excellent voice that I'm looking forward to reading more of. What I've learnt from the competition? That sometimes its right to go with your heart and write the story that's there, rather than limiting your options by thinking 'that's not right for Modern Heat.' Modern Heat is a young line, with more flexibility than Modern, and a line I'm pleased to see is continuing to evolve.