The Protea Boys by Téa Cooper

Today my guest is Téa Cooper, one of my History Lovers Facebook group members, which was originally formed by several of us who were teammates in Savvy Authors NANO Smackdown with Entangled Editors last fall. We’re all history lovers, of course, and we write historical romance, although with quite diverse settings. 

Welcome to Susana’s Parlour, Téa! And explain the significance of the title, please! Boys named Protea? I recall having the same question about your first book, Tree Change.

What’s in a title?

I’ve come to the conclusion that I come up with odd titles for my books. Most people associate proteas with South Africa—not surprisingly since the South African National cricket team is called the Proteas! Interestingly proteas are actually the same family (genus) as Waratah—the name of the Australian Rugby team and the floral emblem of New South Wales! And no, The Protea Boys is not about a sporting team—though you would be forgiven for thinking it might be.

722px-Protea_cynaroides_6 copyThe protea, and the quintessential Australian plant, the waratah both belong to the Proteaceae family. They all shared common ancestors back in Gondwana when Australia and South Africa were joined as part of the super continent in the south, some 200 million years ago.

The King Protea is the specific protea that features in my romance The Protea Boys. It has the largest flower head in the genus. Its scientific name for all you gardeners out there is Protea cynaroides

I once owned a protea farm. I didn’t mean to buy a flower farm. It was one of those things that came about by accident but once I had seen the beautiful flowers there was no way I could plough them in. I became  a protea farmer by default and that was where the story was born long before I had ever had a romance published, but I have to add the rest is pure fiction. Unfortunately the delectable Tom Morgan didn’t come into my life and sweep me off my feet.

800px-Telopea_speciosissima_suellen copyI guess my protea farm was my first Tree Change! But that’s another story and there’s a blog about that on my website called Tree Change explained.

Where do the titles for your books come from?

Images Wikipedia Commons

About The Protea Boys

Georgie can run but she can’t hide from the man who stalks her dreams and throws her ordered life into a tailspin.

Emotional entanglement is not on George Martin’s to do list. She has turned her back on her sophisticated Sydney lifestyle, determined to renovate her parents old flower farm and her shattered ego. However the challenges prove more than she bargained for until a madcap scheme comes to fruition and The Protea Boys are born. The team of efficient, well-tapered six-packs solve her farming problems, but their leader presents a different kind of challenge—their first spark of attraction ignites a passion she cannot ignore.

Tom Morgan likes his women “pretty and entertaining,” not “efficient and driven,” but the threat of being co-opted as a wine waiter or worse, chef in his brother’s restaurant encourages him to take up what he sees as the highly amusing challenge of managing The Protea Boys. It is the perfect distraction while he waits for a new assignment—or so he thinks until he realizes he has found the one woman he cannot run away from.

Digital Edition: $4.99 | ISBN:  | Length: 49,000 words

Ebook Page Count: 1 | Publication Date: May 3, 2013 | PDF – MOBI – EPUB

|Heat rating 2 (Monogamous couples. Infrequent loves scenes with no graphic language.)

Breathless Press

TC_The Protea Boys_200x300 copyExcerpt

Copyright 2013, Téa Cooper

All rights reserved, Breathless Press.

A nonchalant silhouette leaning against the side of the black four-wheel drive came into view. Tall and lean, with an Akubra pulled down shadowing his eyes and arms folded across his chest. As Georgie slammed to a halt, he pushed his hat back and winked at her.

“What are you doing here?” she snapped.

Shit, not a very polite way to greet someone.

It was a trick. Hillary had played a huge trick on her.

“Good morning, Georgina.” His laconic drawl made the hairs on her arms prickle, and his gaze ran up and down the length of her body; she stopped herself from rubbing her arms just in time. At least six feet four inches of pure muscle and screaming masculinity. The mere sight of him made her hackles rise. This was not one of her ridiculous dreams. She groped around, trying to find something to say, but he offered no help, just kept looking her up and down, waiting patiently.

“I didn’t know it was you,” she managed to splutter.

“You didn’t know what was me?” he said, green eyes sparkling at her. She wanted to slap the ridiculous, audacious grin off his face. He was enjoying every moment of her discomfort.

“Hillary didn’t say it was you.” She ground the words out between her gritted teeth.

“Hillary didn’t exactly say it was you either—but I guessed.”

The whole conversation, if you could call it that, got more idiotic by the moment.

Take control. I have to take control.

Blood pounded somewhere inside her head. “So you’re here to work, not just making a social call?” She narrowed her eyes, unable to be civil.

“I’m under the impression I’m starting work today. Hillary said you were expecting me, and I should turn up at seven o’clock this morning.” He stared pointedly at his watch, accentuating his deliciously muscled forearm. ” It’s five to, by my reckoning.”

“I didn’t know it was you.” Georgie’s brain had stuck, like an old, scratched CD, the phrase stuttered in her head, and she couldn’t stop it falling out of her mouth. “I didn’t know it was you. Hillary said your name was Morgan.”

“It is. Morgan, Tom Morgan.” He enunciated the words as though she had a limited command of English.

In an attempt to restrain the recurring urge to hit him, Georgie clenched her fists.

“Remember? I introduced myself after our little adventure with the wombat last week.”


How could she forget? She involuntarily moved her finger to her lips, unsure for a moment if her memory of his kiss was real or not, but the glimmer in his eye assured her it was, and she pulled her hand from her face and stuffed it into her pocket.

“Then we spoke on the phone.”

“Yes. I remember. It’s just I didn’t know it was you Hillary had interviewed.”

You’re burbling, talking nonsense.

Hillary had said his name was Morgan, and she hadn’t put two and two together. She dreamed—not dreamed, no, he didn’t need to know about her dreams—of him as Tom.

Tom of the predatory green eyes with tawny flecks.

Mr. Leopard Eyes who was watching her with a deal more than a glint of amusement. She sucked in a deep breath and exhaled, enjoying the exasperated puffing sound escaping her lips. Her flesh shivered despite the warmth in her face.

“I can go if you like. It’s not a problem. I was looking forward to the job. Thought it would be a challenge working for two lovely ladies.”

Thats it. Thats done it. The patronizing sexist.

She clenched her teeth to prevent the words escaping. Sometime in the not-too-distant future she would explain to this man that she was running the business and she employed him—not the other way around. She’d played this game before, and she had no intention of falling into the trap again.

Author Photo_TéaCooper_smallAbout the Author

Téa writes contemporary and historical romantic fiction featuring strong-minded women and sexy Australian men. Love and life Down Under isn’t always easy. Her heroes and heroines have to fight long and hard for what they believe in before they reach their happy ever after.

The Protea Boys is Téa’s second Australian contemporary romance and her third Passionfruit & Poetry will be published in mid 2013. She is currently working on a series of nineteenth century historical romances set in Sydney and the Hunter Valley. The first two, Lily’s Leap and Matilda’s Freedom, will be released in May and July 2013.

To keep up with all of Téa’s news visit her website where you will find links to her blog and social media pages.

Check out her first post about her contemporary novel Tree Change.

3 thoughts on “The Protea Boys by Téa Cooper

  1. Hi Tea.
    So you ran a flower farm hey? There’s a protea farm not far from where I live and I always enjoy seeing the fields as I drive past. Great excerpt. This sounds like a wonderful read.
    Lily M

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