Saturday, September 15th, 2012
What absolutely yummy heroes Cerise Deland writes. I want to be Coco in this story. She has all the fun.
Siren Bookstrand said:
Carried Away is a great suspense story with the right amount of romance and hot sexual tension and the suspense that will keep you on the edge of your seat. Cerise Deland has a hit on her hands with suspense filled story. It is one you will enjoy.
And gave it Five Siren Stones, the top rating.
Grant Warwick has never scoured luscious, funny Coco Dalton from his brain. She was heaven to hold, hot as hell in bed—and for four scintillating months, totally his. So why she left him one morning without the courtesy of a call is one damn big mystery he’s never solved.
When she reappears one day in Venice, he’s stunned she wants to apologize. Heartbroken she had to desert him years ago, Coco asks his help to find a terrorist who’s tracking her. Resisting her isn’t possible—Grant sweeps her up into his arms and savors her sweet body with kisses so torrid and lovemaking so mind-bending, she’ll never again want to leave him.
But Grant must also find time to track down the terrorist, before Coco is taken from him forever.
Grant Warwick took another sip of espresso and pushed his Ray-Bans up his nose. He leaned his elbows on the café table and narrowed his eyes. Yes. The woman in the tissue-thin white cotton dress was still yakking with the Venetian guy on the stalled vaporetto. Grant told himself it was the June sun’s refractions off the murky water of the Grand Canal that hurt his eyes. But he knew it was the sight of Coco Dalton that assaulted him.
You’d think after three years of searching for another woman to replace her in his bed, he’d have replaced her in his mind. Forgotten her. The fire in his belly. The instant concrete in his cock. The idiotic dreams in his head.
One look at that gamin body, the cap of platinum curls, the up-turned breasts that didn’t need a bra, the legs that went on forever right down into her latest ugly pair of shoe leather—yeah, and he’d been hooked. Like a fish. And after the way she’d dumped him long ago, he knew his heartache smelled like an oldfish.
Christ. What a waste you are, Warwick. A hulking Scots-Irish loner who never got hooked on any woman.
Except to graceful, reckless award-winning photojournalist, Coco Dalton.
What was she doing here? Though he could see she had her camera bag slung over her shoulder and one tiny piece of luggage, she never took a vacation. He scanned the hordes of tourists streaming past him toward St. Mark’s Square, noting that no wise person traveled here after May unless they wanted to be trampled to death by the crowds.
Coco suddenly frowned at whatever her companion was saying. Odd. You used to laugh. Often. With me. In bed. Out. On kitchen counters. Floors. His eyes drifted shut as he recalled how she felt like hot satin in his arms, sinuous and artless, the ballerina who gave up the quest for pro. The way her lush lips would spread over her teeth when she grinned. The way her plump nether lips would swell when she wanted Grant to lick her and fill her. The way she’d cream for him, coming just in anticipation of his cock sliding into her juicy little cunt.
He ran a hand over his cleanly shaven bald head. Time to go, Warwick. He downed his coffee, gave the high sign to his waiter and plunked twenty euro on the table for his lunch. Buttoning his suit coat, he stood and headed for the meeting for which he’d flown to Venice.
He worked his way from the Grand Canal back into the winding calle of the ancient city. Last night, after he arrived on his private jet at the small metro airport, he’d checked into his hotel and promptly gone out to find the building. Venice always confused the hell out of him but he got off on knowing all the details of any event and prepared. That research, that caution made him and his company one of the fastest growing and better known among international security firms. The reputation that gave him had guaranteed him this new contract with the government of Dubai for their new government historical museum.
Grant arrived within minutes at the pale buttery concrete building which housed the commercial offices of the Emirate. A palazzo built in the fourteenth century by one of the Electors of Venice, the structure reflected the intrigues of the city’s politics with an ornate door of rose and green inlaid tiles. Inside, the tiny hall spoke of age–old schemes and secrets. He took the hairpin stairway up to the first floor, bending low to avoid the ceiling that was unfit for an American of six foot four.
“Buon giorno,” he greeted the receptionist, a lovely white-veiled Arab woman with a king’s ransom of gold dripping from her fingers, her wrists and hanging around her neck. “Grant Warwick to see Sheik Khalid Nasar.”
“Welcome, Mr. Warwick,” the lady responded with a crisp British accent and a blazing set of perfect white teeth. She rose from her chair and inclined her head in deference. “Please wait here a moment and I will announce you. May I offer you refreshment as you wait? Tea, perhaps, or coffee?”
Grant wanted neither but he knew from his years in the Middle East, it was an insult to refuse. “Tea, thank you.” He took a seat in one of the huge, sumptuously upholstered chairs which reminded him of those he’d seen in the Doge’s private residence. He’d heard the emir of Dubai was a very forward-looking man and favored modern furniture. This medieval look amused Grant. Ah, well. When in Venice, do as the Venetians.
The receptionist appeared with a tray with one thimble-sized cup of steaming liquid. The aroma of anise and fennel met his nostrils and he decided the brew might soothe his irritation at seeing Coco again. He took a sip—heard the door open, looked up—and promptly realized no relief was possible.
Struggling in the front door, Coco dragged her little red suitcase behind her and smiled tentatively at the receptionist. “Buon giorno, Signora. I am Coco Dalton,” she said as she parked her suitcase and let her camera bag slide to the floor. In the stilted movements of her body, Grant detected a change from the grace she normally possessed. “You are expecting me.”
The woman nodded, her lashes fluttering and descending with wide-eyed dismay to the thin, almost transparent dress Coco wore. “Yes, of course, Ms. Dalton. May I offer you tea or coffee?”
“Thank you,” Coco smiled, kneading her hands, whether out of numbness or nerves Grant couldn’t tell. Where are the remnants of the teenager who wanted to become a professional ballerina? “Tea. Yes, tea.” Her back was ramrod straight and she never turned to face him but chatted on.
Good thing, because his eyes drilled through the cotton to the curve of her hips and the straps of the white thong. His shaft twitched, taking note of the scrap of fabric that nestled between the two sweet cheeks of her ass.
Coco bent, fiddling with one of the zippers on her suitcase. “May I ask if you have a room free so that I might change my clothes?”
Grant’s cock didn’t want her to change a thing.
“My plane was late and I had no time to go to my hotel,” she told the woman.
Grant forced his gaze lower and winced at the sight of Coco’s latest outrage. Clunky neon pink running shoes.
“Forgive me,” she said, “but I do not want to meet the Sheik in my traveling attire.”
She’s here to meet the same man I am?
“Yes, Ms. Dalton.” The receptionist breathed a sigh of relief and smiled broadly at the scantily-dressed visitor. “Allow me to show you. Do you also have a scarf for your hair?” she asked Coco, as she turned and ushered Coco back through the hall.
What the hell did the sheik need with a war-zone photographer? Certainly not to open a private historical museum in Dubai.
Grant scrubbed his jaw in anger. Why hadn’t his VP of Research told him about this? Todd Cummings usually knew all. But if Coco Dalton was involved in this new job, Grant was pulling out now. He had no desire to meet her or talk with her. She’d made it plain to him three years ago when she’d failed to meet him at the airport for a romantic vacation that she was not and could never be devoted to him. And he had no intention of looking at her now and gnawing out his guts any more than he already had.
The receptionist rounded the corner of the hall and paused, casting stunned eyes on him. “Sir? You are—”
“Leaving. Give my apologies to Sheik Nasar, will you please? I must—”
“Mr. Warwick,” came a baritone from the far end of the corridor. The petite, olive- skinned man in a hand-tailored dark gray Italian silk suit. “Please, sir, you cannot leave.”
“Your Highness,” Grant inclined his head in respect to the emir’s cousin, a noted businessman who had his own private collection of Middle Eastern artifacts. “I am most pleased to meet you. We should have done so years ago.” For Grant to make a hasty exit now was impossible. Hell, it hadn’t been possible before, but he was obviously brain dead! You can’t run from a planned meeting with a man who has agreed to sign a contract with you for two million dollars a year for ten years.
When Grant got hold of Todd again, he was going to put his feet to the fire for his failure here this afternoon. Now all Grant had to do was just keep away from the cute blonde trick in bad shoe leather.
“Come,” said Nasar. “We will discuss our matters at length. Naila?” He turned to his receptionist. “Please see we have privacy.”
“I will.” She averted her eyes, smiling at the floor in feminine courtesy to her superior.
Nasar led the way into a large office with a floor-to-ceiling view of the red and ochre rooftops of Venice. Inside, a blinding Carrara marble conference table stretched to a size capable of seating ten or more. Shown to the prince’s left hand side, Grant pulled out a rolling chair and waited for Nasar to sit first. He heard another door open in the hall outside, and then another. Odds were, from one of those came a woman he had never wanted to see again.
The first person to appear in the doorway was a man. Taller than the prince, darker than he and younger by a decade, this man strode forward, all grins. “Mr. Warwick! Jamal Husseini. How wonderful to welcome you here finally. We have written often! I am the curator of the new museum.”
Grant nodded, took his hand in the western way and shook. Husseini, too, had a British accent and Grant knew from what information Todd Cummings had gleaned on this job, that the curator’s mother was British and his father from Dubai. With degrees from Oxford and Harvard in ancient texts and archeology, the man was renowned for his doctoral thesis on the works of early Islamic poets. A distant cousin of Sheik Nasar, Husseini’s credentials and connections ensured that he had been appointed curator of Nasar’s lavish new private museum.
Grant and Jamal took their cue from Nasar when he sat down, then navigated the formalities of getting to know each other. As they spoke, Grant listened not to the man but for signs of the woman whom he knew was somewhere in this office.
Finally, he heard it. Clip, clop. Clip, clop. Clattering down the hall was a woman wearing high heels. Grant had sworn Coco owned only one pair, so the odds that it might be she who appeared in the doorway were few. But so was what he saw her wearing as she came into view. Here, in all her svelte glory, stood Coco Dalton, all five foot six inches of her in a sleek white linen suit that cupped her lush breasts and flowed down her hips like a fresh coat of paint. And, yes—Grant knew his brows rose in shock—on her feet were ivory stilettos, six inches high. He let the other two men greet her first. Grant rose to his feet last.
She put a smile on her face and gave it to them all, not pausing at him any longer than the others, but sliding like the diplomat’s daughter she was, back to her host. “Forgive me, for being late. My plane.” She flourished a hand in explanation. “One can never count on schedules these days.” She stepped forward to shake hands with Nasar and Jamal. Then she turned to him. “Hello, Grant,” she said in an impartial but friendly tone that held no fear he might reject her. What’s more, she was not at all surprised at his presence. Why not?
He shook her hand. Warm, elegant, her fingers withdrew from his with a jerk. So. You are nervous about seeing me again.
She took the chair across from him. Without briefcase, computer or pen and paper, the four of them began the preliminaries of their first face-to-face meeting. The weather, their health, the adequacies of their hotel accommodations were each reviewed and found pleasant.
Nasar folded his meaty hands before him. “Ms. Dalton, Mr. Warwick, I am grateful to you both for meeting me here earlier than we planned. Thank you for altering your plans to go straight to Dubai, but I needed to see you here as my own plans were recently changed.”
Jamal leaned forward. “We have a problem we did not anticipate.”
Grant frowned. If some hitch meant they were now going to withdraw the contract for his firm to supply security to their buildings, he wouldn’t be happy, but he wouldn’t starve, either. “I assure you both it was no problem for me to come here.”
Coco agreed. “I am at your disposal. And knowing how well Mr. Warwick works, I know he maintains his supremacy in his business because he is always flexible.”
I’m flexible? He stared at her. Her violet gaze slid over his in a nanosecond. You’ve got some nerve, babe, to speak for me. And yeah, I’m flexible except when you ripped out my heart and left it in two goddamn pieces.
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Friday, September 14th, 2012
Tanith Davenport lives in Yorkshire with her long-suffering husband and pampered cats. Her interests range wildly between rock music and modern cinema to medieval literature and the language of flowers. She loves to travel and dreams of one day taking a driving tour of the United States, preferably in a classic 1950s pink Cadillac Eldorado.
Tanith’s idea of heaven is an Indian head massage with a Mojito at her side.
I’ve always loved writing campus-based stories. Maybe it’s from having fond memories of my time as a student, living in a student hall right in the middle of everything, where you could have as much fun as you want.
Or maybe it’s because I always wished we’d had the Greek system over here. I don’t know if I’d have made a good sorority girl, but I always liked the idea, and the image of a house full of cute girls floating around in babydoll nighties lends itself nicely to erotica, if not to real life. Instead I lived in hall for three years and a student house for my Masters year, and as far as I can remember I did all my floating around in jeans and T-shirts, changing at night into a football shirt my boyfriend had got me.
And that’s another thing. Students are expected to be experimental in all things. I can still remember my first week as a fresher, buying inspirational posters and a tie-dyed rug and feeling ever so adventurous. Yeah, right. Students are supposed to go out every night and bring a different bedmate home, or do the entire rugby team, or hook up at frat parties.
I won’t say I didn’t have fun, but I was a serial monogamist. I arrived with a boyfriend, dumped him fairly early for another man, was unceremoniously dumped for another woman, and then met the man who eventually became my husband. Not especially daring, unless compared with my friend who arrived, studied, left with and eventually married the same man, or another friend who moved in with her new boyfriend a month into her freshman year and never left his side.
My across-the-hall neighbour, on the other hand, could be heard screaming “Ooh, babe!” every night of the week, and dragged me out of many a bar because she’d spotted someone she’d slept with and didn’t want to bump into him. Her bedpost wasn’t notched, it was disintegrating.
But you’re young, and what the hell, it’s fun. And I love that attitude.
So my debut novel was set at a US university, and my new short Assume the Position involves two sorority sisters drinking lots of wine and demonstrating naked yoga positions. You can’t lose, can you?
Tamar Brennan is depressed. Instead of going to a party at Delta Phi with her girlfriend, she’s freshly dumped and stuck indoors with only her roommate for company – her very hot, also gay roommate Elyse, on whom Tamar has been nursing a secret crush for months. Elyse has always kept their relationship strictly friends – apart from one drunken kiss which Tamar has never forgotten.
Alone in their room drinking wine, the conversation turns to Elyse’s yoga training. The sight of Elyse’s slender body moving through yoga poses is too exciting for Tamar to resist, and Elyse is willing… but can Tamar convince her to break her just-friends rule in the cold light of day?
“And then five seconds of downward dog.” Keeping her palms flat on the floor, Elyse pushed her body upwards, lowering her head, legs close together and ass pointing straight at the ceiling.
Elyse’s jeans were impossibly tight, the red lace of Elyse’s thong underwear exposed above the waistband, and Tamar gripped the edge of the bed as desire flooded through her body. Barely aware of what she was doing, she slid to the edge of the bed, staring greedily at Elyse’s denim-clad ass as she held the pose, three seconds, four seconds, five –
And then, unable to resist, she leaned forward and smacked one cheek.
Elyse let out an outraged squeal and dropped to her knees. She looked back over her shoulder at Tamar, dark tendrils of hair falling over her eyes, which had narrowed wickedly.
“Okay. Let’s see you do it then.”
A small part of Tamar’s alcohol-fogged brain suggested this was a bad idea in a short skirt, but Tamar found herself rolling off the bed join Elyse on the floor. Remembering what Elyse had done, she laid herself flat as Elyse sat up alongside her and watched, her skin tingling under her friend’s intent stare.
Elyse’s hand slid under her stomach, and Tamar suppressed a gasp.
Tamar pushed down with her hands and lifted, guided by Elyse’s hand, until her bottom was as high as it could go.
“Now hold. Five seconds.”
There was motion beside her, and she sensed that Elyse had stood up. A thrill ran over her skin as footsteps slowly moved to pause behind her.
Elyse was right behind her, and Tamar was suddenly conscious of her position; ass in the air, covered only by a short skirt and panties which were growing increasingly moist.
Her gut clenched at the picture she must be making. Elyse hadn’t moved, and she could hear short, staccato breaths behind her, which must mean that Elyse was –
Without warning, hands abruptly jerked to her bottom, pushing her skirt up over her hips, and before she could speak they had hooked into her panties and yanked them down to her knees.
Sunday, September 9th, 2012
Amber McCloud is taking a two-week timeout with her friend Molly to heal the wounds from a bitter divorce. The last thing she expects is to meet a sexy man like Cesario “Rio” Negron. But the attraction is instant and hot. Not only does he teach her how good sex can really be, he also introduces her to the world of BDSM, a world she takes to like a kid with candy. It helps when she learns Molly and her husband are also advocates of the lifestyle. But when the two weeks are up Amber has to decide if what’s developed between her and Rio is real or if she will turn her back on it, afraid to risk her heart again.
I’m honored to have as my guest today the fabulous Raelene Gorlinsky, publisher of Ellora’s Cave, founder of the wildly popular Romantica literature-erotic romance. And my editor at Ellora’s Cave, thank you very much. Be sure to check out my newest release, Training Amber.
Raelene, thanks for taking the time to visit with us today.
How did you happen to become involved in romance literature and most especially in erotic romance?
I’d been a technical writer, project manager and technical writing department manager for 25 years, so lots of editing experience. I’ve been a reader of genre fiction, especially romance, my whole life. Then I found Ellora’s Cave books in EC’s very early days, and loved having stories that more fully and realistically reflected actual relationships in all aspects, not pretending that women weren’t sexual creatures. I started emailing the company to give my opinions on the stories and about any errors I found—and in 2003 they asked if I’d like to just apply for an editor position! I was a freelance editor for a year, then in early 2004 moved to Ohio to become Managing Editor, and less than two years after that became Publisher.
How have you seen the genre grow and to what do you attribute its growth?
The erotic genre went from almost nothing when EC launched to the very visible and goodsized chunk of the romance industry it is today. It was the happy merger with epublishing that made it possible—readers got more choice and variety in story types, less expensive books, and were able to buy them discreetly.
Do you think people are more accepting of this genre today?
Oh yes—at least, romance readers and writer organizations are more accepting of erotica than they used to be. Erotica still gets sneers from some people, the way any romance books do, but we’ve come a long way, baby! Not that we don’t still have a long way to go to have our genre easily available in bookstores, regularly reviewed in the big industry venues, and so forth. We need to reach the point where “erotic romance” is just another accepted and normal genre like contemporary or paranormal or whatever.
And what do you see as its future?
I anticipate growing readership and acceptance. Erotic romance is now well established as a permanent genre within the romance writing and reading world. I’d say we’ll see more types/subgenres within erotic romance, but I think we’ve got it all now!
With the explosion of digital publishing where do you see the publishing industry in ten years?
I wish I knew. Our industry is changing with incredible speed, and with the advent of digital has become very technology-driven. Ten years ago, dedicated ereader devices were limited, clunky and expensive. Within the last few years, they became commonplace and affordable. And now the prediction is that dedicated devices will become almost obsolete within a few more years—that people want one device, like a tablet or cell phone, that can “do it all”. And of course the way people read does affect our business a lot. It doesn’t necessarily change the books authors write, but has a huge impact on what publishers do and how we do it.
Self-publishing is having a major impact on the industry. But I believe that will shake down and become less widespread within ten years. Many authors are coming to realize they want to spend their time and energy writing, and let a reputable established publishing company handle editing, cover art, and all the business and production and distribution aspects. And of course, new authors especially are finding out the truth that 99% of them are going to sell almost no books, that the authors and books that hit the news with incredible self-pubbed sales are one in a million. And now that everyone can “publish”, there truly are a zillion books out there, most of them bad.
Discoverability (yes, we’re all tired of that word, but it is of primary importance) will continue to be a big issue for years. Sales are going to continue to move online, which means fewer sales based on “I saw it on the bookstore shelf and it looked interesting”. How do readers find your book amongst millions? The recommendation and review and bestseller list functions of online book retailers have become a joke. Everyone games the system, especially the retailers themselves. When there are thousands of “bestseller” lists on a site, they don’t have much meaning or reflect high sales; recommendations are based on what the retailer wants to sell you rather than what you might like; and I fully believe the estimate that minimum 30% of reviews on retail sites are “rigged”—they are not from real, uncompensated, unrelated, unsolicited readers.
I’m anticipating the fall of the DRM Wall. I love my NookColor; I can buy ePub formats from so many vendors. However, I still buy a lot of print books because my primary criterion for ebooks is NO DRM. Unfortunately most the of the big publishers are still being really stupid about that issue, treating their customers like we’ve all got criminal intent, and pretending that DRM prevents piracy. We’ve started to see cracks in the wall (yay, Tor!) so I’m hopeful DRM will be discontinued as an industry practice within a few more years.
What do you tell authors who want to know how to write erotic romance?
READ lots of really good erotic romance. Then read some more…and some more. If you don’t know what’s good, ask fellow writers or ask professional editors.
Then read a few baaad erotic books, and recognize why they are bad.
What turns you on as an editor?
Great worldbuilding (complete, cohesive, sensible, interesting), a truly lovable but strong hero and a matching heroine, unusual paranormal elements.
And a professional author. One who views this as a skilled job, tries to improve and takes criticism well, belongs to writer organizations, studies and keeps up with the industry, has realistic expectations, and most importantly behaves (online and in person) in a professional and gracious manner.
Sloppy writing in a technical sense (poor grammar, misspellings, repetitive word usage, etc). Contrived plot elements—where the author has the characters doing something implausible or is dependent on coincidence just to make the plot action go in the direction she wants. Poor worldbuilding. TSTL characters.
I have no tolerance for “suspension of disbelief”—make it believable or don’t waste my time as either an editor or a reader. (I’m happy to believe in vampires, shapeshifters, aliens, and even perfect men—at least in novels.)
You have a high profile, high energy demanding job. What do you do to relax?
I read. (You guessed that, right?) Of course, because I read so much erotica as part of my job, for my personal reading pleasure I need to get away from the sex a bit. I go for paranormal romance, urban fantasy, cozy mysteries.
I collect a variety of things writing related: beautifully illustrated children’s picture books, fairytale books, antique dictionaries, gorgeous bookmarks and pens.
I’m a not-yet-published children’s book writer. Makes a refreshing change from erotica!
I’m also a devoted dog owner; Pembroke Welsh Corgis are my breed of choice, although I’m being tempted to get a Cardigan. I love to play with and walk my dogs (Phantom, Faolan and Fancy), go to dog shows. Later this month I’ll be attending the PWC National Specialty—a whole week of Corgis and Corgi people, bliss!
Favorite ice cream: The expensive special chocolate flavors. Alas, I’m currently on a special diet and have to settle for chocolate-flavored frozen Greek yogurt. Take pity, send me sinful real chocolate!
Favorite movie: Hmm, I rarely watch movies. When I do, it is something light and humorous.
Favorite color: Blue…no, red…no, wait, green. It depends on what we’re doing with the color. Clothes, walls, dishes, jewelry? My bedroom is rose, my kitchen is red and green, my den is blue.
Favorite type of vacation: In the lap of luxury somewhere with no pressure or schedules, but lots of activities and sightseeing available to do whatever I want when I want to. Oh, and temperatures in the 70s—no snow or hot humidity for me.
Saturday, September 8th, 2012
|Sugar Girl (The Naughty Sleepover series)
by Nicole Austin
||Erotic Contemporary Romance
Author Page: Nicole Austin
Sugar Girl by Nicole Austin is short but sweet with enough heat thrown in to make you want to go on the Ferris wheel and spend a night in the Menger Hotel with your own hot stud!
I loved this story which is part of the Naughty Sleepover series. I think I am reading them backwards because Luke the handsome bartender makes a disappointingly short appearance and in the last book I read, he got taken by a lovely Rita Hayworth, and that one is worth reading as well!!
Candy Dillon used to know the child Jeremiah Lange. She doesn’t know the adult but boy would she like to. He left town and went on to become a famous bull rider and singer songwriter. Is he back for good or will he take off again and leave her behind for the bright lights that beckon?
Candy’s dad died a while ago, but with his death and the sudden reappearance of Jeremiah she decides she wants to live for the moment and do some very crazy things before reality settles in and she goes back to her normal life, the life that killed her dad.
Jeremiah literally takes the bull by the horns and takes Candy on a wild ride and shows her how to live in the moment and enjoy. Candy cannot believe the adult Jeremiah. He is a sexy hunk of goodness and she wants to do much more than lick him all over. Jeremiah has few regrets in life, but one is that he left Candy behind. Now he has a chance to get her back and he wants to make sure she stays! Will she be there in the morning or will he be the one left alone?
I love stories where the characters once knew each other but moved a way, grew up, changed and then came back to reclaim what they wanted. This was a short read but it was well worth it. Candy had some doubts after romping around with Jeremiah. He said the hotel was haunted and maybe the hotel’s ghosts played their part in getting these two lovebirds together! Will everything be rosy in the morning or will Candy go back to her normal dreary life? Grab a copy to find out! I hope you enjoy this as much as I did!
Have you registered for the Naughty Sleepover yet? It’s the best girls night out weekend ever. Check it out at www.sassysevenauthors.com/naughtysleepover
Friday, September 7th, 2012
Thanks for having me, Desiree! Knowing your love of music, I thought I’d talk about my latest release from Ellora’s Cave, “In The Mood.”
Recently, Ellora’s Cave gave away the first book in the “Pure Wildfire” series of books, the first series I had out with them. The result was amazing and made me very happy. People went on to download the other three books in the series, and the reviews were fantastic. For which, dear reader, many thanks.
At the time I was working on a new series for Ellora’s Cave. “Nightstar” tells the story of another band, Murder City Ravens, but where Pure Wildfire was about firebird shape-shifters (and one phoenix), Murder City Ravens is a contemporary series. No dragons, vampires or firebirds in sight.
“Nightstar” tells the story of a band that is in the process of going stellar. Murder City Ravens nearly split up a couple of years before the first story starts, when the lead singer, Matt Scott, a.k.a Maxx Syccorraxx, OD’d and nearly died. The band fired him, and the guitarist and Matt’s best friend, takes him to rehab. Shocked by the near-miss, the band largely gives up drugs. They recruited two new members, Zazz, a Brit, and Riku, a Japanese-American who is heavily into visual kei, and reboot. This time, with the release of the third album, “Nightstar,” and an accompanying single, the band goes stellar. The world goes bonkers for them. So what do they have to worry about? The answer is, a hell of a lot. Many of the band members have alternative lives, and while Murder City Ravens gave them a good living, it didn’t break the bank. The series is set during a world tour, so locations vary from New York to Sweden and places in between. Will the band members stay in Murder City Ravens, now a coherent unit that works well together, or will they split and have to start again? Every member has to make that choice. So do the women they meet and fall for. The women are not pushovers, they’re not willing to trail along behind the band like groupies, they want their own lives. The stakes are high, but the choices are personal.
And I am loving writing this series.
The first story came to me when I visited Chicago two years ago, but took a long time to emerge. Some stories do. But by the time I went to Chicago again this year, for the RT Booklovers’ Convention, the story was well underway. The visit to the unexpectedly beautiful city gave me a chance to visit some of the sites in the book, and take lots of photos.
But “In The Mood” is the story of the man who fell from grace so spectacularly, Matt Scott, now clean and living in Chicago. He has started his own production business, and the band ask him to produce “Nightstar,” despite the distrust of their manager, who saw Matt at his most unreliable, drug-ridden worst. One night, walking home through the blues district, he hears something.
“A breath of a note shivered through the air as the club door opened. Matt paused, then stayed to listen. It sounded great. Better than great. Whoever was playing that saxophone knew how to wrench the heart out of the music.
Abruptly changing his plans for the evening, he walked toward the door. Chicago had managed to turn a thriving music area into a tourist trap, but for those who knew where to look, a few of the old-style clubs remained. Clubs that attracted tourists but were still all about the music. After all, tourists loved music too.
This type of club didn’t have people queuing behind velvet ropes and VIP areas or tourists turning up in droves. The savvy might pick this place out, because it was small and laid back and looked as if it had been there for some time.
The man at the door looked at him, then blinked and stared, dark eyes widening. “Are you Maxx Syccoraxx?”
He grinned. “People ask me that all the time.” He was used to the question by now. It was better than, “Didn’t you used to be Maxx Syccoraxx?” Yes, that was who he used to be; lead singer with an up-and-coming rock band. No more. Drink and drugs had finished all that for him, burned him out. Now, with his body filled out and hair cropped short, he looked like a different man, but sometimes people still recognized him.”
Matt finds V playing the sax. She’s a lovely woman, and Matt is smitten on sight. He takes her home and that night their relationship begins. But V receives an offer she can’t refuse. Matt offers her session work, and then, when the band hears her play, they want her. She improvises on the already recorded single, and the band insists on including her. Then they want her to join.
If she does, she has to go with them on their world tour, and that means leaving Matt behind in Chicago. He has his life, and with the new Murder City Ravens album, he can’t sell up and leave. Nor would she want him to.
Each book contains a similar dilemma, but at the heart of every story is a love story. A hot love story, because these people can’t keep their hands off each other.
“He opened the door and slammed it shut. Before she had a chance to take in the apartment, he had her against the wall, pressing her body against the hard wood, the panels scoring lines into her back. His kiss seared her mouth, hard and unforgiving, but she needed his desperation, because it echoed hers. Her whole body ached to be touched, learned, and she wanted to feel him skin on skin.
He jerked back with a gasp. “Fuck, I’m sorry. I want you so much. You’re beautiful, sexy, but it’s more than that.” As he regained a semblance of civilization, a smile flickered across his mouth and then was gone. “I’ve never wanted anyone so much.”
“Me too.” Honesty. She could try for that. Courtesy went when she reached for his black shirt and began to undo the buttons feverishly. As she revealed more of his skin, she moaned at the sight.
“You’re killing me here.” With a powerful flex of muscle, he bent and lifted her, heading for a room that turned out to be his bedroom. She got a vague impression of muted colors and a large window before he joined her and framed her face with his hands. Then he kissed her.
Several long, luscious kisses later, her dress came off and so did his shirt. She ran her hands over his hot, smooth skin, pausing to tweak his nipples. His sharp cry went a little way to assuage her. She wanted him to want her as much as she wanted him, and it seemed he did from his eager response. He cupped her breasts, still held in the soft bra she’d put on what seemed like eons ago but was in reality earlier that evening, after her shower. She sighed and moved from side to side, to feel his hands on her. He slipped one hand under the strap and released the clasp of her bra with an ease that spoke of years of practice.
But not now. Now there were only the two of them, for the whole night.”
The second book, “Born on the Bayou,” will be out soon!