Monday, February 02, 2009

February newsletter

Lynne Connolly, author of Dark and Provocative Romance

Newsletter, February 2009


February seems to have brought in the snow. Britain is shrouded in the stuff, we’re told the worst snowstorm for 18 years. But where I live, we’re sheltered by the Pennines, so it’s going already. And this time, the South got it worst. London is disrupted. Again. Definitely a month to stay in and keep warm!

Well first and foremost, I have an agent! I went down to London last month and met her at the British Library, a perfect place to meet an agent. We had a discussion and shook hands on the deal. A lovely lady, Isabel White, who is setting up her own agency after a number of years with Brie Burkeman. You can see her website here:

She has a new paranormal, “A Talented Man,” which we’re working on right now, ready to submit to several publishers. So exciting, and scary too.

I’ve been frantically busy with new releases. I love that “Thunderfire” is out, bringing the Pure Wildfire series to a close, but it was a wrench to say goodbye to the band and their partners. It was my introduction to Ellora’s Cave, and I have to say that so far the experience has been overwhelmingly positive. I love being there, and I’m delighted they accepted a new story, “Red Alert,” which is, hopefully, the start of a new series, featuring the STORM agency.

But also this month, there’s a brand new Department 57 book, “Crystal Captive,” featuring one of the heroes that people have contacted me about, saying they want his story. Dominici Serafino, dragon shape-shifter, meets his match in “Crystal Captive,” and learns that sometimes he just has to let go.

Then, at the end of February, “Tantalizing Secrets” comes out at Samhain. This is the third Secrets story and features gorgeous Peter Worsley, whose life is turned inside out when he visits the bustling market town of Leicester. As it happens, Leicester is my home town, and the house where Arabella lives is based on Belgrave House, notorious in recent years as the scene of a haunting, but when I knew it, it was a perfectly recreated Georgian manor house.

The Secrets series was originally conceived as a trilogy, but I’ve received so many emails about one or two of the characters that I’m thinking of extending it, and writing about Antonia and one or two others. Where to find the time, that’s the problem!

So there are three excerpts for you this month, for the paranormal lovers and for the history lovers. Interesting to compare the two styles side by side. I’m told there is a difference, but I’ve never seen it, myself. Can you see the difference between the two styles?

Excerpts and blurb:

The first two excerpts contain matter that isn't suitable for the under 18's.

Hot sex and high living was all Chris Keys needed to complete his life as the thunderous heart of rock band Pure Wildfire. Now he wants something else. He wants Ashley Westfall.
Ashley has a secret—she doesn’t want to sing, she doesn’t want to go onstage, she doesn’t even want fame anymore. She wants a normal life with a normal man. Whatever that is. But when she finds the normal man, it’s not him but the sexy drummer for Pure Wildfire who captures her heart. And Chris is far from normal. He’s sex on legs and a shape-shifting firebird.
Unwittingly, Ashley thrusts Chris into lethal danger. Apart, they have no chance of defeating the the secret society that threatens them and the band with extinction. Together, they might have a chance.
Ashley has to find the strength to stop Chris sacrificing everything he loves for her sake. Before it’s too late.

She went through the door, not altogether unsurprised to find a big, luxurious bathroom on the other side. The shower stall could hold two, maybe three people comfortably and four if they wanted to move over. However, Chris was one big Texan and he might find it a squeeze. It might be the sort of squeeze he enjoyed if he let anybody else in here.
She stripped, knowing he’d seen her naked before but unaccountably shy. The rustle of clothing told her he was undressing too. Bare-chested, he walked to the shower and turned it on but reached under it to feel the temperature. He glanced at her over his shoulder. “This is supposed to be a luxury apartment but the heating system isn’t luxurious.”
Although the water might be cold, suddenly Ashley wasn’t. Flushing with unaccountable embarrassment, she crossed her arms over her breasts and then, realizing the gesture was silly, forced herself to lower her hands to her sides. She smiled but she felt the tremble at the corner of her lips.
He came to her and slid his arms around her waist. “It’s been a hard day for you, Ashley, hasn’t it?”
She nodded and allowed her forehead to rest on his broad chest. It felt so good.
“Come on, the water’s warm now. Don’t do anything, I’ll take care of you.”
He led her to the shower, currently exuding steam and herded her inside the ivory-tiled space. The click signaled the moment he closed the glass door. The fitments were brass, not deliberately old-fashioned but not aggressively modern, either. She liked them. He reached for a bottle and steered her under the main stream of water, although three heads currently spurted down on them.
“What are those?” she asked when she lowered her head so he could rub shampoo into her hair. Several openings adorned the walls, about a foot from the bottom of the shower.
He grinned at her. “Toys.”
He flipped a button on the panel just above the toiletry shelf and water sprayed from the lower openings, hitting her at the top of the thighs. He watched her, his fingers busy delivering a wonderful scalp massage. She opened her legs and he drew her forward until she gasped. The spray hit her pussy, massaging her clit and opening with delicious warmth. She groaned. “I’ve got to get one of these.”
His hands worked up the lather and then drew her back under the shower to rinse. She moaned when the shower spraying between her legs moved away from her clit and he chuckled. “Want to go back?”
“Does a cat love heat?”
She moved back and sighed in pleasure. “This feels so wrong, in such a good way.”
“Good.” He leaned over her to pick up another bottle and she managed to catch his nipple between her teeth. It was his turn to groan. “Very nice.”
She liked this gentle, playful side of Chris. Liked it a lot. He stayed where he was but the scent of lemons told her he’d opened the bottle and his hands moved lower on her body, rubbing the sweet-scented gel against her back and shoulders. “Mmm. So good.”
She licked and he rewarded her with a groan and a moaned, “Oh I like that.”
The tickling between her legs was becoming—not enough. She moved back, releasing his nipple, and admired her handiwork. It stood proud, reddened by her attentions, so she moved on to the other one in the interests of symmetry.
Chris pulled away but only to work the gel around her breasts. His touch, firmly cupping and rubbing, soothed and excited her at the same time. She lifted her head for his kiss.
He didn’t disappoint. When he bent to her, she felt heat radiating off him and moved closer to rub her body against his. He chuckled against her lips. “You feel like a cat.”

Thunderfire from Ellora's Cave
Shapeshifters rock!
Order Page:
ISBN: 9781419920219

Crystal Captive
Nicole is a gossip columnist. All she wants is a good story, but when she confronts Dominici Serafino at his luxury Italian villa, she get far more than that.
An afternoon of sizzling passion leads to danger, when they are kidnapped by an organization intent on revealing Dominici as a shape-shifting dragon. And he is, he really is that mythical creature, who sometimes shape-shifts during sex. It makes Nicole wet even to think about it.
Their captors want Dominici and Nicole to perform for the cameras. And that turns Nicole on like she never imagined before.
What's a dragon to do? Dominici is finding sex with the gorgeous journalist turning to something far more intense. He has to protect Nicole from their enemies, and he doesn't even know if he can trust her. In a position that gives him access to juicy stories from the world's most talked-about celebrities, he needs to keep their secrets and his own if he wants to survive.
He still wants her, any way, every day. For keeps.

He hooked his thumbs inside her bikini bottoms and tugged them down, following them to the floor and urging her to step out of them by nudging her ankles. He took a moment to caress the slender shape, bones prominent against lightly tanned skin. Any part of a woman could be sensitive, and he loved searching out the less obvious ones.
She shivered when he stroked her ankles, and he wished he had more time to explore. But if his cock could talk, it would be screaming at him. It always did. He’d just gotten better at forcing it to do what he wanted.
This time it was a damned close-run thing. He wanted this woman with an urgency that reminded him of the thirst after a fast.
Domenici had to bend to reach her. He tapped the inside of her leg, and she opened. He liked that. “Hands against the wall, sweetheart.”
She lifted her hands and braced them against the wall in front of her. He’d chosen this part of the bathroom because a section of mirrored tile faced them. He saw her face, the way she took her bottom lip between her teeth, the way her eyes, wide with apprehension, met his reflected there.
“I shouldn’t --”
“Neither should I.” His voice rumbled through his body, and he felt his fingers tremble as he slid them up her thighs into the paradise waiting for him at their apex. “Don’t think about it. Don’t spoil it. Whatever happens next, we have this.”
She made to turn her head, but he nudged her so she turned back to face the mirror. “Look at me that way.”
He bent his knees, took his cock in hand, and guided it to the wet, soft depths shadowed by her ass. He brought his other hand around the front, slid it into her cleft. He didn’t have to search hard to find her clit. It pulsed against his fingers. She was so ready.
So was he. He slid his cock against her and met sweet resistance. Enough to show her he was there, but her juices soaked him, dripped against his cock, already damp from his precum.
With a moan of surrender, he pushed inside.

Crystal Captive is out at Loose-Id Publishing, on 3rd February 2009

Tantalizing Secrets

Arabella Mason is too busy investigating her brother-in-law’s “accidental” death to entertain thoughts of love. She’ll go to any lengths to ease her sister’s grief, even accept the help of the distressingly attractive Viscount Bredon, Peter Worsley. Instead of answers, the trail of clues only leads to more questions. Who was her brother-in-law, really…and why does Peter, who poses as her brother in public, make mincemeat of her resistance in private?

A successful politician and confirmed bachelor, Peter has bedded the loveliest women in society. He never imagined he’d wind up in a Leicester backwater, helping a pretty widow investigate his brother’s untimely death. As his suspicions of foul play grow stronger, the danger rises—and so does his desire for Arabella. One kiss, and she snatches away all his resolve, leaving him wondering which he wants more…

To find his brother’s killer? Or keep Arabella safe—and make her his?

the coach lurched to a halt and they were flung forward. Peter flung out a hand to stop Arabella hurting herself, and was rewarded by a handful of fabric and a brief contact with one soft breast. He took her arm and hauled her back on to the seat as the carriage pulled to a halt.
Breathlessly she stared at him and they both heard a gruff voice. “Stand and deliver!”
“Good Lord!” The gleam of battle sparked in him. Cautiously he settled the pistol in his pocket so it came easily to hand.
The door of the carriage was wrenched open. A heavily muffled figure stood outside. “Out,” the man commanded.
Peter descended and held his hand out to help Arabella. To his surprise, she wasn’t looking in the least shocked. If he didn’t know her better, he would have thought she was angry.
Lounging against the open door of the carriage, Peter stared at the highwayman. Their assailant was so muffled up it was difficult to make out much about him, but Peter noted the man was no taller than he was, and wasn’t grossly overweight. He’d pulled a cocked hat low down on his forehead and a muffler up over the lower half of his face.
Peter thrust his hands in his pockets, touching the rounded end of the pistol. In the other pocket, he had a knife, usually carried for more mundane purposes but it might come in useful too, given the chance. He kept Arabella in view, prepared to push her to the ground. Some highwaymen wanted more than jewelry and cash; he wasn’t about to allow that.
Arabella lifted her chin and glared at the man. There was no doubt about it now—fire flashed from her dark eyes. She was angry. Peter hoped she wouldn’t do anything foolish. He wished he could see the coachman but that was impossible without turning.
Their aggressor swore, fluently and, much to Peter’s surprise dropped the hand holding the pistol to his side. “Jewelry. Money.”
Then Arabella did something that took Peter completely aback. She put her hands on her hips and thrust her face forward in the age-old position of the fishwife. It said a lot for Peter’s newfound attraction that he found her pose delightful. “And who do you think you are threatening? Get in the carriage this instant!”

Tantalizing Secrets is out at Samhain Publishing on February 24th, 2009

Newsletter, January 2009

Lynne Connolly, author of Dark, Provocative Romance

Newsletter, January 2009

I really wanted to get this out on January 1st, but you know how it is!
Anyway, happy new year to everyone, I hope you get what you want this year, within reason, of course!
I have some exciting news that I can't announce yet, but when I can, you'll be the first to hear. But everything else is on course, and I'm working hard to try to keep up.
I'm still publishing columns at The Good, The Bad and The Unread. The latest is about the changes happening on my side of the Atlantic, and the way the publishing world seems to be drawing ever closer together.
I have a new release this month, the second Richard and Rose book. I adored writing "Devonshire," and it was a joy to revisit. I went there on my honeymoon, and although we stayed on the north coast and Rose lives near the south coast of the county, we did take trips all around. It's a stunningly beautiful place, and I hope I've conveyed some of the atmosphere and sights in my book. As always, I took real life places and fictionalised them, although I have to confess that Peacock's is straight out of my imagination. I imagine James is going to rebuild the manor to become something like Saltram House, the gorgeous place designed by Robert Adam. I think Martha would like that.
I'm going down to London on the 8th to attend a friend's book launch. Jean Fullerton and I have struggled through the publishing world together, and I was so thrilled when she got first an agent, then a three book contract with Orion, that it could almost have been me. Now "No Cure For Love," the first book in the trilogy is out and I'm going to help her celebrate. Not that she'll need much help!
Currently I'm trying to write the next Team Red book for Ellora's Cave. I had to stop when I realised a part of the story didn't work, but I think I'm back on track now. I still have to launch the STORM series, but EC took the first one, Red Alert, and I can't wait to tell you about it nearer the time!
I'm waiting to hear about the publication date for the last Pure Wildfire series, Thunderfire, which is ready to go. It was sad saying goodbye to the members of the band, but it became obvious to me that it would be a shame to keep revisiting them, so Chris Keys' story is the last in the series, and I hope you'll agree, rounds it off with a great climax.
Next month, watch out for the last Secrets book, "Tantalizing Secrets," and a brand new Department 57 story, "Crystal Captive." I've been busy! I hope you enjoyed revisiting Sophie and Evan in "The Chemistry of Evil" this month, together with the extra heat I managed to inject into the rewrite!

Excerpt and blurb:
Awkward, unsure Rose Golightly was used tobe being snubbed by those higher on the social ladder. Now, as the sister of an earl and fiancĂ©e of one of the most admired men in society, she can hold her head high. With Richard, respectability—and lifelong passion—are hers.
Behind Richard’s aloof, sophisticated facade lies a man of shrewd intelligence, fierce loyalty, and deep devotion to those he loves. He is a man of principle who will fight fair when necessary, dirty when cornered. Rose is one of only two people he trusts, but she doesn’t yet know all his secrets.
Gangs of smugglers rule the coast, and the Rose’s brother’searl’s decision to stand up to them has puts herRose’s life in danger. The only way Richard can save her is to reveal every dark corner of his life.
Otherwise, he could lose her.

This excerpt is a naughty bit, so please, no under 18's!

A breath on my ear woke me, and I spun around, startled awake. I sighed with relief when I saw who it was. “Richard.”
“Hush, love.”
I put my hand to my mouth, to quieten myself. He leaned across the bed to me. “Aren’t you going to ask me in?”
“Have you locked the door?”
I threw back the covers, while he stripped off his robe and got in. He was naked, but he got into bed so quickly I didn’t see him properly. Immediately he drew me close, and I felt at home and safe. His chuckle bewildered me until I felt his hands on my braids. “I couldn’t stop Fraser doing them for me.”
“While I’m sure they are extremely practical,” he said, his hands busy unravelling, “I prefer it when your hair is loose. I like to feel it flowing over my hands, winding me in its web.”
“So I’m a spider?”
He kissed my forehead, his lips just brushing the skin. “Arachne was a beautiful woman, turned into a spider for boasting and being right about it. You never boast, my love. Perhaps you should.”
“It’s not in my nature.”
“Then I shall boast for you. I’m lucky to get you, sweetheart.”
I laughed. “So you keep telling me.”
He finished undoing the braids and thrust his fingers into my hair, combing them through the locks to untangle them. “Much better.” He looked down at my face. “And if I keep telling you, you might believe it one day.”
“I’ll do my best. I have to promise to obey you soon, don’t I?”
He grinned. “So you do.”
Lifting up on one elbow, he leaned over me, and smoothed the hair back from my face. He’d brought a branch of candles in with him, and it stood on the nightstand by the bed, casting a light on his gleaming hair and his fine-drawn features. Looking intently down at me he said, “This is almost enough. Almost.” He bent his head to kiss me.
What began as a gentle kiss of welcome soon deepened into something more, his tongue reaching into my mouth, his desire searing through my entire body. I arched and felt his hands on me, pulling up my voluminous nightgown.
Eagerly I helped him, undoing the little buttons at the cuffs and neck, sitting up so he could pull it off over my head. Casting it aside, heedless of where it fell, he gazed at me, only me.
He touched my breast, traced the swell below and then cupped it, testing its weight. I closed my eyes and drew a breath. I was so sensitive to his touch.
“Every time,” he murmured, “every time I touch you it feels like a miracle. That you want me, that you, so lovely, could have lain like Sleeping Beauty, waiting for me.” He kissed the nipple, pushing with his hand to take more into his mouth.
His tongue curved, caressing me, and I touched his back, partly for support, partly for the sheer joy of contact. His touch made me weak and soft, his need for me made me want to give him everything without stint.
He drew back, only to fold his arms around me and seek my mouth with his. He gave me a long, penetrating kiss, his hands smoothing, caressing, rousing my body to a peak of need.
He smelled like no one else. Under the citrus perfume he preferred lurked an even sharper edge. Him. I’d know him anywhere now, in the dark, the light, in the middle of a crowded ballroom by scent alone. He surrounded me with his essence, held me fast, held me close. I moved my hands over the muscles of his back, feeling his reined-in athletic strength.
When he broke the kiss he was smiling. “I love you.” He laid me down and moved over me to enter me.