Happy new year!
Are you planning anything in the new year? I've booked my place at the Chicago Miniature Shows next year and at the Romantic Times Convention and I'd love to see you at either, or both!
As for writing - well, 2009 was an exciting and rather different. I love the way that, in the writing world, things never turn out exactly as you think! I started the STORM series last year, with the Red series of books so far, "Red Alert," "Red Heat," and "Red Shadow," but after this series, I'm planning some standalone stories. I'm thrilled that so many of you bought the books and made it possible for me to continue the adventure. I'm currently writing the next book, currently titled "Red Passion," about Ricardo Gianetti, so I'll let you know its progress.
Department 57 is also continuing, over at Loose-Id. "Crystal Tides," Kai the merman's story is to be released in April, and "Jewel of the Dragon" has been contracted to be rewritten, re-edited and released later in the year.
I had my first contemporary romance released this year, too. I still don't have the numbers on "Beauty of Sunset," but I loved writing it, and if it's possible, write some more.
The historical romances started the year a little quietly. I'm thrilled that Richard and Rose have found a whole new readership, but at first, sales were, while respectable, not as good as I'd hoped. But over the year sales have grown, surprising me by the growth, and now I'm really happy with the way it's progressing. January 12th sees the release of the first never-seen-before Richard and Rose from Samhain, "Eyton." I can't wait. I've also written Corin's story, "A Betting Chance," from the Triple Countess series, and it's due to be released in April.
So I've been a bit busy. How about you?
Excerpt from Eyton
Scandal, murder and passion—an ordinary day for Richard and Rose. Richard and Rose, Book 5 When Richard and Rose visit his family estate in Derbyshire to celebrate the christening of their firstborn, Rose comes face to face with some hard realities about the powerful Kerre family. The vast majority of them are far from delighted with Richard’s choice of wife. Plus, they think a man who shares his bed with his wife every night must have something wrong with him. Rose is driven half mad by Richard’s overly careful love for her. Somewhere underneath that smooth, sophisticated surface lies the passionate, intense lover she longs for—and she takes steps to seduce that savage lover back into her bed. Their joyous occasion is marred by the theft of a valuable necklace. Richard’s family looks to him to solve the crime—but something isn’t adding up. Evidence pointing to two trusted servants seems too convenient…and then they’re murdered. From the tangle of jealousies, secrets and desperate lies, Richard and Rose once again dance on the edge of danger to achieve justice—without dragging the family name into public scandal. Warning: Sharp-shootin’ Rose goes gunning for her man in this one. So steamy sex ahoy!
One of the things I appreciated about my maid was her ability to be silent when I needed it, and to converse without too many your ladyships and the like. Tonight we were quiet, and she went about her duties efficiently, hardly raising a sound from the floor as she moved to the dressing room to take my clothes away. I used the precaution she had suggested. There was no need to mention it to her. What I required, a small sponge and a bottle, waited for my use in the dressing room.
I wore only my dressing gown. It was the one Richard had bought me in Venice that I had put away during my pregnancy. I was pleased to be able to get into this one again, a delicate confection of ivory silk and floral embroidery. He’d bought it in the week between his arrival in Venice and mine.
I leaned back in my chair and closed my eyes, remembering that time and how overwhelmed I was by the intensity of his loving and the intensity of my response, the trouble we’d shared there fading into the back of my mind. Partly because of that time I trusted him wholly now and respected his needs as much as he respected mine.
I heard the door from his dressing room open, but I didn’t open my eyes. I smiled as I breathed in that sharp perfume he always wore, and felt his lips gently touch mine. I opened my eyes and met his blue gaze, saw him smiling at me. “You’re here.”
“So I am,” he replied. “Are you tired, my love? Would you like to go to bed?”
“No I’m not tired, but I would like to go to bed.” It was an echo of our first night in Venice, an indication he had been thinking about it too.
I went into his arms. We stood for a long time, holding each other, before he gently loosened his hold and took my hand to lead me to the bed. He undid the fastenings on my dressing gown and undid his own. Neither of us wore anything underneath. I touched his hair, short, with a natural wave. I thought it gave him an angelic look. “Will you ever wear a nightcap?”
“I doubt it. The absurdity would make us both laugh too much to get any sleep.”
“You could wear a nightshirt with it,” I pointed out. “Most men do.”
“And you’re classifying me with most men?”
I smiled. “There you have me.”
Softly he kissed me and pushed my dressing gown off my shoulders. I let it slide to the floor.
I thrilled to see his gaze ignite. “I can’t believe I have you.”
“Believe it. It’s true.” His voice excited me right to the marrow.
He slipped off his own gown and drew back the light bedcovers that were all we needed on this warm night. Candles burned on the dressing table and on each of the nightstands so we could see each other. I got into bed and held out my arms for him. He came to me gladly.
“This time,” I whispered to him, my mouth close to his, “I want to make love all night. I want to see the sun rise, and know I’ve been with you every minute, every hour.” We would make tonight count.
He moved to hold me close, to make love to me, to show me his love in the most physical way, but the way that brought spiritual fulfilment sighing in its wake, that made the difference between love and sexual congress. This would be our time, our night.
I was determined to make this night memorable. Since it was summer and the fire not lit, I had a supply of candles on hand, so I could see him whenever I wanted to. My hair was brushed into a shining sheet of waves, a chestnut sea for him. I left it loose, to fall below my shoulders for his pleasure.
He took his time. He touched me, loved me, as though this were the first time and we had come fresh to each other, except by now he knew what I liked best, what would give the best response, the most intense sensation. I no longer felt awkward with him, indeed I hadn’t felt like that since our first night together.
He touched me, kissed where he had touched, my mouth first, deep and sweet, our bodies pressed together, my breasts against his chest, our legs entwined. “You have the sweetest taste in the world, my love, my only love.”
I touched him in return and ran my hands over his lean strength. “My heart is yours, my body and everything I have.”
He slid down, cradling my breasts in his hands before he kissed each one and took my nipples into his mouth to taste and nip. He could have done that all night and I would have begged for more, but he left them with reluctant kisses, to touch and lick further down, lingering at the soft space inside my hip, where I was particularly sensitive. His hands on my hips prevented me from wriggling out from his grasp, and his low chuckle told me he knew the reaction he had on me.
I gasped as he reached the inside of my thigh, lingering, softly kissing me. Every touch sensitised me even more. I could hardly bear his touches, but I wanted more and yet more. The longing was killing me, but it was exquisite torture, and I whispered, “Please—oh yes,” as he finally reached the place I yearned for him to be.“I have missed this so much, sweetheart. Your taste has haunted my dreams.”