It’s been a quiet month, considering I had my first release since March! “Shifting Heat” has gone out into the atmosphere and I’m keeping my fingers crossed for it. I really love the hero, Andros, because he was dying, and had reconciled himself to it, but then got a second lease of life when he was converted into a shape-shifting dragon. All his troubles were over, right? Oh no, because inside, he still felt like the physically weak man he was for most of his life. He can’t take that final leap. Until he meets a woman who accepts him for who he is now, not who he was then. Anyway, love to hear your take on it!
And I have another release in September! How’s that for cool? This one is from Total E-Bound, and it’s a novella, called “Temporary Spy,” part of their “Tempting Temps” collection. Hopefully, it will come out in paperback, collected with a couple of others from the series, and it’s coming out in audiobook, too.
It was a treat to write. I wrote it straight after I’d finished and polished and rewritten “Lisbon,” the last Richard and Rose book, and that was so hard to write, with all the research, and keeping the timeline straight, and the writer’s block I was in denial about at the time, that it was lovely to turn to a one-off story set in a place I know well (London) about people with different problems. It was the fizz, the dessert, that I needed to get me out of the deep funk I was in. I find that helpful when I’m faced with a block – write something else! I think it’s partly fatigue, but also other things that are going on bleeding into the writing day. And I don’t talk about it, because, like depression, it’s something that has to be endured and got through.
So Tempting Spy is my fizz book, and there’s an excerpt below for you. I’ve put the first chapter. And it’s out from Total E-Bound on the 25th September.
Other things? I’m currently writing the second “Trust” book, which I’ll send to my editor at Carina. I loved writing the first one, and it introduced a character I really wanted to know more about, so this is his story. How could I ignore the world of the Naples gangster, once I’d uncovered it? And while writing this book, I discovered a new to me setup, which will lead me into writing another one. It seems inevitable.
Some great news from Ellora’s Cave, which was leaked last week – prices to third party sellers like Amazon are going down! Unlike other epubs, Amazon did a test study, taking a few authors and experimenting with price points (all with the cooperation of the authors). It turned out to be a great success, and so the prices after October will be comparable to the prices you’ve always been able to get on EC’s website. Although I’ve never had any trouble, I know some people have difficulties with the site, so this is great news. Lower prices might mean a drop in royalties, or it might not – we’ll have to wait and see. But I honestly think that EC still has some of the best authors out there, and they deserve to be wider read. It’s still the market leader for erotic romance, and I can’t see that changing.
Not as good news on the Samhain front, for me at least. Still no word from my editor on the Richard and Rose and Freddy front, I’m afraid. I was asked to rewrite “Lisbon” twice, and she takes 12 weeks to read each rewrite. Since the books are still uncontracted, it looks like I won’t have a new Samhain book out in 2012, as they are now scheduling for 2013. However, “Maiden Lane” is coming out in print in February, yay! While I’m Samhain’s bestseller in historical romance, that doesn’t mean my sales compare to the erotics that constantly make the Samhain top ten these days. They are a great publisher, though, and I’ve loved my time there. Still will, if I can. I’ve decided to write a standalone historical, one from a potential series I’ve been thinking about for some time, and see how it does. I also have a historical paranormal out on query, so you never know…
From time to time madness takes me and I try to write a Harlequin Presents. These books are in every bookstore, all over the world, and while the money’s not great, the promotion and publicity is invaluable. My latest effort returned to me after a read and a discussion, so I intend to rewrite it a bit, deepen it and see where I can send it. I loved writing it. It’s about a girl who loves vintage and second hand clothes.
If any of you are reviewers, drop me a line. I’d love some reviews for the new releases! There are some on the way, but I’m greedy! They are – Shifting Heat, with Temporary Spy, Bloody Crystal (a new Dept 57 book) and Learning to Trust (romantic suspense) coming up soon.
And I think that’s about it for now. If you want to know anything, if I’ve missed anything out, shout out. And as always, thanks for being here. You make what I do real. Not to mention giving me the greatest reason for sitting at my computer for 12 hours a day, making stuff up!
Finlay Scott knows someone is stealing his architectural designs, so he employs an agency that specialises in weeding out industrial spies. But he doesn't know they will send Beth, a woman he had a torrid affair with years before, and has been unable to forget.
Beth sees this job as paying off an old debt, but matters get much further, much faster, and they're soon seeing how many office surfaces can take both their bodies.
Excerpt (over 18’s only, please):
Beth stretched, raising hands to the sky. “What time is it?”
Joy favoured her with a glance. “A quarter to five. The boss wants to see you at five. Chances are he’ll send you back to the agency.”
“What makes you say that?” She got it, she really did. Joy wanted Finlay. Well, as far as she was concerned, Joy was welcome to him. She was here to pay back a debt, that was all. And to see justice done in the best traditions of a superhero. Pity she wasn’t one, but she did her best to behave like a reasonable human being, unlike some people not too far away from here.
She grimaced. She had rather overdone it, screwing up the filing. Maybe if she made up for it in the next hour it would give Finlay a chance to rehire her. Not that he knew she was here. After all, she’d only started two days ago when he’d been in Rome and she was only here until she’d accomplished her task.
She stared at her computer screen. Joy had given her some standard letters to type, print and send. Her typing wasn’t perfect, but she could manage the computer formatting. She had the same program at home. So she set to it and, by five, she had half a dozen letters typed and printed out, ready for his signature. Glancing up from her screen, she gave Joy a tentative smile. “I’m sorry about the filing. I guess I was nervous.”
Joy sniffed and leaned against the copier, folding her arms across her chest. “I daresay. But you’ll have to put in some fancy talking if you want to stay here.”
“I do. Is fancy talking all that’s required?” She gave a winsome smile, and rested her arms on the sides of her chair.
Joy glared at her. “He doesn’t mix business and pleasure. Ever.”
Beth made sure Joy saw the up and down she gave her, paying special attention to that tight red skirt. “You could have fooled me.”
“It’s actually very comfortable. I wear it a lot.” I bet you do. But Beth didn’t say it aloud. The skirt showed the cleft between her buttocks. Puppies in a sack, she’d thought as she’d watched Joy sashay into Finlay’s office earlier.
Beth had actually suffered a pang of jealousy—her first for, well, two years. Nearly three. She’d worked so hard in the intervening years, she’d hardly noticed the time going by. Until, that was, she lay in her bed at night. Alone.
Joy gave her a warmer smile. “This is his favourite skirt. He never says, but I can tell. He was disappointed when I couldn’t go to Rome with him last week, but it couldn’t be helped. I think one of those letters you’re typing was thanks to the hotel? He likes to do that.” She sighed. “He wants to be sure of the room next time.”
She had noticed that. Joy had booked a one-bedroom suite. “He takes you every time?”
“Always,” Joy purred. “He wouldn’t go without me.”
Her inference was clear. Keep off! In a perverse way, Beth felt glad that Joy would even see her as a rival.
Beth gathered the papers together and tidied the edges, doing her best to ignore her trembling hands. She had to face him sooner or later. “Should I go in now, or wait until he calls for me?”
Joy grinned at her. “Go in, just knock and enter. He likes punctuality and he doesn’t like formality.”
Why did she suspect that friendly smile? Probably for good reason. But she did as Joy told her, knocked and went straight in.
Finn’s head jerked up. “Didn’t Joy tell you not to come in until…” His voice tailed off. “Fuck, oh fuck.” He sounded entirely different now, unsure and astonished.
“Where have you been? Where did you come from?”
Too late to retreat. He knew her, and nothing had changed from the last time they’d seen each other. Except that the desire between them seemed to have increased, if anything. She hadn’t thought that possible, had hoped it had died. Some hope.
Beth closed the door hastily as he got to his feet and rounded the desk, heading for her with a determination she couldn’t avoid. She took a step back, but there was nowhere to go. Her back hit the door as he reached her, and she got barely a glimpse of his eyes, hot with passion, before his mouth descended on hers.
All her good intentions melted when his arms enclosed her, all thoughts of keeping her distance disappeared. Hunger replaced reason.
With his mouth locked to hers, she knew they wouldn’t stop there, wanted more of him. His mouth worked hers, persuaded her to open to him and he took possession, eating at her as if he’d starved for a year or more. She knew because she’d felt the same way. She gripped his forearms, felt handfuls of crisp shirt fabric, and held on. Her head went back under the pressure of his, hitting the door with another thud.
He dragged his mouth away from hers, but only to stare at her, as if he couldn’t believe it. “Oh my God, you’re here, it’s really you!” With a groan, he settled his mouth on hers again. And this time he put his hands to work, gripping her waist then sliding up, bringing her top with them. He kissed down her neck to the place where her throat met her shoulders and she was toast. Lost. She breathed deep, inhaling the scent of shampoo and Boss and him. It felt like coming home.
But a home filled with turbulence. Shock reverberated through her system, but he was already replacing it with desire and swiftly escalating it to desperate need. He touched her bare skin and she shuddered, then he undid the buttons of her top and she helped him, let him draw it off her and toss it aside. His gaze stroked her with an intensity that made her shudder. As he watched, she lifted away from the door, took her hands off him and reached behind to unhook her bra.
When her breasts tumbled free, his hands were waiting to capture them. He gasped when he touched them, but she nearly drowned the sound he made with her soft moan. “I didn’t come for this.”
“But this is what you’re going to get.” His low, trembling voice increased the intimacy between them, his hot breath gusting against her skin, raising goosebumps where it touched her. He caressed her breasts, cupped the soft weights with his hands, the calluses rasping deliciously against her. She shuddered and pushed herself into him, urging him to do more.
“Come here.” In a sudden movement, he released her, grabbed her waist and pulled her even closer. His starched shirt hit her bare skin, the warmth of his body underneath tantalising her with its propinquity. She ripped at the fabric between them until it separated at the front. Then, with a sigh of relief, she touched him, slid her hands over the hard curves of his heated flesh and the tiny points of his nipples, as hard as hers were.“Finn, oh, Finn.”