Newsletter, July 2009
Note: Don't forget to keep checking my website for the latest news and excerpts.
I have very exciting news! I hope you'll agree.
For a little while now I've been working with some women at Ellora's Cave to make a new series. It was the brainchild of Ciana Stone, who is a ball of fire and a great colleague. I hope now, a friend. We're producing a new series with a cougar theme, that is, older woman, younger man. Seven women meet at a romance convention, and agree that they need to move on, they're in a rut. One of their number challenges the others - find a younger man for real, don't just talk about it!
I thought this was interesting because it sets up new conflicts I hadn't thought about before, and if my book worked, it would be my first published contemporary romance. Not a paranormal being in sight.
My character is Edie, an ex supermodel and plastic surgeon John Sung, a half-Asian American. I've always had a weakness for a hot Asian man, so I could let my fantasies go with this one! Ellora's Cave were most insistent, and rightly so, that I emphasised there was no professional relationship between Edie and John. So he refuses to take her as his patient, refers her to someone else and then meets up with her another time.
The book was accepted by Ellora's Cave and we're working on the edits now. I really loved working on this one, it just flowed. My book is the second in the series, and the first, Samantha Kane's . Watch for "Play It Again Sam" on October 16th. My book, "Beauty of Sunset" should be out soon!
Oh, and before I forget. We have a blog. Our characters are blogging at the Tempt The Cougar blog. We thought it would be great fun to do that in real time, and let people join in.
The books are:
1. PLAY IT AGAIN, SAM by Samantha Kane
2. BEAUTY OF SUNSET by Lynne Connolly
3. WINTER’S THAW by Dalton Diaz
4. HOT TO TROT by Desiree Holt
5. ASSUME THE POSITIONS by Mari Carr
6. BLUE TATTOO by Mari Freeman
7. CAM’S HOLIDAY by Ciana Stone
and do visit the blog. http://temptthecougar.blogspot.com/
Writing - Kai's book is currently being assessed at Loose-Id. It was great fun to write and meant I could revisit Cromer, a seaside town in Norfolk which I really loved visiting in the summer. It's the home of the most decorated lifeboatman ever, one Henry Blogg. But Kai the merman isn't living there because of that!
I've started to write the next Triple Countess book, so at last Corin will find his lady. It should form a bridge between that and the new series, but if I say any more I'll jinx it, so I'll just carry on writing!
"Red Shadow," the next STORM book has been accepted at Ellora's Cave. This features the vampire Johann, my first vampire story since "Rubies of Fire," so that was a challenge, but a welcome one. I've introduced a few new characters, and you will get to reaquaint yourself with some new ones. The series also has a title - Ecstasy in Red. Isn't that nice? I do plan to continue this series with stories from Team Blue, and so on, as long as the ideas keep coming. While Team Red members were essentially fighting remnants left over from the old world, before Talents became generally known, Team Blue have a new challenge to face. But I'll let you guess that for now, as while I know where I want to take the series, I haven't worked out the details yet.
I'm currently writing a Triple Countess book. So for those of you who wanted a new historical, I'm working on it! Corin gets his lady, at last. I started to write Corin's story with Alethea from Last Chance, My Love, as heroine, but although they liked each other very much, they didn't fall in love. And I tried so hard to make it happen. Sometimes that happens, and since I wasn't on a deadline with this book I could go back and start again. This time I found someone and the magic happened!
A little taster from Beauty of Sunset. It's unedited, so please bear with my mistakes and oopsies!
Edie stood contemplating a splash of paint on canvas. She usually liked modern art but this exhibition had left her cold. Even though the splash was a particularly bright blue. Maybe she was getting old, or something. She’d felt enervated for a while now.
Then a sense, a feeling of warmth swept through her, and a voice, deep and somehow intimate, came from behind her. “Good evening.”
She caught her breath, breathed out slowly, and turned around. “Hi.”
John Sung, mouthwatering in a charcoal gray dress shirt, unbuttoned at the neck, and black pants that she knew had to be designer, probably Ralph Lauren from the cut. His coal-black hair was short, cut to shadow the shape of his skull and his clean-cut cheekbones pushed against the gleaming olive skin, just below the almond-shaped eyes.
As before he watched her with a single-minded intensity. She shuddered and resisted clasping her arms around her body in a protective gesture. She hadn’t felt this vulnerable for years. Forever.
Stupid. She shook her hair back off her face and held out her hand. “Nice to see you again.”
A brief touch of his fingers, then he was gone, but she felt the tingle of the contact and wondered at it.
“Do you like them?”
She glanced around and gave a small shake of her head. “They’re perfectly fine, but not precisely my thing.”
She couldn’t walk away again. Remembering the advice the blog girls had given her she decided to take the plunge. Business between them was far from over, she knew that now. “I live fairly close. Come back for coffee?”
“I’d be glad to.”
An old invitation, but sometimes it meant just that. She could throw him out if she chickened out, but at least she’d know him better, get him out of her system. Or they might just take things a bit further. She’d play it by ear.
Once outside the gallery they passed the inevitable gamut of photographers, who were more interested in the young heiress who’d just entered the gallery and walked away from the event, where John lifted his hand and hailed a passing cab. “Dreadful, weren’t they?”
She laughed. “Yes, but it wouldn’t have been good to say it there. That artist is the latest sensation.”
He shrugged. “I couldn’t live with one of those daubs for long. They’ll be decorating some swish offices downtown before too long.”
That was so much what she was thinking she had to suppress her laugh. He helped her into the cab and she gave her address and leaned back. “Not your offices, though.”
“What?” She turned her head to see him staring at her. “Oh, yes. Not fucking likely. Pure crap. Pretty colored crap, but if I had to look at it everyday I’d probably go insane.”
She laughed, knowing what he meant. She kept her apartment clean and filled with only the things she needed, or she liked. Only a few people saw it these days, so she kept it exactly as she wanted it.
The taxi dropped them at her building and she let Sung—John—pay. Fighting over a few dollars didn’t seem worth it, especially with her stomach tying itself in knots. The night she’d allowed her fantasy to win played through her again, sending thrills through her. And he hadn’t even touched her. Probably wouldn’t.
They stood either side of the elevator, as if avoiding touch and he stood back and let her exit first when they reached her floor. She unlocked the door and passed through, turning on the floor lights and touching the dimmer. Not to intimate, just lower than full-on.
“Nice.” He stood in the center of the large room and turned around. She’d left the mezzanine in shadow, but its depths added richness to the effect. She’d kept colors muted and cool, comfortable and soothing rather than challenging. This was her home now.
“Thanks. My last husband liked the French Empire style. Fussy, lots of gold, you know the type.”
He laughed. “Yeah. I’ve visited places like that. This is more to my taste. Understated. Classy.”
She smiled as she walked through to the kitchen area and found the coffeemaker. “Do you want something fancy, cappuccino or latte?” Her huge machine did it all.
“No, just coffee, black, no sugar.”
Typical. Most men asked for it like that, but she’d bet a few secretly went for double shot Americano when nobody was looking. Somehow, this man seemed the black coffee type. “Make yourself at home.”
She wasn’t. She took hers with cream. Plenty of it. She put the cups on a tray and carried them through.
He’d settled on one of the wide sofas facing the window. Lights twinkled in a cityscape she’d dreamed about as a little girl in small-town England. Now she was here. Having that view reminded her every day how lucky she was. It helped. Sometimes.
She put the tray down on the glass coffee-table and sat next to him. They didn’t have to touch on this wide sofa, but somehow she ended closer than she’d planned. He sat, his arms spread over the back and arm, more relaxed than she’d imagined him.
“Do you want to know why I wouldn’t take you as a patient?”
Yes. She swallowed, and touched her throat. “Why?”
His glasses glinted as he turned away from the view to look at her. Behind the lenses his eyes gleamed with truth. “Because I can’t take a scalpel to you. You’re too perfect to be touched. I can’t do it.”
She frowned, squinting at him. “Are you sure you were looking at the right woman? Maybe one time I might have agreed with you, but you have to know that I’m forty-five years old. My years of perfection are behind me.”
“I don’t think so. You carry your life with you and you’ll only grow better with age. Your bone structure is awesome.”
“Is that a medical term?”
“Abso-fucking-lutely.” He huffed a laugh but didn’t sound amused. “Operating on you would be like smoothing the statue of the Venus de Milo back to a blurry approximation of what it should be.”
“You’re dissing plastic surgery? Don’t you make your living at it?”
His lips twisted in a wry smile. “Sure. But we don’t just do vanity stuff. And even then it isn’t always about vanity. Some women make their living from keeping their beauty. Actresses over forty have difficulty getting good leading roles, or they did before the cosmetic surgeon got to work. Pop stars need to be honed and buffed weeks after giving birth or leaving rehab.” He shrugged. “You know how it goes.”
“None better.” Although she’d never gone under the knife before she didn’t condemn people who made that choice. “But now it’s my turn. I take it the confidential doctor-patient relationship between us is no more?”
“You take it right. It was there for about five minutes. I’d still like to know why you want it done, but you’re not talking to a doctor here. Just me, John, a man.”
She loved that voice, the way it purred over her skin like the caress of silk.