Wednesday, July 29, 2009

New release - Red Heat

I’m putting on my author “Buy my Book” hat here. Just so you know.

Today sees the release of the second Red book set in my STORM universe, “Red Heat” and here’s an extract from it:

Slowly, Jillian turned around, keeping her eyes averted until the last moment, working hard to keep her expression clear.

His eyes widened and he fixed her with a stare as blue as the ocean but much hotter. She couldn’t look away. He scanned her from the top of her head to her shoes and back again. “Jillian.” The sound barely passed his lips but it broke the tense hush.

She opened her mouth, tried to speak but found her lips too dry and she passed her tongue over the lower one before closing her mouth again.

His groan was a little louder but not much, more of a sigh, an exhalation that seemed to release something inside him. He took a step toward her but stopped when she instinctively shrank back and planted his feet wide apart instead, shoving his hands in his pockets. He seemed bigger in reality than in any of the photos she’d studied, more vital somehow.

“Where have you been?” His voice was level but she saw the effort it took him to keep it that way from the strained tendons in his neck and the taut lines around his mouth.

“Getting better.” She had her story pat but now she faced him, she found it far more difficult than she’d ever imagined. And she’d imagined it a lot, practiced it until she could do it in her sleep. Until now, when she faced him for the first time. “I couldn’t come back. Not before. I was too ill.”

“The car crash?”

She nodded, trying to remember the script or something resembling it. She’d been through this so many times in preparation for this moment. But it was too late. It had all gone, fled from her memory at the sight of this devastating male. From the top of his gleaming golden head to his highly polished Italian shoes, he exuded powerful masculinity and it took her breath away.

“You’re better? Recovered?”

She nodded again.

“That’s all I need to know for now.” He took the three strides separating them and swept her into his arms, his mouth crashing down on hers as she gasped in shock.

She couldn’t breathe, couldn’t think as he devoured her like a man starving for her taste. His scent, hauntingly familiar, a cologne she knew but couldn’t place, mingled with the unmistakable aroma of hot, needy male. And it was her he wanted. Her or the person he thought she was.

At that moment, she wanted him. Whatever, whoever he was. When he flicked his tongue across her lips, shaping, tasting, then returned to the seam, she opened her mouth to him. And her body. She was lost. Anything he wanted, he could have.

When she imagined this scenario, tried to prepare for it, this part was the hardest of all to prepare for. Not that Chase Maynord wasn’t the most powerful, gorgeous man she’d ever met but he would want her and she thought that would make her feel cheap and degraded. They’d known the sight of his lost love would lead to this but never had she imagined how much she’d want him too. He’d refused to take part in vital experiments her bosses had proposed to him but she couldn’t hold that against him now. Not with what he was holding against her. She wanted his hard, long, hot cock with a ferocity that astonished her, but she couldn’t deny her need.

He tore his mouth from hers, only to search her face with a hunger she’d never experienced before. No one had ever wanted her with such intensity and it burned her shame and doubts away. She could do this. More than that, she wanted it.

“Tell me you’re okay now,” he whispered, the intimacy searing her heart.

“I’m okay now.” She felt far from okay, but she didn’t feel lost and alone anymore.

“Do you still feel the same about me?”

She choked. He was opening himself completely to her now and instead of feeling good about it, he made her feel cheap, because she was the liar here. She decided to lie as little as possible. “I don’t know.”

He touched her cheek with one finger, as tender now as he’d been passionate a moment before but she saw in his eyes that he’d only banked it down. “What happened to you, sweetheart? Where have you been?”


With one impatient gesture, he waved it away and curved his hand around her waist. “That doesn’t matter. Not now. Only this does. Do you still want me?”

Still? “I want you.” That was no lie. She wanted this man, wanted him to take her and fuck her brains out so she wouldn’t have to think anymore. This man was gorgeous and right now he only had eyes for her.

“I never stopped wanting you. Even when I thought you were dead I never stopped. It’s been driving me insane.” The fires returned to his eyes and he bent his head, stealing another kiss before he lifted her into his arms and headed for the bed.

He laid her down and his hands went to his tie, ripping it off without looking away from her. His shirt lasted about ten seconds before it landed on the floor and she had an unimpeded view of his chest. Powerful, lightly sprinkled with hair a shade darker than the golden hair on his head, the expanse was marked with ridges that showed developed muscle. She wanted to touch it, know if it tasted as good as it looked.

She sat up but when she would have lifted her top over her head, he leaned down and touched his lips to hers in a fleeting kiss, leaving her starving for more. He urged her down and she lay on the soft bedcover while he climbed up and over her, straddling her yearning body, owning it. She lifted her hands and pressed them on his hard, beautiful chest. It felt so good, hot and smooth with the slight roughness of hair and when she moved her hands, his nipples pressed hard against her palms. She wanted that heat against her skin. The only recent touches she could remember were impersonal ones from the doctors or friendly pats from her mentors. Nothing like this. She arched up to him and felt him grasp her blouse. When she opened her eyes all she could see was him, drinking her in. She wanted this. Whatever came next, she’d have this.”

And here’s the short description:

Of all the hotels in New York, she has to walk into his.
Ever since Chase Maynord lost the love of his life in a car crash, he’s used her name as a password for STORM agents at his luxury hotel. So when someone registers as Jillian Miller, he assumes it’s business as usual.
But it’s not. Jillian returns to him and their lust burns up the sheets. Only she thinks she’s someone else, her memory destroyed by their mutual enemy. Chase wants her back and he’ll do anything to get her.
Jillian’s mission is to deliver Chase to the IRDC, enemy to Talents. But, stunned by her hunger for him, she doesn’t know whose side she’s on any more.
The old Jillian loved exhibiting herself to an appreciative audience so Chase takes her somewhere he can indulge her every desire. He prays that her old passion for making love in public will restore her to him.
She has to come back to him soon, or they’re both dead. And he won’t let her die alone.

For some reason this book was really hard to write. Part of it was writing a convincing Jillian, the heroine. At the start of the story, Jillian thinks her name is Caroline, and she’s been sent in by the organisation that paid for all her medical care after a near-fatal car crash three years before. Only she really is Jillian, and the IRDC has messed with her mind. The hero, Chase, knows her for who she is, and since Chase is a Sorcerer, and can see into the parts of people’s minds even they aren’t aware of, he’s sure. But she’s not.

I wrote and re-wrote and re-wrote the beginning of that book until I despaired, but I knew from the chemistry between Chase and Jillian that I was on to a good thing so I carried on. You see, you can create the characters, do oodles of preparation before you start, know them like you know your nearest and dearest, but when you bring them together in the story, sometimes it just fizzles. I’ve had that happen before, in the Chance series, when I crafted a heroine for Corin and he just didn’t care for her, nor she for him. If the love scenes are a slog to write, it’s not working.

Chase couldn’t keep his hands off Jillian, and they ended up in bed much earlier than I’d planned, but sometimes that happens, and I let it. Saw where it went, and I liked it.

Jillian has to learn to trust Chase, but more than that, she has to learn to trust herself. So much has happened to her that she is lost, at sea, and she needs to be sure of herself before she can be sure of anyone else. Being plunged into a life-or-death situation doesn’t help her very much. In fact, it’s a death-or-death situation, because of course, the IRDC has no intention of letting her life once she’s fulfilled her objective of bringing Chase over to the Dark Side.

Many people have written about paranormal worlds once they’ve become established, once people have realised and accepted that vampires, shape-shifters and other paranormal beings live among them. Some have written about a world where vampires and their brethren remain hidden, a society within society. In the STORM universe, I wanted to write about “tomorrow,” the days and years following the realization, and how society learns to cope – or doesn’t. If you saw a dragon in the sky tomorrow, knew it was real, not a kite or a barrage balloon or anything else, how would you feel? Terror, perhaps, excitement, maybe even horror. You might turn away from the knowledge, refuse to believe, despite all the proof that starts to pour out of the media. You might run to embrace it, become a groupie, follow them around, beg them to convert you, even if they swear they can’t. Or you might decide that this is a threat, that you need to fight it.

From the way society today behaves, it could be all three, and that’s the most likely outcome. Not the careful construction of a computer game, not obviously (insert your favourite game here) but another, simpler one. So I decided to write about that, and so far it’s been fascinating.

You can buy the book here:

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