Posts Categorized: Author Interview

5 Star Book Review and Author Interview: HILLBILLY ROCKSTAR by Lorelei James (@loreleijames)

September 12, 2014 Author Interview, Book Review, Contemporary Romance 0

*This review and interview were originally published at Romance at Random.*

 

Hillbilly

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About Hillbilly Rockstar (Blacktop Cowboys #6)

 

She’s protecting his body and guarding her heart…

Country music star Devin McClain understands there’s a downside to life in the public eye, but the laidback Wyoming cowboy has never imagined he’d attract crazed fans who would do anything to garner his attention. When veiled threats become real, he agrees to hire a discreet security detail. But Devin is shocked when that bodyguard is a hard-bodied woman. He’s even more stunned to be attracted to the steely-eyed stunner.

Former soldier Liberty Masterson’s return to civilian life has been wrought with challenges until she lands a job with a prestigious security firm. But when she agrees to provide personal protection during a cross-country tour, she doesn’t realize she has signed up to masquerade as the playboy star’s girlfriend. Though she’s more comfortable in combat boots than high heels, she has no choice but to appear to be the sexy groupie Devin prefers.

Living in close quarters causes the chemistry between them to ignite, and Devin realizes he wants to turn their charade of a romance into reality. Although Liberty surrenders to his every whim behind closed doors, she fears the sexy country star doesn’t see the real her; and Devin can’t help but worry when the tour ends that there might not be enough between them to build something that won’t fade away…

 

My Review

 

My Rating: 5 Stars

“Devin knew he shouldn’t be having those thoughts, but even after just one day, he knew he’d never met a woman quite like Liberty.”

Rockstars, bodyguards, and sex, oh my! When Devin McClain first meets Liberty Masterson, sparks fly, but not the good kind. Devin, a sexy country music star, resents his need for a bodyguard, even though it’s clear he’s not safe. Liberty just wants the payday and the chance to move up in her line of work. Together on a tour bus for four months, that prickly professional tension will quickly turn in to sizzling and undeniable sizzling tension, and the possibility of even more.

I loved this book because it had so many things that I enjoy reading: a hot cowboy rock star, a badass chick for a female lead, plenty of steamy sex, and an emotional romance, all perfectly balanced with humor and a bit of suspense. Obviously if you’re reading a romance and you throw two sexy people together, alone, on a luxury tour bus for hours at a time then something is going to happen. I completely enjoyed Devin and Liberty’s story and the way it progresses from strained professionalism to spicy sexual chemistry, to a real, but undeniably complicated relationship.

Lorelei James has written genuine and multi-dimensional characters with very natural chemistry. Both Devin and Liberty have compelling back-stories and are relatable and engaging. Devin is everything you want in a charming, gorgeous, sex-oozing-from-every pore rock star. Liberty is definitely a match for him: she’s a tough ex-army female with a strong personality and a bangin’ body. Both characters have some major emotional walls erected, but are written with enough vulnerability. They may seem like an unlikely couple at first, but as the story moves forward it seems obvious they belong together. Oh, and the sex between these two is amazing. It might be necessary for Liberty to be Devin’s protector when in public, but behind closed doors Devin is ALL alpha male. These two are up for just about anything and the sex scenes are numerous and very well written.

“He wouldn’t deny himself any part of her body. The sooner she understood he liked raunchy sex of all flavors, the better.”

The story is full of emotional ups and downs as our characters take us along with them on tour, and I felt like I was right there with them through every high energy performance, steamy encounter, and the quiet moments in between. This is a book that kept my full attention from the first page to the very last and had me laughing out loud and wiping away tears. One of the author’s many strengths lies in the dialogue she writes. It’s always natural and genuine, and everything from the witty banter to the dirty talk always feels completely real. A great supporting cast of characters adds color and dimension to an already engaging story. Lorelei James perfectly executes a combination of rock star and bodyguard romance, with the female lead as the fearless protector. Hillbilly Rockstar is perfect for readers that enjoy an HEA romance with a healthy dose of, sex, emotion, humor, healing, western charm, and a little suspense. I will absolutely read more from this author and this series.

*I received a complimentary copy of the book for the purpose of honest review.

 

Talking Blacktop Cowboys with Lorelei James

 

What inspired you to write the Blacktop Cowboys series and this particular installment?

LJ: I loved the idea of taking the bodyguard trope and flipping it on its head—having a tough woman with a military background protecting a male celebrity. Obviously a tough Wyoming cowboy has an issue with that, so it was really fun with the back and forth between them as they learned to rely on and trust each other.

What is your favorite Devin and Liberty “moment”?

LJ: I only get to pick one? Their first kiss and first intimate encounter have to win out. But I also love the small moments when they bolster each other when they’re alone on the tour bus.

Who is your rock star crush?

LJ: In country music? I’m a huge Dierks Bentley fan, and who doesn’t love Luke Bryan? On the rock side of my musical tastes, my crushes are Sully Erna from Godsmack and Adam Levine from Maroon 5.

Which is your favorite “Blacktop cowboy”?

LJ: The character I wrote most recently is always my favorite because he’s the freshest one in my mind, so Devin McClain 🙂

Is there more to come from the Blacktop cowboy series?

LJ: Roped In, a novella set in the Blacktop Cowboys world releases Sept 9th. And I hope to have book seven out in September of 2015.

 


5 Star Book Review and Author Interview: NO LIMITS by Lori Foster (@LoriFoster) #Sexy #MMAFighter

September 3, 2014 Author Interview, Book Review, Book Tour, Contemporary Romance 0

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Praise for NYT Bestselling Author Lori Foster

 

“Storytelling at its best! Lori Foster should be on everyone’s auto-buy list!”

–Sherrilyn Kenyon on No Limits

“Bestseller Foster…has an amazing ability to capture a man’s emotions and lust with sizzling sex scenes and meld it with a strong woman’s point of view.”

–Publisher’s Weekly on A Perfect Storm

“A sexy, believable roller coaster of action and romance.”

–Kirkus Reviews on Run the Risk

“Foster’s writing satisfies all appetites with plenty of searing sexual tension and page-turning action in this steamy, edgy, and surprisingly tender novel.”

–Publisher’s Weekly on Getting Rowdy

 

About No Limits

 

A surprise inheritance reunites a mixed martial arts fighter with the woman he’s never forgotten in the first in a smoldering new series from New York Times bestselling author Lori Foster…

Cannon Colter is quintessential hero material: chiseled jawline, shredded body—the works. He’s also the guy who rescued Yvette Sweeny from kidnappers, only to put an end to her romantic dreams. These days, she’s older, smarter, determined to face whatever life throws her way. Even the prospect of sharing a house and business with Cannon.

Cannon knew Yvette wanted him three years ago. But she was young—and some things are worth waiting for. Thrown together by her grandfather’s legacy, he realizes how deep Yvette’s scars really go, and how much danger lurks in their quiet town. As pent-up desire explodes between them, protecting her becomes the only fight that matters. And he’ll break all the rules to do it…

 

My Review

 

My Rating: 5 Stars

“He’d walked through one fighter after another to make himself a prime contender for the belt, but resisting the lure of finally having Yvette was a fight he knew he couldn’t win.”

 Exciting and sexy, filled with genuine emotion and pulse-pounding action, No Limits is an addictive page-turner. Fans of MMA fighter romances Anyone with a pulse will fall in love with the hot, sweet, and fiercely protective Cannon Colter as he negotiates a tricky romance with Yvette, a woman from his past that he saved once. Now he wants to save her again, but she’s fiercely determined to save herself.

I loved the sizzling sexual chemistry between Cannon and Yvette. It’s not too over the top, just simmering on the surface, keeping both the characters and the reader totally on the edge. Cannon is the perfect pursuer: somehow predatory and kind all at once, which is an amazingly hot combination. Yvette, who has a few hang-ups from her past, tries her best to resist his advances and fails. (Um, I would have too!) I really liked Yvette’s character. She’s not a badass by any means but she has a strong inner strength. Combine that with beauty and a genuine vulnerability and she’s pretty irresistible. The story of Cannon and Yvette’s relationship is emotional and poignant, with a definite sexual edge.

Just Yvette and Colton’s relationship was enough to keep me glued to this book, but the plot has so much more in store for readers. There’s an element of suspense and some exciting action scenes, culminating in a dramatic climax that I didn’t expect. (That’s in addition to a few other sexier climaxes!) Add in a touch of humor for balance and a brilliant secondary cast of characters, and this book is a win. The secondary characters are particularly well-developed and I’m hoping this means that there’s more to come from the rest of the bunch, in the form of more books in this series. I would absolutely love read more of this group of sexy MMA fighters because yeah, who wouldn’t?

“He had an athlete’s body, a fighter’s strength, and an angel’s heart- all wrapped up in gorgeous good looks.”

*I received a complimentary copy of the book for the purpose of fair and honest review.

 

Author Interview

 

  1. Can you tell us a little bit about your latest release, NO LIMITS?

 

This is Cannon’s story, a character that readers met in my last series, Love Undercover. From the second Cannon showed up on the page, I knew he’d get his own story. He’s that kind of guy, the guy who steps up and takes notice and gets a lot of notice in return.

In NO LIMITS, Cannon reunites with Yvette, another character from the previous series. They parted under strained circumstances, with Cannon just heading into professional MMA and Yvette young and traumatized from a horrific threat. Cannon saved her then, but he was noble because of her age and what she’d been through. Now she’s older, more independent, and he’s ready to make up for lost time.

 

  1. Can you also fill us in on the prequel to the series, HARD KNOCKS?

 

HARD KNOCKS gives readers a peek into the MMA world and the fighters who will have novels in the Ultimate series. You get to see the inside of Cannon’s gym, the set-up and what the guys do for the neighborhood, as well as the close relationships they share. It’s a short romance featuring Gage and Harper, two fun, strong people with a few romantic quirks to work out. It’s short and sexy and gives readers a taste for how the novels will be more about fighters in a romance than about fighters fighting in the cage.

 

  1. How has your UFC obsession influenced the writing of NO LIMITS?

 

Well, I’ve gotten into the idea of picking silly fight names for the heroes. And from the fight names, I’ve come up with some “inspired” reasons for them. It also makes it easier to justify the guy being totally ripped – although not all fighters are. I’ve learned in actual fights the physical appearance can be deceiving. It’s more about heart and talent, training and speed, than how a guy looks. But naturally any hero I write about will be blessed with a six-pack and boulder shoulders.

 

  1. What was it like getting inside the mind of a mixed martial arts fighter?

 

I’ve interviewed a few fighters over the years, chatted with others while getting promotional photos and during before and after “meet and greets” while at live events. Every single fighter I’ve met has been extremely nice, unassuming, dedicated to fans, and (though it sounds silly) very sweet. It took only a few questions to see how much they give to the sport they love, the discipline it takes to stay in training, and the confidence they gain from having extreme ability. Since I’ve never asked a fighter about his love life, that part of the story is pure imagination on my part. But then I only write good guys, and talented lovers.

 

 

  1. What is your process for choosing names like Cannon Colter?

 

I’m a terrible cheat when it comes to names. More often than not I see a name on Facebook or Twitter that I like. I never, ever use a first and last name together, but I do pick and choose and mix and match. When I see a unique name, or a name that resonates with me, I grab it up. When I’m writing, I’m far less focused on names than I am on personality. Names for me are an afterthought, so stealing from my social media sites makes it easy.

 

  1. What are Cannon and Yvette’s best physical traits?

 

Although Cannon is a fighter with a shredded bod, it’s more his smile and his eyes that get to Yvette. He has a very sincere smile, because he’s a very sincere guy. And when he looks at a person, it’s felt through and through.

 

For Yvette, she has long beautiful hair, but it’s more about the deceptive confidence she tries to exude that draws Cannon – that, and the way she looks at him like he’s a superhero. What guy could resist that?

 

  1. What is the best scene (in your opinion) between Yvette and Cannon?

 

There’s a fun scene where Yvette is at the rec center (the gym) and the fighters start arguing. Cannon is irked, his buddies are irked, and Yvette thinks they might come to blows. She tries to put herself in the middle and sort of gets sandwiched between some pretty hot flesh. I smiled while writing it, so I hope readers smile when they read it.

The poor guys didn’t know what to think. They’re big, physical guys who don’t mind working out a few differences on the mat, but they’re also friends, and they’re fighters with a load of control often utilized in a fight. But with Yvette, they all want to be gentle – while struggling to figure her out.

 

  1. What music did you listen to while writing NO LIMITS?

 

I have a long playlist of about 150 songs. Much of it is from KORN and Kid Rock and Marilyn Manson, but I’ve also really gotten into Disturbed, The Pretty Reckless, Papa Roach, Skillet and Puddle of Mud. Oh, and Cage the Elephant. I like loud, strong music that I can sing along with while I’m writing.

 

  1. How is this series different from your previous works?

 

The Ultimate series is a different setting, different characters, different plots – and yet you still visit some of the characters from Love Undercover series since it remains in the same fictional city and state. In the last series the focus was on Rowdy’s bar and the police station. There are visits to the bar still, but much of the action takes place at Cannon’s rec center and in different houses owned by the characters.

The stories remain super-sexy, the guys remain alphas, the women remain smart and independent, and elements of suspense go throughout both series. But I hope each character has their own personality and for me, that’s where the differences should be most evident.

 

  1. What character did you find yourself most drawn to, and why?

 

I love Armie Jacobson – and I’m pretty sure readers will too. He’s outrageous, too sexy, has effortless talent in the cage, and a wounded background that has influenced his life greatly. I love all the guys – Gage, Cannon, Denver, Stack… but Armie stands out.

 

  1. Do you prefer writing about small town romance settings (like in NO LIMITS) or city settings?

 

I’m not sure I’ve ever written a large city setting. Smaller towns, always fictional, work best for me because I like the lack of anonymity in a small town. Everyone knows everyone, or has at least heard of everyone, and it can lead to some touching, and embarrassing, situations. I like the warmth of knowing your neighbors and caring about them. And I like the ease in creating the town.

 

  1. Who would play Cannon and Yvette in a book-to-film adaptation?

 

Josh Duhamel, while a little too old, would make a fabulous Cannon! He’s big and gorgeous and built. I think he’d be perfect if NO LIMITS was ever made into a movie. For the heroine, Mila Kunis is beautiful and I can easily picture her as Yvette. They’d make a hot couple!

 

  1. What are your five favorite verbs to use during a love scene?

 

Favorite verbs to use in a love scene… Only five, huh? Wow, that’s difficult. How about catch/caught, press, contract, nuzzle/nibble, lick/suck. I’m not sure I could write a full love scene without them.

 

 

  1. Can you tell us about the process behind the cover artwork?

 

Ooooh, I LOVE getting new covers, it’s so exciting. The way it works is that I give my editor an idea of what the characters look like. Usually this means emailing her my own character sheets – notes I keep on the characters to detail (and help me remember) height, eye and hair color, body type, etc… I usually include any and all info like the car he/she drives, job description, age and any other pertinent information that I might need to recall from book to book.

 

My editor also asks for a synopsis, but since they usually start working on covers long before I know what the story is about, it’s a guessing game on my end. I know there’ll be a hunk, a heroine, some suspense, hot sex, lots of emotion, and a happy ending. The how and why is often not clear to me at that point.

 

Then the publisher has a meeting with the art department and they brainstorm cover ideas and come up with a concept that I get to see.

 

The concept is just an idea. It’ll show a model, but not THE model. It’ll show a pose, but not THE pose. I see where the placement of my name and the title will appear, along with any quotes.

 

Once that’s approved, the art department does a photo shoot and from those images they choose the one they like best. I weigh in with pleas of chest hair. Chest hair is always my #1 requirement if they show the model with his shirt off. To be clear, this is for new novels, not novellas or re-issues. For those they generally use stock art. It’s all very fun and I can honestly say I’ve loved the artwork so far.

 

  1. If you were stranded on a desert island with one of your many characters, who would you choose and why?

 

Since I’m an enormous wimp and not at all heroic, I’d love to have Trace with me, from Trace of Fever. He’s bossy and take-charge and lethal. He knows what he’s doing, how to protect and how to survive. Plus I think he was pretty sexy.

If it needs to be a character from my current Ultimate series, I’d say Denver – for many of the same reasons. He’s far more autocratic than Cannon or Armie or Stack. He’s big, brawny, and when necessary he can be lethal. I’d feel safer with a real bad ass if I had to be stranded.

 

  1. What was the most difficult part of the process when writing NO LIMITS?

 

My heart broke for Yvette. She’s one of more damaged heroines I’ve ever written (although there have been a few) and she struggled so hard for her independence. More than anything she wants Cannon, but because he’s so brave and strong she doesn’t feel quite worthy, and the stigma of being seen as a victim really hit her hard. I image something like that would be very, very difficult to overcome.

 

  1. Have you written an outline for the NO LIMITS series or do you make it up as you go?

 

I totally make it up as I go along. Or I should say my characters make it up. I never try to figure things out in advance because as sure as I do, the characters will have a different idea and they’ll rebel, making it difficult to write until I give them their way. Fighting it is futile. But since they’re seldom wrong, it works for us. (And yes, I’m nuts. I don’t fight that either.)

 

Usually the characters will give me enough clues along the way to keep the writing flow steady. For instance, while I was writing NO LIMITS, Denver stepped up and talked about Cherry and made it clear his book needed to be next. Now while I’m writing HARD KNOCKS (Denver’s story) Stack is giving me nudges, saying, “Me next, me next. And I’m going after Vanity… whether she or I know it yet or not.” So that’s how I know Stack’s story will be after Denver’s.

 

Armie has said he wants to wait, stew on things a while, come to grips with his future… so I’m letting him get used to the idea of what is to come.

 

  1. What was your go-to snack while writing NO LIMITS?

 

Goldfish cheese crackers and pretzels. Occasionally I drink Mountain Dew when I need more caffeine but I usually snack with Lipton Citrus Green Tea as my drink.

I also love baby carrots. And far too often I cave to the call of the Pringles can.

 

  1. What’s your favorite part of the book?

 

There’s a fight scene in the book. Not a sporting match, but an angry, defensive, you-dared-touch-what-is-mine kind of aggression filled with rage and loss of control and an awakening of strong emotion. Call me barbaric but I love writing scenes like that. I love getting down to the basics of how love can affect a person, whether it’s in sex or fighting off danger or just showing vulnerability awareness. It’s the real stuff people are made of.

  1. What are you working on next?

 

I’m writing Denver’s story right now, titled HOLDING STRONG. It’s due out in spring 2015 and I’m loving Denver and Cherry together – and them as a couple with the rest of the fighters around. It’s a very fun dynamic.

 

After that I’ll do another benefit novella for June 2015. It’ll be part of the Buckhorn family and all proceeds from sales of the book will go to a charity. I’m not yet sure which of the Buckhorn clan will be featured, but I’m sure it’ll all come to me in plenty of time.

 

And then I’ll jump into Stack’s story. He should be ready by then – which means I’ll also be ready. Luckily the characters keep me writing. In fact, if there were more hours in the day, I’m not sure they’d ever let me stop!

 

Excerpt

 

Cannon couldn’t stop looking at her. Damn, he’d remembered her as pretty, but she’d matured into killer good looks—and didn’t seem to know it. An angel’s face paired with that trim but curvy figure, and yeah, he was pretty sure every guy in the place had already started fantasizing.

Too bad, because none of them would touch her.

If he’d had any doubts about wanting her, they were put to rest in a big way. Instead of three years, it felt like a decade he’d been waiting on her. Yes, he wanted her. He would have her, too.

The only question was how soon.

A few weeks ago she’d lost her grandfather, and she probably needed time to acclimate to being home around the unpleasant memories. He’d love to segue right from hello to hell yeah, but he also enjoyed just looking at her and talking with her.

Sipping her Coke, Yvette stole a peek at him. Feathery lashes framed those big green eyes he remembered so well—eyes that used to watch him with innocent infatuation, but now seemed wary. She sat straight, proper. Spoke carefully. Avoided his direct gaze.

As Tipton had said, she was guarded.

She wore makeup, but not a lot. Even in a ponytail, her long dark hair made him think of it spilled loose on his pillows, or gliding over his chest.

Or his thighs.

And her clothes, while casual, covered such a sweet body it left him visually undressing her.

Repeatedly.

Knowing he had to get a grip, he asked, “Are you hungry?”

She shook her head. “But please go ahead and eat if you want.”

“I’m good.” Arms folded on the top of the booth, he smiled. “I can’t get over how much you’ve changed.”

That pleased her, he could tell. “It’s been almost three and a half years.”

Long enough for her to put the past behind her? To put him behind her? No, he wouldn’t let her. “I’m so damn sorry about Tipton.”

“Thank you.” She set the drink aside, then nervously drew her finger through the damp ring the glass had left on the booth top. “I wanted to talk to you about that. About—”

“Hey, Saint.” Two guys sidled up to the table. “Can we get a pic?”

Cannon forced his gaze away from Yvette. “Sure.” He would never alienate a fan, but damn, the timing could be better. Yvette had been screwing up her courage to say something. Now he had to wonder what.

Stepping out of the booth, he bent a little to put himself more in line with the shorter guys, and with a double thumbs-up, smiled as a plump lady used her cell phone to snap a few photos.

That only seemed to unleash other fans, and before he knew it, he was posing with men and women alike. Some wanted to hug him, some wanted him in a fighter’s stance, a few just wanted him to mug for the camera. Before he could get a handle on things, he’d taken around twenty photos and signed more than a dozen autographs.

Yvette watched it all with a look of fascinated indulgence. When there seemed to be a lull, he reseated himself. “Sorry about that.”

“You’re popular, I understand.” Her long glossy ponytail spilled over her shoulder when she tipped her head to study him. “I watch the fights.”

That pleased him more than it should have. “Yeah? What do you think?”

“You’re pretty amazing.”

He held back his grin. “I do my best.”

That earned a short laugh. “Humble too.” Shaking her head, she teased, “No wonder they call you the Saint.”

He’d rarely heard her laugh before, and hearing it now did funny things to him. It was nice. Rich. Husky.

A turn-on…

 

About Lori Foster

 

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Since first publishing in January 1996, Lori Foster has become a Waldenbooks, Borders, USATODAY, Publishers Weekly and New York Times bestselling author. She also received theRomantic Times “Career Achievement Award” for Series Romantic Fantasy and Contemporary Romance.

Lori believes it is important to give back to the community as much as possible, so she routinely arranges events among authors and readers to gather donations for various organizations.

 


5 Star Book Review, Author Interview, and #Giveaway: SEDUCTIVE SECRECY by Marni Mann (@MarniMann)

October 31, 2013 Adult, Author Interview, Book Review, Book Tour, Contemporary Romance, Erotic Romance, Erotica, Favorite Books, Past Giveaways 0

Seductive Secrecy Banner

IT’S HERE! Seductive Secrecy, the follow-up to Marni Mann’s absolutely brilliant Seductive Shadows is on tour! I have some fabulous things going on today including: my review, an excerpt from the book, an interview with Marni, and a HUGE giveaway!! Seductive Shadows (Shadows #1) is one of my favorite reads… read my 5+ star review HERE.

 

CLICK HERE to follow the tour!

 

About the Book

 

Seductive Secrecy Cover

 

Title: Seductive Secrecy (Shadows Series #2)

Author: Marni Mann

Genre: Erotica/Contemporary Romance

Release Date: October 24th, 2013

Publisher: Booktrope (http://booktrope.com/)

 

“We were two broken souls who had found each other in a world of shadows. We were held together by a connection of secrets, dark and fearful and reluctant to leave. Their depth was seductive and overwhelming, an endless ocean of black that threatened to cover the brilliance we kept reaching for with each other.”

With her art career flourishing and the mansion predators no longer a threat, Charlie is creating a new life. Her desires have changed, and she has a chance at a healthy, loving relationship with Cameron—if they can bury the memories and doubts that plague them.

Can they overcome the destruction of their clouded pasts, or will the revelation of more painful, shocking secrets pull them back into the shadows?

**This book is for mature audiences. It contains explicit language and sexual content.

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Excerpt

 

A gust of cold air burst through my body, tightening every muscle and clenching my lungs. The feeling was always the same, and it only came when I thought of that place…when the memories were thicker than the lessons I had learned by leaving there.
I set both brushes in a jar of water and walked across the hall to the apartment. Then I moved through the kitchen, my hands yanking at my sweater, lifting it over my head and releasing it once I got to the entryway of the bedroom. I peeled off my black skinny jeans until I reached my knee-high boots and dropped both along with my pants in front of the bathroom sinks. My panties and bra fell before I stepped into the shower and turned on the water.
The wall of glass that separated the shower from the rest of the bathroom began to fog, and the marble under my feet turned warm. Windows spanned both sides, overlooking different sections of the Back Bay; below the ledges were niches that held our bottles of shampoo and body wash, and benches for us to sit on. The back wall was a mosaic, an abstract. Water shot out from every direction, spraying from all sides as well as the ceiling. There were even streams below that covered my feet.
My skin was sweating now. Drops of scalding water ran off my body. The places that were being hit directly by the jets had turned a bright red. But it couldn’t stop the chill that continued to spread beneath my flesh.

Six months had passed since I’d left the mansion. I didn’t think about it as much as I used to, but when something instigated those thoughts—something like the mirrored floor in the painting—I had a hard time calming them down again. I still wasn’t sure how I was supposed to process what I had done there, what I had allowed to happen and how much I had once enjoyed it. Part of me didn’t want to take it back; part of me could barely keep down the bile that threatened to rise when I remembered. But that time in my life had gotten me here. And I was here, unlike some of the girls I had shared that house with.
I moved closer to one of the shower heads and pressed my hands against the cold marble that tiled the wall, leaning into the stream of water. It massaged the top of my head.
Breathe.
The drops that filled my ears blocked any noise that was around me. I could taste the product that drizzled from my hair—the spray I had used to hold my curls and the oil that gave it shine. My eyes closed and I inhaled the steam, trying to find a place of relaxation.
A place where the images and the screams would quiet to a dull moan.
And just as I found it, just as my palms no longer kneaded against the stone and my back didn’t pump and arch to find that place of complete comfort, just as I had finally gotten used to the temperature of the water, his arms wrapped around my chest. His hands cupped each of my breasts, his thumbs grazing my nipples.
“Why didn’t you wake me?” he whispered into my neck. His lips followed his words to my skin, his tongue circling the spot just to the side of my throat. It didn’t matter how often he had roamed my body, or how many times, it still felt so new, so unexpected.
“You need your sleep…” I told him. As soon as he touched me, I completely lost my voice. All I had were my desires, and they consumed me.
“I need you more,” he breathed.

 

My Review

 

My Rating: 5+ Stars

“What if Cee was really the soul of me, and Charlie was just another mask I wore?”

This book is one that have been anxiously waiting to read from the moment I knew that it would exist; and I’m absolutely ecstatic to say that it did not disappoint. The reader gets to see in to Charlie’s soul as she struggles with her new life after the mansion. She no longer feels the weight of poverty and abuse and has an amazing man in her life: a man whose dark past and bright future rivals her own. The story is deliciously dark, gritty, and sexy; intense emotions, both ecstasy and despair, mesh perfectly with a suspenseful and engaging story. The plot itself, with its twists and surprises, is compelling enough. But, what makes this book truly special is the artistic style to Mann’s writing: scenes described with a sensual artistic quality using beautifully realized colors, textures, and details.

I was impressed by how much Charlie’s character has grown. She is stronger and braver, she still struggles, but is trying to come to terms with her demons, to find comfort, stability and love. But this story is not only about Charlie. It’s also about the people around her and the relationships she is forging. Now that she is not simply surviving, but actually living, she is connecting with people on more than just a sexual level. She is forced reconcile these new found connections with her past and her future, and moving forward will not be easy.

We are introduced to a whole new cast of well-realized secondary characters. I truly enjoyed getting to know new angels and enemies, and witnessing new stories of darkness and light, of tragedy and triumph. Especially Cameron; He is my perfect broken hero. Gorgeous and damaged and sexually insatiable, his connection with Charlie is undeniable and I loved seeing the evolution of their relationship, in spite of nearly insurmountable obstacles.

“I tilted my head, looking in to the crystal clarity that stared back at me. The only thing cold about him was the blue of his eyes. Everything about Cameron spoke of his warmth. ‘Do you think I’m crazy?’

‘No,’ I said as I shook my head. ‘I think you’re wonderful.’ “

I must admit, I am such an enormous fan of Seductive Shadows that it would be nearly impossible to top that book for me. I highly recommend reading it first; the background is necessary to fully enjoy this book (and it’s an AMAZING read!!). Seductive Secrecy is it’s own story, though. We have a new Charlie, with glimpses of Cee, but this Charlie is more accessible and I feel that this book has a more relatable quality. It is heartbreaking and intense, but the pinpoints of light are just a bit brighter in this installment. These books, with their perfect combination of romance, sex, suspense, devastating darkness, and brilliant hope have captured my heart and soul.

“Maybe I should stare at the sky more often. Maybe I should enjoy the night air instead of shielding myself from it. Rather than letting the the never-ending blackness overwhelm me, maybe I should appreciate it for what it is; a background for the brilliance of stars. After all, without darkness there can’t be light.”

*I received a complimentary copy of the book in exchange for a fair and honest review.

 

Author Interview

1.     Seductive Secrecy is the sequel to Seductive Shadows, how does it differ from the first book? 

Seductive Secrecy really focuses on Charlie and Cameron’s relationship, if they’re able to move on and grow from everything that happened while they were together as well as what had occurred in their pasts. Of course, with the sequel comes a whole new set of problems and they either have to weave through them together or the issues will drive them apart.

2.     What character have readers asked you the most about? Which left an impression on them, and did it surprise you?

Cameron is the most asked about character: who inspired his looks, is he based on someone I know, will he receive his own story? I would also say he’s left the strongest impression on my readers. Cameron has haunted me for a while (he still does!), so I can’t say I’m surprised by their curiosity. I’m more intrigued by their questions, if anything.

3.     What is the best personality trait of your heroine, Charlie?  Worst personality trait?

Underneath Charlie’s mask, her scars, her erotic behavior, is a survivor. She truly has an instinctive will to survive regardless of what she’s faced with. Her worst personality trait is that she’s fearless.

 4.     Did you know how Seductive Secrecy was going to end, before you wrote it? It was quite the shocker! 

Ha! Thank you! 🙂 I knew the main events that were going to take place, but the details weren’t flushed out until I wrote the actual ending. Because the ending is so layered, those points were smoothed out even more during the editing process.

5.     Is there a message in the Shadows Series that you want readers to walk away with? If so, what is it?

It’s always darkest before the dawn.

6.     Will there be a third book? What can we expect in the next installment?

As of right now, there is no plan for a third book. I did write a short story in Cameron’s point-of-view that readers can receive by purchasing a copy of Seductive Secrecy before November 1st (details are here: http://marnismann.com/claim-your-electronic-copy-of-camerons-point-of-view/) My next release is tentatively scheduled for January and it’s a New Adult title.

7.     Do you have any advice to give to aspiring writers?

Write as much as you can. Every writer has his or her own unique voice and it’s impossible to find that voice unless you experiment. My other piece of advice is read everything you can get your hands on because behind every great writer is a great reader.

 

 

Giveaway!

There will be 7 winners in the Seductive Shadows Tour Giveaway!

Grand Prize — $100 Victoria’s Secret eGift Card & Seductive Secrecy E-book
First Runner-up — $50 Total Wine eGift Card & Seductive Secrecy E-book
(5) Runner-ups — Seductive Secrecy E-books

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For a limited time, Seductive Shadows is only $0.99!

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About the Author

 

A New Englander at heart, Marni Mann, now a Floridian is inspired by the sandy beaches and hot pink sunsets of Sarasota. She taps a mainstream appeal and shakes worldwide taboos, taking her readers on a dark and breathtaking journey. When she’s not nose deep in her laptop, she’s scouring for chocolate, traveling, reading, or walking her four-legged children.

 

Connect with Marni Mann

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