Posted by Nancy Northcott Apr 26 2011, 3:47 pm in Blaze, Just Surrender, Kathleen O'Reilly
posted by Nancy
Apologies to everyone for the unfortunate glitch that delayed today’s blog. I especially hate it because we have a guest. Kathleen O’Reilly returns to the Lair with her latest Blaze release, Just Surrender. I’ve read the excerpt on her site, and I can’t wait to read the book.
The hero and heroine of Just Surrender meet under less than promising circumstances, and then the hero gets an unpleasant surprise. Tell us about that.
Tyler is a surgeon, flying in for a fellowship in NYC, and he ends up in Edie’s cab, which isn’t really Edie’s cab, but she’s helping out a friend. Not being a real cabbie, she’s in it more for the meeting people than for the actual transportation aspects, and deciding that Tyler needs a friend (his girlfriend just broke up with him in a text message), she begins a night-long-trek through NYC and most of the surrounding boroughs, because she doesn’t think he should be alone. Tyler originally wants to just get back to his hotel and sleep, but he’s attracted to Edie, and uh, things move along from there.
What I like about both the hero and the heroine in this book is how similar their core personalities are. Edie wants to fix the entire world, wants to be everyone’s friend, wants to be the person that everyone goes to for help, and she’s got a big enough ego that she thinks she can. However, deep down, she’s scared of a real emotional bond, and so her actions are all very superficial. Tyler is a heart-surgeon. He wants to fix everyone, too, but he doesn’t think he’s capable of a real emotional bond.
Geez dumping a guy with a text message! After that, just as Ty and Edie are getting along so well (not!), something happens that makes his evening even worse . . .
They get a flat. In Brooklyn. In one of the seedier parts of Brooklyn. And it’s raining. Watching a man who needs to control everything stuck in a situation that is out of his control was a ball to write. In my real world, I know and love a lot of control freaks, and I adore when life whacks them upside the head, because… well, they don’t handle it well. I think God does it, on purpose, only because he thinks it’s funny. So do I.
So one thing leads to another leads to a bar. The excerpt on your website ends there. Is it fair to ask where our hero and heroine proceed after that?
Hehehe…. It’s a Blaze. There’s sex.
LOL! Would you like to share an excerpt here?
Tyler examined his mud-splattered shirt, pulling it free from his pants, ready to burn the damn thing. He looked up into the rear-view mirror and met her eyes. “Why are you smiling?”
“You look good in dirt,” she told him, and he noticed the dimple on the right cheek, which was completely free of both dirt or guilt.
“You’re not helping.”
“I’m trying to cheer you up.” She sounded sincere and completely comfortable. Not painfully aroused. Not wondering what he looked liked naked.
“Get me to my hotel,” he growled, too tired for his clinical voice. “That’ll cheer me up.”
“Why don’t you like me?”
“Because you feed on people’s pain.”
“I do not,” she insisted.
“Then why are you so intrigued by the fact that I got dumped?” It stung. Yes. Stung. Tyler wasn’t used to pain. He cured pain. He prescribed meds for pain. He analyzed pain, and monitored pain, but goddamnit, he did not feel it. It wasn’t even Cynthia so much as the idea that he wasn’t good enough. It was a pain he’d stopped felling a long time ago. Or so he thought.
“Aha, I knew I was right,” Edie chirped, pouring salt into the wound. “Not that I’m happy you got dumped. Satisfied, yes? I mean, I do like to be right. Especially on matters of reading people. Don’t you like adventures?”
Adventures were the nation’s number one cause of death..
He blamed Cynthia for his foul mood. She had dragged him into this gutter of embarrassing juvenile behavior. Edie had merely pummeled him until he had no choice but to regress. Such asinine justifications cheered him up.
Almost as much as the cheery idea of dirty, bacteria-infected, saliva-swapping sex. Tyler smiled to himself. “Sorry,” he apologized politely.
“Why don’t you let me buy you a drink?” she asked, apparently not sensing the darker trend to his thoughts.
“Why?” he asked, stalling for time, because his first answer that leaped to his brain was ‘yes.’
“I owe you. You’re doing a nice thing, and you didn’t say a word when I tooled all over the tri-state region. Tonight you’ve changed a flat, your girlfriend of some indeterminate amount of time dumped you, all of which happened when you should be getting well laid at the hotel. If there’s anybody in the world that needs a drink, it’s you. Maybe a shot of tequila, or ouzo. I know this Greek bar…”
“I don’t want to go to a Greek bar,” he told her, shifting uncomfortably, finding an exposed spring in the seat, feeling it cut into his thigh. Probably severing the femoral artery, thereby letting him bleed out a quick and painless death. Then Cynthia would feel bad. Because she had dumped him in a text message.
“How about an American bar?” Edie suggested, as if all his immediate pains could be solved with alcohol. A bar was a recipe for disaster, but since Tyler had apparently not severed his femoral artery and was going to live, alcohol now seemed almost plausible.
“If I let you buy me a drink, one drink — will you drive me back to the hotel?” There was a roughness in his voice that worried him. And now he was creating justifications of extraordinary mental dexterity designed solely to further his own penile agenda. Although to be fair, he didn’t want to have a penile agenda. He wanted to get to the hotel, take a shower, climb into bed. He could visualize it all. Unfortunately, his visuals also included Edie. And she was naked. And limber.
“I’ll drive you straight back to the hotel. I swear,” she promised, but Tyler knew when disaster lurked around the corner, when a surgery was doomed before it started. He didn’t like to think these were premonitions, because that implied his subconscious was guiding his decision — or worse, his penis.
Tonight Cynthia had dumped him. Texas’ #4 cardio-thoracic surgeon with a net worth of over four million, who had saved her father’s life, not once, but three times, not that anyone was counting. If there was a woman in the world who owed him her undying gratitude, it was Cynthia.
So what if he wanted to be a jackass? If he wanted to have a drink? If he wanted to have limber sex with a woman who felt some deep-seated desire to make him feel better? By God, he should. If he wanted to do something wild, spontaneous, and hair-raising, then by God, he had a premeditated right to go for it.
It was because of such elaborate rationalizations that his father had called him Shit-For-Brains Sophocles, but Tyler always shrugged it off. Although now he did wonder if Sophocles ever created meaningless justifications in pursuit of limber sex. Probably not. Probably Sophocles never had shit for brains. Only Tyler.
“One drink. An American bar,” he agreed, resigned to his decision.
“A friend of mine works in a strip club.”
He smiled at her, mud-splattered and grimy with an agenda that was just as black.
To read more, click here.
What inner conflicts keep Edie and Ty apart?
In this book, it’s Edie who is running from a relationship. Her father is a world-class surgeon who has neglected his family for his career, although he’s still a very good man. Edie resents her father for putting his family second, but gets mad at herself for resenting all the patients who prevent the man from being a real father to her. Tyler’s journey is much shorter. He thinks that he’s not capable of loving anyone, but then he falls in love with Edie and realizes that he’d never met the right woman for him before.
Can you give us a hint of what ultimately brings them together?
Edie’s father, and I think that’s all I can say without spoilers. ☺
Don’t you have a book out in May, too? What’s that about?
Okay, so this IS the May book, officially. Amazon has been selling it since the 19th, but last night my local Target still had the April books out. And the Kindle edition goes on sale May 1st. Color me confused. But anyway, sometime soon, this book will be out, (unless you order mass-market from Amazon, in which case you can get it now).
I have Austen Hart’s story in July, JUST LET GO, and then in September of 2011, it’s Brooke Hart’s story, JUST GIVE IN.
After that, what’s on your horizon?
I’m waiting to hear from my editor on my next trilogy, so we’ll see. And I’ve been working on a single title contemporary as well. No idea about that one, but crossed fingers are appreciated as well.
For more about Kathleen and her books, visit her website.
Kathleen is giving a signed, personalized copy of Just Surrender to one commenter today. So tell us, what’s the strangest cab (or other vehicle) ride you ever took? Have you ever had a day where just everything went wrong? Or a chance encounter with a stranger who became a friend or more?
Posted by Nancy Northcott Jun 8 2010, 3:55 am in Bandit Booty, Gerri Russell, Kathleen O'Reilly
Books to give away today!
The winner of Gerri Russell’s Seducing the Knight is . . . Ms. Hellion!
Copies of Kathleen O’Reilly’s Long Summer Nights go to Runner10 and Denise!
Congratulations to the winners, and thanks to everyone for stopping by! Winners should email snail mail info to Nancy via the link on the Romance Bandits blog, with “Nancy’s winner” in the subject line.
Posted by Nancy Northcott May 19 2010, 5:06 am in Kathleen O'Reilly, Long Summer Nights, summer romance
posted by Nancy
Remember when you had time to lounge around in the summer? To hang with your friends, slather on suntan oil, and maybe, just maybe, meet a new crush you knew you’d never see after vacation? Today, author Kathleen O’Reilly joins us to talk about the days of summer love.
Summer Lovin’… had me a blast!!
One of my favorite movies when I was a kid was Grease. The music was catchy. I liked the spin on the romance: the bad boy gets tamed, yet in a nice twist, the good girl also undergoes a vampy transformation. The story opens in summer, when Danny and Sandy fall in love, but then school starts, the reality of their identities kicks in, and the real romantic hijinks begin (accompanied by much singing, dancing, and the trademarked John Travolta strut.)
There is something very freeing about summer romance. Everyone can abandon their traditional roles and identities and take on the person that they want to be. In a summer romance, no one assumes that it will last, so if you want to be a vamp, hey, go for it. If you want to be an intelligentsia, or a geek, or a shy person or a jokester, all are possible because summer lasts three months, which is just long enough to fall in love, but not long enough to deal with any of the messy realities that come later.
Summer, when done right, is slow dancing under the stars, listening to the water lap on the shore, watching the fire flies at dusk, and sipping cold beer on a weather-beaten porch. Time slows down a bit and you can spend more time *chatting* about whatever strikes your fancy, as opposed to having to deal with schedules and alarm clocks, neither of which do much for me (both literally and emotionally as well).
My latest book opens in the summer. Our hero and heroine meet. She falls for him, but then, when she has to leave, he finally reveals his secret, and in a very Gregory House move, gives her the ammunition to salvage her career, but ruin his life in the process. I’ve included a short teaser:
“Who are you?” she asked, thinking that if he was going to break her heart, she wanted to know his name.
“Really?” she drawled, not bothering to hide the sarcasm.
“It’s actually Jenkins-Smith, but that seemed pretentious, so I just use Aaron Smith.”
“Pleased to meet you, Mr. Smith. I’m Jennifer Dade, and from now on, I’ll try to stay out of your way.”
It was a desperate hint that she wasn’t in his way, that he was sitting on her rock, and if he truly wanted all that solitude and privacy that he kept blustering about, then he’d have to act a little less – stimulated. Not that she was complaining. Much.
“I should go,” he repeated, but he moved closer, and his eyes were on her mouth, and Jenn felt herself go hot, then cold. “Normally, I like to ignore everyone else. It makes my life much more comfortable.”
“Why can’t you ignore me?” she asked, because she needed him to ignore her. She did not need this, but she couldn’t ignore it. She couldn’t ignore him.
He brushed a gentle finger across her brows. “You look at me with those busy eyes, always digging for your version of the truth, but grasping for the first clichéd insights into the psyche because it’s easy and it makes your deadline, and it doesn’t matter that there isn’t always some three-point paragraph that explains who we are. You think there’s always an answer, always a reason, but sometimes people are simply the way they are.”
Not what she wanted to hear, not what she had hoped to hear, and all those roiling emotions finally erupted. “And that’s why you can’t ignore me, because you just can’t? The Twinkie defense? I had to be me. I was born to be bad. No, there’s always a reason. You just don’t want to tell me.”
She thought he was going to leave. Thought she’d finally done it. Finally chased him away, but instead he looked with all the wretched want in his eyes. All the lonely hunger, combined with the same painful recklessness that she felt in herself.
“I wrote about you. This afternoon, I came home and spewed out reams of pages about someone with your face, your eyes, your hair.”
“How did it end?” she asked breathlessly tempted by the drama of it.
“You threw yourself in front of a train.”
“You are the mariner’s albatross, Ahab’s white whale, the magnificent obsession. In the end, there was no alternative. You had to die,” he said, sounding miserable and baffled.
But then his fingers reached out, touched her hand, such a small gesture, such a telling gestured. Sometimes sex was scratching an itch, and sometimes sex was the very human need to touch someone. All the phones, all the gadgets, all the machines in the world that mimicked human contact, and yet nothing came close to the absoluteness of sex.
“You like me, don’t you?” she asked, twining her fingers through his, locking them there.
“I don’t want to like you,” he admitted. “You’re very happy and sure of yourself and you like machines without souls.”
“I don’t want to like you either,” she admitted as well.
“But you do?” he asked, his eyes met hers, uncertain and unhappy and still hoping that she would say yes.
“Women don’t like men like you,” she said, because she knew that unhappily hopeful was bad. Very, very bad. It spoke of vulnerabilities, and wounds, and manly suffering that had plagued women for thousands of years.
“What sort of man is that?”
If he were any other man, she’d have thought he was fishing, needing a stroke to his ego, but he didn’t have those insecurities. He was both clueless and clever, and yet still unable to resist her. Tragically, like every other woman before her, she was falling for it in spades. “You want some three-point analysis that sums you up in fifty words or less?”
She chose the less dangerous answer. “You’re brilliant and hurt and your writing draws you into humanity, but humanity repels you at the same time, and you can’t reconcile those two aspects and it frustrates you.”
“Do you know what frustrates me?” he asked.
“How badly I want to kiss you. I hate your mouth. I love your mouth. When you talk all that blather, it’s the sexiest thing I’ve ever heard.”
“Why don’t you kiss me?”
“Because it won’t stop.”
“I know,” she said with a smile.
There’s a longer excerpt on my website.
Summer time is a great time for having romance or just kicking back and reading romance. I love to dive into my Pile O’Books and find something that’s slow and sizzling and reminds me that sometimes I need to stop and smell the roses (or in this case, read more romance!) Since we’re now at the first blush of summer, I’m looking for books to read. I’ve just started Rachel Gibson’s latest (she always cracks me up!) and I’m waiting for Nora’s third book in her wedding trilogy to come out for the Kindle. I love all her stuff, but her straight romance is the Bomb. So, since I have a huge audience of romance readers, now’s the time to shout out, and let me know what else I should be diving into!
Did you ever have a summer romance? What’s your favorite summer reading? What book on your TBR stack would you consider perfect for a lazy summer day? Kathleen’s giving books to two commenters today!
Posted by Nancy Northcott Jan 26 2010, 5:57 am in Kathleen O'Reilly, Midnight Resolutions, New Year resolutions, reading
posted by Nancy
This being January, lots of us have made resolutions. This being late January, some of us will have fallen off the wagon. Kathleen O’Reilly’s January Blaze, Midnight Resolutions, is particularly timely, so Kathleen and I are chatting today about resolutions.
Welcome, Kathleen! I confess that I no longer make resolutions because the word is so intimidating. I make plans. Which are sort of like hopes with some oomph behind them. And which are not going all that well. I haven’t been back to the gym, haven’t appreciably altered my eating habits, but I have made significant progress on my latest manuscript, an indication I’m doing better at time management. Did you make resolutions you’re willing to share? And if so, how’re they doing?
I don’t make resolutions that are intended to last the entire year, maybe a quarter of the year instead. It makes it a LOT easier to carry out. Most of my goal making is done in very small increments. Sadly, I have discovered that it’s not any easier to drop five pounds than it is to drop twenty-five. Wimpy, they name is Kathleen. On the positive front, I have been going to the gym a lot. I enjoy working out, and walking, and I notice that I feel a LOT better when I exercise, because, alas, without exercise, I am a slug.
Without exercise, I have no hope, alas, of losing actual, noticeable weight. Another of my plans for 2010 was to whittle the TBR pile. It’s gotten to the point where I’m afraid to buy anything that’s not a new release lest I later discover it deep in the teetering stack. What’s your TBR pile like?
Hehehe…. My TBR is getting smaller. I have a Kindle, and it virtualizes your TBR pile. When my Kindle is off, my TBR pile disappears from view. Poof. Very stressless. However, I have been whittling it down. I just finished The Girl with The Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson and enjoyed it. LOVED Anna Campbell’s Captive of Sin (as always), and I’m currently reading the Help. I just got my stack of Rita books, which I cannot talk about, but it wasn’t a thrilling stack like I’m lucky enough to get in years past (only one actually). But, the upside is that there are a lot of books that I don’t think I’m going to enjoy that I really do. I’ve discovered some favorite writers that way. So, the moral of the story is ‘don’t judge a book by its cover, nor it’s back cover copy, either.’
So you’re actually not only whittling the TBR pile but have found a new way to hide it. My dh may be interested in this strategy as the books climb and teeter and spill in various corners of our house. What are you reading these days?
I’m about 25% through The Help and then after that it’s the aforementioned Rita books.
I started Street Magic, the first of Caitlin Kittredge’s Black London series. I’m not too far into it, but it’s interesting so far. I’m almost through (because, hey, what’s life without multiple books in progress?) Air Time, the third Charlotte McNally mystery from Hank Phillippi Ryan, who’ll be here next week. It’s living up to the other two, which were great.
What’s your biggest time management issue?
Probably that there’s only 24 hours in a day. I would like to stop time for a bit, get through a task, and then start it up again when I’m done. Einstein was really onto something. Now if they could only figure out how to make my to-do list travel at a constant rate, and my watch (or my family) move at a relative pace to the constant. There’s big money in that invention. Big money, I say.
You need a time turner, like Hermione had in The Prizoner of Azkaban, maybe. I need improved planning. We control freaks will settle for the illusion of control if we can’t have the real thing, so I’m trying to keep everyone else in line with writing things on the master calendar. And then I need to remember to, you know, LOOK at it. But I’m doing better. I think.
The hero and heroine of Midnight Resolutions meet at the big Times Square New Year celebration. Tell us a little about them.
First of all, Ian Cumberland is one cool, albeit slightly deluded dude. I made him the romantic, the optimist, just out of his job as an investment banker, and now working in a job placement agency to help people find work. He THINKS that it’s an interim job, because he wants his old life back. But he’s very happy go lucky, so he doesn’t whine too much about it (hate whiners; Kathleen’s New Year’s Resolution — write no whiners – EVAH). Enter Rose Hildebrand, who ends up kissing a stranger (Ian, natch) on New Year’s Eve. Rose has a ton of baggage. Big baggage, and she wants security and control most of all. She has her life planned, and she sticks to that plan RIGOROUSLY (now there is a woman who makes and keeps all resolutions). But fate keeps intervening, which is not a good thing for a woman who cleaves to control like other women cleave to ice cream.
Would you like to share an excerpt? And didn’t this book get a really good rating from Romantic Times?
It did! It got a Top Pick from RT. Fair warning, I don’t think everyone will love Rose like I did. She’s not even close to typical romance heroine material because of her past, but I’m an equal opportunity writer. It strikes me as unfair that only the happy, perky, satisfied heroines get to find love. Sometimes I want the unlovable to find love, too. And I think that’s the point of the book. Everyone has a heart. Sometimes it’s just more difficult to find it. And the excerpt is located here.
Any parting advice or opinions about resolutions?
I’m about to start on a whole new pack of books (two new trilogies) and it’s fun to start fresh with a blank slate of people. I think with resolutions, that’s the fun part as well. Starting anew. Erasing past history, past mistakes, past weight gain (sadly, they haven’t figured out the science of erasing past weight gain except through exercise and diet, so we should probably strike that if we’re being truthful). I think that’s my favorite part of new beginnings and new resolutions. Everything is possible. Everything.
Ah, the allure of potential! I think that’s part of the attraction at places like Home Depot and Lowe’s and Michaels–walking down the aisles bombards a person with possibilities. My approach in recent years had been to not beat myself up for what I haven’t done and to focus instead on what I have while I keep working on the bits that aren’t quite there yet.
So what about you? How are you doing in the 2010 resolutions game, and what advice would you offer other people? What are you reading as the year kicks off, and what’s your TBR pile like? One commenter will win a copy of Midnight Resolutions.
Posted by Nancy Northcott Aug 21 2009, 4:05 am in Bandit Booty, Jennifer St. Giles, Jessica Andersen, Kathleen O'Reilly, Patricia Rice
We have a Bounteous Boatload of Booty tonight!
Going from newest to oldest, the winners on deck are:
Each fishing one of Jessica Andersen’s books (either Nightkeepers or Dawnkeepers, awarded at random by Jessica) out of the treasure chest are Louisa Cornell and Leslie;
Taking home a copy of Kathleen O’Reilly’s Hot Under Pressure is Angie, who should email her contact information directly to Kathleen, kathleenoreillyATearthlink.net;
Thanks to my getting caught up with National, I didn’t post Jennifer St. Giles‘s winners. Apologies all around for that! The winner of one of Jennifer’s Shadowmen books is Margay, and the winner of one of the graphic novels is Estella;
And finally, the long-overdue winner from my “All for One” post, taking home a copy of Patricia Rice‘s Much Ado About Magic, is Keira Soleore.
That concludes the offerings from the treasure chest for tonight. If the winners (except Angie) will email me contact information via the link on the Romance Bandits page, with the name of the author whose prize you won in the subject line, I’ll send the information to the authors.
Congratulations to the winners and thanks to everyone for stopping by!
Posted by Nancy Northcott Aug 7 2009, 6:19 am in Blaze, Kathleen O'Reilly, travel problems
Today we welcome Blaze author Kathleen O’Reilly back to the lair. Kathleen’s latest book, Hot Under Pressure, was inspired by a travel problem she’s going to describe for us, so today’s topic is travel disasters. She’s also going to give us a peek into the book, which is not only hot but funny. Welcome, Kathleen!
Hello, Banditas, and thanks to Nancy for giving me the opportunity to pull up a keyboard and chat for a bit. I love to be in the company of romance readers, and this blog seems to draw in the best.
When I first came up with the idea for HOT UNDER PRESSURE, I was stuck on the tarmac at LaGuardia. For about five hours. Now, this was the fall of 2007, and it wasn’t a pretty time in the airline service industry. It seemed like every day, there was some new delay, some new travel-atrocity and I shouldn’t have been surprised to be stuck – but you never expect it until it happens to you.
What happened to the social dynamic within the plane was fascinating. The cabin was abuzz with rumors regarding the actual cause, (I learned that airlines are reluctant to admit that the plan is being delayed because of maintenance reasons), but the flight attendant in the back would let us know when she knew something from the front cabin attendant who apparently had a hot line into the maintenance crew. People would wander from group to group, casually eavesdropping to see if they could learn something new. After two hours, they did let us off the plane (it was November, so heat wasn’t too much of a problem, but it still got uncomfortable), and some passengers left to find another flight, and some of us stuck it out, playing airline roulette, hoping that the part that they were waiting on would arrive.
I’m happy to say that the part did arrive, the plane took off about six hours late, and I pulled my not-spring-chicken parents out of bed at 2am to pick me from at the airport, instead of the completely respectable 7pm (I love you, Mom and Dad, and someday I’ll repay this one).
These days, everyone has their travel horror stories. A flight delay, a surly gate-keeper, the practical-joker bus-driver who likes to fool the passengers about the vehicle’s actual destination. The TSA officer who thinks that your accidental corkscrew brands you a terrorist. My favorite story is the one where I nearly got arrested in St. Petersburg, Russia. All because of Prince Charles.
So, how about it? Travel horror stories? Trips from hell? Feel free to share. To one lucky commenter, I have a copy of my newest release, HOT UNDER PRESSURE, a Harlequin Blaze that answers that long-suffering question: If air travel is going to be such a huge pain to deal with these days, can a single woman please sit next to a hot, single man who’s you know, nice? Sometimes (usually only in fiction), the answer is *yes*.
Two hours later they were still at the gate. They were waiting on either a part, or a new plane, the pilots weren’t sure which would arrive first, but they had high (ludicrously delusional) hopes for getting away tonight. In the face of such facts, Ashley had long abandoned her fear of flying. It was obvious they weren’t going anywhere anytime soon.
Instead she was thigh-locked with David, who had very nice thighs, too. Hard. His arms were fab as well. Thirty minutes ago, he’d pushed up his sleeves, and her gaze kept stalling out on the biceps, which were bigger than most, an odd incongruity for khakis and a button-down, and she wondered why. He wasn’t bulky enough to be a weight-lifter, but his arms were too big for a swimmer or a runner, definitely too big for a tiny airplane seat. They kept brushing against hers, casually, which didn’t explain the electric shock to her system.
Not that he was making it any easier. Conversation had ceased about half an hour ago when she caught him staring at her chest, and they both looked politely away.
She crossed her legs, uncrossed her legs, and had a harebrained urge to ask him to join her in the bathroom. She’d pulled out Vogue and Harpers and Lucky, but even the lure of the sloe-eyed models in their daring designs hadn’t dimmed the awareness that simmered in the air.
The bright spot in the tension was Junior, which said a lot about her feelings of desperation. Junior wrote on David’s hand with a pen, and David laughed, sounding more relieved than amused. Junior ran up and down the aisle, and Ashley counted the laps, rather than fixate on the discreetly covered ridge in David’s khaki slacks.
Do not go there.
Go there, Ashley.
Oh, yeah, good of you to talk. You can’t have sex on a plane, Valerie.
There was a momentary pause in her thoughts, because right now, given readily available options, she could so have sex on this plane.
Another thirty minutes passed, and the flight attendants were passing out drinks. Yes, alcohol, the world’s most potent aphrodisiac. When the flight attendant stopped at their row, David shook his head, Ashley shook her head, and Junior’s mother and father opted for double vodka tonics.
Outside the window, the lights of the airport started to dim. If she lowered her hand one inch, just one tiny inch, she would be touching his thigh. If she were careful, it would look like an accident.
Junior spilled a glass of orange juice on those khakis that she was not looking at, and David shot sideways, and there was a momentary barrage of touches. His hand, her breast. Her hand, his thigh. She jumped back, arching toward the aisle, and he moved away, hugging the far armrest. Junior’s mother apologized, and Ashley’s nipples were powered by a thousand jet-engines, ready for take-off.
It was shortly after her breasts had recovered from the shock that the captain came on the speaker and announced that moment they had all been expecting.
“Ladies and gentleman, we tried. But there’s bad weather in New York, and we couldn’t get the plane that we were hoping for, and they can’t get the part here until the morning, so I’m sorry to say, we won’t be going anywhere. If any of you need hotel accommodations at the airport, there’s a flight attendant waiting to give you the details.”
A hotel. Suddenly the word took on new connotations and images. A hotel implied a bed, privacy, something much more comfortable than a 1×1 bathroom designed by Boeing. A hotel implied sex.
The cabin lights went on, and people around them began to move, moaning, complaining, and in general, were not in their happy place. However, Ashley’s happy place was getting happier by the second. She didn’t want to look at him, didn’t want to assume, most of all, she didn’t want to act as if she didn’t know what she was doing. After all, she was mature, she was an adult, and after eight hours of sitting thigh to thigh with this man, she was primed to explode with only a touch.
He turned, a slight inclination of his head, and she met his eyes. It was ESP of the most carnal kind. She licked her lips, his gaze tracked her tongue, and she knew that he knew.
He leaned down, his mouth near her ear. “You should know that right now, I’m a very happy man.”
For more about Kathleen, visit her website. For a bigger peek at Hot Under Pressure, click here. And to don’t forget to leave her a comment about your own travel trials.
Posted by Anna Campbell Jul 10 2008, 4:30 am in Anna Campbell, Bandita Booty, books, C.S. Harris, Kathleen O'Reilly, Nicola Cornick, reading, untouched
by Anna Campbell
Among my favorite bits of bulletin boards are the “What are you reading now?” threads.
People list the last book they read, the book they’re reading and the next one off the TBR pile.
It’s fun from a whole heap of viewpoints. It shows what people are actually reading rather than talking about. It introduces me to writers I’ve never heard of but often end up enjoying. It reveals individual reader tastes in a way I find fascinating. Even HarperCollins have put their money where their mouth is in agreeing that people find what other people read endlessly interesting. On their newly revamped website, there’s a place for authors to list books on their bedside table. You can find mine here. Just keep clicking refresh and you’ll see a list of my current reading.
Anyway, I thought we’d play that today! I also thought I’d talk about a couple of books I’ve read recently that I really liked. In case any of you are coming to the bottom of the TBR pile and need some additions. (Laughs hollowly!)
The first is THE LAST RAKE IN LONDON by Nicola Cornick, who is extremely talented and, curses, up against me in the Regency RITA category with her wonderful LORD OF SCANDAL. LAST RAKE was written as part of Mills & Boon’s 100th anniversary celebrations this year. For anyone who doesn’t know, M&B in London started the category romance juggernaut and are part of the Harlequin empire.
LAST RAKE is set in the Edwardian era which is great fun. You get cars and Suffragettes and telephones. The heroine is an independent, emotionally scarred woman called Sally Bowes who runs the Blue Parrot nightclub (perhaps it’s because I’m an Aussie, but I kept reading that as P*ssed Parrot nightclub – clearly I have no class!). Enter our hero, the dashing, extremely sexy Jack Kestrel, heir to a dukedom, rake and alpha male, who sees Sally and immediately decides he must have her. Do I need to say more to get you interested?
The next on my whirlwind list of recommendations is what I can only describe as a Regency noir! It’s WHAT ANGELS FEAR by C.S. Harris. This is the first book in a mystery series, featuring the seriously tortured but extremely sexy Sebastian St. Cyr, Viscount Devlin. I honestly couldn’t put this down – it’s dark, it’s desperate, it’s terrifically romantic. C.S. Harris used to write fantastic historical romances as Candice Proctor and you can see that background here in the emotional depths and the strong characterization. I’ve got the next two books on the TBR pile and I’m having trouble keeping my hands off them. I’ve got a manuscript to finish before I allow myself a reading binge. I already know Sebastian St. Cyr isn’t the man who will let me put him aside after a couple of pages so I can get a good night’s sleep and front up to work all bright-eyed and bushy-tailed the next day.
The last book I’m recommending is a Blaze by Kathleen O’Reilly and again, it’s the first in a series. SHAKEN AND STIRRED is about one of the sexy (OK, I’m overusing this adjective, but sometimes the right word is the right word and nothing else will do!) O’Sullivan Brothers and the stories center around a bar in New York. What I loved about this story aside from the emotion, the fantastic characters and the beautiful writing (hmm, perhaps that’s ENOUGH to love!), is how real it all felt. The world was so rich, compelling and tangible. When you read this story, you know these people, you know their environment, and you live through every moment. Great stuff!
So here’s my list for the game:
The last book I read: DARK AND DANGEROUS by Jeanne Adams. Fantastic!
The book I’m currently reading: SEX STRAIGHT UP by Kathleen O’Reilly. Need I say more?
The next book off the TBR pile: NOT WITHOUT HER FAMILY by Beth Andrews.
So over to you. What are you reading? Do you have any recommendations for must-reads? Inquiring minds want to know!
I got such a lovely response to my last blog where I offered a copy of CLAIMING THE COURTESAN to someone who hadn’t read it, this month, I’m offering a signed copy of UNTOUCHED. Same deal. Please just mention in your comment if you want to be in the draw for the book. Good luck! And may the Games begin! I look forward to building a TBR pile that blocks out the sun.
Posted by Nancy Northcott Dec 3 2007, 5:10 am in Blaze anthologies, career building, divinity recipe, Kathleen O'Reilly
Interviewed by Nancy Northcott
Kathleen O’Reilly joins us in the lair today. Kathleen is the author of thirteen books and of four novellas for anthologies. Her newest anthology release, A Blazing Little Christmas, hit the shelves Dec. 1 (and is currently #71 on Bookscan!). Also, she has a new Blaze trilogy for 2008, Those Sexy O’Sullivans, that will be hitting the shelves in March, April, and May. The first book is Shaken and Stirred.
Welcome to the lair, Kathleen! You’ve had an eclectic career. You started with a Regency historical before moving to Temptation, and you’ve written several paranormal novellas for the “Hell” anthologies with Dee Davis and Julie Kenner as well as two very different books with chick lit overtones, Looking for Mr. Goodbunny and The Diva’s Guide to Selling Your Soul. What led you to branch out in so many different directions?
I get a lot of ideas in a lot of different directions, anything that catches my eye and fascinates my mind, so it’s been eclectic. I am trying to settle down, though, and focus. Eclectic is fun, but it’s not the smartest way to grown an audience, which is what I’m trying to do now.
You have the dubious honor of having been maligned by Maureen Dowd for Looking for Mr. Goodbunny. How did you feel about that?
I love Maureen Dowd, still read her columns, and someday will probably make her a romance novel heroine, because she is the quintessential romance novel heroine. Strong, classy, and somewhat bitter on the male sex, yet you know that secretly she still dreams about finding Mr. Right, because she has that vulnerability about her. But, back to her your question, I thought it was pretty cool to be able to call my parents, and say, “Hey Mom and Dad. Guess what? My book is in the New York Times today!” Not many people can say that.
The Diva’s Guide to Selling Your Soul is sort of chick lit taking a walk on the dark side. What inspired you to take that twist?
That book was therapy for me. We had just moved from Texas to New York and I was both scared and amazed at how skinny people are in New York. And fashion! Man, they dress so well! I could never compete, so I secretly imagined that all of them had made a pact with the devil. It soothed me in the most sanctimonious way. After a while, I had convinced myself that it was absolute truth, so I wrote a book about it.
Do you plan any more such books?
Probably not. I feel much more accepting of myself now.
How would you describe your Blazes?
I like to write about very real characters with steamy humor and heart. I want to write about ordinary people doing extraordinary things and falling in love along the way. I’m a complete romantic, so I do believe love makes people stronger, and gives them faith to do things they wouldn’t normally have the strength to go. In a lot of people’s realities, that’s actually true.
A Blazing Little Christmas is written by myself, Jacquie D’Allessandro, and Joanne Rock. It’s set in Lake Placid, NY at a lodge, run by Mr. and Mrs. “Kraus” who are very mystical matchmakers. My story is about a woman who receives a present from Santa Claus – a few days at the lodge. When she goes there, she’s just lost her job, and has high hopes for meeting Mr. A+ on her eligibility scale, but instead of hooking up with Mr. A+, she ends up having a fling with a mysterious high school crush from the wrong side of the tracks who she always had felt drawn to. In the end, they heal each other. If you like Christmas stories, I highly recommend our anthology (and not just because I’m in it). I like Christmas a lot.
Do you have a guiding philosophy in your writing?
Yeah, be true to your characters. Don’t make them lie to the reader and do things to merely move along a plot. I love my characters, all of them. They stay in my head and heart for years — like my best friends.
You and Julie Kenner and Dee Davis do a program on critiquing. What advice would you give to new writers seeking critique partners?
Don’t settle. We’ve been really lucky because our group has grown and matured and we can tell each other things now that we could have never said when we were first starting out. That kind of support is invaluable. If you’re looking for a partner, make sure you enjoy the other person’s writing, and don’t aim for blood the first time you critique their stuff. People are sensitive and will need to be able to trust your judgment before they will listen to a critique, and visa versa, so go slow and be patient. If it clicks, great. If not, run. Run fast.
What general advice would you give to aspiring writers? If you want to talk about your Russian book, this would be a good place.
ROFL. My first manuscript was a historical set in Russia. I got great rejection letters, and a lot of them said, “Uh, we can’t publish a book set in Russia.” Okay, actually, these days, you could probably get away with setting a book in Russia, publishers are really broadening their horizons at the moment, but it wouldn’t be my first choice. Honestly, I think my best advice is to finish the manuscript. So many people write a few chapters, polish those chapters until they glisten like a diamond, but you have to complete the book if you ever want to sell it. Chapter 1 is very important, but you need Chapter 2 as well.
How do you recharge your writing batteries as you work on a manuscript?
When I know I’m getting burned out, I take a break. Either climbing on the elliptical and watching DVD’s, or climbing into the bath and reading a new romance. I still read romance. All sorts. Harlequins, historicals, paranormals, and contemporaries.
Any strategies for staying sane during the holidays?
Sanity is overrated. Don’t even try.
Our readers might like to know you’re giving away one copy of your Red Choo Diaries trilogy. In the vein of further giveaways, any recipes you’d like to share?
Oh, I have a great recipe for divinity. We love divinity. My body adores divinity and cleaves to it, like… well, it just really sticks to my body for many weeks after Christmas. Here’s my recipe:
• 2 2/3 cups white sugar
• 2/3 cup light corn syrup
• 1/2 cup water
• 2 egg whites
• 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
• 2/3 cup chopped walnuts (optional)
1. Cook sugar, corn syrup, and water in a 2-quart pot over low heat, stirring constantly, until sugar is dissolved. (On humid days, use 1 tablespoon less water.) Cook, without stirring, to 260 degrees on candy thermometer (or hard ball stage).
2. Beat egg whites in 1-1/2-quart bowl until stiff peaks form. Continue to beat while pouring hot syrup in a thin stream into egg whites. Add vanilla; beat until mixture holds its shape and becomes slightly dull. (Mixture may become too stiff for electric mixer). Fold in nuts (if you choose).
3. Drop from buttered spoon onto waxed paper. Let stand at room temperature, turning candy over once, until outside of candy is firm–at least 12 hours. Store in airtight container.
Sounds yummy! Thanks for joining our holiday bash, Kathleen. For more information about Kathleen and her books, check out her website, www.kathleenoreilly.com.