We’re lucky to have the fabulous author Lisa Marie Rice here with us this evening and tomorrow. She’s giving us a tasty look at her HarperCollins Avon Red upcoming release called Dangerous Passions. Drop her a line or ask her a question, and you’ll be entered to win a download of A Fine Specimen on the evening of 4/14/9.
Today’s Giveaway: A FINE SPECIMEN
Now Available at Ellora’s Cave
Read an Excerpt
Check out Lisa Marie’s Newsletter
A Fine Specimen
Lieutenant Alex Cruz eats, sleeps and breathes law enforcement. He’s tough and brusque, and cops and criminals alike tremble before him. And that’s the way he likes it. Until he meets Caitlin Summers—and decides he wants her trembling beneath him.
The beautiful scholar is doing dissertation research in his cop shop, and seriously messing with his head. His self-imposed sexual abstinence comes to a screeching halt in Caitlin’s ratty hotel room and dies a permanent death in his bed…and his kitchen…and his living room. Caitlin is also intelligent and funny, kind and generous, her smile a burst of warmth in his cold, austere life. And that scares the crap out of him.
With his head and heart fighting a battle of wills, Alex can barely concentrate on work. And that’s too bad—because his dangerous job and his newfound love are about to clash in the worst way possible.
Note: A FINE SPECIMEN was previously released by another publisher under the title TAMING NICK.
And now, a Sneak Peek at Lisa Marie’s
Coming August 4, 2009
from HarperCollins Avon Red
Feelings kill faster than bullets.
That is Drake’s creed. A legend, a renegade, a ruthless, powerful enigma understood by no one and feared by all, Victor “Drake” Drakovich heads up a billion-dollar empire—and shows no mercy to the many enemies who would stop at nothing to destroy him. He is a man with no love and no weakness, until…
Grace Larsen takes Drake’s breath away the first time he sees her—and quickly becomes his obsession. Never before has he burned for someone the way he desires this hauntingly beautiful artist who is plagued by troubling dreams. He aches to possess her, to protect her, to carry her to new heights of sensuous arousal and rapturous release. And Grace cannot resist her all-consuming need for this dangerous man, surrendering to the inner voice that begs her to freely shed every inhibition.
But entering Drake’s world means becoming a target—for relentless, bloodthirsty foes have been eagerly waiting for him to expose his weak spot. And the price of their passion may be their lives.
EXCERPT DANGEROUS PASSION
Grace was in a fog of pain and shock, with barely the energy to hope that the car wouldn’t run into a light pole or overturn at the corners. She rocked against the man holding her as his blood soaked through her coat. When she felt the wetness she pulled away, horrified to see the front of her coat wet with his blood. She looked up at him, at that calm, strong face. He looked as if absolutely nothing was wrong. As if he hadn’t been assaulted, shot at, wounded.
But the wound was real, she could see the mangled flesh. “You need to close that wound with something or you’ll bleed out.”
What to use to staunch the wound? The scarf in her purse was long gone. A shrug and her coat was off. The lining was a silk and polyester blend. Maybe that would do as a pressure bandage, though she didn’t know the absorption properties of polyester. Still, it was the only thing she had, so she started ripping the lining. Her hand was covered by his broad, olive-toned one.
“You’re bleeding!” Grace could hear the hysteria in her voice. Of all the horrible things that had happened since she’d walked into Harold’s gallery, this was one she could do something about. Not much, but something. “We have to stop the bleeding.” She batted his hand away, crumpled up the back panel of her jacket, pressed it against his wound and held it tightly.
Surely she was hurting him, but he gave no sign of that, not even a grunt. He just closed his eyes when she pressed against his shoulder.
“Sorry,” she whispered. He looked a little pale now, though it was hard to tell in the darkened cabin of the car. “I know I’m hurting you. But we’ll be at the hospital soon and they’ll stitch you up. It will be okay, you’ll see.”
She threw his words of comfort right back at him. The usual cheery words, words that were often overused and were often untrue. Life sometimes opened wounds that never healed. She hoped this one would. He’d saved her life.
The man leaned his head back against the head rest and closed his eyes. One big hand came up to cover hers. It was still shockingly warm, considering they’d been in the freezing rain and that he’d lost a lot of blood. “Not going to the hospital,” he said softly. “Not safe.”
Grace waited a few beats while what he said penetrated her weary brain, then jerked when she realized what he’d said. “That’s insane. Of course we have to take you to the hospital. You’ve been shot.”
His eyes opened suddenly, looking at her intently. Their faces were only inches apart. His eyes were chocolate brown, intelligent, weary. He reached up a hand to touch the scrapes and cuts on her face. His fingertips came away red and he held them up, studying them. “And you’ve been shot at.” Something flashed in his eyes, something hot and dangerous. “I’d kill them again for this. I’m sorry it was quick.”
Grace shivered. It was as if someone had opened a window and let in the chill winter air. “Never mind that, they’re all dead. Now we have to deal with your wound.”
“Yes, and yours. Just not in a hospital.”
Grace blinked. “If not in a hospital, then where?”
He glanced out the window, jaw muscles jumping. “Here.”
The car took a sudden turn into a garage entrance, plunging full speed down a ramp, braking inches from a concrete wall. Grace would have fallen to the floor if the man hadn’t braced her. The car was still rocking when the passenger doors were wrenched open and Grace was lifted out by two men.
Armed men surrounded the car and she found herself in the middle of a little phalanx, together with the dark-haired man. The armed men moved fast, as a unit. In an instant they were in an elevator. It was large enough to accommodate the team, and rose quickly. Grace looked up above the door to see what floor they were going to, but there was nothing. No indication of what floors they passed. She glanced to the side, to the big shiny brass plaque with the “˜close doors’ button. It was the only button on the plaque. They were in an elevator that only stopped at one floor. At the top of a building, apparently, because they rose for minutes, at an ear-popping pace.
The men stood at attention, surrounding them with their bodies, weapons drawn.
One of the men, tall and very fit, with a white streak in his black hair, turned to the man with her. “Glad you’re safe, Drake.” He glanced down at the shoulder wound, unflinching, as if he’d seen many of them. “Dr. Kane’s on his way, just like you asked.”
Drake. The man’s name was Drake. She had no idea if that was his first name or his last name.
She had no clue who he was, or where she was. All she knew was that she had been caught in the middle of what looked like an assassination attempt in which her best friend had violently lost his life. She was now in an elevator in the middle of a group of hard-looking armed men and had no idea what plans they had for her.
All of a sudden, it occurred to Grace that she was a witness. A witness to four murders. Five, counting Harold. Actually, six, assuming this Drake had killed the sniper. And they were definitely not headed towards the nearest police station so she could testify to what she’d seen.
She looked around, her heart starting to pound. Every man there was taller than her, way bigger than her, immensely tougher. They looked strong and dangerous, none more than their boss, the man they called Drake.
He hadn’t threatened her in any way, it was true. Indeed, the threat of harm to her had stopped him.
But she was in an enclosed space with him and this small army of men who looked perfectly capable of violence and she knew for a fact that Drake was capable of terrifying, swift and terrible violence.
If he meant her harm in any way, she was as good as dead. Nothing she could do could in any way stop him or even slow him down. She didn’t even know where she was, and no one else knew where she was.
For an instant, Grace regretted her quiet life. She had a few friends, but they didn’t meet up that often. Everyone was busy, no one more than her. She essentially worked around the clock, eating and sleeping at odd hours. She could be missing for several weeks, even a month, before anyone really took notice.
The person she saw the most was dead, his head shattered by a sniper’s bullet.
She’d had lunch with one of her best friends, Alice Restrepo, the day before yesterday. They only saw each other about once a month. How long would it take Alice to report her missing to the police? When Grace didn’t answer the phone, Alice would just assume she was consumed by a painting. The bell of worry would ring eventually, but by that time, Grace could be long dead. Could be at the bottom of the Hudson River or in a concrete piling in New Jersey. Could be raped, tortured to death, her mangled body buried where no one would ever find her.
She shivered, looking down at her feet, wishing she were invisible. Though no one was paying particular attention to her, she had no illusions that she could make a run for it. A private elevator spoke of lots of money buying lots of privacy.
With a ping, they arrived at wherever it was they were going. The elevator doors opened with the quietest of whooshes. In front of them, across a very large hall, was a door worthy of the gate of a fortress. Twelve feet high at least, made of shiny steel.
The men around her filed out, fanning out into a security perimeter, but Grace stood still, eyes fixed on the ground, trying to control her trembling. Drake stood beside her, unmoving.
“Boss…” one of the men said. The men were obviously quivering with eagerness to get him behind those huge steel doors.
“Go now, I’m fine,” Drake said quietly. They didn’t look happy, but they did it. They were used to obeying this man.
Drake pushed a button and the doors of the elevator closed again.
Grace stepped back and looked him full in the face. He winced a little at what he saw on hers.
“You’re frightened.” The deep voice was soft. He lifted a large, blood-stained hand to her cheek. His touch was soft, though she could feel the callouses on his fingertips. “I’m sorry about that. I’m sorry about everything. More than I have words for. You’ve become involved in…a business dispute through no fault of your own. You’ve lost a friend and you’re hurt. I cannot tell you how much I regret this. But it’s done. And now you need to be kept safe from my enemies and you need medical care. All of this exists and is waiting for you behind that door you saw.”
She stared at him numbly. Though his touch had been fleeting, she still felt the warmth along her cheek.
For all she knew, this was a serial killer just waiting to entice her into his fortress. Certainly he had dealings with criminals. It was entirely possible he was a criminal himself. But the regret in his voice sounded sincere. And he wasn’t pushing her out of the elevator and into whatever was behind that door. Something in his stance told her that he would be willing to stay here forever, dripping blood on the floor, until she left the elevator of her own free will.
He swayed slightly, then brought himself back upright. The muscles in his jaw worked. There was a soft plop and when Grace looked down, another drop of bright red blood joined the small puddle on the floor.
Oh my God. He was badly wounded, he’d lost a lot of blood. He was barely standing, his forehead was beaded with sweat. And yet here he was, standing with her until she took a decision, patiently waiting for her.
Grace wasn’t too good with people, but like many introverts, she was an observer. What she saw before her was patience and regret with an overlay of pain and fatigue. No cruelty or craziness.
“Okay,” she said softly. “Let’s go in.”
Lisa Marie’s Interview
BK: Welcome Lisa Marie!
What is sure to distract you from sitting down and working/writing?
LMR: Ah, the internet, undoubtedly. I’m a news junkie, alas. Hooked. Addicted. In the morning, I have this little ritual of checking favourite sites—the Guardian, New York Times, Washington Post, La Repubblica, Andrew Sullivan, The Daily Beast, Newser, Huffington Post, Drudgereport. It takes a while for me to scroll through the sites to see what’s been going on in the world. It’s often depressing, but I can’t seem to shake the habit. Most of the time, you despair about the world. And then you read about earthquake victims helping each other, the rescue of a brave ship’s captain by equally brave SEALs and you think…yeah. It’s an interesting world and it isn’t all bad.
Every morning I tell myself that I’ll get in my 2000 words FIRST and THEN I can check to see if the world has imploded/exploded yet, but it rarely works. And there’s always something happening. Just as I got over the Presidential elections, along comes the economic panic…
However, once I’ve got my daily dose of news, and I’m at the keyboard for a story, I don’t stop until I’ve at least finished the scene.
BK: It is indeed an interesting world. And you aren’t the first guest author this month to answer that question in a similar fashion. Seems the Internet is a writer’s friend and greatest challenge. 🙂
What are you working on presently? What about upcoming releases?
LMR: Right now I’m working on what will be a trilogy for Avon Red and I’m excited about the story. It’s tentatively entitled Crossfire and the tagline is The Protectors. Three men who are closer than brothers, who grew up in a brutal foster home and have each other’s back. It’s really fun and interesting writing about a close bond among men. And the women they fall in love with bond as well.
I think there are very few of us who wouldn’t want a tight relationship with people they’d trust with their lives, and have done so. The three men have in common the fact that they will fight brutality and cruelty wherever they find it, whatever the cost. And you do not, repeat do not, touch their women!
Crossfire will be coming out in spring 2010.
My next book, DANGEROUS PASSION, comes out on August 4, 2009, and is a departure. The first introduction to the hero, Drake, is in Dangerous Lover. He is a dangerous man, a complete loner, who has risen to the top of a criminal empire. He has no one in his life because his enemies would go after anyone he loved. And yet love, unexpectedly, comes to him.It is far and away the most romantic thing I’ve ever written and I hope readers enjoy it!
BK: Both books/series sound extremely hot and romantic, which I have so got to have in my stories. And the protectors–I’m such a sucker for an alpha male who will protect his woman at all costs. Best of luck with both!
What’s the best compliment you ever got on your writing or a book?
LMR: I get a lot of really lovely fan mail from readers and have a number of favourites. But the one that struck a chord in my heart was a reader who wrote that she read one of my books at the death bed of her father because it made her feel better, helped her through the crisis. I can relate because I read a number of books that uplifted me at the bedside of my dying mother. Any writer feels uplifted knowing she’s giving comfort and hope to a reader. It’s essentially what reading and writing are all about. Making you feel better, less lonely, more connected to your fellow humans.
BK: An incredibly poignant compliment, Lisa Marie.
If you could time travel to any time or place—the past or future—where and when would you go to, and why?
LMR: Well, that’s a real tough one. I’ve read a lot of history, enough not to have any illusions that life was somehow better in the past, particularly for a woman. Though there are plenty of fascinating periods in the past, periods of glory where great deeds were done, they were also rife with intolerance and a lack of status for women. Even the wonderful Regency period, so elegant and fascinating, was a period where slavery was big business, women had literally no rights and (the kicker) modern dentistry hadn’t yet been invented, so you just kept your toothache. Not to mention the fact that I’m extremely sensitive to smells and a period where people washed once a month…nope, sorry.
And the future? Here, too, I’m not entirely convinced we’re heading toward a bright and glorious future (see my news addiction above). I’m old enough to have seen a lot of things deteriorate in my lifetime, so I have to really work to keep hopeful. Right now is a really interesting time. I wonder whether we’ll have a new, gentler society once the recession is over. I believe very strongly in community ties, in service to others, in putting people ahead of things, and it seems to me that, after a long dry spell, green shoots are starting to sprout.
So I guess I’ll stay in the here and the now.
BK: A practical…and wise response, Lisa Marie. Thank you for joining us here today!
Be sure to leave Lisa Marie a comment/question to qualify for a free download of A Fine Specimen! And yes…enter that big ol’ Daring Time Contest if you haven’t already.