Category Archives: Interviews

Interview/Giveaway: Michelle Miles, author of Only for a Knight

onlyforaknight_msrMichelle’s back, and today she’s giving away a signed print copy of the first book in her Knight series, One Knight Only, the prequel to her new release Only for a Knight!

Thanks for stopping by, Michelle! Can we talk about your new book, Only for a Knight? Who are Derron and Elyne?

Derron is a knight who is also the Protector of the Realm and future Guardian of the Sword of Light. He likes to hang out in the human realm at jousting tournaments because he’s bored by the Otherworld.

Elyne is a princess and future ruler of the Otherworld. She’s desperately in love with Derron but too stubborn to admit it. When her world starts to fall apart, it brings the two of them closer together.

Would you mind telling us a little about Derron and Elyne’s world?

Not at all! Their home is the Otherworld, the Faery realm that exists behind a veil and is hidden from humans. It’s separated into two courts – the Light, or Seelie, and the Dark, or Unseelie. The Unseelie realm is where the thieves, robbers, murders are banished from the Seelie. They are condemned to live in exile there ruled by the Dark King who is content with his realm. Until the Dark Elf, Lord Kieran, decides he can do better.

The first novel in the series, One Knight Only, takes place in Scotland, but this sequel takes place in the faery Otherworld—how was it to move your characters from the historical setting to a fantasy setting? Did it change the way you approached this story?

For me, it was a lot more fun to move into the fantasy setting. I’m a fantasy lover at heart, so writing about the Fae, Elves and dragons was awesome. It took me a while to really get going on the story because I had some world building to do. I needed to figure out exactly what the Otherworld was and how it was mapped out. So even though I started writing, and even though I knew what the conflict was up front, I still had to go back and figure out why the Elves and Fae hated each other. It was great fun.

What kind of research did you do when you were creating the Otherworld?

I already knew a lot about Celtic mythology and how the “Otherworld” was. I drew on that as I wrote the story. I also wanted to incorporate the four Fae treasures, though, so I did a lot of research on what those were and then sort of made it for what I needed and wanted for the story. Two of the treasures – the Sword of Light and the Stone of Destiny – are the most famous. For the other two – the Club of Dagda and the Spear of Lugh – I used what I found in text to make it more than it actually was. One of the treasures was a cauldron, which does make an appearance in the story as well.

What’s your favorite place in the Otherworld?

The home of the Elves, high in the trees. 🙂

You chose to split the Otherworld community into two factions, Fae and Elves—can you tell us about that decision, and how it plays into the story?

You know I’m a Pantser (grin), so when I sent Elyne to get help from the Elves and the king wasn’t so willing to give it I had to think about why. I started asking myself some “what if” questions about the Elves and the Fae to answer the why question. Why are they divided? Why do they dislike each other so much? The more I wrote, the more I realized there was some bad blood between the two races and the root of is was Queen Maeve’s fault.

How about a blurb?

After saving her love, Princess Elyne returns to the Otherworld by order of her mother. But it’s not the homecoming she expects. Furious Elyne has meddled with humans the queen imprisons her and strips away her magic. The only way Elyne can get it back is to perform one selfless act.

When Queen Maeve sends Derron to find the Guardian of the Sword of Light, he can’t leave without releasing Elyne. After all, she altered time to save his life. But freeing the princess comes with a steep price—he must take her with him on this dangerous quest. And the two must deal with feelings of past hurt and the love growing between them.

Their search becomes more than a pursuit for the missing Guardian as Lord Kieran rises to dominate the Unseelie court. He will stop at nothing to gain control of both the Otherworld and the human realm. Even with the help of Elves, dragons and their human friends, the odds are stacked against Derron and Elyne.

oneknightonly-200pxWas there a moment when you were writing One Knight Only where you knew you were going to write Derron and Elyne’s story?

Actually, yes. When I realized they had unfinished business with each other. It was closer to the end of the book when Elyne realized Derron might have died and she truly loved him. That was the moment where I knew I couldn’t allow their betrothal to remain broken. I had to get these two together!

Was there any point in Only For A Knight where one of the characters surprised you?

Maeve did. She’s always so hard on her daughter than toward the end, during the big battle scene, I had no idea what she intended to do until I wrote it. 🙂 That’s what I love about writing!

What’s your favorite thing about writing Fae characters?

They’re just fun. Plus, I’ve always had a fascination with Celtic myths and legends. This book finally gave me the opportunity to write that story!

My first encounter with faeries was probably Tinkerbell in Peter Pan. I remember, as a very small child, daydreaming about how cool it would be to fly anywhere. What’s the first faery you remember encountering?

Tinkerbell for sure. Who hasn’t seen Peter Pan as a kid? I’ve always loved them, though. I have a few I’ve purchased in various places – Scarborough Faire and Medieval Times. Plus I love fantasy art that features fairies. There are some wonderful artists out there.

What’s your favorite book or movie featuring the Fae?

Great question! I’d have to say book and by far Karen Marie Moning’s FEVER series. It’s so dark and delightful! I love those books.

Will there be a third book in this series?

Yes! I’m currently working on the third, A KNIGHT TO REMEMBER which will feature Queen Maeve and her love interest. 🙂

What are you working on right now?

Too many things! I have all those voices in my head. I’m currently working on the third Knights book, a new erotic novella featuring hunky Atlantis guys and an urban fantasy with angels and demons. Plus, in the New Year, I will be re-releasing my contemporary novellas with brand new covers and new titles.

Thanks for having me here! I enjoyed it!

Where to purchase Only for a Knight:
Ellora’s Cave: http://www.ellorascave.com/only-for-a-knight.html
Amazon: http://tinyurl.com/98bsl35
Barnes & Noble: http://tinyurl.com/9newtes

Where to find me online:
Website and blog home: http://www.michellemiles.net
Email: michelle@michellemiles.net
Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/MichelleMiles
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/MichelleMilesRomanceAuthor
Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/MichelleMiles
YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/mlmiles21

Want to be entered in the drawing for One Knight Only?  Leave a comment for Michelle below!

Miles5Michelle Miles found her love of writing buried in the fantasy books of Patricia A. McKillip and the beautiful romances of Victoria Holt. It wasn’t until her high school years she decided to take up the pen and try her hand at writing. She created faraway lands, space adventures, and even princesses who just wanted to be saved. Never learning to plot, she always believed that jumping in feet first was the way to go and has since become a self-proclaimed Pantser, writing sexy contemporaries and sizzling paranormal and sweeping fantasy.

A Native Texan, she loves hockey, football, baseball, drinking coffee, cross-stitching, and shopping for shoes and Coach handbags. You can read her daily antics at her blog, Ye Olde Inkwell. Michelle is also a regular contributor to Pop Culture Divas  and Plotting Princesses.

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Interview/Giveaway: Michelle Miles, Author of One Knight Only

Michelle Miles, author extraordinaire, returns to tell us about her new time-travel romance set in medieval Scotland. 

There will be jousting. 

And sexy rogues. 

And stand-up knights with brogues.

The generous Ms. Miles is giving away a free copy of One Knight Only  to one lucky commenter! 

Let us waste no more time with introductions…welcome, Michelle!  Can you tell us a little about your new book, One Knight Only?

One Knight Only is set during a jousting tournament in the Middle Ages. It’s the story of Maggie, a woman from the present day, and Finn, a Scottish Knight with a gambling problem. It also has some paranormal elements that were a lot of fun to mix into the story.

Here’s the blurb:

A snarky Faery princess, a Scottish knight with a gambling problem, and a murderous earl all add up to one thing: Trouble. Maggie’s medieval education never prepared her for life in the Middle Ages!

Do-gooder Maggie Chase throws her thesis out the window when she wakes up in the arms of a hot Scottish knight. When she realizes she’s somehow ended up back in time, she embraces the persona of Lady Margaret. But she may be in over her head when she realizes she has to keep the sexy knight alive during a jousting tournament in order to get back to her own time.

Sir Finian “Finn” McCullough is a gambling man and owes a very large debt to an evil earl who is after his family estate. When the beautiful and outgoing Maggie arrives in his bed, he can’t remember tupping her the night before and thinks she’s a spy for one of his neighboring clans. He intends to find her kinsman and return her safely but he can’t resist her charms, her smart mouth or her sex appeal. Instead he keeps her close, taking her with him to an important jousting tournament—one he has to win or lose his castle forever.

What’s your favorite moment in this novel?

There are so many! I had so much fun writing the entire book that it’s hard to pick just one. Maggie has a lot of funny dialogue with Elyne (the Fae princess). Plus Elyne butts heads with Finn because she thinks he killed her love, Derron, on purpose during a joust. There are two scenes I really like: when Maggie jousts in Finn’s place (you’ll have to read the book to see how she ends up in the saddle) and when Finn is in the gambling tent playing cards.

What do you like about the time travel genre?

I like the idea of taking a modern character and sending them back in time to experience the wonders of the past. I’ve done it more than once – the Ranson & Fortune series with Samhain is a time travel.

Are there paranormal or magical elements in OKO besides the time travel?

Oh yes! I have a Fae princess, Elyne, who uses magic to alter time and other things. I don’t want to spoil the surprise. 😉 She’s in love with a Fae knight who is jousting and masquerading as a human. But Elyne’s use of magic in the human world is strictly forbidden by Fae law and she gets in trouble with Mom, the Queen of Faery.

What was the most interesting thing you learned while researching this novel?

Aside from jousting itself, I did a lot of research on games in the Middle Ages. Specifically card games and dice games. Hazard is the predecessor of Craps. Playing cards were actually introduced to the Western Anglo world in the mid-1300s. The suit system we know today was adapted by the French in the fifteenth century and referred to as a French deck. Other regions had their own suits (e.g. Germany, Italy, Spain). Some of the earlier suits had cups, swords, coins, and batons; others had animals, flowers, etc.

In what ways are you like Maggie, the heroine of OKO?

Oh, that’s a hard one. I think there’s a little bit of me in every character. With Maggie, it’s her stubbornness. She’s a do-gooder who wants to help everyone and she won’t let anyone, not even an evil Earl, stand in her way.

If you could travel back in time to experience one event in history, where and when would you go?

Just one? Hm. Queen Elizabeth I’s coronation, to see the beginning of her reign, which I think would be awesome!.

Derron the seductive rogue or Finn the honorable knight — if you were going to get to spend a night with one of these characters from OKO, which one would you choose?

Ooo! That’s hard! But I love all things Scottish and that includes beefy men with a brogue. Finn wins this one. (Poor Derron.)

You’ve been writing a lot of contemporary romance (the uber-sexy Coffeehouse Chronicles, for example). Is OKO your first paranormal romance release?

I have a time travel series with Samhain Publishing—the Adventures of Ransom and Fortune. The first book is A BEND IN TIME. When hit man Dane Fortune was hired to kill Skye Ransom, he never counted on her leading him on a game of cat and mouse through time…or that he’d just as soon kiss her as kill her. He chases Skye Ransom, who knows she’s his next target, but she inadvertently transports herself back in time—with Dane.

I’m also one of eleven authors in the ENTANGLED paranormal anthology. All proceeds are going to the Breast Cancer Research Foundation, so I’m very excited I was asked to be part of something for such a great cause.

How did you get involved in that project?

My good friend, Misty Evans, asked me one day if I would be interested in doing a short story for a paranormal anthology releasing around Halloween. Of course I said yes! It was also a great way to give back to a community that writers don’t often have an opportunity to give back to. All the proceeds from the sales of the anthology go to the Breast Cancer Research Foundation.
The book is for sale through Amazon Kindle, Barnes & Noble Nook, Smashwords, All Romance Ebooks, and other online distributors. So far, we’ve sold over a thousand copies and I hope there are a thousand more to come. My short story is SINFULLY SWEET and is the story of a witch who bakes a little magic into her cupcakes.

Do you take a different approach when writing contemporary romance vs writing paranormals?

I think I take a different approach to each and every book. They all come about in a different way. Some I just start writing because a character showed up in my head and demanded attention. Others start with the seed of an idea (“I’d like to write a book about INSERT SUBJECT HERE”). And still others start with a snippet of dialogue that nags at me until I start writing.

What was the first paranormal romance you ever read? What paranormal romance authors have influenced you?

Karen Marie Moning’s Highlander series was the first paranormals I ever read which are all time travels and—surprise!—Scottish romances. So she’s definitely influenced me and I devoured her Fever series. Plus I enjoy reading Sharie Kohler/Sophie Jordan, Gena Showalter, Nora Roberts, Sherrilyn Kenyon, Kim Harrison. I also read a lot of fantasy. Authors I like: George R. R. Martin, Patricia A. McKillip, Terry Goodkind.

Are you planning a sequel to OKO, and if so, do you mind giving us a preview?

Yes, I’ve already planned out the next book which will be about Elyne and Derron. It picks up where ONE KNIGHT ONLY leaves off with Elyne in some hot water with her mother, the Queen of Faery, over Elyne using magic in the human realm. Her mother is making an example of her and sends her off to Fae prison, where she’s stripped of her powers and left to think about her actions and the consequences.

Meanwhile, Queen Maeve has asked Sir Derron to go in search of his missing father, Guardian and Lord of the Sword of Light. The sword is also missing, causing the queen much concern. She bides him to bring them both back and Derron readily accepts the challenge. But not without busting Elyne out of prison first. 🙂 I have lots of fun things planned for this one that includes dragons, dark Fae kings, and kick-ass Elvish warriors.

ONE KNIGHT ONLY EXCERPT:

“Who are you? How did you send me back in time?”

“I am Fae royalty, a princess of the Otherworld—you humans call it Faery—and you’re nothing but a gnat on the map of the world.”

“Fae?” Dawning began. “You seriously can’t mean Faery?” Then snorted. “You’re telling me you’re part of the Tuatha dé Danaan? Yeah, as if.”

“Believe it, human.” The Fae princess glared at her, a hint of an Irish lilt coming out in her speech now. “I’m a direct descendant of the Daughters of Danu, the royal bloodline who protects all Fae magic and those within the Otherworld realm.”

“If you’re Fae, then how old are you?”

“Older than time itself,” Elyne said. “Older than you can comprehend. I’ve seen your past, your present and even your future. A future you could not imagine.”

“So you just snapped your fingers and poof here I am.” Maggie snapped her fingers to enunciate her point.

“No, I did not snap my fingers.” Elyne snapped her fingers back. “It took a lot of effort to sift the sands of time and put you here, where you certainly do not belong.”

“Did you wave your magic wand? This fairy tale—sorry, no pun—just keeps getting better and better.”

Maggie giggled and perched on the edge of the bed. She could believe in standing stones that possessed a certain magical ability on certain days of the year such as Beltane and Samhain. In fact, she did believe in them. But magic? Magic wasn’t real. It belonged in bedtime stories. The ones Dad used to read her before she’d fall into blissful slumber as she dreamed of fair princesses in towers and sugarplums that danced in her head.

“You would be wise not to mock me, human, or I can make your life a living hell while you’re here in what you refer to as the Middle Ages. I am a princess and you will address me as such.”

“I know history, your highness,” Maggie said, thumbing at herself. “I’ve spent the last six years studying it and I’ve never heard of the Fae meddling in ‘human’ affairs. It’s not history. It’s myth and legend.”

Elyne took a step toward her, standing toe to toe. “History,” she hissed. “Not myth. Not legend. History. My history and I’ll thank you not to mock it, or me.”

Touchy, isn’t she? Maggie held up her hands in surrender. “Sorry.”

Elyne crossed her arms, giving Maggie a superior look. “It happens among you lesser folk. At any rate, your knowledge should come in handy where you’re going.”

“And where am I going?”

“Like Finn said. To tourney. Middleham, England, if you must know. South of the Scottish border. It’s about a week’s ride from here.”

“You can’t make me do anything.”

Maggie’s eyes narrowed as she looked at the blonde-haloed wispy woman. She didn’t look all that tough. In fact, she looked nothing more than a servant girl. Perhaps she was playing an elaborate hoax on her.

Or somewhere in her sleep-deprived mind, her imagination had run amok.

Elyne laughed, a surprising bellow of a chortle from the pit of her lungs. “You silly human. You think you have so much control.” She punctuated the sentence with a lift of her head, looking down her straight, pointy nose at Maggie as though she were nothing more than pond scum. She leaned forward, her voice dropping to a dangerous level. “You have no control of your own destinies. You are nothing but simple fools.”

A pounding on the door made them both jump. “Lassie?” It was Finn, his voice muffled through the thick chamber door.

Maggie huffed out a breath. “Not ready yet,” she called, hoping to stall.

“You best be in the next few minutes or I’ll be dressing you myself.”

Maggie tried not to think of his hands on her trying to dress her. It sent too many erotic images through her fertile imagination. She held her breath, waiting for him to boom through the door again but he must have left since all fell silent. She turned back to Elyne.

“Send me back.”

“As I said, I cannot. Not until tournament is over.”

“And what if I can’t keep Finn alive? Then what?”

“Then…well… Then that’s on your pretty head, isn’t it?”

Available for purchase at Ellora’s Cave and Amazon.Com

Michelle Miles found her love of writing buried in the fantasy books of Patricia A. McKillip and the beautiful romances of Victoria Holt. It wasn’t until her high school years she decided to take up the pen and try her hand at writing. She created faraway lands, space adventures, and even princesses who just wanted to be saved. Never learning to plot, she always believed that jumping in feet first was the way to go and has since become a self-proclaimed Pantser, writing sexy contemporaries and sizzling paranormal and sweeping fantasy.

A Native Texan, she loves hockey, football, baseball, drinking coffee, cross-stitching, and shopping for shoes and Coach handbags. You can read her daily antics at her blog, Ye Olde Inkwell. Michelle is also a regular contributor to Pop Culture Divas  and Plotting Princesses.

Interview and Giveaway with Michelle Miles

I’m delighted to introduce the lovely and talented  Michelle Miles, who also happens to be my critique partner.  She writes steamy contemporary and paranormal romance–the sparks really fly in a Michelle Miles story!  One of you lucky commenters will win a copy of her new release, Sex, Lies and Martinis in the e-format of your choice.

Romance Author Michelle MilesPlease tell us a little about yourself and how you became a writer.

I was born on a dark and stormy night… 😉 Just kidding. Born in Dallas, I was raised in the ‘burbs and finally migrated west to Fort Worth when I became an adult. In high school, my then-best friend and I used to write and illustrate our own Indiana Jones comic books. I wrote fan fiction for Star Wars, Star Trek, Bladerunner. Freshman English was completely boring to me, so I started writing short stories. One memorable one was about princess, her evil uncle the Duke, and the prince who would save her from him. I stopped writing for a long time until I finally came back to it in 2001 when I was home on maternity leave. I wrote a short story and submitted it to Writer’s Digest 2001 Writing Competition and was actually awarded Honorable Mention. It was my first writing-related anything! Finally, about four years later, I discovered Romance Writers of America and joined. I also joined a couple of chapters and met some really awesome people (present company included!). My first book was released with Samhain Publishing in 2006. TALK DIRTY TO ME is a contemporary hot romance and is still available for purchase.

What was the origin of your new release, Sex, Lies and Martinis?

To answer that, I have to go back a bit. I hope that’s okay. 🙂 TALK DIRTY TO ME started it all. I had this coffee house I featured in TDTM, then wrote a sequel, NICE GIRLS DO, then a third TAKE ME I’M YOURS. The latter features Marion and Graeme and has a cameo by Marion’s best friend, Delilah. Once I finished TAKE ME I’M YOURS, I had so much fun with Delilah, I decided she needed her own story. She’s the star of SEX LUST & MARTINIS and reconnects with her lost love, Sam.

What’s your favorite moment in Sex, Lies and Martinis?

I think my favorite is when Delilah sees Sam again for the first time in years. 🙂

Sex, Lies and Martinis is the second in a series, right?  Can you tell us a little about the previous book, Take Me I’m Yours?

It’s actually the fourth. 🙂 The first two (TALK DIRTY TO ME and NICE GIRLS DO) are with Samhain Publishing. TAKE ME I’M YOURS is the third installment in what I call “The Coffee House Chronicles”. TAKE ME I’M YOURS is the story of Graeme and Marion. He designs adult websites while she’s a personal trainer mending a very broken heart. Marion’s meddling ex-fiancé comes back to wreak havoc but Graeme is determined not to let her get away. It’s a fun story.

If you could be one of your characters – Who would you be?  And why?

LOL – Delilah! She believes in high fashion, awesome shoes, great handbags and martinis!

What works of fiction (books, movies, myths, etc.) have influenced you as a writer?

Great question! I love a good romantic comedy but I also love a great action flick. I’m a huge Star Wars/Star Trek fan. I also love Pirates of the Caribbean, Lord of the Rings, X-Men, Indiana Jones. (Yes, I love trilogies). They’ve had a huge impact on my writing. Also, Patricia A. McKillip has long been on my TBR list. I read her for the first time when I was in my teens and have loved her ever since. Victoria Holt is another one that I loved reading when I was younger. Two books that made me want to write: The Forgotten Beasts of Eld and Road To Paradise Island. Awesome books.

What genres do you read?  Do you write in those same genres?

I’m into urban fantasy/paranormal type books but I also love historical and just about anything by Nora Roberts. My favorite series at the moment is Karen Marie Moning’s Fever series. I’m waiting impatiently for the fifth book of that and looking forward to what she’ll do next.

How would you describe your approach to writing?

Haphazard mostly. 🙂 I have focus issues sometimes. I really need to write on a schedule and it’s hard to do that while working full time.

When you have writer’s block, how do you break free?

I have to make myself do it. Sometimes I get 500 words; sometimes I get 1500. And when I really am stuck, I put a placeholder and then move on. Forward progress is always best.

Where do you get your best ideas?

All over the place! Sometimes even from my dreams.

How many drafts do you go through before you consider a story to be complete?

At least three. The first draft to get the story down, the second the tweak, the third after my critique partners have read it. Okay sometimes four. 🙂

How much of your personal experiences do you use in your stories?

There’s a little bit of me in everything I write. That’s all I’m saying. 😉

What do you like to do when you’re not writing?

Watch movies! We’re avid movie-goers.

What was your favorite childhood book?

Oh I love this question. It was called COULD BE WORSE and I adored that book. I read it so much it fell apart. It’s the story of Grandpa and how all he ever said was, “Could be worse,” when anything happened. Then one day, he told the most outrageous story and the grandkids only response was, “Could be worse!” I love that book. I still have it and I read it to my son when he was younger.

What do you hope readers get from your books?

I hope, above all, they’re entertained and love the characters as much as I do. Books are a form of escapism and I want people to feel like they’re IN the story.

If you give aspiring writers one piece of advice, what would it be?

Never give up. No matter what people tell you. And writing is NEVER a hobby – just remember that. If you’re serious about it, then don’t let anyone put it down. It maybe seem like a hobby to our family members (you know, the ones we ignore while we’re hammering away at the keyboard) but you know better.

What project are you currently working on?

I’m currently working on a revision of a fantasy I’d submitted to a publisher who rejected. They agreed to let me revise and resubmit so I’m trying to get it done and out the door. I’m also working on a historical/time travel about jousting.

Will there be a third book to follow Take Me I’m Yours and Sex, Lies and Martinis?

I hadn’t considered it yet, but you never know with me. I do love my contemporaries. 🙂

What question do you wish people would ask you in interviews?

LOL. THIS one!

If you could have a harem made up of your favorite fictional characters, who would be in it?

LOL! Indiana Jones, Han Solo, Wolverine, James Bond (Sean Connery), Jack Sparrow, King Leonidas (Gerard Butler/300)


Buy Sex, Lust and MartinisSam ripped out her heart. Now Delilah wants it back!

Delilah Storm believes in sex, lust, and martinis. She knows what she wants and how to get it. Until she discovers that her favorite sex toy shop has been taken over by her ex-husband.

Sam Ford is a man who doesn’t know what he wants. So when Delilah walks back into his life, he sees it as a sign. And he’s willing to try anything to get her back.

Sparks fly, proving they’re still in lust with each other. Now the two have to put the past to rest, or risk losing each other again…this time, for good.

EXCERPT:

Saturday, one week before the wedding.

She’d been called a goddess in four-inch heels. She’d also been called a bitch in stilettos. Sometimes she’d preferred being a bitch, because trouble usually followed the goddess title. It was hard work being a goddess. It was easier being a bitch.

And Delilah Storm found this moment to be a bitch one of the easiest of all, because the man sitting across from her at brunch was definitely trouble. She’d been thinking about it for the last few weeks when Cliff—Cliff? Why did she even agree to a date with a man named Cliff?—had stood her up time and time again. And when they did finally go on a date, he took her someplace where he could get the meal for free. He had connections, he called them.

And every time they did manage a date, she ended up driving nearly an hour out of her way to get to the place. And despite his claims he had to rush home to the babysitter, being the single dad and all, she had her suspicions he was actually still married. After all, she’d never seen the inside of his house or met the kids. And she didn’t even want to think about the numerous times they’d gotten it on in his car because he claimed he was overcome with emotion.

She’d been swept up in their sheer physical attraction, their whirlwind dating, their meeting and greeting and getting to know each other. She could overlook a lot of things. She could tolerate even more, since she was a no-strings kind of gal. But when she’d sensed he was still married, and she’d overheard the conversation with his “business partner” the night before, she knew it was time to cut him loose.

She’d been so stupid. And she would never doubt her intuition again.

She knew, sitting here now at brunch with this man who claimed he was divorced, today was Cut-Loose Day. Too bad Cliff didn’t know. She had put up with it for nearly three months. What did she see in this guy? A quick meal ticket and hot sex? No, that wasn’t it. He made her feel powerful, as if she were in control. When really she wasn’t in any sort of control at all. He was. And that flat ticked her off.

What was he talking about anyway? Delilah refocused, tried to pay attention to what Cliff was saying. He was chattering about some client party he wanted her to attend with him. She should have been tipsy with glee at the very fact he was actually inviting her somewhere other than (a) his car for sex or (b) some restaurant on the other side of God’s green earth to meet for dinner. Instead, annoyance crawled under her skin.

“Listen, Cliff,” she said, cutting him off. “That sounds nice, but I don’t think we should see each other anymore.”

He paused, stared at her across the table as though she’d grown another head. The only sound around them was the clink of silverware on plates, the murmur of voices from the other brunch diners.

“What?” he said.

Oh, crap. Please don’t cause a scene. It was too early for a scene, and she hadn’t had nearly enough coffee. “I’ve been thinking about us a lot lately, and it’s just that…well, I’m not ready to get serious.” There. That sounded plausible.

“It’s a damn client party, Delilah. I’m not asking you to marry me, for Christ’s sake.” He threw his fork on the table, the silverware clinking against his plate.

Did she mention he had a bit of a temper, too?

“I realize that.” This discussion was going sour quickly, and she didn’t want to get into a long, drawn-out conversation about breaking up. Or, worse, a fight. She wanted it to be over and done with. Quickly. “I just don’t think it’s a good idea if we see each other anymore. Even though we’ve only been dating a few months, I’m not ready for the next step.” She leaned back in her chair, hooking one elbow over the back, pleased with her well-practiced speech.

He gave her a blank stare. “The next step as my date to a party, you mean.”

“I don’t think it’ll work out.”

“Because you don’t want it to.” Cliff leaned back in his chair. He pinned her with a hardened gaze. “I know your type.”

She laughed. “What type is that?”

“The type that’s afraid of commitment,” he said. “You’re so scared of being with someone you deliberately fuck it up. Or head them off at the pass by breaking up first.”

“That’s not true.” Immediately on the defensive, she shoved her long, strawberry-blonde hair over a shoulder. “I don’t deliberately fuck anything up. And as far as breaking up first—”

“Sure you do.” He said it casually, cutting her off, as though conversing about the weather. “You don’t want to go with me to the client party because that makes it all too real. It would make us a couple.” He sipped his coffee, looking triumphant.

“No,” she snapped. “Not at all. Maybe I don’t like you that much.”

“If you don’t like me that much,” he said slowly, leaning forward, “then why did you scream at the top of your lungs while you were fucking my brains out last night?”

“In your car, you mean?”

Delilah pursed her lips. “Why” was the real question, wasn’t it? After last night, she’d made up her mind no amount of money or looks could make up for the way he treated her. Like the dirty mistress. They were both going through the motions, and Delilah was sure Cliff would realize that once she made the break.

She was pretty sure he was still married, and she was the mistress.

“Bullshit.” Cliff leaned back again, a smug smile on his face.

“As much as I’d love to stay here and chat about my relationship shortcomings, I have important wedding things to do.” She picked up her purse, preparing to stand.

“Oh, of course. The wedding you weren’t going to invite me to.”

“It’s better if I go alone.” And it was. If she brought Cliff, she’d have to deal with unending questions from Marion about who he was and how long they’d been seeing each other, yadda yadda.

“Go ahead, then. But someday you’ll call me begging forgiveness and asking to come back, and you know what? I’ll say no. Because, Delilah, you’re walking away from something great.” He waved his hand up and down his body, indicating the “something great” was him.

Right. Add egomaniac to the list.

“We’ll see about that, won’t we? Good-bye, Cliff.”

She walked away from the table, her heels clicking on the floor, out of the restaurant and to her car. She always made sure she drove her own car so she could have a fast getaway if she ever needed one. It was her dating Rule #1. Today, her instinct was right on.

And anyway, she really did have wedding things to do today. Since her best friend, Marion, was getting married and Delilah was the maid of honor, she had duties to perform. Like purchasing the happy couple a wedding present. She wanted to get them something different. Not your everyday, run-of-the-mill wedding gift. Nope, no blender or service for eight for Marion. Delilah was different. Delilah was getting the happy couple a vibrator.

Technically the gift was for Marion, but she knew Graeme, her fiancé, would have fun with it, too. Delilah knew exactly which one she wanted to get her—the Super Rabbit with the clitoris stimulator guaranteed to help any woman achieve the biggest orgasm of her life. Marion had never had one—a bunny, that is—and despite her protests, Delilah thought she and Graeme would have a helluva time with it.

Besides, a visit to her favorite toy shop would take the edge off breaking up with Cliff. Delilah hadn’t frequented the store in a while, since she was satisfied with her current collection. Liquid Heat wasn’t the typical adult toy store. It wasn’t the kind that creeped you out when you went inside. Or made you wish you carried a .38 special for your own personal safety in the store or in the parking lot.

The door swooshed closed behind her as she entered the store and perused their selections, looking for the Super Rabbit. A pair of pink fluffy handcuffs caught her eye, and she reached for them to check the price.

“Can I help you?”

She knew that voice. It was a voice she hadn’t heard in ten years. It couldn’t be, could it? She froze mid-reach, not wanting to turn and see him. Her heart did one of those flips in her chest, and she suddenly felt cold all over. She couldn’t exactly pretend to be invisible. Or pretend she didn’t hear him.

“Delilah?”

He sounded as surprised as she felt. The man who had a starring role in all her wet dreams. She turned to him, pasted on her best smile, and flipped her long hair over her shoulder—her signature move. Ten years after their divorce, Sam Ford had reappeared in her life.

Or rather, she’d happened to reappear back into his. Damn the luck.

He had shredded her heart, left her soul for dead. He had taken every ounce of love she ever had and sucked it dry. He had nearly destroyed her.

But Delilah had somehow managed to recover. She had never loved anyone as intensely as she had loved Sam…and she never would again.

“Sam Ford. I don’t believe my eyes.”

Delilah had met Sam—short for Samson, and yeah, she’d heard all the jokes—ten years ago in the place you met those of the opposite sex: a bar. Back then, Sam came strolling in looking all scruffy, with long, unkempt hair and jeans with holes in the knees. She would never forget what he wore: a faded St. Louis Rams T-shirt and beat-up sneakers he never bothered to tie. He had tattoos on either bicep.

They’d sized each other up immediately, latched onto each other instantly, and hours later were screwing like rabbits.

Even now, he still looked damned good, Delilah had to admit. He had cut his hair and shaved his face. He had to be pushing forty, and he certainly didn’t resemble the young man she had fallen in lust with so long ago. He looked…grown-up. And…hot. All those long-buried feelings surged forward.

Before she could take evasive action, he enveloped her in a huge hug. He smelled good. Like something clean and crisp that tickled her olfactory nerves and triggered that part of her brain that remembered how awesome things had once been. He felt good, too. His hard body pressed against hers, making her nerve endings stand at attention. They saluted him valiantly for the male-to-female contact, elated at the familiarity of him. Delilah hugged him back, resisting the urge to grab his ass. His face brushed hers before he drew away, holding her at arm’s length and grinning. His scent lingered on her short-sleeved Gucci sweater, enticing her further.

“Delilah…” He let her name roll off his tongue. That glorious tongue she remembered doing glorious things to her. “How long has it been?”

Ten years, four months, three days. But who’s counting? “Too long, I’d imagine.” She grinned. “It’s good to see you, Sam.”

She was telling the truth—it even surprised her how good it was to see him, and the last of her annoyance over Cliff evaporated. She looked Sam over appreciatively and let him see her as she did so. She covertly checked out his left hand for evidence of a gold band and found nothing. So, he hadn’t remarried either. Unless, of course, he’d become one of those guys who never wore a ring just to trip up the single gals who lusted after him.

From what she could tell, he still had that sexy body under that white collared shirt. Delilah wondered if he still had the tattoos. The memory of lying on his chest, trailing her fingers through the sprinkling of hair there, came forward with such power it nearly knocked her back a step.

But wait a minute. Since when did Sam Ford start wearing golf shirts? It was like the world momentarily tipped on its axis as she processed that. She peered at him closely and could see the faint lines of his tats on his biceps. Whew. What a relief. She’d hate to think Sam had gone and done something crazy like laser removal.

He wore a pair of faded blue jeans that hugged thick thighs and caressed hard calves. All that remained to be inspected was his backside. She could see the shoelaces peeking out from under his jeans—maybe he’d learned how to tie his shoes in ten years. He looked downright delicious.

Too bad he was dead to her.

“I never thought I’d run into you again,” he said, still grinning. He had perfect white teeth in that ruggedly handsome face. He must have endured serious sessions of teeth bleaching for those pearly whites.

Delilah found herself wanting to kiss him. She eyed the thin line of his lips, and he ran his tongue over them as if in invitation. He knew what she was thinking. Aggravation warred with desire. Vexation sparred with longing. She clenched her mouth tighter.

“I guess the world really is a small place. It’s good to see you, too, Delilah.” Finally he dropped his hands and stood back. She hadn’t realized until that moment he’d still held on to her shoulders. “So, what are you doing in my shop?”

“Your shop?” She’d been coming here for a couple of years and had no idea he was the owner.

“I bought it about three months ago.”

That explained why she didn’t know. She hadn’t been in the shop in at least six months.

“Well, congrats on the new business venture.” Delilah wondered if he would have the same enthusiasm—or lack thereof—for Liquid Heat as he did all his other jobs. Sam wasn’t exactly a go-getter. He’d floated from one job to another while they were married, never landing in one for any length of time.

“What brings you here?” he asked.

“Marion’s getting married.” She hadn’t meant to blurt it out.

“No kidding!” He looked genuinely happy. “That’s great.”

Sam had known Marion back then, too. She was dating some guy named Ralph at the time, one of her many beaus B.E.—Before Ethan, the greatest asshole known to man, had dumped her at the altar. That was B.G.—Before Graeme.

“She’s madly in love with him. Imagine that.”

“She’s not marrying that Ralph guy, is she?” Sam wrinkled his face as if he smelled something foul.

Indeed, that Ralph guy was somewhat foul. She shook her head. “She caught herself a painter.”

“How about you? Are you madly in love with anyone?”

A trick question and a trap. One Delilah was all too familiar with. She ignored it altogether and got right to the point. “I’m here to buy Marion a wedding present.” She waved away the discussion. She was here to buy toys, not rehash the past.

“Here?” He quirked one blond brow and laughed. “I see you haven’t changed much. You always did have that twisted sense of humor.”

A flash of anger swelled inside her. Oh, yes, she had changed. She had grown up, too. She had evolved from the naïve, nerdy girl of so long ago who just wanted to get laid to the smart, savvy businesswoman who had shed that geeky persona—and just wanted to get laid. She’d finished college and gotten a great job.

“A little untraditional, isn’t it?”

“Of course it is. This is me we’re talking about here. I’m looking for the Super Rabbit.”

“Oh, sure. I have those in stock.”

Sam walked through the store toward the counter, and Delilah paused long enough to watch him walk. Awesome ass—check. The one she used to plant her hands on and squeeze when he was on top of her. And he still had that strong, muscular gait, hinting that he worked out.

But there was something different about him. She couldn’t put her finger on it and found she really wanted to put her finger on it to find out.

“What made you buy the shop?” Curiosity made her ask; she had to know.

He shrugged, lifting one thick shoulder in a sexy move. God, she wanted him. The feelings of love and hate warred inside her. “I was tired of corporate America.”

Delilah burst out laughing. Who was he kidding? Sam in corporate America? Picturing Sam in an office was like picturing a hippie at a black-tie event. She couldn’t see him wearing shirts and ties and nice pants and looking businesslike.

“Hey, now, it’s not that funny.” He frowned, his brow furrowing. “I worked in an office for about eight years.”

Doing what? Delilah wondered. Sorting the mail? Filing? She knew Sam had ditched college like she had, and she also knew he didn’t really have any skills. “Sorry, but I just can’t see it.”

He leaned on the counter and gazed—or maybe leered—at her, a twinkle in his mellow blue eyes. As if he had something on her. Yeah, sure, ten years ago she was adrift in a sea of bad jobs, too. But at least she was always steadily employed and paid the rent on time. She had this terrible fear of becoming homeless.

He cocked a half grin. “And what about you, missy? What are you doing these days?”

This was where Delilah looked down her nose at him, all haughty. “I’ll have you know I earned my master’s degree and am now the public relations director of an advertising firm.”

She spared him the part where she wore couture, owned a Balenciaga bag and drove a Mercedes, which she got at a police auction for a steal, no pun intended. Sam’s grin fell, as if he’d been one-upped. And maybe he had. She only felt a small twinge of guilt. Finally, she’d proved to him she was better than that girl of long ago.

He chunked the Super Rabbit on the counter. “It’s sixty-nine dollars plus tax.”

“Sixty-nine,” Delilah said, still grinning as she reached for her Coach wallet. “My favorite number.”

Reviews, interview, and contest!

Rayna of Naughty Editions interviews me about breaking free of writer’s block, love at first sight, and the perfect hero at: 5 minutes with Madeleine Drake.

LynnMarie of Happily Ever After Reviews was kind enough to review Blood Hero.  She says:  “The sex was hot…Though this was an erotic paranormal read, it was so much more. The plot was fully realized, creating a new world, new rules and an intriguing story.”

Read the rest of the review at:  HEA Reviews-Blood Hero.

HEA is also giving away a free copy to one commenter–enter by 3 p.m. on Friday, July 23rd:  HEA Reviews-Giveaway.