A huge thank you to the HEAT blog writers for hosting me today. I'm celebrating my second release from Red Rose Publishing. Scandalous L.A. Desires is the second book in the series after Secret Vegas Lives, which was released in 2009.
Scandalous is an interesting mix of writing styles: sweet and sensual. The heroine, Lindsey, is a virgin, which is a rare commodity in books nowadays. Stories of virgins are usually historical, at an age when women were expected to wait until they were married before they had carnal knowledge of a man. You can bet these women of yore were well-guarded against situations where they might have been tempted beyond endurance.
When I wrote the story, my critique partners warned me I'd better have a very good reason for Lindsey to be a virgin. I fell back on all the historical romances I'd read and came up with a number of wonderfully plausible reasons for her chastity. "It works" my CPs said, and evidently the editors at Red Rose felt the same.
The sensual side of the story was just as much fun to write. I love a really hot romance, but I like to see the characters make a commitment to each other before the action moves into the bedroom. A plethora of sexy scenes make Scandalous L.A. Desires a wild read.
Scandalous L.A. Desires is a mix of sweet and spicy in a very, very long (500 pages) book with secondary characters whom I love, and lots of glamorous setting in Los Angeles. I hope you enjoy the blurb and excerpt!
Lindsey Beauden earned her reputation as a conservative philanthropist and upstanding member of Los Angeles society. Artist Dante Daniato earned his reputation as one of LA’s most charming and eligible bachelors. Opposites attract, and when they meet at a gala fundraiser at the Getty Museum, the red-hot chemistry is immediate and intense. But an anonymous letter alerts Lindsey to the scandalous life Dante leads. When the board of her family foundation condemns his notoriety and withholds funding from the inner city art program he’s involved in, she cannot risk linking her name to his. She dissuades him despite the desire that shimmers through her at his every touch.
Intrigued, Dante finds her rejection a challenge and pursues her, intent on seduction. When he unexpectedly falls for the selfless beauty, she surrenders to him, and their hunger for sensual pleasures awakens the beast in him, and the vixen in her. But a sexy publicity stunt humiliates Lindsey and implicates Dante, and their perfect world is torn apart. Lindsey will not believe Dante when he swears his innocence, and he leaves the country, angry and distraught. When she uncovers the truth, she must follow him to Italy to beg his forgiveness, but has her distrust destroyed his love for her?
That was how Dante saw her. Standing at the buffet table talking to a cook. From behind, Lindsey looked like a teenager, the long, thick braid, shorts and bare feet. Quite a departure from the designer gown she wore at the museum gala.
He took off his sandals and left them by the bar and carried his beer over to where she stood. He heard her say, “We've been to your restaurant a number of times. It's beautiful, and the food is superb.”
The cook answered, “Thank you. You should stop by again soon. We have some great new wines, and,” he pointed to the beer in Dante's hand, “a couple new beers.”
“One of my favorites,” Dante turned the bottle's label to face Lindsey.
She looked at the beer, then back at the cook, and then quickly looked back at him. He smiled at her surprise. “A pleasure to see you again, Lindsey.” It was the first time he said her name and he liked the way she blushed.
“Nice to see you too, Dante.” It was the first time she said his name, and a rush of lust hit him, spreading low in his torso.
“Is there something I can get you?” the cook asked him.
Dante had heard him flirting with Lindsey, and judging by his tone of voice, the man didn't care for the intrusion. “Excuse me, am I interrupting?”
“No, not at all,” she replied.
The cook evidently didn't share her opinion and walked away.
Dante took a step closer, but when she turned toward him she held a plate of food between them.
“How do you know the hosts?” she asked.
“I met them at a gallery a few months ago.”
“Did they buy any of your work?”
“They did. A painting. Shall we sneak into their house and see where they hung it?” He wiggled his eyebrows. He'd try just about anything to get her alone.
“MmmmHmmm. I've been warned about that line. 'Come up to my studio and see my etchings' I think the old joke went.”
He laughed. “I'll remember not to try that one on you.”
“I want to thank you again for the statue. It really is just as beautiful as the life-size sculpture. It was an unexpected surprise.”
“And not misconstrued as a bribe?” Damn, he could kick himself for bringing that up.
She looked down at her plate. “I have to apologize. I've never been in that situation before and I assumed you were 'making me an offer I couldn't refuse'."
Shit, he'd made her uncomfortable. “No apology necessary. You were absolutely right to question my motive.”
“But you didn't know?” She flailed a hand. “I mean about our foundation's request to the museum.”
“Before I offered you the statue? No.” Why had he offered her a statue worth a quarter million dollars? A sudden impulse? A gut feeling about her? He wanted her to have it, to own something he'd created. Knowing his clay model was in her home made him feel…possessive. She'd see it, touch it, and think of him—like he'd been thinking of her…
“Dante?” Her brows drew together. “Are you always this generous?”
Lost in his own sexual fantasy, her directness jarred him. “With museums and charities, yes. With women I've just met, no.”
Her eyes held uncertainty.
He stepped closer. “There's something about you, Lindsey. An inner light that's different than most. Perhaps you will let me sculpt you sometime.”
Her eyes widened, she blinked rapidly and blushed, totally captivating him. But then suspicion poked into his consciousness; she did a lot of blushing and she seemed edgy. Could she be this innocent?
She turned back to the table, picked up a fork and napkin. “Thank you for the offer, but I don't think I could sit still for six months.”
The sun glinted off the natural blonde highlights in her hair. He'd like to unwind that braid and run his fingers through it, feel its silky weight. Clearing his throat, he smiled. “You have a charming sense of humor.”
She looked at him sideways. “The answer is still no. No matter how much you flatter me.”
“What if I promised it would only take a week of posing?”
She shook her head. “I don't think I could even manage that.” The look on her face was priceless. Her ingrained social propriety forced a smile on her lips, but her eyes shouted that she wanted to be anywhere but next to him.
He'd try the direct approach. “Do I make you nervous, Lindsey?”
What kind of book do you like? Sweet? Sexy? Mysterious? Glamorous? Or do you like a combination?
I will be giving away one e-copy of Secret Vegas Lives (Book 1 of the series) to a lucky commenter. Thank you for coming by today, and I look forward to hearing your ideas on genre mash-ups!
Scandalous L.A. Desires
Secret Vegas Lives
both available from Red Rose Publishing