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Sunday, April 3, 2016

Shana Gray Visits Again with a New Release!

This book I’m celebrating really wouldn’t have come to be if it hadn’t been for Lexi. Two years ago (is it really that long) I visited Lexi and her wonderful husband in St. Croix. They lived right on the most gorgeous beach. I mean STEPS from the turquoise waters, where I floated a lot of my days away :)

See! I wasn’t lying! Amazing huh. I have so many pictures that I could do a whole blog with just the images. 

Aside from drooling over the view, Lexi and I did a lot of fun stuff together and I’m forever grateful for her inviting me to come and stay. A memory I will cherish forever. Aside from all the fun we had, we also did a lot of talking about, you guessed it, romance writing. I plotted out After The Hurt there, and Lexi was instrumental in connecting me to my editor at Loveswept, for which I’m very thankful for. 

After The Hurt is a heart wrenching story of parental loss, wrong decisions, lost love and forgiveness. The heroine makes some very poor choices after the death of her mom which impacts the lives of those around her. It was cathartic in a way for me, because I had recently lost my mother and wrote the experience into this story. It’s deep, angsty, with internal reflection that I hope you can feel as strongly as I did when writing it. Don’t worry it’s got some smoking hot sexy scenes too! What’s romance without the hot stuff, right!

Pepper Chapman refuses to throw in the towel. Six months ago, she made the biggest mistake of her life. Blinded by grief after her mom’s death, Pepper abandoned the man she loves. Now she wants a second chance at everything she gave up: strong hands driving her to ecstasy . . . a deep voice whispering naughty promises in her ear . . . the future they’d planned since they were teenagers. So Pepper comes home looking for forgiveness, ready for a new beginning—if he’s willing to give her a shot.

Retired MMA star Tank Sherman may be used to low blows, but Pepper’s emotional sucker punch left him reeling. Trying to ignore the pain and forget the pleasure of her body beneath his, Tank is prepared to ring the final bell on their relationship. Then Pepper shows up out of the blue, radiating pure sex. But Tank won’t let himself get hurt again, and that means resisting the heat that still burns between them. Because if he takes Pepper back, he knows he’ll never be able to let her go again.

"Hurricane Roger"
Whew heavy stuff so how about we lighten the mood with a photo of St. Croix’s famous beer drinking pig! Yes I gave him brewski (non-alcoholic of course) I don’t remember his name though. Maybe Lexi does?

Now back to After The Hurt.

To get to know a little more about this story, here is an excerpt for you.

Tank stared into her violet eyes. The ones that had the ability to turn him inside out. But not today. Not tomorrow. Not ever. The shock of seeing her after the door slammed shut had been enough to stop his heart. He’d been about to step out from behind the floor-to-ceiling glass-walled wine cooler to do one last check of the details for the engagement party this evening and froze midstep.

Now she was back in his arms; he was staring into her face. A face he’d loved from the moment he’d laid eyes on her in high school. What the fuck was she doing here? Now, after all this time without even a peep from her, she’d returned. Where had she been? What had she been doing? Pepper had vanished into thin air. He wanted to rage at her but bit his tongue. The rush of emotions crashed over him and he didn’t trust himself not to say something he’d regret. His actions probably gave away much of what he was feeling but holy hell, touching her again felt amazingly right, which only confused the fuck out of him even more.

His breath ceased as if there were a band wrapped tight around his chest squeezing the life out of him. She’d been able to bring him to his knees in the past, but by God he’d not let it happen anymore, especially after what she’d done. He was still reeling and not thinking straight, unable to believe his eyes. When she’d come through the door just a few minutes ago, Tank felt like a starved man seeing food for the first time in days.

He’d watched her weave between the tables with an elegance and grace a dancer would envy. When she’d removed her coat and slid onto the stool, her red leather skirt hiked up to reveal a very familiar, tantalizingly trim thigh, it had nearly done him in. Her long, slender, and yes, magnificent legs had him mesmerized, especially when she’d hooked a high heel on the rung, crossing one leg over the other. He swore those were the same heels she wore the last time they’d fucked. Once he would have called it making love. That didn’t suit them anymore. That was the past.

But those damn shoes. They matched her flaming red hair, and the memory of her sprawled naked before him, arms flung wide, was imprinted on his brain forever. Like it was yesterday, he could still see her alabaster skin in vivid contrast against the glossy black sheets. The clear violet of her eyes gazing at him under her finely arched ginger brows. She’d lain there, taunting him to do as he wanted with her. And he had.

Fun Stuff! Lexi quizzed me.
Us, having fun in St. Croix.

Lexi: What are you working on now?
Me:  Right now I’m working on my second Harlequin Blaze, titled Her Hawaiian Cowboy. It’s set on the Big Island and I can’t wait until it comes out later this year.

Lexi: Why did you choose this sub-genre of romance?
Me:  I love historical, paranormal, sci fi, but the research scared me off. Writing in the *current* world fit my chaotic brain. But that doesn’t mean I won’t publish outside the contemporary erotic romance genre :)

Lexi: What was the first romance you ever read?
Me: Ceremony of the Innocent by Taylor Caldwell. I was 12 and forever marked my romance full of angst.

Lexi: What was the strangest thing that inspired a story for you?
Me: Good question! I’ve had a few weird inspirations, but After The Hurt was inspired by Lady Gaga’s song You and I.

Thank you so much for having me Lexi! I’m glad to be back on Happily Ever After Thoughts! Especially to celebrate the release day of a book you had a part in! *hugs*

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About Shana

Shana Gray loves to travel and see the world, spend time with family and friends, and experience the beauty that surrounds us. First published as Cristal Ryder, she’s the author of many hot and sexy short stories and novellas. Gray lives in a small town in Ontario with her twentysomething sons, five cats, and two budgies, splitting the days with her partner in crime, known affectionately as Meat Man.


  1. Thanks for having me again Lexi, I love stopping by to visit. If we can't do it in person, this is the next best thing.
    And I KNEW you would know Piggies name :)

  2. LOL Of course I knew his name! Hurricane Roger was an institution on St. Croix! :-) Great to have you back. You're right, visiting is visiting, one way or the other :-)

  3. What a great post! I love the sound of your book and the fact that you let us in on your visit. So why did you drop your pen name, or do you write under both?

  4. Dawn, I was writing for Ellora's Cave and two smaller presses and with the shift to Harlequin Blaze and Random House Loveswept I decided I needed a less *erotic* sounding name. Both my publishers preferred this new name as well. It's a combination of my sons names :)

  5. Very cool! Now we know you have books all over the place for us to enjoy:)

  6. Thanks Dawn! I have all my books back and self published four, Passion Cowboy Style, Love Cowboy Style, Hot Fusion - reunion romance, Sexy Short. I'll be putting some more in August. My debut Blaze was out in December and my 2nd Blaze Her Hawaiian Cowboy should be out Novemberish maybe :D