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I always look forward to interviewing authors, but today, I’m even more so. My good friend and fellow Coffee Talk writer is coming over today.
Cait: “Welcome Val, I hope you like Sauvignon Blanc to go with the variety of cheeses.” I lead her outside to the patio and the lit chiminea. “I hope this is okay with you. I love sitting outside in the fall.”
Valerie: “Fall is my favorite season. I just love everything about it.”
Cait: I pour us a glass of wine and watch the flame burning inside the outdoor fireplace. “So ironic, sitting here watching the flame and you just wrote a book titled Eternal Flame. I hold up my glass. “To Eternal Flame.”
Valerie: “Mmm, this is good. Thank you for having me, I’m so excited to be able to spend some time with you.”
Cait: Would you give us the nuts and bolts about your book?
Valerie: “Marcus is a guardian created by the Gods to watch over the human race. He has lived eight hundred years, five hundred of which he has spent being bitter and angry at the gods for allowing his people to become cursed as well as killing his mate.
“Cassie, is a human who has lost at love and when she begins to have dreams of a stranger…well she thinks she has gone off the deep end. When she and Marcus finally connect, she finds herself pulled into a world she never imagined existed. Gods, demons and shape shifting dragons become her reality.”
Cait: “Love it. I realize some cultures still arrange marriages, a mate in this case, but did you have an outside influence for the theme of Eternal Flame?”
Valerie: “I would say the only outside influence I had would be the many authors I have read. The rest was my vivid imagination.”
Cait: “And a vivid imagination you have.” I lift the plate and offer it to her. “Would you like some cheese?”
Valerie: “Oh yes, thank you.”
Cait: “Having self-published a book, Demon Slayer, and with the release of Eternal Flame, can you compare the publishing process? Are there particular things that stand out with each avenue?”
Valerie: “Well, with self-publishing there is no dreaded synopsis or query to publishers. Each one wants something a little different and it can drive an author to drink.” She pours another glass of wine. “However, having a publisher want your work is beyond words. I think it validates what you’re doing and it feels damn good.”
Cait: “I couldn’t agree with you more.” I top off my glass. “I’ve always thought the cover is the main element that draws a reader to turn the pages. Not every author is as a lucky to have such a cover, but I have to say the cover of your book is enticing. Did you have any say in picking it?”
Valerie: “Oh, I do love my cover. The only say I had was giving ideas of what I was looking for and examples of covers I liked. I gave elements that might be seen on the cover and I have to tell you that when I got the draft I freaked out. I wish I could give my designer a hug. It’s perfect and I have had so many compliments on it.”
Cait: “Correct me if I’m wrong, but I believe you’re working on the sequel to Eternal Flame.”
Valerie: Smiles. “Yes I am.”
Cait: “Can you give us a sneak peak?”
Valerie: “I don’t want to give away too much, but I can tell you book two is Caleb’s story. You will meet him briefly in Eternal Flame. He is what I call a Draki, a dragon shifter and he is hot. Did I say he’s hot?”
Cait: I laugh. When Val says someone’s hot, they are. “My favorite part in a romantic book is the intense moment where the hero and heroine realize they want to kiss for the first time. What’s yours?”
Valerie: “I love the tension leading up to the sex and then of course the sex itself. What can I say, I like steamy.”
Cait: “I write romantic suspense for me there’s nothing like the characters solving a mystery or going through conflict to find each other. What drives you to write paranormal romance?”
Valerie: “Honest? I love fangs. I have always had a huge love of vampires and dragons. The bad boy that is bigger than life and loves as intensely as he fights. Somewhere deep inside he is also vulnerable and the right woman will bring him to his knees.”
Cait: “The bad boys you write are dreamy. Okay, what can you tell the readers about your hero that will make them rush to buy your book?”
Valerie: “Tall, dark and delicious. Oh hell, how about a little excerpt?”
Dark hair fell to his shoulders in disheveled waves, giving the appearance he just crawled out of bed. The black T-shirt clung to his broad chest like a second skin. They made eye contact, and she gasped when he started walking toward her. Frantic, she diverted her eyes, afraid to look at him again. It was like being a schoolgirl on a first date. What the hell’s wrong with me? Oh crap, he’s sitting down next to me. She swallowed and tried to focus on the half-filled glass sitting in front of her.
“Hello.” His voice was silky like her favorite chocolate ice cream.
Her gaze lifted, first looking at the stubble on his face. Her fingers ached to brush across it. Next, she gazed at his lips. Moist, fleshy lips that begged to be nibbled on. And a wicked tongue that hides behind them. When she finally made it to his eyes, she saw springtime storms. Dark gray with flecks of silver, they held a hint of danger.
Cait: “Is the heroine sweet and dainty, feisty and bold, or would you describe her in a different way?”
Valerie: “I would describe Cassie as sweet, feisty and bold, but not dainty. She does a lot of growing in Eternal Flame and even surprised me. I think the readers will like her and be able to identify with her.”
Cait: “As a writer, sometimes your environment can produce similarities in your characters to real life people. It could be a saying, a mannerism, a name, or appearance. Was this true for you?
Valerie: “I can honestly say that neither of the main characters are like anyone I know.”
Cait: I set my empty glass on the tray. “Our time went fast. I’m so glad you came over today. I love hanging out with you.”
Valerie: “Thank you, I loved being here and had so much fun!”
Cait: Before you leave, would you leave us with an excerpt of your book and links for the readers to catch up with you?
Valerie: “I have a little steamy bit for everyone.”
She glanced at the clock, it was one a.m. But the last thing she wanted to do was sleep. She set her glass down and moved off the couch. “I’m not tired.” She reached for his hand and dug for her courage. She had a feeling he didn’t want to leave. “Kiss me.”
He pulled her close and ran his fingers down her cheek. He leaned down and brushed his lips against hers. Gently, he nibbled her bottom lip, coaxing her mouth open with his tongue. She parted her lips, he took full advantage, pressed his way deeper into her mouth, held the kiss before he broke away.
She opened her eyes and let out a sigh. “You’re a good kisser, Marcus.” She leaned into him and pressed her body against his. Wrapping her arms around his neck, she pulled him to her, and their lips came together. Her tongue did a deliberate slow dance across his, making him moan. Her core turned to lava, the heat almost too much to bear.
He pushed her away. “Cassie. I could stand here and kiss you all night, but I’d better go before I make an ass of myself and you end up hating me.”
She reached for his hand, knowing what his aim was. “Why do you think I would end up hating you?” She worried it might be the other way around. Would he think her a wanton woman? She tried to cap her desire, but the need to live what happened in her dreams overruled her common sense.
“I will not lie. I believe in the truth, always. I want you. I want to lie you on the bed and make passionate love to you until neither of us can move.”
“Then what’s stopping you?” she whispered.
“Love, did I hear you correctly?” Disbelief was written on his face.
She gazed into his stormy eyes. “I will admit, I’m not the type who sleeps with a man on the first date.” She looked down at his chest. “Hell, not even the second or third.” Her eyes moved back up to meet his. “I can’t say what it is, this connection I feel. I just know I need you.”
He pulled her close, his mouth crushing hers. Their tongues glided across each other in a play for dominance. Her nipples hardened and strained against the fabric of her dress. With only the thin layer of material between them, she felt his cock harden.
She pulled away and gasped for air as she led him to the darkened bedroom. Her courage wavered for a moment. She’d come this far, there would be no stopping now. She didn’t want to stop.
“Marcus, I don’t know how to explain it. I trust you, and to be honest, your touch sets me on fire. I need you, but if this isn’t what you want, then I’ll understand.” She held her breath and waited for his reaction.
He traced a finger along her cheek. “There’s no way in hell I’m leaving now, unless of course, you toss me on the street.”
She reached for his shirt, her fingers trembling as she loosened the first button. He grabbed her wrists. “If at any time you want to stop, tell me.”
Her head shook and continued with the buttons until they were completely undone. She pushed the shirt past his shoulders and onto the floor. Breath escaped her lungs when the moonlight filtered in the windows and danced across his chest. He was remarkable, better than her dreams.
He removed the clip that held her hair. Her chestnut curls spilled around her shoulders. He moaned when his fingers ran through the silky mass. The dress became a second skin, and she was ready to be rid of it, but before she could make a move, he reached behind her neck and untied the halter. The dress fell to her waist, exposing her bare breasts. His eyes became drunk with desire. He tipped his head down and ran his tongue over her nipple, causing it to pebble. God, she had almost come undone right there.
“You have too many clothes on,” she said, reaching for the button on his pants.
He moved off her breast, and she cried out from the ache he left behind. “I could say the same for you, love.” He kicked off his boots while she dropped her dress to the floor. She was left standing in a red thong and black heels. There would be no turning back now.
Grabbing the waistband of his pants, she yanked them to the floor, and his erection sprung free. Her tongue traced her lips, desperate to savor him. He was much bigger than she had experienced, but that only heightened her arousal. She dropped to her knees and ran her tongue over the tip of his shaft. He tasted of salt and seduction. He wrapped a fist in her hair and groaned. She sucked him in, taking every inch. Drunk by the pleasure she gave him.
He threw his head back. “Oh gods, Cassie, you feel so good. Don’t stop.”
As if she could. No, she was a woman possessed, determined to take him over the edge. At this moment, she wanted nothing more than to make him scream her name.