A good friend of mine, Callie Croix, who happens to be a talented, award-winning author, has graciously agreed to become one of the Chicks - yay! You'll love Callie, trust me - she's a sweetheart. Please give her a warm NAC welcome.
Please tell us a little about yourself. Which publisher(s) do you write for? What genre (s) do you write?
-I love dominant alpha male heroes with a military background, the Boston Red Sox, belly dance, gardening, the Civil War, and military history in general. As Callie Croix I write erotic romance for The Wild Rose Press and Carina Press. As Kaylea Cross, I write military romantic suspense and now some paranormal romance as well.
What is your workday like? Are you a full or part time writer?
-Every day is different, because I have little guys at home. This summer has definitely been a challenge for me! But in a couple weeks my little one will be in Kindergarten full time, and though I’m excited about suddenly having all that time to write, I’m actually worried I’m going to have a hard time letting him go. That makes sense to all you moms out there, right? Tell me I’m not going crazy.
I write part time and will continue to do so for the foreseeable future, as I’m also a Registered Massage Therapist and a Board member of a large private scholarship foundation. Plus I do the whole soccer mom/baseball mom thing and I love it.
Did you always know you wanted to pen books?
-Always. Ever since I can remember I’ve had stories going on in my head. Maybe it was because we lived on a relatively isolated property in the country when I was little and I was an only child until I was 7, but my brain was always busy conjuring up characters and inventing tales to put them in.
Tell us about your journey to publication.
-Um…I actually got my first book published. But don’t hate me! I had to rewrite the thing twice before it was worthy enough to be put in front of an editor, and even then it’s still my weakest book to date (in my opinion). The Wild Rose Press was the first publishing house I sent the manuscript to, and thankfully the acquiring editor there loved it.
How many books have you sold to date? Do you have a favorite?
-My other pen name has sold seven books to date, and this pen name has sold six. My favorite has to be the final book in my military romantic suspense series (under my less naughty name), Absolution. To this day I still have an unhealthy crush on the hero.
How extensive is your research? What are the greatest lengths you’ve gone to in the name of research?
-I research more for my military romantic suspense and paranormals, but for my erotic romances I’ve done plenty of reading on Special Ops soldiers and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan to give me a good base for my characters.
The greatest length I’ve gone to in the name of research is singlehandedly interviewing a wall of buff and sweaty airmen in flight suits at an air show last year (aw, poor me!), even though I felt like a retard the whole time. Also, despite my terror of flying, going on a handful of helicopter rides to get the feel of it. And to interview the pilots about the controls, etc. You’re probably rolling your eyes and thinking I was lucky to have the opportunity, but if you knew just how afraid I am of leaving the ground, you might actually be proud of me. I figured I had to go, else my heroes would never respect me. Can’t have that, now can I?
What do you find the most difficult aspect of being an author?
-The self doubt! Oh, man, that’s a killer. Rejections pretty much paralyze my creative side and convince me I can’t write a coherent sentence, but I’m slowly learning to have a thicker skin. Kind of. Okay, not really. Maybe one day I’ll get there.
Where do you see yourself five years from now?
-Five years from now I’ll be churning out more stories than I am now, and I’ll be able to make more of a financial contribution with my writing. That’s the plan, and since I’m married to an accountant who cares a lot about the bottom line, that will help make him even more supportive of my writing career.
Chocolate, vanilla or strawberry?
-Chocolate. The darkest, richest kind I can find. Bernard Callebaut’s bittersweet chocolate is my absolute fave. If you’re a dark chocolate fan, you should try it. It’s the best ever, I swear. I have an emergency stash above the fridge that everyone in the family knows not to touch. Or else.
Tell us about your current or upcoming release.
-Deacon’s Touch is my first erotic romance release, and it actually started with a dare from my other pen name’s editor. I met her at a TX dude ranch last spring at The Wild Rose Press’s retreat, and at the end of the weekend she invited me to write a story for a series she’d dreamed up (The Dumen Ranch Series), set on that very ranch.
At first I balked, but she wasn’t taking no for an answer. “Oh, come on. Your stuff is getting so hot anyway, I totally know you can do this. Come on, come to the dark side with me!” She’d never written erotic romance either—in fact, she’d only written sweet romances up ‘til then. I was kind of shocked she was going to make the leap, to say the least.
In the end, however, I caved. I went home and outlined a novella using the parameters my editor had set out for me, picked a hero’s name beginning with D (one of the rules), and wrote the story. My new editor over at the Scarlet Rose line asked me to remove the suspense plot (What?! Remove the suspense? But that’s what I DO!), but she loved the story and heat level. She offered me a contract under the Cowboy Kink series, and I swear I turned beet red when I saw the e-mail. I mean, I was thrilled, don’t get me wrong, but I couldn’t believe I’d written something that qualified as Cowboy Kink. Still can’t, actually. Ah, the beauty of pen names.
Long story short, I now have six erotic romances under contract, one of which is the second story in The Dumen Ranch Series. *blushes* Oh, how far I’ve fallen!
Here’s the blurb for Deacon’s Touch:
After her own engagement goes to hell, workaholic Jessica Talbot dreads her friend’s bachelorette party at a dude ranch in Nowheresville, Texas. But the outlook for the weekend brightens when Deacon Dumen picks her up at the airport. The sexy cowboy awakens every dormant sexual fantasy with nothing more than a friendly smile and a handshake.
Ex-Air Force Pararescueman Deke Dumen doesn’t know what to make of the sexy yet reserved brunette who breaks through the walls he built after an injury ended his career and a divorce soured him on relationships. As a guest at his family's ranch Jessie is off limits, but the Dom in him rebels at the restriction, even as he realizes his penchant for control in the bedroom would likely scare the holy hell out of her. When Jessie shocks Deke by asking for exactly what he's been craving, he's ready to break the rules and introduce her to his own brand of dominance. Her willing surrender rocks them both to the core. But once the weekend's over, they must decide if it was just a wild fling or the start of something more.
Deke stared into her wide amber eyes and couldn’t look away. He could barely breathe.
He’d expected to see shock. He’d even expected annoyance.
Anything but the sudden flare of sexual need in her whiskey-colored eyes. The stark craving he saw there punched him square in the gut, so hard it made him dizzy.
Staring up at him with those amazing eyes, Jessica moistened her lips. He watched the glide of her pink tongue over her lips with predatory interest. She hadn’t moved. Hadn’t so much as leaned away to put some space between them after his blatant declaration. No, she was completely still, gazing up at him. As though waiting for him to do something.
Well well. Wasn’t that interesting.
He slid his gaze down to the lush curves of her breasts displayed so prettily for his view by her sexy blouse. Her hardened nipples poked through her thin bra, denting the material. His cock lengthened instantly. Suppressing a growl, he dragged his eyes back to hers and met her hungry stare. But there was vulnerability there along with the heat. She was way too inexperienced to realize what that combination did to someone like him.
Fuck. Sugar, don’t look at me like that.
She swallowed again, the convulsive movement of her lovely throat broadcasting her anxiety. Yet she still wasn’t backing away. “In...bed?”
Fighting a predatory grin, he nodded. Damn she was a gorgeous little thing. The curious light in her eyes was killing him.
She searched his eyes, a hint of nervousness creeping into her expression. “What...what sort of control?”
The words were barely a whisper, but they slid over him like a lover’s caress. He leaned in closer until his body brushed hers, breathing in her scent and letting her feel the bulge of his erection against her abdomen as he pressed her lower back against the bar. Trapping her. He dropped his voice to a murmur. “Total control.”
In answer, her full lips parted slightly and her eyes darkened, the pupils dilating until they practically swallowed the golden irises.
His body tightened with the need to pin her, dominate her right here and now. He wanted to. Christ, he’d love nothing more than to take her into the back room, tie her to the bed and suck at her nipples and pussy until she begged for release. Make her feel more than she’d ever felt before. Tamping down that primitive side of him, he focused on the lingering uncertainty he sensed in her. “Jessica.”
She blinked, as if he’d hypnotized her and she was coming out of a trance. “What?”
“Do you understand what I’m telling you?”
He stayed absolutely still. “But you’re not pushing me away.” The tantalizing knowledge kept his attention riveted on her face, made his body burn. He’d have given anything to know what was going on in her head.
She shook her head, her expression almost mesmerized, loose curls tumbling over her creamy shoulders. Her gaze dipped to his mouth in blatant invitation. The conflicted expression on her face made the beast inside him howl. She knew she should run, yet she wanted him anyway.
He moved in closer, until only a breath of air separated their lips. The primal side of him roared to life at her quick inhalation, the tremor of anticipation that ran through her. He reached up to toy with a curl that had fallen over her forehead. “You like the thought of giving me that kind of control?”
She kept staring at him.
A pretty blush rose up her neck and face, but she held his gaze. “Yes.”
The brave whisper unlocked his corded muscles. Her stark honesty undid him.
As he watched, a tiny frown creased her forehead. “But...”
“But what?” He could barely get the words out.
Her eyes searched his. “You wouldn’t...hurt me.”
Her eyes searched his. “You wouldn’t...hurt me.”
He imagined the thoughts running through that pretty head. No doubt she wondered whether he got off on tying his partners up and whipping them raw. He swallowed a laugh. “No. But I’ll push your boundaries.” It was how he was wired.
Her sigh of relief tightened something inside him. The interest and growing need in her eyes sparked something far more primal and possessive.
Without warning, the dark hunger he’d held at bay swept over him in a powerful wave, making him light-headed with the need to take her. Testing her resolve, he closed his hands around her slender wrists and held them to the bar top as he leaned down to taste the skin beneath her right ear. Her swift intake of breath made his cock surge.
He kissed the fragile pulse point, savoring the frantic beat of her blood beneath his lips for a moment before nipping gently. She jerked in his hold and made a little sound of arousal when he soothed the tiny sting away with his tongue. A tremor rolled through her body, goose bumps breaking out across her smooth skin. Then slowly she let her head tip back a few inches, offering her throat.
The subconscious surrender in the movement made his heart pound. He hoped the hell she understood what she was signing up for, because he was more than ready to deliver.
He could feel the tension gripping her body as he held her there, trailing feather light kisses across her jaw to the corner of his mouth. Keeping her hands in place to introduce her to the sensation of being restrained, he hovered a breath away from her tempting lips. And waited.
A moment later she closed her eyes and turned her head to kiss him. A slow mingling of lips and tongue, as addictive as a drug. Her timid, yet sensual response went to his head like a fifth of whiskey. Before he could take things further, he pulled back. When she opened her eyes and gazed up at him in silent question, he released her wrists and stepped away. His voice came out rough. “Let’s go.”
She straightened slowly, watching him with equal parts arousal and indecision. Deke held out his hand and waited. Her gaze slid down to his palm, and he could feel her struggling with herself. She studied his hand, and he knew she was taking in its size, how much stronger it was than hers. What his control over her would mean during sex. If she put her hand in his, she was his for the night.
Meeting his eyes, she finally lifted her hand and settled it on his palm. Her skin was cool and soft, delicate compared to his. Something to be treasured. He closed his fingers around hers and squeezed, her need and unspoken trust in him easing something in his soul.
Oh, sugar. You’re mine.
Without a word he turned and guided her out of the bar.
Where can we find you on the web?
And here, of course! I look forward to getting to know the rest of you Naughty Chicks.
Thanks to all of you, and especially to Wynter, for having me blog with you.
Callie Croix J