I'm going to let everyone in on a secret. Scandalous L.A. Desires was the first book I wrote. It ended up the second book in the series because I wasn't able to find it a home way back in 2008. As so many authors know, that first book is always about finding your voice and learning about what agents and publishers want.
I wrote Secret Vegas Lives next, setting it as the first book in the series, and featuring Dante (the hero from Scandalous L.A. Desires) in a quick appearance toward the end of the book, knowing that if I found a publisher for Vegas, I would rewrite LA as the second book.
I did find Red Rose, who loved Secret Vegas Lives and asked for another book from me. How exciting! I rewrote Scandalous L.A. Desires as the second book, but being able to stand alone as well. The characters from Vegas appear in L.A. too, as well as another character who will appear in book three – to be written.
When I rewrote the L.A. book I had such a wonderful time using all the new tricks and skills I'd learned while writing and editing Vegas. Scandalous L.A. Desires is a much, much better book now than it was in 2008.
I enjoy spotlighting social issues in my books. Scandalous L.A. Desires tackles marginalized inner city youth and lets my characters show their commitment to change throughout the pages of the books.
That's definitely who I am, also. I grew up in a home where giving and sharing were daily lessons. Volunteering, donating, and compassion were stressed as strongly as academic and athletic achievement.
Proceeds from my writing sponsors projects in the cities they feature. I still volunteer, donate, and assist new authors as they stumble their way through the publishing maze. It's become a way of life for me, and I can't help but include it in my writing.
Here's the book blurb:
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?
Adult R-Rated Excerpt:
“I'm nearly finished with your portrait.” Dante said. “Would you like to see it?”
“Oooh, yes, please.” Lindsey stood.
He carried their empty wine glasses into the kitchen, then sat on his tall painting stool in front of the portrait. When he pulled her close, he positioned her between his thighs, both of them facing the sketch.
The heat from his legs warmed her hips even through their clothes, and the intimate position set off tiny contractions in her core. She wanted to press her hands on his thighs, move her body back to feel every inch of him touching her back, her butt—
“What do you think?”
His question jolted her out of the fantasy, and when she looked at the sketch, she was shocked. The background was the gazebo at Disneyland. But it was her face that awed her.
“Oh, Dante. It's magnificent. It's me, but beautiful.”
“You are beautiful, cara mia. Your inner light, the one only I can see. You are an angel.”
“It's as if I'm more alive on paper. More real. The look in my eyes…”
He ran his hands up her arms to her shoulders and kissed her neck. “Powerful, isn't it? That's what I see when I look at you.”
Her heart suddenly beat faster and a bolt of uncertainty clenched her stomach. What he saw in her eyes, what he'd painted, she had no intention of showing him. Was she truly that seductive? No wonder he kept chasing her.
He pressed his lips to her ear and whispered, “Say the word and let me show you how perfect we are for each other.”
Still shaken by her transparent emotions, she had trouble finding her voice. She shook her head.
His hands slid down her arms, his lips brushed her shoulder. “It can be heaven for us. We can have it all.”
She gasped a breath, her head woozy. She should move away, but her body craved everything he was doing to her, her traitorous libido kicked in and sent a rush of desire through her veins. Between her legs, her body responded, hot and wet.
His voice was tortured. “Lindsey, angelo mio, I can smell your musk. You want this as much as I do.”
God, yes, she wanted it. The temptation made her knees shake, but she had to think rationally. “We're moving too fast, it's too soon.”
He gently bit her. “You feel it. You want it to carry you away. Let it. Let me.”
His words tore through her resistance, her body pulsed with excitement, but tears filled her eyes. “We should stop.”
His hands slid around to her stomach, held her tight, pressing his chest against her back, holding his erection against her bottom. “You don't want to stop, do you, bella?”
No, she didn't. She'd never felt this before. Every nerve in her body was hot and jittery, her mind spun in crazy circles, and her hips moved of their own accord in a primitive dance she couldn't stop.
His hand slid lower, his fingers sneaking under her waistband.
The pop of her snap coming undone was as loud as a clanging bell, and it brought her back from the edge. “No. I can't.” She grabbed his wrists, pulled his hands from her, and turned to face him. “You have to stop.”
He reached for her, his eyes red-hot with desire. “I want you, Lindsey. Admit you want me too.”
She wanted him, but she didn't know him. This was not who she was. Her heart contracted, a pain so visceral, it brought tears to her eyes. How could he break his promise? How could he pressure her like this?
“Dante,” she took a step back, felt a tear trace down her cheek. “Don't do this.”
He looked at the tear and jerked as if he'd been gut punched. “Oh, God.” He stood slowly, taking a deep breath. Gently he tucked her hair behind her ear, smoothing it down her back, then wrapped his hand around her arm. He was shaking.
“Forgive me. I lost control. I've never…never before you.” He closed his eyes, breathing deeply, slowly.
He would never hurt her, she knew this, but the man standing in front of her wasn't the charming playboy she'd been flirting with the last three weeks, this was the wolf. And she needed to get away from him. “I'm going to go.” She would call a cab.
He opened his eyes. “No, I'll drive you. I just need a minute.” He went into the bedroom.
She found her purse then went back and looked at the sketch. He'd drawn her so well it was like looking into a mirror. But she'd never seen that longing, steamy expression in her eyes. She looked like a woman…in love. Sucking in a startled breath, she let herself feel it, let the riptide pull her into deep waters.
Drowning, no fight left, resigned to her fate—she loved him.
I would love to hear how you make a difference in your world. Do you volunteer at your children's school? Donate old clothes? Mentor co-workers? What are the little things you do that you might not even realize are making a difference?
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.
(Scandalous L.A. Desires and Secret Vegas Lives both available from Red Rose Publishing)