Hi Sarah and welcome to HJ! We’re so excited to chat with you about your new release, Full Contact!
Thanks for having me!
Please summarize the book for the readers here:
Please share the opening lines of this book:
There he is.
Stalking across the ring after his prey. Slow. Sure. Effortlessly patient. No wonder the fighters at Redemption nicknamed him the Predator. I could get off just watching his muscles ripple. Come to think of it, I already have.
Please share a few Random facts about this book…
- I visited a few MMA gyms and interviewed fighters to research the book
- I had to watch hours of live MMA fights to choreograph the fights
- I tested out MMA moves on my hubs (BTW we are still married!).
Please tell us a little about the characters in your book. As you wrote your protagonist was there anything about them that surprised you?
Tattoo artist, Sia O’Donnell, went through a traumatic experience as a teenager that changed her, but didn’t break her. She has a close relationship with her brother, but struggles against his overprotective behaviour. When she first sees Ray fighting at an underground fight, she is at once intrigued and afraid by the way he dominates and controls the ring. He is what she secretly wants but has always feared. Ray helps her come to terms with her past and embrace her deepest desires. While writing Sia, I was surprised by her strength. Although Ray can be overbearing at times, she always pushed back.
Ray has a mysterious past, and lost the people closest to him. In some ways, he blames himself and he keeps people at a distance so he doesn’t suffer that pain again. But he can’t keep away from Sia, no matter how hard he tries. Gruff at times, but deeply passionate, he helps Sia through her trauma and finds his own redemption.
What, in your mind, distinguishes this book from other books out there in the same genre?
Three words that don’t usually go together: erotic, humor, suspense.
Do you think there’s a common trait or a certain je ne sais quoi that your heroes must have?
My heroes are all dominant, possessive and protective and deliciously confident, both in and out of the bedroom. They are alpha to the max!
Did any scene have you crying or laughing (or blushing) while writing it?
I loved writing the scene where Ray first shows up in Sia’s tattoo parlor. I think we’ve all experienced that moment where someone you’ve been crushing on for ages shows an interest, and it takes your breath away.
“Fuck, you’re cute. Did you know your eyes go green when you’re scared?”
Hmmm. Not really the look I was going for. I would have preferred sultry, sophisticated, or even badass. Who calls a woman pierced, dyed, leathered, and tatted cute?
“First, my eyes are hazel, not green. And second, you won’t think I’m cute if you say anything to Tag.”
He stares, his gaze at once amused and intense. “Maybe not if you give me your ink.”
“Seriously?” My voice rises in pitch. “You’re blackmailing me?”
Ray slides back in my chair with the smug look of a man who knows he’s about to get what he wants. “You want to ink me. You didn’t, we wouldn’t be having this conversation. You would already be out that door. Question is whether you want it more than what you got going on tonight.”
The last of my inhibitions flutters away like a tattoo artist pursued by a street gang. “I don’t.”
“You do.” His eyes glitter, and he licks his beautiful, sensual lips, as if daring me to make a move. And I almost do. I want him. I’ve wanted him for a year. And now he’s here. In my chair. Making me think he wants me too. I could almost forgive his insufferable arrogance.
“Okay, I do. Covers are a specialty of mine. But are you sure you want to irritate a woman who’ll be wielding a tattoo machine that could do some permanent damage to your skin, or worse, give you a tattoo that will embarrass you for life?”
He pushes up the left sleeve of his T-shirt and holds out his arm. “Sounds to me like you’re saying yes. And it can’t be worse than this.”
My lips quiver with a repressed smile, and I trace my finger over the chubby orange smiley fish on his bicep. “I noticed it when you were fighting, but I was never close enough to see what it was.”
“Otto the fish from a children’s picture book. Got fucking drunk one night and must have mentioned it was my favorite book when I was a kid. A coupla my buddies dragged me to a tattoo studio, and I woke up the next day with Otto.”
Laughter erupts from my throat and I pat tiny Otto’s head. “I like Otto. And he was actually done by a master artist. Look how his scales glow and shimmer, and the way he ripples when you move your arm. It would be a shame to ink over him.”
Ray slides a finger under my chin and tilts my head up, forcing me to meet his searing gaze. “You got a pretty smile. It lights up your face, chases away the shadows. And you got a lot of shadows.”
My cheeks flame at his insight, and I look away. “Shadows” doesn’t even begin to describe the baggage I’ve been carrying around—baggage that means I usually stay away from alpha males like Ray. “So how did you want to cover Otto?”
“You like the fish?” Ray says quietly.
“Yeah, I like the fish.”
“I’ll keep the fish.”
If your book was optioned for a movie, what scene would you use for the audition of the main characters?
This is first scene where Ray shows just how much he wants Sia, surprising even himself with the strength of his feelings. He totally loses it when he sees another fighter, Doctor Death, kiss her on the cheek and finds out she was doing a tat on his ass. This is also the first scene where Sia stands up to him and shows how strong she is inside.
“Your boyfriend is pissed,” Rose mutters from behind her screen as she writes out the appointment card. Doctor Death’s phone rings, and he stands by the desk as he takes the call.
“How can you tell?”
She shrugs. “Oh, I don’t know. Maybe it’s the extremely aggressive, intimidating alpha-male gonna-getchu posture, or the way his eyes drilled into Doctor Death while he was flirting with you. Or it could have been the ‘When the fuck did he get here?’ he growled at me when he walked in before heating the place up so much I thought he was going to combust. But that’s just me. I might have it totally wrong.”
“You do.” I draw frowny faces on her notepad as I mentally prepare myself for an unexpectedly irritated Ray. “He’s not my boyfriend. Well, sort of. Anyway, it’s work. No big deal.”
“If you say so.” She lifts a perfectly manicured eyebrow and turns away. “Although I think someone forgot to tell him that.”
Doctor Death ends his call, and Rose hands him the card. But just as he turns for the door, Ray pushes himself off the couch and closes the distance between them in three easy strides of his long legs. Positioning himself between Doctor Death and the door, he folds his arms and glares.
My heart thuds in my chest. Rose gasps and grabs my arm. Seemingly unaffected by the raging male in front of him, Doctor Death sighs.
Ray doesn’t move. “I see you here again or anywhere near my girl, I’m gonna rip off your balls and shove them down your throat.”
“Ray!” I take a step forward. “He’s a client. You can’t speak to my clients that way.”
“He wants your hands on his ass.” Ray bites out each word.
“Actually, I already had her hands on my ass.” Doctor Death smirks. “I came back for more.”
Ah. Doctor Death has a death wish.
Before my mind has even registered he has moved, Ray has Doctor Death by the collar and up against the wall. “I know about Makayla,” he growls. “And I know about Amanda. You got a problem keeping your hands off another man’s property. But I’m telling you now, this ends here.”
“Ass work is part of my job.” I fold my arms and scowl. “So it ends when I’ve done the work my client asked me to do.”
Ray doesn’t take his eyes off Doctor Death, but his words are directed at me. “No more ass work. You don’t touch any man below the belt for any reason. And you don’t touch them above the belt unless you’re out in the open. And this fucker you don’t touch at all.”
“This is just like in the movies,” Rose whispers under her breath. “And he’s not joking. Look at his face. I thought Torment was scary but Ray is terrifying.”
“Put him down.” I raise my voice almost to a shout. “You’re being ridiculous.”
Ray glances over at me, but it is not Ray I see in his eyes, it’s the Predator. He loosens his grip on Doctor Death and lets him slide down the wall; then he lifts him and body slams him on the ground.
“Stop it.” But my words go unheeded as Doctor Death struggles on the floor. The four clients on the couch all have their cell phones out and are filming the action. Duncan is shouting into his phone for someone—hopefully not Torment—to come and break up the fight. And Christos has Rose by the arm and is trying to pull her to safety.
Luckily Doctor Death is not just a pretty face. He has moves of his own. With a quick twist, he breaks Ray’s hold and jumps to his feet.
“Come on, Predator.” He waggles his fingers toward himself. “Hit me. Show Sia who you really are. Show her just how much you’re going to hurt her in the end when you walk away.”
“Don’t you dare.” My voice cracks the silence. “You touch him again, Ray, and it will be the last thing you ever do. This is my place of business and you are totally out of line.”
The door opens and Rampage and Blade Saw step inside, their faces covered in sweat. Rampage takes in Ray and Doctor Death squared off in the client lounge and looks over at me. “Everything okay here? Need a hand?”
“No, but thank you for coming. We’re fine. Doctor Death was just leaving.”
If you could have given your characters one piece of advice before the opening pages of the book, what would it be and why?
I hope they find a few moments of escape, a couple of laughs and a happily ever after.
What are you currently working on? What other releases do you have planned for 2015?
I’m currently working on Fighting Attraction, the fourth book in the Redemption series, which is Shayla’s story. I also have two more releases this year, the next two books in my sexy biker romance, Sinner’s Tribe Motorcycle Club series: Beyond the Cut, and Sinner’s Steel.
Thanks for blogging at HJ!
Giveaway: Print copy of Full Contact (Redemption Series #3) by Sarah Castille
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Excerpt from Full Contact:
Except for the White Buffalo’s cover of “House of the Rising Sun” playing in the background, there is no sound except the rasp of Ray’s breath as his chest rises and falls under my hand. Although I’ve done shoulder and pec tattoos countless times, the intimacy of this position sends a shiver through my body. Longing grips me hard and fierce, and I scramble to regain some semblance of control. Maybe a little conversation.
“So, did you catch your bad guy?”
“No. Still after him.”
When I look up, Ray is watching me. He is so close I can see the stubble of his five o’clock shadow, the thickness of his lashes, his eyes deepening to an azure blue. I force myself to look into them and swallow hard. “Everything okay?”
Apparently not. Jaw tight, muscles quivering, he captures me with his glance. “Your hair.”
I give my head a slight shake and my ponytail swings back and forth. “What’s wrong with my hair?”
“Take it down.” He fingers a loose tendril beside my ear, his authoritative tone sending a wave of heat raging through me.
“I keep it up so it’s out of the way.”
“I’ll have to take off my gloves first, and then I’ll have to…” My words die in my throat when he strokes his hand over my hair, front to back. With one sharp jerk, he tugs out my ponytail holder and my hair tumbles around my shoulders.
Trembling, painfully and desperately aroused, I pick up the razor and shaving gel from my tray. “I…have to shave you.” My voice drops to a throaty whisper, and if that doesn’t tell him what he does to me, nothing will.
Another curt nod. But then he’s not a talkative type. I’ve never seen him hanging out with the other fighters after the gym closes for the night, and not once has he ever joined us for drinks after a fight.
Taking a deep breath, I steady my hand, then smooth the gel over his skin. But when I dip the razor, Ray tenses, his fist clenching and unclenching beside my hip.
A smile tugs at the corner of my lips. “Don’t worry. I’ve never cut anyone. I’ll be gentle.”
“Man lives the life I’ve lived, he’s not used to gentle.”
Tilting my head to the side, I meet his gaze. “You never had anyone be gentle with you?”
“I usually scare the gentle ones away.”
“I can’t imagine why.” My hand relaxes and I stroke the razor across his skin. Stroke and dip. Stroke and dip. The rhythmic movement calms my fraught nerves, but with every touch, tension builds between us until it is almost a living, palpable thing. “You’re not so scary.” I tease the blade around his nipple and Ray sucks in a sharp breath.
“Sia—” He chokes off his words so I continue talking, keeping my voice low and even, soothing the savage beast trapped in my chair.
“I have to admit, in the ring, you’re pretty terrifying. You have so much power and yet you keep it so tightly leashed. But when you let it go”—I look up and my cheeks heat—“I think it’s thrilling. But you keep it in control. You never go too far. That’s where I see the beauty.”
Ray stares at me as if entranced, heaving his breaths, his gaze focused, intent. Even when Slim walks past to grab some supplies and then heads back to the private rooms, Ray doesn’t take his eyes off me.
“Slim ink the butterfly too?” He leans forward and lightly touches the butterfly tat on my shoulder. I yank the razor away in case he becomes my first ever casualty.
“Yeah he did. I have one on the other shoulder too. Slim’s a real master. When he was finished with the roses and thorns, I felt like something was missing. I wanted hope and freedom. And yellow, because it’s my favorite color. He came up with the butterflies.”
“Would have thought black was your favorite color.” He gestures to my clothes. “You always wear black.”
“Yellow is my secret favorite color.” I give him a half smile. “Not many people know.”
Ray gives a grunt of satisfaction, and I feel a little tingle at the thought that I’ve pleased him. He traces the outline of the little butterfly and pleasure ripples through my body.
“Looks just like a butterfly I caught when I was a kid. I watched it for hours. Learned a hard lesson that day. I wanted to touch it and I was too rough. Must’ve broken its wing. When I let it go, it couldn’t fly.”
“You can touch me. I won’t break.”
His jaw tightens, and I curse myself for being so flippant about what was probably an upsetting moment in his childhood. What the hell is wrong with me? He shares an actual piece of personal information and I show no sympathy at all. Not only that, but now I’m begging for his attention.
After a few more strokes with the blade, I wash him off, then I spritz him with disinfectant. In my zeal, I spray not only the area to be inked, but the rest of his torso as well. Damn klutz side strikes again. “Sorry. Forgot to reduce the nozzle.” Grabbing a sterile cloth, I dry his chest then work my way over his rippled abdomen. His muscles quiver beneath my touch as I pat along the soft, dusky trail of hair, following it down to his belt. Imagining where it might go.
He tenses when I near his buckle and gives a strangled grunt. “S’good.”
My gaze drifts below his belt, to the bulge in his jeans. He is fully erect, his shaft straining against his fly. A naughty thrill of excitement shoots through my veins. He’s aroused because of me.
“Um…do you want to take a break before I apply the stencil?”
He shakes his head, then leans forward and sweeps his hand through my hair, letting the strands slide through his fingers. A sigh escapes my lips as delicious sensations sweep through my body. I am on fire. And although I’ve been with men before, I’ve never been immobilized by a single touch.
“So soft.” He runs his hand over my hair again, this time trailing his fingers along my shoulder. His thumb glides over my throat and he curls his hand around my neck. “So fucking delicate.”
I am burning. Consumed by fire. A burst of need drives a whimper up my throat, and I choke it back as his thumb circles the sensitive hollow at the base of my neck. Firm. Unyielding. Dominant. With one squeeze, he could break me. The way I was broken before. The way he broke the butterfly. And yet nothing could tear me away from this moment.
Excerpts. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.
Ray wraps his arms around me and holds me tight as if something terrible has happened and he doesn’t want to let me go.
Full Contact. This is how Ray speaks when his emotions overwhelm him. I melt into his stillness. His body is hot and hard, his breath warm on my neck. He smells of leather and sweat, sex and sin. Nothing can tear me away.
When you can’t resist the one person who could destroy you…
Sia O’Donnell can’t help but push the limits. She secretly attends every underground MMA fight featuring The Predator, the undisputed champion. When he stalks his prey in the ring, Sia is mesmerized. He is dominant and dangerous and every instinct tells her to run.
Every beautiful thing Ray “The Predator” touches he knows he’ll eventually destroy. Soft, sweet and innocent, Sia is the light to Ray’s darkness—and completely irresistible. From the moment he lays eyes on her, he knows he’s going to have to put his dark past behind him to win her body and soul.
The Redemption Series
Against the Ropes
In Your Corner
Meet the Author:
New York Times and USA Today Bestselling author, Sarah Castille, writes contemporary erotic romance and romantic suspense featuring blazingly hot alpha males and the women who tame them. A recovering lawyer and caffeine addict, she worked and traveled abroad before trading in her briefcase and stilettos for a handful of magic beans and a home in shadow of the Rocky Mountains. Readers can find her at sarahcastille.com.
Sarah loves to stay in touch with readers:
Twitter (@sarah_castille): http://www.twitter.com/sarah_castille
Amazon Author: http://www.amazon.com/author/sarahcastille