Hi Paige and welcome to HJ! We’re so excited to chat with you about your new release, Her Dark Half!
What is your favorite scene from Her Dark Half and why?
Since I write with my husband, I thought we’d do something a little different with this question and give two favorite excerpts for the price of one. That will give you a chance to see how we each look at the same story differently!
Paige’s Favorite Scene
This scene occurs after the hero and heroine, coyote shifter, Trevor Maxwell, and his new DCO partner, Alina Bosch, have gotten into a little tussle with the bad guys. Trevor was shot and they can’t go to a hospital, not without blowing their cover. So, they go back to Alina apartment to clean him up a little. The shirt has to come off and she finds herself positioned in a chair in front of him as he stands there looking all buff and manly. Hands on bare skin…
What could happen?
I love scenes like this! They chock full of sexual tension, and force our hero and heroine to face the attraction building between them.
“So what happened tonight?” She tossed the second towel in the trash and picked up a third to clean off the dried blood from the rest of his torso. “Why didn’t your coyote instincts for trouble keep you from getting hit?”
“I don’t know. I guess I was a little distracted.”
Trevor didn’t elaborate. Then again, he didn’t need to. Alina was well aware of the fact that he’d taken a bullet because he’d been worried about one hitting her. She’d seen him jump to take out that big guard as the man had been about to shoot her.
“Thanks for covering my back,” she said softly. “I know you got hit because you were more worried about me than yourself, so…thanks.”
He shook his head. “Don’t worry about it. We’re partners.”
Trevor might have been making light of what he’d done, but Alina appreciated it more than she could put into words. She hadn’t had a real partner since Turkey, and it wasn’t until now that she realized the biggest thing she’d missed was knowing she had someone who’d watch her back.
Tears suddenly filled her eyes, and she forced herself to finish cleaning off the dried blood on Trevor’s stomach. It was while she was absorbed in the meticulous task of wiping down every square inch of exposed skin that she became aware of the fact that he was an extremely fit man. It was hard to miss when her face was only inches from his very well-defined abs.
Well, she’d been looking for something else to focus on so she wouldn’t start crying, and Trevor was definitely a distraction. Her partner had the body of a Roman god, with shoulders, pecs, and arm muscles that made it obvious he worked out a lot. But he also had that lean, ripped look to him that make her think more of Tarzan than a weightlifter. And the way those rippling abs disappeared into his beltline, showing off just the sexiest hint of happy trail was definitely interesting.
As she lightly traced the wet towel back and forth across his lower abs and that absolutely mouthwatering trail of manliness, it dawned on her that she was in a somewhat compromising position. Seated in front of Trevor, her hand inches from his belt buckle and the very obvious bulge in his dress pants, thoughts of tending to his wound suddenly took a backseat to the memories of what it had been like kissing him tonight. And the stuff she was remembering weren’t the kind of thoughts she should have been having about her partner.
Alina knew it was supposed to have been a fake kiss as part of their cover, but if it had been fake, then her real sex life clearly sucked, because she’d never been that turned on from a kiss in her life. She’d actually gotten excited from a thirty-second make-out session in the middle of a crowded club, which was completely crazy. She wasn’t a teenager. She wasn’t supposed to get all tingly from a simple kiss. If they hadn’t been on a mission, she could only wonder how far she would have been willing to take things.
Crap, she was getting tingly all over again, simply thinking about Trevor’s lips on her. Not to mention the feel of his strong, muscular body under her fingers.
Strong, muscular body under her fingers. Say what?
Alina gave herself a shake and discovered that at some point, she’d tossed the last washcloth in the trash and was running her hands back and forth across Trevor’s drum-tight abs, getting damn close to the danger zone around his belt buckle.
“I’m pretty sure you’ve gotten all the blood off,” Trevor said from above her.
She jerked her hands away as if he were on fire. Which, she guessed, he kind of was. Because she was definitely going to get burned if she kept playing this game. And he definitely hadn’t missed her unprofessional grope fest.
She didn’t dare look up at him as she took out a handful of sterile pads and a roll of gauze bandage from her first aid kit. Knowing she was probably blushing furiously, she kept her head down and focused on wrapping the stretchy gauze tightly around his ribs. But focusing was harder to do than she imagined, because she was getting turned on as hell. She was more aroused than she’d been in a really really long time.
What the hell was wrong with her?
She’d never been the kind of woman to go all gaga over a guy, no matter how hot his abs happened to be. Yet here she was in front of her partner, telling herself it wasn’t okay to hump his leg or yank open his belt buckle.
She determinedly forced her hormones back under control. Thankfully, Trevor had no idea what he was doing to her. She would have been mortified if he’d known how turned on she was.
Alina finished the wrap, then added some surgical tape to keep everything in place. Whether she wanted to or not, it was time to stand up and look her partner in the eye.
“I think we’re good here,” she said softly as she rose to her feet.
Trevor stood there, barely a foot of space between them, his naked chest and shoulders so close that it was hard not reaching out and touching them. His dark eyes were thoughtful, and Alina waited for him to say something snarky…or teasing.
He didn’t do either of those things. Instead, he stepped a little closer so all those spectacular chest muscles mere millimeters away from her breasts.
“We certainly are good here, aren’t we?” he said, his voice warm and smooth, like melted chocolate, almost making her melt in return.
Alina’s breath hitched. Trevor was going to kiss her. Just like he had back in that club in Baltimore. Except this time, there wasn’t anything to interrupt them.
Hubby’s Favorite Scene
Hubby here. My biggest addition to the Paige Tyler writing process is the action/thriller scenes, but I also help out with the paranormal stuff, too. So, I wanted to share a scene that combines all of those elements together. It features secondary character, lion hybrid Tanner Howland, who gets into it with another hybrid. It’ll still get your blood plumping, but without the whole silly shirtless hunk thing.
“We’re going to do the door exercise again, Sage,” he said quietly. “Just like we’ve been doing for the past few weeks, okay?”
Sage gently wrapped her graceful fingers around the silver cross on a chain around her neck, her lips moving in a silent prayer. She’d told Tanner that she had grown up in a very religious family and that her father was a pastor of a church back in her hometown. In fact, the first things she’d asked for after she’d calmed down enough to talk to anyone were a cross and a Bible.
After a few moments, Sage nodded, letting him know she was ready.
“I want you to imagine that you’re standing in front of a door in a dimly lit room. It can be any kind of door you want. It doesn’t matter, as long as it’s something you can easily remember.”
She frowned, then relaxed again.
“Do you have the door set in your mind?” Tanner asked.
“Yes,” she said, the tips of her fangs clearly visible. “Relax, Sage,” he said softly. “We’re in no rush. Take a minute and center yourself. Concentrate on the door as you breathe in and out.”
That was the thing with Sage. All it took was a word or a noise or a bad memory, and the beast was off and running.
“Can you describe the door for me?” he asked.
Sage nodded. “It’s a white door with a pink unicorn hand-painted in the middle like the one to my sister’s bedroom. I can see it so clearly I feel like I can reach out and touch it.”
Tanner glanced at Zarina. She looked just as concerned as he was about Sage’s choice of imaginary doors. This wasn’t the one Sage usually described.
He didn’t know much in the way of details when it came to what Sage had been through during her captivity because she refused to talk about it, but he was almost certain she’d watched her younger sister die a painful, horrible death as a result of being injected with a previous version of the hybrid serum. Focusing on her late sister’s bedroom door probably wasn’t a good idea for a hybrid who wanted to stay in control, but there wasn’t anything Tanner could do about it now. With the image already in her head, there was no way Sage would be able to forget it, even if she wanted to.
“That’s good, Sage,” he told her. “Remember that on your side of the door, you have a handle that you can open or close. On the other side, there is no handle. That’s where the beast is. It can’t get through the door unless you open it. You’re in charge, okay?”
“Can you feel the beast on the other side of the door?” he asked.
“Yes,” she whispered, her fingers tightening around the cross. “It’s always there.”
“It’s okay,” he said soothingly “You’re in control. And to prove that, I want you to open the door a crack.”
Sage tensed visibly but kept her eyes closed. “I thought you were going to show me how to keep it locked away forever?”
“That’s not something I can do,” he said. “You need to learn how to get the beast under control.”
“I can’t,” she said brokenly.
“Yes, you can.”
Sage chewed on her lower lip. “Maybe we should wait until Derek is here.”
Staff Sergeant Derek Mickens was the Special Forces soldier who had risked his life to save her from a burning building in Tajikistan. She only seemed truly in control of her animal side when she was with him or even talking to him on the phone. But Derek was deployed more than he was home, and he couldn’t be around as much Sage needed him. Even calling regularly could be difficult as hell for him.
“Sage, you need to learn how to do this on your own,” Tanner said gently. “Derek can’t be with you all the time. Now that he’s on deployment, he might not be back for a long time.”
Tanner realized he shouldn’t have said that the moment the words were out of his mouth, but by then, it was too late to do anything about it. Sage’s heart rate spiked immediately, and her body went as rigid as if she’d been hit with a live electrical wire.
Oh shit. She was going into full hybrid mode.
“Zarina, get out of here!” he ordered, jumping up.
Across from him, Sage did the same, claws out and eyes glowing blood red.
“I can help,” Zarina insisted, getting to her feet.
“Get out,” he growled. “Now!”
He hadn’t intended the words to come out that way, but knowing Zarina was trapped with him in a prison cell with an out-of-control hybrid made his control slip a little.
Zarina looked like she wanted to argue but then turned and ran for the door. Tanner expected the guard to immediately jerk open the door, but when he glanced that way, the man was still fumbling with the keys on the ring, searching for the right one.
“Open the door, dammit!” Tanner shouted.
A flash of movement coupled with a growl had Tanner spinning around to see Sage rushing toward him, her curved claws ready to slash him to ribbons.
Tanner tried to stay in control, tried to let just enough of the animal out to allow his feline reflexes to kick in, but with Zarina still in danger, that control slipped away like sand through his fingers.
Claws and fangs coming out, he blocked Sage’s right arm, then shoved her back, knowing he had to put some distance between them before he shifted all the way and lost complete control. Sage charged at him again, rage filling her glowing red eyes as she yowled in frustration. While she would probably never hurt him, the beast in charge at the moment sure as hell wanted to.
He blocked another slash, fighting the urge to strike back. If he landed a blow with his larger claws, he’d tear the smaller woman nearly in half. Instead, he reached deep down and found the control to retract his claws.
Sage blinked at him, like she was almost as shocked as he was that he’d done it. He thought for a moment the move would be enough to get her to calm down and back off. But then something behind him caught Sage’s attention, and her eyes went feral again.
Tanner glanced over his shoulder, and his heart lurched. Both guards had come into the cell, one holding a Taser, the other a dart gun that Tanner knew was loaded with a sedative. The only problem was that the idiots had left the cell door open behind them. If Sage got past the men, she’d be through it in a flash. Then the only thing standing between her and freedom would be Zarina.
Zarina, heaven help her, was standing resolutely in the open doorway like she thought she could stop Sage by sheer willpower.
As Sage poised to leap at the guards, the guy with the Taser froze, while the one with the dart gun was shaking so much it looked like he was about to wet his pants. Sage was going to get through those two before they could blink. Then she’d be on Zarina.
Fury overwhelmed Tanner like a tidal wave. One moment, he was standing there, wondering what the best move would be. The next, he’d shifted completely and let out a roar loud enough to shake the walls. Claws extended to their full length, he went for Sage.
Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.
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Coyote shifter with an attitude
Trusts no one, especially his devastatingly beautiful new partner
Former CIA, newest operative on the covert team
Hired to spy on her partner
Motto: “Never be deceived again.”
Coyote shifter Trevor Maxwell is teamed up with CIA agent Alina Bosch to catch a killer. But when the mission becomes much more dangerous than they expected, they’re going to have to ignore the attraction between them and learn how to trust one another to come out on the other side…
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Meet the Author:
Paige Tyler is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of sexy, romantic fiction. Paige writes books about hunky alpha males and the kick-butt heroines they fall in love with. She lives with her very own military hero (a.k.a. her husband) and their adorable dog on the beautiful Florida coast. Visit www.paigetylertheauthor.com.
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