Hi Ella and welcome to HJ! We’re so excited to chat with you about your new release, Only for the Night!
Hi, and thanks for having me!
Tell us about the book with this fun little challenge using the title of the book:
Only for the
N – not looking for love! Hank and Sage are both at crossroads in their life, and neither of them is interested in love right now.
I – ignore. Ignoring your new housemate when you can’t get them out of your mind (and your fantasies) is impossible. Ignoring your new lover when their secrets are revealed? Even harder.
G – goner! Despite what he thinks he wants, the minute Hank sees Sage in his apartment, his German shepherd determined to steal the only thing she’s wearing – a towel – he’s a goner. (His dog succeeding might have something to do with that. *wink* )
H – healing. Sage was betrayed by the one man she should’ve been able to trust, her Dom. Hank’s betrayal by his family and friends destroyed the life he knew. Both of them ran to Citrus Pointe to find themselves, find healing. But only confronting their pasts can heal their futures.
T – test. Sage is submissive; Hank hates anything to do with BDSM. Their journey together will test their beliefs, their strength, and most of all, their feelings for each other.
What’s your favorite line(s) from the book?:
Hank to Sage: “Stop. Stop worrying, stop planning, stop holding yourself back—just let go. I’m here; I’ll catch you.”
Please tell us a little about the characters in your book. What first attracts your Hero to the Heroine and vice versa?
What attracts Hank to Sage? Well, seeing her naked the first time they meet makes a big impression! But really it’s her courage that turns him on – she’s not afraid to stand up for herself, to face embarrassment or disapproval if she needs to. Her strength makes him want her. And want to tame her.
What attracts Sage to Hank? He’s a rock star, for goodness’ sake! But it’s seeing the way he takes care of those around him – his German shepherd, his friend whose husband is dying, his fellow band members – that makes her want to melt into a puddle at his feet.
When you sat down to start this book, what was the biggest challenge you faced? What were you most excited about?
The biggest challenge was writing not only a inexperienced Dom, but one who began with a hatred of all things BDSM. Hank witnessed someone close to him using the Dom/sub dynamic as an excuse for abusing a woman, and when he had the guy arrested, the backlash cost Hank everything. Not only has he never tried BDSM, but he doesn’t want to try. But he wants Sage…
What was I most excited about? Writing Hank. He first appeared in an earlier book of mine, Naughty Little Christmas, and I knew as soon as he stepped into my mind that he would have his own book someday. Finally getting to bring him to life so my readers could meet him was a real thrill!
What, in your mind, makes this book stand out?
The thing I love about this book, personally, is the flip of the typical BDSM dynamic. Most books in this subgenre begin with an experienced Dom, a man who knows what he’s doing and wants to take control. The storyline began with that “What if?” What if a man wasn’t experienced? What if he didn’t want to admit that he was interested in being a Dom? And what if he fell for a woman who needed to be submissive?
The First Kiss…
Hank shrugged, and Sage could’ve sworn a hint of a blush colored his high cheekbones. “I thought it would be a nice treat for you.”
Nicer than anything anyone had done for her in a while. “Thank you.” Taking a chance, she went up on tiptoe and brushed her lips along the stubble on his cheek.
Hank turned his head.
When their lips met, Sage froze. Her eyes were wide open, locked with Hank’s, and she was too close to miss the flare of hunger she saw there. Too close to look away. Hank’s gaze held hers as his lips parted, molded to hers, his hops-scented breath filling her lungs. That was all, just their mouths touching, but it felt like an avalanche, it shook her so hard.
When the crowd erupted in cheers, Sage thought for a moment they were applauding Hank’s kiss. Only the sudden surge of sound from the stage—the opening band—broke the moment. Hank didn’t seem in any hurry, though. He eased back, a satisfied smile pulling at those full, soft—God, they’d been so soft—lips. “Come sit.”
No apology, no embarrassment. Just taking what he wanted.
This man was so, so dangerous.
If your book was optioned for a movie, what scene would you use for the audition of the main characters and why?
Definitely their first meeting. Once he figures out what’s going on, Hank’s trying not to laugh, watching his dog tease Sage, and still question her about what she’s doing in his apartment. That combination of ex-cop persona and underlying teasing would be essential to pulling off Hank’s character!
“Knight?” Hank yelled a little louder as he reached the far side of the kitchen. A deep breath, then he shot a quick searching glance into the hall.
What he saw had him gaping in shock. “What—”
There was a woman in his apartment. He’d guessed that much from the voice, though he still didn’t understand it. What he couldn’t have guessed was that the woman was mostly naked, standing in the hall wrapped in a flimsy towel that Knight seemed to think was a play toy. A torn piece of white material lay on the ground, and the dog had one corner gripped between his jaws. A game of tug-of-war had commenced that threatened to unveil what the woman had, for the moment, covered. Taking in the picture, the tension in Hank’s gut released. He stepped into the hall to lean against the doorjamb, unsure how to react.
Or who would win, for that matter. Hank had his money on Knight, and considering the woman in question, whoever she was, he felt pretty sure he’d be happy about the outcome.
She was slender. Wet streaks highlighted her bare legs, the muscles sleek and strong as she fought Knight’s pull. The towel covered her from midthigh to armpits, unfortunately, but he could tell the middle of her body matched her legs and the top third of her. Damp brown hair tangled itself around her shoulders and down her back, falling forward to hide her face. The line of her collarbone cut across slim shoulders, bringing attention to the creamy expanse of her skin, dusted here and there with a sprinkling of cinnamon-colored freckles. Hands clutched the towel closed over generous breasts, but just barely. Much more pulling and he wouldn’t have to imagine what she was hiding. His mouth watered at the thought.
“Let go, dog!”
A latent sense of chivalry kicked in. Much as he might like the view, he couldn’t let his dog harass…who was she, anyway, and why was she in his apartment?
He crossed his feet at the ankles, content to let Knight do the job of policing their home while he followed up with the interrogation. Pushing a gruff note into his voice, he barked, “Who the hell are you?”
The woman’s head snapped up. Hank’s breath got stuck somewhere behind his sternum as he met brilliant blue eyes. Angry blue eyes that almost eclipsed the pixie face staring back at him.
“Who are you?” Her voice was low, as angry as her eyes despite the uncertainty that rasped through her words. She wasn’t backing down, that was for sure. Her bravado sent a tingle through his belly—and lower. That old urge, to hunt, to conquer, rose with other parts of his anatomy.
Hank fought it down, breathed through it, but before he found the control to answer, Knight decided he wanted to play some more. He jerked at the towel. The material slipped lower, forcing the woman to tighten her grip or lose the covering altogether. The adjustment pushed the rounded globe of her breast higher. How much farther before he could see her nipple?
He shook his head. Why was he thinking about breasts when there was a strange woman in his home? He dug his fists into his pockets, hoping to obscure the unexpected effect she was having on him. “Since this is my apartment, I think my question comes first.”
If your hero had a sexy-times play list, what song(s) would have to be on it?
“Sugar” by Maroon 5 (Hank has a weakness for sweets, especially bear claws.)
What do you want people to take away from reading this book?
Every human being wants to be seen, not just with the eyes but with the heart. Sage’s need from page one is for someone to truly see who she is deep inside, to pay attention and love her enough to “get” her. That’s the greatest gift we can give our partner, to see them and accept them for who they are. And in the process, we learn who we truly are – and hopefully grow along the way.
What are you currently working on? What other releases do you have planned for 2016?
Right now I’m working on a paranormal romance and the latest installment for my Southern Nights series (romantic suspense), due to release in December, 2016.
Thanks for blogging at HJ!
Giveaway: I’ll be giving away a signed print copy of ONLY FOR THE NIGHT and a swag bag of goodies! (open internationally)
To enter Giveaway: Please complete the Rafflecopter form and Post a comment to this Q: In ONLY FOR THE NIGHT, Hank and Sage meet for the first time in a compromising situation – Sage in nothing but a towel that eventually gets stolen by Hank’s dog. Have you ever had a moment that was embarrassing at the time, but you can look back now and laugh? What was it?
Excerpt from Only for the Night:
Hank gently tipped her head until embarrassed eyes met his. “Stop. Stop worrying, stop planning, stop holding yourself back—just let go. I’m here; I’ll catch you.”
If only you would. She just didn’t believe that anymore. She’d tried so hard to control everything, to be strong, to do it all. “I’m scared to.”
The truth came out as no more than a whisper, but Hank heard it. His strong gaze didn’t waver. “You’ve trusted me this far, Sage. Keep trusting me. I won’t hurt you, not if I can help it.”
She closed her eyes against a rush of tears. But what if I want you to? She knew what Hank meant—her heart—but he didn’t know what he was asking. He didn’t know what she needed. How could he take care of her if she wasn’t honest with him?
Her deeper, hidden needs weren’t something she could discuss right now—and she didn’t have to, not for a one-night stand. Was that what Hank wanted? What she wanted? Could she have sex without begging him for more?
She didn’t know. A part of her, the part that wanted the recipe in front of her and the rules and steps laid out, needed the answer before letting go. The other part, the one that had risked everything to leave LA behind, urged her to leap first and figure out the logistics later. As the two sides warred in her mind, she pressed herself tighter into Hank’s embrace.
“Hey.” Hank leaned back just enough to see her eyes, the concern in his tugging at her. Only then did she realize she was shaking. “You can say no, Sage. No strings attached. Whatever you want.”
She ignored the frustrated need for him to command her and took a deep breath. The beat of Hank’s heart beneath her hand, the warm scent of his skin, the sheer size and power of the body against hers sank into her soul, filled her to bursting. She could be content with whatever he gave her. The rest could wait.
She released her tension with the air in her lungs. Grabbed her courage with both hands. “I want…you.”
The feral heat flashing in Hank’s eyes set her core on fire. She clenched her hands, fingers digging into the firm muscles of his chest. “What about you?” She knew the answer, but she needed to hear him say it.
“I need you beneath me more than I need my next breath, Sage.”
Why did he have to be so good with words?
One of Hank’s hands slid to her nape, gripped her there, the pressure rough, urgent. His fingers dug in just like hers had, setting off the slightest bite of delicious pain. Her eyes slid closed—
Immediately the pressure eased. A small sound—disappointment—escaped her, but when she looked up, that searing heat still filled Hank’s hazel eyes, reassuring her like nothing else could.
“We’re leaving,” he said, voice gone ragged.
As if she’d argue. She let him lead her, the sure grip on her neck impossible to resist for all its gentleness. Past dancing couples, past Merry and Alice and their knowing glances. Sage let it all slip away, her focus on the front door and her need to hurry, hurry, hurry. Hank didn’t let her. He kept a steady pace across the room, kept control. Most women would find it annoying to have a man guide her with a hand on her neck, but for Sage it was perfect. How did he know? Every step, every second Hank made her wait built Sage’s anticipation to critical-mass level. She was shaking again, but this time fear had nothing to do with it.
It was automatic for him, not a dominant act. At least not consciously. That had to be it. And despite the inkling of disappointment that accompanied the thought, she’d take unconscious if it was all she could get. Hank fit her even better than he realized.
He’ll never realize, Sage. He’s not a Dom and you can’t be building him up to be. Accept what you’re given and enjoy it while it lasts.
She could be happy with just sex—how could she not be? This was Hank, for Christ’s sake. He didn’t need to be a Dom for this to be good for her.
They reached the heavy oak-and-glass door to the bar, and Hank pushed it open. Sage sucked the warm night air into her tight lungs. Together they angled toward her car, parked in a far corner. The hand at her nape dropped; Hank held it out for her keys, reminding her to retrieve them. She passed them over quickly—anything to get his hands on her again—but instead, Hank unlocked her door and opened it before passing her keys back, all without a touch.
“I’ll meet you back at the apartment,” he told her. “Be careful.”
She glanced up at him in the dim night, uncertainty suddenly rearing its ugly head. “Hank?”
His big hand came up to cup her chin—gently, always so gently—drawing her closer. “Yeah?” he breathed against her mouth.
For a moment she couldn’t recall what she needed to say; everything in her was focused on his lips, his touch. Then she remembered.
“I just need to know, is this…” She swallowed down her fear. “Is this only for tonight…or…”
The intensity in Hank’s eyes went fierce, lighting up something dark in her soul. “What do you think, Sage?”
Did she have to say? “No?”
Their lips touched, melded; then Hank drew back. “It’s for as long as you want, baby. As long as I can get.”
Excerpts. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.
She needs a Dom with heart. He sees the lifestyle as heartless.
Can a brave submissive show a rock star that accepting his true nature will be nirvana for both of them? Letting go with her may help him put the pieces of himself—and his band—back together again.
Struggling with the death of her mother, Sage Lyndsey turned to her Dom for comfort, but his impatience led to a humiliating scene in front of their club. Devastated, she runs to a small town on the Cali coast. Buying into Citrus Pointe’s bakery may be her best decision ever—if she can overcome the embarrassment of having her new landlord’s dog steal her towel right in front of him. It gets worse when she realizes he’s none other than rock bassist Hank Nash, and despite the problems it would cause, she wants nothing more than his talented hands on her, bending her to his will.
Hank is an ex-cop who knows all too well what dominance looks like when it turns to abuse—he saw the consequences on another cop’s wife. After turning the man in, Hank left that life behind to start a rock band, Weekend Washout. Now he’s fighting to keep the band together, and to deny his urge to dominate pretty, spunky Sage. But when Sage’s ex-Dom reappears, Hank is forced into a life-changing decision: Accept both their needs and gain more than one night with Sage, or retreat to the safe life he’s built so carefully?
Meet the Author:
Ella grew up in the Deep South, where books provided adventures, friends, and her first taste of romance. Now she writes her own romantic adventures, with plenty of hot alpha men and the women who love and challenge them. With a day job, a husband, two active teenagers, and two not so active cats, Ella is always busy, but getting the voices in her head down on paper is a top priority. Connect with Ella at www.ellasheridanauthor.com .
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