Hi Joss and welcome to HJ! We’re so excited to chat with you about your new release, One Little Indiscretion!
Hello lovely readers!
Please summarize the book a la Twitter style for the readers here:
Can one night of passion lead to a lifetime of love? Can two emotionally dinged and dented people trust each other enough, and themselves, to trust each other?
Please share the opening lines of this book:
1. Mountain Climbing. (Thanks, altitude sickness.)
2. Marriage. (Nope. Once was more than enough.)
3. Riding a mechanical bull, like she had during Spring Break. (Four tequilas and being bucked like a rag doll resulted in the nickname “Pukey” for months.)
4. Oh, and lusting after Carrick Murphy. (That was the biggest no-no of all.)
Sadie Slade added having an emergency tracheotomy to her mental Things-I-Never-Intend-To-Do-Again list and touched the small gauze dressing on her neck.
Please share a few Fun facts about this book…
- This book is set in the stylish and pricey world of luxury auction houses (think Christies and Sotheby’s.)
- I spent A LOT of time online looking at valuable paintings and objet d’ art. And jewelry, I’m obsessed with jewelry I can’t afford.
- If I wasn’t a writer, I think I’d like to be in the antiques/art trade.
- This book is linked to my “Love in Boston” series. Carrick is Tanna’s (from Second Chance Temptation) sister.
What first attracts your Hero to the Heroine and vice versa?
He’s and successful, she’s smart and sexy but both know they shouldn’t mix business with pleasure.
But after Sadie’s near-death choking experience they both throw caution to the wind, knowing that it’s only going to be a one-night thing.
Using just 5 words, how would you describe Hero and Heroine’s love affair?
The First Kiss…
Talking was overrated; he could get his point across in other ways. Pulling the expensive bouquet from her arms, he dropped it to the floor. He hesitated for a a moment, waiting for her to protest. When none came, he covered her mouth with his, drinking in her heat, her spice…her goddamn alive-ness.
Carrick moved her back so that she rested against the wall and then rested his palm against the cool plaster above her head. He wouldn’t touch her with anything but his mouth. Because, if he did, he wouldn’t stop until he had her naked, panting and screaming his name.
Sadie had no problem using her hands and he felt her tugging his shirt from his pants, and then her hands were on the bare skin above his belt, skimming across his spine. Every muscle in his body contracted and he wondered where all the oxygen in the room had gone.
But it didn’t matter because Sadie was kissing him. And kissing him with a lot of enthusiasm.
Sadie’s tongue pushed into his mouth and she wrapped her arms around his waist, silently telling him that she wanted him—this—as much as he did. Unable to keep his hands to himself, not for one more second, he floated his palm across the bare skin revealed by her oversize sweater and marveled at the softness. Would she be this soft everywhere?
Without revealing too much, what is your favorite scene in the book?
There are so many but the one below incorporates Tanna and Levi from Second Chance Temptation. It’s just a fun scene…
Carrick kissed her hair, released her and stepped back. “Enjoy your welcome home party, Tan.”
Tanna handed him a wobbly, emotional smile but before she could respond, Levi simultaneously slapped a hand on Carrick’s shoulder and snagged Tanna’s waist, hauling her to his side. Levi dropped a hard, openmouthed kiss on his sister’s mouth and Carrick made a show of staring at the high, molded hundred-year-old ceiling.
“You can look now, Carrick,” Tanna said, laughing.
Carrick met his amused friend’s eyes. “He’s going to be a pain in the ass about this, isn’t he, honey?” Levi said.
“Indubitably,” Tanna replied.
Levi placed a kiss on Tanna’s temple. “Can I have a word with your brother, Tan?”
Tanna nodded and drifted away. When she was out of earshot, Carrick raised his eyebrows at his friend, enjoying the heat in Levi’s cheeks. Levi was the most composed, centered guy he knew and it was fun to watch him rock on his heels, his shoulders hunching as he jammed his hands into the front pockets of his jeans.
“Um, I’d normally ask your dad this, but—you know.”
Carrick pretended he had no idea what was coming next. “What are you talking about? And, hey, did you catch the game last night?”
“No, I, Carrick, listen…uh…”
“It was crap. The ref was biased.”
“Dammit, Carrick, I’m trying to say something here!” Levi snapped, visibly annoyed.
“Something that’s more important than the game?” Carrick teased him but took a step back, just in case Levi lost it and punched him.
“Can I marry your sister or not?” Levi demanded, impatient.
Oh, this was far too good an opportunity to pass up. Carrick grinned, saw the relief in Levi’s eyes. “Not.”
Levi’s mouth fell open, caught totally off guard. His eyes bugged out and his pupils turned a startling shade of red. “Okay, thanks for nothing. Just so you know, nothing but death will stop us from getting married this time around.”
Carrick lifted his hands and rapidly backtracked. “Whoa, calm down. I was only joking.” Carrick risked putting his hand on Levi’s shoulder and giving it a tight squeeze. “You know that I approve. I approved when she was nineteen, I totally approve now. Not that you need my approval.”
Levi’s tension levels dropped and Carrick thought he was on firmer ground. “Good to know.” Levi nailed him with a hard stare. “And that was a lousy stunt to pull.”
“It was fun until you got this rabid look in your eyes,” Carrick said.
He held out his hand and when Levi’s hand met his, he pulled his friend into a one-armed hug. “Congratulations, man. I’m genuinely happy for you.”
“Thanks,” Levi said, now sporting a wide grin.
Nope, he wasn’t done with his about-to-be brother-in-law just yet. “So, one down, two to go.”
Levi pulled his eyes off Tanna to frown at Carrick. “What do you mean?”
“I’m giving you my blessing but you need Ronan’s and Finn’s, too,” Carrick told him, thinking that yanking Levi’s chain was the best fun he’d had in ages. “They helped raise Tanna. I think it’s only fair you ask them, too.”
“You do realize that I don’t actually need their permission?” Levi grumbled, sending Ronan an anxious look.
Carrick swallowed his smile. “I do but Ronan and Finn take their responsibility to our sister very seriously.”
Levi released a curse and stomped across the room to where Ronan was standing. Carrick saw him jerk his head to Finn, a silent request that he join them. Carrick finally allowed his laughter to escape.
Sadie touched his elbow and raised her eyebrows at him. “What are you up to, Carrick Murphy?”
Carrick’s eyes traced her delicate features and he saw the curiosity in her bright blue eyes.
It was strange that she immediately picked up that he was messing with Levi; many wouldn’t. Very few people had, over the years, managed to read him and he mentally squirmed. It unnerved him that she could.
Since Sadie still seemed to be waiting for an answer, he lifted one shoulder. “Levi asked for permission to marry Tanna. I felt it my duty to give him a hard time.”
Sadie rolled her eyes. “Men. Honestly.”
If your book was optioned for a movie, what scene would be absolutely crucial to include?
I think the scene before the black moment is crucial because it shows how good they’d be together. It’s a pretty good contrast to what comes after…
Sadie is out of town and Carrick is missing her…
Feeling a little overwhelmed, Sadie fell backward, her head hitting the pillow. At some point they’d have to make decisions. They couldn’t keep operating in a sexual haze forever.
She wanted to, but it wasn’t practical…
Her phone buzzed and Sadie patted the bed next to her, looking for the device. Picking it up, she held it close and squinted at the screen.
Where are you? What are you doing?
Her lips curved upward and her heart bounced off her chest. Carrick.
In my hotel room. She hesitated, wondering if she was brave enough to tell him how she was feeling. I’m looking at an awful painting and missing…
She deliberately stopped there, wanting to tease.
She laughed out loud while she typed. Your art. Sadie waited for a few beats before typing again.
Good answer. What are you wearing?
Sadie looked down at her yoga pants and baggy sweatshirt and knew that she had to lie.
Mmm. Have you ordered something to eat?
Sadie wrinkled her nose. She’d expected him to reply with some sexy comment, not to nag her about eating.
I’m waiting for room service. They should be here any second.
She saw that Carrick had read her message and sighed when she heard the sharp rap on her door. Climbing off the bed, she typed another message to Carrick.
Stop nagging. My food has arrived.
Not checking the peephole, she wrenched the door open, her eyes on her phone, waiting for Carrick’s reply. When she didn’t hear the rumble of a food cart, she looked up and her heart nearly exploded when she saw him standing in her doorway, a scowl on his masculine face.
Sadie squealed, launched herself at him and he caught her as she jumped into his arms, her legs wrapping around his waist.
Sadie rained kisses on his face, so damn happy to see him. “Yay, you’re here,” she said, in between kisses. “Why are you here?”
Carrick gently covered her face with his big hand to stop her kisses. “I was missing you and I haven’t used my plane in a while.”
Sadie leaned back to look into his amused face. “You have a plane?”
Her eyes danced with mischief. “Hassan has a Gulfstream. How big is yours?”
“I’m not going to get into a plane-measuring contest with your Arab prince, Slade,” Carrick told her. He carried her farther into the room and kicked the door shut. “But I do have a couple of questions for you, Doctor.”
Sadie ran her fingers over his cheek, along his jaw. “Can they wait?”
“No. Why didn’t you check the peephole before you opened the door? I could’ve been any old serial killer.”
Sadie leaned forward and kissed the side of his mouth, inhaling his gorgeous cologne. “God, I love the way you smell,” she murmured.
Carrick squeezed her butt. “And that leads me to my second question…why did you lie to me?”
Sadie pulled back and frowned at him. “What are you talking about?”
“You said you were naked.” He held her with one arm and tugged at the round neck of her sweatshirt. “Clearly you are not.”
Ah. “Well, that can be easily remedied.”
“I was hoping you’d say that,” Carrick said, gently lowering her to the bed. He stood up and glanced across the room. “And, God, yes, that painting is damn ugly.” He looked down at her, his smile charmingly crooked. “But you sure as hell aren’t.”
Readers should read this book …
Ah…because it’s fun? Carrick and Sadie are successful but relatable, a little emotionally battered and dinged.
What are you currently working on? What other releases do you have planned?
I am currently working on two books, a Christmas book for Harlequin Desire to be released at the end of the year and my first book for Presents, set in South Africa!
BTW, look for a completely free, full-length book on Valentine’s day (14th February). The book is called Friendship on Fire and will be available via Harlequin.com or check my Twitter or Facebook feeds for links!
Thanks for blogging at HJ!
Giveaway: I’m giving away three e-books copies of One Littel Indiscretion. Happy reading!
To enter Giveaway: Please complete the Rafflecopter form and Post a comment to this Q: One Little Indiscretion is set in the luxury world of international auction houses. What setting would you like to see in a romance novel?
Excerpt from One Little Indiscretion:
Carrick Murphy heard the snick of the lock on the bathroom door and turned his head to bury his face in Sadie’s sweet-smelling pillow.
When he left his historic Beacon Hill house last night, his intention had been to check up on Murphy’s new art investigator. Because, as he told himself repeatedly on the drive to her apartment, he only needed her in a professional capacity. He needed her skills to authenticate a painting so that the possible lost Homer could be included in their much-anticipated, once-in-a-generation auction happening in the spring. He’d brought her flowers—they were still on the floor in the hallway, probably dying—as a gesture from a client to a consultant, desperately trying to convince himself that his visit had nothing to do with Sadie being sexier than sin.
Great snow job, Murphy. Not your usual style, dude.
Releasing a frustrated huff, Carrick looked around for his clothes. The least he could do to make this morning less awkward was to be dressed when Sadie eventually decided to leave the bathroom.
He found his underwear by the door and pulled on his boxer briefs. They’d started shedding clothes in the hallway, a minute after their lips collided.
Not seeing any more of his clothes in the immediate vicinity, Carrick followed the garment trail through her apartment and plucked one of her socks off the frame of a black-and-white print and picked up her yoga pants, and thong, off the hallway floor. He found his shirt by the gray couch and his pants behind it.
Carrick pulled on his pants and then his button-down shirt, leaving the shirt open as he pulled on his socks, then his shoes. He eyed the door, wishing he could just slip out. But Sadie wasn’t some woman he’d never see again and he wouldn’t do that to her.
Since he was no longer a kid, he didn’t leave without, at the very least, a “thank you” and, even if it wasn’t world-rocking sex, an “it was fun.”
But it had been world-rocking sex and he would see Sadie later since he was paying her an exorbitant figure for her expertise to authenticate a painting. He needed her…
But only on a professional basis.
He’d trained himself not to need anyone anymore.
Since divorcing Tamlyn, he always thought long and hard about whom he slept with and the potential fallout—would the woman take her story to the press? Would she spread a rumor or four about the way he treated her? But his need for Sadie had drowned out all his fears and considerations.
He’d wanted her. She’d wanted him back. His brain had shut down after that…
But man, he hoped she didn’t think this was the start of something special, that they were going anywhere. The worst outcome would be her catching feelings, wanting or expecting more from him than he could give.
Because he didn’t have it in him.
He’d lost too many women he loved and cared about—his real mom, stepmom and sister-in-law to death, another sister-in-law to divorce—and his own divorce drained him of any hopes and dreams and trust he had in a happy-ever-after, in having a family, a partnership, a wife he’d grow old with.
The closer someone became, the more they could hurt him. His ex was proof of that.
Carrick rubbed his hands over his face.
Yep, Tamlyn had soured him so he didn’t bother dating, preferring an occasional, discreet, low-key one-nighter here and there. Sure, the sex was never as good as it could be in a committed relationship with a solid emotional connection…
Yet, it had been. With Sadie.
With Sadie, he’d forgotten that he hardly knew her, that this was their first time. Making love to her was as natural as breathing; his body—dammit! —recognized hers. There had been no awkward fumbling, no indecision, no do-you-like-this?
She’d murmured her approval whenever she could speak, either by her breathy moans, low do-that-again groans or one-word sentences. The words yes! and more! had fallen from her lips with regularity.
The hell of it was, Sadie was the best he’d ever had, better even than those first heady days with Tamlyn.
Sadie, and their night together, exceeded all his expectations and set the bar space-high for his next one-night stand.
If he ever had another one of those again…
Carrick stood up and headed for the small galley kitchen on the other side of this open-plan, generic, boring-as-hell apartment. The least he could do was get the coffee started.
Carrick changed the filter on the machine, dumped in some coffee and topped up the water. After flipping the switch, he walked back into the living room and picked up her shirt from the pile he’d made on her coffee table. He lifted the soft fabric to his nose, inhaling her scent. She smelled like sunshine and warm wind and, underneath it all, a scent he couldn’t identify. What he knew for sure was that it was a scent designed to make his head swim.
“Are you actually sniffing my shirt?”
Crap. Busted. The only option was to go on the offensive.
“What is this scent?” he demanded, casually, he hoped, dropping the shirt to the pile. “It’s driving me crazy.”
“Jasmine and orange blossom,” Sadie replied. She’d showered; her wet hair was raked back from her face. In faded jeans and a loose, cranberry-colored sweater she looked younger than her years.
“Remind me to buy you ten years’ supply.”
Sadie smiled, reluctantly charmed. “I wish you could. But the perfumer refuses to make big batches and only opens his shop in Montparnasse when he’s in the mood. And he’s frequently not in the mood.”
Her eyes flickered over his bare chest, bracketed by his open shirt. He started to button up but suddenly dropped his hands, and Sadie suspected he was enjoying her appreciation. He was a smart, experienced guy, and he’d obviously noticed the desire in her eyes, the heated flush on her cheeks.
There would be no round two—why complicate this further? —and he probably assumed that a little mutual appreciation couldn’t hurt anyone.
He was wrong; this type of thing could lead to lots of pain down the line.
Play it cool, Sadie, and for goodness’ sake, resist the urge to touch that wide chest. Find something else to do with your hands!
Breakfast. She could make breakfast…
Smart thinking, Slade.
“I understand you have an apartment in Paris,” Carrick said, following her to the kitchen, watching as she pulled croissants, butter and jam from the fridge.
“I have a rabbit’s hutch in Montparnasse, a tiny one-room apartment just big enough for me and my clothes and my reference books.” Sadie gave him an up-and-down look. “You would look like Gulliver in Lilliput in it.”
“Gulliver? Lilliput?” Then his face cleared and the penny dropped. “Right, Jonathan Swift’s Gulliver’s Travels.”
“Sorry, I’m a book nerd. And an art nerd. And a useless facts nerd.”
“I like nerds. They are some of my favorite people,” Carrick said, looking at her like she was the hottest nerd he’d ever seen. But that had to be her imagination…
“My brother Finn is the king of obscure references and trivia. I’m used to hearing odd bits of useless information,” Carrick told her.
Noticing that the coffee was nearly ready, Carrick looked around the kitchen and asked where she kept her cups. After opening the cupboard she directed him to, he pulled out two mugs and filled them while Sadie placed warmed croissants on plates and pulled flatware out of a drawer.
She gestured to a stool on the other side of the island and Carrick sat down, immediately reaching for a buttery, warm pastry.
Look at her, being all adult about this. And yeah, it wasn’t as awkward as she’d expected it to be.
But as sophisticated as she was acting—presumably Carrick, having the morning-after-the-night-before routine down to a fine art, was being his normal self—she needed to say something, anything, to make it clear that they were on the same page, that this was a one-time deal.
But Sadie was so out of her comfort zone. She didn’t routinely jump into bed with strange men. And she never slept with people she worked with. And she never, ever slept with men—like her ex and, supposedly, Carrick Murphy—who treated women, and sex, like playthings…
That thought was obliterated by Carrick’s next sentence. “So that shouldn’t have happened.”
That was her line!
Carrick popped a piece of strawberry jam-smeared croissant into his mouth, chewed and swallowed. He took another big bite, obviously enjoying the flaky pastry and tart jam.
“I came around to check up on you but, obviously, we got a bit carried away,” Carrick said in that genial tone that set her teeth on edge. “I hope it won’t affect our working relationship.”
What exactly did he mean by that? Did he think that, in her mind, sex equaled a relationship? She was a modern woman, fully capable of separating sex and emotion, carnality and commitment. She was in no danger of falling for him after one night of fantastic, mind-blowing sex. She’d heard that he’d left a trail of broken hearts and disappointed damsels throughout Boston but she wasn’t that weak.
“I’m sure we’ll be just fine,” Sadie stated, her tone firm. “As long as you realize that nothing but the evidence will affect my findings on the Homer.”
Carrick placed the corner of his croissant on his plate, reached for his coffee cup and she saw the flash of temper in his eyes. “Why the hell would you think that I’d expect you to fudge results on the painting, to tell me what you think I’d want to hear? The art speaks for itself. It always has and it always will.”
That hadn’t been true for her ex. Dennis’s moral line was exceptionally fluid and he hadn’t hesitated to use any means to influence the outcome of a deal, or a relationship, to benefit himself. Sure, it was only one brief sentence, but, in this regard, she believed Carrick Murphy wasn’t like her ex.
It shouldn’t be a relief but…yes, it was.
From a business standpoint—the only standpoint that mattered—his integrity made her job easier.
But getting back to why he was in her kitchen in the early hours of a Monday morning…
“Well, going forward, I suggest we forget that last night happened. It was fun”—so much fun! — “but I have a job to do and a repeat performance isn’t in the cards.”
“It would just be too complicated,” Sadie blithely added, hoping she looked as casual as she sounded.
Carrick took another sip of coffee and tightened his fingers around the handle of the mug. “Okay, if that’s how you feel.”
No, it wasn’t! Yes, it was…Arrgh! She didn’t know what to feel! All she knew was that the last time she’d hopped into bed with a charming man, she’d had her life torn apart. She could never, ever let that happen again.
Sadie pulled apart her croissant and nibbled the inside of her cheek. God, she wished he’d just leave, give her some space, some time to make sense of nearly losing her life and having great sex and a hot guy in her kitchen at still dark o’clock.
Reaching across the island, Carrick gripped her wrist, his fingers tan against her paler skin.
“Sadie, look at me.”
Sadie tossed her damp hair and sucked in a deep breath before obeying his soft order. Her eyes slammed into his and she had to remind herself to breathe.
Carrick’s smile was gentle, as sweet as a tough, masculine man could make it. “Thank you for an amazing night. I hope you enjoyed it as much as I did.”
She had. Best night spent naked…ever.
“I should be off. Murphy International won’t, unfortunately, run itself.”
Sadie knew she should feel relieved, or even happy, at hearing that he was on his way but she only felt disappointment. Which was stupid because not a couple of minutes ago she’d wanted to be alone.
Carrick released her wrist and started to do up the buttons on his shirt. Standing, he tucked his shirttails into his pants and popped the last piece of croissant into his mouth. “Damn, these are amazing.”
Walking around the island, he looked down into her face and Sadie held her breath as he lowered his head, aiming his lips at her mouth. Catching himself, he jerked back.
“I’m really glad you are fine after your choking incident.”
Thank God for his sister Tanna’s quick thinking or she wouldn’t be here, home from the hospital and exhausted after a night of being well loved.
Very well loved indeed.
Carrick used his knuckle to tip up her chin and look at the sterile gauze low down on her neck. “Is it painful?”
Sadie shook her head. “The cut is tiny and it’ll heal fast.” Sadie pulled a face. “Though I am considering becoming a vegetarian.”
Carrick smiled at her dejected tone. “It could’ve happened as easily with a piece of carrot as it did a piece of steak.”
“Point taken but it might still be a while before I feel brave enough to swallow down another piece of rare Kobe beef. Or any meat at all.”
“Completely understandable.” Carrick looked at his watch and winced at the time. “I need to get going. I have a nine o’clock meeting and I still have to get home and shower.”
“You could take a shower here,” Sadie quietly offered. “If that saves you some time.”
She waited while he thought about it, knowing that if he made the slightest suggestion that she join him, she’d find it incredibly hard to hold herself to her have-touched-him-for-the-last-time decision. And if he stayed longer, she might just pull him into the shower herself and do several things to him she hadn’t thought of last night.
Hot, carnal, X-rated things…
“Thanks, but I’m good. I’m going to head straight for the office and hit the showers in the company gym. I keep a change of clothing and toiletries in the executive bathroom I share with my brothers so fresh clothes won’t be a problem.”
Sadie followed him as he walked toward the hallway, taking a moment to admire the tight butt that now knew the shape and feel of her fingertips.
“I take it you’re not coming in today. You probably need time to recover.”
“I spent the night making love to you, Carrick, so I can hardly pull the ‘I’m sick’ card,” Sadie replied, with a touch of tart. “But I am going to work from home today, trawling the net for anything I can find on Homer’s time in Virginia. And then I’m heading to an art gallery on Charles Street since Isabel Mounton-Matthews did a lot of business with the previous owner. I’m hoping to find something about the painting in the sale catalogs or records.”
Carrick asked her the name of the gallery and she told him, comfortable now that they were talking art.
“I’m aware of the gallery. The grapevine has it that both the past and the present owners haven’t always been on the up and up. Apparently, they have the reputation for fudging provenances or filling in the missing information with a little creative wording.”
“Thanks. I’ll keep it in mind.”
“I wouldn’t call them shady but they aren’t honest, either. I don’t think you have a hope in hell of seeing their records, if they keep decent records at all.”
It was a fair point, but she needed to check. Just in case. Besides, she thought they could both do with some distance, time apart to get their heads on straight before they laid eyes on each other again.
With a little space they—she—would stop thinking about a repeat bedroom performance.
“So I’ll see you again when I have a solid update. That might be days or even weeks from now,” Sadie told him.
Carrick picked up her now-bedraggled and sad-looking bunch of flowers and laid them on the hall table. “I won’t feel offended if you toss these.”
It was obvious Carrick seemed to want the same distance she did and she should be glad. There was absolutely no reason to feel disappointed or frustrated. She had to cut this crap out.
Carrick’s expression was implacable as he bent down to brush his lips across her cheekbone. She took the gesture for what it was, a polite thing to do, a small thanks-for-a-great-evening. It didn’t mean anything more…couldn’t mean a damn thing.
“I’ll see you when I see you,” he told her.
His cashmere coat was an expensive heap on the floor and he picked it up and pulled it on. He jammed his hand into the inside pocket and pulled out his phone. Then he winced.
“I’ve missed a dozen calls already. See you around, Sadie.”
Sure. But not for a day or two. Or seven.
Excerpts. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.
Just one night?
All she can say is yes…
“I need to talk to you.”
And this time she must resist temptation…
Sadie Slade isn’t interested in romantic entanglements. She’s been there, done that. But handsome CEO Carrick Murphy tangles things up for her—fast. Their steamy one-night stand has made them parents-to-be. And she still can’t stop fantasizing about a repeat with the stubborn bachelor—despite the secrets they’re both keeping. Is it time for them to take a chance on happiness?
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Meet the Author:
Joss Wood loves books and traveling— especially to the wild places of Southern Africa and, well, anywhere. She’s a wife, a mom to two teenagers and slave to a cow-sized puppy and two bossy cats.
After a career in local economic development, she now writes full time. Joss is a member of the RWA (Romance Writers of America) and ROSA (Romance Writers of South Africa) organizations.