Hi Aimee and welcome to HJ! We’re so excited to chat with you about your new release, Steal My Heart!
Please summarize the book for the readers here:
I like to describe Steal My Heart as my cop-cat burglar, naughty romance. Set in Los Angeles, the story is fast-paced and hot. All Detective Lexanne Harris planned to do was act out her sexual fantasy with her new boyfriend, but a case of mistaken identity lands her a rollicking orgasm and imminent career disaster. Determined to make things right, she sets out to solve the case without revealing how she comes by her insider knowledge; but the more she investigates, the more she discovers just how complicated true justice can be.
Please share the opening lines of this book:
I wanted this. Carefully, I lined my lips. I picked up my lipstick tube, twisting up the
scarlet color. My hand trembled. I dropped the lipstick, laid my palms flat on the vanity,
and drew a breath. Sex with a cat burglar.
Please share a few Fun facts about this book…
- One fun fact about this story was my inspiration for it. Several years ago, a friend shared with me how she had arranged to act out a sexual fantasy with her boyfriend which began with him “breaking into” her house. I remember thinking: What if something went wrong? This story starts right there, with that very scenario going immediately wrong, and then compounding.
- A second fun fact is how food always plays a part in my novels, probably since I write during my lunch hours. Because of this, most of the food in the story is what I like to eat: BLT’s, seven-layer burritos, fruit and cheese.
- And a third fun fact, since I live in the California wine country, I’m familiar with most of the wines in the novel, with the exception of the Château Lafite Rothschild. While I don’t expect to ever personally experience a wine that potentially costs thousands of dollars, my characters get to.
Please tell us a little about the characters in your book. As you wrote your protagonist was there anything about them that surprised you?
I set out to write a fearless, female protagonist. When I started writing this novel, I didn’t know Lexanne would have a fear of heights. But, the loss of her mother at a young age, and that fear, is what gives her character depth. Once I wrote that weakness in, I had no idea how she would overcome her fear; but of course, as it turns out, the hero helps with that.
If your book was optioned for a movie, what scene would you use for the audition of the main characters and why?
If my book was optioned for film–and what a thrill that would be–I would suggest the audition include the scene where my female-protagonist cop first meets the male-protagonist cat burglar as himself and not disguised. Lexanne doesn’t immediately recognize him as her burglar, but her body does. There’s just so much physical attraction between them. I would love for that to be portrayed by the actors. That sexual chemistry is what makes their motivations believable.
And he smiled. He flashed perfect, pearly whites suitable for a poster on dental hygiene, and my world. Stood. Still.
I blinked and forgot to breathe. I knew that smile. My eyes dropped to his hands neatly folded on his desk. Those magic fingers had brought me incredible pleasure. I swallowed and found my eyes wandering back up to his face. Emerald eyes looked straight into me.
He met my eyes with daring. Confidence, delight and, yes, a challenge.
He knew I knew.
What do you want people to take away from reading this book?
I want this to be a fun escape from the reality of daily life. I worked really hard to make this into a book to be read in one sitting, if you had a few spare hours. The pace is fast, fun, and never too serious.
What are you currently working on? What other releases do you have planned?
I gave Lexanne two best friends, so I’m working on a hot contemporary romance about one of them. Like Steal My Heart, it will be a mistaken identity novel set in Los Angeles, this time involving the cutthroat world of LA fashion.
Thanks for blogging at HJ!
Giveaway: Copy of Steal My Heart by Aimee O’Brian ebook
To enter Giveaway: Please complete the Rafflecopter form and Post a comment to this Q: My characters in this story are both bold and daring. Two of the questions I pondered as I wrote the novel were:
• How much should a person be willing to risk to find his/her perfect match?
• How much risk is too much?
Excerpt from Steal My Heart:
What could I say? I might as well spit it out.
“I had sex with a burglar.”
Mark’s gaze narrowed. His eyes scoped out the room, assessing the truth laid out before him. And really, it couldn’t be more obvious. His lip curled. “You were supposed to have sex with me.”
Why? My God, he hadn’t even tried. After we’d hooked up and agreed to act out our fantasies, I’d gone shopping to prepare for his. What grown woman owned Mary Janes, a white button-up blouse, and a blue and green pleated plaid skirt? I’d gone to actual expense to make his fantasy seem real. I didn’t just pull that crap out of my closet.
Mark shifted onto his toes and back, his stance aggressive. “Let me get this straight. You had sex with a real burglar—the burglar who’s been terrorizing the homes of the wealthy for the last month?”
“Yeah, well, I thought he was you.”
“So you jumped him?”
He sneered. “I think you know what I look like, Lexanne.”
“He was covered up like you were supposed to be. All in black.” Moving like a shadow. “The only part of him showing was the lower half of his face. Swear to God, Mark, I thought he was you. I don’t make a habit of having sex with strangers.”
He raised a brow. He stood, watching me clean up, impossibly trying to put the room to rights. “Did he take anything?”
I paused in my futile effort and leaned on the table. I ran a finger along a deep gouge from my high heel. I opened my mouth and closed it. No way could I admit to the jewels being gone. It’d be career suicide. I’d worked a decade to get where I was. I could fix this, as long as I convinced Mark to keep his mouth shut.
“I checked the safe already.” It wasn’t a lie. “I’ll check the rest of the house in a moment. But no, I think I distracted him before he could make off with anything—” Else.
Mark whipped out his cell phone.
“What are you doing?”
“Calling this in.”
“Oh no, you don’t. No way.”
“We have to. I’m on the burglaries. It’s my case.”
“So I tell you what I know. We’re the police. We don’t need to bring in anyone else on this.”
Mark’s face went hard.
I thought fast. “It’ll give you an edge in the investigation. I’ll tell you what he looked like.” My body tightened: six-pack abs, hard as a rock, long as a… Maybe not.
Mark leaned his ass on the table, waved a hand. “Go on.”
“He was six-two, 180 pounds”—of solid man on top of me—“green eyes”—full of lust, passion, and laughter. “His head was completely covered in a mask, but from his eyelashes,” I stopped and thought, “I’d say dark brown hair.”
I could still picture his eyes, the amusement in them. But of course, he’d find it funny. Hell, I’d climbed up on the dining table and offered myself to him like the entrée of the day. He didn’t know I’d thought he was someone else. I felt the heat rise in my cheeks. Embarrassment—chalk that up to embarrassment. It was better than admitting I was still turned on by my handsome stranger. Criminal, I reminded myself. The man was a criminal. I was a cop.
I sucked in a breath.
“He went out the back when you set off the alarm.” I raised an eyebrow, waiting for Mark to admit he, too, had screwed up.
“So how’d he get in?”
“I’m not sure. But I felt a breeze.” I headed upstairs, Mark close on my heels, crowding me. I staggered a little at the top as pain from my ankle shot up to my knee. I paused, gripped the railing and steadied myself, unwilling to show weakness, even the slightest limp, in front of Mark. I walked through the rooms, eyes sharp, looking for any hint to the burglar’s path. Mark’s silence was more disturbing than his questions as I followed the flow of air to the back of the house. The window was still open.
“Apparently, they don’t have alarm sensors on the upstairs windows,” I said.
“Why would they? With the high ceilings downstairs, it’s almost three stories. How could anyone get in up here? He must’ve come in downstairs.”
I looked out the open window and down the side of the house. My head swam a little. From my ankle? Or the height?
Peering in the moonlight, my eyes picked out possible hand and footholds in the stone siding, but it would’ve been dangerous. I’d never liked heights myself, preferring to keep my feet on solid ground, but my burglar was definitely a risk-taker.
He’d have reveled at the height of danger.
“I can’t hide this, Lexanne.” The condescension in Mark’s tone pulled me back to the moment. But I couldn’t let him tell. I’d never live it down at work. Any ambition I had to move up the ranks would be destroyed.
I spun to face him, determined to change his mind. But, damn, I hated being at his mercy. One look at his hard face, and I knew what I had to do.
“You tell and I tell.”
“What’s that supposed to mean?”
I took a step toward him, tired of being crowded. “You tell what I did, and I tell what I did for you. Do you really want your nasty inclinations bruited about the squad room?”
He studied my face, his eyes flashing with anger. No way would I back down.
“Fine, we do this your way.”
Cassidy ran her hand over the deep scratch in the table. “Terrible shame about this. You want to explain how it happened?”
Of course I didn’t. I looked everywhere but at Cassidy’s face. I knew the questions I’d see there, coupled with the expectation I’d tell her all.
She cleared her throat. “You’ve been here what? One day? And the table is destroyed.” Her voice rose on the last word.
Those words were the last thing I wanted to hear from her mouth. No one, but no one, was better at woodwork than Cassidy Kramer. I turned to face her, unable to keep the pleading out of my voice. “Can’t you fix it? You’re the miracle worker. I’ve seen you do the most amazing carpentry.” At fifteen she’d made a grandfather clock in shop class, entered it in the state fair, and won.
Cassidy put both hands on the table. She leaned her head down, level with the surface, and peered at the gouges from every possible angle. I held my breath. I needed her to be able to fix this.
It was the one thing I had no chance in hell of fixing myself.
She straightened. “I might be able to fill in the gouges with putty, then sand the whole table and refinish it, but—”
The tightness in my chest eased. The Brentmoors could host brunch never suspecting the decadence that occurred beneath their Wedgwood place settings. I blurted out, “Just tell me what you need to do the job.”
Here it comes. She’ll insist on expensive tools because Cassidy Kramer has expensive taste in everything. Whatever the cost, I would pay. “Name it.”
Cassidy flashed a grin. She tilted her head, strawberry blonde curls bouncing around her lightly freckled complexion, green eyes sparkling in mischief. “Okay, tell me what really happened last night.”
I reeled. That’s all she wanted? It was wonderful, except—
Cassidy gave me an arch look and swung her Gucci bag over her shoulder. “See ya.”
I grabbed for her. She laughed, gave me a long look, and I knew I was in trouble. “Okay, but you have to hold up your end. I shouldn’t tell you any of this.”
She tossed her curls. “Boo, tell me anyway, like always.”
She was right. Eventually I told her everything. My one true friend, she knew all my secrets. Cassidy might judge, but afterward, she’d joke with me. The woman knew how to call it like it was.
Cassidy dropped her bag by the table. As we made our way upstairs to the window where he’d entered, me limping only a little and feeling better in jean shorts and my old police academy sweatshirt, I told her about last night’s fiasco. She leaned over the sill and peered at the lush azaleas nearly three stories below. “You said you ran after him. Surely he didn’t go out this way. I can’t see you climbing onto a skinny little ledge to chase him no matter how desperate you were. Not after what happened to your mom.”
I shook my head. “I worry sometimes about working in the Larceny Division. It’s so different than the gang task force I was on.” Gang work took place mainly at street level. “This…” I let out a sigh. My reticence in regard to heights was a well-kept secret I didn’t need my coworkers knowing. Any weakness was a problem. I had to appear unassailable. And the fear of heights might be enough to get me transferred out of the division I’d busted my ass to get into.
“I’ll show you the path he took.”
Cassidy trailed me, peeking in rooms we passed. “Hmm, front hall, kitchen, dining room, billiard room, library.” She gave a delighted laugh. “It’s like a real life Clue game. All you need is a lounge, a ballroom, and…”
“This is the family room.”
She scanned the plush playroom, wet bar and all. Potted palms loomed overhead.
She waved a hand at the plants. “Not with those. It’s the conservatory.”
“Or the lounge.” I leaned on the bar.
“So tell me what happened after your burglar left.” Cassidy got comfortable on the leather sofa. I chose a bottle of wine out of the rack at random and told her the rest.
Kicked back on cushions, she took a sip of the wine I’d poured. “Mark’s an asshole,” she confirmed. “I know you thought he was rad when you met on that stakeout, but dating a coworker was a mistake.” She tossed aside the child’s masquerade mask she’d been dangling from her fingertips and took another drink. “What varietal is this?”
I shrugged. I knew nothing about wine. It had hardly been part of my education coming from my beer-guzzling alcoholic of a father. Any chance of sophistication I’d had died with my mom. I glanced at the bottle on the wet bar, turned it to read the label. “Château Lafite Rothschild.”
Cassidy laughed. She took a long sip, swirled it around in her mouth, and closed her eyes. “And how long are you here for?”
She gave a quick nod. “I can have the table ready, but the rest of this mess?” She waved her glass around, and I worried it might tip and spill. What would it take to get red wine out of leather?
“He took something from that safe, and you don’t even know what it is,” she continued. “I’m not sure how you fix that.”
“He took jewels, I’m sure of it. It’s what he takes in all the burglaries.”
“But you don’t know what the jewels look like.”
She was right. Still, it was a problem for another day. Somewhere in this mansion there had to be pictures or information on their assets. First things first. “I’m not worried about that. I’ll get assigned to the burglaries on Monday. It may take some convincing, but I can do that. Then I’ll work with Mark to catch this guy. Mark doesn’t want to admit to the Brentmoors what happened any more than I do. He recommended me to watch their house.”
“So you catch this guy—who sounds amazingly hot, by the way—then what?”
“I get the Brentmoors’ jewels back.”
“Without anyone ever knowing they were gone? How do you manage that?”
“I’ll put them in the safe and then I can shut it.” I showed her how I’d left it open the teeniest bit. “As long as I don’t shut it until the jewels are inside, no one will ever know. I don’t know the combination. If it gets shut, I’m screwed.”
Cassidy let out a peal of laughter. “Oh, honey, you’ve already been screwed.”
Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.
When a fantasy turns into a cold reality
Lexanne Harris had a plan down to the last sexy detail. Never did she think her attempt to spice up her love life with her boyfriend would involve her in a burglary with a sexier-than-sin thief whose emerald eyes and serious between-the-sheets skills are impossible to forget. As a police detective, she is expected to stand on the side of the law and fight for justice. But what happens when the lines of justice blur and what’s wrong becomes way too tempting?
The situation might be challenging, but Lexanne is determined to get assigned to the case, recover the jewels and catch the culprit.
The question is: What will she do with her sexy cat burglar when she catches him?
Meet the Author:
Having lived in both California and Texas, Aimee O’Brian now resides in the beautiful wine country. With her three children grown and experiencing their own adventures, she and her husband are free to explore the world. When she’s not reading, writing, or planting even more perennials in her garden, she can be found stomping through ancient ruins and getting lost in museums.
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