Today I have a new thriller for you! Make sure you check out the guest post and excerpt! Also, there’s a giveaway!
Deception (Southern Comfort #3)
by Lisa Clark O’Neill
Contemporary Romantic Suspense
Categories: Action/Adventure, Mystery/Thriller
Publisher: Lisa Clark O’Neill
Release Date: June 4, 2013
Heat Level: Steamy
Word Count: 103,000
Samantha Martin’s carefully reconstructed life is teetering on the edge of disaster. After surviving an abusive childhood, Sam is only months away from completing her hard-won college degree when she gets devastating news about her brother. Donnie, her protector and best friend, lies in a coma in a Charleston hospital.
Sam struggles with the question of who shot her beloved brother as well as the monumental expenses of his ongoing care, and in desperation seeks ready cash by agreeing to act as the “entertainment” for a local man’s bachelor party – where to her everlasting mortification, she encounters the one man who’d ever meant enough to her to break her heart.
Forensic artist Josh Harding recognizes the butterfly tattoo on the curvaceous hip of the wig-bedecked stripper. After all, he’d spent hours sketching her lovely figure while a student at the Savannah College of Art and Design. Now here she is, eight years later, and it becomes clear that Sam is in trouble. Seemingly unrelated threads weave into a pattern surrounding her and her brother. Exposing criminal enterprise among the upper echelon of local society and the shocking truth behind the city’s most famous murder, the unexpected connections that neither Josh nor Sam saw coming draw them both into a tangled web of love and Deception.
Warning: This title is intended for readers over the age of 18 as it contains adult sexual situations and/or adult language, and may be considered offensive to some readers.
JUST BECAUSE I HEAR VOICES IN MY HEAD, IT DOESN’T MEAN I’M CRAZY
“So. You’re a novelist. That’s cool. Where do you get your ideas?”
This seemingly innocuous question is the one almost every writer dreads to hear. I’m sure every profession has its equivalent. The question which strikes fear into the heart of the questionee, because the only honest answer is…
I have no idea.
There. That’s the naked truth of the matter, and holds true for almost every writer to whom I’ve spoken. Some authors enjoy giving flip responses such as: “I get my ideas from a big box store in Oklahoma” or “Ebay” or “It’s a state secret.”
If I told you, I’d have to kill you.
In reality, most authors, even the most disciplined among us – you know the type with outlines and plot summaries and character development notecards from which they never, ever deviate (I do not fall into this category) – struggle to pinpoint exactly from where the genesis of their carefully outlined plot may have originated.
The ether, maybe.
Incidentally, people don’t quite seem to believe me when I tell them I’m not sure how I get my ideas. Like maybe I’m lying, or it really is some kind of secret which I have sworn (to the League of Sneaky Underhanded Fiction Writers, perhaps) never to reveal.
They’re often even more confused when I try to explain my writing process.
I am what other people refer to as a “by the seat of your pants” storyteller, or what I like to call a “Brick Wall Writer.” I make it up as I go. I get an idea – usually a specific image in my head – and I write until I can no longer write any more about that particular scene. In other words, until I hit the mental equivalent of a brick wall. Then I sit back, examine what I’ve written, and wonder: What happens next?
Sometimes I have no idea what happens next, and the blinking cursor on the screen becomes the snarky, taunting Eye of Writing Doom. When that happens, I usually just move out of the Eye’s line of vision, taking a walk or a drive or if there is no other possible way to avoid it, cleaning the house. Typically when I am engaged in one of those other activities, one of my characters will pop up on my mental screen, sort of wave to get my attention, and then start telling me what happens next. Occasionally they are so insistent that we move on with the story that they drag me out of bed at 4 am.
This doesn’t happen often, thank goodness. It’s pretty awkward to explain to friends and family the next day that you are grumpy because you spent the very early morning hours giving in to the demands of a domineering fictional human being.
People tend to look at you a little funny when you tell them that.
But wait, I’m the author – don’t I control what my characters think, say and do?
You would think so, wouldn’t you? But memorable, well-developed characters are far less often (at least in my experience) an author’s creation than they are beings – albeit fictitious – in their own right. They often have qualities that I didn’t anticipate when I conceived them. They behave in ways I hadn’t expected. They take the story in directions I had no idea it was going to go. It’s sort of like being on a road trip in which you are the driver, but someone else is in charge of the navigation. Sometimes you end up getting into bitter arguments as you struggle over which highway – or shortcut – is the best to take.
I know the next logical question will be: “If you don’t fully create your characters, then where do they come from?”
I don’t know.
Maybe they all hang out in a big box store in Oklahoma.
Thinking that he was still upset about her car’s breakdown, she crossed her arms as he strode toward her. “No, I walked, actually.” He inched closer, and she backed up, rear end hitting the counter. He dropped his coat, literally tossing it on the floor, and she worried about his coherence. “Are you okay? Because that jacket’s not a rental.” She motioned to the crumpled garment, which lay like a fallen soldier on the field.
He kicked it to the side. “Eight years ago.” The tie hit the floor next, and Sam eyed its fluttering descent. “You ran away from Savannah.”
Sam’s eyebrows shot up as the first cufflink fell, skittering under the cabinets with a metallic clang. “You ran away from me.” Off flew cufflink number two, another kamikaze victim of the conflict. Josh was either mad or maybe… hot. Sometimes tuxedos could be uncomfortable. Although it wasn’t that warm in the room.
Then her brain registered what he’d just said.
“I…” Sam watched the other little monogrammed circle roll off to join its comrade. What the hell had they been serving at that reception? “I ran from you?”
A sock went flying over her shoulder.
Well, she guessed she had. But what did that have to do with anything? Unless he was feeling guilty because he realized she’d been in love with him at the time. Was still in love with him now. Maybe he was upset about their current situation. Maybe he thought that she should leave. Although how that translated into him taking off his clothes she wasn’t entirely sure.
“Oh, God, Josh.” This wasn’t the conversation she’d meant to have with him. She’d simply wanted to let him know that she was okay with his lifestyle, but it looked like she’d opened a different can of worms. “Look,” she lifted a hand to her temple, “what happened back then is totally irrelevant.”
“I beg to differ,” he said, his beautifully tapered fingers working the buttons on his shirt. “What happened in the past is completely relevant. It laid the foundation for what’s going to happen tonight.” An increasing swath of skin was revealed by his busily marching fingers. Sam tried not to get distracted by The Chest.
“What?” She peeled her eyes away, confused.
And the fact that he was now half naked wasn’t helping matters.
“Um, Josh, I’m not sure if you, uh, maybe, swam in the champagne fountain or something, but maybe we might want to have this conversation tomorrow. After you’ve sobered up.”
A feral look came into those sparkling baby blues and Sam grasped the sink behind her. Because his hands were now attacking his pants. She was happy he was comfortable enough to disrobe in front of her, but it sort of drained the blood from her head.
Was this some kind of test?
Could she resist jumping her hot, naked homosexual friend amidst the rubble of formalwear blitzkrieg currently littering his kitchen?
Truthfully? Probably not. Although she’d pull a Geronimo and give it a good effort.
But then Josh blasted through whatever fortifications she’d erected by dropping a lethal, unexpected bomb.
“I’m not drunk,” he said, releasing his zipper. Pushing his pants down his muscled thighs. “And I’m not gay.”
No. He certainly wasn’t. The state of his silk boxers gave credence to that.
Sam’s eyes boggled as she confronted the hard evidence, while her rioting hormones shouted thank you, God.
But all these years… how was it possible that she’d been wrong?
She raised her gaze to his in amazement.
He met it with a triumphant smile.
And then he was on her, the very naked skin of his chest pressed solidly against her T-shirt. She could feel his heat through the threadbare cotton and her nipples puckered in response. Then his lips took hers in a hungry caress that was more ruthless than she would have expected.
Not that she’d been expecting any caressing at all.
His hands slid down her hips, taking their measure as they passed, to grip her rump in a possessive squeeze that left no doubt as to his intentions. Lights exploded inside her head, tiny white starbursts of disbelief. And when he lifted her a few inches to press his erection firmly against her, liquid heat pooled between her legs.
Her body was at once alive with sensation and yet paralyzed by shock.
Prize is 10 eBook copies (1 each to 10 winners) of “Deception (Southern Comfort #3)” from Lisa Clark O’Neill. Contest is tour-wide and ends July 5. Must be 18 years of age or older to enter.
Rafflecopter Code: Deception Giveaway
About the Author:
One fine day in the not-too-distant past, Lisa Clark O’Neill left Wittenberg University with a BA in English, which she promptly neglected. After working as an interior designer, decorative artist, and Montessori art teacher (there may have been a BA in art as well,) she finally settled into the role of mother to two very fine children.
However, two years of doing the stay-at-home-mom brain cell melt drove her to pull out a pen and one of her old college notebooks.
That turned into six manuscripts.
Lisa spent subsequent years avoiding housework by burying her nose in just about every romance novel she could get her hands on, after completely falling in love with the genre. Her own work falls into the romantic suspense sub-genre, with strong comedic undertones.
Lisa currently lives in the Atlanta area with her family, her dog, her cat and her daughter’s pet rabbit. When she isn’t attempting to keep the rabbit from eating the woodwork, she’s hard at work on her next novel.
Connect with Lisa Clark O’Neill