Guest blog by Jessica Scott, author of Until There Was You
Thanks so much for having me here at Love Romance Passion.
Lately I’ve been thinking about the kind of romance novels I like to read. And not so much the novel themselves but the heroes. And while there is a hero for every woman’s fantasy, the simple truth is there are ver few that actually appeal to me.
I’ve figured out over the years that I don’t like pampered heroes. I want a man with rough hands. A man who has been forged in fire and steel. I loved Victoria Dahl’s Sherrif Hale (The Wicked West) when he says “you want a rough American’s hands on you.” That’s sexy, IMHO.
There’s a fine line, though, between a rough man and an abusive man and that’s another thing that I love about romance heroes. They tend to complete the heroine, to help build her up to reach her full potential. There’s no holding back, there’s no locking in a cage (well maybe there is but it’s all for the eventual release *cough* at the end). But the true happily ever after comes when the hero and heroine reach their full potential -with their partner.
I think the heroes that appeal to me most are those who are rough, damaged men who need to heal both something in themselves and someone who can help them heal. In my next book Until There Was You, the hero and heroine are both army captains and both are seriously damaged from their past. And it’s only together that they find their full potential to face the current trials. But what’s neat is how pampered and privileged Claire thinks Evan is and what she discovers is the exact opposite.
Check out this excerpt, where Evan & Claire are talking about their experiences on the last deployment.
Kneeling next to the fireplace, Claire stacked a few pieces of kindling on top of newspaper and waited until they were crackling and snapping before she added a small log. All the while, she felt Evan’s gaze on her back. The warmth of it slid beneath her skin, sidling up to her heart and nestling close.
She shifted and sighed, settling on the floor near the fire and wrapping her arms around her knees. The awkwardness between them had to balance out sometime. They could not go the rest of this mission alternating between fighting and not speaking to each other and kissing at really awkward moments.
Evan moved to sit on the floor in front of the fire and said nothing for a long moment. The space between them was warmer now, heated by more than the flames in front of them.
“What’s going on in that brain of yours?” she asked quietly.
It was tempting, so tempting, to inch across the floor and sit near him. Such a simple gesture, but one that would hold too much significance. She watched as he searched for a way to put whatever was eating at him into words.
He’d long ago convinced her that he was nowhere near as intoxicated as she’d originally thought. Either he hadn’t had as much to drink as Reza or he’d processed it out of his system faster. One thing was clear: the man sitting on the floor of her suite was sober.
His next words, much more so.
“Today when we were at the shoot house, I started thinking about our mission out in Hamamiyat.” He looked up at her, his eyes glittering darkly.
“You mean the mission where you pissed your pants?” she said, dancing around a memory. It was one of the few times they’d actually worked together without ripping each other’s heads off.
“I have it on good authority that I was not the only one who pissed my pants that day.” Some of the tension went out of his shoulders then. His mouth relaxed. Just a little, but it was enough to take the edge off.
Not enough to keep Claire from being drawn to him, inexplicably, by a force she could not explain. He was everything that was tormented, sensual, male.
“I never figured that training for combat would never be the same again after doing it for real,” she said quietly. She turned away from the want pounding inside her, ignoring the sensual warmth from the man sitting so close to her. Heat engulfed her, wrapped around her.
Made her blood sing with arousal and unsatisfied desire.
“Yeah. It makes a difference when you know that someday, the fake blood will be real.” Evan scoffed quietly. He paused. “I think the only one who didn’t nearly shit himself after that house blew up was Reza.”
The memory of that town, of that battle stirred a maelstrom of emotions inside her. Twisted and tormented. “I think he got drunk when we got back to base after that mission,” she admitted softly. “I couldn’t find him for half a day, and when I did . . .”
Evan studied her quietly for a moment. “You didn’t turn him in.”
“Why would I?” A shadow fell across her heart. A memory of having her life uprooted and destroyed all because she’d finally told someone about the extent of her father’s drinking. She pinned him with a thoughtful look and a wry smile. “I look after people I care about.” She stared into the fire, lost in a maze of tangled memories.
Evan inched closer to her. He boxed her in between the wall and the fire and the heat from his body, and she fought the brief panic that gripped her heart. “What were you thinking about just then?” he whispered, sitting far too close.
Panic edged up, cloying and grasping and making it difficult for her to breathe. Cool air kissed her skin as his fingers gathered the weight of her hair from her neck.
She tipped her chin, arching her neck in subtle invitation. “This is a bad idea,” she whispered.
“Probably.” He nipped her ear hard enough that pleasure spiked with pain shot through her body to the vee between her thighs. “Do you want me to stop?”
“Only if you want to die,” she murmured. He shifted, and in a single moment pulled her against him, so that she was cradled between his thighs. His chest pressed to her back, his arousal grazing her backside.
His breath was hot on her neck, his deep voice rumbling through his body and into hers. “I have a confession.”
“Hmm?” Sensation slithered through her body, twisting and writhing with the lingering strain from the day.
He traced the edge of her ear with the tip of his tongue, sending fire sparking through her veins. “It’s been a really long time for me.”
She smiled, resting her head back against his shoulder. He slipped his hands over her belly, stroking her gently. “A warrior monk. I knew it.”
His laugh rumbled through his body, shaking her gently. “Not exactly.” He pressed his lips to her temple. “But I want to do this right.”
“I was right. A perfectionist.” She smiled and shifted closer. “I don’t think you’ve got anything to worry about. You don’t exactly have a lot of competition.”
Behind her, he stiffened and she winced—she’d revealed far too much. “Bad lovers, or not enough lovers?”
The warmth of his body drew her closer, urging her into the promise of his embrace. She played her palms over his thighs, feeling the hard muscles beneath the soft fabric of his jeans. “Does it matter?” she whispered.
“Not really.” His breath was hot on her cheek, his mouth nibbling over the tiny curve of her jaw. “But . . .”
Her breath caught in her throat as he sucked gently on the skin beneath her ear, his big body wrapping around her. Too close. She inched away slightly.
“Answer me something?” he asked, his voice soft. “Why do you always back away when I touch you?”
“Evan, this isn’t a good time to go all amateur psychiatrist on me,“ she whispered, losing some of the fight to maintain control.
She felt his lips curl against her ear and an unexpected laugh rumbled deep in his chest. “Ever tried naked psychiatry?”
Her blood warmed, burning through the bad memories to the good that she did not deserve and could not hold on to, no matter how tightly she squeezed. The lingering edge of arousal pumped through her veins, slower now, but still potent.
Evan was here. And tonight, she understood him a little better. Understood that losing his sister when he was little more than a child had shaped the man he was. He’d shown her the scarred, damaged man beneath his uniform. She admired the hell out of that man.
He would not see the same thing if he looked closely at her jaded past. No matter how much her blood pumped in her ears, no matter how much the heat pooled between her thighs, she wanted her own past to stay buried.
UNTIL THERE WAS YOU
He plays by the rules, she’s not afraid to break them. Now these two strong-willed army captains will prove that opposites attract . . .
A by-the-book captain with a West Point background, Captain Evan Loehr refuses to mix business with pleasure—except for an unguarded instance years ago when he succumbed to the deep sensuality of redheaded beauty Claire Montoya. From that moment on, though, Evan has been at odds with her, through two deployments to Iraq and back again. But when he is asked to train a team prepping for combat alongside Claire, battle-worn Evan is in for the fight of his life.
You can preorder Until There Was You wherever ebooks are sold!
LRP GIVEAWAY: I’ll pick a winner today to receive a digital eARC of Until There Was You. Enter by leaving a comment!
ENTER TO WIN THE GRAND PRIZE OF A KINDLE FIRE OR A NOOK COLOR! HOW TO ENTER: To enter the contest, forward your email receipt of purchase of UNTIL THERE WAS YOU to “email@example.com” . Entries must be received by OCTOBER 7, 11:59pm EST.
BIO: Jessica Scott is a career army officer, mother of two daughters, three cats, three dogs and two escape-artists hamsters, wife to a career NCO and wrangler of all things stuffed and fluffy. She has commanded two companies, served in Germany, Korea, Fort Hood and Iraq, and been lucky not to get fired. She is a terrible cook and an even worse housekeeper, but she’s a pretty good shot with her assigned weapon. Somehow, her children are pretty well adjusted and her husband still loves her, despite burned water and a messy house.
You can find her online at:
- Website: http://www.jessicascott.net
- Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/jessicascottauthor
- Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/jessicascott09
- Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5131118.Jessica_Scott