Jen Bradlee Loves Bad Boys

A Cat Without A Grin 200x300Jen Bradlee can get away with murder, metaphorically speaking of course. She’s a sensual woman who enjoys people watching, belly dancing, and taking walks in the rain. Give her a man who isn’t afraid to get his hands dirty and plays hard. The ones with rough edges and a little scruff are the best. She finds cathartic release when she pours all her fantasies and desires into her writing. Her stories stretch from the present day all the way back to the medieval era. She’s always on the prowl for new inspiration and isn’t afraid to try anything, twice.

Villains and anti-heroes are her men of choice. So if you want to read about smoldering bad boys, then her stories are sure to bring you pleasure. Jen is a raging fangirl for Loki and Khan. If she ever gets to San Diego Comic Con, heaven help the men attending that convention. Tom and Benedict may be in for a real treat if they run into her there because she’s more than willing to make a fool of herself to get their attention.

Some call Jen a Domme, but she prefers to think of herself as an enlightened vixen who likes to be in control. Not that there’s anything wrong with being a Domme…she’s just hesititant to take on such a prestigious title. If she finds the right man, it may be next on her list. She’s a naughty girl and likes it that way. Comes with a warning label. “Too hot to handle.”

There’s nothing better than a sexy bad boy to take your mind off the stress of reality. So sit back and enjoy her tales of wicked delight. You can find her at her blog, http://jenbradlee.wordpress.com, on Facebook, https://www.facebook.com/JenBradleeAuthor, and on Twitter: @jenbradlee.

Here are a few photos from her recent photo shoot showing her inner vixen. Enjoy and stay wicked. *wink*

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A Cat without a Grin Book Blurb:

Working for a rival brothel, Chez never expects to find his most valued treasure in the hands of his former employer.

One never turns down an invitation to a party hosted by the infamous Topper. After working for the psychedelic brothel owner for years, Chez is unfazed by the man and his eccentric ways.

Topper’s party features an auction of a new acquisition, a lovely teacup, as he calls the whores in his establishment. Chez’s worst nightmare is realized when he sees the woman in the cage under the black light. He has no choice but to buy her for himself. Only one problem remains…Topper.

A Cat without a Grin Excerpt:

As he approached the eclectic gothic style mansion, Chez glanced at the façade. The gables illuminated with black lights, casting the building into an eerie blue glow against the night sky. He squared his shoulders and entered the house.

“Chez, back so soon?” Topper leaned against the doorway to the ballroom where the stage stood, the music pounding behind him, lights flickering and glowing. He glimpsed the gilded cage over Topper’s shoulder.

Chez nodded. “I’ve come to put my bid in.”

“Did my little teacup intrigue you?” A smile broke across his face. “I knew she would.”

“I want the whole night…alone.” Chez kept his voice steady and stern.

Topper pressed a hand to his chest, over the plaid vest and starch white shirt where his heart should be. Chez was no fool. He knew about the two way mirrors and peepholes. The walls definitely had ears and eyes. “You wound me.” Topper smirked. “How much blunt are you offering?”

Slipping his hand into his pocket, he pulled out the bag of coins and dropped it in Topper’s outstretched hand. He hadn’t even bothered to see how much was in there, but he trusted Madame Red, more than he trusted Topper.

Opening the bag, Topper pushed around the coins and let out a long low whistle. “She’s all yours, Chez.” He tucked the coin purse into the pocket inside his jacket. “Take my chambers for the night.” He handed Chez a small skeleton key. “Don’t break her.” With a wink, Topper disappeared into the crowd mingling with his guests.

Buy: Wonderland Tales

Breathless Press 5th Birthday

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Rock Star Recipe

perfect-timing-laura-spinellaGuest Blog by Laura Spinella, author of Perfect Timing

Year ago, I took an online romance writing class. The question came up: Within the genre, who makes for the best heroes? Everyone was quick to agree that the basic standards were evident: rich guy, bad boy, military hero, foreign entrepreneur, and various forms of cowboy/rancher. Each had something to bring to the table (read bed) in terms of romance. The one we all took a pass on was the blue-collar worker. For some reason, there seemed to be general agreement that the noble plumber or winsome mechanic would have trouble satisfying the role. Perhaps. But I also believe a smokin’ hot construction worker, with the right skill set, could turn a head or two.

In my first published novel, Beautiful Disaster, the hero was definitely my take on the bad boy persona. Flynn was enigmatic, unpredictable and, well… smokin’ hot. Smokin’ hot if rough around the edges and raw works for you. Interestingly, at one book club gathering, a reader did note that Flynn might have benefited from a bath. I shrugged. She didn’t get him, and that was okay with me. To each her own… While I use four fast adjectives to describe Beautiful Disaster‘s protagonist, there was more to him than that. There was Flynn’s story and the way he felt about Mia. Add to that his resiliency when faced with seemingly insurmountable odds and his moral character, which transcended circumstance. It was all these elements together that aided in winning readers for Team Flynn.

When I set out to write my next novel, which turned out to be Perfect Timing (newly released by Berkley), I found myself facing a curious challenge. I needed another hero, but I had no desire to repeat a formula. I had to think long and hard about who this guy would be and how his story differed. In dreaming up Aidan Roycroft, I found that my muse insisted on certain opposites. Instead of edgy, I gave him confidence and talent. Instead of the guy that made you glance twice because his looks were a dare, I gave Aidan golden-boy looks (but naturally I had to marr this by also branding him with a snake on his neck): She opened the beer and guzzled it. Isabel’s eyes trailed over shaggy blond hair. The shade tended to fluctuate, framing a face that had hit the genetic lottery. There was no getting away from it. All of him was veiled in a satiny complexion, a blemish never the having the audacity to show up on Aidan Roycroft’s face. His eyes were more cornflower in September than sky in winter—Isabel Lang on Aidan Roycroft, Perfect Timing. Okay, so far so good. Physically, I had a near perfect specimen. Although, I should mention that in the very next line, Isabel goes on to list Aidan’s equally evident flaws—which, on occasion, included lazy, indulgent, and slightly self-centered—Isabel Lang, Perfect Timing.

I began to think about what all this might add up to in the “real world” and who a guy like that might be. After a bit of mental sketching and working with my then malleable subject, it occurred to me that I had all the makings of a rock star. I think in every woman’s mind there lives a rock star image that does it for her. Depending on your tastes in music, age, and socioeconomic background, that can range from a cleaner-cut John Mayer to Adam Levine to lead singer of the Muse, Matt Bellamy. And, of course, there are the classic rock star components that never fade—everyone from Mick Jagger to Jon Bon Jovi. Overall, an it factor drives the rock star, a presence that plays off but dominates over physical looks. With these things in mind, I made it my business to make sure Aidan had all of these qualities and then some. Conversely, Aidan’s flaws, his story, the way he loves Isabel are what fills him in as a character and keeps him from the precipice of a cliché.

Writing a book with a rock star at its epicenter was not on my to-do list. No one is more surprised than me to find Aidan Roycroft cast as the main character in a novel of mine. And while we’re here, let me tell you a little more truth. I signed up for that online romance writing class by accident—my love of romantic fiction coming from the click of a wrong key. But years later, I’m wondering if that’s how it’s all supposed to work, discovering your passion—whether it’s a storyline, character or real romance—when you least expect it. So it’s true that you will find that Perfect Timing‘s main character is a rock star.  That part is intended to take the reader away from the ordinary.  And I do think, in his element, Aidan Royce earns his ovation. But that’s not what this story is about; it’s about the rhythm of lasting friendship, and the beat of a love story subject to incredible odds. It’s about family and figuring out what makes you truly happy, then being brave enough to embrace it. Perfect Timing is relationship fiction set to the sometimes extraordinary and always precarious tempo of life.

Website: lauraspinella.net

Buy: Beautiful Disaster, Perfect Timing

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Dark Hero or Creepy Psycho: Vampires in Contemporary Romance

Guest blog by Kenya Wright, author of Fire Baptized and The Burning Bush

Last month, to my husband’s dismay, I bought all of the contemporary romances on the New York Times Bestseller list. Usually, I only read paranormal romance, but I decided to explore other genres. What I discovered shocked me. It was an interesting phenomenon. Heroines, insane enough to fall for men that most women would run from shrieking in horror, filled the pages.

Now I’m not denying that these guys weren’t sexy or that the books weren’t page-turners. I’m just shocked that the dark heroes were so terrifyingly creepy. And then a theory came to me. These guys are just like my crazed blood-lust vampires. So I tested the theory, comparing the contemporary dark heroes to my favorite fanged creatures.

Alpha Male

Gideon Cross (Bared to You) is a powerful millionaire that manages many businesses. He gives the orders and doesn’t receive them. He demands what he wants and expects it handed to him immediately. Christian (Fifty Shades of Grey) is another millionaire who thinks the world belongs to him. Although Travis (Beautiful Disaster) isn’t a millionaire, he has the reputation around campus as a bad boy brawler who takes no mess. Guys think twice before bothering him. Women swoon in his presence.

Emotional Vampire

For me, Travis (Beautiful Disaster) has the ability to suck all the life right out of Abbey. Travis needs constant reassurance that she loves him, gets worried about the outfits she wears, and takes her on an extreme emotional rollercoaster throughout the whole novel. Like my paranormal vampires, one disturbing bite from Travis could drive Abbey into pure insanity. Christian (Fifty Shades of Grey) drowns Anastasia in his emotional baggage. Gideon (Beautiful Disaster) is a bed mate who could traumatize you in the middle of the night if he doesn’t take his pills. (I wish I could explain that further, but it would be a major spoiler.)

Dangerous Sex

In paranormal romance, having sex with a vampire can be dangerous to the heroine’s health. The bloodsucker could go overboard and snap into a vein during climax. The lingering risk is what makes paranormal romance sex scenes intriguing. To me, Christian Grey (Fifty Shades of Grey) provides this same threat of harm while he makes love to Anastasia. He has clear rules that they follow to keep them safe, but the possibility of injury is always present.

Hot Fantasy Lover but Reality Hell No!

I love to read and fantasize about vampire love interests, but if I met a real vampire, I would run to safety while clinging to wooden stakes, silver crosses, and vials of holy water. Like vampires, Gideon, Christian, and Travis are real-life nightmares. These are not the men I would want to dedicate my heart to, and if they arrived at my doorstep holding my daughter’s hand, I would kill them.

All in all this is an interesting development for paranormal romance readers like me that swim in that murky pool of bad boy love. I recommend that if you adore sexy vampires lurking in the night and hovering over an unsuspecting heroine, then you may want to check out the contemporary romance novels I mentioned.

Author Bio: Dark fantasy bestselling author Kenya Wright currently resides in Miami with her three amazing, overactive children, a supportive, gorgeous husband, and three cool black cats that refuse to stop sleeping on her head at night. Visit Kenya http://kenyawright.com/

Buy: Fire Baptized and The Burning Bush

Get into Bed with Kristan Higgins (Author Interview 2)

Love Romance Passion is pleased to welcome back Kristan Higgins today!

Keira: What appeals to you most about reunion romances? Do you think it’s the same for readers?

Kristan Higgins: Reunion romances are a second chance to right a wrong. The idea that the one who got away, or the one who broke your heart gets the chance at redemption…I just love that! Most folks don’t marry their first loves, and a lot of us have a special spot in our hearts for that person, no matter what the results were. Until There Was You isn’t a true reunion, though; Liam and Posey were never together way back when…she worshipped him from afar, but she was only in his peripheral vision, if you will. My One and Only, my last release, is more of a true reunion; Harper and Nick were married and quickly divorced, so what I love about that particular story is all that juicy past between them.

Keira: Would you say reunion romances also share a unrequited love vibe? Why or why not?

Kristan: A lot of them do, including Until There Was You, and for me, I love that angle. The yearning, the dashed hopes, the throbbing angst of a one-sided love…sigh! And then there’s the slow realization of the other character, that dawning knowledge that this person has carried a torch all this time. I really enjoy that!

Keira: For fun, share a little about your first love! Why did you say yes to going out with him and what did you think about your first kiss?

Kristan: My first true love was Rhett Butler, and it was totally one-sided. He never asked me out, not even once! :) My first kiss was perfect; I was rather elderly for a first kiss (18, heavens!), and the boy in question was in the Army ROTC program at my college, a lovely, smart, quiet boy. He walked me home on the last day of the semester and kissed me there in the rosy light of the streetlight, and I will always be grateful that he did such a good job.

Keira: Bad boys, bad boys, what’cha gonna do, what’cha gonna do, when they come for you? Tell us why you think bad boys are hot!

Kristan: Heavens, they’re tasty! All that testosterone, all those smoldering looks! I think it’s the mystery of the bad boy that we women love. They’re bad, but why? Why do we go there, even when we know the reputation, the trail of broken hearts? The idea that you, and only you, can be the key to unlocking the truth of the bad boy…meow! Honestly, though, I think that it’s not so much the notion that a bad boy can be tamed; it’s more that in the right circumstances, with the right woman, the bad boy will become honest. All that swagger, all those women, all that oozing sex appeal…that’s a cover for something else. A big heart, an honorable soul that the heroine sees before anyone else.

Keira: There’s a bit of a love triangle in the story as the heroine has a boyfriend (sort-of). Do you think love triangles are better when it’s 2 guys interested in the same girl or 2 girls interested in the same boy?

Kristan: Well, the love triangle in Until There Was You isn’t a true conflict, as there’s no real depth to Posey’s relationship with Dante (though she would certainly like to change that). And Liam seems off-limits for any number of excellent reasons. Love triangles really appeal to me when it’s not completely clear which person is The One. I love those books, love digging out the little hints the author gives on who’s going to end up together. I don’t know if it matters if the hero or heroine is the one who has to make the choice, so long as the choice isn’t screamingly obvious, you know? Because when you meet The One, you should feel it right down to your bone marrow.

Thank you so much for having me! I really enjoyed your questions.

Keira: It’s been great having you! Thanks for visiting. :)

GIVEAWAY: 1 copy of Until There Was You for giveaway. Open to US participants only. Enter by leaving a comment. Last day to enter: November 15, 2011.

Pirate Romance: Separating Myth from Truth

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What is pirate, privateer, or buccaneer romance?

While pirate romance seems pretty self explanatory the truth of the matter is that modern romantic notions of pirates are far from fact. When we think of a pirate, I am sure many of you will conjure up an image of the deliciously sexy and adventurous Jack Sparrow from Pirates of the Caribbean. The code that they lived by was far from the images brought to mind by the movies or by modern day romances. Pirates in truth were vicious and the chances of two pirates following the same code of honor were pretty slim, but that doesn’t stop them from being some of the best of the bad boys in romantic literature.

What makes the pirate so sexy?

We love reading about pirates, of that there is no question. Why, you might wonder. The answer is thus: who wouldn’t want a handsome man to give us permission to buck the rules of society, live life voraciously with no limit on what we can or should do? Rogues and rakehells might make delicious rapscallions on land and in London society, but it is the pirate captain that is both scandalous and notorious.

Lead males in pirate romances are muscular, domineering, swashbuckling, passionate, buccaneers. The open sea is their mistress and no female can tame their hearts… or so they think. Pirate heroes soon realize just how lonely their life on the water really is and endeavor to capture the love of a woman. When they loot, pillage, and ravish pirate heroes find themselves desiring to do so to the pretty maid with the feisty tongue and not the nearest enemy ship.

This is the character cast in romance novels. The truth however is that pirates have never been truly noted for charms, manners, or fantastically gorgeous good looks. Despite their shortcomings, the romance of seven seas calls out like a siren’s song. Thrills, romance and adventure, you can’t go wrong with a pirate romance.