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What to Read Wednesday

It’s Wednesday and that means it’s time for What to Read Wednesday!  Today we have author Jessica Lauryn in the hot seat and she’ll be telling us about her book DANGEROUS ALLY The Pinnacles of Power. 

Thank you for joining us Jessica.  I’m so glad that you’re here and am excited to learn more about you and your book.  Please tell us about yourself in 5 sentences.

‘Passionate’ is definitely the word that comes to mind when I am asked to describe who I am.  I am passionate about all things that I do, whether I am working, playing, or spending time with family and friends.  Driven strongly by my imagination, I feel that I can be the most creative when I am writing.  As a romance novelist as well as a romantic at heart, I am most drawn to heroes who require a bit of soul-searching before they can win the hearts of their heroines.  I have a great love for romance, and I feel I can best express that love by writing a great romantic story.

Love that answer!  What’s your favorite breakfast food?

My favorite breakfast entrée is a good old-fashioned bagel and cream cheese with a bit of strawberry jelly, complimented by a glass of cold milk.

You can’t go wrong with a bagel 🙂 Share the oddest place you’ve ever pulled out a book and started reading.

There’s an odd place to be reading a book?  I thought once you’d purchased it, any ground was fair game 🙂  But I guess if I had to pick one place, I’d say under the desk at work.  The book was in my lap that was.  I was in my chair 😉

Nice…you almost had me…lol!  What genre (s) do you write?

Contemporary Romantic Suspense.  This will certainly not be the last genre I’ll write in but it’s definitely the one I want to stick with for the time being.  My first two releases, Dangerous Ally and Dangerous Proposal, are both a part of the Pinnacles of Power Series and are centered around a diamond smuggling operation called Project Gemstone.  Both stories are mystery/suspense driven, and include edge-of-your-seat cliffhangers and suspenseful moments.

I like that…it’s always fun to read suspense and try to figure out all the twists and turns.  Where do you get your story ideas?

I tend to draw inspiration from everything around me, but it usually works best when something really grabs my attention.  An unusual person I meet or an intriguing series of events will definitely make me pick up a pen.  Sometimes, even a character or story crafted by another author can get my juices flowing, particularly when that character or story triggers a strong emotional reaction.  Emotion inspires writing, so anything I can do to draw out my emotion is good.

I agree.  Emotion definitely can get the creative juices flowing.  Share a blurb from your book.

This is a blurb from my steamy debut release, Dangerous Ally:

For five lonely years, diamond smuggling kingpin Lucas Ramone has hidden himself from the world. With a father who has baited him all his life, made a game of trying to trip him up at every turn, Lucas will do whatever is necessary to protect what is rightfully his. What he isn’t prepared for is Lilah Benson…

Upon accepting a job in the home of her sister’s maniacal ex-fiancé, reporter Lilah Benson believes she has finally found the perfect way to make her mark on the world. Exposing the criminal endeavors of Lucas Ramone won’t soon be forgotten. But as she comes to know the man who was supposed to be her adversary, Lilah is tempted by a passion far stronger than the desire to see her name in print…

Power and control are tools of survival, critical in a world of thievery and deception. Lilah, an innocent in a land of criminals, may be the one person capable of bringing Lucas to his knees. But Lucas will stop at nothing to keep his empire secure.

He will have it all: His Fortune, His Legacy, and Lilah Benson in his bed…

I love that last line!  Nice 🙂  Tell us three traits about your hero that you love. 

Hero Lucas Ramone is cunning, suave, and mysterious—key ingredients of a powerful seducer, who Lilah describes as being “like a dark prince from a fairytale, who she can swear is secretly contemplating the best way to go about locking her in his castle.”

Now your heroine.

Heroine Lilah Benson is quick-witted, smart, and bold, which makes her not only an excellent journalist, but also the perfect person to take on the likes of the Ramone men, and unlock the dangerous secrets that father and son alike have been hiding from the world.

Please share an excerpt from your book!  

Senses returning with a bang, Lilah held up two hands in protest. “Are you trying to get me drunk?” she snapped, not entirely sure whether it was him she was angrier at or herself.

“Am I that obvious?” Lucas laughed as if the whole thing was funny, setting the glass back down.

She enjoyed being in the company of a monster—there was nothing lighthearted about it!

“I’m guessing you’ve probably been down this road too many times, hmm?” Lucas replaced his hand on her shoulder.

“What road would that be, exactly?”

His gray eyes looked deeply into hers. “I’m sure I’m not the first man who’s tried to get you into a relaxed state, Lilah.”

“Actually—” She hesitated, not wanting to get so personal yet feeling she could probably tell him anything and he’d somehow understand. “It’s been a long time, longer than you’d imagine. After I finished college, I had every intention of becoming a journalist. Meaning I’d be out most of the time chasing a story despite whatever danger came with it. It’s all I’ve ever wanted, for as long as I can remember.”
He nodded, coming closer. “You must have been very persistent. It takes a good deal of perseverance and sacrifice to become a success at such a young age.”

Lilah sure knew that. While her friends had been enjoying their last semester of college, she’d been frantically gathering writing samples, sending them out to every newspaper who would give her the time of day. But had her father noticed? Even when she became one of the youngest reporters at the New York Times, he’d barely raised a brow.
Deep down, she knew this was why she’d accepted Raphael’s offer, even in spite of the danger that came with it. A story about Raphael Ramone’s family laundry wasn’t going to impress Blake Benson. But exposing Lucas’s diamond smuggling operation would be a print-worthy unearthing that would win her father’s admiration as well as her first Pulitzer.

She lowered her gaze. “I haven’t given up anything so wonderful.”

Lucas lifted her chin. “But if it came to that, do you think you’d be willing to make that sacrifice? Give up something you want—maybe something you want more than anything—to attain some ultimate level of self-victory?”

A chill came over her at his words. Lilah came back a step, unsure of what had just happened but wanting desperately to pretend it hadn’t.

Lucas cleared his throat. “Let’s get some air, shall we?”

Something she needed desperately. She followed him to the balcony, welcoming the cool night breeze as it caressed her hot skin.

“It’s beautiful here,” she said, hoping very much to steer the conversation in a new direction.

“It is.” He nodded and came beside her, bracing the rail with one hand. He slipped an arm around her back.

His body was warm—like a furnace—and he felt strong, as if he spent his days loading lumber instead of dabbling away at a computer.

Lilah shivered, goose bumps forming along her bare arms. It felt so nice being close to Lucas. Too nice. Maybe she’d just stay there with him a few minutes longer. They weren’t exactly hurting anyone by being in each other’s company.

He leaned into her, speaking in a tone she could only describe as husky. “Those men you never met,” he said, “that was their loss.”

She blinked, keeping her eyes on the night sky. “Please. A man’s the last thing I need in my life.”

“Are you sure about that?” Lucas asked, his warm breath coming against her ear. “Or is it possible you’ve been hiding behind your work for so long, you don’t even know how things could be?” His palm brushed her bare shoulder as he turned her to face him. “No one knows what it’s like to be hidden from the world more than I do, Lilah. You can trust me on this. I think we’re more alike than you realize. And it’s possible we’re both missing out on something incredible.”

She didn’t push his hand away as it cupped her cheek. Or his arm as it encompassed her waist. No, she let him do what he wanted. She wanted him to touch her…

Excellent excerpt 🙂  What’s your favorite part about writing?

The answer to that question is complicated, because I love so many things about writing!  I love the feeling of escape I get when I write, and I love thinking about and plotting stories, the romantic parts especially.  There’s also a great feeling of control that comes with writing, because you, the writer have control of everything, the characters’ actions and feelings, even the outcome.  So I guess I would say that my favorite part of writing is that I get to do it, at least a little bit, every day.

Tell us your favorite sentence in this book.

“From my perspective, he’s a dangerous ally to you at best.”

This line is delivered to Lilah by Raphael Ramone, Lucas’s father and villain in Dangerous Ally.  I love the sentence, not only because it incorporates the title of the book into the story, but also because it comes at such a suspenseful moment, when things are getting intense, Lilah’s feelings for Lucas are growing deeper, and she is beginning to realize that he is essentially her dangerous ally. 

Do you prefer to write dialogue, emotion or description and why?

I definitely prefer to write dialogue.  It comes more naturally for me, and as a result, I tend to weave everything else–action and narrative–around the dialogue.  As an author, I feel I can learn the most about my characters by letting them talk and seeing what they say.  Then I can fill in the blanks, their thoughts included.

What’s your current WIP? 🙂

As the second edition of the Pinnacles of Power Series, Dangerous Proposal, will be released in June, (woo-hoo!) I am currently working on the third story, Dangerous Proposition.  In this story, Julia Dyson (Lena Benson’s roommate in Dangerous Proposal) learns that her father has been abducted, and believes her teenage crush, Colin Westwood, may be responsible.  Colin, determined to keep Julia from learning his true involvement in her father’s abduction, makes the red-headed temptress an offer.  In exchange for helping her retrieve her missing father, he wants Julia to be his mistress.

Can you share one piece of advice for any new writer’s out there just starting out?

Write what you love.  It sounds cliché, but the best way to break into publication is by being a great writer.  And great writing comes with practice.  You’re much more likely to put in the hours when you’re writing about what you love, a setting that inspires you, a time period that draws you in, and a hero who tickles your libido senseless.  Just as its hard to put down a great book that you’re reading, it’s even harder to put down a great book that you’re writing. Write what you love and you WILL write your way to publication!

Fabulous advice Jessica 🙂  And finally, where can we find you and your book(s)?

Dangerous Ally is currently available both in paperback and as an e-book.  You can find all of the links on my website:  www.jessicalauryn.com

Thank you so much for joining me today…I had a great time getting to know about you and your books!  I’m so glad you visited!

Thank you for having me, Christine!  I had a great time!

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