Conflict! A Guest Blog by Anya Richards
I am very excited to welcome the fabulous Anya Richards for the very first guest blog on my site. She stopped by to celebrate the release of her latest book Jaguar in the Sun and talk a little bit about conflict. Let me just say that if you’re looking for a sexy story with a twist Anya is your girl. I have a weakness for a certain troll…
Take it away, Anya.
The other night hubby and I were watching the season finale of The Blacklist and, as it came close to the end he turned to me with a look of agonized annoyance on his face. “What is with you damn writers?” he asked, glaring at me. “Conflict! Always the blasted CONFLICT!”
I just laughed, but it’s a refrain I hear around the house quite a bit. He’s always asking me about whatever I’m working on and, as I try to explain the plot of the book, he starts shaking his head. “Why does there have to be so much CONFLICT?” Well, honey, because without it, there would be no book…
What’s the use of writing about boy meets girl, they fall in love and live happily ever after if there’s no tension, no question about whether they can actually achieve that end goal? Or, if it’s an established couple, writing about them living in bliss without any bumps in the road? *Yawn*
When I first started writing and submitting work, there were two comments I got from editors (along with rejections) that stuck with me. One was, “Too much plot for the length” and the other, “Not enough conflict to keep the reader interested.” I count myself as lucky to have gotten those comments, because they went along with compliments about other aspects of the stories and encouragement to keep writing. They also showed me the most important thing editors were looking for when they read submissions—a fully-realized plot, but one appropriate for the type of story, whether short story, novella or novel, and that includes (yes, Mr. Anya) conflict.
In my latest release, Jaguar in the Sun, book four in the Unveiled Seductions series, I pair a woman working through her bucket list with an immortal jaguar god. Cassie’s about to die. Xbal’s decided not to love again because, when he does, the women eventually die, leaving him devastated. When they discover their connection goes way beyond the physical, how do they each handle it on an emotional level? And how the hell can they have anything approximating a happily-ever-after?
You’ll have to read the book to see *grin* but, in the meantime, I hope you’ll enjoy the following blurb and excerpt.
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Book four in the Unveiled Seductions series.
Cassandra Solinar has a bucket list and jaguar god Xbal Montegro is on it. About to undergo an essential rite she won’t survive, she wants to wring every ounce of pleasure out of the time left. Including discovering if Xbal’s sex magic technique is as good as rumored.
It’s no hardship for Xbal to accept Cassandra’s invitation for one erotic encounter, but far more difficult to let her go once he gets a taste of the explosive passion between them. Now he’s determined to hold on to her, no matter what.
Cassie can’t tell Xbal the truth about what she’s about to do. It’s illegal, but without her death the entire world will perish. It’s a job she’s been preparing for from birth, but the loss will be greater now. For in Xbal she finds a soul-deep connection she doesn’t want to lose, and the one thing she made a point of not putting on her bucket list—love.
A Romantica® paranormal erotic romance from Ellora’s Cave
Cassie wasn’t quite sure how to feel about the turn her encounter with Xbal had taken. It was one of those situations where you go in thinking you know what’ll happen but the script you have in your head turns out to be completely wrong. She’d been envisioning an immediate response—either a polite “no, thank you” or a crazy, gotta-have-it-now fuck on his couch or desk. Nowhere in her imagined movie was there banal conversation on the way to a restaurant, the prospect of lunch as a build-up to the actual deed getting done. He’d turned her plan on its head, and she felt as though she was upside down with it.
If she weren’t so completely rattled, the entire situation would be hilarious.
But she was rattled. Not to mention frazzled. Oh, and throw in a wild, inescapable side order of horny.
Hard to laugh when the sensation of Xbal’s lips on hers wouldn’t go away, when she kept remembering the timbre of his voice as he said, “Foreplay.” Then there was the slow, careful, terribly controlled way he’d closed her dress and tied the sash as she stood there trying hard not to tremble each time his knuckles brushed her skin.
Yes, it was all so ridiculous.
Yes, he was amazingly sexy.
Of course she’d wanted to sleep with him for years.
But, in the final analysis, it was still just Xbal, her friend and occasional business associate, a man she admired and genuinely liked. Just because she’d opened the door to them sleeping together didn’t mean any of that had changed, did it?
She glanced up from the menu she’d been pretending to peruse and another wave of need flashed over her skin and through her veins at the sight of him across the table. As though sensing her stare, he looked up too and smiled. Just a small tilt of one side of that beautiful mouth and her insides melted, need sending a hot, hard signal to her clit, which throbbed in response. Refusing to let him see just how affected she was by the entire situation and knowing from experience just how good she was at hiding these things, she smiled brightly back.
“So. What about this foreplay you promised me?”
Good. Nothing in her tone to indicate anything but light amusement. It was all she was willing to reveal.
Xbal waved an expressive hand, as though subtly brushing the words aside, and tilted his head a little, his eyes never leaving her face.
“We’ll get there, but I have a couple of questions for you first.”
“Oh?” Cassie tilted her head too, mirroring him, giving back as good as she was getting. “Like what?”
“Why me?” Nothing but curiosity in the words, but his eyes had darkened, his gaze turning sharp and probing. Cassie suppressed a shiver. Somehow that predatory stare was just so damn hot. “Why now?”
The urge was to look away, sever the sense of intimacy suddenly binding them together, but she wouldn’t give him the satisfaction. She was about to lie to him, by omission if nothing else. Breaking eye contact would be too much an admission of…what? Insecurity? Dishonesty? Vulnerability? A mixture of all three?
She shrugged lightly, pushing those thoughts aside.
“Am I the only one to feel there’s a certain…” She lifted an eyebrow, drawing out the last word. “Chemistry between us? If I am—”
Again came that wave of his fingers, less subtle this time. “You know you’re not. I’ve wanted you from the first moment I set eyes on you, and you know it.”
No, she hadn’t really known it. She’d thought it, hoped it, even dreamed it, but he was such a cool customer she hadn’t been one-hundred percent sure. Hearing the words gave her an aching thrill she couldn’t—didn’t want to—fully suppress.
Arching both brows this time, she shook her head slowly. “Well, if that’s the case, what more is there to say?”
“A lot,” came the succinct reply. “Why me? Why now?”
By Sol, he wasn’t giving up, was he? What could she say to satisfy him that didn’t involve things like, “You’re on my bucket list” or “I couldn’t put it off any longer, lest I miss the chance”? The truth would lead to far more questions and admissions than she was prepared to allow. What could she say to fend that off and satisfy his curiosity? She settled on part of the truth.
“You’re a sexy man and I want to sleep with you.” There was some satisfaction in seeing eyes widen just enough to show surprise. “As for why now? It’s the right time for me, as I hope it is for you.”
His eyes still locked on her face, Xbal leaned back in the booth and, just from that motion, she knew he wasn’t satisfied with her answer. Mentally scrambling, she watched him for a second or two, waiting for him to start digging deeper, before inspiration struck.
“Of course, hearing you’re a master practitioner of sex magic doesn’t hurt.” She found herself licking her lips and didn’t stop the movement, knowing he’d seen the motion by the flicker of his gaze. When she continued she let her voice fall low, into a sexy whisper. “The combination of you and atraspa is too much for me to resist any longer.”
Now she had him.
Xbal’s stillness was complete, only his eyes flickering slightly, a big cat sighting his prey. Cassie suddenly realized she could hardly breathe, so caught up in the intensity of his gaze air seemed superfluous.
Foreplay. It occurred to her Xbal didn’t need to touch her, with hands or lips or magic, to turn her on. It was all in the eyes. The expression and concentrated focus.
Sol, he’s sexy.
There was a part of her wondering why she’d waited this long to initiate a sexual encounter with him, another urging her to run away. It was overwhelming, being the object of his attention in a way she hadn’t expected.
I didn’t expect any of this.
She’d thought it would have been over by now. The scenario seemed simple enough. He says yes, or no. They have sex, or she walks away. Now, mesmerized by the dark, compelling eyes, it all seemed a hell of a lot more complicated.