Monday, October 11, 2010

Tina Donahue and Contest

Today help me give a warm welcome to Tina Donahue who graciously accepted an offer to guest while I'm away. Not only did she offer a great blog, but she's hosting a contest too! Read on to find out how to win.

Heroes & Villains

In most of my erotic romances, the conflict has been within my heroes or heroines. Because of events in their past, they can’t commit or they’re afraid the one they love won’t feel the same about them.

For my latest release, In His Arms, the plot called for something edgier, darker. . .a villain without a moral compass or soul. A man who thinks nothing of destroying lives. It was a difficult novel to write. However, it was also uplifting in that it proved the human spirit always succeeds over evil.

Here’s a blurb to give you a taste of the plot. And an introduction to Anthony Karam, a human trafficker and the villain of In His Arms.


Owned by one man, loved by another. . .

Abducted and delivered into sexual slavery, Lori has surrendered her will in order to survive. For more than a decade, she’s been known as Summer, a lovely submissive, her owner’s possession until he gives her to his newest lieutenant, a mysterious man called RJ. Commanding and virile, RJ dominates without cruelty and possesses without threat, engendering a mixture of safety and passion. In his strong arms, Summer enjoys carnal pleasure she’s never known and tenderness she’s craved. In his heated gaze, she experiences a sense of recognition she doesn’t immediately understand until it proves dangerous in a way she could never have imagined. Bound by desire and their growing love, RJ traverses the shadowy world of human trafficking, risking all for Summer’s freedom only to learn she harbors a fateful secret that threatens to tear her from him, leading to an irrevocable event that risks both their lives.

EXCERPT (In this scene Summer & RJ have just arrived for dinner at Anthony’s palatial estate):

That night Anthony held court in the dining room, spacious enough to contain a hundred or more guests. Arched windows, twenty feet high, afforded diners an unrestricted view of the Bay. In the distance and darkness, San Francisco’s lights twinkled like glitter dust on a Vegas showgirl.
Anthony ignored the breathtaking view. His dark eyes evaluated Summer and RJ as they moved toward him.
He stood yards away near the ivory marble fireplace, its mantle towering over his six-foot height. Immaculately groomed, with shaved cheeks and flawlessly styled hair, he wore a beige knit shirt, camel pants and brown leather loafers. In his left hand, he held a delicate wineglass. Bringing it to his lips, he sipped the red bordeaux.
Three bottles of Chateau Latour 1982 stood on the sideboard, one opened, two still wearing their paper wrappings, the packaging ridiculously inconsequential for so fine a vintage. At least, that’s what Anthony had once told Summer, boasting how each bottle cost nearly two thousand dollars.
Paid for by her and his other girls’ nightly labors. She didn’t wonder where those young women would sleep this evening or with whom.
As she and RJ crossed the last of the yawning space, her bronze high heels seemed to clack too loudly against the russet tiles.
Anthony took another sip of his wine, his gaze offering a cool appraisal of her silk sheath dress, a Versace design. Its dark honey tint complemented her cropped beige sweater with three-quarter length sleeves worn to ward off the chill and to hide a bit of her birthmark.
In the guesthouse, RJ had watched her prepare for this evening, his eyes simmering with desire—perhaps jealousy of her history with Anthony—his voice edgy as he reminded her not to mask the discoloration. Unthinkingly, she’d reached for the concealer. When she’d lowered it to the counter, he’d taken her arm, bringing it to his lips, giving her a lingering kiss on the reddish stain.
Summer accepted RJ’s compassion gladly, her heart continuing to open to him. His gentle kisses on her birthmark made it seem a worthy part of her, acceptable, normal, just as her father had claimed so long ago.
Trapped by Anthony’s gaze now, her comfort faded away. Light poured down on her from one of the room’s four chandeliers, each fixture constructed of crystals patterned to resemble budding flowers. The unforgiving glow emphasized every flaw.
Anthony’s eyes moved over her birthmark. Impulsively, she put her arm behind herself. His attention remained on her, his mood unknown, his eyes dipping to her belly and then to her breasts. Without comment, he drained his glass and held it to the side.
Mina came from around the table, her lilac caftan rippling over her body’s dips and swells. Lavish silver embroidery graced the edges of the garment’s sleeves and its hem. A slit on the left side revealed her silky leg to mid-thigh, the flowing dress a contradiction of the modest and immodest.
Reaching the sideboard, she grabbed the bottle of wine, bringing it to Anthony. As she filled his glass, his attention moved from Summer to RJ.
Summer’s eyes slid to him, marveling at his height and build. He was taller and more muscular than Anthony. Beneath the chandeliers’ lights, his shoulder-length hair shone with cleanliness, its dark brown shade full, rich. Freshly shaved, dressed casually in a black crewneck sweater and charcoal jeans, he seemed more the master here than Anthony did.
Her task complete, Mina padded barefoot to the sideboard, where she remained.
Anthony moved his hand slightly, swirling the Bordeaux in the glass. He dipped his head as though finally acknowledging her and RJ’s presence. And then his gaze shot past them.
Summer’s head turned to the sudden clap of shoes. RJ also looked over. Their eyes met for a moment. In that slice of time, she caught his alarm—the same as hers—with the approach of two of Anthony’s men.
Her mind scrambled to recall all she’d said to RJ while they’d been in the guesthouse. Had she unwittingly told him something she should not? Would the men punish her for it now? She tensed, waiting for them to grab her.
As if RJ thought the same, he stepped in front of Summer, his body protecting her from the men’s approach.
They grabbed his arms.
Summer’s belly clenched. RJ spat a curse and yanked his right arm free. Anthony’s lieutenant grabbed it again. Summer stared, too stunned to move or to speak as the three men tussled briefly. Shoes scraped against the tiles, the sounds punctuated with shouted oaths.
The men’s combined weight and strength overpowered RJ. They pulled him away from Summer, dragging him across the room. He stumbled backward, his hair jumping on his shoulders, teeth clenched. The men pushed him into the wall.
Eyes rounded, Summer flinched at the thud of RJ’s head and shoulders striking the plaster. There, the men held him despite his grunts and struggles. Why? She’d expected them to take her, not him.
Her head swung to Anthony for an explanation. He ignored her.
Another set of footfalls rang across the room. Looking over, Summer’s heart seemed to stop as she saw Hogan. Gone was his outrage from last night, his frustration at not getting what he’d demanded. He’d have the final say now.
No. Summer stepped forward, her mouth opened for a scream to stop this insanity. She gasped at Anthony’s hand on her wrist, his fingers squeezing it painfully, jerking her back.
“Say one word, make one sound,” Anthony warned in a lowered voice, “and he’ll get worse.”
Oh god. He was testing her feelings for RJ, wanting her to look as if she didn’t care what happened, this was no big deal, only Anthony mattered. Summer couldn’t do it. He might take it as her agreement that Hogan should beat RJ to death.

Throughout the plot of In His Arms, Summer and RJ face increasing danger because of their love.

To celebrate the release of In His Arms, I’m offering a contest today. One lucky commenter will have her choice of one of my following books**:

Lush Velvet Nights – ebook
Adored – ebook
Deep, Dark, Delicious – ebook
Close to Perfect – mass market paperback
Bad Boys with Red Roses – trade paperback
Take My Breath Away – trade paperback

** Winner chosen at random. Winner in continental US has her choice of one of the six. Winner outside continental US has her choice of one of the ebooks


  1. Hey, Amber - thanks for having me here today. :)

  2. Thanks Tina for subbing for Amber while she is away. Interesting dynamic introducing and writing about a character with no moral compass. Not something that you see in every day romances, must have really been a challenge to write. Looking forward to reading more from you!!!

  3. OMG, I so want to read the rest of this book.

    Thanks for being here, Tina.

  4. Very powerful excerpt...makes me want to read more. Thanks for the contest!

  5. Hey, Marie, LadyDi, and Maria - thanks for coming by. Glad you ladies enjoyed the excerpt! :)

  6. I need more eyes and more hours in the day to read all the great books on my TBR list. In His Arms is a must read.
    Congratulations Tina by all accounts you've pulled off a difficult subject with compassion and heart. The reviews and word of mouth have been great!
    XXOO Kat

  7. Hi Tina,
    Every excerpt has better then the last. I have got to read In His Arms. The cover is one of the best I've seen. So glad your here Tina.
    Carol L.

  8. Hey, Kat and Carol - appreciate you ladies swinging by and offering such kind comments. You're making my Monday so much brighter than usual!! :)

  9. Amber, it was so great to meet you in person at RomantiCon!

    Tina, wow -- this story sounds amazing. What a difficult topic to explore. I'm looking forward to reading it :).

  10. Hey, Helen!! Thanks for dropping by. It was a difficult topic to explore, but one that I felt needed telling.

  11. Thanks for the contest and the expert in yummi :) Good luck with the release

  12. Thanks, Rasha - appreciate you coming by today! :)

  13. Tina, I finally got over here. I loved In His Arms. The story was made all the more memorable and intense because of the deep, dark villain. The worse the villain, the more the hero and heroine are challenged and that makes for a great story.

  14. Hey, Sarah - so glad you loved the story. Thanks for swinging by, buddy!!

  15. I really want to read this book. It sounds really good. I am now a follower and email subscriber.

  16. Hey, Tore - thanks for stopping by. In His Arms was a book of my heart. I still choke up and sigh thinking about certain scenes.

  17. Hi Tina! I'm back among the living! I've been sick for 5 days, so I never got to read In His Arms, it's my next read over the weekend.

    Thanks for the contest!!!

  18. Hey, Christine - glad you're back and feeling better. :)

  19. As promised - I've just picked a winner (randomly selected) and it's (drum roll please)


    Yay, Maria!!!

    I'll be contacting you shortly via email for your prize.

    Thanks to everyone for swinging by and commenting! :)