by Anni Fife
GENRE: Contemporary Erotic Romantic Suspense
Chased by her criminal kingpin father, Katya Dalca runs to New Orleans and straight into the arms of Luke Hunter. Sucked into the carnal world of the French Quarter, she succumbs to Luke’s potent sexuality. He not only steals her breath, he steals her heart and the only leverage she has against her father. She is left with no choice except to pick up the pieces and rebuild her life alone.
Undercover DEA agent Luke Hunter thought his newest assignment—recover a stolen flash drive to gain the trust of the Russian mob—was like any other. But his target brings him to his knees, and after one taste of her intoxicating beauty, he’s in too deep. Doing his job means walking away, leaving his heart behind with nothing but a promise to reunite. It’s a promise he can’t keep.
When Katya’s past reaches out and her world unravels, her only hope is the one man she is most vulnerable to—Luke.
The smell of beignets wafted up and distracted, I lifted the bag and took a deep breath. Whoosh! Fine sugar blew up out of the bag and coated me.
“Shit, honey, you look sweet all over.”
Oh, just great.
Blinking sugar out of my eyes I looked up. And up. He was tall, well over six foot. Midnight-blue eyes rimmed by a deeper blue-black smoldered lazily down at me. “You’re holding the best beignets in the world. You gonna stand there or you going to take a bite?”
“Umm.” Jeez, Katya. Say something.
“Here, let me hold that for you.” He took the coffee from my hand. “Go on, babe. Take a bite. It’ll be the best thing you’ll ever taste.”
Still struck dumb, I did what he asked and lifted a beignet out of the bag and took a big bite. Oh! It was like sinking my teeth into a sweet pillow of ambrosia.
I nodded and stared back at him. Then, without uttering a word, I stuffed the rest of the beignet into my mouth. He grinned at me, shaking his head. “Want to wash it down with this?” He held out my coffee.
My fingers brushed against his. Yikes! I couldn’t stop the slight tremor caused by his touch. I took a gulp of coffee – half rich chicory, half hot milk – and finally found my voice. “Would you like one?” I offered the bag of beignets to him.
“Would be like taking candy from a baby,” he grinned. “But don’t worry, I’ve got my own.” He dangled a packet like mine in front of me.
Then we both stood there and smiled at each other while we gorged on sugary donuts. He would reach for my coffee to free my hand. Then after I ate some fluffy yumminess, he’d hand it back to me so I could take a sip. We swallowed the last of our beignets and licked our fingers.
I didn’t even know his name, yet I was more turned on than I had ever been in my life.
What inspired you to write this story?
I began writing Luke’s Redemption a month after I left the city for the beach, and changed my life forever. It was the first book I had ever written, or even attempted to write. I was able to stave it off the panic because my basic plot came easy. The idea came flowing into my head a few nights before my departure. It was around midnight. I don’t know what triggered it, but suddenly I could hear Katya’s footsteps beating a desperate rhythm down a dark cobble-stoned road. It was New Orleans French Quarter in the early hours of the morning. As I watched, I realized I was looking through the scope of a sniper lens. Was I her hunter or her hero? Or both? My story unfurled at such a rapid pace I was terrified I’d fall asleep, and when I woke my idea, would be gone. I spent the next hour typing manically on my iPhone. When I turned off the light, I had the beginnings of my novel. The next time I looked at it was when I sat down to write.
I wrote Luke’s Redemption for my own tastes. So if you like contemporary erotic romances with a lot of angst and some suspense; hot alpha heroes with damage; smart sassy heroines, also with some damage; and burning chemistry that drives lots of conflict, and even more heat—then why don’t you give this story a go?
What was your favorite part to write?
I loved Chapter Twelve when Luke and Katya secret away to The Red Cherry Inn in Yonkers. They make wild love—Hot! Hot! Hot!—and in the aftermath, they open up to each other with their deepest secrets. I loved giving the reader a peek into the tragedies that shaped them into adulthood. And most of all, I loved when Katya discovers a tattoo of velvet flowers on Luke’s inner arm:
“It means I never forgot you, Katya. Never. The violets are for your eyes, the black stems for your long, fucking lashes. And baby, it’s inked on my left arm, so that it rests right up against my heart.”
Oh my God! Luke had the memory of me tattooed against his heart!
What was the hardest part to write?
The sex scenes. I think writing sex scenes that work, and that don’t make the reader cringe with embarrassment, are very challenging. Probably a lot like filming sex scenes. To make them look seductive, you have to film a million takes…and they definitely are not sexy for the actors participating in them. But the end result is worth it. Likewise with written sex scenes. To make them authentic, you have to expose your inner woman, that part of you that is most private and vulnerable. Not easy!
How did you come up with your characters?
The same way I create all my characters. I start by seeing them physically. I select images that best represent the picture I have of them in my head. When it comes to deciding who they actually are, I tend to start in the middle of the conflict that triggers my main plot. Then I work backwards, and keep going until I get to the beginning of their individual stories. I learn their flaws and strengths so I can better motivate their actions and emotional developments. I understand their families, where and how they grew up, their fears, and their dreams. A lot of this character development does not make it onto the page, but it’s always in my head when I’m writing so I instinctively know whether the character’s dialogue and actions are authentic.
Do you have anything coming up and can you tell us about it?
I’m delighted to report that I’m finished Gray’s Promise, book two in my King Security Series. (Luke’s Redemption is Book One.) It’s set in New York and Denton, Texas. Grayson Walker is Luke’s best friend, and he’s a wicked charmer. Zoey Morgan is his one-and-only. Torn apart by horrific tragedy, Gray and Zoey still carry the emotional scars fourteen years later. We follow their fraught reconciliation, and the unknown evil stalking them. Their journey is filled with pain, and a heart-wrenching beauty. And, of course, sexual chemistry so scorching it still gets me in a hot sweat when I think about it. I hope to release Gray’s Promise during summer this year.
AUTHOR Bio and Links:
Last year, Anni Fife closed the door on a twenty-year successful career in television production, to fulfill her lifelong passion, writing. In the space of one month, she closed her business, packed up her city life and moved to a small seaside village. ‘My writing has always been constrained by client briefs,’ Anni says. ‘Now, I finally have the opportunity to write to the beat of my own heart.’ LUKE’s Redemption is Anni’s debut novel and she hopes you enjoy it as much as she loved writing it. Anni loves to spend hours walking on the beach searching for pansy shells, more hours drinking red wine with her gal posse, and the most hours writing romance novels filled with women you can relate to and men you love to dream about. She is currently working on her second novel, GRAY’s Promise.
Anni is published by The Wild Rose Press.
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