Earlier this year I went fishing. While sitting on that boat in the middle of a placid, dark lake, dew falling cold and fresh, dawn breaking over the horizon and setting the still water aglow, my line went from slack to taut. In an instant, I grabbed the pole and reeled that beauty of a fish in! And what a catch…
Okay, so I’m lying…
Look, I don’t do nature. It’s hell on a perm and the closest I’ve come to fishing is a deep fried fillet between two slices of bread in a cardboard container. But it sounded good, didn’t it? Besides, I had to use creative license to create a picture. Back to my placid lake with the fishing line…a blurb on the back of a book is like that length of twine. A reader picks up a book off the shelf or scrolls through a website and comes across a paragraph or two that not only capture the essence of the book but entices the reader to pick it up or hit “Add to Shopping Cart”. The enticement is the “hook” or the elements of the story that stir and excite. Or in the vernacular, pushes the “Gotta Have It” button! Hooks are as varied as a reader’s—or writer’s –preference. Whether it’s the best-friend-turned-lover or long-lost-lovers-reunite…or sexy-as-sin-attorney-is-drawn-to-mysterious-woman-with-a-dark-past-that-has-come-calling…or something like that…just throwing that out there.
There are certain elements to a plot, story or character that are guaranteed sales for me. Guar-o-nteed hooks I am a complete sucker for! Are you paying attention out there, authors? Pimp these storylines and I’m your faithful reader! Ahem…take note because these may seem familiar as they are in a couple of my books, Secrets and Sins: Malachim and Secrets and Sins: Gabriel, that are now out with Entangled Publishing’s Ignite line…again, just throwing that out there.
I entitle this my “Gotta Bite” List…wait for it…wait for it…
Gotta Bite #1: Best friend turned lover. Love it! Two people who know each other’s strength and faults. Have shared in the other’s triumphs and commiserated—and maybe even tied one on—over their failures. They are closer than most married couples because they actually communicate and aren’t afraid to be vulnerable. Now, after all this time, they’re seeing each other through newly opened eyes as if for the first time. *sigh* So romantic. And hot! Whew boy! Nothing like finding out your best friend is a hawtie freak! *cough* Secrets and Sins: Gabriel *cough* Sorry. Frog in my throat.
Gotta Bite #2: Lovers reuniting after a long separation. Disclaimer: the cause of the original separation must be conflicted and plausible! Not some silly misunderstanding that any dunderhead could solve with a simple conversation! It must be bitter, hurtful and emotional. Because let’s face it, if the split is amicable where’s the hot make-up sex? Where’s the turmoil and angst while they find their way back to one another? Where’s the triumph over the past? Where’s the hot make-up sex?? Whoops. Mentioned that, didn’t I…
Gotta Bite #3: Alpha male seduced by a woman he never saw coming! This element is almost a must-have for me to even pick up the book! I luuuuvs me some Alpha males! Dominant. Sexual. Hard. Protective. Bonus points if he’s tortured in some way. Be still my beating heart…and other body parts…I love a man who’s heart is stained dark except for that small flicker of light and it takes a woman—even better if she has some issues, too—who can fan that flicker into a flame and then a beacon. He would go through hell for her—and probably will by the end of the book—for her. She’s his only weakness. To everyone else he’s still a bad ass! Let me just pony up the money if this the male character ‘cause I want him! *cough* Secrets and Sins: Malachim *cough* I’m so sorry! There goes that dang frog again!
Gotta Bite #4: The Beauty and the Beast theme. Yeah, so what? I’m a romantic at heart. I’m talking fairy-tale-happily-ever-after-birds-serenading-me-in-the-morning-mice-sewing-me-a-ball-gown romantic! And the Beauty and the Beast hook never fails. I love to read about a man who is scarred physically or emotionally, embittered by the circumstances that robbed him of the perfect, enchanted life he knew. Then a woman, who he most likely would have never looked at in his former life, comes along who heals him with unconditional love and acceptance. Instead of plain ‘ol garden variety hot sex they have tender, passionate garden variety hot sex. Isn’t romance grand?
The one that trumps them all? Love. The hero and heroine have to love beyond themselves, willing to sacrifice everything for that person who completes them. Now there’s a hook!
Now, since I threw that abstract hook out there about attorneys, mysterious women, and dark pasts, I might as well introduce my new book, Secrets and Sins: Malachim with Entangled Publishing’s Ignite line as it’s pretty similar…just a teensy bit…hee-hee! Malachim Jerrod is a man hardened by betrayal, secrets, and lies. When he bumps—literally—into mysterious Danielle Warren outside his office, he can practically smell the lies wrapped around the woman seeking a paralegal position in his law firm. But he’s desperate so he hires her. And soon her loveliness and haunting eyes sneak beneath his guard, and he finds himself falling for her. But her secrets and lies soon catch up with her, stalking her every move. Now he must trust with his heart and convince her to do the same. Because some secrets can kill…
So, do you have a favorite trope? Share with me! Spill!
A huge thank you to Melissa Keir for letting me ramble with her today! Hi, Melissa! *pinkie wave* And readers, don’t forget, September 23rd through October 4th, you can enter the Secrets and Sins: Malachim giveaway to win a $20 Amazon Gift Card, a World Traveler Boston cuff bracelet, and the 4 Ignite September releases! Just enter through the Rafflecopter below!
Danielle can’t remember her own name, because it belongs to someone else. The new identity has afforded a fresh start and a new job. She’s taking control, making her own decisions, and refuses to allow anything to distract her—even her unwanted desire for her boss. Because distraction is dangerous and letting her guard down is not an option. Especially with a shadowy figure stalking her every move.
Danger is on the hunt, threatening the boss she’s falling in love with. Should she fight for the future of her dreams or flee to save Malachim’s life? Danielle must make a decision. Because her lies are unraveling. And some secrets can kill…
Silence reigned in the cab. Malachim wedged his body into the corner of the backseat, sprawling his legs as far as the cramped space would allow. In the close quarters, he studied her exotic profile. The high brow; thin, aristocratic nose just a shade too long by conventional beauty standards; the wide mouth with its full bottom lip; and the small, stubborn chin. His gaze dropped to the elegant, tightly clenched hands on her lap. Even in the shadows, he noted the paler skin stretched over her knuckles. Did she fear him? God, the thought caused the alcohol in his gut to roil and pitch.
“Danielle.” He’d deliberately softened his voice, yet she flinched as if he’d roared her name.
“Yes,” she said, keeping her head averted, continuing to stare out the side window.
“Look at me.” He paused. “Please.”
Her shoulders stiffened, and her fingers were clenched so hard, he feared they wouldn’t easily straighten. After several seconds, when her head turned in his direction, his lungs relaxed.
God, he longed to touch her.
Yes, he would be a eunuch and a flaming liar if he denied he wanted her beneath him, straining against his body as he thrust deep into soft, hot flesh he knew would squeeze his cock in the sweetest, tightest embrace. He craved it. Woke up in cold sweats from dreaming about it. But this… This need swelling within his chest now was gentler but no less hungry. No less desperate.
He yearned to rub his thumb over the hard line her mouth had become, coaxing the sensual fullness to appear once again. More than the next critical beat of his heart, he desired to brush his lips over her brow, ease the panic and pain in her eyes, and replace them with pleasure. With wonder. With joy.
What would Danielle look like carefree, laughing…unburdened?
Jesus, he wanted to know.
He straightened from his slouch, at the same time shifting closer to her. Carefully, unhurriedly, determined not to spook her. Not to threaten her.
In the darkness, her eyes widened, and her breath quickened. At any other time, he would’ve backed off. But not tonight. As much as he needed to have her sun-kissed skin under his fingers, she needed to understand—believe—he would take a blade to his own hand before harming her.
Gently, he cupped the nape of her neck. Pressed a thumb into the side of her throat and circled. She went rigid beneath his hand and loosed a tiny whimper.
“Shh,” he crooned. “No, look at me,” he tenderly ordered when her lashes fluttered. He had to see her eyes, had to be able to detect if his caress became too much for her to bear. Even more, he had to see the moment the fear bled from her beautiful dark gaze and trust entered.
“Thank you,” he murmured, staring into the brown depths. Yes, panic still lingered, but so did another emotion…an emotion that set his heart racing for his throat. “I would never hurt you,” he said. “Not that way. I may be an asshole sometimes and kick the hell out of your feelings, but I’ll never hurt you in the way that makes you shake under my hand.” He slid his hand into her hair, loosening the bun and cradling her head. And had to bite back his groan at the sensuous glide of her heavy hair over his hand and wrist. “You’re safe with me. I promise,” he said hoarsely.
- Naima Simone is a multi-published author in contemporary and erotic romance. She’s a member of RWA’s Southern Magic chapter, mother of the Dynamic Duo, lover of everything Vin Diesel and wife to the fabulous husband who tolerates this affair.