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Hello, Romance Junkies, and thank you so much for having me here! I’m thrilled to visit, and even more so because it’s on the occasion of a book release that’s very dear to my heart . . . ONE WRONG MOVE.
Alex Aaro, the hero of ONE WRONG MOVE, does not get introduced into the series until relatively late. He appears for the first time in EXTREME DANGER, book 5 in the series, and he came into being initially only because I needed a warm body with useful linguistic attributes. Then one day, out of nowhere, he burst into full color and started making trouble. It happened during FADE TO MIDNIGHT, book 7, when both Aaro’s house and his vehicle get blown to smithereens while helping those pesky McCloud brothers. I concluded that the guy had suffered enough to deserve his own book.
Then, in BLOOD AND FIRE, he started rudely demanding his own point of view. I’m talking, two big scenes in a book that was already running really long! I was way over word count, and I fought it, but he was stronger than me. When I character does that, it’s like a drum roll that says, “I’m next, and it would be better for you to not make me wait.” That’s just the kind of guy Aaro is. He’s got more reason than most of my heroes to be emotionally armored (and that’s saying a lot!) He is hiding out from his mafia father, using the outlaw skills he learned as a boy to make his living (legitimately now, of course). The wounds he suffered in his childhood make him, well . . . prickly would be putting it mildly. But although he perceives himself as damaged beyond repair, deep inside he actually is tenderhearted and heroic, with a real moral center. He can’t allow himself to own it, but Nina, the heroine, can see right through him, of course . . . for more reasons than one! And that brings me to the next particularity of this book . . .
ONE WRONG MOVE a bit of a departure for me, in that I went further with the paranormal element than I have ever done before. I’m not so much for the super-out-there paranormals, say, where the hero morphs into a gigantic praying mantis under stress. I prefer my paranormal vibe to be something that I could believe might actually happen in real life. I have always been fascinated with characters with psychic abilities, and have inhaled tons of novels that featured them. (Marion Zimmer Bradley Darkover novels, anyone?) I believe with all my heart that the human brain has vast untapped potential. All you have to do is read, say, the lives of the saints, before they get martyred horribly, or the accounts of what those saddhus in India and the Himalayas can do, once they’ve tied themselves in a knot and hung upside down fasting for twelve years in an ice-locked cave. Not that I have the slightest intention of fasting in an ice cave, or being martyred. Ahem. In fact, I am distressingly earth-bound. I have an aunt who has seen ghosts and visions, I have friends who have had telepathic conversations and prophetic dreams. Hey, even my very devout mother-in-law has seen the Madonna in the sky when she went to Lourdes. But me? Forget it. Not happening. (sigh)
But I can write about it! Next best thing, right? In the first chapter, my heroine gets forcibly injected with a mystery drug that, well, changes her perceptions of the world . . . and I will say no more!
I had a blast with ONE WRONG MOVE, and I hope people enjoy it! Best of luck to the contest entrants! And thank you once again for having me on your blog, Romance Junkies! It’s been fun!
Secrets Never Die
Alex Aaro has spent most of his life on the run from his Ukrainian mafia family. But when he learns that crazy Aunt Tonya, the only relative who ever gave a damn about him, is dying, he risks returning home to say goodbye. He’s prepared for anything except the call from his friend, Bruno Ranieri, that sends him on a wild and dangerous ride with a mysterious woman who holds a deadly secret and a white hot passion that binds them together.
Social worker Nina Christie has no idea how much trouble she’s in when her Aunt Helga shows up bleeding at her shelter, babbling in Ukrainian–and with one inexplicable act thrusts Nina into the heart of a nightmare. Now a ruthless crime syndicate will stop at nothing to make Nina disappear, and only Alex Aaro, that inscrutable six-foot-four rock hard slab of lean muscle, stands between her and certain death. Now Nina and Alex are in a race against time, death, and their desire for one another. . .
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Halloween is one of my favorite holidays, and I really miss it, because it isn’t properly celebrated here in Italy. As a pagan custom it was ruthlessly suppressed here, more so than in Northern Europe. They celebrate the day of all saints, November 1, and go to the cemetery to visit the dead with bouquets of crysanthemums on the Day of The Dead, November 2. And angry disaffected young people copying what they see on TV from America tend to throw wild parties and destroy property and drive drunk on Halloween, making everyone nervous and uncomfortable. But the wonderful spooky mysteriousness of Halloween does not come through at all. I was taught that Halloween is the moment when veil between the world of the living and the world of those who have gone on is at its thinnest, the best possible day to communicate between those worlds. I myself have never have communicated through that veil, but I’ve always thought it would be fascinating to do so. I loved the film “The Others” and “The Sixth Sense.” Truth is, I’d probably be pee-my-pants scared if it actually happened to me. But I still dream about it!
So I’ll share a ghost story that an aunt of mine told me.
Years ago, when she was young, she ate some smoked fish that gave her salmonella. It made her terribly ill, and she was all alone and her fever was so high, she couldn’t even remember any phone numbers to call for help. She made her way to the couch, lay on it, and woke up to find two angelic beings, full of light, passing their hands over her abdomen, back and forth, back and forth. In her fever, she identified them as her parents, both of whom had died recently. Some time later, still as weak as a kitten, she woke up, and saw her father sitting by the bed, smiling at her. She didn’t remember at the time that he had died two years before. She was simply comforted by his presence and went back to sleep.
But when she finally woke, many hours later, she was lying there on the couch, staring at the chair where he had sat. And she realized something. In her tiny, tiny apartment, the table was shoved way up next to the couch where she slept, and the chair had to be pushed all the way in, close to the table in order to pass it so one could lie down on the couch. She had to have done that to be able to lie down at all. But the chair was not in that position. It was pulled out, and turned around, facing the bed, blocking the path. Exactly the position it had been in when she saw her father. She was all alone, in the apartment, lying on that couch for fourteen hours too weak to move . . . and somehow, that chair had moved.
Anyway . . . I love it that my grandfather came to visit her in her time of need. Happy Halloween, everyone!