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Archive for September 28th, 2010

Ten years ago, Rori Simon left town shy, unattractive and with zero self-esteem. Now she’s back, older, stronger and finally loving herself—and it shows. Hot men are soon knocking at her door, including Jude Callahan, the bad boy who starred in her teenage daydreams…and her adult fantasies.

Jude can’t believe the sexy, confident woman before him is actually Rori! She’s gotten under his skin like no other woman has…and brings out secret desires he can’t resist. He wants to dominate Rori with every fiber of his being. Wants to own her and pleasure her. To cherish her as he makes her his.

Rori discovers she likes being controlled. She also knows Jude is not a one-woman man. Everything changes when she meets Zach Helm. Edgy, sensual Zach knows just what she needs, and before long, she’s in love. Jude watches them together and wonders if he’s lost his chance forever…

Carina Press
ISBN: 9781426890697
Genre: Contemporary, Erotic Romance, Small Town
Length: Novel
Release Date: October 25
(this is a revised reprint of an earlier title)

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I can’t say too much about the events in this book without dropping huge spoilers so this review will be short.

I have read many of Ms. Dane’s previous books. I knew that she could bring the heat and emotion and she didn’t skimp on either of those in Second Chances. Rori is a heroine that you can’t help but love. She is warm, confidant, she knows what she wants and what she deserves and refuses to settle for anything less. And the love scenes are melt-the-pages hot.

Second Chances spans a few years and you get to know and love all the characters so much. Which leads me to the one warning I want to give. The most heart-wrenching scene I have ever read is in this book. If you choose to read it (and I hope you do), have tissues ready. And not just a couple. I mean, go to the store and get a brand new box just for this story.

I won this ARC on a twitter contest and I’m absolutely thrilled that I did. And I really hope that we get to see more of these characters in the future. Second Chances is definitely a keeper.

To read an excerpt from Second Chances, please visit Lauren Dane’s website.

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Seven innocents have been brutally murdered in Los Angeles, yet the Shadow Alliance has no suspects and no leads. As the body count mounts, the age-old feud between vampires and werewolves threatens to explode.

Lissa Monroe—a strong-willed, ravishing succubus who entices men to surrender their souls—agrees to go undercover for the Alliance. Her mission: infiltrate the mind of werewolf leader Vincent Rand, a ferociously alluring enemy who exerts a powerful hold over her. As the City of Angels teeters on the brink of apocalypse, these two adversaries must join together in order to survive an even more lethal enemy hidden in plain sight.

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I don’t think that I’m alone in this:  When I sit down to write a book, it’s not theme that I’m thinking of.  It’s character and story.  I’m trying to craft a story that moves at a fast pace with characters that are compelling and interesting and change over the course of the story.  I’m not thinking in terms of Grand Themes or Literary Devices.

And yet after the draft is done and I’m digging back into the story, inevitably the theme presents itself.  Even more, over time, I’ve discovered that there are certain themes that I’ll return to again and again.

I imagine that’s the same for most writers.  I’ll even take that a step further and say that the old adage of Write What You Know could more accurately be couched in terms of theme:  Write What Compels You.  What plays in the back of your mind.  Write the themes that make you think or that scare you personally.  Write to work through your own issues (yeah, writing novels can be very therapeutic!).

One reason romance novels are so popular, I think, is the overarching theme of finding love.  And, sadly, one of the reasons I think that romances aren’t always taken seriously is that the theme is too universal.  Either elitists feel it’s too trite to form the anchor of a book, or else doubters don’t like to see the reflection of their most basic desires staring back at them.

That need to connect with someone is one of my favorite themes to write about—but it’s not my only recurring theme.  Second to that is the theme of Figuring Out Who You Are, especially in the sense of overcoming adversity in your background—whether it be a parent pushing you in a certain direction, or the trauma of being turned into a werewolf against your will.  Certainly paranormal characters and stories lend themselves to the playing out of that theme.  In fact, in WHEN PLEASURE RULES, my second Shadow Keepers book, both Rand and Lissa are trying to come to terms with their core nature, both in different ways.

Lissa, a succubus, has no memory of her past lives, but even so, she’s working in this life to make up for wrongs she did in the past.  She knows that inherently, and that deep-seated knowledge has made her who she is.  But she still carries the burden of the past, and until she can fully accept who she is now, she’ll remain haunted by it.  With Lissa, the theme is played out more subtly.

Werewolf Rand is a different story.  A boy who grew up in gang territory—who participated in gang killings and ultimately tried to seek redemption in the military—he’s a man who is convinced that he’s unworthy, and that he’s become the beast he was changed into.  And this despite the fact that he’s loyal, hardworking, and deeply protective of those he loves. His torment runs so deep that his very soul is tattered, something Lissa can see—and something she wants to help. But it’s a long road to believing you can be other than the person you think you are.

Looking back now, I can see those themes, but as the story first appeared on the page, it was only the characters trying to tell their story through my keyboard.  I hope you like it!

I’d love to hear your thoughts.  You can follow me on Twitter at www.twitter.com/jkbeck, Friend me on Facebook at www.facebook.com/authorjkbeck, or just email me at jk@jkbeck.com.

And, of course, you can read more about the series at www.theshadowkeepers.com!

Finally, I’ll give away a signed copy of WHEN PLEASURE RULES to one lucky commenter!  Don’t know what to say?  What themes are you drawn to as either a reader or a writer?

Happy reading!

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Many thanks to J.K. for being our guest today!

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