With Deadly Secrets dropping less than one week from now (*YIKES!*), I’ve gotten a little nostalgic about the evolution of this series and the characters. I’ve finished telling their tales, and it’s time for me to let them go, which makes me a little sad.
But I’ll get over it. 😉
Have I ever told you the story of how the series came about?
Way back in 2006-2007-ish, my Kensington editor at the time, the late, great Kate Duffy (a secret teddy bear who struck fear in the hearts of many wannabes and newbies like me, let me tell you) asked me for a new proposal. Trouble had already been published, and Risk was about to hit the stands. This was back when you could still find a) bookstores; with b) lots of books in them. Kate asked me for “a bigger book.” Still romance, but “a bigger book.”
A bigger book, did you say?
And what, pray, might that mean? Is it like Elaine’s big salad from Seinfeld? “It's a salad, only bigger, with lots of stuff in it.”
Kate told me my bigger book could be whatever I wanted. This sounds ideal but was, in fact, no help whatsoever. It immediately sent me into a blocked and panicked state that lasted for months and involved me spending hours staring at a blank computer screen with a blinking cursor and thinking thoughts like, “I wonder if the world wants another vampire story?” or, “I should do a paranormal with ghosts set in Savannah.” Ghosts? Me? Please. I used Crayola markers and scribbled increasingly desperate plot ideas on colored index cards and butcher paper that I rolled across my dining room floor.
It was an ugly scene.
I emailed Kate, who vetoed various ideas in her terse way. One time she said, simply, “I don’t see how that helps us.” I wished my muse would show up for work. Meanwhile, I kept staring at the ceiling.
At some point—and I wish I could remember where or when—I had this idea: what if a DEA agent ran afoul of a terrible drug kingpin? That could work, right? Think of how scared the DEA agent might be! Think of all the awful things the kingpin could do to him!
Kate liked the idea, so I wrote a proposal, which was three chapters. I really wish I could find the proposal, but I fear it was lost forever when I switched computers years ago. But I remember it in all its ridiculous glory. Basically, I took the DEA agent and put him in hiding. So far, so good. But guess where I put him? At a luxury resort in California! At the Hotel del Coronado, if I remember correctly! Where he ran into the heroine and sparks flew!
With hopes high, I sent the proposal off to Kate.
Who fairly pointed out that, since the proposal purported to be a romantic suspense, something bad should probably happen to the main characters.
Gee. You think?
BTW—as I write this, I’m seriously wondering why Kate stuck in there with me for as long as she did. WTH was I thinking? Was I thinking at all??? One wonders.
Back to the drawing board, aided by Kate’s pearl of wisdom about writing compelling heroes and heroines that has stayed with me ever since: “Remember that they’re smarter than we are, sexier than we are and funnier than we are.”
Something eventually clicked in my writer’s brain. Kate loved the revised proposal, which was the first three chapters of Deadly Pursuit in a rough form, and bought the series.
Ironically, Kate died after I turned in the finished manuscript. She’d been sick for a while, and I’ll never know if she had the chance to read the whole book. I miss her and hope she would have liked it.
So, anyway—there you have it. A series is born. I found early blurbs for all three books, and I’m posting them below. The characters are basically the same, but the romantic pairings and plot points? Eh, not so much. Even the titles have changed. Back in the day, it was going to be the Extreme series. Later, Deadly Desires was going to be Fatal Pursuit. Which, my subsequent editor, Selena James, pointed out, is pretty much THE EXACT SAME TITLE as Deadly Pursuit.
These editors, man. They’re good teachers.
Read it and laugh!
Meet three marked men and the women who love them…
After working together to put a major drug lord behind bars, former DEA undercover agents Jackson Parker, Mateo Garciaparra, and Dexter Brady were forced to enter WITSEC, have their pasts erased, move to new cities, and pretend they don’t exist.
Now, though, their lives flying under the radar are about to be destroyed in a big way, making them the target of hired killers who’d like nothing more than to earn the standing bounty on each of their heads.
This is not the right time for any of them to fall in love …
“I would rather feel things in extreme than not at all.”
Book 1: Extreme Temptation
Former attorney Jackson Parker’s life of quiet anonymity as a chef in a diner implodes when he is caught on camera coming to the rescue of beautiful attorney Amara Clarke. Now the drug lord he helped convict has hired an assassin to kill him before he can testify in the drug lord’s retrial. Unfortunately, Amara is fair game because assassins don’t care how much collateral damage they cause when they have their prey in their sights. Trapped with Amara in a desperate effort to protect her, Jackson can only resist her temptation for so long…
Book 2: Extreme Desire
At the secret island wedding of Jackson Parker and Amara Clark, Dr. Mateo Garciaparra is smitten with desire for Jackson’s sultry younger sister, Jayne. Jayne is all grown up now, and determined for Mateo to see her as a woman. Mateo is equally determined to resist her irresistible charms. But when she is targeted in an effort to locate the heroes, Mateo becomes her unwilling protector as they run for their lives…
Book 3: Extreme Passion
Dexter Brady is tired of running, tired of hiding. Determined to reclaim his life and to face down the drug lord once and for all, Dexter is willing to risk everything for the chance to live free once again. What he didn’t expect was his overwhelming passion for the drug lord’s ex-wife, who turns to him for help, or his growing need to protect her at all costs…