Friday, August 17, 2007
Simon Says by Lori Foster
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Lori Foster first published with Harlequin in January 1996. Her second book launched Temptation Blaze and her 25th book launched Temptation Heat. Since those early days, Lori has routinely had 6 to 10 releases a year. Shes a Waldenbooks, USA Today, Publishers Weekly and New York Times bestselling author with over 50 titles published through a variety of houses, including Berkley/Jove, Kensington, St. Martins, Harlequin and Silhouette.
- In 2001, Lori received the prestigious Romantic Times Career Achievement Award for Series Romantic Fantasy.
- In 2002, Loris book Too Much Temptation was the top-selling romance title for Amazon.
- In 2003, Say No To Joe was the second Bestselling Original Contemporary romance for Waldenbooks.
- In 2004, The Secret Life of Bryan was the Bestselling Original Contemporary romance for the BGI group.
- In 2005, Lori received the prestigious Romantic Times Career Achievement Award for Contemporary Romance.
Lori visits daily with readers as part of the Running With Quills blog at www.runningwithquills.com and at her busy message board featured on her website www.LoriFoster.com
ABOUT THE BOOK:
Sexy ex-fighter Simon Evans has the perfect life-until he catches his girlfriend cheating. To work off his rage, he goes back into the ring full-force. But a gutsy and gorgeous P.I. is about to send him reeling with a secret about his family-and one about her heart.
“Dean,” she said dismissively while moving further into the bedroom.
“Yeah.” Dean coughed. “I think I’ll go wait in the kitchen.” And with that, he left them.
Bonnie’s hand lightly touched his shoulder. “Simon?”
He shrugged her off. She had to have noticed the mattress in the hallway, the disarray of the bed, the crumpled photos on the nightstand. “I’ll be out of here within the hour.”
Typical of Bonnie, she refused to look anywhere but at him. She crossed her arms beneath her generous breasts. With a toss of her head, she sent her silky dark hair tumbling over her shoulders. “And just where do you think you’re going?”
“That doesn’t concern you anymore, does it?” Moving around her, Simon went to his dresser and removed a drawer, then upended it over the growing pile of clothes.
“Of course it concerns me.” Bonnie followed on his heels. “Today is our anniversary.”
“Nope. Today is the day it all ends. Nothing more.”
Her voice rose the tiniest bit. “Why?”
“Come on, Bonnie. You’re smart. You already know why.”
“Oh, just great. Because of one little indiscretion, you’re going to throw away a five-year relationship?”
He couldn’t help it; her dense perception of her perfidy struck Simon as funny. “Was it only one?”
He still didn’t look at her. “Was it little?”
Frustration and annoyance sharpened her tone. “I meant insignificant.”
“I see. Well, that’s too bad for you.”
Bonnie sank well-manicured nails into his biceps. “Damn it, Simon, he was available when you weren’t. I only took the photos to... to keep me company when you’re not here.”
What a joke. “I hope he’s available non-stop now.” Simon pried her hand loose, then immediately dropped it.
“Because I’ll never be available to you again.”
The coarse words shocked him. “Such language for a lady.” Bonnie prided herself on her respectability.
“You’re leaving me,” she rasped. “The situation calls for harsh language.”
“Suit yourself.” His many sport T-shirts joined the stack on the sloping mattress.
Since her present tact failed, Bonnie tried a new gimmick. “You’re kidding yourself and you know it.”
“Is that right?”
“You love me.”
He shook his head on a laugh. “No.”
“We have something special.”
“I was dumb enough to think so.” Simon nodded toward the photos. “Thanks for pointing out my error.”
Never had he heard Bonnie beg. He sure as hell didn’t want to hear it now. “Save it.”
She took a combative stance in front of him. “You’re a family man, Simon. You like the security and familiarity of the same woman, the same place. You cherish stability.”
“I like honesty and loyalty, too. What I don’t like is being played for a fool.”
“You could never be that.”
He laughed again.
“Simon, listen to me. From the time we decided to move in together, you’ve been saying that love and commitment was give and take, and –”
“Yeah, I know what I said, Bonnie. But you gave a little too much to the wrong man.” Simon physically set her away from him.
“I won’t just let you go,” she screamed. “I won’t just stand by while you throw away five good years.”
Once again, she shocked him. It was unlike Bonnie to cause a scene. “Save the hysterics, babe. We both know you can’t stop me.”
“I’ll win you back.” Bonnie lifted her chin with that atrocious statement. “One way or another, you will come back to me.”
Simon tossed his shaving kit toward the rest of his belongings. “Here’s the thing, Bonnie. I’m not all that broke up about you cheating.”
Her glossy red lips parted.
“Yeah, that surprises me too, but I guess you weren’t the big draw.” Simon smiled. “Like you said, it was the comfort of familiarity.”
“Now that you shot that to hell, there’s nothing here for me. Nothing.”
“You can’t mean that.”
“Every word. So do us both a favor and don’t waste your time pestering me.”
Gregor chose that moment to reenter with more than enough boxes. God bless him and his perfect timing. Simon could hear Dean explaining the situation as he and Gregor came into the bedroom.
SBC fighters were nothing if not loyal to each other.
As if Bonnie didn’t stand there, five feet-nine inches of stacked female smelling of perfume and looking like a fashion icon, the three of them went about their business. Simon didn’t look at her, but he was aware of her all the same. How could he not be? She stayed silent, but she continued to plead with her eyes.
And even distressed, she was one of the sexiest women he’d even seen.
But the second he’d seen those photos, his interest had vanished as if it had never existed. He had no room in his life for rank disloyalty.
Within an hour, Simon had removed every trace of himself from the apartment. It took another hour at the manager’s office, a lot of paperwork and a chunk of his savings, but he got his name off the lease. While Dean drove and Gregor stewed, Simon used his cell phone and credit card to pay off all the utilities, and then have his name removed. He wasn’t really worried about Bonnie running up deliberate bills. She didn’t operate that way. But neither was he a man to leave things to chance.
When he finished, Bonnie was out of his life. Simon felt... renewed. Ready to start over. Challenged by upcoming changes. Yes, it’d be good to spend an extended time with his family.
And then... Looking at Gregor and Dean, he said, “You know what I want to do?”
Dean glanced at him before returning his attention to the road. “Yeah, I do.”
Gregor frowned. “You do?”
Dean shrugged. “He’s going to fight again.”
Simon’s brows shot up. Damned perceptive bastard. But then he and Dean had been a team for a long time, and they knew each other well. Dean would understand his sudden need for physical competition.
Gregor snorted. “No way. Simon’s a trainer.” No one said anything to that, which made Gregor reevaluate. “A damn fine trainer, for sure. But he’s been out of the circuit too long to –”
“Whip your sorry butt?” Simon asked.
Though Gregor towered over both men, he merely grinned at the subtle threat. “Now Sublime, I didn’t say that.”
Simon laughed. It wasn’t that Gregor feared him. Hell, Simon doubted that Gregor feared any man. In almost any physical situation, he’d come out a winner.
Just not against Havoc or Simon. Not yet.
Still, it was respect and friendship that made Gregor turn away from a direct challenge.
“Don’t sweat it, Gregor. You’re good and getting better every day.”
A look of conceit spread over Gregor’s face. “Good enough to go up against Havoc now?”
Both Dean and Simon said, “No.”
Gregor’s expression pinched. “You might’ve retired, Havoc, but damn it, I haven’t given up on the idea.”
Dean said nothing, but Simon relented. “Dean’s retired and he’s not coming back just to accommodate you. When the time is right, we’ll find the perfect contender for you. But for now, I’ll need your help. You’re right that I’ve been out of it for too long.”
“You’ve probably forgotten more about submission fighting than most of the fighters will ever know,” Dean told him. “And you’re in great shape.”
“For the average guy, maybe. But not for the SBC. I’m rusty and I know it.”
Gregor rubbed his hands together. “Dean goes from fighting to owning a gym and training, and you go from training to fighting. The world has flip-flopped.” Raw anticipation brightened his gaze. “So when do we get started?”
Why did you become a writer? Was it a dream of yours since you were younger or did the desire to write happen later in your life?
[Lori Foster] I was always a daydreamer and I always had stories in my head. But I didn't know I wanted to write until I was grown and already had 3 sons. Then I got sick once (like with pneumonia) and because I felt too yucky to even get out of bed, my sister brought me over a bag of romance novels. I was instantly hooked! Almost immediately, probably within two years, I went from being a reader to wanting to write the same type of books I loved to read.
What do you love about being an author? Is there anything you dislike?
[Lori Foster] I used to be horribly shy. I know, if you've met me, that's hard to believe. I got tunnel vision in high school and wanted to faint if the teacher called on me. No way would I have ever stood in front of a group of ladies and spoke about writing.
Now I love meeting new people and friends and sharing our love or stories. It's so wonderful when I meet someone who tells me that her favorite historical novel is the same one I love - Honor's Splendor by Julie Garwood. And when someone tells me her favorite book is one I wrote - it thrills me so much, it's almost devastating. Writing did that for me, so that’s one of the things I love most about it.
The only thing I can think off offhand that I dislike is living from deadline to deadline, release date to release date, etc... It makes time go by so quickly, that I never truly feel like I’m just relaxing. It’s the major reason I’m cutting back so much. In 08, I’ll probably have one original single title romance and one original urban fantasy/horror.
How do you balance your personal and writing time?
[Lori Foster] My personal time – that is, time with family, always takes priority. I fit in writing around that. When I first started, I thought that I would just be able to write. There's so much more involved - promotion, editing, phone calls, travel. It's overwhelming at times. Also, one of the things I noticed early on in this business that sort of threw me for a loop and disillusioned me for a time, was the negativity.
Lots of angst and people “suffering” for their art. It beat me down. But because I'm a writer, I couldn't just walk away from it all. Instead, I've tried to keep it more upbeat, to show that SOME of us are feeling remarkably blessed and are very happy. Even when things don't go 100% right - and they often don't in this biz - I still can't think of anything else I'd rather do.
Of course it's hard work. And very time consuming and often filled with disappointments. But anything worthwhile requires work. For me, though, there's work and then there's work . I've worked other jobs that were just to make money. There was no personal reward. This is different. This is rewarding in so many ways, I can't even list them all.
Because my family is so important to me, I feel incredibly blessed that I CAN set my schedule around them, and around things I want to do with and for them. I enjoy my work, but I LOVE my family.
How do you write? Do your characters come to you first or the plot or the world of the story?
[Lori Foster] Before I start a book, I know my characters, I know their conflicts, and I know how I'll resolve things. Beyond that, I write by the seat of my pants. Each new scene is a surprise to me. It’s not uncommon for characters that I didn’t know, and didn’t plan, to just “show up.”
Joe Winston did that. One minute I was writing about the brothers, and suddenly their cousin Joe was there.
What genre(s) do you write? Why do you write the stories that you write?
[Lori Foster] I write romance, and in Oct 07 I’ll start an urban fantasy/horror series that yes, contains a romantic thread. Because I like character driven stories, I enjoy romance, and my absolute must-have for any form of entertainment is a happy ending. Romance is the only genre I know that can give you such a variety - comedy, paranormal, suspense, family-oriented, contemporary and historical - and still guarantees you the happy ending.
Do you tend to base your characters on real people or are they totally from your imagination?
[Lori Foster] I make them up, of course, but there are little bits of real people in each one. We’re all influenced by the people we know, the people we deal wit I.
Out of all the characters that you've written, who is your favorite and why?
[Lori Foster] That’s always tough. I have a couple of favorites. Simon from my current release, SIMON SAYS, is a fave because he represents traits from two of my favorite fighters in the UFC and Pride. Plus, he’s just a sweetheart. Mick, from CAUGHT IN THE ACT, because he was so wounded and needed love so much. I also really liked Dane from BEGUILED, because he was put in such an untenable position, but he managed to keep his priorities straight.
If you were writing a script for the big screen, who would you want to act in your movie?
[Lori Foster] Everyone who knows me from my readers email loop or my message board knows I LOVE Hugh Jackman. What a hunk. I also really like Michael Biehn, and Dennis Quaid, and Colin Farrell.
What would you want readers to take away from your books?
[Lori Foster] Everyone is human, and everyone makes mistakes. It’s how we deal with those mistakes, and how we correct them, that make us better people. Forgive easily, don’t hold grudges, be proud but kind, and children always, without exception, come first. Period.
Do you have any advice for beginning writers in regards to writing a book?
[Lori Foster] Join RWA. Write. A lot. Not just one book, or two. Keep at it. Submit them all and don’t worry so much about getting an agent. Worry about selling. Avoid critique groups at all costs and if you’re going to enter contests, make sure you keep that from being your big pay off. The pay off is a sale, not 3rd place in a small contest that no one has ever heard of.
What are you reading right now?
[Lori Foster] Susan Andersen is one of my faves, and I have an arc of her upcoming book, COMING UNDONE. That’s PJ’s and Jared’s story. Can’t wait! I also recently finished TARGET by Stella Cameron and INNOCENT AS SIN by Elizabeth Lowell. Both were simply incredible!
“I'm a big fan of your books.. I just got my copy of Simon Says....I couldn't put it down, you did it again..I LOVED IT...LOVED IT..LOVED IT! It's another great book. They just keep getting better and better. “
“I'm a huge MMA fan and an avid reader. I absolutely love your books, especially about the MMA. I never miss a fight. Besides Jude's Law, Causing Havoc and Simon Says, are there any other books about the MMA?”
“I have read “SIMON SAYS” (and all of your books) and I thoroughly enjoyed it. You are an awesome writer and one of my all time favorites!”
“I just finished "Simon Says". Wonderful book, I enjoyed every minute of it. Now ... any chance we can get Barber and Mallet's stories? Thank you for a wonderful read (again)!”
My friends and I devour every book you write. We are so looking forward to the Simon book as well as your new paranormal series. What we love most about you is the way you envelope the reader to feel as though they have fallen into the pages. You never make us feel that it's beyond our scope to believe what you write.
Lori Foster is at full steam in this sexy read. Her books feature kick butt men, who are willing and eager to engage with women who are just as strong as they. A must-read for Foster's regular fans and a should-be-read for anyone who enjoys a great story, hot men and a wonderful romance.
-- Lori MacDonald
From page one, this book grabbed my attention and did not let it go through the entire book!
-- LeeAnn Pratt
How this story unfolds, just shows Lori's strength of pulling the reader in at the beginning and holding their attention to the last page. Mixing in an ex-husband, and the jilted girlfriend determined to win Simon back, there are many twists and turns on the trip to see how it all resolves. All blend together to make a suspenseful, hot read. We meet friends from Causing Havoc and also new ones. It shows how fighters ban together to protect one of their own when they are threatened, their love of family and what really matters. In the meantime, can Simon win the title fight and the belt back? Can Dakota put her past behind her? And after all is said and done is there a chance of Simon and Dakota working out the kinks in their relationship? So many questions penned in a wonderful story and resolved with a sigh ending that is Lori's strength. SIMON SAYS is a book not to be missed, and even if you haven't read Causing Havoc, this book is well worth picking up, I highly recommend it, and can't wait to hear more from the SBC fighters.
-- Cryna Palmiere
Purchase Simon Says by Lori Foster for only $7.99 from Amazon.com