Sunday, September 09, 2007
Swept Away by Toni Blake
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Over the past ten years, award-winning author Toni Blake has written sexy romances for Avon, Penguin, Warner, Harlequin, and Kensington Books. She has become known for writing big, rich, super-sensual stories that touch the heart. In June, her novel TEMPT ME TONIGHT was featured in Cosmo, and she is currently busy at work writing her next book for Avon, LETTERS TO A SECRET LOVER, which will be released from Avon in June 2008.
Visit her website at:
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?
I’ve wanted to be a writer since I was ten years old. I tried other, more practical things, but no matter what I did, I always yearned to tell stories. It’s very ingrained in me, and I think it has to do with growing up in a rural, somewhat-isolated area – from the start, I saw writing as a way of reaching out and making a connection with other people.
What do you love about being an author? Is there anything you dislike?
I love just getting up in the morning and being able to do what I love all day. I feel very blessed by that. There’s plenty to dislike: the administrative tasks (in addition to being a writer, I’m also my own secretary, accountant, and publicist) and the uncertainty of the business, just to name a couple. But the freedom to do what I love and actually make a living at it makes every aspect of the job completely worthwhile.
How do you balance your personal and writing time?
I treat my writing like what it is: a full-time job. That means I work on it all day Monday through Friday, and I stop in the evenings and on weekends. Occasionally, I need to be flexible about that, but mostly, that’s my schedule and it works well for me.
How do you write? Do your characters come to you first or the plot or the world of the story?
That’s a tricky question, one I don’t have a good answer for. But in many cases, I think I’m inspired by setting – I travel someplace and find myself imagining a story there, and the rest grows from that. Although it never really happens the same way for any two books – it all just “comes to me,” and I think a great deal about all facets of a story before I actually sit down to write.
What genre(s) do you write? Why do you write the stories that you write?
I write very sexy romances as Toni Blake, and I also write romantic erotica as Lacey Alexander. I write the Toni Blake stories because they move me deeply – they’re usually about overcoming difficulties, redemption, forgiveness, the healing power of love, and other similar issues. The erotica part of my career started sort of by accident, but I’ve discovered that women find my Lacey Alexander books very empowering and freeing, so that’s my motivation when I write them.
What is the biggest misconception about being an author?
That we all make a great deal of money and live lives of leisure.
Do you tend to base your characters on real people or are they totally from your imagination?
Totally from my imagination.
Out of all the characters that you've written, who is your favorite and why?
Oh gosh, I can’t narrow it down to just one – I love them all, or I wouldn’t be able to write a whole book about them ; ) But I’m very fond of Jake from IN YOUR WILDEST DREAMS, and also Brock in SWEPT AWAY. As for heroines, I think Kat in SWEPT AWAY was a lot of fun, and I really liked Trish in TEMPT ME TONIGHT.
If you were writing a script for the big screen, who would you want to act in your movie?
Honestly, I don’t know. I guess I think real people don’t live up to the images in my mind, so I can’t really think of anyone.
What would you want readers to take away from your books?
I simply hope they are entertained, and moved by the emotion of the story. I strive to create heroines they can relate to and heroes they can fall in love with, and I like to show people overcoming adversity through love.
Do you have any advice for beginning writers in regards to writing a book?
Attend workshops and conferences to learn about craft. And then – persevere. It’s a tough business and you have to be thick-skinned and committed.
Who are your favorite authors?
I read so many that it’s hard to narrow it down, but to name a few: Rachel Gibson, Jennifer Crusie, Teresa Medeiros, and Kathleen Eagle.
What are you reading right now?
I just finished NOT QUITE A LADY by Loretta Chase, and I always enjoy her “banter” between the characters.
ABOUT THE BOOK:
Five days before her wedding to a man she admires but doesn’t love, Katrina Spencer escapes to a private island. There, she can let the sun warm her body as she contemplates a future without the passion she craves. Then she lazily opens her eyes, only to see Brock Denton… muscular, half-naked, the one who got away – the one who makes her body tingle with arousal.
How Brock arrived is a mystery, but it’s clear he’s in danger. Kat faces danger, too, in the arms of a man who is determined to free her from her every inhibition with his hands, his mouth, and more!
Kat has five steamy days and five sultry nights to make up her mind – return home to a man she doesn’t love, or satisfy her wildest passions with Brock and let her herself be… swept away.
10 years ago
The night of Kat’s high school graduation
A thin rivulet of sweat rippled between her breasts as she shut the car door and walked toward him. The flirty skirt of her short dress flounced around her thighs and her nipples rubbed against the fabric with each step. She’d never been so aware of her body.
Or of his body. He sat in a black bucket seat that had once resided in a car, but now perched beside a swampy lake. A cigarette dangled from his mouth and a beer can rested between his legs, against the bulge in his worn blue jeans. His black t-shirt fit him just as well as the denim, molding to biceps, chest, and stomach, and messy hair hung too long over the ribbed neck of his shirt in back — one wayward lock dipped recklessly onto his forehead.
He looked as dangerous as the night. Exactly what she wanted, needed.
She stood before him, equal parts fear and excitement. She didn’t know how to do this, at all — but she’d wanted him for so long, ever since he’d started working for her father at the gallery six months ago, lugging crates and making deliveries. Clean cut high school boys whose lives revolved around locker room boasts and who had the fastest car? She didn’t need 'em. She’d known the moment she set eyes on Brock Denton that she needed a man.
He was twenty-two and lived out here in the swamps with his grandpa. She knew the way because she’d ridden along with her dad once when Brock’s car had broken down. She remembered the tense, quiet ride — how clear it had been that her father didn’t like Brock even being in the same car with her, and she’d instinctively understood why. Because sex oozed from him like swamp mud if you picked it up in your hand and let it squeeze out between your fingers. One look from him and her whole body turned to liquid, something hot, bubbling from the inside out beneath the baking sun.
But now her father was nowhere around. And she was ready to become a woman with Brock, ready to learn all the secrets of passion, ready to sweat with him, ready to let him show her … everything.
His dark eyes burned right through her, tightening her nipples further. “What are you doing out here in that fancy car, kitten?” He didn’t smile, but his gaze held exactly what she wanted it to — sex. Like always.
She tossed a vague glance over her shoulder at the shiny new red Mazda Miata. Really not so fancy in her world — a starter car, for college, her father had called it — but she guessed Brock saw it differently given the beat-up old Mustang he drove and talked about fixing up once he saved some money. “It’s a graduation gift from my father,”she said.
“Doesn’t answer my question.” His eyes pinned her in place so that she couldn’t quite move — she’d been walking toward him, taking steady steps in her low heels over the uneven dirt drive, but now she stopped. “Your daddy know you’re here?”
She gave her head a saucy tilt. “What do you think?”
The first hint of a smile quirked one side of his mouth, drawing her attention to the dark stubble that covered his chin — she wanted to touch it, feel its roughness against her fingertips. But just as quickly, his amusement faded back to serious. “I think this is an awful dangerous place for a pretty little thing like you.” He hiked a thumb toward the marshy lake to his right. Moss covered much of the surface, thick cattails rimming the edge, and for the first time she noticed the fishing pole propped over a tackle box, the line sunk in the water nearby, waiting for a nibble. “Alligators out here, you know. They eat up kittens in one bite.”
Why did even that make the juncture of her thighs tingle madly? “I’m not afraid.”
“Maybe you should be. Maybe you don’t know what you’re getting yourself into. And maybe you better just tell me what you came here for, kitten.”
She took a deep breath. Now or never. Make it now. Get exactly what you want for graduation. She took another step toward him and the mere movement reminded her again of her body — and what she craved. A beat-up radio sat on the ground nearby, and the sexy strains of an old song, “Hot Child in the City,”gave her the urge to sway. She let her hips begin to move, ever-so-slightly. “Since I graduated tonight, I want you to give me a present, too.”
He flicked his cigarette aside, into the tall grass that edged the water, and crossed strong arms over his chest. His eyes narrowed into dark slits that should have warned her away but instead lured her nearer, especially when they followed the movement of her hips for a long, sultry moment before rising back to her face. “And just what do I have that you could want?”
She swallowed back the lump in her throat. “I want you .”
Then, ignoring the heat that rose like flames to her cheeks, she reached up, hooked her thumbs into the thin shoulder straps of her dress, and let them fall — let the whole dress fall — skimming her curves until it dropped around her white graduation shoes, so that she stood before him in nothing but a pair of lacy pink Brazilian-cut panties bought just for this occasion.
God, she couldn’t believe she’d done it. But she had, and this was it — she’d put her whole self out there, her whole soul, just for him.
A hot evening breeze wafted over her, as intense as his gaze, and there was no going slow now, no stopping. It had taken every ounce of courage within her to come this far and she had to forge ahead. Never taking her eyes off his, which had grown blessedly lust-filled as he looked on her body, she stepped free of the dress pooled at her feet and took slow, steady strides toward him across the rough ground. Be cool. Be seductive. It suddenly wasn’t as hard as she’d expected — the moves now coming almost naturally. Heat permeated her, both from the humid Florida night and the desire sizzling inside her. Without hesitation, she lifted one foot over the bucket seat and lowered herself onto his lap, straddling him.
Her crotch met the chilled beer can, so she reached deftly between them and tossed the aluminum aside, letting it spill foamy in the dirt. Neither looked toward it as she pressed herself to the mysterious bulge that had been the object of her fascination for so long. Mmm, yes. She was really doing this, really seducing Brock Denton.
“Jesus, kitten,” he groaned at the connection.
She let out a hot, thready sigh, amazed — he was so hard. His rough hands closed loosely at her hips, and the mere touch — his flesh on hers — set off a whole new firestorm inside her. She started to move against him, not by plan but by pure, driving instinct, and the thick crease of his zipper abraded her through her panties to deliver the most delicious sensation she’d ever endured.
“I didn’t know you were such a bad girl,”he said in a low rumble. It was as if he were everywhere, all around her, consuming her.
“Make me a bad girl, Brock. Take me. Take my virginity right now.” Not wanting to wait another second, she reached down to the button on his jeans — just as his grip tightened on her waist to lift her slightly away from him.
She knew intuitively that it wasn’t a giving-her-better-access-to-the-zipper lift, but more of a halting lift. She jerked her gaze from bulge to eyes. They shone dark, delicious — but not inviting.
“I don’t think so, kitten.” His voice remained only slightly husky, and as arrogant as ever.
She stopped breathing for a second at the hideous impact of his words, until finally she managed, “What?”
“Afraid I’m not into virgins. I like my girls with a little more experience.”
Push down how much that hurts. Don’t let yourself feel how clear he just made it that this is only sex. Make this happen — somehow. It was the overriding thought pummeling her — she’d come too far to fail now. Convince him to want you.
She leaned close to his ear, raking taut nipples against his t-shirt, and tried not to sound desperate as she purred, “Teach me. I’m an enthusiastic student.”
And before giving him a chance to respond, she did what came naturally — raised her hands to bracket his face over that rough, delectable stubble, and sank her mouth onto his. God, Brock made even beer and a slight hint of smoke taste sexy and she kissed him hard and long, pressing her tongue inward. His grip tightened, digging into her flesh as he began to knead, knead, in a way that heightened everything, the heaviness of her breasts, the yearning between her thighs.
When finally the long, languid kiss ended, their foreheads touched and she could smell the musky, manly scent of him, and she knew she had to have him or she’d die. I love you.
“No one can write a contemporary romance like Toni Blake. From the first word of the first page of Swept Away, the sexual tone is set for the entire book—and it gets better with every page! She brings her characters to life and leaves a reader wanting more with every word they read!”
-- Kristal Gorman, Romance Reader at Heart, TOP PICK
“From the first scene, Toni Blake grabs the reader and doesn’t let go. Toni Blake creates characters that leap from the page and into your heart (as) Ms. Blake builds her story to perfection. The perfect blend of hot sex and good old-fashioned romance, Toni Blake’s Swept Away will be hard for Avon Red to top.”
-- Barbara Smith, A Romance Review, 5 Roses
“Ms. Blake sweeps her reader away with danger, intrigue, memories, powerful chemistry and ultimately friendship between the characters, as well as a smooth flowing story that is superbly written. Swept Away is steamy, mouth-watering, fun, character-driven and a true page-turner. A recipient of The Road to Romance’s Reviewers Choice Award, this one-sitting read, will leave you breathless. Take the wild ride with Toni Blake and be swept away!”
-- Tracey West, Road to Romance
Swept Away by Toni Blake
ISBN #: 0061124532
Genre: Sexy Romance
Publisher: Avon Red
Release Date: June 26, 2007
$6.99 from Amazon.com
Purchase Swept Away by Toni Blake HERE!!!