Social worker Tam Kerish can’t keep her cool professionalism when steamy client Mr. Burns kindles a desire for more than a client-therapist relationship – so she drops him. However, they discover she’s the talisman to which Burns, an immortal djinn, has been bound since the days of King Solomon… and that makes it difficult.
Ethical guidelines are unequivocal when it comes to personal relationships with clients. However, the djinn has a thawing effect on the usually non-emotive Tam, who begins to feel true emotion whenever he is near. Tam has to make a difficult choice: to stay on the outside, forever looking in… or to turn her back on her entire world, just for the chance to finally experience what it means to fall in love.
An excerpt from Words That Bind
“When in Rome, no?” He stirred his cup before setting down the spoon with a light clink against the saucer. “Or, I suppose it is more accurate to say when in human form. When I am Burns, I prefer here.”
“Human form.” It didn’t sound right. Who said things like that, and meant it? “Can you change into anything you want? Any shape at all?”
He stretched out his legs and cocked his head, sliding his gaze up and away. “I suppose I could. I’m getting old and set in my ways. There’s this…” He swept his hands down the line of his body.
Her eyes were unable to keep from following, not even when he lingered over his midsection. Even lounging, his shirt was tightly tucked into his beltline. No belly fat there.
He tilted his head and gave her an upper-teeth smile, nibbling gently at his lower lip. “And apparently this form is pleasing to the eye, so I wear it often. But there are others. Tiger, a favorite. Savage and regal and the colors of flames in the night. Fearsome to behold, but very useful when dealing with physical conditions in which a human form may be outmatched. Plus, I can lash my tail.”
His voice took a teasing, conspirator’s tone. “I love my tail. You’d love it too, if you saw it.”
She trained her eyes firmly upon his. No way would she give him the pleasure of checking out his tail.
How long have you been writing romance, and what inspired you to get into this genre?
Until I wrote Words That Bind, I wrote urban fantasy novels, with romantic elements. The difference between romance and romantic elements is all in the Happily Ever After department. When I began thinking deeply about my characters and the plight they would face, I knew that it would be a rough journey – and I knew that they’d need a HEA (and so would I). Because of this, I departed from my usual genre and embarked on my first true romantic journey. This wasn’t a light undertaking… I actually spent years researching romance novel technique before I began to write the book, because I wanted my readers to be completely satisfied with the story.
What gave you the idea for your latest book?
I was in the midst of writing one of the Demimonde books and came up upon a writer’s roadblock. I did what I always do – I wrote around it, and daydreamed a brief passage involving a genie and a social worker. (My sister-in-law is a social worker, and she had been on my mind, so, naturally.) She enjoyed it so much that I tucked it away for future exploration. I’m glad she inspired me to keep at it because I really love how this book turned out.
Who are some of your favorite romance writers or other literary inspirations?
I love to read Katie MacAlister, MaryJanice Davidson, Charlaine Harris, and Tricia Schneider for paranormal romance. My preferred reading runs the entire gamut of speculative fiction, with or without romantic story lines. And I admit, I have a soft spot for subtleness, so Jane Austen is a favorite when it comes to the innocent blossomings of becoming aware of affectionate feelings.
Describe your typical writing routine. Where do you usually write? How many words/pages per day? Do you keep set hours? What does your workspace look like?
I don’t have the luxury of writing full-time, so I don’t keep set hours. However, that doesn’t mean I’m not writing. Like a lot of writers, 90% of my writing happens in my head, those ideas and imaginings that go on every time my mind is free to wander. The other 10% is when I sit down to actually type it out. I keep a notebook or my Windows tablet with me all the time, jotting notes or tweaking pages or banging out ferocious chapters in between all the other goings on of my days. A few times a week, I get a few hours a day when I can sit down at my desk (or one of my other makeshift “desks” throughout the hours), and just think book. It’s not a structured regiment, but it’s never boring and I’ve not to worry about getting bored with a routine any time soon.
Do you have any favorite foods or beverages that help keep your creativity flowing?
Tea, definitely. I treat myself to an elite Darjeeling when I’ve got the word counts going. Usually I drink Irish Breakfast so switching to a flavorful, aromatic, earthy Darjeeling is just a perfect incentive. There’s even a tribute to good tea in my last book (Wolf’s Bane) because it was time to tell the world how wonderful my favorite Darjeeling is.
Do you have any writing superstitions or rituals when starting (or ending) a new book?
I can’t say I do. I’m always working on more than one project, even if I am focusing heavily on just one of them. Because of that, I never feel like there is a specific beginning or ending – writing is a continuous process for me. The only time I’d start to worry is if I wasn’t writing anything.
What do you think makes for a good paranormal story?
I like when an author busts through a limit – pushes past a convention into something new and undiscovered and a little scary. I like to take that journey of discovery with them because I love feeling like I’m the first to witness something new and incredible.
What else have you written, and where can people learn more about you and your work?
Most recently, I completed an urban fantasy (romantic elements) called the Books of the Demimonde, featuring Bleeding Heart, Blood Rush, and Wolf’s Bane. I also have a few short story anthologies out, as well as dozens of poems sprinkled all across the internet. Visit ashkrafton.com for more!
About the Author
Ash Krafton is a speculative fiction author from northeastern Pennsylvania. Krafton’s first novel, Bleeding Hearts, was published in 2012 as part of an urban fantasy trilogy, The Books of the Demimonde (Pink Narcissus Press). An urban fantasy novella, Strangers at the Hell Gate, was published by Wild Rose Press in 2013. Her newest release, Words That Bind, won first place in the HeRA RWA “Show Me the Spark” 2013 competition as well as a Zebulon award in 2014.
Krafton also writes New Adult speculative fiction novels under the pen name AJ Krafton. Upcoming titles include The Heartbeat Thief, Face of the Enemy, and the award-winning Takin’ It Back. She is part of a YA/NA collective known as the Infinite Ink Authors.
In addition to novel-length fiction, Krafton enjoys writing poetry and short prose, some of which earned distinctions in various writing competitions. One of her poems was also nominated for the Pushcart Prize. She’s a proud member of Pennwriters, Romance Writers of America, and Pikes Peak Writers. Krafton also writes for the Query Tracker Blog and the Prose and Cons blog.
She resides with her family in northeast Pennsylvania.
Ash will be awarding a $25 gift card to Amazon or BN, as well as a unique handmade book-inspired keychain to a randomly drawn commenter and to a randomly drawn host. Be sure to follow the rest of the tour (and comment!) here for more chances to win.