The rules of survival in this line of work: trust no one, hold no assumptions, don’t fall for your target. Bryant Holt breaks all three.
For 1.5 million, Cypress Howard is now his target. Ex-black ops, Bryant finds he can’t resist her temptations.
He’s way out of her league, sexy as hell and asking her out for dinner. It just doesn’t make sense. But Cypress is frightened of letting any one in.
Why? Because Cypress now lives incognito. The real her is dead, or so everyone thinks.
A deal is struck between secret factions and Cypress is now being hunted. Bryant’s claimed her, and he’ll do anything to save her. But first he must unravel the maze of her past.
When her life begins to implode, Cypress’s lover turns into James Bond. Who the hell is he? It’s too late to question, Bryant’s already chained her heart. All she can do is hold on.
An excerpt from His Target, His Desire
She did a cute bottom-lip suck, which reinforced his initial perception. She had sexy, full lips with a pronounced dip in the middle top one, which gave the impression of a permanent pout similar to the classic lip imprints found on car stickers or in cheeky advertising.
Bryant loved lips. He loved looking at them, kissing them and imagining what other sport a sexy pair of lips could do. Lips were as unique as fingerprints, only far more delicious. Some people even claimed a person’s personality traits were echoed on the pattern of the lips. Bryant suspected that wasn’t a fact, and he couldn’t care less. The only thing interesting him was if they were a pair he wished to kiss. Hers were, but the cutesy-pie show was not he’s usual style. Looks and body were a definite bonus for the short hops, but Bryant tended to stick around longer for a woman with bite.
He pocketed his cell and they remained facing each other for a few moments while the smack of shoes and the clip of high-heels manoeuvred around them. The silence stretched out, and he was about to smooth it with some filler words when awkwardness overcame her.
“Okay. I’m off. I guess I’ll hear from you tomorrow.”
No doubt deciding the comment sounded desperate, her cheeks reddened, and she attempted a half-turn as if fighting an internal battle. He quirked one side of his mouth in an encouraging smile, and to his satisfaction, she noticed, her eyes dipping to trace the action.
An interview with Aspen J. Lee
How long have you been writing erotica, and what inspired you to get into this genre?
I’ve only recently started writing. My dream was to become an author, but I held myself back with a lack of faith in my ability. After attending two writing workshops by two inspirational women, I found the courage to try. Two years ago I never dreamed I would be published, and definitely not writing erotica. It was around then, I joined a writing group. One of the ladies in my group was published with Ellora’s Cave. She shared her experience of how much fun she had crafting the story. That was the beginning of my education. I started researching erotic publishers and buying some of their ebooks. Pretty soon I convinced myself I would give it a try. And I have to say, it’s been a fun ride.
What gave you the idea for your latest book?
My first erotica, Slipping Through His Fingers, was about deception — pretending to be someone else. It’s not a new premise, but I love the idea of two people meeting and neither are who they say they, dark little secrets. So I was keen to return to that premise in my second book His Target, His Desire. This time I doubled the deception and tapped into my background in molecular biology to add a small sci-fi twist within the plot.
Who are some of your favorite erotica writers or other literary inspirations?
I guess everyone could point a finger at E.L. James. You can either love or hate her book, but what you can’t deny was her ability to bring erotica into mainstream. Sylvia Day also managed to mainstream erotic romance with her series Crossfire. Big congratulations to both women. I stumbled across Eve Silver about a year ago with her series Otherkin and became instantly addicted to the storyline and characters. Recently I purchased a self-published book Captive in the Dark by CJ Roberts and was astounded by the quality of her writing. She paints an edgy dark erotica with perfect flare.
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 would love to say I’m organized and scheduled, with plot outlines and tons of notes. But the truth is I’m a chaotic person with terrible organizational skills, can’t hold a schedule to say my life and usually have the first five or six chapters written before I have a fully formed plot or ending.
I have no set writing place. I am able to write anywhere, and I think a lot of that is thanks to my chaotic nature. I write at my kitchen table, on a couch in the lounge, at the outdoor table by the pool, while sitting up in bed, in a café with a hot chocolate, even sitting in the back seat of my car. I’d do it in the bath if I could find a waterproof computer.
The one thing I do try and keep regular is word count. I aim for 2,000 words, five days a week. I don’t always get there as either some little emergency crops up, or I might find a particular section of the story hard to write. I don’t beat myself up if I miss my word count. But I try not to make a habit of it.
Do you have any favorite foods or beverages that help keep your creativity flowing?
I’m mostly an herbal tea drinker, so that’s all I have when writing. But any food, that’s not healthy, helps keep my creativity going, especially sweet. I’ve always found that reading a good book and eating is a perfect marriage. It seems the habit has extended to writing a good book as well.
Do you have any writing superstitions or rituals when starting (or ending) a new book?
None. I do love the idea of rituals, and my husband and I have developed some for certain events in the year, but I’ve never extended this to my writing. It’s always a fantastic relief to arrive at the end of a manuscript, but I’ve never done anything to celebrate it or ritualize the achievement. Perhaps I should. I find starting a story to be the most exciting time. Since I don’t outline or plan, the story could go any way, and I’m never really sure what the next writing session will bring. Sometimes it has me sitting at my computer staring at the screen for minutes at a time. Sometimes I may reread the previous paragraph ten times before I realize I’ve read it ten times. Sometimes my fingers can’t go quick enough. I’ve signed three contracts, so I’ve shared three bottles of champagne with my husband. I guess that counts as a ritual.
What do you think makes for a good erotic story?
Everyone loves a larger than life hero. An alpha type, who can hold his own and defend his woman. They’re big, strong, athletic males, with all the right dimensions. Most importantly though, he needs to adore his heroine and treat her with respect, even if the initial road to love is patchy.
Most people these days want to read about strong heroines. Bella Swan got away with it in Twilight, but that was a sweet romance. What doesn’t work for me is when a heroine is nothing without the hero. I love a feisty heroine. Though as a writer, you’ve got to make sure you don’t write the hero out of a job. He still needs to save her, or he ends up superfluous.
Hot sex. And I say again hot sex. An erotica is not an erotica unless your hero and heroine get down in the dark (or whereever) multiple times during the course of their story, and don’t hold back on the descriptives. With erotica, you don’t need to hide them behind closed doors. The reader wants to know exactly what they’re up to and in explicit detail.
I also like a story to flow alongside the romance and hot sex, otherwise you’re just reading about body parts and where they’re being put. It’s the story and characterization, mixed in with the erotic fun that makes a story stand out.
What’s your favorite euphemism for genitalia?
If I checked word frequency in my manuscript, cock would come out on top. It’s the best term for a male’s pride and joy. Next I would use erection. For a woman, it would have to be pussy. I do go worse in my stories, just to break up the monotony of using the same word. I stay clear of the purple prose, some can use it with style, not me.
If you were in charge of adapting a scorching summer romance for the big screen, what book would you like to see made into a movie, and who would you pick to star as the male and female leads?
I only say this because of Twilight, but Sharon Hamilton has a series called the Golden Vampire Series where everything’s a little more edgy, and the romance has a lot more spice. Definitely adult stuff. Theo James would have to be my pick for the hero because he’s gorgeous. But he also plays the boy bad/nice boy cliché well. The heroine would have to be Maggie Q. Why? Because she’s gorgeous too! And let’s face it, we all want to be swept away in the fantasy of the story. Maggie has that ethereal beauty, and she can play tough parts with grace.
About the Author
After joining her local writers’ center and attending a workshop on romance writing, Aspen J. Lee decided she was set on the wrong career path. Swapping sides from factualizing to fictionalizing life, she quit her job and started a Masters in writing.
Soon after she discovered passion rather than academics was the key ingredient, so picked up the pen and began to fashion her own stories. Another workshop introduced her into the world of spicy writing. The end result was Slipping Through His Fingers, published by Siren-Bookstrand (2014). Two novels followed: His Target, His Desire (Siren-Bookstrand, 2015) and Bound (Eternal Press, 2015).
Aspen is currently crafting her fourth erotic romance and dipping her quill into a dystopian, both of which she hopes to have published later this year.
When Aspen can extract herself from her characters, she can be found in her kitchen, crafting magic of a different nature, with dogs and cats in tow. She lives on 6.5 acres, which she shares with the wildlife, a husband and three children.
Aspen will be awarding $30 Amazon or B&N gift card to a randomly drawn winner via Rafflecopter during the tour. To enter, use the widget below — and don’t forget to follow the rest of the tour and comment. The more you comment, the better your chances of winning! All tour stops can be found here.