EXCERPT: Griffin’s Treasure by Lynne ConnollyTuesday, March 8, 2011 13:00
This is a bit different! But I have two new releases this month in different genres with different publishers. There are stories behind both, and hopefully they’ll tell you a little bit about what goes on behind the books. There’s an exclusive excerpt and a contest coming up, so go ahead, make my day and enter!
Griffin’s Treasure was first released in 2004 by the late unlamented Triskelion. Except that this was one of my breakout books. I got a lot of attention for this book, and I won the 2004 EPPIE for Romantic Suspense. Good times. I wrote it originally as the second Department 57 book. It introduced Svetlana, one of my favorite characters, as well as Josh and Laurie, British footballing brothers (based on Beckham – there’s something that hasn’t changed!) It also had an Asian (Indian) heroine. I felt confident writing Chana-I was brought up in a multiracial environment, where we celebrated Divali as much as we did Christmas. I wouldn’t write an ethnic character I didn’t understand, or just for the sake of doing one, but this felt right. Chana leapt off the page at me.
When I resold the Dept 57 series to Loose-Id, they pointed out that they were a publisher of erotic romance. Originally, although the books contained lashings of rumpy-pumpy, it wasn’t written at the erotic level. Erotic isn’t just a matter of writing more and using The Words, it involves a lot more sexual tension and emphasis on the sexual journey. So I agreed to rewrite the book with that in mind. As I was rewriting, I found more things I wanted to change. I fine-tuned the plot, sheared the edges, and developed the characters. I cut other characters, people who had little to do with the central story. Since Svetlana had already had her own book in Topaz Delirium, I changed the secondary female character to another Russian firebird, and discovered someone I’d like to explore, perhaps in another book. The cutting gave me the space I needed to develop the erotic centre of the story, and the developing romance between Josh and Chana. But I’d rather write from scratch than rewrite. It was incredibly tricky, much harder than I’d imagined. Times have changed and the paranormal romance has moved on. So has my style. So rewriting proved easier than tweaking, in the end. But that’s just relative.
Here’s the book summary:
International soccer star Josh Friedland has a secret. He’s a griffin shapeshifter, and a covert operative for Department 57. Josh’s brother Laurie is missing, and Josh is sure businessman George Skeffington is involved.
So he can’t trust Skeffington’s stepdaughter, Chana Rafiz, even though he wants her with every cell in his body.
When her controlling stepfather asks Chana to look after his guest, she suspects another trick to keep her by his side. Only to find that Josh is the man she’s been waiting for all her life.
Long, hot Californian nights see their bodies twined in more inventive positions than Chana knew existed, but when she finally discovers his secret, she uncovers one of her own. One she doesn’t even know about herself.
Together, Josh and Chana have to face dangers only Department 57 can help them with, only to plunge the whole Department into peril. If Cristos and the Department are to endure, Josh and Chana must succeed in their mission.
Here’s an extract from the new, improved Griffin’s Treasure. It’s out on March 5th, 2011, at Loose-Id.
In her room, Chana tried to read, but her book couldn’t hold her attention. She squirmed in her seat, remembering the smoldering looks their guest had thrown her during dinner. How on earth would she get through the next few weeks?
She couldn’t deny his appeal for her, but she could hope it was nothing more than a desire for something different. A handsome Englishman made a change to the usual men she dated, mostly rich, mostly moving in the same circles as Skeffington. She hadn’t found any time for much leisure during cop training. Perhaps she should have made time. But George had all her boyfriends checked out, and the ones he didn’t approve of hadn’t lasted long. She wanted to do something of her own, become her own person. She wanted a life. Was that so bad?
Something flashed past her window, an insect or a bird, drawing her attention outside, but then she heard a crash and a thump.
Dear God, that sounded as if it came from inside the house.
Chana leaped to her feet and grabbed her gun from the drawer of her bedside table before racing out of her room in the direction of the noise. All sounded quiet outside, but the crash had been heavy enough to rock the floor under her feet. She listened for any sound in the now quiet house and heard a muffled groan. Thumbing off the safety catch, Chana shoved the door open and crossed the soft carpet to the source of the sound.
Lying on the floor of his bathroom, groaning, lay Josh Friedland. It could have formed a replay of earlier events, except this time Josh was naked and she’d had nothing to do with his suffering.
Chana pushed the safety back on and put her firearm on the vanity. No danger here. At least, not that kind of danger.
She might find danger of another kind. She’d noted, as coolly as she could, that Josh was handsome, but she hadn’t quite absorbed just how handsome. Although George’s oldest son, usually known as Junior dwarfed him size-wise, Junior dwarfed everybody. Josh was actually a tall man and beautifully made. He could pose for Donatello.
The muscles stood out on his shoulders as he sat up, reaching for his foot. “Ah, God!” he moaned, rotating it in his hands. Then he saw her and stared.
Those eyes, golden brown, mesmerizing with his lightly tanned skin and gleaming blond hair, caught her full beam, and Chana felt a connection between them, electric and unique. This, whatever it was, lay between Chana Rafiz and Josh Friedland. No one else.
He broke it first. He stood up, wincing. “A wet spot on the floor. I should have put a towel down or something.”
She glanced around. “The shower’s dry, and the towels by the bath haven’t been used since dinner.”
A slow smile crept over his already handsome features. “Clever of you to notice that. I was on my way into the shower. I just slipped.”
He was lying. No domestic in this house would dare to leave a wet spot on a bathroom floor.
But right at this moment, she couldn’t make herself care. Forcing her head up, she kept her attention carefully on his face. No sense tempting herself with what she determined she wouldn’t have. But naked, Josh Friedland formed a treat for the eyes. His hair, probably disordered by the fall, suited him better that way. Made him even sexier… No, she wouldn’t look, wouldn’t think that.
Too late. Her gaze dropped and saw exactly how well hung he was. Even limp his cock was impressive.
When she raised her eyes, she caught his, gleaming wickedly. Fuck, he’d caught her looking. Now he’d swagger.
He didn’t. Instead, he smiled, slowly and thoroughly. Much more effective. Perhaps he knew that. Perhaps he didn’t. In any case, she didn’t think she could resist. His cock twitched, just a little bit, and it showed her she wasn’t the only one feeling the attraction between them.
When he took a step forward, she didn’t retreat as she should have done. When he circled her gently with his arms, she didn’t resist, and when he lowered his head to hers, she accepted his kiss.
His lips caressed her gently, pressed a little firmer and lingered to taste. No tongues, no insistent grabbing; he treated her like a precious jewel.
But she wasn’t precious. Diabetes didn’t mean delicate.
She pushed away from him. He smiled at her, quietly. If she hadn’t known better she’d have thought he wasn’t the same person.
“A little more honest?” he suggested.
“In what way?”
He indicated, with a wave of his hand, her person, and she remembered. Oh dear Lord — no makeup; loose, tousled hair; and wearing her favorite comfy garment, a soft, wash-worn nightshirt, ragged at the hem, which these days only just cleared her ass.
Not good. Her resolution to keep him at a distance with immaculate makeup, clothes, and hair had just gone right out the window.
She stopped looking at him by the simple expedient of turning around. “Can’t you put something on?”
His rich chuckle filled the room. “You seemed to prefer me naked.”
“No, I don’t. I only met you today. Cover yourself up.”
She felt rather than heard him cross the room. “Okay, since you’re so modest, you can look now.” The short, gaudy silk robe barely covered him, and he’d belted it slackly, so any minute it might come loose, but he didn’t look as if he cared. “Better?”