Cover Reveal: SPITFIRE SUCKERPUNCH (House of Pain #2)

spitfire_SP

Hi all! Happy Friday!

Now I know you are all looking forward to book 2 in my House of Pain series. If you still haven’t read the first one (STONE COLD KNOCKOUT) then you need to get on it before the sequel comes out… just sayin’ πŸ™‚

I don’t have an official release date yet, but it’s coming super soon. So until then, here’s the smexy cover to hold you over!

STONE COLD KNOCKOUT Is Coming…

Stone Cold Knockout is taking FOREVA to publish with Amazon… and I’m beginning to wonder if the ‘Knockout’ in the title has anything to do with the delay. After the whole NFL/Ray Rice scandal, it might have something to do with it. Was that title culturally insensitive, in light of recent events? Perhaps. I don’t live in a bubble, but I’ve been so focused on prepping this novel that I didn’t even think about it. And, as you all know, I picked that title almost a year ago when I first started working on SCK.

Anywhoo, I’m pretty peeved that it looks like SCK will not be coming out today, through no fault of my own.

Parks-and-Rec

Hopefully I’ll get some word from Amazon soon as to what the problem is. If I have to change the title, I will. No biggie!

Anywhoo, let’s talk something more fun. Let’s talk about Gennifer and Mikhail, the H and h of SCK!

Mikhail with the beard that G hates and Gennifer a.k.a Solnyshka

Now this is not perfect imagery of how I see them… it was hard to find pics that looked like how I envisioned them in my head. But these two pics were somewhat close. Gennifer is Dominican, and is described as brown-skinned, with big brown eyes and long curly black hair. I imagined her skin tone as darker than the picture above, but what can you do?

Mikhail is of course Russian, and the first time Gennifer sees him, she doesn’t necessarily think of him as handsome. She thinks he looks too hard, intense, and dangerous. However, as time goes on, she starts to see him as ‘infinitely attractive’. I like to think of him as one of those guys that grows on you. His body is bangin’, of course, because he keeps himself in peak physical condition. And he has a lot of tattoos, because, as a Lavender Parker Hero, of course he does!

Anyway, their chemistry is crazy. Their sex scenes are some of the steamiest that I’ve written to date, and that’s saying a lot πŸ™‚ I loved writing Mikhail, especially. There’s something about a possessive, stubborn Russian man that gets my fingers flying on the keyboard. Although Mikhail’s story is done, I already have plans for his brother Vadim…

mybody

Hopefully I’ll have good news for you soon about when SCK will finally be live!

 

STONE COLD KNOCKOUT Sneak Peek

Stone Cold Knockout is DONE y’all!!! It WILL be out tomorrow, September 16th… so get ready.

Can you tell how excited I am about releasing this damn book?

excited

Before I give you a sneak peak, I just wanted to talk a little bit about Gennifer and Mikhail.

I think I’ve mentioned before that I love them… and I do. I love them together. They are pure FIRE. They’re both fighters at heart and they love challenging each other, in the ring and in the bedroom… and in the shower…

shower

Anyway, here’s a little SNEAK PEEK to hold you over and wet your thirst for tomorrow. To set the scene, Gennifer has asked Mikhail to train her for Bout It, an upcoming charity boxing event. He agrees, but Gennifer is stubborn and doesn’t always agree with what he wants her to do. The result? Lots of steamy sexual tension, of course! Enjoy* πŸ™‚

*Mature Audiences only.

β€œWhat the hell kind of music is this?” Gennifer grumbled as she tossed her bag onto the chair beside the pool the next morning. Mikhail grinned as the chugging country-sounding music pumped through the surround sound speakers overhead. She looked around for the source of the music and found an iPod player built into the wall. The fancy gym was state of the art, apparently.

β€œThe King,” he said.

β€œWho?” She held up a coffee for him and he took it. β€œBlack. I didn’t know how you take it,” she explained as she kicked off her shoes. It was 4:55 a.m., but she was awake and ready to go. Now that she knew what to expect.

β€œWhat are you drinking?” he asked, his fingers brushing hers as he took the cup from her.

β€œNon-fat iced latte. Two shots of hazelnut.” She lifted her cups to her lip and wrapped her tongue around the straw. The caffeine coursed through her veins as soon as the heavenly liquid hit her tongue. She smiled as she shimmied out of her leggings. She could get used to waking up so early on the weekends as long as she had coffee and a fine-ass man to look at. When she glanced up, he was watching her with rapt attention. His expensive-looking, tight swim shorts left little to the imagination and Gennifer bit her tongue to keep from telling him exactly what she thought of them.

β€œAmericans,” he said, taking a gulp of his coffee, then setting the cup down beside the chair. β€œEverything has to be sweet or you do not want it.”

β€œRussians,” she mimicked him. β€œEverything has to be bitter or you do not want it.” He cocked his head, grey eyes dancing.

β€œWhat do you know about my people?” he asked.

β€œSadists,” Gennifer said as she yanked her tank top off, revealing the brand new purple one-piece that she’d picked up the night before. β€œExtremely competitive sadists. But that’s only a guess, based on the one Russian I know.”

β€œYou only know one Russian?” He advanced on her and a flutter of anticipation ran up her spine. β€œYou are lucky. I know too many.” Sucking on her straw, she craned her neck to look up at him. When she first saw him, handsome wasn’t the first word she thought of, but now, she wasn’t so sure. There was something about his face that was infinitely attractive. She didn’t think she would ever tire of looking at him. He took the latte out of her hand and put the straw to his own lips. She couldn’t help but laugh at the expression on his face as he tasted it. He scrunched up his nose and and shook his head. β€œDisgusting.”

β€œIt’s delicious.” She reached for her drink, but he held it up out of her grasp. β€œThat’s mine!”

β€œIt will be waiting here for you.” He set it on the ground beside his.

β€œI don’t have time for coffee?” she asked, swatting at his bare chest.

β€œNo.” He swung his arm and caught her around the waist. Before she knew it, she was slung over his shoulder and he was carrying her toward the pool.

β€œUh uh. No way!” she screamed. β€œI already have to listen to your terrible music. I need my coffee!” Mikhail froze and stared up at her like she’d just said that God didn’t exist or something.

β€œElvis is not terrible. He is the best.”

β€œIf I say he’s the best, will you let me down?” Gennifer asked as sweetly as she could muster.

β€œPerhaps.” He ran his hand up her thigh.

β€œAre all Russians as touchy-feely as you?” she asked, turning her head to look at him.

β€œWhat do you mean?” He raised an eyebrow, but his hand didn’t leave her thigh.

β€œYou’re always touching me.”

β€œIs that a problem?” He let her down then, and she slid down his body until her feet touched the floor. β€œIf you do not like it, I will stop.”

β€œYou couldn’t stop if you wanted to.”

β€œYou are right. Russian men touch women. It is what we do.”

β€œCreepy, but honest.” Gennifer dropped her hands to her hips, examining the black tattoo on his chest. β€œDo you touch just any woman?” The tattoo looked like a name, ΠšΠ°Ρ‚Ρ, she realized after a moment. She was tempted to trace the lines of the tattoo with her fingertip, but she didn’t. Someone had to have some self-control, after all. She’d only known the man for a few days.

β€œNo.” He shook his head slowly, a devilish smile curving over his lips. She didn’t have time to interpret what the smile meant before he pushed her, sideways, into the pool. She had a split second to curve her body into kind of a dive before she hit the water too hard. With a jarring splash, the cool water enveloped her. She felt herself sinking into the blue depths and a memory washed over her. A memory of the first time her mother took her to the Bronx Y, all those years ago. She’d been terrified of the water, but her mother had insisted she learn to swim. Her mother had let go of her hand and she’d panicked, her head dipping below the waves. Eventually, she began to kick her legs and she made it to the side of the pool, crying and hysterical, but alive.

Gennifer rolled over onto her back and kicked her way to the surface, pushing her hair out of her face as she did. She knew she should be pissed at Mikhail, but the childhood memory had quieted her. She floated on her back for a moment when she reached the surface, staring up at the white metal beams that held up the ceiling high over the pool, remembering her mother’s happy face when she swept her up in her arms. β€œYou are my little strong girl, Genny,” she’d whispered in Gennifer’s ear. β€œSo strong. So brave.”

Mikhail dove smoothly into the water and Gennifer turned her head in the water to watch him. He swam past her, doing a lap in his own lane. Competitiveness sparked in her and she pushed the painful memory to the back of her mind, where it belonged. She pushed over onto her side and kicked her legs harder, adrenaline shooting up her spine. She had no chance of catching up with him, but she was damn sure going to try.

***

Mikhail pushed until his muscles ached but he didn’t care. He could feel Gennifer beside him, her energy egging him on. He was so used to doing his workout regiment alone, it was strange to have someone beside him. It was strange, but he liked it. Until that moment, he hadn’t realized how lonely he’d been in New York. He had Vadim, of course, but his brother was busy with the restaurant and he was busy as well. He hadn’t had a trainer since Serge died, so there had been no one to push him except for himself. But Gennifer’s competitiveness matched his own. She didn’t want to lose and neither did he. He liked that about her.

He liked a lot of things about her.

However, she didn’t like Elvis, which was a serious strike against her. Glancing over, he caught a glimpse of her out of the corner of his eye. She was slow and her technique needed work, but she was getting better. She was a fast learner. He dove deep and did a flip, turning to go back. He hesitated a moment under the water, watching her legs kicking, the muscles in her thighs flexing with each move. Her toenails were painted black, he realized, as his eyes skimmed down her leg to her feet. Something in his chest squeezed tight. He pushed off of the wall and sliced through the water. He surfaced and gulped in air, his concentration thrown off.

Earlier, she asked him why he touched her. He touched her because he couldn’t help himself. Russian men didn’t bother with formalities and polite conversation. When they saw a woman they wanted, they didn’t hesitate to let her know it. And he wanted Gennifer. The irony was not lost on him. Before she died, his mother’s only dream in life was for her sons to marry devout Orthodox girls and have stocky Russian babies. Katya Ivanhof never would have approved of a dark-skinned American girl for her son, but Mikhail left the Motherland for a reason. Russia had begun to feel like a prison of tradition and corruption. The freedom and diversity of New York City was the anti-thesis of St. Petersburg’s claustrophobic society. Besides, he was drawn to Gennifer and he didn’t give a fuck.

He wasn’t looking for a wife anyway.

When he reached the end of the lane, he draped his arm on the edge of the wall and watched her swim back toward him. He ran his finger over the tattoo of his mother’s name on his chest, feeling his heart beating hard underneath his skin. At the end of the lap, she grabbed ahold of the wall as well, her fingers gripping the cement.

β€œGood?” she asked, breathlessly, pushing her new goggles up onto her forehead.

β€œGood.” He nodded and she smiled. Then she skimmed her hand over the water, spraying him with drops of water. She squealed as he dipped under the divider and into her lane. She pushed off of the wall as he advanced on her, kicking her legs in front of her to fend him off.

β€œThat’s what you get for throwing me in,” she said, pointing an accusing finger at him.

β€œYou were wasting my time. With coffee and endless questions.” He swam toward her slowly, stalking her through the water.

β€œAsshole,” she muttered, but she was smiling. He grabbed her ankle and yanked her toward him. Her thighs opened, and he took advantage, slipping between her legs so she was forced to straddle him. She threw her arms around his neck to steady herself and her eyes widened as he pulled her close, her breasts smashing against his chest.

β€œYou think I am an asshole?” he asked.

β€œDefinitely,” she said, her gaze trained on his lips.

β€œI may be.” He dragged his eyes down her face, studying her. She was a natural beauty surely, with big brown eyes, high cheekbones, and disarmingly full lips. She exuded confidence and strength, but her beauty was hard, like a cut diamond. She was intimidating at first glance, not soft and warm and welcoming like a woman should be. Her stance said ‘don’t fuck with me’ and she had probably scared off many a weaker man, no doubt. If she hadn’t been the only one in House of Pain to spar with that night, he might never have said anything to her. They might never have had any interaction at all. Fate wasn’t something he put much stock in, but it seemed to have been smiling on him that night. He just as easily could have overlooked her. He would have gone on with his life, never knowing that she existed, and the thought sent a chill through him. He couldn’t imagine not knowing a woman named Gennifer Rainbow Rodriguez.

β€œHow old are you?” she asked, taking him off guard.

β€œOld enough,” he said.

β€œWhat kind of answer is that?” she asked, furrowing her brow.

β€œWhy do you ask so many questions, solnyshka?” He ran his hands up her sides, wishing she hadn’t worn a suit even though he’d told her to. He had gotten too used to having her skin bare to his gaze. He raised his hands to her ribs, his thumbs brushing the swells of her breasts.

β€œIt’s called conversation.” She tightened her slick arms around his neck. Not bothering to stop himself, he strummed her hard nipples through the thin fabric of her suit, and she gasped, her lips parting in surprise.

β€œI am thirty-nine,” he replied, pressing his lips to her shoulder to taste the wet skin there. β€œDoes that make a difference?”

β€œNo.” She shook her head and swallowed hard. He could feel her heart beating between them, fast and hard. But maybe that was his heart. He couldn’t be sure.

β€œGood.” He trailed his mouth up the curve of her shoulder to the base of her throat. Her thighs tightened around his ribs and he felt a growl well up in his chest. He dragged his teeth across her chin, letting himself get lost in how she tasted. She rolled her hips against him, her fingers digging into the flesh of his shoulders.

β€œMikhail,” she murmured as he ran his tongue along the line of her jaw. Hearing his name on her lips had his cock hard as steel for her. He swung her around in the water, pushing her back against the wall of the pool. He propped his elbows on either side of her face, trapping her in place. She flattened her hands on his chest, putting some distance between them, but her legs were still locked around him, holding him tight. He leaned in, brushing his lips against hers. She opened her mouth, giving him access, and he took advantage. He sucked her lower lip between his teeth and she moaned. The throaty sound sent ripples of electricity through him and he flicked his tongue against the bruise he’d given her. He’d been waiting days to do that and she didn’t disappoint. She jerked her hips against him, rubbing her hands up and down his chest, the steady friction threatening to drive him insane.

β€œI am going to fuck you, solnyshka,” he murmured against her lips. β€œThis is why I touch you. Because you are mine.”

Β© Stone Cold Knockout, Lavender Parker 2014

STONE COLD KNOCKOUT Release Date

I know I’ve been teasing this release date for a long time… but I finally have an official release date for Stone Cold Knockout! SCK, the first book in my new House of Pain series, has been haunting me all summer, but I will say that I’m glad I got Flower in the Desert out in July instead. Flower was such a big hit and I feel like it helped gain me a lot of new fans. However, now I have a lot of readers chomping at the bit for Stone Cold Knockout! It’s a lot of pressure, but luckily I work well under pressure. Ha!

So, without further ado, the release date for Stone Cold Knockout is SEPTEMBER 16TH!

Mark those calendars, y’all. Writing Mikhail and Gennifer’s story has been a lot of fun, but this summer was not the most productive for me. I’ll be happy to move onto Viv and Niko’s story, Kiss of Life, that’s fo sho. Woot!

In other news, I had a great chat with the ladies from Violette Dubrinksy’s Fantasyland on Saturday and I want to thank everybody who participated. I had a lot of fun!

Happy Labor Day!

To Stand Alone Or Not To Stand Alone…

So I decided to shake up the release schedule, just a bit. I’ve pushed Stone Cold Knockout back to August so that I can focus on finishing up a stand alone novella called Flower in the Desert.

Love this colorful cover!

Why, you may ask?

The short answer is that I don’t want to rush SCK, which is the first novel in my new House of Pain series. The first book in a series is always the most read, and it is also often the deciding factor on whether people will continue to read the other books in the series or not. So for that reason, I’m taking my time on it. I’m letting it marinate. But it’s gonna be REAL GOOD, I swear.

Which brings me to Flower in the Desert. I’m a (teeny-bit) scared to publish another stand alone because my last stand alone, The Burning One, was such a flop. Full disclosure- The Burning One is my worst selling title by far, despite the fact that it’s gotten decent reviews. I also think it’s my best plotted book so far and the characters are really interesting, but hey, I’m biased.

I contribute low sales to several factors:

1) The Heroine is British-Indian, not black.The Hero is black, not white. BW/WM is the most popular romantic pairing in IR, currently. Also, she’s 35 and he’s 26 when the book starts out. The age difference might turn some readers off.

2) It’s a rock-star romance, which means there’s drug use and some kinky sexual stuff going on. Not everyone’s cuppa.

3) It’s a stand alone! Stand alones are tricky. Even though reviewers often decry cliffie endings, romantic series still rule the day. I am hoping that a tie-in with Kiss of Life will maybe convince readers to give this one a shot. Originally, Cee was supposed to be introduced in Kiss of Life, and then have his own spin-off, but I kind of jumped the gun on his story. Oopsie!

4) Price. I’ve pretty much kept The Burning One at $2.99 because I didn’t have anything else at that price point, now that the St. James Family books are $3.99. I played around with it at $0.99, and it did sell better, but not good enough to warrant keeping it that low and not making money. However, once SCK comes out, I might drop the price permanently. It is a full novel though, not a novella, so I feel kind of weird having it at $0.99. However, the more books I have out, the more I can play around with price in the future.

So why might Flower in the Desert be different? Well, first of all, it’ll be permanently priced at $0.99! That’s exciting! It’s also a different genre, romantic suspense. Lastly, the Heroine, Ruby, is black and the Hero, Jase, is Native American. I’ve been wanting to write a Native American hero for awhile. I told you guys in an earlier post about my love for the old western romances of yore. Unfortunately, they aren’t really in vogue right now. Flower in the Desert is kind of a throwback to those old romances, but set in modern times. Ruby and Jase have to lean on each other to survive in the unforgiving desert of the Grand Canyon. I’m having fun writing it, that’s for sure.

So look for Flower in the Desert soon! I’ll have a blurb up later this week. πŸ™‚

 

Follow the Red Arrow…

Wanna get an email the minute I have new release out? Go to my Amazon author page and click this little ‘like’ button:amazon_arrow

Then you’ll be up-to-date! How cool is that?

In other news, Stone Cold Knockout is coming in mid-late June 2014. I’ll let you know when I have an exact release date (I’m aiming for the 15th-20th). I am loving writing about Gennifer and Mikhail! They are two kick-ass characters who are so much fun together.

oh_yeah

Mikhail is a Russian alpha with a shady past (and a teeny bit of a violent streak, but he’s working on it!). Gennifer is a tough Bronx chick who loves and fights with equal passion.Β  They’re both blind-sided by how much they grow to care for each other, but then some crazy shizz goes down and…. well, you’ll just have to read it to find out πŸ™‚

I always find myself smiling like a dope when I’m sitting at my laptop reading over the previous day’s writing because I love them so much. Can’t wait ’til it’s all done so I can get it out to you guys. Here’s the SNEAK PEEK, if you haven’t had a chance to check it out yet.

Hope you all had a great weekend!

New Cover Reveal!

Hey guys!

So I’ve been taking a bit of a break from writing and catching up on all the reading I’ve been putting off for the past few months. I’ve read at least ten books since finishing Kiss of Fire. Whew! However, my down period is coming to an end. Both Stone Cold Knockout and Kiss of Life are in the forefront of my mind now, and I hope to have SCK out by the end of May. Woot!

Anyway, in other news, my (other) new series, Dirty Rotten Dixons, is also floating to the forefront. The first book is slated for a holiday release, probably in November. Super excited about this BWWM series!

And guess what?devil_blackheart

Next week I’ll be revealing the cover and synopsis for A Devil Named Dixon (Dirty Rotten Dixons #1)!

Yay!

Then it’ll be up on Goodreads to add as a To-Read!

Yay!

So much exciting news.

Lastly, I want to thank all of YOU for reading/buying/reviewing Kiss of Fire. I love the response it’s been getting. Toni and her fireman hold a special place in my heart, that’s for sure. I’m so happy you guys have been enjoying the St. James Family series so far. Not to get mushy, but I’ve always been a writer, since I was a kid writing fan fiction about Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (lol), so it’s so amazing to finally be able to write and connect with readers. So grateful!

Okay, I think that’s enough for today. Happy Thursday!