A Dangerously Sexy Secret
With her long blond hair and flowy skirts, Rhys Glover’s new neighbor is the sexiest woman he’s ever seen. He quickly learns she’s also free-spirited and impulsive—the total opposite of his own personality. They should be like oil and water. Instead, the chemistry between them is like oxygen and flame.
But when Rhys’s next assignment for Cobalt and Dane security leads him right back to Wren, Rhys begins to walk a very fine line between ethics and desire. He believes he can trust Wren, but can he trust himself when he’s with her? And if she is keeping her own dangerous secrets, will he be able to walk away?
Guys, Harlequin Blaze author Stefanie London is here for the first time. Please help me in welcoming her! Hi Stefanie. Welcome.
- Tell readers a little about yourself.
I’m Stefanie London, USA Today bestselling author of romances with humour, heat and heart. That’s the formal intro. On the personal side of things: I’m an Aussie gal but am currently living in Toronto with my husband. I’m an avid reader but I also love video games, baking, cooking, travelling and drinking coffee (yes that totally counts as a hobby!)
I’m the kind of person who’s a little quiet when you first meet me, but then once I get to know you I won’t shut up 😉
- Do you have a writing routine? If yes, can you share a little with us?
I find I’m most creative in the afternoon and evening (probably because I used to do all my writing at night when I was still working an office job.) I tend to do more of my ‘business stuff’ in the morning. This includes answering emails, updating my website, working on my newsletter, sending out ARCs etc. Then I get my writing started after lunch and work through into the evening.
- What preparations do you make before sitting down to start a new story?
I have a worksheet that I fill in while I’m getting ready to start a new story. It helps me to really flesh out the characters (which are the heart of my stories) and get to know them and their issues well enough before I start writing. I do some work on the plot, but only enough to get a synopsis written. I find it hard to stick to a detailed plot outline, so I focus more on the characters at this stage of the writing process.
- Plotter or panster?
Both…kind of. I like to think I’m a hybrid of the two. I don’t write totally blind, but I also get bored and disinterested if I have to work out every detail before I start writing. I’m somewhere in the middle.
- Authors have been asked this question countless times. I’d love to hear what you have to say. Where do you get your ideas from?
Anywhere and everywhere! My very first book (Only The Brave Try Ballet) is about an AFL footballer who’s taking ballet lessons, and I got that idea from an article I read about injury prevention where NFL players were doing exactly that. Sometimes the idea is more about the character themselves, or perhaps about their situation. Sometimes they’re inspired by a conversation I overhear…that’s a good lesson: be careful what you say in public, because a writer might be listening in!
- Your next Blaze book is titled A DANGEROUSLY SEXY SECRET. Tell us a little about this story and what readers can expect.
Absolutely. A Dangerously Sexy Secret is the third book in my Dangerous Bachelors Club series. Each book features a new couple and can be read in any order, but if you’ve been following along the series you might recognize the hero, Rhys, as he popped up in book #2.
Each story has a mystery that involves the security company where all the heroes work. What I love most about this book is that it’s a total ‘opposites attract’ story…we’ve got a Type-A, highly organized hero and an arty, messy, free-spirited heroine. Add in a mystery surrounding an art gallery, an important secret, and a scene involving somebody painting with chocolate and you’ve got a wild ride!
As with all my Blaze stories there’s lots of steamy bits as well as a wonderful emotional journey for the characters to go on.
- What inspired you to write this story and what experience did you gain during its research stages?
My dad paints and he often sends me pictures of the art he creates, so I guess that must have been rolling around in my mind when I decided to make Wren a painter. Delving into the art world was really fun and while I might be creative, my talents lie strictly with words rather than images. So I spent a lot of time watching people paint on YouTube to get a feel for how it’s done. Only a minimal amount of that information gets put into the book (due to the tight word count) but I always try to step into my character’s shoes by understanding what they do.
- What are you currently working on and what other projects can readers expect from you in the near future?
I’ve just finished up with the fourth and final book in this series, Mr. Dangerously Sexy, which comes out in February 2017. I’m sad to be leaving the security company behind, but it’s been a blast! The last book follows Logan (who you meet in books 2 and 3) and Addison. They run the company together and have a tangled past.
I’m also working on a Christmas story about a woman who inherits an estate in the English countryside. It’s a little deeper and more emotional than what I usually write, because I originally wrote it around the time my grandfather passed away. So the book has a lot of sentimental meaning to me.
I have several other projects on the go including a proposal for Harlequin’s new sexy line, and a few more books in my Behind the Bar series with Entangled Lovestruck.
- Any advice for aspiring writers?
Read as much as you can. Research the genre you want to write and be strategic in how you read (analyse what works and what doesn’t, think about what makes you connect with a story and its characters).
Ask questions! Many authors are happy to share knowledge and tips. The online writing community is especially great, so get involved and talk to people.
Be kind to yourself. Don’t be disheartened if you get rejection letters – it happens to all writers!
This is a scene from chapter two where Wren has shown up at Rhys’s apartment unexpectedly.
Excerpt of A Dangerously Sexy Secret:
“Uh…hi,” he said, his eyes darting down to her hands and widening.
Crap. This was really not how Wren had imagined their first conversation would go. Especially not after Debbie had gotten the idea of having sex into her head. But he was topless, and boy, oh boy, had her dreams failed to do his body justice. His muscles had muscles of their own, and the gray towel he’d knotted at his waist hid very little. A spark of arousal flared low in her belly.
“You’re bleeding,” he said, his eyebrows crinkled.
“Oh, yes. I, uh…cut myself.” A nervous laugh bubbled up in her throat but she pushed it down. No need to do anything else to convince him that she had a screw loose. “I don’t have any bandages in my house and I was wondering—”
“Of course. Come in.” He held the door and let it swing shut behind her. “Let me grab my first-aid kit.”
“Thank you.” Only then did the throbbing pain start to push through her giddy state. “I’m sorry I interrupted your shower. I should have thought to buy some bandages at the grocery store today.”
But, as usual, she’d gone without a list. Or without any idea of what she needed or wanted to buy. Wren usually let the ingredients inspire her as she shopped—allowing her to make up her dinner menu on the fly—and that meant that important purchases like bandages and antiseptic lotions were often forgotten.
He pulled a small white tin down from the top of his refrigerator and opened it up. The inside was neat and tidy, like a perfect Tetris arrangement of adulthood. Band-Aids, antiseptic wipes, burn lotion, cotton balls and gauze bandages all neatly packed in a way that made her feel slightly inadequate.
“Show me.” He held out his hand and she gingerly removed the wadded-up kitchen towel.
Blood immediately pooled in the slice along her palm, trailing along the crease in her skin and rushing toward the edge of her hand. She dabbed at it, but the paper was soaked through.
“Let’s get that hand under some running water.” He led her to the bathroom sink, her skin sparking at the comforting way he touched her arm. “You’ve done a number on yourself. Thankfully, it doesn’t look too deep. You shouldn’t need stitches.”
He held her hand under the running tap, the blood washing over her fingers and staining the water pink before it swirled down the drain. In the confines of the small room—which mirrored her own except for the simple gray shower curtain that hung in place of her own chaotic rainbow version—he was incredibly close. The scent of soap on his skin filled her nostrils and made her giddy.
“Are you okay?” he asked as he pulled her hand out from under the water to inspect the cut. “You’re not going to faint, are you?”
“No.” She shook her head. Thankfully, she could blame the wooziness on the blood—although the truth was it didn’t bother her in the slightest. She’d never been the squeamish sort. “I’m fine.”
Mr. 401 disappeared for a moment and returned with the necessary first-aid items. Within moments, she was patched up and almost good as new.
“Thank you so much, uh…”
“Rhys.” He stuck out his hand and she shook it as best she could with her injury.
“Rhys,” she repeated, weighing the name in her mouth. It suited him—strong, masculine. Direct. “I’m Wren.”
“The pleasure’s all mine, Wren.”
She inspected the expertly applied bandage. “You’ve done that before, haven’t you?”
“I do a little downhill mountain biking. Cuts and scrapes come with the territory.” When he smiled Wren felt like she was staring directly into the sun.
“Well. I’m very grateful you’re so prepared.”
“You make me sound like a Boy Scout.” His honey-brown eyes twinkled.
Judging by the way her mouth had run dry and her heart galloped in her chest, Boy Scout was the last thing she would compare him to. Man Scout wasn’t a thing…was it?
Other books by Stefanie London:
A voracious reader, Stefanie has dreamed of being an author her whole life. After sneaking several English Lit subjects into her “very practical” Business degree, she got a job in corporate communications. But it wasn’t long before she turned to romance fiction. She recently left her hometown of Melbourne to start a new adventure in Toronto and now spends her days writing contemporary romances with humour, heat and heart.
For more information on Stefanie and her books, subscribe to her newsletter and check out her website. She loves to hear from readers! You can interact with her and ask questions via her Facebook page.