What is it about heroes like Superman, Iron Man or Thor that revs our engines like no other? Is it the suit? The manly physique? Or is it the courage they display, wading in where others fear to go, to save the damsel, the city, the Earth? Are there real-life heroes who inspire the same lustful fascination? Kickass iconic heroes who enter danger zones in the name of duty, honor, country—or maybe love—who conjure images of hard, chiseled bodies, deadly glares and camouflaged features?
High Octane Heroes will satisfy the reader who craves the romantic idea of that “super alpha” man. Imagine the Navy SEAL sent on a suicide mission; the damaged Army Ranger home from war; the para rescue team member jumping into frigid waters; a SWAT team member entering a human trafficker’s den… military members and based in far-flung places around the world or the smoke-jumper living next door. Then imagine the romantic possibilities of being held against that massively muscled chest by a man whose mission is to protect and serve…
High Octane Heroes, an erotic romance anthology edited by Delilah Devlin, features alpha males of every stripe: cops, military men, prison guards, EMTs and others. Since these are short stories, the authors have only a few pages to set up an exciting situation, introduce the drool-worthy hero and serve up some sexy romance. It’s a tall order, but the stories deliver.
Every reader will have her own favorites in this collection, but some standouts for me include Sabrina York’s Five-Alarm Fire, which offered a funny meet-cute for the hero and heroine and went on to show how a sweet girl-next-door can be very naughty when she meets the right guy. I also enjoyed the sassy first-person voice of the heroine in Michael Bracken’s Big Guns and how she fantasizes about a bad man, though she thinks he’s bad news. I swooned when the to-die-for hero of Elle James’ Besieged was not about to let even the siege of an Embassy keep him away from the woman he loved.
Tahira Iqbal’s The Star impressed me as a sexy, touching and bittersweet tale of a hero who “saves” the heroine emotionally, rather than physically. It would make an awesome prologue to a longer work (hint, hint, Ms. Iqbal). Another story that I hope the author will expand upon is Seal Destiny by Sharon Hamilton—Luke and the unnamed heroine have a real spark, but the story is too darn short--I want more!
Due to size constraint, some of the vignettes lean more toward the erotic, while others provide more of a balance with romance. They all, however, deliver the steam! Anyone looking for some hot heroes to fantasize about will find them aplenty in High Octane Heroes.
***NOW ***Don't go anywhere, friends! Elle James, who contributed the short story Besieged to the anthology, is here with me. She's offering one random commenter an awesome prize package today. ALSO, there will be a grand prize (U.S. only) for the entire blog tour consisting of:
- * $50 Amazon gift cert, signed copies of Cowboy Lust and Smokin’ Hot Firemen from Delilah
- * Tiara from Sabrina York
- * A print copy of Under His Skin and a So Inked mug from Sidney Bristol
- Adele Dubois: a download of REV ME UP
- Brindle Chase: an eBook copy of his book Dark is the Night awarded every day of the tour
- Delilah: a hand-painted art pendant, backlist downloads
- Elle James: a prize package of books and swag on her blog day
- Jenny Lyn: $10 gift card to Amazon or B&N and a copy of her new book
- Megan Mitcham: a “hot high-octane guy” calendar
- Sabrina York: an eBook of choice from her backlist on the day she blogs
- Sidney Bristol: an eBook of choice from her backlist on the day she blogs
- Tahira Iqbal: a digital copy of The Merger.
Thanks so much for being here, Elle!
1. Cops, firefighters, military men—all guys with intense, high-stress professions. All guys who make our hearts flutter. Why do you think these Alpha heroes are so popular among romance readers?
They embody what it takes to be a hero. They're the ones who rush into burning buildings without thinking about their own lives. They carry out the helpless the injured and the weak. Who wouldn't want a sexy, alpha hero to swoop them off their feet and carry them from a burning building? I believe it's a fantasy of most women to be swept off their feet by a gorgeous, hunk of a hero. Sigh...
2. As much as we adore our alpha males, these heroes also need to show a bit of vulnerability, at least when it comes to the heroine. Is it difficult as an author to balance the tender with the tough?
Not at all. Those heroes have to have the stiff upper lip, but they need to be loved too and they have emotions they love to hide, but the heroines always tweak the right buttons to bring them out.
3. What is it about erotic romance that appeals to you as an author?
We as women are really reaching out to embrace our sexuality. It's no longer shameful to admit you have desires equal to or greater than any man. But the sexual organ of the woman is far different than that of a man. Our sex organ is our minds! Stimulate the mind with erotic romance and you're much more likely to achieve your sexual goals. I hope by writing erotica, I'm helping others achieve those goals. Hehehe.
4. High Octane Heroes is an anthology to which a number of authors have contributed. Do you find it easier or more challenging to write shorter works as opposed to full length?
I like writing short stories in between my longer books. It allows me to refresh and pack a lot of story into one short burst. Gets my juices flowing, so to speak. Now we're back to the why I write erotic romance question...
5. Can you tell us a bit about your story in High Octane Heroes?
With all the unrest in world and the dangers of working in embassies I thought it timely to write about an embassy takeover where the good guys get out safely. My hero is on the verge of asking the heroine's father for her hand in marriage, but is afraid her father might thing he's not good enough for her. When the embassy is attacked, his lady love is trapped in her quarters. What better way to prove his love and worth to her father than to rescue her? BESIEGED follows the hero through his ordeal to reunite with his lover.
6. What’s coming up for you regarding future work?
This month, BODYGUARD UNDER FIRE is out, the third book in the COVERT COWBOYS INC series with Harlequin Intrigue. COWBOY RESURRECTED is the 4th book in the series due out in October. Next year, I'll have out 7 books with Harlequin. Three Intrigues and four Romantic Suspense books. I've been a very busy writer!
I also write under my pen name Myla Jackson and have the next book in my UGLY STICK SALOON series coming out in December, BOOTS AND BUCKLES. In March 2014, BOOTS AND TWISTERS will release. Myla Jackson books tend to be sexier and have more ménages in them. Something for everyone!
EXCERPT from BESEIGED by Elle James
Tonight he planned to ask Kate Seward, daughter of the U.S. Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the small nation of Trejikistan to marry him and follow him to his next duty station in Italy.
He'd discovered the passageway during his initial week exploring the embassy quarters located in an older, historic district of the capital of Trejikistan. A breakaway country from the Soviet Union, Trejikistan had seen a few years of peace, interspersed with the occasional secular strife and violence. At some time in the past, a former ambassador had been foresighted enough to design and construct several hidden passages known only to the ambassador and his most trusted staff members for use when a silent retreat was called for.
One such passage just happened to be located behind the ambassador's wing of apartments including the one assigned to him. Max had been given a suite designated for family of the ambassador. Since Ambassador Seward's wife was deceased and he had only one child, he'd offered the suite to Max upon his arrival, claiming he wanted his bodyguard close by to protect his daughter.
Had Max known that Seward's daughter was a grown woman and one of the most kind, caring and beautiful women Max had ever known, he might have asked to be placed farther away to keep his distance physically as well as mentally.
From the first day, Kate Seward had been a force Max had to reckon with. Their mutual attraction had launched a game of cat and mouse Max ultimately lost when he realized he'd fallen in love with the confounded woman.
Now, he slipped through the passage connecting his room to hers, like he had on numerous occasion, praying the reflection of love in her eyes wasn't just a dream. She'd asked him to stop by and check the security of her room after the dinner party.
It was code for a lot more than checking security.
As he neared the panel that would open into her huge walk-in closet, his groin tightened and he imaged Kate in that simple black dress she'd worn for the dinner party, her long dark hair pulled up in a sexy twist, wearing the pendent he’d given her for her birthday.
Max had sat near the end of the table, resisting the urge to tug at the tight collar of his dress mess uniform. If not for Kate he’d have begged to redeploy to the strife-ridden country of Chad—more comfortable in ACU’s and face camo, training Chadian soldiers on anti-terrorism techniques, than sitting at formal dinner tables.
He pushed aside the panel leading into Kate's room and stepped through, the ring in his breast pocket burning a hole through to his heart. He loved Kate and he wanted her to be a part of the rest of his life. He'd planned on laying out clues for her to find over the next few weeks until finally he'd take her out to dinner and propose to her.
But today, he'd received his transfer orders, Max knew he couldn’t wait and he couldn't walk away from Kate. He didn’t want this fantasy to end. Tonight he'd ask her to marry him and he prayed she'd accept.
When he stepped out of her closet into the bedchamber, at first he didn't see her. "Kate?"
"It took you long enough," she said, her voice low and sexy. She lay in her bed, the cream-colored sheets pulled only up to her waist, her breasts bare and tempting in the light from a softly glowing lamp on the nightstand.
Max stepped forward. "I hope you were expecting me."
"Only you, babe. Only you." She threw back the sheet and quirked her head. "Join me?"
His heart flipped in his chest and his blood pounded through his veins as he ripped through the buttons on his dress mess uniform.
For such a proper ambassador’s daughter, she was mind-blowingly passionate, a fact that still amazed him and made him burn with desire.
Max shrugged out of his jacket, hanging it on the bedpost.
"Let me help, or we'll be all night." Kate leaned up on her knees and reached for the buttons on his shirt, flicking them through with quiet efficiency. Then she tugged the tails out of his trousers and pushed the edges over his shoulders, her hands sliding down the muscles of his shoulders and arms. She pressed her lips to his chest, finding and nipping at the little brown nipple over his heart.
Max sucked in a breath and concentrated on control. He unbuckled his belt and slipped the hook free on his trousers, his motions jerky in his haste.
"Uh uh." Her fingers caught his as he reached for the zipper. "Mine." Kate dragged the zipper down. "Always in uniform? Right down to the tidy-whiteys." She clucked her tongue even as she hooked her thumbs on the waistband of his trousers and underwear and pushed them downward until his cock sprang free. "Come to me." She stroked him, those supple digits sliding over his engorged member, her right hand reaching low to cup his balls and roll them between her fingers.
Patience shattered, Max kicked off his dress shoes and trousers. He grasped Kate's shoulders and lowered her to her back in the bed, then climbed in over her. "You take my breath away."
"I try." She smiled up at him, her full, pink lips puckering. "Aren't you going to kiss me hello?"
"I'm going to do more than that." He nudged her knees apart, and slid in between her thighs. "But first...I'll launch my own assault."
"Oh, should I be wearing camouflage..." Her calf slid up the back of his leg. "And should I be carrying a weapon?"
"Babe, your are the weapon. You've completely pierced my heart and laid it open."
"Such sweet talk from a grunt." She wrapped her hands around his neck and drew him down to her. "Shut up and kiss me."
He lowered himself to her, his mouth claiming hers in a devouring kiss. He braced himself in the front-leaning-rest position so as not to crush her with his weight, the muscles in his arms tight.
When he came up for air, he forced himself to concentrate on pleasing her. If she'd let him, he'd spend a lifetime showing her how much he loved her.
Max started by laying siege to her throat, tracing a path from her chin to the base of her neck where he tongued the spot where her racing pulse beat crazily beneath the skin.
"I thought the dinner would last forever," she admitted, her hands skimming over his shoulders and down to his waist.
"I couldn't take my eyes off you." Max continued his attack, firing kisses and nips over her collarbone and the swell of one breast. He captured her nipple, sinking his teeth in, sucking in a strong hold on the defenseless treat.
Her back arched off the mattress in her surrender to his campaign of lusty torture down the smooth contours of her ribcage, across the field of taut abs to his ultimate target.
Max slipped his fingers between her folds and flicked the bundle of nerves that never ceased to set her off.
Kate buried her heels in the mattress, her hips rising. "Please, Captain, I surrender. Take me."
He chuckled. "Not yet. You really should put up a little of a defense."
"How can I when you do—"
He tongued her clit.
"That!" she cried, her fingers clutching at his ears, pulling him closer. "Oh, please."
He pressed a finger into her channel and swirled it around. "Please what?"
"Do it again, damn it."
AUTHOR Bio and Links:
Elle James aka Myla Jackson spent twenty years livin' and lovin' in South Texas, ranching horses, cattle, goats, ostriches and emus. A former IT professional, Elle is proud to be writing full-time, penning intrigues and paranormal adventures that keep her readers on the edge of their seats. She has 34 works with Harlequin, self published works under pen name Elle James, over 40 works with other publishers including Samhain, Elloras' Cave, Kensington and Avon and 18 works self-published under pen name Myla Jackson. Now living in northwest Arkansas, she isn't wrangling cattle, she's wrangling her muses, a malti-poo and yorkie. When she's not at her computer, she's traveling, out snow-skiing, boating, or riding her ATV, dreaming up new stories.
....escape with elle
TRIGGERED - COVERT COWBOYS INC #1- Harlequin Intrigue July 2013
TAKING AIM - COVERT COWBOYS INC #2- Harlequin Intrigue Aug 2013
DEJA VOODOO - CAJUN MAGIC - Entangled Suspense - Jun 17, 2013