Vanessa North: Today we have a special guest joining us at Love, Lust, and Laptops–all our guests are special, but this guest happens to be a dear friend of mine, so welcome, Liza Gaines!
Liza Gaines: Hi, Vanessa! Thanks for having me. I’m excited to be here today.
VN: Let’s talk about your new release, Little Bird. Can you tell our readers a bit about the story?
LG: Lee and Savannah are kind of thrown together in a search for his ex-wife. In the course of trying to find her and trying to stay alive they also have a lot of sex. Oh, yeah, and fall in love, too.
VN: I read this story for the first time long before it was submitted for publication, and let me tell you all, it is really, really HOT. (and maybe I have a little crush on Levon. A big little crush.) We don’t get to read a lot of bearded heroes in romancelandia–did you have an “inspiration” for Lee?
LG: I did, actually. Lee is named after–and got his beard from–Levon Helm, the drummer for The Band. In the mid-seventies, when The Band was at their peak, Helm was a pretty good looking guy and you know, it took a special dude to look hot in the seventies.
VN: Savannah is a very interesting character. She’s very feminine, very sweet, but has a core of steel. Did anyone in particular inspire her?
LG: Not particularly. I like alpha heros but I also strongly dislike heroines who are TSTL or a doormat. As an author, that’s a tough balancing act, or at least it was for me. Savannah needed to stand up for herself with Lee when he pushed too hard but at the same time, she needed to be someone who could appreciate his more dominant characteristics.
VN: Awesome. After the interview, we’ll post a blurb and excerpt and the buy links for Little Bird, but now for the fun portion of the interview. 😉 We’re going to play a little game of F*ck, Marry, Kill. For those not familiar with the game, it’s very simple. I’m going to give Liza three names of famous people, and she needs to decide who she’d fuck, who she’d marry, and who she’d kill. Since…
LG: Obviously this game assumes that Mr. Gaines has vanished into a blackhole or something. 😀
VN: Obvs. However, since Mr. Gaines told me I could share all the gay porn with you I want, we’re going to do the F, M, K gay porn edition. Because, you know. I’m a giver like that, we’ll also assume that the orientation of said porn stars is as theoretical as the game.
So, Liza, FMK: Jake Bass, Colby Keller, JD Phoenix
F: Colby Keller
M: JD Phoenix
K: Jake Bass. I have nothing against Jake but, you know, he’s not Colby or JD.
VN: *cries* Okay, bye Jake, we loved you so hard. (good choice on the Colby!)
LG: I’m hoping I can still f*ck Colby while I’m married to JD. Is that just greedy?
VN: Yes, definitely greedy. 😉 Moving on… Can you tell us anything about book two in the Tangled series?
LG: Book two will feature Jen, who had a very small–and unpopular–part in Little Bird. Her story is, I think, a little more complex because she’s really kind of wounded when it comes to relationships. Honestly, I’m a little nervous about her story because she isn’t well liked in Little Bird so I hope I’ve done a sufficient job of redeeming her.
The suspense plot in her book is also a little more robust than the suspense plot in the first book.
VN: Care to share a bit of your process with us? Are you a plotter? Pantser?
LG: At this point, I’d have to say both. Little Bird was entirely pantsed and that seemed to work out all right for that book. I’m still pantsing some of my other projects as well but the sequel to Little Bird is primarily plotted. The suspense plot was just too intricate for me to try and pants my way through it. It could be that you’re rubbing off on me. 😀
VN: Heehee. She said “rubbing off.” Well, on that note, we should share the cover, blurb and excerpt for Liza’s smokin’ hot book. Thank you, Liza, for joining me, I am so excited about your new release!
Lee Jackson is bad news for a girl like Savannah Alderton. At least, that’s what everyone keeps telling her when her boss tasks her with assisting Lee in the search for his missing ex-wife. But despite all the warnings and Lee’s overbearing attitude, she’s attracted to him from the start. Wanting more than the casual sex he readily offers, Savannah fears she is bound to get hurt. Can she take that risk?
After a dysfunctional marriage and demoralizing divorce, Lee doesn’t do relationships. Casual sex with women who don’t expect more is enough to meet his needs; especially if those women share his appetite for handcuffs and crops. Which means Savannah is all wrong for him. She isn’t his type, she’s naïve and inexperienced, and worst of all, she’s exactly the kind of woman who will want more than a rough tumble between his sheets. Still, Lee can’t seem to stay away and he can’t help but wonder if maybe he’s underestimated her.
As the situation with his ex-wife becomes more desperate, Lee and Savannah struggle to overcome their fears and begin to imagine a life together. Will they live long enough to see those dreams become reality?
Lee shut the door behind them and flipped the light switch. This cottage was identical to his in layout. Although being a rental, the furniture and decor were more spartan. Savannah followed him into the kitchen where he dropped her bags before tossing the keys on the counter and scribbling a number on a piece of paper. “There’s my number. Put it in your phone so you don’t have to fumble with it in an emergency. I don’t think they’ll be back this soon but you never know.”
Savannah nodded. Now that she was about to be alone out here, she was starting to feel a little scared. She gave him what she hoped was a brave smile. “I’m sure I’ll be fine. I don’t suppose you’d consider leaving Toby with me, though?”
“He wouldn’t stay. Remember, he was the coward who ran off last time there was trouble.” Lee gave her a searching look as he lifted up the back of his shirt and pulled out the nine millimeter she had seen that morning. “I was serious earlier, though. I’ll leave this here for you if it would make you more comfortable.”
Savannah shrugged, trying to appear calm and collected. “You can leave it if you want. I don’t plan on needing it though.”
Lee took her arm in his hand and turned it over, his rough thumb softly caressing the delicate underside of her wrist as he placed the gun in her palm. Savannah shivered as she felt the metal, still warm from its prior position against his skin, and surprised herself when she heard her own breathless sigh. Suddenly she felt completely overwhelmed by his close proximity, the smell of him, the feel of his fingers on her wrist, the sound of his voice with that lazy southern drawl. When she found herself leaning toward him and wondering what he would taste like if she were to kiss him, she knew she was in very big trouble.
“Do you know how to use it?” As Lee spoke his lips twitched before turning up in a knowing smile. Savannah didn’t know how he could have guessed what she’d been thinking but that look, a little dangerous and a whole lot of sexy, definitely said he had.
“The gun?” Savannah cringed at the sound of her own voice, all fervent and yearning.
“Yes.” Lee’s quiet laughter rumbled beneath his ribs and Savannah realized with some shock she was leaning against him, her free hand on his chest. When had that happened?
Lee’s fingers tightened briefly around her wrist before he released it, plucking the gun from her hand. He twisted against her and she heard the clatter of the gun as he laid it on the counter. Turning back, Lee reached behind her, pulling out the ponytail she’d made that morning. As Savannah’s hair fell around her shoulders he dipped his head, his lips brushing over her jaw, his beard tickling her sensitive skin. Lee’s hands moved down her back, softly touching her, until he reached her waist where he pushed them beneath her shirt and settled them on the flare of her hips. The ends of his fingers slipped beneath the waistband of her shorts as his thumbs leisurely stroked her skin. His lips skimmed her neck, the combination of his warm breath and scratching beard giving her goose bumps, and she moaned in eager response. His mouth moved lower still, grazing Savannah’s shoulder and then her collarbone as he tugged on the bottom of her shirt.
When Lee’s tongue flicked against the small indentation at the center of her neck, Savannah came undone, pressing her hips against him as she gasped, “Oh, yes.”
“Yes, what?” Lee raised his head to look at her, not so subtly pushing against her so she’d feel his erection.
His question hung heavy in the air and Savannah panicked. What had she been thinking? She didn’t even like this guy and Mike had explicitly warned her not to become involved with him. And now here she was, not twenty minutes after Mike left, with Lee’s impressively large hard-on pressing against her stomach. Jesus, she’d made a mess of this.
“Yes, I know how to use the gun.” Savannah was dismayed her voice quaked as she spoke.
Lee gave her a curt nod and set her away from him as he bent to pick up her bags again. His voice was gruff as he said, “Good. I’ll just put your bags in your room and leave you alone to get some rest.”
Savannah retrieved the gun from where he’d left it on the counter and followed him into the bedroom. Lee turned on the light and placed her bags on the floor at the end of the bed. Stepping around him to put the gun in the nightstand, Savannah got her first look at the bed. She was pretty sure it was a king.
“Whoa!” Lee gave her a questioning look and she hastily added, “Oh, sorry, it’s just I have a twin bed at home. I don’t think I’ve ever slept in a bed this big before.”
Lee flashed a sexy grin at her. “Well, you’ve got my number. You just give me a call if you get lost in that big ol’ bed by yourself.”
Just like that, he gave her that seductive look again and goose bumps rose on her arms as she remembered the feel of his lips on her skin. She had to get a hold of herself or she would never make it through this unscathed.
With a deep breath, Savannah finally managed to sputter out, “Go home, Levon!”
Laughing, he turned and headed for the front door, calling over his shoulder as he went, “Goodnight, sweetheart!”