Last week, Leslie Parrish stopped by for a visit to discuss her new series Fade to Black. This week, the third Plot Monkey, Leslie Kelly joins us. Okay, but what does Leslie Parrish have to do with Leslie Kelly? Well, they are two sides of the same author, Leslie Kelly. Leslie Parrish is just a moniker used to let readers know that those stories are very different from what they've come to expect from Leslie Kelly.
Make Me Over
and I currently had to put down
She's No Angel
Okay, while I recover, I'll let the real star of the show take over. Take it away Leslie!
In between all the promotion for my first dark romantic-thriller as Leslie Parrish (Fade to Black, just in case you’ve missed all my squawking about it…lol!) I have a novella coming out from Harlequin. I love doing these super-sexy, hot summer reads for Harlequin and jumped at the chance to work with Stephanie Bond (again) and author Lori Wilde.
When I was asked to do the anthology, I was simply told the stories needed to have a “tropical beach” setting. I chose the island of St. Lucia because I’ve actually been there and felt like I could do the location justice. Talk about a gorgeous location—pure white sand beaches, amazing blue skies, lush forests, turquoise lagoons, and towering volcanoes. Just paradise.
[I don’t know about the rest of you, but I’m hot and bothered already. Seriously, it’s what, July 9th and I was wearing long pants, thick socks, a t-shirt and a sweatshirt when it’s normally in the high eighties and/or nineties up here! Just picturing those white sandy beaches makes me warm and slick and … oh, can’t go there!]
Since I was doing an unusual locale, I decided to try a more unusual hero. My Leslie Kelly heroes are usually nice, down-to-earth, super-sexy guys. They’re often flirtatious, average Joes, and when they fall they fall hard. For some reason, I decided that the hero in “Propositioned”—my novella in Sun, Sand…Seduction!—was going to be more alpha. More of a Desire or a Presents hero. An uber-rich, strong, controlling multi-millionaire who was relentlessly tracking down the woman he wanted…heroine Liz Talbot.
So what’d I end up with? An uber-rich multi-millionaire who was … adorably sexy and flirtatious and funny and irresistibly sweet. Dang. I just can’t write a jerk of an alpha hero if I try!
I tried. Really, I did. But he just kept flirting instead of barking orders. And rather than being perfect, he had some serious (adorable) weaknesses!
For instance…Jack Beaumont has a serious problem with seasickness:
“You had to remind me of my problem, huh? I’d almost managed to forget where we’re going. I still don’t know if this is a good idea.”
“It’s a fine idea.” She shook her head. “I love being on the water so much, I have a hard time believing you don’t.” Sighing, she added, “I just sail and sail, letting my troubles float away.”
“My troubles wouldn’t be what was floating away,” he snapped. “My sanity would.”
“Jack, would you just trust me? The bracelet will work.”
He stared at the anti-motion bracelet on his right wrist, obviously not believing her. “I’ve tried motion sickness medicine before, on one of those dinner cruises in Boston Harbor.”
“It was a real struggle to get back to shore before my dinner did.”
She couldn’t stop laughing, though it earned her a deep frown in return.
“Nice. Laugh at a guy’s weakness.”
“Oh, come off it, do you have any other weaknesses? What else is there to laugh at you about?” She lifted her hand, ticking off her points. “You’re rich, you’re successful, you’re drop-dead gorgeous.”
Liz swallowed hard, wishing she hadn’t pointed that one out. Hurrying on, she added, “You speak a couple of languages, give generously to charity, and have a loving family that isn’t the least bit dysfunctional.”
She’d found that surprising, and hadn’t quite believed until she’d met his incredibly warm and genuine parents.
“So forgive me for taking amusement in the fact that you have one Achilles’ heel.” Unable to suppress a wicked grin, she added, “Make that Achilles’ stomach.”
All that, and he focused exactly on what she most didn’t want him to. “Drop-dead gorgeous, huh?”
“Don’t make anything out of it,” she shot back.
“As if I could,” he muttered.
See? Sexy, funny, self-deprecating, successful, uber-rich…Jack Beaumont is just irresistible. I tried to make him snap insults, and he just flirted. I tried to make him relentless and he became adorably cajoling. Tried to make him domineering and he just became irresistible!
Ahh, well. Liz Talbot fell for him just the way he is. As did I.
Hope you do, too!
[That should make the rest of us feel better, even a practiced author like Leslie can’t make a character do what she wants him to do! I know I’ve been having that same problem. Characters are who they are and there’s just no fighting it.]