We’re back again with JK Beck’s last day with us, talking about her new series, the Shadow Keepers. The first book, When Blood Calls has a yummy vampire as the hero. JK, why do you think vamps are so popular in paranormal romance?
I’ll say the fantasy, plain and simple. And it plays on multiple levels. A dark and dangerous man tamed by the love of a woman. A woman strong enough to do that (and don’t we all put ourselves in the heroine’s shoes somewhat? And she must be strong to bring a vamp to his knees!). The embodiment of the desire to be taken care of and nurtured, and there’s something sexy and appealing about a big strong man playing that role, the bigger and stronger the sexier—and who’s bigger and stronger than a vamp? And there’s also the flirting with danger aspect. Bad boys are hot, but most of us don’t marry them. Spending time with them in a romance, though….
There are elements of urban fantasy, suspense and thriller in your books. Does that make them less of a romance?
Not at all! The key to a romance –the hallmark, if you will—is that happily ever after on the heels of the struggle to get there. The story arcs over the relationship, and the relationship ends well. Got that, and you got a romance. Beyond that, the material you clothe that romance in is what defines subgenre’s and, to a certain extent, authors. I like a lot of plot in my books, so my writing trends toward the suspense/thriller side!
What was your favorite scene to write?
Oh…that’s a hard one! My favorite out of the entire series would be one of the early loves scenes in When Wicked Craves, because the heroine (Petra) can’t touch without turning who she touches into a monster. So I had to be very creative! (And yeah, those scenes are sexy and hot!)
In Blood, I had tons of fun writing the early dialogue between Luke and Sara. There’s so much tension there coloring the scenes stemming from what he is (vampire, murder defendant, her hot one-night stand) and how that makes her feel about both him and about herself since she knows all that and yet the attraction is still there bubbling just under the surface. Yummy stuff! Oh, and there’s one scene in particular with Luke’s friend Serge, a vampire who has some serious issues, that I absolutely love. It’s dark and twisted and was an absolute blast to write! (I love Serge!)
We don’t really know the characters yet, but for readers who are going to be reading Blood soon, which of the characters can we expect to see in later books?
Several! Nicholas is the hero in When Wicked Craves, and Serge plays a role in all three of these books (as does Nick). Serge will get his own book, currently titled When Danger Hungers. And Doyle is set to have his own book in When Temptation Burns. Both of those books (along with Tiberius’s book, When Passion Lies) are in the pipe, but don’t yet have release dates. I’ll put that on my website as soon as I know!
Got another excerpt for us?
Sure thing! Since we started out talking about sexy vamps, I thought I’d share one of the scenes between Luke and Sara! Steam, but still rated PG for the net!
Sara started to ease toward him, then stopped, carefully planting herself on the far side of the bed from him. “Luke —”
He lifted the tulip, wanting to silence her, not wanting to hear that he needed to leave, especially since all he wanted to do was stay. “I’m sorry you didn’t like the flowers.”
Her cheeks bloomed pink. “I liked them.”
He glanced at the trashcan.
She lifted an eyebrow, amused. “That? That’s because I didn’t much like you.”
She swallowed, hesitated. “Don’t press your luck,” she said, but there was no way she could hide the scent of her arousal or the way her nipples peaked beneath the thin t-shirt.
He inched closer to her, a single pillow the only barrier between them. He took it, and tossed it on the floor.
“You can’t be here,” she said, but she didn’t retreat.
“But I am.” He reached out, wanting to touch her. Knowing this was why he’d come, this sweet seduction. And yet this wasn’t about plans or plots or exit strategies. It was about Sara. The woman kneeling before him. The woman leaning in, ever so slightly, but enough to fill his heart with hope.
“You touch me, Sara, in ways that it would be better that you did not. I know I should leave — know even that you should push me away. And yet I cannot stop.”
He reached out, brushing a hand to her cheek. He’d planned this, and yet there was no lie in his movements, no deceit in his desire.
The tempo of her heartbeat increased beneath his fingers, and he thought of the blood that flowed in her veins. Sweet, delicious, like the woman herself. He thought, and he wanted, and the hunger that he had been fighting for hours surged within, the daemon crying for release.
He beat both back down, subordinating them to his desire, now a living, breathing thing. “Sara,” he said, voicing the only word that came to mind. “Please.”
Luke eased closer, and now he was right in front of her, mere inches away. So close she could reach out and touch him, if only she wanted to.
She told herself she didn’t want to.
Since she didn’t seem to be listening to herself, she scooted off the bed, taking the control box with her as she stalked into her living room.
“Sara.” He was right behind her.
She licked her lips, managed to form words. “I can’t.”
“You can,” he said. She saw her own lust reflected in the hard planes of his face. Lust, and something else. A hunger that both frightened and excited her.
She swallowed, fever gripping her body as he moved closer still. “You need to go.”
His smile was slow and full of promise. “I still have time.”
“I won’t risk my job for you.” Her mouth was dry and she wanted to put her hand on his chest and push him back a step, if only so that her mind would clear of the buzz he was generating. Her body might not care what he was, but she did. He was the defendant. He was a murderer; she was certain of it. And she was the one who would seal his prison cell tight.
“Leave,” she said, forcing her chin up. “Leave now.”
“You don’t want me gone.”
“Yes.” The word came out weak, so she tried again. “Yes, I do.”
“And yet here I stand, when you need only push one small button to summon the power of the PEC to drag me off.” His eyes dipped down to the control box in her hand, and then back to her face. “If you wanted me gone, I wouldn’t still be standing here.”
“No,” she whispered, but there was little conviction in the word. “I’ll do it. I’ll push the panic button.”
“No, you won’t.”
“Because you’re not panicking.”
Awesome!! And today we draw for two, count ‘em, two ARCs from all the folks leaving comments. Say anything you want, but also feel free to comment on today’s question. JK?
Let’s see. How about this: What’s your favorite paranormal creature in fiction? Vamps? Werewolves? Faeries? Share, and tell why!
Thanks so much for having me!