Extra Type: Author Notes

I don’t always get to write a Dear Reader letter, but I invariably have something I wish I could say to you about each book. Here it is.

Notes on Cinderella’s Royal Seduction

It was the middle of a snowy winter and my husband and I were planning a big trip the following May. Much as we longed to find some sun, he was saving his vacation days and I had a book to write.

I don’t remember exactly how he wound up with a few days off midweek, but we were so excited, we started looking up flights. Flying from Canada, however, means the flying time to get far enough south to see some sun would take up all the time we had.

We settled on trying a spa about four hours from here. We’d heard of Sparkling Hills in Vernon, BC. Now was our chance. Doug called and booked us in, then said very facetiously, “Any chance you can set a book there so you can write it off?”

I said, “Actually…”

I already knew I would be writing a Cinderella theme and had been trying to think of a business my heroine could run or own that she was trying to rescue from the clutches of her avaricious stepmother. A spa was perfect!

Away we went and had a very relaxing time in the hot pools and saunas. It was very much the quick, warm getaway we’d been craving.

I came home and moved Sopi’s spa into the Rockies Mountains because I thought that was a more picturesque setting and worked better for the story, given Sopi’s mother was a princess in hiding until she died.

I hope you enjoy your visit to Cassiopeia’s and my modern take on this classic fairytale!

Notes on The Saloon Girl’s Only Shot

The most frequent question I’ve received about The Prospector’s Only Prospect is, “Will Pearl get her own book?”

Yes? I was expecting her book to be this one, but it’s not. I had all those partners in the Venturous Mining Company to choose from and Owen was the natural choice as he’s Virgil’s best friend, but they just didn’t feel right as a couple.

But I wanted Owen to be the hero of this book. He’s a bit of a handful, but he’s full of wisecracks, which is fun. Pearl is too flighty for him, though. He needed someone to ground him.

I pitched a saloon girl to my editor at the time and she gave it a thumb’s up so I started crafting the story. I made the mistake of telling my husband what I was up to and he said, “I think she should have a geology background and help him find gold.”

It’s 1959. The fact Temperance has as much education as she does is pretty remarkable, but I got to work with researching and her backstory began to take shape. I love Temperance Rose Goodrich! I love that she’s gritty and resourceful, but sensitive and loyal. She thinks she’s ruined and Owen becomes her perfect match when he says, “That’s nothing. Do you know what I’ve done?”

They fit together like two jagged edges of a broken heart to make a whole one. I adore these two and hope you will, too.

Notes on Fetish

Fun fact: Aphrodite in Bloom was almost titled Taboo. That would have made the title of this second collection, Fetish, seem a little more consistent with the first book.

That’s okay. Aside from one tiny easter egg in one story in Fetish, there are no story links between these two collections. Fetish takes place sixty-plus years after the stories in Aphrodite in Bloom and, within both collections, every story stands completely alone.

In Fetish, I was striving for diversity in every way. Since it was also a time of global expansion, it made sense to set these stories in places around the world. Two are set in England, several are set in Europe, including Bohemia, then we visit Brazil, Hong Kong, India, and New Zealand.

I’m going to tell you a secret. Very early in my career, I wrote a pair of erotic romances. (Playing the Master, Mastering Her Role.) I loved them, but I found that juggling two character arcs, the romantic arc, and the erotic arc became so challenging, I said, Never again. Keep it simple, stupid. I went on to write dozens of straight romances. (Pun intended.)

What did I do six years later? I signed up for two—two—erotic romance collections. Only this time, they also had a diverse cast and historical settings. And, because that didn’t seem difficult enough, in the second collection I added the running chainsaw of a fetish to my juggling act.

For that reason, there are only ten stories in Fetish, versus twelve in Aphrodite in Bloom. These stories run a little longer than the ones in Aphrodite in Bloom because I needed the space for all of these elements. Also, while I explored menage in Aphrodite in Bloom, I realized very quickly that the fetish is the third in these relationships so they’re all couples. This was purely a choice made due to story length constraints. If I’d had a full novel, I might have brought in poly relationships.

As challenging as this was, I had so much fun writing these. I’ll warn you again that they’re very different from my usual fare, but if you like explicit heat, unique (yet relatable) characters, and want to learn about fetishes you didn’t know existed, you might enjoy this collection. Happy reading!

Notes on Aphrodite in Bloom

When I began writing Aphrodite in Bloom, my publisher, Entangled, asked for twelve explicit stories set in the Regency period. Their only request was that there be ‘Something for everyone.’

I had already turned in One Night with a Duke and knew The Gift would also be a cis-heterosexual couple. With ten more to go, I began looking to create more variety for the reader: menage, same-sex relationships, and nonbinary identity. One of my favorite stories is the very lighthearted A Glimpse of Her Groom, where Olivia discovers she’s asexual, not that she has a word for it.

After I’d exhausted characters with titles of Duke, Baron, Earl and Marquess, I realized I needed other layers of society: a pastor, a colonel, a banker, a sex worker—yes! There is more than one of those, actually.

When all twelve were written and turned in, we realized there was no M/M. Since that would be story #13, it had to be a baker, right? For a baker’s dozen? I wrote The Baker’s Man and it, too, is another of my absolute favorites.

Then we wound up cutting one story that I liked, but it would have required too much rewriting and we were in the last stages before copy edits for publication. Here as an Easter Egg for you, though. If you have found this note on my website, write to me and ask where you can read part of the cut story, A Most Obedient Maid. I have repurposed it in an entirely different project and, if we’re both lucky, I’ll be able to direct you to it.

All of the stories in Aphrodite in Bloom have content warnings, but I’ll give you the blanket warning that these stories are not for everyone. However, if you enjoy extreme heat, variety, and the contrast of upper crust getting down, give this collection at try.

Notes on Forgiving Her First Love

If you love a good grovel, you will love this book. It’s basically one long comeuppance for the hero, Logan.

Sophie had a crush on Logan her whole life, from the first day of school when he picked up her sweater and brushed off the grass. It culminated in a brief affair the summer she graduated high school. Then he left Raven’s Cove without her.

Now he’s back and he needs her to keep working for him at the marina. She’s a single mom looking after her elderly grandfather. She needs her job, but she doesn’t need Logan and his playboy smile. Not anymore. Or does she?

This is my very favorite trope of two people who are so deep in love, they can’t even think straight, but they will not admit it. Enjoy!

Author Notes Tis the Season for Seduction

I was devastated at the end of 2022 when I realized I would have to give up writing one of the books I had promised to Harlequin. It was going to be a holiday-theme and I was excited for it, but also burnt out. Something had to give, so I gave up that book.

It meant that I wouldn’t have any new releases in the final quarter of 2023, but I resigned myself to that. Then, like a small Christmas miracle, my editor asked me to contribute a short, holiday-themed story to offer readers as a fun, holiday freebie.

I *adored* writing this cute story that starts out with Natasha playing Secret Santa while pining for her boss. They had a one-night stand the year before and have never mentioned it again. Until today, when she can’t take it any longer and quits her job.

This little stocking stuffer of a short story brightened my spirits and I hope it does the same for you.

Notes on Marrying the Enemy

I wanted to write an enemies to lovers so I turned to the original of that trope: Romeo and Juliette.

The feud between the Blackwoods and the Viscontis began when Evelina’s grandmother left Dom’s grandfather standing at the altar while she married her true love.

Two generations of bitterness and acts of vengeance later, Evelina has a passionate encounter with Dom only to learn after the fact that he’s her family’s sworn enemy. He’s even more incensed. He hates himself for being obsessed with her–especially because he can’t have her.

What else would I do with two characters who loathe each other, but can’t keep their hands off each other? I stranded them on an island in the beautiful Australia Whitsundays!

I loved writing this story so I was extra thrilled when my editor said, “OMG I love it! It’s got a real Romeo & Juliet vibe but, y’know, sexier and with less death.”

I hope you agree!

Notes on Marrying the Nanny

All three of these books were hard to write for different reasons.

This first one was a challenge because the setting had to be invented–although I based it on a real place, I took liberal literary license. I also had to establish the three brothers’ distinct personalities and develop all of their relationships to both Emma and their baby sister, Storm.

It was fun–so fun–to write about these three men who are pretty useless around a baby, but it was particularly fun to see uptight, controlling Reid learn that babies operate by their own rules. He’s such a good man and he’s so emotionally stunted. My favorite kind of hero!

And Emma was a treat from the minute she walked onto the page. Her self-esteem has been left the toilet thanks to her ex-husband and her family’s disregard, but in Raven’s Cove, with Storm and these three men (and her new friend, Sophie!) she is finding herself again. She is regrowing her spine and rediscovering her libido and learning that she absolutely deserves to be loved by someone really great.

Reid is that man.

If you love their story and want more Reid and Emma, sign up for the Bonus Epilogue.

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Notes on Her Billion-Dollar Bump

When my editor asked if I wanted to participate in a multi-author trilogy around a diamond shop, I said, “Yes, please!”

I love when I get to connect with author friends. Maya Blake and Emmy Grayson are both exactly as wonderful as you can imagine and we had some fun conversations around how the diamond shop would be accessed and the level of security and what sorts of shenanigans could happen there to ruin our characters’ lives.

In my case, Saint (who does not live up to his name) purchases a pair of earrings for Fliss after their very passionate night together. He met her at a gala that she attended on a stolen invitation. When the earrings are misdirected, their affair is exposed and Fliss has to hide from the paparazzi.

Given the scandal, she doesn’t want to see him again, but she has to when she realizes she’s pregnant. The twist? When she tells him, she says she only wants him to deny he’s the father so she can raise the baby alone and in peace.

Saint, who does not live up to his name, has to decide: Will he take the easy way out or do the right thing?

Notes on The Secret of Their Billion-dollar Baby

After writing the first story in this duet, The Baby His Secretary Carries, I had worked out all of Sasha’s backstory and most of her front story with Rafael. He was still a bit of a mystery, but he was chasing business with the hero from the first book, Gio, so I knew a lot about him.

It made this one of the quickest books I’ve every written and, honestly, it could have been about thirty thousand words longer. There is so much story here. They are such a wonderful couple with so much more I could have explored. I really hurt for Sasha and I adore how Rafael learns to see her and care for her and love her.

After he gets over how mad he is that she fakes amnesia.

Yeah, I went all the way over the top with writing The Secret of Their Billion-dollar Baby and loved every second of it. I hope you get a kick out of reading it.

You don’t have to read The Baby His Secretary Carries before you read this one, but you’ll probably want to.