*waves to Meg, Kelly, Kinsey, Skylar, Erin…oh heck, all the Nine Naughties* thanks to them all for inviting me to play in their sandbox. (Hmm, I originally typed that as “to play with them” but that has a whole different meaning for us erotica authors, doesn’t it?)
When I started writing Deliberate Deceptions, I knew my hero Chad was getting back together with his ex-wife Lauren. I also knew Lauren was just as kick-ass as he was—she had to be, she was a former FBI agent too. As I wrote the first draft, I found myself watching certain movies because their heroines had the type of qualities I wanted for my heroine. One movie was Mr. and Mrs. Smith, especially my favourite scene where Angelina Jolie (as Jane) is battling Brad Pitt (as John) and destroying their house in the meantime. (I love how they don’t have Brad’s character pulling any punches and fighting as down and dirty as Angelina’s character fights.) If you’ve watched the movie you’ll know that of the two characters, Jane is really the stronger of the two characters. She’s killed way more people (300+ to his 50), and where he fell in love with her right off the mark, she saw him as a mark. She’s a cool character, very calculating. I wanted some of that composure for Lauren.
There’s a line in Mr. and Mrs. Smith that stuck with me too:
Jane Smith: There's this huge space between us, and it just keeps filling up with everything that we *don't* say to each other. What's that called?
Marriage Counselor: Marriage. (I copied the quote from IMDB)
Since Lauren and Chad were once married, they’re intimately familiar with that huge space. That “what they don’t say to each other” is exactly what caused their marriage to fracture years before. In the first scene you discover Chad thinks everything is great. It’s not. Lauren isn’t telling him something she should have (for understandable reasons) and he soon does something that he doesn’t discuss with her first…from there it’s all downhill. Getting them to decide if that hill called marriage was worth climbing again was a hoot to write. I even wrote a scene (several actually) where they fight the way John and Jane do. Though Chad doesn’t end up with a knife in his thigh. *VBG*
The other movie that inspired me was Double Jeopardy, where Ashley Judd plays a woman wrongly convicted of murdering her husband. (The dirtbag set her up, took their son and disappeared, along with a ton of money he’d embezzled.) Ashley’s character has to survive years of prison and then sets out to find the dirtbag, prove her innocence and reclaim her son. I loved the scene where she realizes her husband is alive but cannot prove her innocence so she sets out to survive the rest of her years in prison and starts training both mentally and physically for every eventuality.
Though Lauren was drummed out of the FBI thanks to one of Chad’s decision, she’s stayed in the business. She’s always stayed in good physical shape, but the battle she faces to win Chad back is one requiring emotional strength. And that’s where Ashley’s character in Double Jeopardy was a fantastic influence. How many people could stay that mentally strong against the odds stacked against them like that?
It wasn’t an easy road for any of us – Lauren, Chad or even me as we tried to find a way to heal the ten years of miscommunication and deceptions that had kept them apart. But I think I managed. Thanks to Angelina and Ashley.
Chad Miller once had the perfect life—a beautiful baby daughter, a loving wife, a promising career with the FBI. Within a year, he’d lost everything. Making Hauberk Protection a success salvaged his career, but he’s never managed to get over the one fateful decision that spelled the end of his marriage. And the death of his child.
For eight years, grief and guilt have haunted Lauren Miller’s climb up the ranks of the Light Brigade, a secret international hostage rescue team. Now she’s the target of a vengeful ex-Brigade operative who’ll stop at nothing to take her down. Even if it means taking out everyone she cares about. Including Chad. Getting him to accept her as his bodyguard? It’ll take some fast talking—and faster hands.
Trapped in a remote safe house with Lauren is the last place Chad ever wanted to be. He may finally have the chance to get some answers about why she ran, but with his hard-won defenses crumbling, he’s having trouble remembering the questions. In the heat of their rekindled passion, Lauren struggles to keep her professional focus…and keep the secrets that could break his heart all over again.
He hauled her to her feet, sliding one arm beneath her knee. He kissed her—there was nothing gentle about it. It was hard, demanding. The way she loved. His tongue thrust into her mouth, claiming every inch of her. He broke it off, moving instead to the side of her neck, finding the spot that had her sucking in her breath. She dropped her own mouth to the tender spot where his neck met his shoulder, nipping with her teeth, sucking, leaving her own mark on him, somewhere that would be hidden by his collar. Somewhere no one else would see, but she’d know it was there.
The smooth head of his cock slid between her folds. It brushed over her clit, and withdrew, teasing her until her toes curled against the floor and she couldn’t take it anymore. She slipped a hand between them and guided his cock to her entrance.
With a ferocity he’d never shown before, he thrust deep then stayed motionless until his body vibrated with the need to continue. “Do you want this?”
She tilted her hips, closing her eyes at the delicious friction of him filling her. She loved it when he let his aggressive side loose, commanding. Powerful. God, she’d missed this. Missed him. “I want you. I’ve only ever wanted you, Chad.”
His whole body stiffened, the only warning before he withdrew from her. “Bullshit. You divorced me, remember?”
With a cry, she reached out to catch him when he lifted his pants and refastened his fly. He snatched up her shirt and threw it at her. “You even changed your goddamned name back to Patrick as soon as the divorce went through.”
She straightened her shoulders. He deserved the truth. “I couldn’t stay with you—”
“You were very clear about that. You couldn’t be associated with me. What woman wants a man who is more concerned with his sister’s life than his wife’s career?”
Is that what he thought? Had she really given him that impression? No, more likely Thalia had. “That’s not why I left.”
“Maybe that wasn’t the final straw that drove you out, but it was a big part of it, wasn’t it? You never understood why I went against orders, did you?”
“I understood. I still don’t agree with your decision to send people in undercover, though I understood why you did it.” She deliberately didn’t name Sam. “But that’s not why I went to England.”
“It doesn’t matter anymore. Our marriage is over. You got what you wanted. You don’t get what you want this time.” He released her and opened the door between their rooms. He stopped on the threshold and spoke over his shoulder. “I’ll make sure you’re protected from this Harris asshole. But once he’s neutralized? I don’t want to see you again.”
Once the door closed behind him, Lauren walked up to it, pressed her forehead against the cool panel and whispered, “I’m not going let you walk away until you’ve listened to me. Until you believe I left you because I loved you. Not because I didn’t.”