Sometimes we authors don’t know what we’re getting into.
My romantic erotica novel Nasty Business had its genesis in the rejection letter for another book. Declining that proposal, the editor wrote “Miranda isn’t exactly the sort of kick ass heroine we’re looking for.”
Okay, I thought. You want “kick ass”? I’ll give it to you in spades. I proceeded to create Ruby Maxwell Chen – brilliant, ambitious, ruthless, and sexy as hell. Readers who favor “nice” heroines might have a hard time with Ruby. She’s determined to succeed and willing to bend the rules if that’s what it takes. Her Chinese tycoon father taught her how to seek out and exploit her opponents’ vulnerabilities. Ruby takes his tutelage further, using her vibrant sexuality to both lure and punish her competitors.
I honestly don’t know where Ruby came from. Once I’d envisioned her, though, I needed a hero who’d be more of a challenge than the typical businessmen she wraps around her finger. What sort of guy would give Ruby a run for her money – and ultimately manage to penetrate her well-armored heart?
Rick Martell was the somewhat unlikely result of my contemplation. Although he’s no movie star, he is, through some biological quirk, irresistible to women. He’s almost as smart as Ruby, equally self-confident, and even more arrogant. And he likes to win as much as she does.
Although they’re competing for a multi-billion dollar deal, the two are drawn to one another from the start, and their adversarial relationship does not preclude a sexual connection. Indeed, each tries to use the other’s lust to further his or her own plans. As the game heats up, the deal loses importance. Surrender becomes the ultimate prize.
Nasty Business is different from anything else I’ve written. Most of my protagonists partake of some of my personal traits, but aside from her intelligence (and her interest in BDSM), Ruby is nothing like me. (Really!) I’ve never had a partner like Rick, either, though physically he has some resemblance to one of my lovers when I was in graduate school – someone whose chemistry really meshed with mine.
However, once characters have their claws sunk into your consciousness, you can’t let go until you’ve told their story. Nasty Business includes a lot of dirty tricks and a lot of sex, but ultimately it’s a love story. And I have to admit, it’s one of my favorite books, despite the dubious morality of the hero and heroine. Ruby and Rick may be brilliant, but they’re both blind to their personal needs. It takes some rather extreme games to open their eyes.
All’s fair in love and business.
Ruby Maxwell Chen, lovely and ruthless CEO of a huge British business empire, is used to getting her way. When she encounters the strangely charismatic American entrepreneur Rick Martell, though, she wonders if she hasn't finally met her match.
From the trendy clubs of London to the Hollywood Hills, Ruby and Rick compete for ownership of a strategic factory in Malaysia. Neither has any qualms about using sexual wiles to smooth the path to success. Neither anticipates that their mutual attraction will turn into something far more intense and difficult to control.
As their struggle for dominance escalates, they draw their employees and associates into their outrageous power games. The stakes could scarcely be higher, as Ruby and Rick play for the ultimate prize: a night of total physical surrender.
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