Monday, December 28, 2009

Guest Author: Susan Lyons

What’s Your Magic Number?

Mine’s either 3 or 4. Well, at least when it comes to my writing. I’ve been thinking about that recently, in this lull period when one year winds down and we’re all eagerly planning for the next. And what I’ve realized is, I think in multiples. Let me explain.

My December release, Sex Drive (Kensington Aphrodisia), is the first in my 4-book Wild Ride to Love series. It’s a sexy “planes, trains, automobiles, and a cruise ship” series about three sisters who travel home to their baby sister’s wedding and along the way find romances of their own - and learn that the journey to love truly is one wild ride! There are 4 sisters, and 4 books. My first 4 books were also a series, the Awesome Foursome series about 4 20-something girlfriends who each found a sexy romance. So, that’s two votes for the number 4.

But I think 3 wins, and here’s why.

In my January release, Sex on the Beach (Berkley Heat), an exotic wedding turns into an erotic escapade for 3 unlikely couples who find lust - and maybe even love - on the white sands of Belize. The book I’m busily finishing off this very moment is Sex on the Slopes, which will be a December 2010 release and - you guessed it - it’s also set around a destination wedding, this time in Whistler in winter, and it follows 3 couples’ romances. Now, 2 is not my magic number, so it didn’t seem right to only have two “Sex On…” books - so I’ve proposed to my Berkley editor that I follow up with a 3rd book, Sex on the Sea, this time set on a Greek island cruise.

If that isn’t enough, here’s further support for the number 3. In January, I also have Erotique: Carrie coming out from eHarlequin’s Spice Briefs. A suburban mom believes firmly in tradition, such as the occasional Saturday night adventures at the private sex club, Erotique, that add spice to her life. In February, there’s Erotique: Jillian: an employee who’s been lusting over a visiting colleague gets match-made by her female boss. And in Erotique: Alex (March), a writer of erotic romances learns that youthful sexual fantasies really can come true. Yes, there are 3 Erotique stories.

I’m sure there’s some deep psychological reason that I think in multiples. Maybe I don’t want to let a good thing go? Yet, I’ve never been drawn to do more than 3 or 4 stories in a series . . . If you have a theory, let me know. I’m up for being psychoanalyzed!

You can find more information about all my books at my website
, along with excerpts, behind-the-scenes notes, reviews, recipes, discussion guides, and other goodies (and a monthly contest and e-newsletter). For now, here’s an excerpt from Sex on the Beach, and a couple more questions to get us chatting. Do you have a magic, lucky, or special number? Do you ever think in multiples like me? And also, because I’m betting you’ve been doing some reading this holiday season, what books are you reading, what books did you get for Christmas, and what are you looking forward to reading in 2010? Let’s share some titles and expand everyone’s “to be read” shelves!

Last but not least, thanks so much to the Three Wicked Writers for letting me visit with you today.

Excerpt from Sex on the Beach

[In “Sex With the Proper Stranger, ” model Tamiko Sato comes to the wedding as arm-candy for the groom’s deep-in-the-closet uncle. What’s she to do when resort manager Ric Nuñez proves far too tempting? Ric just might be the man who can help her heal the wounds left by past abuse, and open her heart to love.]

Ric was short of breath by the time he could finally put his feet down and touch bottom. “Stay on your back,” he told Tamiko, towing her into shallower water. Then, with one arm around her shoulders and one under her thighs, he scooped her up in his arms.

She quaked with deep shivers that wrenched her whole body as he strode toward shore.

That’s when he realized she was naked.

Before, her body had been mostly underwater, and he’d been focused on saving her. Now he saw the soft curves of small breasts, the vulnerable triangle of a completely waxed mound.

He forced his gaze away as he stumbled out of the water onto the sand, his unerring sense of direction leading him straight to the shirt and water bottle he’d discarded.

She stirred weakly, trying to free herself. Averting his eyes, he set her down gently, and she crumpled to a sitting position, hugging her knees tightly and coughing.

“Here, put this on.” He tossed her his shirt and forced himself to look away as she struggled into it.

Then he glanced back, to see her rubbing her calf. “How’s the cramp?”

“It’s” - shivers racked her body - “a bit better. But I’m f-freezing.”

From shock and pain, as much as the water temperature. He sat on the sand and pulled her awkwardly into his lap, cradling her in his arms. When she struggled, he said, “Body heat. We need to get you warm.”

Despite the cool water and the fact that he wore only soaking-wet shorts, he was overheated from exertion. He rubbed her back, her arm, whatever parts of her body he could reach.

As his warmth began to transfer to her, she slowly relaxed against him.

At dinner she’d looked like a princess, and now she was a pitiful, shivering bundle of damp shirt, cold skin, and dripping hair.

Damn it, the woman could have died tonight.

“Where the hell is Zane?” he demanded. “What was he thinking, letting you go swimming alone?”

“He d-didn’t know. I went for a w-walk.” Gradually the shivers were easing. “It was an impulse to go swimming.”

She ducked her head, wet hair trailing across his bare chest. “A stupid one. I’m out of practice, and I got out too far. And I think I’m dehydrated.”

He picked up the water bottle, unscrewed the top, and handed it to her. “Sip it.”

“Thanks.” She sipped, coughed, sipped again. Then a shudder wrenched her. “Thank you,” she whispered. “You saved my life. I could have - ”

“Don’t think about it,” he said roughly. “You’re fine. Just, for God’s sake, don’t do it again.”

“Believe me, I won’t.” She sipped again, prodded her calf gingerly. “The cramp’s gone, and I’m starting to warm up.” A shiver rippled through her, and her body tensed, fighting it. “I can probably walk back now.”

Maybe. But now that her skin wasn’t so deathly cold, she felt wonderful. He’d rescued the woman, so didn’t he deserve a few minutes of holding her? “Don’t rush things. The cramp might come back.”

“Okay. Whatever you think, Ric.”

She knew his name. With all the people she’d met today, she’d remembered his name. Perhaps he hadn’t imagined that odd sense of connection, one that shouldn’t exist, considering she’d come here with another man.

Slowly her body softened against him until she was snuggled close, arms around her knees, head resting on his shoulder. His arms encircled her.

They were both soaking wet, her hair was dripping cold water on his chest, and a bony elbow poked him in the ribs. And yet he’d have been happy to sit this way for hours.

Except her warm, naked bottom pressing against his lap was too damned arousing.

Zane Slade’s woman. Not only that, but a resort guest. He never messed around with guests or staff. He’d built this business from the ground up and struggled every day to keep it in the black. He wasn’t going to screw things up over some woman.

Not when he had Mara, his sweet four-year-old daughter, depending on him.

Sex . . . It was easily found, if he wanted it. Mostly, he was too busy to care.

He’d gone without for too long. That, combined with the warm curves of a lovely woman on his lap, must be why he was feeling so horny.

Of course, he’d felt horny from the moment he laid eyes on Tamiko.

She was so different from his ex-wife - blonde, curvy Jane, who’d deserted both him and Mara. So different from the Belizean women and tourists he’d occasionally dated.

Tamiko was elegant, like a bamboo orchid: simple, clean-lined, utterly perfect. A touch mysterious; sexy, yet with a hint of purity and innocence.

No, that was crazy. There was no innocence. She was another man’s lover and a successful model.

He’d bet few men had seen her like this: scared and vulnerable. His arms tightened protectively around her.


Anne Rainey said...

Thanks for blogging w/ us! I love the excerpt, Susan, and now I want the book! LOL

The number thing fascinates me. I'm not sure, but I think I tend to think in 3s, as well. Not so much 4s though. For example, a lot of times when I come up with a new book idea I'll end up having at least 2 more ideas to go with that one. :)

Susan Lyons/Fox said...

Hi Anne. I'm so glad to be here! (And I'm glad I've sucked you in to wanting the book. LOL)

Yup, you get it totally re the number thing. For some of us, ideas don't just come in singles, they travel with friends.

Kelley Nyrae said...

Hi, Susan! Thanks for blogging with us today!

I'm the same way with numbers. I almost always think in multiples but I never really thought about it until you brought it up. LOL.

Susan Lyons/Fox said...

Hi Kelley. It's interesting the things we learn about our writing as we go along. I think it's this kind of thing that goes into making up our distinctive voices as writers.

Kaylea Cross said...

Hi Susan! Another great excerpt. I love the chemistry between them already.
I like to write series too, but it's because my characters come to life in the book and then each minor character needs their own story :)
Hope you had a great Christmas, and keep pumping out those books!

Susan Lyons/Fox said...

Thanks, Kaylea, and the same to you. Yes, those secondary characters do have a way of getting into our hearts, don't they? That's how my first series started. I grew so fond of my heroine's three girlfriends, I realized they needed their own romances and their own books. It was kind of a "oh, duh!" moment because it should have been obvious from the beginning!

Rachel said...

Three is a magic number, Susan – at least, it seems so to me. Artists and designers often use the rule of three – three elements in a composition.

Three sections to a painting, three acts to a play…and think of all those trilogies we love to read!

I've never dug into the research to find out why that is, but it's pretty universal in the Western world, although I've heard that in the Eastern world, the number four is the charm.

So you're on track no matter where your writing ride takes you!

Susan Lyons/Fox said...

That's an interesting point, Rachel, and it makes me realize a difference between my 3s and 4s. The 4-book series are about girlfriends in one case, and sisters in another, while the 3s are more about concepts than relationships.

I think 3 can be an awkward number for a relationship (no, I'm not not talking about menage - LOL) because it's too easy for 2 to group together and the other to feel left out or ganged up on. In my life, when I have groups of girlfriends, it's almost always 4. And I think of Sex And The City and Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants, which were also about 4 girlfriends.

So, maybe the rule of 4 works with groups of friends, and the rule of 3 is better when it comes to concepts. Hmmm... Lots to muse about!

Jodie said...

Numbers are so interesting. And trying to figure out the patterns, relationships and why we are attracted to certain combinations is very intriguing.
The whole concept of sisterhood is the most complex I think. Same parents, same influences but totally different responses and reactions.

Susan Lyons/Fox said...

Jodie said, re sisters, "Same parents, same influences but totally different responses and reactions."

Ah, but I think the influences are different - in part because of birth order. For example, the oldest child often has more pressure, and may be treated like an "only" until another comes along. Each kid, as they come along, struggles to some extent to find their unique place and role in the family. Yes, it's the same house, same food, etc., but I think the influences can be quite different. That's one of the things I'm having so much fun with in my Wild Ride to Love series.