Friday, December 22, 2017

In Heat of Tropics VBT

Amid a sweltering Miami summer, a serial killer is haunting the city. Reporter Ingrid Sorenson is assigned the story and her primary source is brusque detective Rick Gonzalez. The pair clash, but sparks of passion ignite. They risk their jobs to give in to their desire, but mistrust of each other’s career motives wedges them apart. Then Ingrid gets a tip that leads her into the killer’s lair. She and Rick must choose between saving themselves or rescuing their love.

She arrived before the police had erected a tent around the victim, and even standing at the mouth of the alley, she could see the silhouette of a man reclining at an odd angle in the driver’s seat of a minivan.

A man murdered in his car. Just like the John Killings. Could the John Killer have returned to mark the year anniversary of his last murder? She tried to control her excitement. If it was the serial killer, this would be a huge story. And she just happened to be working that night.

Then that detective had shown up, wrenching her incredibly good luck to incredibly bad inside two minutes. She still didn’t even know the guy’s name. But maybe he wouldn’t be working the case. Maybe he was just on duty and got the callout, and maybe it wouldn’t matter if he was on the case. Her primary contact at the P.D. was media relations. Still, it was a bad break. Developing a personal relationship with detectives was the way to scoops. She didn’t need him possibly poisoning other cops against her. 

The coroner’s tech was photographing the body and the car. Detective Asshole was standing with folded arms, watching. Every now and then, he turned in her direction—checking on her. With her initial excitement fading to disillusion, a wave of tiredness overcame her. She wiped her forehead with her forearm. The air had cooled at this time of night, but it was still muggy. She trudged back to her car, posted a two-sentence brief online about a suspicious death in an alley north of downtown from her phone and headed home.

As she raced down the normally traffic-choked U.S. 1, she recalled that whole embarrassing video incident.  As Mel had predicted, she’d been hauled into Marlena’s office the next day to give her side of the story. Thankfully, Marlena had concluded that it wasn’t Ingrid’s fault. Why would an undercover operative be so reckless as to show up at a media conference? Still, Ingrid had been nervous that it would be held against her when she applied for the police beat, but it hadn’t. Neither did it seem to matter to Major Montoya when Ingrid had gone to the station to introduce herself as the new Star reporter. The only person who held the grudge was the detective, although he seemed to have landed pretty well if he was investigating homicides.

Despite being an asshole, he was cute, hot actually. But being an arrogant jerk seemed to be the required personality trait of good-looking men, as if they knew handsome guys were in short supply and acted accordingly. Still, Ingrid wondered whether something could’ve developed between them if the video thing hadn’t happened.

She had felt a frisson of … what exactly, attraction? … in that look they’d shared, and he must’ve rushed to get to the door before she left the press conference for a reason. She stopped herself. What-ifs were nothing but a trap of despair.  They didn’t bear thinking about.

She pulled into the driveway, tires crunching over the carpet of red berries fallen from the palm trees in her front yard. She was due back at work in a few hours for her regular day shift. She’d get some sleep and head back to follow up the homicide. If she could break the story that the John Killer had returned, and stay ahead on the story after that, maybe she could nab a promotion to a coveted slot on the investigative team. Then she’d never have to worry about running into Detective Asshole again.

Why we are hooked on romance?

Why are we so hooked on reading romance? I’ve often pondered this conundrum. Before we even crack open the cover of a romance novel, we know the plot setup, who the main characters are going to be, and of course, the ending is a given, yet we still keep turning the pages and buying romance more than any other type of fiction. The enduring attraction to love stories defies logic, but I guess that’s the point its not rational, its emotional, something akin to the Movie Kleenex Syndrome. I dont know about you, but when a movie makes me cry, I usually come out of the theater saying what a great movie it was.

Still, what is it specifically about romance novels that makes our hearts go rat-tat-tat? I figured if I wanted to answer that question I would start by looking at who exactly reads romance. No surprise here. According to the Romance Writers of America, 91 percent of readers are female. Some other interesting factoids about half of romance readers are married, most are middle-class, aged 30 to 54, and nearly 40 percent in the South. In other words, we are kind of average. Hmm, okay, so we’re looking to escape our humdrum lives, but there’s tons of ways to do that. I still wasn’t getting to the nut inside the romance shell.

I took a closer look at romance novel covers, at those hunky handsome studs who most of us will never get to date, who never would’ve given us average gals a second look. But there’s something more than their looks they are alpha males, symbols of masculine virility, so testosterone-tough inside and outside that they are unattainable.

Since high school, I have been attracted to these types the bad boys, the rebels with a devil-may-care swagger. They straddled chairs turned backwards and held their cigarettes between a thumb and two fingers. They drove muscle cars with engines that gave off throaty rumbles. They were cute, they were cool, and they totally ignored me. What I would’ve given to have had a bad boy fall in love with me!

Flash forward a couple years (okay, way more than a couple), and I did manage to land a few bad boys along the way. Problem is bad boys make bad boyfriends. The fantasy doesn’t hold up.

But in romance novels, it does. The heroine attains the unattainable bad boy, albeit after a bit of a struggle we do have to have some plot twists and turns. But she wins his heart, she gets her man! And boy, does she get him she reels him in and strings him up like a two-hundred pound marlin at the Key West dock. He is totally, devotedly hers because we all know that when Bad Boy gives his heart, it will be true and forever. Bad boys may have lots of belt-notches, but not being sentimentally squishy, they have room only to love one woman.

We want to be the one who succeeds in penetrating the Teflon male’s heart, a feat that countless other women have fruitlessly tried to pull off. And we all want that Romeo-and-Juliet kind of adoration, to be loved utterly and completely, simply for the virtue of being who we are. An idealized version of love, to be sure, but immensely gratifying to us women. Let’s face it, even today, we have lower self-esteem than men. Taming men who still dominate and control the reins of power in our society is a boost to our collective ego.

Aha! That was it! I felt I was striking the right chord, but I was still missing a note. What about the female protagonist? She obviously plays a key role. Who is the woman who attains the unattainable?

Our heroines, I noticed, are both smart and sexy. They successfully reconcile society’s mixed messages about women. Attractive women are not taken as seriously in the professional world. Intelligent women, on the other hand, are not seen as sexy. To land a mate, we have to be provocative, to succeed in a career, we have to be almost gender-neutral. It often seems we have to choose between one persona or the other. In romance novels, femininity encompasses both beauty and brains. We want both and as it happens, Bad Boy wants both. Its a combination so seductive, so irresistible, that he pursues the heroine relentlessly.

My bottom line conclusion –romance fiction is really about female empowerment. It’s about women getting what they want (Bad Boy), being allowed to be who they are (smart and sexy), and boosting their self-esteem with unconditional acceptance (true love). That’s why we read romance.

Don’t forget to visit the other stops on the tour.

Author Bio and Links:
Christina Elliott is a former Miami newspaper reporter and editor. She now writes spicy romantic suspense novels from Los Angeles, where she’s glad to report there are far fewer bad-hair days but sadly far less Cuban coffee. She is a member of the Romance Writers of America.

Website    |    Twitter    |    Facebook

Buy Links:
Smashwords    |    Kobo    |    B&N    |    Amazon


  1. I really enjoyed reading the guest post, thank you!

    1. thanks for stopping by, Nikolina! have a great holiday!

  2. congrats on the tour and thanks for the chance to win :)

  3. What are your plans for Christmas. Thanks for the giveaway. I hope that I win. Bernie Wallace BWallace1980(at)hotmail(d0t)com

  4. sounds like a good book! thanks for the sharing!

  5. Thanks for hosting me today Emily, and happy holidays!

  6. Thanks for sharing the great post. Happy Holidays!!

    1. thanks for reading and enjoy your holiday, Victoria!

  7. Replies
    1. Thanks Gwendolyn, hope you'll check it out. Have a very happy holiday!

  8. I enjoyed reading the guest post today. Lots of interesting information!

  9. Looks like an interesting book.
    Thanks for the contest. 
    slehan at juno dot com

  10. I enjoy reading the excerpt! Thank you!

  11. Do you listen to music when you write?

  12. I really enjoyed your post. I never really thought about why I enjoy romance books.