September 11, 2013

Guest Blogger:  Sofia Harper

Today, while I'm celebrating a family member's birthday, author Sofia Harper is taking over my blog.  Sofia's eBook, Hot Knights in Paradise (love that play on words), was released this past Monday from Entangled Publishing's Indulgence imprint.

Stranded in paradise with no way to get home, Leah Smith needs a miracle, and fast. Instead, she gets Marshall Jackson, surely the sexiest man alive. Too bad he's got an emotional wall around himself--and her only hope of getting off the island...

Marshall has a strict no-damsels-in-distress policy, but there's something about Leah that makes him want to break his own rules. He agrees to let her work in his bar until she earns enough to get home. But the more time they spend together, the harder it is to deny the scorching attraction between them. Soon hot island nights provide balm to their wounded souls, but will these two flawed exiles make peace with the past in time to claim the future they deserve together--or will paradise be lost?
Sofia is here to talk about her inspiration for writing this particular book, and she brought along an excerpt for your reading pleasure.  Take it away, Sofia...and readers, be sure to share your travel horror stories in the comments!
How A Premise Is Born

I can tell you about how the theme and heart of Hot Knight in Paradise came to be. Not down to the day. I'm not that good. The premise is somewhat more fuzzy. It was a thought, a realization after I lost my cell phone—I didn't know anyone's number. My mother tells me this is a shame because my grandmother's number has been the same for forty years. I am a child of this new technology age and I have no clue what anyone's number is.

If I were to get stranded in another country without ID, money (debit cards included) or passport...Let's just say I could send out emails for help. (Well, on one account, because I can't remember the passwords to any of the others.) Isn't that frightening thought? Well, it was for me. So I researched this very conundrum.

The results were scarier. In California, at least, it can take up to two months to get a new ID. Three weeks for a new birth certificate to get so you can get a new passport. And that's hoping that you can get your bank to send you a new bank card from an address in a new and foreign country. If you have an address you can send it to, mind you.

Now, I was troubled by this beyond reason because I know my luck. I am that person who loses their luggage whenever they travel. If X isn't likely to happen, then X happens to me within five minutes. And that's when the writer in me sat up because this idea became a breeding ground of plot bunny potential. And then I started to make my happy laugh, which sounds like mwahahahahaha.

Poor Leah. She never had chance once that idea got hold of me. She was bound to be the walking epitome of Murphy's Law. Since my laugh is only evil when it's happy, I rectified her luck. On top of that she had Marshall, which I can say is pretty darn...everything good about a man once you get past his initial grumpiness. He is a man who is sweet and is slightly dirty.

Anyway, that's how this premise was born. And if you plan to travel, remember someone's phone number.

Tell me about some of your travel horror stories, and be sure to check out the excerpt from Hot Knight in Paradise below!
Sofia Harper started writing contemporary romance a long, long time ago. When Sofia's not spending time with imaginary people in her head, she's corrupting two little trouble makers. Currently she lives in California, where the wine is good. She also going full-throttle on the ride called publishing. These two thoughts are not related.

You can check out her out here:

Twitter hashtag:  @sofiaharp

Excerpt, Hot Knight in Paradise:

She sighed. “It’s a long story.”

“I’ve got nothing else to do until the others make it.” The unmistakable scent of smoke thickened the air in the bar. That probably explained why his voice came out raspy.

To add insult to injury, his brown eyes filled with amusement. In this light, his skin was a bit lighter, but definitely very sun-kissed and beautifully, deeply bronzed. He kept his hair short, cut into a fade. His well-worn shorts, loose-fitting shirt, and relaxed temperament fit this strange place. Nothing adorned the old-school wood paneling, but there were tables, chairs, and liquor.

The place was a dive trying and failing to be a bar. And Marshall was trying and failing to be charming. She wasn’t going to tell the man her life story, not after he’d let a mugger ride off into the sunset with her purse. She’d had the situation under control until he showed up.

More or less.

She kept a tight, polite smile on her face and lifted the twenty to show him she planned to be a paying customer. “That’s for the drink.”

He shook his head. “I’m not taking your money.” She started to speak, and he talked over her. “Until you tell me how you ended up here.”

She sized him up again. Despite the seedy atmosphere and his current appearance, he had a preppy air to him. Strange thought, but she dealt with banking bigwigs with MBAs in her job as a home loan modifier, and it gave her a sixth sense for preppy. The twenty itched in her hand. Maybe she’d rubbed up against an exotic form of poison ivy when she’d done her stop, drop, and roll.

She shook her head—once, twice—and then slapped the twenty onto the counter. It surprised her when the wood didn’t buckle. The deceptively sturdy counter took up most of the space along the left wall. “I’m not here to spill my guts. Take the money.”

A smile spread across his face, and the power of the sudden mischievous quality made her blink. 

“Okay.” He straightened, leaving behind a musky, masculine scent. “If you won’t talk about yourself, put in on the poker game.”

That kind of smile could talk a woman into just about anything. Her blood sang with attraction, and it made her head swim. Down, girl. 


Marshall shook his head. “I’m not letting you off that easy. I risked my life to save yours. You owe me.”

“Didn’t ask you to,” she said.

His jaw clenched. “Some things you shouldn’t have to ask for.”

A bitter laugh spilled from her lips. “Just like there are some things you don’t. Like bossy men with a hero complex who work in dives.”

His eyes narrowed, and she bit her lip. His gaze dropped to her mouth. She held her breath.

“True,” he said. “Now fess up. How did you end up on the side of the road getting robbed? ”

What would it hurt? He wasn’t likely to tell anyone—not when he seemed to be hiding here himself. What man would opt to live in a place that looked like this? Someone running, that’s who.  And what the hell? If she wasn't going to gamble or finish the entire contents of the glass in front of her, she might as well live a little and do something daring, like open up.

She put an elbow on the counter, placing her chin in her palm. “Where should I start? I’ve never confessed to a bartender before.”

“Start where you think your story starts.”

Her life really started the day she’d made a blood pact with her cousin Janet to never settle for mediocre and to never lose her sense of adventure. Also, whoever lost their virginity first had to retell the story in painstaking detail.

Leah settled on, “I was born in a one-room shack.”

He scoffed at the lie. “Fast-forward just a little bit. I’m more curious how someone like you ended up in my bar.”

“Dive,” she corrected. “It’s a dive.”

“I would be insulted if I didn’t agree.” He tilted his chin up, gesturing to the other side of the room, where a cluster of tables sat together. “I have regulars, and I have people who end up lost." He mused for a moment. "Or troublemakers."
Hot Knight in Paradise is available at Amazon and Barnes & Noble.  Download your copy today!


Melissa Blue said...

Thanks for having me, Bettye!