People often ask me why I chose romance when I decided to write books. The answer was easy–it’s what I enjoy reading! And let’s face it, there’s nothing that makes my heart beat a little faster than a sexy hero (like Mr. Nina) and a romantic gesture.

I didn’t come at romance through the usual avenues of Judy Blume or sneaking Harlequin novels from my mother’s stash. Nope. I jumped right into romance around the age of 13 with The Thorn Birds by Colleen McCullough. What’s not to love about family saga, a forbidden love affair with a priest and illegitimate babies? This romance had it all! I was hooked. I spent summers throughout high school and college poring through every book of Danielle Steel’s and moving onto Nora Roberts (I bow to the queen of romance) and Sandra Brown.

It was through the works of Sandra Brown that I discovered I loved romantic suspense. Those books moved me into the realm of Jayne Ann Krentz (who also writes as Amanda Quick), James Patterson, Tess Gerritsen, Catherine Coulter and Lisa Gardner. Now romance can be found in every sub-genre, leading people (read that as men) to cry “foul” when they discover the paranormal book they loved by JR Ward, Larissa Ione or Jessica Andersen, is actually considered a romance. Why? Because romance still has the reputation for being mindless drivel with no plot (other than two characters angrily chasing each other across the pages until they tumble into bed and hopelessly fall in love with one another). They don’t realize romance characters are woman you can cheer on and men you love and ache for as they go through hard times. Some believe romance writing is “dumbed down” and flat. What?

Those of us reading/writing romance know those statements couldn’t be farther from the truth. There is everything available to us from the quick beach reads that allow our mind and hearts to lazily wander for an hour two, to the intense romances with a mystery villain on a killing spree which require our full attention to catch every nuance, to sexy reads bringing us into the world of erotic fantasy, to the dystopian worlds of the future. It’s all at the fingertips of the romance reader.

So what brings you to romance? Do you have a favorite sub-genre or are you more like me, flitting across the spectrum?

Please enjoy this excerpt from my sexy romantic suspense BLIND HER WITH BLISS available FREE from Amazon: (and all digital retailers)

“You ever ride a motorcycle, Julie?” Damon asked.

She pulled off the helmet and fluffed her hair. The corkscrew curls of copper fit her cute features much better than the black wig that had overpowered them.

“Not one this fast,”

He bit back a smile. “No, I meant any motorcycle.”

“Was it that obvious?” Color rose from her chest and deepened her already flushed cheeks.

“I like to be a woman’s first.” Shit. Even clean shaven and wearing his glasses, Demon’s persona had a bad habit of popping up at inopportune moments.

Julie stopped contemplating her toes and stared straight at him. Emotions moved over her face and clouded her eyes, but he didn’t know her well enough to read between the lines. He’d just met this wonderful woman. He hadn’t intended to scare her off.

“Julie, I—”

“No, Damon. You don’t have to apologize. I get it.”

He hadn’t thought her cheeks could become redder, but he was wrong.

“You have a lot of women available to you,” she said, quietly. “I’m sure they’re much more experienced than me.” She shrugged and fiddled with the strap of the helmet. “I’m sure you realize I don’t usually let go the way I did last night. And I know you weren’t really expecting the person you found at the family homestead?” She emphasized the last two words as if they were obscenities. “The Jewel of last night was more your speed. I get that.”

Oh, hell no. “No, Julie, I—”

Her hand flew up between them. “No, Damon, seriously, you don’t owe me anything. Obviously my father dragged you into an uncomfortable situation. Well, you’ve done your social obligation. I’m home safe and sound. I didn’t mean to disappoint, but I have a hard time living up to everyone’s expectations of who I should be. So, thanks. I get it. Good night.” The helmet landed in his lap.

“No, Julie, really, you don’t understand.” He yelled at her retreating back. “Julie, wait.” Damon attempted to jump from the bike, but the stand wasn’t down, and he had to juggle the extra helmet. “Damn it all to hell. Julie…” He finally managed to extricate himself from the bike and the helmets and caught her just as she pushed open the front door. “Please. I think you’ve misunderstood. Just give me a minute to explain. Then I’ll leave.”

Her arms knotted across her chest for protection. A wounded heart? He’d have to tread carefully. The emerald eyes shimmering in the waning light telegraphed her pain and embarrassment, but her lips were pursed thin with determination. The woman was a walking enigma. Damon suspected she had no idea how damn sexy she looked standing there, inviting him to explain himself—daring him to breach her defenses.

“Look, Julie. I’m not going to lie to you. Demon Jones is very popular with the ladies. Damon Corey…not so much. If you’re looking for the person I was last night, well, you’re in for a big surprise. He’s as fake as Santa Claus.”

The tip of her tongue darted out to wet her full lips. “I still believe in Santa Claus.”

She would. “The Easter bunny, then.”

“But he doesn’t try to pass himself off as anything but the chocolate peddler that he is. I don’t think any hearts have ever been broken by the Easter bunny.”

“Julie…” Damon’s hand found its way to her cheek, his fingers tangling in her hair. She smelled earthy and fresh, and he gulped in great breaths of heaven, not sure he could ever completely fill his lungs. He gauged her reaction as he leaned in, his gaze sweeping her rounded cheeks and pouty mouth. When he brushed his lips against Julie’s satin warmth, her eyes fluttered closed and he nibbled on her full bottom lip. A sweet moan of surrender escaped a moment before she opened for him. Their tongues tasted and explored, and he walked her backward into the living room to shut out any neighbor’s prying eyes.

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