Ten Songs To Get You In The Mood For Dark And Sinfully Sexy Romance

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By Laura Carter, author of VENGEFUL LOVE: BLACK DIAMONDS

My debut series, Vengeful Love, is full of corruption, angst and hot romance. That’s a lot of fun to write but it can be a tricky combination of emotions to switch between. It’s difficult to be my sassy heroine, Scarlett Heath, one minute and my devastatingly attractive billionaire, Gregory Ryans, the next. When I need to be in a certain frame of mind for my characters I find it helpful to listen to music. And sometimes, if the song I’m listening to is just perfect for the scene, I’ll also write it into the book.

Here are a few snippets from my dark and sinfully sexy playlist for the Vengeful Love series.

Five songs referenced in the books:

  1. Frank Sinatra’s “I’ve Got You Under My Skin”.

This is the song playing the first time Scarlett and Gregory dance together at a black tie dinner (Vengeful Love).


  1. Massive Attack’s “Teardrop”.

Now this is a sex song! (Vengeful Love).


  1. Thirty Seconds to Mars’s “Kings and Queens”.

This song is playing in the car when Gregory whisks Scarlett away to the English countryside for the weekend (Vengeful Love: Deception).


  1. Shakepeare’s Sister’s “Stay”.

This track accompanies my favourite intimate scene of the entire series. There’s a four post bed, a kimono belt tie and a feather tickler. I listened to this song on loop for around five hours whilst I wrote the scene (Vengeful Love: Deception).


  1. The Killers’s “Mr. Brightside”.

Scarlett’s university party piece and, seemingly, what she chooses to dance to after a rum punch too many (Vengeful Love: Black Diamonds).


Five songs I used to get into the mindset of my characters:


  1. James Bay’s “Incomplete”.

For those difficult times in Scarlett and Gregory’s turbulent relationship.


  1. Norah Jones’s “The Long Day is Over”.

I listened to this a lot when writing the first part of Vengeful Love: Deception. It’s exactly how Scarlett feels when her actions have led to catastrophic consequences for her and Gregory.


  1. Ed Sheeran’s “Tenerife Sea”.

Okay, I can’t share this fully because I don’t want to include a spoiler. But…there’s a scene in Vengeful Love: Black Diamonds, on a beach in the Caribbean. I think you’ll know it when you get there :-)


  1. Vanessa Carlton’s “Pretty Baby”.

Scarlett is falling hard and fast for Gregory with this one.


  1. Yiruma’s “May Be”.

I listened to this track a LOT when writing the end of Vengeful Love: Black Diamonds. It makes me cry just thinking about the closing chapters and listening to this music.


0516_9781459290457_VengefulLoveBlackDiamonds_WebVENGEFUL LOVE: BLACK DIAMONDS by Laura Carter

Vengeful Love, book three

The final, heart-pounding installment of the darkly suspenseful, sinfully sexy Vengeful Love series

I loved him with all of me.

It wasn’t enough.

Gregory Ryans was everything I wanted, but he didn’t trust me with the truth.

When I walked away from him, I should have known Gregory would follow. For a man like him, walking away—no matter the odds—is never an option.

He’s come to offer me the deal of a lifetime: his heart. All his secrets. Him. Forever.

But at what cost?

The past refuses to stay buried. There are things about his family, dangerous things even Gregory didn’t know.

This time, we’ll have to fight together to save what we’ve built. To show our enemies that love like ours can’t be destroyed.

I believe that.

Does he?

Editor’s Note: The Vengeful Love trilogy is best read in order: Vengeful Love, Vengeful Love: Deception, Vengeful Love: Black Diamonds.


Laura is a lawyer by day. By night she writes dark and sinfully sexy romance novels. Her debut trilogy, Vengeful Love, combines her love of devastatingly attractive billionaires, sassy alpha females, dry martinis and everything high and fast.

Connect with Laura!

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Piper J. Drake’s Top Three Asian Hero Inspirations

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By Piper J. Drake, author of DEADLY TESTIMONY

Recently, Attn: posted a video asking the question, “Do you Find Asian Guys Sexy?”

My answer is yes. Absolutely.

In fact, I would be very happy to share with you my current top inspirations for my Asian heroes, like Kyle Yeun of Deadly Testimony.


1) Lee Byung-hun

His role as Han Cho Bai in Red 2 was the primary inspiration for Kyle Yeun’s business look and attitude. I also loved his appearance in the G.I. Joe movies as Storm Shadow. This is a man who is equally delicious in a tuxedo as he is in ripped up clothing ready for an action scene.

He’s handsome and sophisticated, refined and physically imposing in the best of ways.

2) Pirath Nitipaisankul (พิรัชต์ นิธิไพศาลกุล) – Mike D’Angelo

Mike D’Angelo caught my attention in the Thai drama, Kiss Me, as Thatrapee Warophat “Tenten”. I then dove in and binged Full House, in which Mike plays himself in this Thai rendition of a very popular plotline.

Not only is this actor hot, well-spoken, social media savvy, and charming…he’s a singer too. I dare you to check out his YouTube videos. While I enjoy the music from the original soundtrack of Full House (Thai version), he has some saucier music videos following on the style of the K-pop star, Rain.

3) Daniel Dae Kim

From Lost to Hawaii Five-0, here’s another man who looks just as good in a suit as he does in jeans. He’s also multi-talented. I love the way he can go from polished to rough-and-ready in any given show and still keep me captivated. Several of his scenes have given me plot bunnies for future book series.

What heroes do you find sexy?

0516_9781459290457_WebDEADLY TESTIMONY by Piper J. Drake

A Safeguard Novel, book two

The stakes have never been higher as an elite team member must outwit a dangerous killer and save the man she’s sworn to protect. The second installment of the exhilarating Safeguard series from Piper J. Drake.

Kyle Yeun didn’t start out bad and he doesn’t intend to end his life while on the wrong side of the law, either. His testimony to his former employer’s environmental misdeeds has earned him a protection detail compliments of the US government. But due to a dark international conspiracy Kyle was unaware of, his former employers have made ending his life a top priority. Realizing he needs more protection than the US Marshals can provide, he turns to Safeguard after seeing the beautiful, deadly Lizzy Scott in action.

One look at Kyle, and sniper Lizzy Scott knows this isn’t going to be an easy protection job. He’s arrogant, irritating and almost irresistible. Instead of being put off by her hardened attitude, Kyle seems to thrive off the challenge. And she’s slowly giving in to his charms.

After narrowly escaping the latest assassination attempt, Lizzy starts taking dangerous risks to keep him safe. But the last thing Kyle wants is another life ruined because of his actions. He found his redemption in Lizzy’s arms and he’ll risk everything to make sure they both make it out alive. As will she, even if it means walking away from him to keep him safe.


Play Find the Piper around the Internet for insight into her frequent travels and inspirations for her stories.

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When Sex and Love are One and the Same

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By Anna del Mar, author of AT THE BRINK

Let’s face it: In the age of hook-up apps, sex and love rarely go together. No judgment here. Most of us have ditched the trappings of the medieval sex age and embraced the benefits of safe, consensual sex. But as an erotic romance writer, I’m always looking for that extra sizzle that takes it up a few notches and elevates the thrill and excitement of the sexual act into the realm of the blissfully sublime.

I do that in two ways. First, I choose to tell a story where sex is not just a want; it’s a need—a compulsion birthed from the soul and translated to the flesh, a healing force born of the merger of our strengths and weaknesses. Second, I want to tell a story where sex matters, where the act is the vehicle and love is the ultimate destination.

It’s a tall order, I know, but I had a blast doing just that as I wrote At the Brink, a smart, sexy, high-impact, contemporary erotic romance, the first in my series about wounded warriors who enter into a sexual agreement only to discover love’s extraordinary healing power.

Josh Lane, decorated war hero and former SEAL, has transformed himself into one of Boston’s richest and most successful entrepreneurs. He is blunt, ruthless, intense and exacting, a workaholic driven by internal demons, a man who doesn’t play games, except in bed, of course, where he is always in control. When a business associate approaches him with an unusual—not to mention scandalous—trade, Josh isn’t interested, until he meets the woman at the center of the proposal. His meticulously constructed world goes to hell when he shakes hands with Lily Boswell.

Lily Boswell teeters at the brink of disaster. A talented but stifled artist, she’s trapped in a loveless marriage, exhausted from working to make ends meet and crippled by severe bouts of anxiety. She has no idea how to reclaim her life, passions and freedom—that is, until her scheming husband persuades her to enter into a sexual agreement with the enigmatic Josh Lane.

What follows is a tale of intrigue and sexual obsession, where Josh and Lily rely on each other to overcome the dangers of a ruthless world filled with hostile takeovers, cyber espionage, spurned lovers and betrayal. But here’s the key to all the action and what makes this novel different and unique: While these two are exploring sex, kink and everything in between, unbeknown to themselves, they’re also discovering their mutual secrets, confronting their fears and healing together. For them, love is sex and sex is their love’s greatest expression.

It all goes to show that love and sex are not always the same, but when they join together, they transform into a powerful, life-changing force.

27865209AT THE BRINK by Anna del Mar

At the Brink, book one

A Story of Sexual Obsession


I should never have agreed to it.

A woman will do a lot to keep her husband happy. But when my husband sells me to the highest bidder—billionaire, former navy SEAL, pride of Boston’s business scene—I agree, not to keep him happy, but because it gives me the chance to finally escape. Escape my marriage, escape my debts, escape my life…

Josh Lane demands a steep price: my pride and my morals. But the truth is, I’ve never felt anything like what I feel for him. He brings color into my gray world. And his insistence that I submit to his commands—his depraved, filthy, amazingcommands—only feeds my craving to be taken by him. Again. And again.

I should never have agreed to it, but I’m so glad I did.


I don’t need to pay to keep women in my bed. Though my preferences may be unorthodox, I never leave a woman unsatisfied—far from it. Lily Boswell, though… Her innocence draws me, her secrets intrigue me. Having her is worth dealing with her cowardly scum of a husband.

I want to release her passions and heal her wounds.

On my terms.

Because the blindfolds and restraints hide more than she could imagine. I must keep her safe from the people who would destroy me—and the demons that haunt my dreams.

Anna del Mar writes hot, smart romances that soothe the soul, challenge the mind, and satisfy the heart. Her stories focus on strong heroines struggling to find their place in the world and the brave, sexy, kickass, military heroes who defy the limits of their broken bodies to protect the women they love. She is the author of The Asset (Carina Press), the first novel of her Wounded Warrior series and three other novels scheduled for release during 2016.

A Georgetown University graduate, Anna enjoys traveling, hiking, skiing, and the sea. Writing is her addiction, her drug of choice, and what she wants to do all the time. The extraordinary men and women she met during her years as a Navy wife inspire the fabulous heroes and heroines at the center of her stories. When she stays put—which doesn’t happen very often—she lives in Florida with her indulgent husband and two very opinionated cats.

Excerpt: DIDN’T YOU PROMISE by Amber Bardan

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Have you fallen head-over-heels in love with Angelina and Haithem in DIDN’T I WARN YOU? Their story continues in DIDN’T YOU PROMISE, available June 2016. But you can read an excerpt now!

Preorder your copy now!

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_0816_9781459291997_Didnt_You_Promise_WebDIDN’T YOU PROMISE by Amber Bardan

A Bad for You Novel, book two

He always keeps his promises.

Angelina has sacrificed everything to be with the man she loves. Forced to abandon her family, and even her own identity, Angelina depends on Haithem as never before. With no more secrets between them, Haithem has become the source of all her needs. Sexually. Emotionally.

But not even Haithem can hide forever.

While they’re sneaking across borders, avoiding persecution from everyone who would see Haithem dead and his prototype stolen, the media fascination surrounding Angelina’s disappearance continues to mount.

For Angelina, it’s a brutal reminder of what she’s left behind and the pain she’s caused to those who believe her dead or held against her will.

To Haithem, it’s a warning: he stands to lose the one person left in his life he loves beyond measure. The hunt won’t be called off until his enemies have destroyed him, his life’s work and everyone involved—including Angelina.

He has only one choice. He’s promised to protect her. And Haithem always keeps his promises.

Five Things We’ve Learned About Writing and Publishing

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By Jenn Burke and Kelly Jensen, authors of PHASE SHIFT

With the Chaos Series all wrapped up, we thought we’d share a few things we’ve learned along the way.

Draft Zero

All a first draft need do is exist. It shouldn’t be perfect, but simply a translation of thoughts to the page. Once it’s finished, read it with that in mind. Make notes as you write. Leaving those revisions to the next round will help you draft more quickly.

Love Every Word

…but be prepared to sacrifice it for the greater good. No word written is ever wasted. Even if the most beautiful sentence you ever crafted never makes it into print, the act of writing it will make you a better writer.

Being objective about your words will really help during editing, too. Having your editor say that a subplot you love just isn’t working can be really hard to accept. But if you can look at it from a different angle and understand your editor wants to make your book stronger, it helps.


Take a step back, or sideways, when it’s time to proofread. Kelly prefers to read manuscripts on her Kindle to remove the temptation to edit as she goes. She’ll mark changes in notes to be entered into the manuscript file later. In comparison, Jenn uses the text-to-speech functionality of Microsoft Word to have the computer read the manuscript to her. Both methods are great at picking up more echoes, inconsistencies, repetitions and redundancies. (Also, hearing sex scenes or expletives read in a robotic voice never gets less funny.)

Write the Stories You Want to Read

If you don’t love it, neither will your reader. Readers want the stories that make authors laugh, cry and shift to the edge of their seat. The ones that make you feel good as you write them.

Don’t be afraid to put something of yourself into your characters or story—whether it’s a personal like or dislike, or otherwise drawn from real life. It helps to anchor the story.

Be Realistic About Your Expectations

If you’re writing in a subgenre of a subgenre, you need to be realistic about how many books you’re going to sell. You might write the book that breaks all the barriers—but probably not. Being realistic at the get-go will help you have a healthy outlook on your career’s progress.

Finally, nothing sells a book like writing another book. Keep writing, keep telling the stories you love, and when someone discovers you, they’ll be thrilled to also discover you have a backlist for them to buy.


PHASE SHIFT by Jenn Burke and Kelly Jensen

Book five of Chaos Station

Zander and Felix’s relationship has always pushed boundaries—personal and professional alike—but their love and commitment is stronger than ever. So strong that Zander’s ready to ask commitment-shy Felix the question of a lifetime when he’s interrupted. The Chaos is being hacked, and crucial, top secret information about the project that created Zander—and his fellow super soldiers—has been leaked.

Neither man could have expected the enormity of what’s discovered at the end of the data trail: an entire colony of super soldiers run by the very doctor who changed Zander’s life forever. And now she needs them both—Zander to train her new crop of soldiers, and Felix’s new crystalline arm to stabilize their body chemistry.

With help from the unlikeliest of allies, Zander, Felix and the Chaos crew must destroy the project and all its ill-gotten information. But when the team is split up and Felix is MIA after a dangerous run, galactic disaster is a very real possibility…and Zander may have missed his chance to ask for forever.



Jenn and Kelly met in 2009 through a mutual infatuation with a man who wasn’t real. After all but crashing the video game’s forums with daily dissection of their obsession, they started writing together, discovered they really liked writing together and began plotting stories in worlds of their own creation.

The CHAOS STATION series aren’t the first books they’ve written together, and they’re pretty sure they won’t be the last. As long as their so-called smartphones keep making autocorrects that trigger brainstorming sessions, they’ll have enough character ideas and plots to keep them writing for years to come.


Connect with Jenn: Twitter | Facebook | Website

Connect with Kelly: Twitter | Facebook | Website