By Jeffe Kennedy, author of UNDER HIS TOUCH
When I began drafting Under His Touch, which is my ninth book for Carina, I did something I’d never done before. I sent my editor an email and said “here’s where I want to go with this story – is any of it TOO much?”
You see, I’d sold this story on spec, which means I wrote up a few paragraphs saying in general who the characters were and what the story would be about. I’d had the story idea for several years. By the time I got around to actually writing it, I discovered that it wanted to go to edgier, darker places than I’d realized. Fortunately my editor told me to go for it. She confessed to one kink-squick and I told her I’d make her love it.
I really loved – and angsted over – writing this story of 22 year-old Amber falling for her 44 year-old, Brit-in-New-York boss, Alec Knight. This is the first time I’ve written a story where mutual passion and obsession overcomes good sense. As someone who’s worked in corporate culture for a good chunk of my life, and who is now in upper middle management, I’m well aware of the consequences of workplace sexual harassment. I’m on the side of being smart and using common sense. As a romance writer, I found it much easier than I had anticipated to dig out the emotions that would overpower that. In particular, I needed to find what would push Alec, a man of tremendous integrity, over the edge into questionable choices.
Turns out it took Amber, with all her determined and enthusiastic yearning.
One of the other first steps I took in writing this book, was to talk to, Mary, the Human Resources Director at my day job company. It was a funny conversation and I worried at first that she’d come down on my for my questions. Though the people I work with know what I write, we don’t discuss it that much – and with my position in the company, I’m not supposed to be at all unclear about our sexual harassment policy.
Instead, she took my hypothetical situation very seriously and we talked about Alec and Amber as if they were our colleagues, caught up in an intense love affair that crosses a number of workplace and personal lines. In fact, Mary had such wise and wonderful advice, ways of handling the situation that brought humanity to the process, that my respect for her only grew. I tried to infuse her voice into those discussions as much as possible.
In the end, I convinced myself that what Alec and Amber found in each other is far more potent than any other consideration – career, age, or social expectations. That surprised me, but now I believe.
Maybe love does conquer all! What do you think – what would it take to get you to cross those lines?
Amber Dolors knows better than to get involved with her boss. Devastatingly handsome in his sharp suits and sexy beyond belief, he possesses an air of command that fuels her darkest fantasies. But she’s worked too hard to get this job, and keeping it will lead to a brilliant future. She won’t cross that line–even if his way of giving orders and demanding her best performance gives her delicious warm shivers.
Alexander Knight prides himself on his integrity and self-discipline. After all, he hasn’t risen to the position he enjoys by indulging his whims over ambition. He also isn’t blind. He’s certainly noticed his sharp, young assistant is hot as hell. His self-imposed sexual hermitage doesn’t stop him from watching her. And endlessly fantasizing.
The day Alec’s cool reserve cracks and Amber catches a glimpse of something simmering beneath his apparent indifference is the day everything between them changes. Alec gives her what she’s been looking for sexually–as masterful in the bedroom as he is in the boardroom. He finds himself in the grip of an affair that tests even his boundaries, while Amber’s new role as willing student pushes them both past any consideration other than mutual longing.
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Jeffe Kennedy is an award-winning author whose works include non-fiction, poetry, short fiction, and novels. She has been a Ucross Foundation Fellow, received an Arts Council Fellowship for Poetry, and a Frank Nelson Doubleday Memorial Award. Her essays have appeared in many publications, including Redbook.
She lives in Santa Fe, New Mexico, with two Maine coon cats, plentiful free-range lizards and a handsome Doctor of Oriental Medicine. She is represented by Connor Goldsmith of Fuse Literary.
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