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- Lynne ConnollyOct 1, 2013
Last month was really busy, what with the release of Fascinating Rhythm, and then, at the end of the month, In The Mood going free! It actually grazed the overall top 100 list, so I’m delighted with the results of that. It’s still on offer, so if you want it, head on to your local Amazon, or All Romance Ebooks, or Nook, or the Ellora’s Cave website. It should be free at your favourite outlet.
I am so happy with the offer because I love to share what I do with as many people as I can. That’s one of the main reasons I write.
We’re definitely into autumn now. Lovely. I don’t really like it when it’s too hot, so it’s a bit strange that I choose to spend time in Texas in late spring every year, but I have this love for Texas, engendered by the people I know who live there and the beauty of the place. Not the heat or the flying cockroaches, though. Not too happy about those.
I’ve just booked my flight for next year’s RT Convention. Before the convention, I’m going to spend a week enjoying the delights of New Orleans with a friend, Cait Miller. We are going to paint the town red, white and blue! But if you have any handy hints as to what to do there, let us know! After the convention, I’m spending a week with gorgeous Desiree Holt and a week with the equally gorgeous Kathryn Falk. Because I can and because they’re two of the most amazing women I have ever met. I’m very lucky to know them both.
Writing – well, I spent most of the month finishing off and tidying up the unexpected end to the Nightstar series. With the fourth book out, I’m delighted by the response, and the people who have written to me asking me about Chick, the band’s manager. I introduced him as a secondary character, had no intention of writing his story, but here he is, bold as brass, demanding that I learn more about him. Chick has no fashion sense in that he dresses in chain store shirts, and orders them by the dozen, has two suits to his name, one of them a tux, and lets his beard and hair grow until they irritate him and then he visits the nearest barber. Until he appears on TV and reads the responses. I used to be a watcher of “The X Factor,” but it’s grown too game-show for me, and the latest twist in the UK is too cruel to watch, but I got a lot of material from the show, and some of it comes out in this book. Similarly shows like “The Voice” and “American Idol.” There’s a lot of drama in those shows, some manufactured, some wrung out of the poor victims/contestants, so I used that in Chick’s story. However the heroine isn’t a contestant – she’s a fellow judge. The story only starts there, so don’t worry, it’s not a story about talent shows, it’s firmly about Chick and Murder City Ravens play a part in his story. It does give me a chance to revisit some of my favourite characters, but they’re there for a reason, they’re not there as extras.
So last night I got an idea. I have only a vague notion where it’s going to take me, but now that Chick’s story (he has another name, Mark, which he uses in private!) is done for now, I want to follow it for a few days and see if it has legs. It’s a contemporary, with compelling characters, and I know what their problems are and where they need to go. Now I need to follow them there!
I’ve bitten the bullet and transferred my website to a new server. You shouldn’t see any difference, except that now it reads http://lynneconnolly.com in the address bar, instead of the Virgin address, but it seems to load faster for me. If any of you have any problems, please let me know.
In a week or two, Liquid Crystal, part of the Department 57 series is coming out at a cheaper price with a new cover. It’s the first of the Crystal miniseries, and the others are still available at Loose-Id. I want to write more stories about the agents at the Department, and I have some ideas, but I need to work on them first.
So I’ll leave you with an extract from Liquid Crystal and a look at the new cover. Au revoir, mes amis!
Back cover copy:
Learn the Secrets of Underwater Loving - Times Two!
An unseen, unsuspected enemy rises up to threaten Crystal's life, until her old friends, Bryn and Kai, rescue her from an unexpected and unwelcome plunge into the Thames. When they all sleep in the same bed, the passion they wake in each other is as amazing as it is inevitable. When Bryn and Kai reveal their secret - they are mermen - and show Crys the secrets of underwater loving, the passion they release is incredible.
But their enemy still chases them, and now Crys, Bryn and Kai are in danger of their lives. Even in a city as busy and modern as London, England, old enemies lurk and old secrets hide.
“If you want to see Crystal Miller alive again, you’ll come to Vauxhall Bridge now. You’ve got ten minutes.”
The caller cut the connection. Numbly, Bryn stared at the screen, willing it to tell him more before his brain clicked into action. “No time to contact Grady, but I think we just got our answer. Geoff does know more than he should about us, and he has friends.”
Kai groaned. “The PHR.”
“Yep, most likely.” The association of purists that wanted all Talents dead. “And they’ve got Crys.”
“They won’t hurt her, surely?”
“We can’t put anything past these bastards, and we can’t risk this being a crank call. Come on!”
He broke into a trot, then a run, heading for the bridge half a mile away. People stopped to stare after them, but apart from briefly regretting the attention they were drawing, Bryn ignored them. He had far more important things to think of.
Ten minutes proved to be the right amount of time for them to get there, and time for Bryn to think things through. Unlike a certain US president, he could run and think at the same time, just as well considering his job as a field agent for a covert organization known as Department 57.
The party had probably been packed with PHR members, and they’d all been watching him and Kai. Bryn had assumed it was the novelty of having a full-on, fully out gay couple at a company do, but he should have known better. Nobody gave a man in leather pants a second glance these days. Resenting being the floor show, Bryn hadn’t scanned properly, but he was glad he’d kept his telepathic mental barriers well closed except for Kai and Crys.
Damn. Fuck and damn. That’s why Geoff had created the disruption at the party, to draw him out. They must have a sensitive on their side.
Crys was their friend, had always befriended them. PHR or not, she was in danger and they had to help her.
Bryn was scarcely out of breath when the bridge came in sight, the familiar arched structure the most welcome thing he ever wanted to see. Kai, just behind him, heaved a couple of deep breaths and paused. “Should we split up? You go up to the bridge, and I stay here?”
“No, not yet. We need to assess the scene first.” Taking the rest of the distance at a fast walk, they scanned the parapets above them.
They saw it at the same time.
Three men carrying a heavy burlap bag, something ominously still slumped inside the folds. To a casual onlooker, it could be an animal, a bundle of cloth, even a large bag of potatoes, but Bryn knew better. Inside that bag lay the body of Crystal Miller, bound and trussed. He scanned them and found her. She was in the sack, struggling, half her mind blank with terror, the other half bemused and -- yes, drugged. Bryn tried to contact her telepathically, but he couldn’t get a hold on her mind. She was too far gone for that.
Kai went still as he, too, scanned and discovered her. They were going to throw her in.
“They want us to show ourselves. Doubtless they have men with cameras, and access to the security cameras around here.” Kai’s words were hardly above a murmur.
“Then they’re going to be disappointed. They think we’ll change as soon as the water hits our skin, but we’ll dive down first. What they’ll see is two men jumping in the river. It’s murky enough down there to hide what we do when we’re deep enough.”
Kai’s short, mirthless laugh told him better than any words that he’d understood.
The incessant noise of traffic surrounded them, such a constant they barely registered it any more. Even at two a.m., London was alive with people. And yet such things happened right under their noses.
“Keep your mind locked completely down now,” Bryn warned. “They could have sensitives. We had to scan them to find Crys. Let’s not give them anything else.”
Kai snorted. “Sensitives. That’s not what I’d call them. Damn, it’s too cold for this!” Bryn glanced to the side, never taking the major part of his attention off the trio on the bridge, and saw Kai wince in the cold autumn air when he stripped off his T-shirt. His nipple rings glinted in the moonlight as he bent to unzip his pants and kick off his boots. “I’m putting my key chain around my neck, with my pocketknife and wallet. Other than that, I think I’ll be shopping for boots pretty soon.”
“Yeah.” It burned to lose his clothes, but one way or another they had to go. Bryn stripped off his top and dumped it, ignoring the curious glances of the passersby. As they watched, the men heaved the bundle that was Crys up onto the parapet. It teetered, wavering on the edge, before it plunged down to the river below, landing with a deep splash. Both men felt Crys’s shock when she hit the water.
“Fuck!” Kai was the first to dive. Bryn heard a shout from the bridge before he leaped in the air to come down into the cold, muddy water.
The Thames was a large, turbulent body of water, and these days it was illegal to dump anything in it, much less a human being, but the riverbed was littered with iron bedsteads, old bicycles, and more esoteric items of junk, which now included Bryn’s trousers and his cell phone. He’d have to start carrying a key chain long enough to hang around his neck, like Kai. He blinked, finding it hard to keep his eyes open in his human form, and shuddered against the deep chill that struck right through to his bones.
A flash of bright hair showed him where Kai was waiting for him. Even in his human form, Kai was a strong swimmer, better than he was. Glancing up, Bryn took the chance he had to take, and changed into his other form.
His tail whipped out behind him, ripping away what was left of his clothes, but in this form the chilly water didn’t freeze his skin, and his eyes became the eyes of a sea creature, easily able to see for distances in even the murkiest water. He took a deep breath through his gills, now open, situated just behind his ears. Kai had already changed, and waited, the blue-green scales of his great tail gleaming in the dim light.
Bryn didn’t want to risk more telepathy. They were still too close to their enemies to take the chance, if they had a sensitive on their team. They’d taken enough already, and if they spoke mentally now, a sensitive this close could detect them. At this depth, all any onlooker could see would be a great fish, but he fuzzed so anyone looking at him would see what they expected to see, not what was really there. He’d been reported to the authorities as a stray dolphin more than once.
Making as little disturbance in the water as he could, in the hope he would avoid stirring up problems above and below, Bryn raced to the site under the bridge where the sack fell.
And there she was. Nestled between an old bicycle and a lump of ancient timber lay the sack. With a sinking feeling, Bryn saw it wasn’t moving. It had moved on the bridge, but now it lay still. Pray God they weren’t too late.
Kai got there first. His knife flashed as he sliced down the burlap, and Bryn was there to help him drag her out.
Crys. His heart plummeted, but he went into action, nonetheless. They must have found her within two minutes of her hitting the water, although it felt much longer to him. He glanced at his watch. Two minutes and counting.
Grabbing her head, he tore off the piece of duct tape, sighing with relief when a stream of bubbles poured out of her mouth. That tape might just have saved her life, preventing her losing all the breath in her lungs when she hit the water. Bryn lost no time. He sealed his mouth over hers, pinching her nose, and blew. Using his gills he could take oxygen from the water, and this was what he gave her now.
Her lungs gave, taking in what he offered. Bryn blocked everything else from his mind and concentrated. He took one breath for him, one for her, not drawing it into his system, but expelling it straight into her lungs.
The rhythm established, he opened his eyes and watched Kai. He’d cut the cord away from her body, but a chain wrapped around her several times, attached to a padlock meant to hold her down or hold them up. Or both. He concentrated on breathing for her and watched Kai use the extra strength given him in his merman form to wrench the chain apart and shake it away from the bag.
He broke the telepathic silence. We have to get away. This is a trap!
As he passed the communication, he felt Kai’s response, Not without Crys, and something feathery touched his shoulder.
A net. They’d dropped a weighted net down to trap them all.
Look for Liquid Crystal on Amazon later in October!
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Lynne Connolly, author of sophisticated and sensual romance
Lynne Connolly, author of sexy, sophisticated romance