|E.E. Burke, Author|
Friday, January 20, 2017
STEAM! ROMANCE AND RAILS, SERIES COLLECTION, NOW ON SALE FOR A LIMITED TIME!
Please welcome E. E. Burke, who shares part of her writing process and her releases.
Weave together passionate romance and rich historical detail, add a dash of suspense, and you have books by bestselling author E.E. Burke. Her chosen settings are the American West, and her latest series, The Bride Train, features a cast of unusual characters thrown together through a misguided bride lottery.
Other series include Steam! Romance and Rails, which follows the lives of dangerous men and daring women caught up in a cutthroat railroad competition. Her novella, Victoria, Bride of Kansas, part of the unprecedented American Mail-Order Brides series, is a Kindle Top 100 Bestseller and a semifinalist in the 2016 Kindle Best Book Awards.
E.E., also known as Elisabeth, has earned accolades in regional and national contests, including the RWA's prestigious Golden Heart®. Over the years, she’s been a disc jockey, a journalist and an advertising executive, before finally getting around to living the dream--writing stories readers can get lost in.
In 250 words or less, what can you tell us about your newest release?
Steam! Romance and Rails, The Series Collection
Passion and ambition collide in this collection of four steamy, suspenseful historical romances from award-winning author E.E. Burke.
HER BODYGUARD: A woman embroiled in intrigue employs a bodyguard to protect her from a killer, unaware that he’s an outlaw hired by her enemies to put a stop to her plans.
KATE'S OUTLAW: After a railroad heiress is abducted, one of her Indian captors inexplicably becomes her protector. On the run from danger, with enemies on both sides, they discover a love as powerful as it is forbidden.
A DANGEROUS PASSION: An inquisitive author sets out to expose a corrupt railroad baron and becomes ensnared in a deadly mystery and a dangerous passion.
FUGITIVE HEARTS: When a newly made widow tries to cover up the truth behind her husband’s violent death, her plan backfires, sending her fleeing from a hardened lawman determined to bring her to justice.
This special collection available for a limited time and is being offered this week at the super low price of $1.99. The set contains four full-length novels and each book costs $3.99 if purchased separately. This is a great deal, but it’s only good for a week.
What story are you working on next, and what inspired it?
Seducing Susannah, Book 4 in The Bride Train series, which is inspired by true events. I’m spinning off a new Contemporary Romance series that will feature five brothers who are descendants of one of my historical romance characters in The Bride Train series.
My first book in this new contemporary Western series will come out as part of a multi-author project called Magnolias & Moonshine. These short novellas set in Atlanta, where the 2017 RT Conference is being held this year, will be released in April.
I’m also in the early stages of researching and outlining my first full-length Contemporary Romance, which will kick off the Texas Hearts series. When I first decided to try my hand at Contemporary Romance, I thought the best setting would be one I’m already familiar with, Western. Although I’ve been writing Western Historical Romance for almost ten years (and three series), I’ve never written a book about a cowboy! I thought, why not modern day cowboys? And what if those cowboys have to turn their family’s working ranch into a love nest in order to save their lands? Just thinking about all the things they would face made me laugh. I visited a dude ranch near Dallas to do some research and realized I have a LOT more research I need to do. But I’ve had fun learning about modern day ranching and also looking at how a real ranch could be converted into a wedding venue and honeymoon retreat.
What is your favorite scene from one of your books?
In Her Bodyguard, the two main characters, Buck and Amy, are at a dinner party and the hostess announces they will be playing a popular Victorian game, Marriage. Participants pick names of literary or famous characters from a hat, and in those roles the men “woo” the women with the goal of being matched with a suitable mate. The losers pay forfeits, in this case, a kiss.
Amy has just become betrothed to Fletcher, a polished gentleman. But she’s fighting a fierce attraction to her rough-around-the-edges bodyguard, Buck. Although Buck is in love with Amy, he’s secretly committed to sabotage and knows she will hate him as soon as she figures out his intentions. That doesn’t stop him from wanting to prove to her that she’s engaged to the wrong man. Watch what happens when he ends up as her partner in the game.
Amy closed her eyes and reached into the hat.
Lord, make it Juliet.
Her fingers closed on a folded bit of paper. A shivering sensation danced across her skin. This had to be the one. Excited, she unfolded it, and then stared in horror at what was written.
There was no question where this had come from. Buck. The scoundrel.
Amy closed her eyes, listening to gasps and laughter as the other women made their selections. Romeo could make a good case for marriage to Venus—if Fletcher had drawn that character.
“Line up ladies, the gentlemen have already arranged themselves.”
Lizzie pushed Amy to the front. “As our honored guest, you must be first.”
Relief swept through her when she saw Fletcher move to the front.
Grinning beneath a walrus mustache, Charlie Goodlander caught his arm. “Let’s not make this game too predictable. It takes all the fun out of it.”
“True enough,” Lizzie retorted, with a sharp look at her husband as he took first place in line. “Amy, why don’t you come back here behind me?”
As everyone rearranged, Amy heaved a sigh. This was going to be a long night. If a woman turned down a man, she went to the next and the next until she had selected the most appropriate mate for her character. The remaining men were shuffled back through.
The game wore on, women and men pairing off until only four remained. Amy curled her fingers into fists to contain her nervousness. Maggie faced Fletcher. Her friend would turn him down, of course, and move on to Buck. Dear Maggie would take Buck even if he were Hades. This would leave Fletcher the last man standing, and Amy could easily accept his suit and not forfeit the game. It couldn’t be more perfect.
Maggie clasped her hands together and spoke in a voice so soft Amy had to strain to hear. “I am Juliet. Who comes to ask for my hand in marriage?”
Fletcher stepped forward, the muscles in his face tightening. “I am Romeo.”
Giggles went up from the women who were seated around the room with their respective mates. Amy bit her lip to hold back a groan. Dear Lord, how had this happened? Could Juliet refuse Romeo? She had to, because the alternative was unthinkable.
“What do you have to offer, sir?” Maggie asked softly.
“My heart and my life.” Fletcher intoned.
Romeo didn’t sound convinced. Perhaps Juliet would turn him down solely on the basis of his being so obviously disinterested.
“Come on, Romeo, you’re not putting forth much effort for the hand of the fair Juliet.” Charlie chided. Other guests around the room chimed in, insisting Fletcher play his part.
Fletcher’s face reddened. “I would die for you, my sweet Juliet,” he blurted.
Amy held her breath, staring at her friend’s stiff back. What was she waiting for?
“I can’t think of any man who would do so much,” Maggie whispered. “I accept.”
“What?” Amy clapped her hand over her mouth a second too late.
All eyes shifted in her direction. Some glinted with amusement, others with surprise, a few reflected sympathy. Her skin felt hot and dry, as if she’d suddenly come down with a fever.
Maggie stepped forward to share a chaste kiss with Fletcher, whose face looked like Amy’s felt. His mouth froze into a tight smile as the happy couple took their seats.
She blinked in hurt disbelief. How could her friend have done such a thing? Maggie must’ve been flustered by Charlie’s goading. That was the only explanation.
Amy steeled her nerves. Best to have this over with as quickly as possible. “I’m Venus,” she snapped. “Who seeks to marry me?”
With a sly smile, Buck took her hand. He brushed the back of her gloveless fingers with his lips. Desire crackled through her, as if he were lightening and she the rod. Still holding her hand, he raised his eyes. Within the silvery depths flickered wry amusement.
Damn him. He was enjoying her discomfiture.
“Casanova, the world’s greatest lover, seeks the hand of Venus, goddess of love.” His gravelly drawl caressed the name.
Heat suffused her face. The cad. She was not a love deity and he was no Casanova, however he might fancy himself to be. By jingo, she would strip away that civilized veneer he’d put on with those clothes and reveal him as a fraud. “What can a mere mortal offer?” she replied in her most arrogant goddess voice.
Buck’s amused smile didn’t waver, but surprise flared in his eyes. What had he thought? That she would turn tail and run?
“Pleasure,” he murmured. He swept his thumb across the backs of her fingers, triggering another sizzling bolt.
She yanked her hand away. If she were to defeat him, she couldn’t let him touch her. The uncontrollable reactions were too distracting. “I already have pleasures aplenty.”
He arched a sandy brow. “Not the sort you’ll find with me. I’ve spent a lifetime cultivating knowledge of a sensual nature, learning all there is to know about pleasing a woman. With me every day will bring new delights you can open, like a present.”
Gasps went up from the ladies, along with the low chuckles of men.
She blushed to her toes. Where had Buck learned about Casanova? For that matter, where had he picked up that educated elocution? He’d surprised her—again.
Against her will, her gaze moved from his broad shoulders and chest, down to narrow hips and long legs, taking a return trip north to linger on his lips. Temptation whispered sordid suggestions in her ear. What would it be like to throw propriety to the wind and lay with a man like this? To explore things she’d thought of in the dark, but wouldn’t admit to in the light. Shivering, she shook off the sensual reverie. She had no desire to do that with Buck.
With a shaky breath, she put a hand to her stomach to still the fluttering army of insects that had taken up residence inside. “Perhaps you’ve learned a few pleasures I might find interesting, but you see, I’m already married. I can’t have two husbands.”
Buck crossed his arms over his chest, holding her gaze prisoner. “You gods don’t live by the same rules as we mere mortals. At least, the legends reveal you’re not too particular. But if you prefer, we can have a marriage of the heart without all those messy vows of faithfulness.”
Amy’s head jerked around at a loud guffaw. Lizzie smacked her husband’s arm. This conversation wasn’t going in the right direction. If Buck won, he earned a kiss. If he lost, he had to pay a forfeit. And she dearly wanted to see him pay.
“I have an eternal lover, Mars, God of war. He can satisfy my needs more than a feeble man like you.”
Buck’s lips twitched. “I may be feeble compared to your war god, but I would treat you more tenderly than that nasty-tempered fellow.”
He dropped to one knee. This brought him even with her chest. At the smoldering heat in his eyes, she feared her breasts had tumbled out of the low-cut gown.
She struggled to breathe.
He captured her hand once again. “Only a man who is expert at making love—not war—can truly appreciate your gifts and the essence of who you are.”
“Heavens, he would have had me at Casanova,” Lizzie quipped. “I think you’ve met your perfect mate, Venus.”
Shaken, Amy stepped back, taking her hand with her. She shook her head. None of this had the slightest basis in truth, no matter the seductive promise in his eyes. Buck was toying with her. Playing his part to the hilt.
“You’re a rogue, a lover of women who can’t be satisfied with just one. I’m a jealous goddess and I won’t abide your unfaithfulness, even if I’m not held to the same standard.”
He remained on one knee, but held out his hands like a supplicant. “That might’ve been true in the past, that I couldn’t be satisfied with just one woman, but you are not one woman. You are the epitome of every man’s fantasy, all women rolled into one. You would satisfy even the largest appetite.”
His tongue swept his lips, and she nearly came out of her skin. “Accept my proposal. Take me, for as long as you like. Then cast me aside if you tire of me later.”
Her legs trembled. Dear Lord, if she didn’t do something quick, everyone would realize the effect he was having on her. She had to end this game. Now. “I’m not just looking for pleasure. I want love. You’ve not said you love me.”
Casanova’s lips twisted in a sneer. “Any man who’s quick to proclaim words of love is a liar and a fool.”
A thrill shot through her. For some reason, Casanova didn’t want to tell Venus he loved her. This was it. Her ace. “But without words, my dear Casanova, the pleasure of love is diminished. Every woman, especially one who represents all women, must be assured by words, heartfelt and true. That is the only way you will win me.”
He narrowed his eyes. Amy struggled to control her excitement. She had him on the run.
“It’s not words that should assure you, it’s what a man does that shows his true feelings.” The urgency in his voice didn’t match his mocking smile, and his eyes blazed with an intensity that made it seem as though his world tilted on her axis, his existence determined by her whim.
Her breath lodged somewhere between her chest and her throat. This wasn’t real. Buck was acting. Even if he was putting on the best show she’d ever seen.
“Give me the words, Casanova,” she whispered, caught up in the fantasy. “For even a goddess longs to hear them.”
Her request hung in the air. Breathing was suspended. The tick of a clock on the mantel was the only sound disturbing the silence…that, and the pounding of her heart.
His smile fell away. “Venus,” he started, his voice dropping to a harsh whisper. “Don’t you know you own my heart?”
Cheers erupted. Amy’s head swam. Voices faded as the room grew small and hot.
Buck’s concerned expression wavered in and out of focus.
Almighty. This blasted corset was too tight. Amy blinked furiously to erase the black spots clouding her vision, but they wouldn’t retreat, and her lungs wouldn’t expand. Her knees wobbled…right before the curtain dropped.
What is the hardest thing about writing?
Digging deep to discover the gems, bringing them to the surface and polishing until the story shines.
What was the hardest thing about writing your latest book?
Embarking on the challenge of writing my first Contemporary romance. I’ve only written Historical Romance up until this year. Talk about fear! I was scared spitless that I wouldn’t have the right “voice” for Contemporary. But I’d committed to a project and the book had to be Contemporary, so I was forced to spread my wings and leave my comfortable nest. I’m glad I did. I’ve learned that I really like writing contemporary as well as historical, and based on early feedback, I’ve made a good start.
What is the easiest thing about writing?
Coming up with ideas and getting “lost” in the story. I love the first draft stage when you just write and write and you think you’ve written the most amazing words ever penned. This happy delusion lasts until the editing process.