Welcome back to Under the Covers, Roni! Since your last visit here, you’ve started writing a new series called the Pleasure Principle and we can’t tell you how excited we are about that. Can you tell us more about this series? Where did the inspiration stem from and what differences and similarities can readers expect from your previous work?
Hi! Thanks for having me back. : ) I’m really excited to be starting a new series. The Pleasure Principle series is going to follow a group of doctors and therapists at an excusive therapy institute (think celebrity clients) called The Grove, which is tucked away in the bayous of Louisiana. Imagine Grey’s Anatomy but without the focus on the medical things and a lot more sex, lol.
This first book is about two sex therapists and was inspired from my original plans in college to become a sex therapist. I did research in that field for my thesis and worked with the professor who specialized in human sexuality, so I’ve always been fascinated by the field (maybe that’s why I ended up being an erotic romance writer, lol.)
As for how this is similar to/different from my other series (Loving on the Edge), there are a few things. First, they are both erotic romance and the level of heat is high in both. However, the Loving on the Edge series is more focused on BDSM and is about the members of The Ranch (a kink resort). The Pleasure Principle series isn’t tied to that, though kink may show up here and there. It’s more about the group working together at The Grove, their clients, and the dramas and relationships that come up. But that doesn’t mean less sexiness. Marin and Donovan get up to all kinds of things in OFF THE CLOCK, including some hot roleplaying.
The first book, OFF THE CLOCK, features Dr. Marin Rush and Dr. Donovan West and they definitely have an interesting dynamic. Care to share more about their characters and what are some of your favorite things about each of them?
Marin and Donovan have a dynamic I love writing—reunited lovers. In college, Marin and Donovan spent one week together over Spring Break when both were stuck working in the psychology building over the holiday. Marin wasn’t quite honest (she was a freshman and pretended to be a grad student like Donovan was.) But after their hook up, her life goes to hell and they never see each other again…until she gets a job at The Grove nine years later and realizes Donovan (who is very different from the boy she knew) will be her mentor. Oh, and did I mention that Marin hasn’t slept with anyone since Donovan because—important spoiler-y reasons—and now she’s supposed to provide sex therapy to people? Yeah. Fun times. : )
I think it’s safe to call you an expert on writing sex scenes but especially with a book like this, what would you say is the key in writing as hot as we have come to see from you?
Aww, thanks. I don’t know if one is ever an expert, but I try to give the best I’ve got and keep it interesting, lol. And that’s actually a great question because I totally had that fear. I’ve written BDSM for eight books. How am I going to write scorching scenes without those floggers and restraints? But it ended up being a lot less angsty than I expected. The chemistry between these two characters was intense from the start (which is actually the hardest part of sex scenes—creating the foundation of a great connection between the characters before they ever hit the sheets), so when it came time for them to get together, the scenes flowed. And Donovan has a penchant for roleplaying and dirty talk (his Ph.D. project was about dirty talk and female arousal) so there was no shortage of opportunities for these two to have hot, creative love scenes.
What was the biggest hurdle you had to overcome in writing OFF THE CLOCK?
The self-imposed pressure of starting a brand new series. I’ve written in the same story world for five years, so creating a whole new cast of characters and building the world of The Grove was intimidating because I wanted to start this new series off with a fantastic book. I wanted to get it right. And I’m a perfectionist. So I psyched myself out when I began this book and had a few emailing-my-agent crisis moments of questioning myself on certain story decisions. Like the first three chapters are basically a prologue showing Donovan and Marin in college. So I emailed my dear agent in a panic—Holy crap, I have a three chapter prologue, but it’s some of my favorite stuff in the book and I don’t want to get rid of it, but who has a three chapter prologue?! To which she replied, Calm down. Do not cut these chapters. I love them. Keep writing. So after that, I settled down some and stopped questioning myself on every word.
When you finished writing/editing the book, what were some of the first thoughts that came to your mind?
Thank God it’s done! Lol. But I wasn’t happy yet. I tend to edit as I go, and by the time I type The End, I typically have about fifteen versions of the book on my hard drive. So the book is pretty close to where it ends up in the published stage when I finish what it technically the first completed draft. But I knew something wasn’t quite right yet. However, I’d been in it too long and couldn’t see it. So I sent it to my editor and with her comments and me being away from it a few months when I got it back, everything clicked. So when edits/rewrites were done, I was thrilled with the result. It was finally the book I’d wanted to write, and I was excited to put it out in the world. The characters had become real. : )
Putting your heroes aside, if you had to pick one hero to be your book boyfriend of 2015 who would it be and why?
What’s funny about that question is I just went to Goodreads to look at my 2015 reading list and the heroes are either gay (so wouldn’t want to be my book boyfriend) or are fascinating to read about but not “real life” boyfriend material (serial killers, bad guy/anti-heroes, post-apocalyptic demons, lol.) I wonder what this says about my state of mind in 2015. But Alex from Victoria Dahl’s Looking for Trouble would probably be the only contender for a guy you’d actually want to date. : )
We know you are an avid reader and you love to share your recommendations with us. We’ve even picked up a few new favorite authors from your recommendations alone! Who are some of your favorite authors?
Yay! I love recommending books. I’m still a reader first before a writer, so there’s nothing more I want to do after I read something great than to tell everyone who will listen about it. Authors who have become auto-buys for me are Tiffany Reisz, Charlotte Stein, Cara McKenna, Skye Warren, R. Lee Smith and Megan Hart. I would say my “crack” is smart erotic romance/fiction with a darker edge, and these authors all fit that bill.
Do you have any writing rituals that you need before you can start your writing day?
Cold-brew coffee and my music playing. That’s about it. : )
We know you love to plan! As 2016 kicks off, what are some of your resolutions for the new year?
My goal for 2016 is to manage my stress/schedule better. I wrote 300k words (not counting edits/rewrites) and had five book releases in 2015, which was a wee bit insane. So in 2016, I’m going to learn to say no a little more and to only work on projects I’m super passionate about and only attend events that make sense with my schedule. I love this job, and I don’t want to risk burning out. On a non-writing front, I have a resolution to learn more about cooking international cuisines instead of relying on takeout (Thai, Chinese, Lebanese, and Indian food specifically.) I love to cook and nothing makes me happier than a stack of new cookbooks to expand my horizons. We’ll see how it goes. : )
Where can readers expect to see you in 2016?
I’ll be at the RT Booklovers Convention in Las Vegas and at RWA Nationals in San Diego. There may be more things added, but those are the two confirmed ones for now.
You know we always want more, so what’s next for Roni Loren?
Book release wise, the next Loving on the Edge book, LOVING YOU EASY, will be out in the fall. It’s m/m/f ménage and my heroine is a badass hacker. : )
Writing wise, I’ll be working on Pleasure Principle Book 2 next. The hero will be Lane (the sex surrogate in OFF THE CLOCK), so I’m super excited about that. He was one of those characters who was unplanned but jumped off the page and demanded his own book.
Thanks so much for spending some time with us today and now we can’t wait for everyone to read OFF THE CLOCK!
Thanks for having me!
by Roni Loren
Released: January 5th 2016
Series: Pleasure Principle #1
Published by Berkley
FROM THE NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLING AUTHOR OF THE LOVING ON THE EDGE NOVELS, THE FIRST IN A SENSUAL NEW SERIES
Overtime has never felt so good…
Marin Rush loves studying sex. Doing it? That’s another story. In the research lab, Marin’s lack of practical knowledge didn’t matter, but now that she’s landed a job at The Grove, a high-end, experimental sex therapy institute, she can’t ignore the fact that the person most in need of sexual healing may be her.
Dr. Donovan West, her new hotshot colleague, couldn’t agree more. Donovan knows that Marin’s clients are going to eat her alive unless she gets some hands-on experience. And if she fails at the job, he can say goodbye to a promotion, so he assigns her a list of R-rated tasks to prepare her for the wild clientele of The Grove’s X-wing.
But some of those tasks are built for two, and when he finds Marin searching for a candidate to help her check off her list, Donovan decides there’s only one man for the job—him. As long as they keep their erotic, off-the-clock activities strictly confidential and without strings, no one will get fired—or worse, get attached…
Exclusive to this edition only—a bonus short story
Marin moaned when he parted her lips to deepen the kiss, and a swift rush of arousal flooded her, making the neglected parts of her throb and ache. His tongue stroked hers, teasing with a rhythm she could only imagine in other places. Her nipples became hard points, straining for touch, and her sex pulsed between her thighs. She wanted to rub herself on him like a cat, find relief. He seemed ready to oblige. Donovan backed her into the wall, his body aligning with hers and his hand sliding down to knead her hip like he was barely restraining himself from tearing off her clothes. Heat against heat, hardness growing against her belly. She was dying. She needed this. God, did she need this.
But a swift knock sounded behind him, shattering the protected moment and blasting through her lust-drunk brain. Marin gasped, and Donovan jumped back and dropped his hands to his sides like she had burned him.
The door swung open, and Ysa poked her head in. “Hey, guys I—” Her words faded as her gaze bounced between them. “Uh, sorry, didn’t mean to interrupt.”
Poker face. Poker face. Poker face. Marin pushed off the wall and fought hard to look like everything was fine even though her cheeks were burning hot, her lips slick, and her body pulsing in time with her frantic heartbeat. She had a feeling she was failing miserably at pulling it off. They may as well have a neon sign above their heads that read In Flagrante Delicto.
Donovan, on the other hand, owner of the world’s most impenetrable therapist mask, looked cool and unaffected as he tucked his hands in his pockets, presumably to hide his burgeoning hard-on, and looked at Ysa. “Not interrupting. What’s up?”
Ysa glanced between the two of them again but kept her thoughts to herself. “Just wanted to let you know your nine-thirty is here.”
Marin gave her a quick, tight smile. “Thanks. We’re on our way.”
Ysa gave them one last questioning look and then shook her head and disappeared back out into the hallway. When the door shut, Marin put her hands over her face and groaned. “Son of a bitch. Now there’s more grist for Dr. McCray’s rumor mill. I cannot believe I just did that. Here. With you.”
Donovan stepped into her space again and took her wrists in his hands, gently tugging them away from her face. “Take a breath. It’s okay. Ysa didn’t see anything. And even if she figured it out, she would never say anything to anyone.”
But Marin hardly heard any of it with her head spinning and anxiety rushing through her. “God, how could I be so stupid? I don’t know what I was thinking. I just—”
“It’s not your fault, Marin,” he said, his voice gentle. “I crossed the line first.” His mouth hitched up. “Plus, I should know not to stand that close to a woman who spent all night watching porn.”
A sharp laugh burst out of her, her nerves bubbling up and out. “Right. I’m bound to grab anyone within reach to use for my lecherous purposes.”
Donovan looked down at her for a long second, some of that heat from earlier returning, burning her slowly. His hands flexed around her wrists. “I wouldn’t mind being used by you, Marin.”
Her stomach dipped.
“I didn’t make the offer last night because it would’ve been a selfish move. And a risk. But I want you in my bed. Know that. It’s not altruistic. Or professional. And it’s out of line.” His voice was like water gliding along her skin—smooth, clear, quietly powerful. He lifted her hand and flattened it against his chest over the inner pocket of his jacket. “But if you decide you might want that anyway, know there isn’t a thing on this list that I wouldn’t love to check off for you. Completely and thoroughly. I could make you shameless, Rush.”
She could barely hear him over the roaring sound in her ears. How the hell was she supposed to form words after that?
He released her hands and stepped back but kept her pinned beneath that white-hot gaze. “So if you ever need me . . . off the clock, you just have to ask. And if you want me to go to hell and steer clear, that’s all you’ve got to say, too. It’s your call.”
Everything inside her was buzzing. Her mind had gotten hung up on the words completely and thoroughly. He wasn’t going to pressure her, but the look in his eye said he could rock her celibate world right off its fucking axis. The temptation was like a bright, glittering thing blurring her vision.
But taking that offer would come with a price. Keeping things secret. The risk of being caught. And there would be a time limit. He didn’t do relationships. This would just be sex.
Really hot, really intense sex.
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