Welcome back to Under the Covers, Julie! I’m so excited to talk about DEVIL AND THE DEEP, the second book in the Deep Six series. Bran is one of my favourite heroes. I’m curious to know what your favourite thing about Bran is?
Thank you so much for having me back. It’s always a treat! And, yes, Brando “Bran” Pallidino. *swoon* There’s just something about that man. Is it his pirate smile? His mile-wide shoulders? The fact that he really knows how to use his… ehem… equipment? (I was talking about his gun and his knife and his other various and sundry stuff, you gutter-minds! *wink*) Or is it because he’s heroic and loyal and smart and so commitment-phobic that you can’t help but want to tame him? Actually, I think it’s all of the above. He’s the whole package. Alpha without being an alpha-hole, if you know what I mean.
Do you have a favourite scene from DEVIL AND THE DEEP?
I absolutely love when Bran and Maddy are talking about their sexual history, and Maddy finds out for the first time that Bran is… uh… quite the playboy. Their back-and-forth is hilarious. Check it out.
“S-so…” She shook her head. “I guess…that begs the question: just how many people have you slept with?”
Even in the shadows, she could see the line that formed between his eyebrows. “I don’t know.”
“S-so…” She had to shake her head again to make her tongue work properly. “You don’t know?”
“I’ve never counted.”
“S-so…” Okay, now she was the broken record. “You’ve never counted?”
“Stop repeating everything I say in the form of a question,” he said, the line between his eyebrows deepening.
“Can you at least… I don’t know…” She made a rolling motion with her hand. “Ballpark it for me?”
He screwed up his face and seemed to be making a mental tally. Two seconds stretched to five. Five stretched to ten. Out on the pilings somewhere, a roosting seagull took offense to something its neighbor did, screeching its displeasure. The lighthouse overhead clicked mechanically every time it made a full rotation. Beneath them, the fort groaned, shifting with the sands like an old man trying to find a more comfortable position.
“Do you need an abacus?” she demanded when she couldn’t stand it anymore. I mean, really?
He shook his head. “Do people still use those?”
“A calculator then?”
“Look,” he said. The whites of his eyes glowed when he rolled his eyes like she was the insane one. She was so close to whacking him upside the head that she had to recross her arms. “All I can say for sure is the number is more than you can count on your fingers and toes. But less than the population of Miami.”
“Gross!” She curled her lip.
“Hey!” he barked in affront. “I thought you said slut-shaming went out in the nineties.”
“Sorry.” She held up a hand. “You’re absolutely right. It’s not my place to judge. Just…” She wrinkled her nose. “Are you…um…up to date on all your shots?”
The look he gave her was withering. “I’m not a dog.”
“Well, that’s obviously not true,” she muttered. “You’re a horn dog.” This time the well, duh was tacked onto the end of her sentence by her inflection. And then a thought occurred. “Or is it somethin’ else? Are you a…” She glanced around as if worried someone might be listening in before lowering her voice. “Are you a sex addict? Are you undergoin’ treatment? Is that why you—”
“I’m not a sex addict!!” he whispered impatiently.
She turned her head and narrowed her eyes. “How can you be sure? Have you ever consulted a professional?”
He blew out a huge, windy sigh and she could tell he was hanging on to his patience by a thin, red hair. “I am not a sex addict,” he insisted. “Do I enjoy sex? Undoubtedly. But I don’t have to have it. In fact, there were times when I was away on long missions that I went months without it.”
“Whole months?” she stressed sarcastically. “Wow! I think the Catholic Church might want to sign you up for an honorary priesthood. Whole months!”
Now I have to say that the Deep Six series is unlike anything else I’ve read in the genre. Can you tell us more about the Santa Cristina and this wonderful treasure that these men are looking for?
I got the idea for the Deep Six series when I read about Mel Fisher and his hunt and eventual excavation of the Atocha, a legendary shipwreck that yielded a treasure worth over 400 million dollars. I thought, “How cool would it be if a group of former SEALs, arguably the world’s best divers, went in search of sunken treasure?” Add a dollop of the romance, mix in the holy grail of sunken Spanish shipwrecks, and voila! Each book in the Deep Six series has its own romantic suspense arc, but the series arc follows the hunt for the Santa Cristina. Readers even get to go back in time to find out what happened to the grand ol’ galleon in the prologue and epilogue of every novel. So there’s a little bit of history, a whole lot of action and adventure, steamy-hot lovin’, and big, honkin’ elements of suspense. Basically, all the good stuff.
Humour is just a major part of your books as the action is. How are you able to balance them all?
I think a sharp mind and a quick wit are two of the sexiest things a person can possess. And given the stress and fear caused by the life-and-death situations my characters often find themselves in, their senses of humour act as their release valves. Plus, I like nothing more than to be on the edge of my seat one minute, crying like a baby the next, and laughing my ass off thirty seconds after that. It keeps the pacing of the stories so fast and fun that the pages just fly by.
Summer is here and we are nosy, so we would love to know what’s your favorite way to unwind in the summer?
I live in downtown Chicago with pretty spectacular city views. My husband and I like to head out to our terrace, have a cocktail (or two), and watch the sun set over the City of Broad Shoulders. Nothing quite beats watching the sun go down and all the lights come on.
Do you have any good summer reads that you would recommend?
I love Jennifer Estep’s Elemental Assassins series. UNRAVELED debuts in August. I can’t wait!
I’m also looking forward to the final novel in Kate Meader’s Hot in Chicago series. SPARKING THE FIRE promises to be as funny and flirty and hot as all her other books.
And last, but certainly not least, I’m dying to get my hands on Beth Kery’s Make Me series. I love the way Beth writes. Sooo sinfully delicious.
What are 3 things you can’t leave home without?
Oh, that’s easy. Cell phone, keys, and wallet. How boring, right? If it spices it up, I could throw in suncreen and a hat. Sunscreen because I’m fair skinned and terrified of skin cancer. And a hat because… well, I love hats. They allow me to be seen in public without first having to fix my hair! *wink*
What are you working on now?
I’m working on edits for WILD RIDE, book nine in my Black Knights Inc. series. This book features Ozzie, the hero readers have been clamoring for since I began writing the series back in 2012. So, you know, no pressure or anything. Ha!
Released: July 5th 2016
Genre: Romantic Suspense
Series: Deep Six #2
Published by Sourcebooks Casablanca
Cocktail parties, political fundraisers, and charity events are Maddy Powers' way of life. But the daring man who appropriated her father's yacht a couple of months ago is still out there, somewhere, and she wants to pay him back for the scorching kiss they shared.
Behind his suave smile and ladykiller eyes, Bran Palladino carries a dark secret that keeps him from pursuing Maddy… even though he can't get her out of his head. But when Maddy is kidnapped as part of a grand scheme, it's time to put up or shut up… because Bran can't live without Maddy now.
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