Welcome back to Under the Covers, Roni! We’re so excited to talk to you about the second book in the Pleasure Principle series. What can you tell us more about BY THE HOUR? What can we expect to see in this book?
Thanks for having me back! I’m really excited that By the Hour is finally coming out. This was a story I’ve been dying to write for a while. The heroine of this book was the villainess in the previous book. (No worries if you haven’t read Off the Clock. These books can absolutely stand alone.) But when Dr. Elle McCray was doing her evil thing in the previous book, I started to get that writer itch, that thing that makes me pause and wonder, “Why is she being so mean? What’s her story? What made her this way?”
When I started answering those questions, I realized that I had to write her story (which was so not the original plan, lol.) She had great reasons for acting the way she had. And what better way to set her straight than to give her a hero who is absolutely not going to take any of her crap? Lane is the guy everyone adores, but Elle can’t stand him because he sees right through her prickly façade and pushes her buttons in a way that sets her completely off balance. These two were so much fun to write. Expect lots of verbal sparring, smart people getting steamy, and hate sex.
What kind of research did you have to do for this book?
I picked lots of fights with my husband. (Kidding.) I had to research the profession of therapeutic sex surrogates, which is a real thing. That’s what Lane’s job is at The Grove, the sprawling mental health institute where the series is set. I also had to research dyslexia because Lane is struggling with that. And finally, I got to do fun research on historic homes in the New Orleans Garden District because I wanted to find the perfect one to house Elle’s old money family. I didn’t get to go see it person (though I hope I will next time I go home to Louisiana to visit) but I was able to do a virtual tour of the house I picked. So pretty.
What do you think readers would be most surprised about with Lane’s character?
Lane is a really understanding, nice guy day-to-day, which makes him well-suited for his therapy job, but I think readers will be surprised to see how dirty and dominant Lane gets behind closed doors. The hate sex totally does it for him.
What was your favorite scene to write?
This is actually really hard because this was one of those rare magical writing experiences that anytime I put these two on the page together, the scene just sparked because they clashed so easily but were still attracted to each other, which made it sexy. But if I had to pick one, I love the opening scene when Lane first approaches Elle at a work party. She’s being super mean/sarcastic to get him to go away and trying to ignore the weird attraction she feels toward him. He’s amused and annoying her further. There is much verbal sparring. The whole chapter can be read here for those interested.
If you had to describe this book in 3 words, what would they be?
Steamy. Smart. Emotional.
What do you love the most about the heroine, Elle?
She is a super smart badass. And underneath all that toughness, she has a good heart and is truly dedicated to helping her patients. But I wanted to make sure that even though she needed to transform and grow in the book that I didn’t lose her iron core. She’s never going to be soft and docile–which is why I needed a very specific kind of hero for her because most other men wouldn’t be able to hold their own with her.
What is your number one tip for writing a good sex scene?
I give an entire workshop on writing sex scenes, so this is a topic near and dear to me. But my number one tip? Don’t put in a love scene unless it changes the characters in some way and/or moves the plot forward. When you read a book and find yourself starting to skim sex scenes, it’s usually because this rule was broken and the scene is just fluff.
When you are not writing, what can we usually find you doing?
Reading. Binge-watching a TV show. Hanging out with my family. Traveling to NASCAR races because I’m the only girl in my household and figured if you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em, lol.
Aside from books (writing or reading), what are 3 things you love to do?
I love to cook, travel, and decorate my planner.
What’s next from you and what are you currently working on?
There may end up being something in between, but as of right now, next up is a brand new contemporary romance series that I’m doing with Sourcebooks. The first book will be The Ones Who Got Away, out in January 2018. The series is about a group of people who survived a school shooting who are coming back together twelve years later to be interviewed for a documentary. So they’re all grown up now, but they haven’t seen each other in years and each is still dealing with the aftermath in their own way. Despite the somber backstory, the books won’t be overly dark but they will be emotional. The idea for the series sparked one day when I found myself wondering: what happens to the people in the big news stories when the news dies down and they go on to live their lives? When your whole life is defined by this one event and all that loss, how do you go on and find your happy ending? I wanted to find out.
by Roni Loren
Released: April 25th 2017
Series: Pleasure Principle #2
Published by Self Published
From the New York Times bestselling author of Off the Clock comes a story of love, hate, and the fire that ignites when the two collide...
Dr. Elle McCray has a plan. Work hard. Be the best. And do it alone. After her ex-husband’s betrayal, she’s learned being feared is a hell of a lot easier than being humiliated. So when trouble personified, Lane Cannon, dares to flirt with her, she shuts him down cold. Too gorgeous. Too cocky. And his job as The Grove’s sexual surrogate is to sleep with patients. No, thank you.
Former escort Lane Cannon has spent enough years with people looking down on him. Stupid. Trailer trash. Rent boy. He’s heard it all. He’s worked too hard to shed his past to let some haughty doctor cut him down. But something about Elle’s ice queen act has his dominant instincts perking up and his body taking notice. He can’t walk away.
After an evening of verbal sparring turns into a night of steamy hate sex, Lane’s ready for round two. But Elle proposes a business deal. How better to keep things strictly physical than to pay him for his services?
Lane wants her, not her money. But he’ll play along in exchange for one thing—all the control. It’s only supposed to be a dirty little fling between colleagues, but these two are about to learn a lesson in love…by the hour.
Elle paced her floors and shook out her hands, trying to get rid of the nerves that had insisted on stalking her as soon as she walked into her house. She never got nervous about things like this. It was only sex. Since her divorce, she’d had her fair share of it with a number of men. Some better than others. This would just be another hookup. A one-night stand.
So what if she’d have to see Lane again at The Grove? He didn’t work on the rehab wing, her domain. He was easily avoided. Plus, she was a grown woman who could separate business and pleasure. She’d compartmentalized the hell out of Donovan.
Compartmentalizing was a long-practiced art of hers. This would be no different.
If she were really that worried, she would lock her door. Shut down the possibility for good. Because she knew Lane would hold true to his threat. If she locked it, he’d never look her way again. She put her hand on the lock briefly, but she couldn’t bring herself to turn it, not with her blood pumping this hard and the silky panties she’d changed into already clinging to her. She wanted this.
But after twenty minutes of pacing, her focus switched from worrying about the possibility that this would happen to worrying that Lane wouldn’t go through with it, that it had been a tease. A joke.
So when she heard the back door click open, she had to bite her lip to keep from making a sound of relief. He was here. This was happening.
She halted in the spot where she was in the living room, waiting in the hazy gray moonlight that filtered through the curtains. She wouldn’t go to him, wouldn’t reveal how eager she really felt.
Heavy footsteps sounded on the wooden floorboards, the one in the hallway creaking beneath his shoe, and then he stepped into the doorway of the living room.
Somehow he looked even bigger here in her house. Over six feet of man filling up the unevenly framed antique doorway. The stained-glass pane above the door showered pale, colored light onto his shoulders and left his face half in shadow.
Her throat went tight, bone dry. “It took you long enough. Decided to stay for dessert?”
His mouth curved as he stepped forward, absorbing her sharp tone like she’d said something sweet. “No. I’m having you instead. Hope you’re worth skipping bread pudding.” He eyed her. “Frankly, I have my doubts.”
The jab made her pull up short. But instead of it pissing her off, a breath she hadn’t realized she’d been holding released, the insult somehow softening the edge of her nerves. “Screw you, Cannon.”
Amusement crossed his face. He was close now, almost within arm’s reach, making her step back. “That’s the idea, sunshine.”
She licked her lips and her back pressed against the wall. “No one knows you came here?”
His hands planted against the wall on each side of her shoulders, caging her in and enveloping her with his scent, his…bigness. “No, don’t worry. No one knows you’re slumming it. That you’re horny and hot for the institute’s hooker. Your dirty secret’s safe.”
She winced. “I didn’t mean—”
“Yeah, you did,” he said. “But it’s all right. I wouldn’t want anyone to know I’m here either. I’ve got my own reputation to keep.”
She narrowed her eyes. “What? For only fucking people who pay you?”
He smiled, a wickedness to it. “Oh, people don’t pay me for this, sweetheart. This isn’t for sale.”
Before she could register what was happening, he spun her around, pinned her against the wall, and pressed his body along her back. His erection pushed hard and heavy against her and a hot shudder of need chased down her spine. She had to fight not to whimper.
“Give me a safe word, McCray,” he said, his voice low and serious against her ear.
“Because I’m about to give you what I know you want, but I’m not gonna do it without one of those. Your attitude’s got me wanting to do bad things to you.”
She closed her eyes, heat flooding her sex and making every part of her prickle with awareness. She said the first word that came to her head. “Birthday.”
He pressed his nose to her hair, inhaling. “Good girl.”
“No.” She tensed, the endearment scraping across her psyche and making her stomach clench.
He stilled. “No, what?”
“Don’t call me that. Ever.”
He was quiet for a second, and then his hand coasted down her bare arm in a soothing touch, like he was trying to calm a skittish horse. “Got it. That’s all you have to say to me, all right? Anything that’s out of bounds for you, just tell me and I’ll respect it.”
She took a deep breath, hating that she’d reacted so strongly, that the demons floated so close to the surface. That her ex-husband’s old endearment would get to her.
She was off her game tonight. He was putting her off her game. “I don’t need your therapy mode, Lane.”
“This isn’t therapy mode. This is me being a responsible dominant and human being.”
A dominant? Great. Of course he was. “I’m not submissive.”
“Yeah, I got that.”
“And if you ask me to call you sir, I will fucking punch you.”
He chuckled behind her, his breath tickling her neck. “I’d like to see you try.”
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