Please welcome author Marie Piper to Books & Benches today to talk about Haven's Flame, book one in the Fires of Cricket Bend Trilogy.
Q&A with Marie Piper
Sometimes passion smolders . . . and other times it burns . . . <Tweet This>
In 250 words or less, what can you tell us about your newest release?
In March, the second book in my FIRES OF CRICKET BEND trilogy will be released. The series centers around the citizens of a small Texas town in the late 1880s, and each book focuses on one of three women who all share something even if they don’t realize it quite yet. The first book, HAVEN’S FLAME, is the story of Haven and Matthew, the two young lovers. The second book, EMMA’S BLAZE, takes us a bit out of Cricket Bend and introduces some new characters, while of course bringing back some familiar faces and building the drama.
What story are you working on next, and what inspired it?
I’m currently editing EMMA’S BLAZE, and gearing up to begin work on the third book in the series. In addition to building some steamy romance, I want to make sure all these characters evolve and get the endings they deserve – whether that’s happy or not.
How much research do you do?
I’ve been crazy about the Old West for a long time, so I’ve gathered a lot of information over the years. My research at this point is on specific things; cooking methods on a cattle drive, how rules to poker have changed, how Texas longhorns travel, things like that. I’m a pretty frequent visitor of my local library branch.
Do you read much and if so who are your favorite authors.
Constantly! For historical romance authors, I adore Sarah MacLean, Beverly Jenkins, and Linda Lael Miller. I love the Harlequin historical Westerns, too, and look forward to them each month. Outside of romance, I dig Stephen King, Christopher Moore, and of course I’m a hopeless devotee of the Brontes and Jane Austen. I recently read Alison Pataki’s THE TRAITOR’S WIFE and couldn’t put it down.
If you could have been the original author of any book, what would it have been and why?
Oh, how I would love to be able to take credit for “Valley of the Dolls.” I can’t explain how many times I’ve read that book. It’s so wonderfully soap-y and over the top. It’s just a perfect book.
High-button dresses aren’t made for hot Texas springs—or the burning desire Haven Anderson has for Deputy Matthew Frank…
After a lifetime of friendship, Matthew and Haven are finally engaged, but he doesn’t seem to share Haven’s emerging passion. Feeling rejected and uncertain about her future, Haven finds herself attracted to the handsome new saloon owner, Hank Porter.
Matthew holds Haven at arm’s length, despite the love smoldering inside him… <Tweet This>
Matthew’s father was run out of town years ago for nearly killing his mother, and Matthew fears the lack of control passion can cause. Having been taken in and raised by Haven’s family, he vows to always treat her with affection and respect.
The season brings cattle drives and rowdy cowboys—and Haven can’t stay away from the saloon…
As the doctor’s assistant, Haven tends Hank after a fight, and befriends a lively “upstairs girl,” Callie Lee, despite orders from the Cricket Bend Sheriff—her father—to have nothing to do with anyone at the saloon.
Along with the cattle drive come the lawless McKenzie brothers, a rude bounty hunter, and rumors of a dangerous man, Walker, headed their way. Caught up in this whirlwind, Haven remains torn between her love for the romantically distant Matthew and the more earthy passion offered by Hank and his scandalous reputation.
Should she follow her heart or the desire that puts everything she’s known at risk? Or even more importantly, will the people she loves still be standing in the aftermath of…
Enjoy an Excerpt from Haven's Flame
“You’re one of the most desirable women in this town, whether you know it or not. I have nothing but respect for your fiancé, but he’s a damn fool if he doesn’t see how lucky he is. Any man would beg for your affection if you asked them to.”
“What about you?” she asked. The moment the words left her lips, she blamed the whiskey.
Hank’s green eyes said all sorts of secret things. “I never beg.”
Haven gasped at his impertinence and swatted him. “You rogue!”
When her hand landed on his muscular arm, she again felt a tingling and knew she was flushed red. More surprising, she found herself unable to take her hand away from him.
The faintest scent of whiskey came from him as he moved his face even closer to hers. He spoke softly. “Have you ever been kissed, my dear?”
Had it really been six years since Matthew had kissed her in the tallgrass? So much of her youth had slipped away, lost in work and daydreams. Before her stood a man who seemed to promise something immediate and real. Feeling she had to take the chance, she gave him honesty. “It’s been a long, long time.”
Hank slid a firm hand around her waist and pulled her body tight to his. With his other hand he brushed a piece of her hair behind her ear and lifted her chin. “Do you want me to remind you what it’s like?”
In that moment, with him so warm against her, for him to kiss her was the only thing she wanted. Haven realized she was nodding before she had time to think it through.
Slowly, Hank brought his face to hers. She closed her eyes.
Everything in Cricket Bend faded away as he planted his mouth on hers with a fearless hunger that took her breath away.
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Meet the Author
Marie Piper earned her B.A. in English Literature from Michigan State University, and lives in Chicago. She loves travel, coffee, and surrounding herself with her book hoard. Marie has several short pieces of romantic/erotic fiction published in anthologies from House of Erotica, Coming Together, NineStar Press, Torquere Press, and Love Slave. Her steamy Western trilogy, FIRES OF CRICKET BEND, is being published by Limitless Publishing.
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