So I’ve been alluding to this for a few weeks, but I now have final confirmation and permission to share. The notice has been filed officially with Publishers Marketplace.
But first let me give you the backstory. A few months ago, I came up with an idea for a series of linked single-title paranormal romances. I discussed the project at length with my wonderful beta reader. She had some fantastic ideas, and we both got really excited.
I wrote the synopsis and a three chapter partial. Laura loved it, so after I made a few tweaks, she pitched to Penguin. Since we’ve both been so thrilled with our treatment there, we didn’t want to take the project anywhere else. After that, the waiting period began.
As is my custom, I kept busy and thought about the incipient project as little as possible. I didn’t want to get too attached to something that might not come to fruition. I wrote and revised books, did interviews, chatted with readers and generally worked on other things.
Then a couple of weeks ago, Laura told me she’d had a conversation with Cindy at Berkley, who liked the idea, but she wanted some things in the synopsis clarified. The backstory needed to be strengthened among other things. So I rewrote it. Laura sent the revised version along, and we waited some more.
Last night, I got a text message from Laura that just said: IM me.
So I did. Since we don’t belong to the Black Dagger Brotherhood, I had a good idea what she wanted, but I was nonetheless thrilled to get the news. I have a book deal. As of now, I’m also writing paranormal romances for Berkley Sensation. You can find these awesome books under the name AVA GRAY. I’ll soon have a website set up, but I’ll have links from Ava’s site to this one, and vice versa.
In case anyone is confused, Annie Dean is retired. You need not remember that name for any reason. When the domain expires, that site will go “poof” and no more books will be forthcoming. AVA GRAY suits the tone of these romances better, and any pure romances I write in the future will be published under AVA GRAY. Clear?
Here’s a sneak peek at Kyra and Reyes:
He was a hitman sent to kill her; she was a con artist who counted cards to the tune of two million from a casino in Vegas.
Before her dad bought into the idea he could work the system, they traveled together like Moses Pray and Addie Loggins in Paper Moon. Those were the happiest times for Kyra, even if they didn’t enjoy a conventional existence. But her dad found a “foolproof” system that would let him beat the house at any casino. She didn’t want him messing around; she’d heard they were made men, mob-connected, but her dad wouldn’t listen.
He promised Kyra life on easy street, but he got caught—and wound up with a punctured lung. With his dying breath, he told her who was responsible—and she set out to humiliate the bastard who had her father beaten and left for dead, Gerard Serrano, owner of The Silver Lady.
First, she staked out the place, learned his habits. Then she studied his sexual preferences and the kind of women he preferred—and turned herself into his ideal. That meant a new name, new identity. She even stored the only thing her father left her, his 1973 Grand Marquis. It took a good six months to work her way into his inner circle.
For Kyra, faking it came easy. She possessed the gift of absorption; it permitted her to steal someone else’s best skill for a limited time. She could be a gambler, a fighter, an athlete, a musician, an artist—anything she wanted…until the clock ran out. A lesser adjunct of this ability was called transference. If she wanted to, she could snatch a talent and pass it to somebody else.
Kyra made herself date Gerard, stringing him along, but she never gave him any satisfaction. She refused him anything more than kisses. The time in Vegas was the longest she ever spent in one place, the biggest con of her life, but it was so worth it when he proposed.
She took his ring and then gambled it at the tables, using a skill she’d stolen from a card counter nearby. When she won millions at 21, she held up a sign for the security camera, knowing Gerard would see it eventually. “Sorry, I was only in it for the money. Thanks for the stake, but I’d rather DIE than marry you.”
Like all good pros, she took the money and ran. Gerard became a laughingstock, the butt of all jokes. Furious and humiliated, Serrano began taking steps to make her preferences a reality. Nobody got away with screwing him over. Nobody.
That was where Reyes came in.
Before Reyes terminated her, he had to find out where she hid the cash. Gerard Serrano didn’t just want her dead; he wanted his money back, and then he wants to be there when she dies. For all Reyes knew, his employer might intend to record it as an object lesson to those who cross him. If Gerard Serrano was ever going to regain the status he once enjoyed, he had to prove to his peers that some little chick did not, in fact, get the best of him. He needed to put her down hard, or he’d never shake the stigma, never get the upper hand in Vegas again.
As he hunted her, Reyes didn’t realize what Kyra could do at first, but he sensed there was something unusual about her, and he never acted without having all the facts. He needed time to figure out what made her tick, and would receive a performance bonus if he recovered part of the two million before offing her.
That meant joining her on the run, and trying to unearth her secrets, including where she stashed the loot, since she hadn’t been flashing any of it around. Kyra wasn’t an easy nut to crack, but she was hungry for sex, starved for physical contact. She never touched unless she means to steal, denying herself pleasure, so she was ripe when he made a move. She found his dark, dangerous appeal all but irresistible.
But Kyra surprised Reyes by giving him the slip in the morning. She was perfectly capable of taking what she wants from a man and moving on. Getting into Kyra’s world wouldn’t be as easy as he thought…
These will be strong, kick-ass action romances with more sexxoring than you’ll find my urban fantasy or SFR, but I do expect to have quite a few crossover readers. They will explore “Talented” individuals finding their perfect mates — not in the sense that they’re predestined to be together, but in finding that one person who isn’t affected by the supernatural things the hero or heroine can do. I definitely won’t shortchange you on heat or the falling-in-love thrill. I’ll just combine it with high octane action.
I hope you’re as excited as I am. Now is zee time on zee blog ven ve dance!