Tuesday, October 4, 2016

**GIVEAWAY** Burned Hearts - Interview - Calista Fox

Calista Fox is a new to me author but when I saw her newest book advertised I knew I had to read the trilogy.
Here's what Publisher's Weekly says about it "Fox takes a deep and effective dive into the strong emotions that link her well-drawn hero and heroine and combines them with strong plotting that will keep readers on the edges of their seats through the surprise ending that wraps up the story. Readers frustrated by the first two books’ cliff-hanger endings will be thrilled and relieved that this one provides a fitting conclusion to the enjoyable trilogy."
Enjoy the chat then hang around to enter to win a copy for yourself!

Book 3 in the Burned Deep Trilogy
ISBN-13: 9781250072535
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Release Date: 10-04-2016
Length: 336 pp
Buy It: B&N/Amazon/Kobo/IndieBound/Publisher


Overview:
I just wanted to crawl inside him and be a permanent part of him. I couldn’t get close enough to him, even though we were melded together, our bodies moving in perfect sync with each other. I wanted to be wrapped around his heart, live within his soul, consume his mind.
That was the selfish part of an obsessive, unrelenting love. I wanted to be his every waking thought, every breath he took...

Dane captivated Ari from the first moment their eyes locked. Every second thereafter proved they were either fated for love...or devastation. Ari DeMille Bax has been the target of the axed investors of Dane’s exclusive resort, 10,000 Lux. They will stop at nothing to get their revenge—no matter who they have to take out in order to get to Dane. But as the final stand comes to a head, deception and betrayal threaten to rock the foundation of the life Ari and Dane have started to rebuild. Their intense love and desire for each other continues to burn deep, but the evil surrounding them could rip them apart for good. To save all that they cherish, Ari and Dane must lay their lives and their hearts on the line, once and for all…


Giveaway is for one Print copy of
Burned Hearts US ONLY
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Read an excerpt courtesy St. Martin's Press:

chapter 1



“I’m not staying here a second longer.”

I tossed clothes into my suitcases, not caring in the least how haphazardly they were strewn about.

“Ari, just take some deep breaths,” said Kyle Jenns, my best friend and up-and-coming Mr. Muscle Bodyguard Extraordinaire. He crossed his bulging biceps over his wide chest and pinned me with a serious look. “You’re freaking out prematurely.”

“Oh, yeah?” I glared at him, my pulse racing, my heart thundering. “Two diamondbacks on the Kool Deck mere feet from where I turned off the waterfalls in the pool is no cause to freak out? Come on, Kyle. Everywhere I turn, it’s snakes, scorpions, and stalkers. And I am always the mark. I’ve had enough, thank you very much.”

“Should have thought of that before you married Dane.”

“Leave him out of this.”

Kyle heeded the warning, but demanded, “Where will you go?” Concern etched his strong features. “There’s nowhere else like this fortress—walls that can’t be scaled, topped with high-voltage electrical wiring. We even have a watchtower, for God’s sake.”

“Fat lot of good that’s all done. Vale Hilliard got to me anyway, didn’t he?”

The man who’d once kidnapped me and unleashed unspeakable nightmares was supposed to be dead. But he was the only one who knew how to terrify me, and he’d done it again this evening. So chances were very good he had not been in the car struck by a freight train, despite earlier news reports suggesting otherwise.

Kyle gripped my shoulders and looked deep into my eyes, which were a couple of shades darker than his sky-blue ones. “Ari, chill out for a minute.” He spoke with a slow, measured tone, meant to reassure me, no doubt. “I know you’re scared. But whatever happened tonight, we’ll get to the bottom of it. There’s no better place for you to be than here.”

“Yes, there is. Home.”

He released me. “The Oak Creek house?” He hated that I considered it my permanent residence. He’d taken great offense when I’d moved in with Dane last fall, after only a few months of seeing each other—although it hadn’t taken even that brief amount of time for us to realize we were fated, couldn’t exist without each other.

“I feel safer there, Kyle.” I’d never once encountered a problem inside the gated property. Yes, Kyle and I had been set up a while back and we’d nearly fallen into the trap, but the trouble had occurred on the other side of the massive security fences, not within.

He shoved a hand through his crazily mussed sandy-brown hair. Agitation turned his all-American, athletic looks stony. A former college quarterback, Kyle had taken to bodybuilding, martial arts, and target practice with the GLOCK he’d recently purchased. Over the past year, he’d turned into the quick-thinking, determined-to-save-the-day sort of man who made a walking target such as myself thankful for his loyalty. And monumentally guilty that loyalty put him in danger right along with me.

“I know Amano is grilling his security people right this very minute,” I said, trying to sound reasonable and stable, though my voice faltered. “And he’ll figure out how two rattlesnakes ended up on our back patio. I’m grateful for that. I’m also grateful that you’re still here, when you really ought to wash your hands of the whole damn—”

“Not gonna happen, Ari.” He gave me that stern yet somewhat cocky expression he’d adopted, which radiated confidence and heroic charm. The two-day stubble currently lining his squared jawline added to his rugged good looks and resolute disposition. “If you’re going to the creek house, I’m going with you.”

So, too, would Amano. My shadow. Kyle’s mentor. A man you wouldn’t want to run into in a dark alley if you’d just mugged a little old lady of her collection plate money. You’d pay dearly out of sheer principle.

“Get packing then,” I told Kyle. “Because I can’t stay here tonight. I can’t sleep here. I can’t breathe here.”

Facing coiled and hissing rattlers was horrific enough—I wouldn’t wait around for the second-string army of venomous scorpions on the attack. Tonight I’d lost my steady frame of mind when it came to this precarious situation we’d all inadvertently found ourselves in after several of the original investors in the opulent hotel 10,000 Lux had been cut from the roster for global financial and criminal corruption.

My husband, owner of the now-decimated megaresort, wasn’t one to take blows without hitting back. Although he’d frightened me a bit at first with the wrath he’d let loose on Vale Hilliard when he’d found me bound and bleeding, Dane had sworn to work with the FBI to bring down the ousted investors legally—not with his lethal bare hands. And he was so very close to finishing what he’d started.

But while he put the heat on so, too, did the opposition.

With shaky fingers, I zipped my luggage and said, “If it was just Amano and me waiting for this to all come to a conclusion, I could stick with the plan. Sit tight in this fortress. But the circle has expanded, Kyle. To include you—and believe me, I would never forgive myself if anything happened to you. Neither would Dane, despite the fact that he, well … doesn’t like you.”

It was a territorial thing. Dane was the determined sort who protected what was his at all costs—so he didn’t easily accept that his wife’s best friend was male. A macho one at that, who was always by my side.

“I’ve told you a million times, Ari. I know what I’m involved with. Do I like it? Hell, no. Would I love to punch Dane in the face for all of this? Hell, yes. But I get what it is that he has to do.” This came reluctantly. “He’s given up everything to crack this syndicate wide open and help the Feds reel in these assholes. I can’t imagine the torture of all that—knowing you’re here with me, out of his reach, and the fact that your baby is in jeopardy, too.”

That was the other contributing factor to my panic attack. I was five months pregnant. I’d kept the news from Dane as long as possible, so that he could concentrate on his work, not worry about me and our child. Amano—devoted to me, but loyal as a Labrador to Dane—had ratted me out. I didn’t blame him. Still, it complicated matters, just as Kyle had stated.

“I don’t feel safe here,” I reiterated. “No offense to you or Amano, but that was a very foreboding sign on the patio tonight and I read Vale’s threat loud and clear.”

“Fine. If you want to leave Sedona to return to Gotham, I’ll go with you. Amano will, too, but you already know that.”

I smirked at Kyle’s reference to the creek house. Yes, I’d gone a little Mistress of the Dark when I’d thought Dane had been killed in the explosion, but the fact was, his house comforted me.

The Mediterranean-style estate on which we currently resided was beautiful and spacious, with all manner of amenities. But I missed the lovely serenity of our home, nestled in the woods with the water flowing over smooth rocks just beyond our terrace.

“If you’re sure you want to go, I admit I could use the company,” I told Kyle.

“I’d pretty much follow you anywhere.” He shook his head. He knew as well as I did that wasn’t a sane conviction, but we were sort of attached to each other. Kyle wanted more between us and, had I never laid eyes on Dane Bax, he just might have gotten his wish. But one look at the tall, gorgeous, green-eyed brooder … and I’d been hooked.

There would never be anyone else for me. Ever. No matter what.

“You know that I appreciate everything you do for me—for all of us,” I said. Then added, “Shit, I should pay you. Why didn’t I think of that sooner? You haven’t been able to work recently, because you’ve been dodging danger with me.” The attacks had started last fall. It was now May. The trouble had only escalated.

He said, “Dane already offered.”

“What?” This shocked me. “He never said anything.”

“Probably because it’s moot. I turned him down.”

“Are you insane?” My husband was worth billions. That meant I was worth billions, too, but that was still a near-impossible reality to grasp, even though we’d been secretly married for six months.

“What’s the big deal?” Kyle asked with the shrug of a ridiculously broad shoulder. “I made plenty at the Lux and then the physical rehab retreat when you were there to put into savings. I let go of my apartment when I moved in here. My Rubicon was bought used and is now paid for, and let’s face it, I practically eat you out of house and home. Plus, I canceled my gym membership because of the fitness room we have here. I figure we’re even.”

“You figure way wrong, my friend. You deserve hazard pay. And you know Dane’s going to end up compensating you, regardless of your stance on the subject. He’s indebted to you. We all are.”

“See?” Kyle gave his enthusiastic, engaging grin—the one I’d witnessed turn many feminine cheeks flush since we’d met. “The King of Everything is indebted to me. Really, that just makes my day. And I get to hang out with you.”

“I am a lucky girl for that.” I gave him a quick hug.

“Feeling any better?” he asked.

“A little calmer, thank you.”

“Great. Why don’t you take a bath, have some hot tea, and relax? We’ll move in the morning.”

I didn’t love the plan. But the upheaval could wait until tomorrow, I surmised. Amano was doing Amano things, anyway. No need to disrupt his business, especially since he was helping Dane and the rest of us. I didn’t want to hinder their progress. The quicker my bodyguard got to the bottom of the snake visit, in addition to the indictments being wrapped up, the sooner Dane could come home. For good.

I took Kyle’s advice and felt a little less tense as, later on, I curled on the couch and flipped through magazines. I retired early and crawled under the covers—after I had Kyle double-check all the locks on the windows and patio doors in my room. Take a peek beneath the bed and inside the closet for critters of the reptilian variety.

My nerves were still jangled, but I was exhausted, so it wasn’t too difficult to drift off.

I woke some time later, a warm body spooning me from behind, muscles surrounding me. Or maybe I was dreaming of the intimate cocoon, because Dane couldn’t possibly have returned so soon. He’d just been here with the FBI when they were in hot pursuit of Vale.

“Am I imagining this hard, hunky body pressed against me?” I whispered.

“Nope.” His soft lips grazed my neck. I’d pulled my long, dark-brown hair up in a messy ponytail before falling asleep.

“Who called you?”

“Kyle.”

“You’re kidding?”

“He was worried about you. Said you had a meltdown earlier.” Dane’s voice was a low rumble against my skin. Sensuous, though also tinged with concern. “That’s not like you, baby. At all. And it’s not like Kyle to think he can’t handle on his own anything that spins you up.”

My eyes squeezed shut for a moment. “I suppose he mentioned the rattlesnakes?”

“That’s why I’m here.”

“Dane.” I sighed. Wiggling in his loose embrace, I rolled onto my other side to face him. A devilishly handsome man with strong, sculpted features and a commanding, reassuring presence.

I whisked my fingertips over his cheek, then tried to smooth away the furrow between his brows. Not much luck there.

I told him, “You can’t keep running back every time something happens to me. That’s why Kyle and Amano stick around. To talk me off the ledges and protect me.”

“That should be my job, right?” I heard the anguish in his voice and it broke my heart.

“You have another job to do. A very important one. And they know it—they understand how risky this is for you, too. How painful, really.” I thought of Kyle’s words when I’d had my panic attack. He wasn’t hip on admitting Dane was living the proverbial rock and a hard place existence for a valiant cause but clearly couldn’t dismiss it.

“Nothing’s more important than you,” Dane said, his emerald eyes glowing with an intense longing that mirrored my own, deep in my soul. The slivers of moonlight filtering in through the shutters made his dark-green irises shimmer, captivating me.

“And our baby,” he added as he rubbed my stomach in the slow, circular motion that always made me want to purr. No matter how wound up I was. He had a very soothing effect on me.

“I’m not arguing the fact that you’re here, or complaining about it,” I told him. His priorities had shifted from 10,000 Lux to me when we married. Now to include our child. Dane wasn’t the type to shy away from his responsibilities, but his focus really needed to be on his work with the FBI. “I don’t want to distract you.”

“Too late,” he murmured against my lips, sending a shiver of delight down my spine. “It’s impossible to stay away from you. Impossible to get you out of my mind.”

His hand slid under the oatmeal-colored Henley I wore—his shirt. Unfortunately, it smelled of fabric softener, not Dane. Though it would after tonight, and tomorrow I’d be thrilled about that when I put it on again.

He palmed my breast and gently massaged.

“You don’t have to be so careful with me,” I reminded him. Ever since he’d found out I was pregnant, he’d considered me fragile. I wasn’t.

He caressed a little rougher and excitement shot through me.

“Better,” I said on a heavy sigh.

His thumb swept over the puckered bud. Then he pinched and rolled lightly. I instantly ached for him.

“I love your body,” he said as he nibbled the corner of my mouth. “I love you.”

“So make me come.”

A throaty sound escaped him. “You know I will. Repeatedly.”

He shifted away from me just long enough to drag the Henley up and over my head, tossing it aside. My panties followed. Dane was already naked and I feasted on all those chiseled-to-perfection muscles. I traced my nails over the hard ledge of his pecs, tenderly scraping a small nipple. Making him jolt from the wicked touch.

It never ceased to amaze me that I could incite such strong physical reactions from this man. He was powerful and mysterious. A bit intimidating. Incredibly brilliant.

Perhaps what really astonished me was that he was all mine.

My fingers skimmed lower, along the ridges of his abs. Lower still, until they wrapped around his thick shaft. I held him at the root and pumped slowly.

His head dipped and his tongue fluttered over my nipple, teasing it tighter. Then he suckled. A soft cry of pleasure fell from my lips.

He eased my hand away from his cock as he whispered, “You’re too good at making me come.” His head lifted and he kissed me. Slowly and seductively at first. Then it became a hot, sizzling lip-lock. I gripped his strong biceps with a hand and plowed the other through his lush, onyx hair.

I’d married a man who innately knew how to draw me in, how to mesmerize me so that all I could focus on, all I could think of, all I could feel, was him. His muscles and heat surrounding me, his lips and tongue engaging me further, his hands caressing my body. One of which skated downward, over my slightly rounded stomach, to the apex of my legs. The tips of his fingers glided along my slick folds.

Breaking the kiss, I stared into his eyes and said, “I’m already wet for you.”

“And you make me so damn hard. So fast.” His erection pressed to my hip. Tempting me once more.

While his fingertip flittered over my clit, his mouth wreaked beautiful havoc on my neck, his teeth nipping in all the sensitive spots that lit me up. Desire rushed through my veins.

“I’m feeling less and less guilty about you returning this evening,” I told him.

“Baby, I want to come back to you every night.” He slipped two fingers inside me and leisurely stroked. “Mm, this is nice, but I want you wetter.”

My inner walls contracted around his fingers as my hips undulated. The slow burn was sinfully delicious. A private decadence I loved sharing with him.

“You taste so fucking good,” he said, his teeth tenderly biting just below my ear. “Once you have our baby—”

“I know exactly what you’re going to do to me.” And that thought hitched my pulse.

“Night after night.”

He liked to make me come with his mouth, his lips and tongue teasing my clit, driving me half out of my mind. My OB-GYN didn’t currently recommend it, so Dane refrained. But I craved the intimate act as much as he wanted to pleasure me that way.

“I can hardly wait for you to get me off like that again,” I told him. “It’s always so, so good.” As was his current technique. I writhed beneath him, his chest pressed to my breasts. The heel of his hand rubbed the swollen knot of nerves between my legs as his fingers continued to stroke steadily, the tempo gradually increasing.

My breathing escalated with the quickening of the sensual rhythm. His pumping became more assertive, determined.

“Yes,” I whispered. “Oh, God. Dane.” My lids drifted closed. Erotic sensations sparked within me, searing and scintillating. Taunting me to give in to them. But I wasn’t willing to just yet.

“Kiss me,” I softly demanded.

His lips skimmed over my jaw and then his tongue toyed with mine before he claimed my mouth with his. He kissed me passionately, no holding back—leaving me with absolutely no doubt that this was where he wanted to be every night. With me, pushing me higher until the pleasure erupted deep in my pussy.

I tore my mouth from his and cried out, “Dane!” The orgasm blazed through me. Radiantly. Fantastically.

I clenched his fingers, prolonging my climax as long as possible.

“Now that really gets me going, baby.” His warm breath on my temple made my skin tingle as much as the intense release. “There’s nothing quite like you falling apart for me.”

I reached for his hand and pulled it away, feeling every ripple along my sensitive flesh as he withdrew. I said, “I want you inside me.”

He shifted ever so slightly. His tip nudged my opening. Anticipation mounted.

“Don’t play,” I insisted. “You know what I want.”

He gave me a sweet kiss, our lips tangling. Ironic, because I knew what he intended to do to me would be anything but sweet. Because I liked it downright dirty with this man.

He massaged my breast again, causing me to squirm beneath him. My hips rose and the head of his cock pressed farther in.

“Yes,” I breathed encouragingly. “Give me all of you.”

He slung my leg over his waist and palmed my ass cheek, angling my pelvis. Then thrust in.

“Oh, fuck!” I screamed as he filled and stretched me.

“Ah, Christ, Ari.” His voice was heavy with arousal. “You’re so tight. So perfect.”

My fingers curled more fiercely around his biceps as he buried himself within me, thrusting fervently.

“Yes,” I told him. “Just like that.” His hips bucked and he drove heartily, setting me on fire.

“Feel me deep inside you.”

“Yes,” I repeated, the adrenaline raging. “Fuck me,” I begged, the frenzy already ignited, my need for him already clawing at me. “Dane, you feel so incredible.”

He made love to me with the kind of fervor that pushed the air from my lungs and caused my inner muscles to clutch him so firmly, sharp, primal sounds blew between his teeth. Turning me on even more. Because I knew how excited I madehim.

My other hand unraveled from his hair and I gripped his ass, not quite fully cupping a cheek but holding on to the enticing flesh and muscle as his butt flexed and released with his solid pumps into my body.

We moved together with a feverish pace. I had the insane craving to feel him deeper, like I couldn’t get enough of him. But he was plunging and pulsating and sending me reeling toward another powerful release.

Yet the gnawing sensation grew, as though I just wanted to crawl inside him and be a permanent part of him. I couldn’t get close enough to him, even though we were melded together, our bodies moving in perfect sync with each other. I wanted to be wrapped around his heart, live within his soul, consume his mind.

That was the selfish part of an obsessive, unrelenting love. I wanted to be his every waking thought, every breath he took.

I also knew he would do anything for me, and I would do anything for him. Including making all the sacrifices that tore us apart even when all we truly desired was to constantly be drowning in private, intimate moments, as we currently were.

I sensed precisely when everything shifted within him, pulled taut, threatened to erupt. It happened inside me as well.

“Dane,” I said on a breathy sigh. “Come with me.”

“Yes,” he ground out. “Oh, fuck, yes. Ari!”

He thrust quicker. Raspy pants of air leapt from my throat.

“So amazing,” I whispered. And then I lost it completely, coming on a loud scream, followed by the only word that registered in my mind: “Dane!”

My climax was amplified by his release, the hot moisture suddenly filling me, the convulsing of his body, the throbbing of his cock.

“Oh, goddamn, Ari,” he said on a harsh breath. “You can make me forget everything but you.”

His face burrowed in the crook of my neck. I slipped my arms around him. Held him to me. Smiled triumphantly. I’d gotten exactly what I’d wished for.

“I could stay buried inside you forever,” he whispered, tugging on my heartstrings. “There’s no place I’d rather be.”

Emotion welled within me, mixing with the sexy feelings he evoked. “I like your pillow talk.”

“That’s not all you like,” he said in a devilish tone.

“So true.” I kissed the top of his head, his silky hair tickling my lips and skin. “I need you, Dane. Always.”

“This is all I want,” he told me. “You. Our baby. Our family.”

“I know.” But we were currently victims of circumstance. I tried not to think of that. Instead, simply basked in the way I’d connected with this man from that first electrifying moment when our gazes had met and I’d been instantly caught up in his raw intensity, the dark beauty of him.

He’d turned out to be so much more than I’d expected. A fiercely protective husband who would give us an heir to everything that Dane stood for—everythingwe now stood for.

Feeling somewhat swept away, I said, “It’d be okay if we never left the bedroom.”

He chuckled. “Careful there, sweetheart. After all this is over, I might not let you leave.”

My smile widened. It was an alluring sentiment. Still … “I suppose we’d have to eat from time to time.”

“Maybe Rosa will agree to room service.”

“Not a chance in hell,” I scoffed. The efficient woman who’d basically run our home while Dane and I had been 24-7 Lux pre-launch preparations was not about waiting on anyone hand and foot. Fine by all of us, particularly since Kyle and I liked to do the cooking. But that pretty much meant no holing up in our suite for Dane and me.

Darn.

He eventually withdrew from me and slipped out of bed to tidy up in the bathroom. I, of course, admired the view. As he walked away and when he returned, strutting toward me. I sighed dreamily. My heart fluttered. My stomach felt as though butterflies had taken flight.

He gave me a sexy grin. “You can devour me with a look.”

“And my mouth.”

“Yes,” he added with a mischievous glint in his eyes as he climbed in next to me. “That talented tongue of yours knows a few tricks of its own.”

“My body parts are quite partial to yours. What can I say?” I snuggled close to my husband, his arms around me, my head on his. I absently trailed a fingertip over one of his scars, the constant reminder of the devastation at the Lux and how it’d significantly altered our lives.

I let out a long breath, hoping to expel the anxiety that instantly besieged me when I thought of all we’d been through and all that still needed to be done.

“Someday, we’ll get our honeymoon, right?” I asked.

“I promise.”

I was quiet for a few moments, a little lost in thought. Mostly lost in how wonderful it was to be in his loving, reassuring embrace and to be able to touch him. Even just hearing his steady breathing warmed and comforted me.

Eventually, I said, “I don’t even know where you go or what you do when you’re with the FBI.”

“It’s not just the FBI. This is a global problem the society sparked by using my intellectual property for their personal gain. The Feds are labeling it conspiracy, terrorism, and attempted murder if they can prove these assholes were behind the destruction of my hotel. There were forty people inside when the timer on that bomb started ticking.”

I knew most of this, yet my head popped up and I stared at him, not missing the fury and the agony in his voice. The bunching of his muscles all around me.

Dane gently eased me back into his arms, though his hand stroked my hair. “Ari, sweetheart. The only reason I’m away from you and our son is because I already know the impact these people can have on the worldwide economy. I don’t want anyone to suffer again. Not like in ’08. Jesus. All those lost jobs, all that despair. There were suicides because of financial strains and destitution. Retirements imploded. Foreclosures forced bankruptcy and homelessness. Families—children—went hungry. And there are so many still trying to recover from that.”

I understood this wasn’t just about Dane and the loss of the Lux. His dream. The poli-econ society he’d secretly been a part of had possessed the ability to effect positive change—that had been the goal for generations. Unfortunately, with the sort of intel they’d collected and dissected it was also possible to incite financial ruin, because some members’ greed overrode their good sense and intentions.

He said, “The society put extensive effort into keeping disaster from striking again. But all that information—all the tracking, trending, analysis, forecasting…” He let out a strangled sound that was full of agitation … and torment. “In the wrong hands, it starts the vicious cycle of economic downturn and the struggle for recovery all over. To the benefit of those who are pulling the strings.”

I’d always found the concept of “Billionaires’ Clubs” difficult to wrap my mind around. A conglomeration of the elite could throw hundreds of millions of dollars at someone in the position of political power and influence in order to advance personal agendas. Not those designed for the greater good but for individual gain.

Dane had once said money was like a drug for some. It was an addiction only sated by building bigger empires, amassing more and more wealth—and, again, gaining power and using it to one’s advantage.

His purpose within the society had never been self-serving. What Dane and the legit members of the Illuminati bloc had attempted to do was maintain a sound economic environment. There would always be an ebb and flow, but a dramatic downward swing could spiral out of control. As we’d all experienced not too long ago.

Frankly, I never wanted to see people in such dire straits again. Nor did Dane. Hence the reason the generational society had dissolved. Now it was just Dane, Ethan Evans, Sultan Qadir Hakim, and Nikolai Vasil who attempted to right the wrongs.

Something I admired greatly. Even if it did mean my husband was mostly sequestered and rarely lying next to me.

I said, “You know I support what you’re doing. And though I’m thrilled you’re here with me, remember that you have faith in Kyle and Amano looking after me. I don’t want to cause any problems with these indictment cases you’re helping to build.”

“I’m grateful for that.” He kissed my forehead. “But when you’re so scared thatKyle calls me … That’s when I know where I have to be—what my most important priorities are.”

“Then I have to keep from freaking out. Because you have serious work to do. And I want it wrapped up soon. So that you can come home to me.”

His fingers stroked my cheek as a few tears tumbled along them.

“Soon, baby,” he murmured against my hair. “I promise.”

*   *   *

I slept soundly in Dane’s protective embrace and woke feeling much more composed. Safer. Saner.

He made love to me once more; then we showered. We headed into the kitchen and I poured orange juice while Dane went straight for the coffeemaker and popped in the bold French roast pod he favored. The aroma wafted through the air and must have drawn Kyle, because he came in seconds later.

He wore a tank top and gym shorts. His hands clenched the ends of the towel wrapped around his neck, and perspiration beaded his hairline. I assumed he’d just finished another P90X workout. He’d had muscles to strain the hems and fabric of his short-sleeved shirts from the time I’d met him, but now, he gave Marky Mark in his immortalized Calvin Klein boxer ads a run for his money.

My husband scowled. Clearly, he didn’t like Kyle flaunting his biceps in front of me. I bit back a smile. Although Kyle proved swoon worthy to most women,everything about Dane riveted me. At six-three and with his broad shoulders and prominent features, he knocked the wind out of me every time he was near.

Lucky me, all Dane wore this morning was a pair of black drawstring pants. His hair—as dark and luxurious as polished obsidian—was a sexily tousled mess. His emerald eyes always glowed seductively when he looked at me. Even when he crooked a brow, as he did now, as though to ask, Does Kyle always walk around all buffed out when I’m not here?

I ignored the burning question in Dane’s gaze and kissed him on the cheek. “Behave,” I murmured. To Kyle, I asked, “Are you cooking or am I?”

“I’ll do it. You two”—he waved a hand at us—“spend time together. Or … whatever.”

“Thanks for calling him,” I said. “I needed a little extra assurance to keep me from imagining rattling tails all night long.”

Dane took a sip of coffee, then set the mug on the Italian marble counter. “Won’t be long before this is all over. There’ll be another indictment any day now—Keaton Wellington the Third. That only leaves one other society member out there. And trust me, he’s shaking in his Gucci loafers.”

I could see Dane gleaned a bit of satisfaction that his former investors were tormented by the full-court press put on them recently. Rightfully so on my husband’s part.

“So when do the trials begin?” Kyle asked as he yanked open the door on the Sub-Zero fridge and reached for the carton of eggs. He did the most amazing things with breakfast, and I hoped he had his thick, decadent, melt-in-your-mouth French toast on the menu this morning. I could practically smell the rich Mexican vanilla and he hadn’t even made his way to the spice rack yet.

“The FBI and IRS criminal investigations are still under way. Corruption and tax evasion are substantial charges on their own. The heartier chunk of the puzzle is tying them into the bombing of the Lux. That’ll nail their coffins shut.”

Dane’s strong jawline set and his eyes flashed with the need for revenge. It set me on-edge when he looked so formidable, so intimidating. But the razor-sharp vibe was warranted when it came to his luxury resort having been blown to bits. Not to mention the treacherous situation we were all in.

Kyle cracked eggs into a bowl as he asked, “Then what? More of our version of witness protection until all the convictions are made—if they’re made? Not sure if Ari got around to mentioning it, but she wants to go back to the creek house.”

I shot him a sardonic look for broaching the subject ahead of me. “Thanks so much.”

“I’m not opposed to that,” Dane said as he slid onto a high-backed upholstered stool at the island where Kyle worked. I joined Dane, draping my arm along the top of the stool next to his and propping my hip against the seat. “That location is securely monitored. It’s also a bit smaller than this estate. Easier for surveillance.” His tone held a contemplative tinge, so I deduced he wasn’t wholly convinced moving was a good idea at the moment, but at least he considered the possibility. I appreciated that.

Being under Amano’s and Kyle’s watch made me infinitely happier than if I’d been secreted away somewhere by the FBI because I was Dane’s wife. It was difficult enough giving up some personal freedoms for the sake of protection.

Kyle carried the empty carton of eggshells to the trash can, tossed it, then popped into the pantry. I studied Dane.

“I feel safer at the creek house,” I told him. “Calmer. I can’t explain why. I just do. And I never would have left if I wasn’t having so much trouble with the morning sickness and dehydration my first couple of months with the baby and needed Macy’s medical retreat.”

Turned out to be a wise decision to seek professional, holistic help, and I was glad Kyle had suggested I consult Dr. Macy Stevens, his aunt. Her physical rehab facility also offered inpatient care for four people. I’d been one of the four, and the entire experience had been wholly beneficial, possibly even lifesaving, given that I’d lost weight rapidly at the beginning of my pregnancy, not gained. And dehydration was never something to fool around with. Nor was the extreme grief I’d suffered when I’d believed Dane had been killed in the Lux destruction.

Now here I was entering my third trimester. That likely lent to my desire to return home.

Dane said, “I know you like it there.” He brushed away a plump curl from my temple. “And you know that I’d grant you any wish. As long as I don’t think it puts you in jeopardy.”

“Yes.” I leaned toward him and kissed him softly. Against his lips, I said, “I also know that, sometimes, I have to coax you into granting my every wish.”

The corner of his mouth lifted. “This ought to be interesting.”

“Well.” I splayed my palms over his sculpted pecs. He was too fantastically built not to touch every chance I got. “We do have baby planning in the midst of all of this mayhem. I want the world’s most amazing nursery, Dane. I want our son to open his eyes every time he wakes and see the extreme his parents would go to in order to make him happy.”

Tears suddenly prickled the backs of my own eyes. Maybe I was hormonal. Or perhaps it was that I suffered from long absences from my seriously sexy husband and the fact that nothing about my pregnancy had been commonplace. I wanted everything following the delivery to be perfect. And I wanted our son to have stability in one home—not be moved from location to location because of extortion, explosions, high-speed car chases, and the like.

Dane’s handsome face became a mask of hard angles. I’d seen the expression before. He went to a very dark place in his mind when dealing with this terrifying nightmare we all endured.

“Baby—”

“I’m not complaining about this house,” I was quick to say. “The estate is incredible. It’s just … not home. Not our home, even if you did have it built for us. We both know where we belong, Dane. And I want He-Who-Will-Hopefully-Be-Named-Soon to have roots. Not a transient life.”

“I agree. If you want to go back to the creek house, we’ll make it happen.” He kissed me tenderly, making my toes curl. “Whatever you want.”

“You and this kid will suffice,” I said with a smile as my fingers swept through his hair.

Dane did his usual schooling of expressions to erase the tense one. “FYI, though. Kyle’s not going to live with us. Not after I’m done with the FBI.”

“I don’t know,” I mused. “He’s really gotten into this bodyguard stuff. I think he might self-appoint for a gig looking after our so—”

“Not a chance,” Dane grumbled.

I laughed softly as I reached for my glass of orange juice and sipped while Dane seethed over his mug of coffee.

I turned back to him and said, “We do have the space, that’s for cer—”

“Hey,” Kyle interjected as he returned from the walk-in pantry, his voice sharp, tinged with just enough holy shit to send a dark shiver through me. “What the hell is that red dot on Ari’s forehead?”



Copyright © 2016 by Calista Fox


Calista, Hi! Welcome to The Reading Frenzy. Tell my readers a little about your new novel, book three of your Burned Deep trilogy, BURNED HEARTS.
Thanks for having me! I’m very excited about the release of the final book in the trilogy and am quite pleased with the reviews, because I’ve discovered it’s not as easy to tie up three books’ worth of loose ends as one might think!
This entire series is action-packed, with a hero and heroine who find themselves embroiled in a mysterious and devious undertaking that threatens the global economy—and Ari’s and Dane’s lives. The final stand they must take to save their family and the legacy they’ve worked so hard for and sacrificed to build together comes in this last installment with deception and betrayals that cut deep.
I don’t want to give anything else away!

It’s always sort of sad as a reader when a series/trilogy ends. How does it feel to you as an author to say goodbye?
I was definitely sad to wrap up this trilogy. It was hard to say goodbye to Ari and Dane, who I have completely fallen in love with and hope readers have as well. They started out on rocky terms with Ari being so protective of her emotions, for very good reasons, and Dane desperately wanting to break through her barriers. When they clicked, they became a power couple willing to fight for each other and everything they believed in. It truly was hard to let them go, but they will always be one of my favorite heroes and heroines.
And, as a bonus, my secondary hero, Kyle Jenns, gets his own story in BURNING OBSESSION. The novel releases on November 1, 2016 from St. Martin’s Swerve imprint!
BUY LINK

Calista, this trilogy sounds like there’s a good amount of suspense mixed in with a smokin hot love story. Is there a formula for how much angst + how much lust = a great story, or is it all up to your muse?
For my characters, the angst can come from a variety of internal and external conflicts and this trilogy certainly has plenty of both! There is a lot of intrigue and suspense to the plot, and a very steamy romance. Danger makes for a great backdrop when ratcheting the sexual tension between the H/H, but I also felt as though these two characters were so destined for each other from the onset that the heat and intensity came naturally. Even when they are separated from each other for reasons beyond their control, there is never any doubt they belong together forever, and I believe that’s what makes their love and story so powerful.

Between your hero and heroine who was the most fun for you to create and why?
I really enjoyed drawing Ari from her shell. She was a strong character from the very beginning, but it was a quiet strength that needed to be cultivated and Dane was the one who gave her the power to become an equal partner in their relationship and in the life they built together, including gathering this new family around them and conquering all that has gone wrong with their megaresort, 10,000 Lux. Death, destruction, devastation—they see it all and rely on each other to pull through and I loved how they played off each other in order to survive.
That said, Dane was by far the most intriguing character for me to write because he’s extremely complex, dark and broody, yet fiercely protective of what’s his. He’s involved in something that could have been great, but turns detrimental. Extracting himself is risky business. I typically don’t create so much drama around a hero, but this one really called for it—he was too strong from the moment I drummed him up in my head not to make him as well-rounded, deeply rooted in danger and drama, and as sexy as I possibly could!

Calista, this is your first book set with St. Martin’s Press. Is it a common practice to write for more than one publisher? Why do you?
I was extremely fortunate to craft this trilogy for St. Martin’s and my editor, Monique Patterson. I’ve been published with smaller houses for years, and when I decided it was time to strive for a Big 5 publisher, I was very excited to land a deal with Ms. Patterson. I love working with her and the entire team and am very happy to have another series coming from SMP—three print novels and five novellas!
THE BILLIONAIRES series, and the spinoff BAYFRONT BILLIONAIRES, launches December 27, 2016, with my first BAYFRONT BILLIONAIRES novella, POSSESSION, included in a boxed set featuring Opal Carew, Charlotte Stein and others. (The set is titled, FILTY AND RICH, features billionaire ménage romances and is available for preorder now!)
As for writing for other publishers, I do believe it’s good practice as it pertains to fulfilling different niches and because it helps to broaden a writer’s repertoire and audience. I also write for Grand Central Publishing/Forever and I really enjoyed the experience and love the sexy and sassy LEAVE YOUR SHOES ON series we put out.
I never say never to anything, but at the moment, I’m quite pleased to have so much opportunity through SMP. They are an amazing group of people who are very forward-thinking and energetic—and keep me busy!
Click HERE for more information about Calista's upcoming releases

Is it HEA or bust for all your novels?
Yes! I grew up on romance novels and while there are certain epic stories I love where the main female/male leads don’t end up together (e.g., Casablanca and Gone with the Wind), I am always rooting for that happy ending. I want them to face obstacles and make me laugh or cry when they overcome them and realize they are destined for each other. I like the warm-fuzzies! ;-)

Calista, it doesn’t amaze me to learn that women “of a certain age” (seniors) really enjoy hot steamy romances because I am and I do. Does it surprise you and have you noticed any of your fans on Social Media being in the Social Security age brackets?
It no longer surprises me—and I’m quite pleased about it! Though my demographic span is broad, I will say that I meet a lot of readers in person who are “of a certain age.” In fact, I have to tell this story of when I was at a wedding of my eldest brother-in-law’s daughter in La Jolla and I was at the family table, which included an older, conservative woman everyone revered and I was careful not to mention a word about my steamy romances—because they are really steamy! But someone else started talking about my books and this woman instantly perked up. I tentatively felt out the situation, asking if she’d heard of “Sex and the City” (this was pre-Fifty Shades and was a good heat-factor barometer) and she very enthusiastically went into great detail of how her daughter had bought her the entire DVD collection and she devoured it. The family was a bit shocked to hear this secret fetish of hers (LOL), but I ended up with a new reader!

So you’ve just turned in your final edits and closed the book so to speak on your latest book. Do you treat yourself to something special when you reach “the end”, or is it just another day at the office?
Honestly, I have mixed feelings when I reach the end. There’s a huge sigh of relief that it’s finally done, especially if I’ve been feeling the pressure of a deadline. Conversely, sometimes I truly do hate to say goodbye to certain characters.
If it’s a book that’s been a struggle to write, I usually chill out by playing a video game or I’ll watch a mindless movie that doesn’t require much brain effort on my part. If it’s one of those books that miraculously writes themselves, then I’m typically up for a night out with champagne!

Calista, thank you so much for answering my questions. Good luck with the new release.  What’s next on your writing platter?
I’m so happy to be your guest! Next up is THE BILLIONARIES and THE BAYFRONT BILLIONAIRES, which I’m really looking forward to seeing on bookshelves!
Thanks again for having me!

The first two books in the trilogy



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Meet Calista:
Calista is a former PR professional, now writing fast-paced, steamy books to set your pulse racing! Her publishing houses include St. Martin’s Press, Grand Central Publishing and Harlequin. Her debut SMP trilogy opens withBURNED DEEP in October 2015!
She is an Amazon bestseller and has won many Reviewer’s and Reader’s Choice Awards, as well as Best Book Awards and other competitions with publication as first prize. Calista is a college graduate and teaches online writing classes. She is also Past President/Advisor of the Phoenix Chapter of Romance Writers of America.






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