Thanks for having me, Desiree! Knowing your love of music, I thought I’d talk about my latest release from Ellora’s Cave, “In The Mood.”

Recently, Ellora’s Cave gave away the first book in the “Pure Wildfire” series of books, the first series I had out with them. The result was amazing and made me very happy. People went on to download the other three books in the series, and the reviews were fantastic. For which, dear reader, many thanks.

At the time I was working on a new series for Ellora’s Cave. “Nightstar” tells the story of another band, Murder City Ravens, but where Pure Wildfire was about firebird shape-shifters (and one phoenix), Murder City Ravens is a contemporary series. No dragons, vampires or firebirds in sight.

“Nightstar” tells the story of a band that is in the process of going stellar. Murder City Ravens nearly split up a couple of years before the first story starts, when the lead singer, Matt Scott, a.k.a Maxx Syccorraxx, OD’d and nearly died. The band fired him, and the guitarist and Matt’s best friend, takes him to rehab. Shocked by the near-miss, the band largely gives up drugs. They recruited two new members, Zazz, a Brit, and Riku, a Japanese-American who is heavily into visual kei, and reboot. This time, with the release of the third album, “Nightstar,” and an accompanying single, the band goes stellar. The world goes bonkers for them. So what do they have to worry about? The answer is, a hell of a lot. Many of the band members have alternative lives, and while Murder City Ravens gave them a good living, it didn’t break the bank. The series is set during a world tour, so locations vary from New York to Sweden and places in between. Will the band members stay in Murder City Ravens, now a coherent unit that works well together, or will they split and have to start again? Every member has to make that choice. So do the women they meet and fall for. The women are not pushovers, they’re not willing to trail along behind the band like groupies, they want their own lives. The stakes are high, but the choices are personal.

And I am loving writing this series.

The first story came to me when I visited Chicago two years ago, but took a long time to emerge. Some stories do. But by the time I went to Chicago again this year, for the RT Booklovers’ Convention, the story was well underway. The visit to the unexpectedly beautiful city gave me a chance to visit some of the sites in the book, and take lots of photos.

But “In The Mood” is the story of the man who fell from grace so spectacularly, Matt Scott, now clean and living in Chicago. He has started his own production business, and the band ask him to produce “Nightstar,” despite the distrust of their manager, who saw Matt at his most unreliable, drug-ridden worst. One night, walking home through the blues district, he hears something.

“A breath of a note shivered through the air as the club door opened. Matt paused, then stayed to listen. It sounded great. Better than great. Whoever was playing that saxophone knew how to wrench the heart out of the music.

Abruptly changing his plans for the evening, he walked toward the door. Chicago had managed to turn a thriving music area into a tourist trap, but for those who knew where to look, a few of the old-style clubs remained. Clubs that attracted tourists but were still all about the music. After all, tourists loved music too.

This type of club didn’t have people queuing behind velvet ropes and VIP areas or tourists turning up in droves. The savvy might pick this place out, because it was small and laid back and looked as if it had been there for some time.

The man at the door looked at him, then blinked and stared, dark eyes widening. “Are you Maxx Syccoraxx?”

He grinned. “People ask me that all the time.” He was used to the question by now. It was better than, “Didn’t you used to be Maxx Syccoraxx?” Yes, that was who he used to be; lead singer with an up-and-coming rock band. No more. Drink and drugs had finished all that for him, burned him out. Now, with his body filled out and hair cropped short, he looked like a different man, but sometimes people still recognized him.”

Matt finds V playing the sax. She’s a lovely woman, and Matt is smitten on sight. He takes her home and that night their relationship begins. But V receives an offer she can’t refuse. Matt offers her session work, and then, when the band hears her play, they want her. She improvises on the already recorded single, and the band insists on including her. Then they want her to join.

If she does, she has to go with them on their world tour, and that means leaving Matt behind in Chicago. He has his life, and with the new Murder City Ravens album, he can’t sell up and leave. Nor would she want him to.

Each book contains a similar dilemma, but at the heart of every story is a love story. A hot love story, because these people can’t keep their hands off each other.

“He opened the door and slammed it shut. Before she had a chance to take in the apartment, he had her against the wall, pressing her body against the hard wood, the panels scoring lines into her back. His kiss seared her mouth, hard and unforgiving, but she needed his desperation, because it echoed hers. Her whole body ached to be touched, learned, and she wanted to feel him skin on skin.

He jerked back with a gasp. “Fuck, I’m sorry. I want you so much. You’re beautiful, sexy, but it’s more than that.” As he regained a semblance of civilization, a smile flickered across his mouth and then was gone. “I’ve never wanted anyone so much.”

“Me too.” Honesty. She could try for that. Courtesy went when she reached for his black shirt and began to undo the buttons feverishly. As she revealed more of his skin, she moaned at the sight.

“You’re killing me here.” With a powerful flex of muscle, he bent and lifted her, heading for a room that turned out to be his bedroom. She got a vague impression of muted colors and a large window before he joined her and framed her face with his hands. Then he kissed her.

Several long, luscious kisses later, her dress came off and so did his shirt. She ran her hands over his hot, smooth skin, pausing to tweak his nipples. His sharp cry went a little way to assuage her. She wanted him to want her as much as she wanted him, and it seemed he did from his eager response. He cupped her breasts, still held in the soft bra she’d put on what seemed like eons ago but was in reality earlier that evening, after her shower. She sighed and moved from side to side, to feel his hands on her. He slipped one hand under the strap and released the clasp of her bra with an ease that spoke of years of practice.

But not now. Now there were only the two of them, for the whole night.”

You can read more of “In the Mood” here , and buy the book here

The second book, “Born on the Bayou,” will be out soon!