Today, Silk And Shadows welcomes Erica Ridley, whose debut TOO WICKED TO KISS has a dark hero to die for.
Breaking News: Win an autographed copy of Gothic historical TOO WICKED TO KISS this week only, just by answering the daily kiss question on Twitter #2w2k or Facebook!
Although release day for my debut Gothic romance is Tuesday, March 2, today I received a text from a friend who saw a stack of copies on the new release table at Borders (!!!) and sent me a photo with her iPhone. So exciting! Too Wicked To Kiss is also a Barnes & Noble book club pick for the month of March, and I’m hoping to get news of 2W2K sightings in those stores soon, too. I’m also getting ready for my first-ever signing next week, at a local independent bookstore. Definitely a scrapbook moment! But enough about me… let me introduce you to the book!
I absolutely love the cover. I think the art department did a spectacular job at evoking both Gothic darkness and sensual romance. The back cover reads:
HIS TOUCH HOLDS HER CAPTIVE…
From the ravens circling its spires to the gargoyles adorning its roof, Blackberry Manor looms ominously over its rambling grounds. And behind its doors, amid the flickering shadows and secret passageways, danger lies in wait.
TO HIS EVERY DARK DESIRE…
Evangeline Pemberton has been invited to a party at the sprawling estate of reclusive Gavin Lioncroft, who is rumored to have murdered his parents. Initially, Gavin’s towering presence and brusque manner instill fear in Evangeline…until his rakish features and seductive attentions profoundly arouse her. But when a guest is murdered, Evangeline is torn. Could the man to whom she is so powerfully drawn, also be a ruthless killer?
TOO WICKED TO KISS
I had absolutely zero to do with the creation of the back cover copy, which turns out to be a good thing, because I think the copywriter did an amazing job at evoking the Gothic tone and hinting at the hero’s darkness.
The heroine’s first impression of his mansion does not exactly go over well:
Despite the tall arched ceiling with its bowed wooden beams curving at the creases like so many rib bones, the air was thick, heavy, oppressive, as if she had not stepped into the foyer of an aristocrat’s mansion, but a long forgotten sepulcher untouched by anything but death.
Were there no windows? Evangeline craned her neck to peer upward, just beneath the rafters. Ah, yes. Several. But not the kind to let in light.
The narrow slashes high above her head were the sort suited for medieval castles, for skilled archers to aim their deadly arrows at those who would trespass below, not for illuminating entryways for members of Polite Society. This evening, no archers crouched at the ready, just as no sun hung in the sky. Only the slipperiest, blackest of shadows filtered through the thin cracks to fall upon her upturned face like the cool caress of ghostly hands. The wisps of damp hair on Evangeline’s neck fluttered nervously, touched by a breeze she could not feel.
Nor does her first impression of the man himself:
He stood at the landing above the spiral stair, cloaked in shadow. Tall. Unnaturally so. Was it the angle, the skewed perspective of being so far beneath him? Or was his towering stature undeniable, evident in the width of his shoulders, the muscular length of his legs, the long pale fingers curved around the banister?
Evangeline swallowed a gasp.
Not because of the obsidian eyes framed by equally black lashes. Nor because of the angry slash of cheekbones, the flash of bared teeth, or the scar just above the edge of his jaw. Those things, though separately terrible, together formed a face of cold, cruel beauty. A face for statues, for frescoes, for—
Another flutter of orange light as he reached the final stair, and Evangeline could no longer breathe.
He was angry. Horribly angry. Livid. Enraged. Furious. His eyes glittered like a wolf’s because he was a wolf, a beautiful, powerful, violent wolf, prowling toward his unsuspecting prey.
Miss Evangeline Pemberton has her own dark secrets to keep, some of which are linked to the psychic abilities she’s tried so hard to hide–which is hard to do when she’s bombarded by visions and debilitating migraines at the slightest skin-to-skin touch. Before he discovers her secrets, the hero has his own unsettling encounters with the heroine:
For several long moments, Gavin watched her, unnerved by how still she held herself, how statue-like she posed. Her body was as lifeless and beautiful as an ivory sarcophagus molded in her image.
She stood so quiet and unmoving he might well have been in a room with two dead bodies. The unwelcome sensation of watching a pair of corpses had his muscles twitching in trepidation.
Gavin shifted his weight, uncomfortable in his own skin, even less comfortable with the motionless woman a few feet before him. Her fingers no longer shook, so frozen did she stand. He could not hear her breathing, even in the unnatural silence of the dank chamber. Her breasts no longer rose and fell. Even the folds of her gown held no ripples, no motion, as if they too were carved of stone and impervious to both breeze and life.
These two have a lot to deal with, but don’t worry–there’s still plenty of time for romance! Here’s a snippet from just before their first kiss:
He coasted his open mouth just above her flushed cheek, his breath steaming against the curve of her cheekbone, the dip below her earlobe, the length of her exposed neck.
Her body writhed between the hard wall and the even harder man before her. A sudden urge to force his lips upon her thrummed in her veins, but her dimming sense of self-preservation cautioned her to flee while she was still able.
You can read the full kiss scene on my blog at:
Erica will be hanging out at the blog today, so please leave comments! And don’t forget to check out the kiss contest on Facebook or Twitter and win an autographed copy of Gothic historical TOO WICKED TO KISS!
Get extra content and bonus features for Too Wicked To Kiss on the Unauthorized Scandal Sheet at: http://www.2wicked2kiss.com
For contest, blogs, embarrassing photos, and other fun stuff, check out Erica’s author web site at: http://www.ericaridley.com
Please join Erica for lots of games and prizes in the Facebook community at: http://www.facebook.com/EricaRidleyFans
And if you have Twitter, please come tweet with Erica at: http://www.twitter.com/EricaRidley