Hi! Thanks so much for coming today. Tell us a little bit about yourself.
Hi Carrie, thanks so much for inviting me to your site! I write romantic suspense and have just released the second book in a series set in Italy among the Calabrian Mafia. I’ve been to Italy twice, fell utterly in love with it, and have written three books set there.
The first book I wrote—a contemporary romance—isn’t at all ready for prime time, but it still has a special place in my heart. Someday I may dust that book off and rework it—once I’m brave enough to share it with my critique partner (the amazing Kristine Cayne). I’m afraid she might die of laughter. I tried to cram just about every idea—and style—of romance I’d ever wanted to write in that book. My poor sister is the only person I’ve ever inflicted it on, and she said I need to pick a tone and stick with it—and come up with a coherent plot too instead of a series of episodes—even if they were steamy. ;)
Even though that book is a mess, it actually provided the inspiration for the Mafia series—rather than try to fix that book, I decided to start over from scratch. The only thing I planned to keep was the Italian setting; everything else was up for grabs. So I started asking “what if” questions about the premise and the characters, and when I asked myself, “What if the hero *isn’t* such a nice guy?” the concept of him being in the Mafia popped into my head, and the ideas flowed fast and furious after that.
Tell us a bit about your book.
Retribution is about Nick Clarkston, a young Interpol agent, who learns that his estranged father is a Mafia don. Determined to take his father down, Nick goes undercover, posing as a dirty agent, and teams up with his father’s worst enemy. Nick soon falls in love with the mobster’s alluring daughter, Delfina Andretti, who sees Nick as her ticket out of the Mob—until she realizes that he may very well put everyone she loves in jail.
Is this part of a series?
Yes, Retribution is the second book in a four-part series. The series, Blood and Honor, is about the long-standing feud between two Mafia families and the ties—both criminal and romantic—between them. Think The Godfather meets Romeo and Juliet, and you have a pretty good idea of what the stories are about. “Gritty, steamy romantic suspense” is how I describe my books.
What did you find the hardest part of writing it to be?
I had to restructure Retribution a couple times before I felt the story was flowing the way it should. Nick got cut out of my first book, Revenge, and I think he was having his “revenge” on me because of that! He’s the son of Enrico, the hero in the first book, and even though I really, really wanted to write about Nick in that book, I eventually concluded that he deserved his own.
True confessions time: there’s a bit more to the story than that. Quite frankly, Nick was screwing up the plot in Revenge, and I ended up with a major case of writer’s block because of him! Trying to keep him in that book was giving me fits and making it too complicated, and I got stalled for a long time until some writer friends gently showed me that taking him out was the right thing to do, as much as I rebelled against it.
Despite the difficulties he gave me, I have a major soft spot for Nick—he’s actually the reason the series came to be. Revenge started out as a single title, but with Nick demanding his own story, I saw how much more there was to explore in this world, and the idea for the series was born.
What was your favorite part?
Definitely the sex scenes! They’re always my favorite parts to write. Even though some of my family members and friends think my books are too sexy, I don’t care. I write the stories I want to read. And I know I’m not the only one who enjoys a steamy story!
Rate your story in terms of steaminess
Hmm… something Italian… sports cars, espresso, food…
On the sports car scale, definitely 5 Ferraris out of 5!
On the latte scale, it’d be a quintuple-shot mocha with extra whip!
On the gelato scale, 5 scoops of nocciolato (hazelnut-chocolate)!
Okay, I’ll stop there before I start obsessing about chocolate, hazelnuts, and the utter heaven that is nocciolato gelato, which I had to try at least once in every Italian city I visited… *drools on shirt*
Who is your favorite romance author?
J.R. Ward. I love her Black Dagger books!! A close second is Larissa Ione (just got my copy of Lethal Rider today. Squee!). Hmm… sexy vamps, sexy sex demons… perhaps there’s a pattern?
What is your favorite romance book or series?
In the Black Dagger Brotherhood series, my favorite is Lover Awakened, Zsadist’s story. I’ve read it twice, and I almost never do that because I have so little spare time. But that story just grabbed me and wouldn’t let go. I wasn’t a fan of Z earlier in the series, but once I got to know him, I fell in love with the wounded soul behind the snarl. Plus, I’m a sucker for redemption stories.
Who is your favorite romance character? If you could go on a date with that person, what would you do? Details please! *wink*
Well, is it horrible to say that I adore Enrico Lucchesi, the hero of my first book? He’s tall, dark, handsome as sin, and bears a strong resemblance to David Gandy. (Those Dolce & Gabbana Light Blue ads, where Gandy’s lying back in the boat off the coast of Capri, looking all tanned and gorgeous and come hither my sweet? Totally my inspiration! *goes to look at the Gandy pix on her Pinterest boards, fans self, finally remembers she’s doing an interview*)
Where was I? Oh yes—the date! We’d go to Capri, this utterly perfect tropical paradise off the Italian coast, have a light dinner at a small café, then find some secluded spot on the beach… and do our best to get arrested for indecent exposure! (Full disclosure: This very date takes place in Revenge. Except—wah—I’m not the heroine!)
Boxers or Briefs?
How about those boxer-briefs from Calvin Klein? Remember David Beckham in those??? *wipes up drool again, makes note to purchase bib and add Beckham to Pinterest*
What is next for you?
I’m hard at work on Redemption, book 3 in the Blood and Honor series. This book tells Antonio’s story. From the very first review that came in, readers have been asking for his story, and I’m glad to finally be working on it! He’s a character who seems to steal everyone’s heart, including mine, which is funny because when I started the series, he was just “bodyguard #2,” but he became so much more once I got to know him.
What were your first impressions of each other?
Nick: I thought Delfina was a total knockout, but she didn’t seem to like me one bloody bit! I distinctly recall her mouthing “Go” at me and looking very unhappy when I tried to catch her attention. I’m not used to having that effect on women, so she definitely intrigued me.
Delfina: Nick can be so obtuse! He couldn’t see that I was trying to save him from my father. That said, I immediately fell under the spell of his sea-green eyes and his heart-stopping, devilishly devastating smile. But I couldn’t let him know that. ;)
What are your favorite parts about each other?
Nick: She’s got the sweetest bum. I can never resist giving it a squeeze. And I love her mouth. And her eyes, and… well, I just love her.
Delfina: He’s got a great bum too, but I adore his sexy chest and abs. Did I mention he has a to-die-for smile? And I simply can’t forget that he’s put his life on the line for me. That’s true amore! How many women get to say that?
What’s next for you?
Delfina: We’re enjoying married life and thinking about starting a family after I get established in the fashion world. And perhaps I’ll model (for Nick only) some sexy new lingerie I’m designing … but don’t tell him. It’s a surprise!
Nick: Did someone mention lingerie? I love those fancy red knickers Delfi wears! What was the question again? Oh yeah—honestly, I hadn’t thought much beyond how many places in the flat we’ve yet to christen besides the bed… but yeah, kids are next, whenever my lovely wife decides!
Question for readers: Who’s your favorite romantic suspense or paranormal hero and heroine and why?
An Interpol agent playing a dangerous game.
A Mafia princess desperate to escape.
A man determined to exact retribution…
Nick Clarkston, a young Interpol agent, threatens to undo the fragile peace between the Lucchesi and Andretti families when he tries to take down the Mafia don father who abandoned him. He allies with his father’s sworn enemy, a mobster both devious and ruthless. The mobster’s alluring daughter helps Nick negotiate the murky criminal underworld, but he soon learns she’s using him. Trapped, and with nowhere to turn, Nick makes a tragic mistake that plunges him further into danger.
Delfina Andretti appears to be the typical Mafia princess—but this princess wants out. Delfina dreams of being a fashion designer, and hooking up with Nick is her ticket out of an arranged marriage. Her feelings for Nick are genuine, but he’s leery of her. Even worse, his heedless drive for justice threatens to get them both killed and to put everyone Delfina loves behind bars—unless she and Nick can forge a new future for their warring families.
An excerpt from Retribution
Nick turned the music up and caught Delfina’s eye. Was it just his imagination, or had she been admiring his bare arse? “Watching me, were you?” he asked, keeping his voice pitched low.
She blushed, roses staining her cheeks. His chest felt lighter than it had in weeks. “I’m not answering that.”
He strode over to her and leaned in, forcing her to sprawl back on the bed, caged within his arms. He placed his lips near her ear. “Your blush told me everything. Every single naughty thought you were having.”
“Madonna,” she muttered and braced her hands against his chest. “You’re getting a swollen head.”
He darted his tongue out and ran it along the edge of her ear. “Most certainly.” He put a knee up on the bed and rubbed his swollen length along her thigh.
She laughed and pushed against him, but he didn’t budge. “Time to get undressed,” he whispered. Her hands went to the buttons that ran down the front of the silk blouse tucked into her skirt. She played with the top one.
“Now?” she asked, her voice lilting and playful.
“Now.” He rumbled the word in her ear and she shivered. “Take it off. I want to see you. All of you.”
An excerpt from Retribution:
Delfina reached up and stroked Nick’s hair, saying nothing. After a time, his hold slackened, then he pulled away, wiping his cheeks on the sleeve of his suit. She started to sit back on her heels, trying to figure out how to broach the subject of his father, but he took her face in his hands and pressed his lips to hers, stunning her. She started to resist, but he let out a little sound of protest. What could it hurt, really? She relaxed into him. It was just a—what had he called it?—a snog. A silly word for a silly thing. But it did feel good, the brush of his lips on hers, his fingers caressing her cheeks and jaw, the way he tugged her closer until she was sitting in his lap. He kissed her gently for a while, then with a moan, his mouth opened slightly and his tongue sought hers. A thrill ran through her body at the invasion, at his deepening desire for her.
They shouldn’t be doing this, she shouldn’t be letting him kiss her, but she didn’t want to stop. He tasted of Scotch, the liquor dark and smoky. She let him in, parting her lips beneath his, her eyes closing and all her senses concentrating on the touch of his mouth, his tongue. His hands left her face, one of them twining in her hair, the other spreading across her upper back, enclosing her in his warmth.
She’d been kissed before, but only by boys. Nick was a man—there was nothing tentative about his kiss. Nothing rough about it either, even though he was drunk. He didn’t grind his lips against hers, though their touch was firm, insistent. And his tongue was wicked—light and flickering one moment, demanding the next.
Where can I get it?
Special bonus: To celebrate the release of Retribution, I’ve put book 1, Revenge, on sale now for only 99 cents! (Note that the sale price is not yet reflected on Kobo.)
Revenge and Retribution are available in both paperback and ebook formats. You can find them at these retailers:
Author bio and link:
An avid traveler, Dana Delamar is forever curious about the various peoples and cultures that make up the world. Her fascination with the darker side of the human mind has led to her love of steamy, gritty stories of strong people pushed to the edge and tested by their circumstances.
When she’s not writing, Dana is zipping off to visit new locales, dreaming about her next trip to Italy, or narrowly avoiding car accidents while she conjures up exploits for her characters. You can visit her at http://www.danadelamar.com.
I’m giving away three ebook copies of Retribution (your choice of format). You must comment and provide your email address to enter the giveaway.