Sunday, August 7, 2011

Denise Rossetti is Guilty as Sin!

posted by Christine Wells

Hello, Banditas and Bandita Buddies! I've brought lair favourite and my dear friend Denise Rossetti, back to the lair today to talk about her brand new erotic romance from Ellora's Cave, GUILTY AS SIN. Isn't that an amazing cover? Denise has been blessed by the cover gods!


Ah, back in the lair. Time for True Confessions. We’ll get to the giveaway later. Sven, my dear, block those innocent Swedish ears. Here’s the Awful Truth -

I worry myself sometimes - well, quite often actually.

I’m a perfectly law-abiding citizen. I vote, I pay my taxes (albeit with much cursing). I’m a wife, a mother, a friend, a colleague. I’m so normal, I’m positively tedious. I love Happy Endings – in fact, they’re essential to my reading satisfaction.

Why then, do I get such a kick out of creating dark, angst-ridden characters? I just lurve the underbelly of the soul, relish and adore it. Torment? Anguish? Bring it on, sister! I have no problem sliding into the psyche of the basest villain and yet I’m not a serial killer, honest. Oh, and I absolutely adore Bad Boys.

There’s just something about an alpha guy who’s armoured against love. It makes my fingers itch to hit him over the head with a heroine he can’t resist. Take Michael in Guilty as Sin for instance, once an assassin, now a master thief. He’s not the massive, broody type Bad Boy, he’s lithe and handsome and jaded beyond belief. No morals whatsoever, or so he believes. If Phoenix wasn’t a sword and sorcery world, I’d give him a black leather jacket, mirror shades and a Harley Davidson. No problem with The Attitude, he’s already got that in spades!

In my mind, he looks something like this guy. Your mileage may vary. ;)

Here’s Liseriel the Gray’s first sight of him. Hmm…

She didn’t think she’d ever seen such a pretty man—or one more accomplished. Vastly entertained, Liseriel the Gray stepped deeper into the shadows and folded her arms, watching him flirt with a plump matron encased in gold-shot velvet while his eyes carried on an entirely different conversation with her stolid, bulky husband.

This was the master thief Jan had spoken of, she was sure of it.

Michael.

That was all they knew of him, his name. And that he’d been an assassin once. Her lip curled. Likely he still was.

Brilliant. Light-fingered. Deadly.

The man appeared to be a gilded youth, the line of his jaw clean and beautiful, his hair a thick golden blond that gleamed with health. Lise narrowed her eyes. A wig, but a very good one. Human hair, she judged. There were rings flashing on his slender fingers, sapphire drops in his earlobes. He’d spared no expense, she had to give him that. A perfect little lordling, and all in excellent taste. So what if she could see the hard disks of his nipples beneath the ultrafine silk of his shirt? Or if the merchant was darting discreet glances at the taut ass cupped so lovingly by the satin breeches required by court etiquette?

Michael was wearing makeup, expertly applied—not unusual for men at the Sereian court. Coupled with the classical purity of his features, the fine, elegant shape of cheek and nose and skull, it gave him a disturbingly androgynous air. He looked… She had to think about it…

Available. Delightfully, dangerously available.

He was deceptively lean. Lise measured the width of his shoulders and her gaze dropped to consider the muscle in his thigh. Oh yes, there was power there all right, coupled with perfect, almost unnatural control. His purpose kept him on a tight leash, this thief.


Come to think of it, Michael is one of the few heroes I haven’t been able to reduce to tears, though he did get plenty depressed and angry. I needed help to bring him to his knees! Like it says in the blurb for Guilty as Sin, in the end it took two Aetherii to catch a thief.

Michael’s bad, bad, bad—all the way to the bone. A single heated encounter with the master thief and level-headed Liseriel the Gray has never been so furious—so intrigued—in her life. Neither has Michael. Danger’s always been his drug of choice.

With his huge bronze wings and sweet, serious smile, Daxariel the Burnished is everything the thief is not—a generous shining spirit, an honest loving soul—and a virgin.

It's going to take two Aetherii to catch a thief. Lise and Dax are both so godsbedamned good, Michael can’t wait to debauch and defile, to make his Aetherii beg for dark erotic pleasures. It’s the only way he knows to win—and win he must, because there’s something about wings and tails and trust freely given that has him reeling.

Exquisitely trapped between Michael’s intoxicating wickedness and Dax’s steadfast love, everything Lise believes about duty is dust on the wind. How can she crave both these men, different as night and day?

Trust me, writing a ménage is complicated and exhausting. Try taking three incredibly different characters and giving them a halfway believable HEA. Hah!

On the surface, Lise is practical and dutiful. She thinks she’s dull. In fact, she’s like a drawn blade, all steel and elegance. She’s a warrior for justice, brave and honourable. Dax is - well, he’s nice. Decent, through and through. If he didn’t have magnificent wings and a wicked feathery tail, he’d be the boy next door. (That’s him on the cover. Isn’t he gorgeous? The model is perfect for Dax.) But I gave them both a little streak of the devil, just to keep Michael on his toes.

It’s interesting how much easier I find it to write a ‘bad’ character than a ‘good’ one, and I suspect I’m not alone. Is there something more intrinsically fascinating about wickedness? In real life, any woman in her right mind would prefer a loving husband and nurturing father over the swashbuckling glamour of a pirate. Can you imagine one of those dark elegant vampire types with baby sick on his shirt, or worse – baby poo?

So tell me, Banditas and BBs - Why do you like ‘bad boys’ in romance? Or perhaps you don’t! Can you think of a hero so dark you thought he was beyond redemption, and then discovered differently? Or what about a hero so thoroughly nice he bored you to death or drove you nuts?

One lucky commenter will receive a free ebook copy of Guilty as Sin. Instant gratification!


You can read the first chapter of Guilty as Sin here or go straight to Ellora’s Cave.

Subscribe to my monthly newsletter for more chances to win, excerpts and sneak peeks, or join me on Twitter or Facebook.

66 comments:

flchen1 said...

Ooh, I do think it's that thought of how a bad boy can be redeemed! And of course, that you can be the one to do it. OR sometimes it's the thought that this guy is just the one to help take you for a walk on the wild side ;) Congrats on your new release, Denise! It sounds wonderfully BAD! ;)

Christine Wells said...

Woot, Fedora is back with the rooster!

Yes, I think more heroines should take that walk, don't you, Fedora? Like Livvy N-J in Grease:)

MsHellion said...

I *ADORE* bad boys. *LOL* And there have been a bad boy or two that have taken me to the brink. "How is this author going to save this guy? He's a #*(%&(#(!"

Danger in Diamonds (Madeline Hunter, I believe)--the hero for that was a bit of a prick.

Notorious Pleasures (Elizabeth Hoyt), OMG, that hero was the limit! *LOL* Holy cow. And Elizabeth Hoyt writes some unrepentant bad boys. *LOL* It's why I can't ever wait to read her next book.

The Earl of Mayne, and Villiers, from Eloisa James' series (2 different series)--they were great rakes, though I think Villiers was more rakish than Mayne. I adored them though.

As for the good boy who bores...okay, this is probably sacrilegious to say, but Julia Quinn's heroes are more...good guy. Not usually a bad boy to be found in her group. They're smart and witty, but WAY TOO NICE. Sometimes her heroes annoy me, but fortunately the light Regency everyday drama is pretty entertaining--as is her dialogue.

Helen said...

Well done Fedora have fun with him

Whoo Hoo Hi Denise hows things going it is great to catch up with you I have been hearing lots a good things about this new book.

I gotta say I love a bad boy hero and why probably because as you say these are stories we read to take us away from everyday life and we can dream along with the story. And there is always a fantastic heroine (or hero) that brings them to their knees LOL.

Raffael from Nalini Singh's Archangel comes to mind when I think of someone really bad and of course Demitreus from the next Archangel book I am sure is going to be really bad. So far I can't think of one that was too nice LOL

Congrats on the release Denise and thanks Christine for inviting Denise along to day

Have Fun
Helen

June M. said...

I have to say I love the bad boys who are redeemed! Some of my faves include Mayne from Eliza James, many of Sabrina Jeffries including Anthony from Let "Sleeping Dogs Lie".

Kim in Hawaii said...

Aloha, Denise! Congrats on your new release.

I like bad boys in romance because I have a nice guy at home who indulges my romance habit!

Plus bad boys are a fantasy ... as it is the nice boys who are there for you in old age!

Denise Rossetti said...

Hi Fedora! Up early, I see!

Yes, I think that's it - the secret hope that we are the Special One he can't resist. Lots of women have fallen for that line, I fear. Fortunately for romance heroines, they ARE the Special One!

Denise Rossetti said...

Ooh, MsHellion, what a fabulous list. Thank you, thank you!

I can't help thinking of Takashi O'Brien in Anne Stuart's Ice Blue. He actually tries to murder the heroine - more than once, mind you! And yet I believed in him as a hero. What a tour-de-force!

Denise Rossetti said...

Ah, Helen, my friend, there you are! And thanks for the kind words. *smile*

You're right, it's all about the fantasy. What I love is the anticipation - because we know what's going to happen to Mr Tough Guy, even if he doesn't. Heh heh.

Denise Rossetti said...

Hi there, June! Thanks for the recommendations. *rubs hands together* I think I might put a list in my next newsletter. :)

Denise Rossetti said...

Aloha, Kim!

EXACTLY! Bad boys make fabulous romance heroes, but the author still has to work pretty hard to convince me they'll stay with the heroine for the long haul.

Which I guess means there has to be a damn good reason why they're so bad, which in turn calls for excellent characterization. Hmmm...

Escape by Fiction said...

I think i like the 'bad boys' because they're so different from what's going on in my real life. That's what I like to read nothing that come close to my life and I usually stick with PNR just that factor. Reading is an escape for me...and besides, bad boys are hot:)

Good reading ~ Escape by Fiction :)

jorobertson said...

Oh, my! (Fanning self vigorously).

Welcome back to the Lair, Denise!

Michael sounds like a delightful, classic bad boy with a twist!

babyalba lee said...

everybody love bad boys in a romance story. they add spice and life to every book and won't bore you to death. plus how we love to read about a bad boy change his image in one way or another to get the woman of his dreams.

Minna said...

I like bad boys in fiction, since mostly they turn out to be not so bad after all!

Jeanne (AKA The Duchesse) said...

HI Denise! Welcome to the Lair on this slow lazy Sunday! :>

Jeanne (AKA The Duchesse) said...

Hey, Fedora! You got the bird! :>

Had to LOL because I think you hit it right on the nose - it's either that the character represents a "walk on the wild side" or a chance for redemption. Both make for a fabulous story, don't they?

Denise, I think this book sounds scrumptious!

devon said...

Congrats Denise - I love it when you have a new book out!

I think probably 80-90% of all the romance books I read feature a bad boy. They are just so appealing in fiction cuz you just know that under all the rough edges and "bad" stuff is a great guy, and all it took was the right girl. Not that it happens often in real life - but that's why fiction is fun!

Jeanne (AKA The Duchesse) said...

Oh, in answer to your question, I have to confess that I just didn't know HOW Anna Campbell was going to redeem Kylemore in Claiming the Courtesan. I felt sure she would, but....

And a character that came near to being toooo nice and tooooo solid was Nora Roberts's Rogan in Born in Fire. He was just too..."too good" in much of the book, seldom losing his temper, managing things, shifting things....yeah. I still liked him, but...Oh, and the same for the hero in the third book in that trilogy. Murphy Muldoon is almost too accomodating and just plain nice. :>

And I'm REALLY laughing over your being so determined to bring your characters to their knees. Grins. I'm quite fond of that too.

Jeanne (AKA The Duchesse) said...

Denise said: but the author still has to work pretty hard to convince me they'll stay with the heroine for the long haul.

Which I guess means there has to be a damn good reason why they're so bad, which in turn calls for excellent characterization. Hmmm...


Dead on analysis, Denise! Grins.

Jeanne (AKA The Duchesse) said...

Escape by Fiction said: Reading is an escape for me...and besides, bad boys are hot:)

Oh, they are, aren't they?? Love that about them. :>

Christina Brooke said...

Loving these recommendations! Oh, yes, Denise, doesn't Anne Stuart write the ultimate bad boy? Loved Mayne and Villiers too, Hellion, although I feel Villiers had a much edgier presence. Mayne was more of a good times bad boy, wasn't he?

Christina Brooke said...

Jo, you would love this book! All three protagonists are strong and vibrant in different ways. Michael's downfall is particularly sweet!

Christina Brooke said...

Devon, I think it does happen in real life sometimes but the man has to have that innate good character to begin with!

Christina Brooke said...

Jeanne, that's so true! I didn't know how Anna would pull that one off.

As for the good but boring, I love it when you think a hero is going to be good but boring and then he surprises you in some way. SEP is excellent at doing hot good boys who eventually just lose it and let leash their bad boy selves! Her most recent hero was like that.

Suzanne Ferrell said...

Hey Denise! Welcome back to the Lair.

Trust me, writing a ménage is complicated and exhausting.

I sooooooooo feel your pain! To do a menage well, to do it so the reader becomes part of the threesome, it takes a good deal of sweat and effort, (no pun intended).

I'll be ordering Guilty As Sin and will be interested to see how you worked this.

Anna Campbell said...

Hey, Fedora, one chicken for you! Hope he behaves! I threatened to turn him into a feather duster last week, he was being so naughty.

Denise, great to have you back and huge congrats ont he release of GUILTY AS SIN. What a great title, by the way! So looking forward to catching up this week at the Romance Writers of Australia conference. Wahooooo!

Donna MacMeans said...

Hi Denise - Welcome to the Lair.

I'm been spending the day at the Irish Festival here in town. Lots of Irish bad boys there. You can see it in their dangerously wicked glances and their tattoos boldly flaunted. It's in the power of their arms and their confidence in wearing a kilt. No wings or tails though...at least not in the first round of toasts...maybe later tonight.

Joan said...

I don't know Denise...I'm thinking you're more familiar with the bad boy than you might think....

One word...intrigued and scrumptious. Oh, that's two words but that's ok, Michael can help me figure it out.

Welcome back to the Lair and thanks for the delicious distraction

Nancy said...

Fedora, congrats on nabbing the bird!

Denise and Christine, I like bad boys for the same reason Fedora does--their redemption is always such a big change. Occasionally, I run across a bad boy who's just totally a jerk, and if I'm not sympathetic to the bad boy, I don't care whether he's redeemed or not.

Good guys sometimes need redemption, too, but it's a different sort.

Denise Rossetti said...

Hi there, Escape by Fiction!

Well, I think your name says it all. LOL Romance fiction puts a gloss on what in real life might be a jerk 0 because we know that deep down he's a great guy and he's going to be redeemed by the power of Twue Love. *grin*

Denise Rossetti said...

Thanks, Jo! I love returning to the lair - all those cabana boys. *fans self like Jo*

And you're right about Michael - I had an absolute ball writing him, with the occasional evil chuckle as I was typing.

Dax, OTOH, wasn't quite so easy. A good guy, who's thoroughly GOOD? But I'm very happy with the way he stuck to his guns. He was fierce in defence of his principles and that kept him interesting. Oh, and a sense of humour! Essential!

Denise Rossetti said...

Hey there, Babyalba!

You've put your finger on the essence of it, I think - the bad boy has to change, to grow in some way, so he can accept love and redeem himself. Either he has a real character arc or he remains a jerk. Yeah!

Denise Rossetti said...

Hi Minna,

It's good, isn't it? There's always something about the Bad Boy - no matter how tough, how cold, how tormented - something that connects with the heroine even if he fights it with everything in him.

Ah... It's so satisfying to watch him fall...

Jeanne (AKA The Duchesse) said...

Christina said: As for the good but boring, I love it when you think a hero is going to be good but boring and then he surprises you in some way. SEP is excellent at doing hot good boys who eventually just lose it and let leash their bad boy selves! Her most recent hero was like that.

In which book? I have two of hers in my TBR pile....

Jeanne (AKA The Duchesse) said...

Suz said: I sooooooooo feel your pain! To do a menage well, to do it so the reader becomes part of the threesome, it takes a good deal of sweat and effort, (no pun intended).

And yet, pun achieved! HAHAHAH! OMGosh, Suz, I nearly spewed Diet Coke on the screen over this. Having read and loved your book - even though I needed ice water in a cold shower with the fan on to cool me down afterward - I cannot imagine you "sweating" it.

SNORK!

Jeanne (AKA The Duchesse) said...

Anna C said: So looking forward to catching up this week at the Romance Writers of Australia conference. Wahooooo!

Color me jealous that ya'll are going to hang out, and that you'll get to have the delightful Anna S there too.

Le sigh...

Jeanne (AKA The Duchesse) said...

Donna said: It's in the power of their arms and their confidence in wearing a kilt. No wings or tails though...at least not in the first round of toasts...maybe later tonight.

Bwahahaha, just wait till darkness cloaks the Faire...

Jeanne (AKA The Duchesse) said...

Denise said: deep down he's a great guy and he's going to be redeemed by the power of Twue Love. *grin*

Ahhhh! Wuv...twue wuv....Its what bwings us togethwer todway...

Christina Brooke said...

Jeanne, the SEP I was talking about was CALL ME IRRESISTIBLE. It's terrific!

Christina Brooke said...

Suz, you'll love GUILTY AS SIN! Honestly don't know how you menage writers do it. I find it hard enough with two protagonists!

Christina Brooke said...

Ooh, Donna, half your luck! I bet JT is jealous!

Christina Brooke said...

Nancy, it's soooo hard to walk that line between hot bad boy and jerk, don't you think?

I must say that one of my pet peeves is when a bad boy is too tame at the end -- so tame in fact that he seems to be a totally different person. The epilogues where these nasty characters dandle babies on their knees kind of ruin the fantasy for me!

Lorraine said...

Congratulations, Denise! I love bad boys. They provide a much better read for escape and a wicked ride for real. :-)
Would love to read your book!
Lorraine Nelson
lornel@xplornet.ca

Ju Dimello said...

Nice heroes are boring, IMO! You're so right, Denise ;) That bad boys, especially ones who're wicked are so much fun to read ;) I love the heroine in being brave enough, strong enough to bring him to heel ;) And I love the hero for giving up his bad-boy ways (with regards to ladies) for that one special woman ;)

Thanks for the lovely giveaway...Guilty as Sin sounds fabulous! And yes, awesome cover too ;) Drool-worthy :)

jorobertson said...

I think you're right on the appeal of the bad boy being that you can "fix" or redeem them.

jorobertson said...

Ms Hellion said, "And there have been a bad boy or two that have taken me to the brink."

Hmmm. Cannot. Read that out of context LOL.

jorobertson said...

Christina said, "Jo, you would love this book!"

Exactly what I was thinking. I went to Amazon to see if I could get it for my Kindle. Alas, not!

Denise can I only order the current book through Ellora's Cave?

Na said...

I love dark heroes and the best thing about them are that they can be redeemed. I've "met" some pretty bad boys but none so bad they couldn't be redeemed or at least that's how I always view them. Their personal trauma and stories can also be very touching that you are rooting for his HEA all the way. I felt that for Zsadist in "Lover Awakened" by J.R. Ward.

Nancy said...

Christina, I had to laugh at the image of bad boys dandling babies. Yes, there is such a thing as too much change!

Nancy said...

Denise, forgot to say I love secret identity stories. Michael sounds great, in a very Scarlet Pimpernel-ish way.

And Dax looks yummy!

Denise Rossetti said...

Hi Jeanne!

I'll never forget doing a workshop with Donald Maas. Essentially, his theme song was, "Make it worse, make it worse, make it as bad as it can be!" If everything's as easy as pie for the characters, where's the tension? he asked.

As you can tell, it made an impression! Or it could be I'm just naturally evil. Heh heh

Denise Rossetti said...

Devon!

So glad you came to visit with the Bandits. *smile*

Couldn't agree more about the appeal of the Bad Boy. He's endlessly fascinating to me, and it seems I'm not the only one. ;)

Denise Rossetti said...

Christina said, All three protagonists are strong and vibrant in different ways. Michael's downfall is particularly sweet!

You betcha, Madam C! I can't tell you how much I enjoyed planning and plotting to bring him down. I think I may very well be a Bad Girl, or more accurately, a Bad Author because I'm so thoroughly unrepentant about it all. ;)

Denise Rossetti said...

Christina, I literally couldn't believe what Anne Stuart did with Takashi O'Brien. My jaw dropped further and further as I read..

Denise Rossetti said...

Ooh, Suzanne, a sale! Music to my ears. Seriously, thanks so much. Fingers crossed you enjoy it.

Every time I finish a menage, I swear to myself, never again. Yet I've written three, four if you count The Flame and the Shadow.

I'm so glad you understand. Of course, if the author does it right, the reader doesn't notice the beautiful swan paddling frantically beneath the water!

Denise Rossetti said...

Anna, my dear, only a few days to go to the conference. Have you got your flapper outfit for the cocktail party? There's going to be photographic evidence, I fear!

As for the title - I'm really proud, because usually I'm terrible at titles. I wanted To Catch a Thief but that was already in use at EC, not to mention done to death.

I'd just about given up when Guilty as Sin, a country song by Australian artist Kasey Chambers came up on my ipod as I was driving. Tada! Nearly ran a red light!

Denise Rossetti said...

Hi Donna!

An Irish fair, hmm? Sounds fabulous. I bet there's lashings of Irish charm, not to mention those kilts and the tattoos. Take notes - for research purposes only, of course. *cough, cough*

Denise Rossetti said...

Hi there, Joan!

You're right, of course. Bad Boys are intriguing, also yummy, yummy, yummy. And don't you worry your pretty head, Michael will sort you out, meanwhile stealing your purse and your heart. *sigh*

Denise Rossetti said...

So true, Nancy. here has to be a spark of something decent there, no matter how deep it's buried. Otherwise, I just write him off - and who cares after that?

Denise Rossetti said...

Christina said, "I must say that one of my pet peeves is when a bad boy is too tame at the end -- so tame in fact that he seems to be a totally different person. The epilogues where these nasty characters dandle babies on their knees kind of ruin the fantasy for me! "

Ah, yes, when the poor guy does a 180 so fast, his head revolves on his neck like The Exorcist. Really annoying because if we don't see the motivation and believe it, it's just lousy characterization. Hmm.. Makes note to self...

Denise Rossetti said...

Hi there, Lorraine!

Ah, another Bad Boy fan! Thanks for the kind words. :)

Denise Rossetti said...

Hi there, Ju!

Oh yes, I've definitely been blessed by the Cover Gods. This cover is absolutely perfect for Dax - it's him.

In fact, I'd love to hear what you make of him. He's such a totally Good Guy, but I really hope he's not boring!

Denise Rossetti said...

Jo,

Guilty as Sin will be available for Kindle - absolutely it will! I promise!

But an EC book usually takes a week or so to work its way through all the processes. So either you order through Ellora's Cave now or wait a little while.

I've found that Mobipocket - .prc files work with Kindle on my iPhone, but not sure about how they go on the real McCoy, so I'm hesitant to recommend. Others may know more?

Denise Rossetti said...

Oh Na, poor Z! Ward did him so brilliantly that my heart bled. In fact, this is my favourite of the half dozen BDB books I've read so far.

Denise Rossetti said...

Oh Nancy, Michael is a man of masks - he's a master of disguise. In fact, there's one scene where he's disguised as an old woman, just like Percy!

OTOH, his identity isn't a secret - he's a slum kid through and through, a child of the mean streets. *sigh*