I’ve always thought that one of the best ways to connect with my readers is through related stories. I’ve done that with my long-running 43 Light Street series for Harlequin Intrigue and my Moon books for Berkley. And I wanted to use a similar format with the Decorah Security series, which I launched in December with three titles.
The usual thriller or detective series has one main protagonist who comes back book after book. Romantic thrillers are a little different because it’s not just about the peril. The focus is on the developing relationship between the hero and heroine as well as on the action plot. It’s also the story of a man and a woman falling in love against a background of suspense and danger, and it isn’t until after they’ve dispatched the bad guys that the reader is sure they’re going to work out their complex relationship.
That’s a challenge for the writer. But also fun. You’re always weaving the two plots together so that if you pulled out either one, the story would fall apart. And with the Decorah Security series, there’s another element as well. All of the agents have paranormal powers–or they’re dealing with a paranormal case.
Bringing the first three Decorah Security stories to publication was a year-long project for me. And though DARK MOON is the third book in the series, it’s the one I wrote first because I thought of it as a transition between my Berkley Moon books and the new series.
DARK MOON Cover
DARK MOON features the main Decorah Security players, Frank Decorah and the in-house staff who have secondary roles in all the stories. We also meet a guy who’s going to be the hero of a future Decorah novel, even though he’s playing the part of a bad guy in this story.
The spotlight is on agents Cole Marshall and Emma Richards, who are sent on a desperate mission to rescue Karen Hopewell, a young woman kidnapped by a business rival of her father. But Bruno Del Conte is no ordinary businessman. He lives on a cruise ship that’s been converted into a sexual playground for the rich and kinky.
Going under cover, Cole and Emma must play the role of lovers while they search for Karen. On the ship, they’re threatened by a mutiny in progress and also by Del Conte’s security chief who digs into their backgrounds to find out who they really are and why they’re on board. At the same time, they struggle with the intensity of the personal relationship neither of them thought they wanted.
And, oh yeah, just to complicate matters, Cole’s a werewolf who fears Emma will discover his secret in the worst possible manner.
I finished DARK MOON, let it sit, and went through my three or four edits. But I was nervous about the story. After more than 130 books with major publishers, this was my first indie project, and I didn’t want anyone to say, “It’s not up to her usual standards.” It helped me to send it to a beta reader who came back and said she loved it. But I wasn’t ready to loose the book on the world quite yet. I hired a professional editor, who made some suggestions and line edited. And of course, my faithful proofreader, my husband, made sure nobody would see my dyslexic spelling and typing errors.
Meanwhile, I was working on CHAINED. Originally it was a stand-alone novella until I realized it fit perfectly into the Decorah Security universe.
It’s the story of Isabella Flores, a woman on the run from thugs who want to kill her. When she hides out at a ranch her father owns, she hooks up with Matt Houseman, the ghost of the Decorah agent she loved and lost. Both are surprised that their relationship turns sensual. And when the bad guys find Isabella, Matt helps save her life. But is he really a phantom? And can Isabella turn the tables and bring him back to life?
Continuing with the series in reverse order, I edited CHAINED, then wrote AMBUSHED.
Since it’s a short story, I made it the introduction to the series. Decorah operative Jordan Stone is guarding Elizabeth Bannerman, the only witness against an alleged terrorist. When Jordan and Elizabeth are ambushed, they hide from armed men out to assassinate her. And when it looks like they may not survive, they both acknowledge the sexual attraction that’s been simmering between them. Jordan is determined to save Elizabeth’s life, but can he cope with his strong feelings for her?
But now it’s launch time for Decorah Security, and I’m excited to see how this new venture works out. How do you like series; and if you do, what kind?
If you comment on my post, you may win a small stuffed wolf and one of my favorite Harlequin Intrigues.