Debut Novel, Secret Vegas Lives, and a Contest!

By Laura Breck

Thank you, Fierce Romance, for having me here today. I'm fascinated by the awesome concept of a fierce romance. It brings to mind a love so deep, so intense, that it's almost overpowering. That's what I seek to write in my books. A romance that's spellbinding, and emotionally charged.

Modern couples face incredible challenges, and I want to show that romance can survive and grow between loving, committed couples, despite family interference, character quirks, and judgment errors. In my debut novel, Secret Vegas Lives, Antonio and Valerie are two strong people who are looking for the perfect person to share their life with, but end up falling in love with flawed, enigmatic, difficult people. But in fiction, as in real life, nothing worth keeping is easy to attain.

Here's the story: Best selling fiction crime writer Antonio Daniato leads a secret, decadent night life, but someone knows about it - and is blackmailing him. When he sets a trap to catch the blackmailer, psychologist Valerie Kane gets stuck in Antonio's web. Their attraction is immediate and intense, but neither trusts the other. Especially when evidence surfaces that feeds their doubts. When they learn to trust their hearts, they must still struggle through obstacles set by her snobbish family, and emotional pain caused by his hair-trigger anger, in order to find a fierce love. But when Antonio's outrageous secret is revealed, Valerie has to fight for him against an addiction that might be stronger than their love.

This book was a pleasure to write. Antonio is native to Italy. I've always loved men with dark hair and olive skin. And Italians are so romantic: the country, the lifestyle, the language. And at the time, I was learning Italian, so my books have a little bit of Italian-sweet-nothings in them. I absolutely adore Antonio, he's a bad-boy, Harley-riding, womanizer. The man every woman wants to tame and keep forever. And I made him very naughty, which makes sweet Valerie want to let loose with her wicked side.

Another gorgeous Italian man is Antonio's brother, Dante. He's an artist, and the hero of my second book, Scandalous L.A. Desires. Dante is notorious in L.A. for dating the most beautiful, famous celebrities. Lindsey Beauden is the president of her family's charitable foundation. When she gets an anonymous letter informing her that the inner city youth art project she's funding is being taught by an infamous womanizer - Dante - she sets out to meet him, and decide for herself if Dante is as bad as everyone says he is. (And he is!) Scandalous L.A. Desires will be released in 2010.

Okay, back to Las Vegas! I lived there for three years, and it's a wild place to visit, but a surprisingly conservative place to live. Many things are legal in Nevada that are illegal elsewhere, and making them legal requires a great deal of regulation and oversight. Antonio's wicked night life happens to be one of Sin City's favorite addictions, and I have to admit, I partook a few times myself while I lived there! Valerie, my heroine in Secret Vegas Lives, volunteers at a shelter. Since each of my books is partnered with a charity in the city in which it's set, in Las Vegas, a portion of the proceeds will be donated to The Shade Tree Shelter, a shelter for women, children, and their pets. Read more about this fabulous refuge on my website.

Here's a short excerpt from Secret Vegas Lives:

Antonio took her hand and rubbed circles on her palm, looking at her with those beautiful brown eyes. "It will be good, Valerie. We will be fabulous together. Say yes, baby, and I'll have you moaning for hours."

She was lost in his gaze, could barely draw a breath. Her womb tingled with anticipation, her mind befuddled by the image of her lying under him. Moaning for hours.

She had to snap out of it. She raised an eyebrow. "Does that line really work?"

He released her hand. "None of my lines work on you, do they?"

She sighed. Did he honestly have no idea that his smoky glances and wicked suggestions turned every inch of her body into a tingling time bomb?

"Not really," she lied and steered the conversation to the blackmailer.

They compared his and Betina's lists of suspects and came up with possible scenarios. For the next hour, Valerie didn't notice the waiter frequently refilling their wine glasses, until she started slurring her words. She was tipsy.

He must have realized she drank too much and moved their glasses to the edge of the table. The waiter walked by, and Antonio said, "Two cappuccinos, please."

"Thank you." She fanned herself with her napkin. "I didn't realize how much I drank."

"You're a lot of fun when you loosen up."

"Loosen up? Thanks. Makes me sound like an uptight bitch."

"Whoa, bella, let's keep this pleasant, okay?" His smile was teasing.

"I don't usually drink this much."

He stared at her.

She asked, "What are you thinking?"

He rubbed his chin. "I'm going to use this scene in my next book. Two people, drawn to each other sexually, but kept apart by their suspicions of each other."

She shook her head and regretted it when she felt the room spin. "Your books are not romantic at all. You should introduce a love interest for your cop-hero."

He lifted an eyebrow. "Everyone's a critic. Okay, Doctor, how should I make my books more female friendly?"

She looked at him; his face seemed to float in and out of focus, just like in her dream. A light bulb went on in her brain, and she leaned forward. "I have an idea."

"I do, too, but we'll have to go back to my place -"

"Uh uh. About the book. You could make it more romantic by having the cop dream about one of his female co-workers. Then build a romance from there."

"Might work. What would he dream?"

Her own dream replayed in her mind. "She's in her office, and he barges in wearing riding leathers, sunglasses, boots..."

"Go on."

This was dangerous, but she didn't care. She smiled seductively.

"She watches him take off his sunglasses, his leather gloves and jacket. He's wearing a white shirt, jeans, and leather chaps."

His eyes held a serious look, and he shifted in his seat.

She leaned closer. "She gets up from her chair and saunters toward him, wearing nothing but a slinky black -"

"Stop." His brows drew together. "For God's sake, Valerie." His hand fisted. "You push me too far."

She sat back, sobered by his warning. She closed her eyes. What was wrong with her? He was intensely into her, and yet she deliberately enticed him.

With the wine spinning her brain, she'd allowed desire to launch her out of control.

She couldn't meet his eyes. "I...I'm going to the ladies room." She jumped up out of the booth - too quickly. The room shifted. She blinked to focus, walked hesitantly to the back of the restaurant, and found the dark hall leading to the restrooms. As her hand touched the women's room door, an arm came around her and pulled her back against a solid wall of muscle.

"You are poison." Antonio wrapped his arm beneath her breasts. He pulled her backward into an empty meeting room and closed the door behind them.

Stop by my website, read the first chapter, and view the video book trailer. And I've got two great contests going on right now. I blog every Wednesday at, and my e-book, Secret Vegas Lives is available at

Thanks again to Fierce Romance for allowing me to talk about my writing today. I would like to give away a goodie bag of my promotional items to one lucky commenter. My question for you is, What makes a romance 'fierce' - and not just average, or mild?

I look forward to reading your answers!


Laura Breck said...

Welcome, Readers! I'll be around all day to hear your answers to the fierce romance questions, and answer any questions you have.


Nicole North said...

Thanks so much for being here with us today, Laura!!

Carly Carson said...

Hi Laura,

I love your cover and title. Something that has to be secret in Vegas, well that's intriguing. Good luck with the book!

Natasha Moore said...

Congrats on your first release! Sounds like a great book!

Laura Breck said...

Thanks, everyone. Just rereading my excerpts is great - it's been so long since I've just sat down and read Secret Vegas Lives.

I have a friend who's a screenwriter, and I'm trying to coerce him into helping me adapt it as a movie. It's got everything - mystery, blackmail, Las Vegas nights, romance.

Alexis Walker said...


This is a GREAT novel! What an emotional roller coaster! But I guess as you point out, that's what happens when we fall in love with not-so-perfect people. Thanks for a great read!


Carol Ericson said...

Laura, what makes a romance fierce for me is the emotional connection between the characters- sounds like you have it! And I love Vegas settings. My novella, Hot on Her Heels in Secrets Vol. 27, is set in Vegas.

Linda Henderson said...

What makes a romance fierce for me is deep emotional involvement. Great interaction between the main characters. Feeling like you are involved in these peoples lives and you get so wrapped up in them you feel like you know them, or you could be them.

seriousreader at live dot com

Nicole North said...

Congratulations, Linda!! You're the winner of Laura's prize!

Linda Henderson said...

Thank you very much, I really appreciate it.