AUTHOR SPOTLIGHT: Marie Force featuring her novels Treading Water, Maid for Love and Fatal Affair

Marie Force is the New York Times, USA Today and Wall Street Journal bestselling, award-winning author of more than 25 contemporary romances, including The McCarthys of Gansett Island Series, the Fatal Series, the Treading Water Series and numerous stand-alone books. Her new series, Green Mountain Series, is coming in in 2014. While her husband was in the Navy, Marie lived in Spain, Maryland and Florida, and she is now settled in her home state of Rhode Island. She is the mother of two teenagers and two feisty dogs, Brandy and Louie. Subscribe to updates from Marie about new books and other news at Follow her on Twitter @marieforce. And on Facebook at Join one of her many reader groups! View the list at Contact Marie at

1. Can you describe your write style in one sentence?

Straightforward, sexy contemporary romance with hot men, strong women and fun settings.

2. What are your top 5 books

Since I read a MILLION books, it’s hard to narrow it down to five, so I’ll tell you a few authors I’ve enjoyed lately: Sarah Mayberry, Sylvia Day, Jamie McGuire and my all-time favorite, go-to comfort read author is Lisa Kleypas.

3. If you were not writing what would you be doing?

Reading! LOL!

4. If you had to give up all but one of the following what would you keep. Facebook, Twitter, your phone or your laptop?

Laptop so I can still write.

5. Lastly, if you had to recommend one author other than yourself who would it be and why?

Lisa Kleypas. I love just about everything she has ever written, with the exception of the newer books that have a paranormal element, which I don’t read.

Book 1 in the Treading Water Series 
Love is the last thing on Jack Harrington’s mind when he sets out to meet Andi Walsh’s flight. Recently back to work after spending more than a year tending to his comatose wife, Jack is focused on getting through each day and caring for his three daughters. However, the moment he sets eyes on Andrea Walsh, the interior designer who has come to decorate the hotel his company is building in Newport, Rhode Island, Jack begins to wonder if Andi might be his second chance. After a disastrous marriage, Andi, single mom to a hearing-impaired son, isn’t exactly looking for love, either, but that’s what she finds with Jack. The two embark on a long-distance relationship fraught with challenges as they balance the needs of their children and dueling careers while Jack continues to care for his wife, Clare. Just when Jack thinks his life is once again settled, he is confronted with a new challenge that tests him in ways he never could’ve imagined, leaving him to wonder if “happily ever after” is in the cards for him.
Read an excerpt: 
Book 1 in the McCarthys of Gansett Island Series

Maddie Chester is determined to leave her hometown of Gansett Island, a place that has brought her only bad memories and ugly rumors. Then she’s knocked off her bike on the way to her housekeeping job at McCarthy’s Resort Hotel by Gansett’s “favorite son,” Mac McCarthy. He’s back in town to help his father with preparations to sell the family resort and has no intention of staying long. When Mac accidentally sends Maddie flying over the handlebars, badly injuring her, he moves in to nurse her back to health and help care for her young son. He soon realizes his plans for a hit-and-run visit to the island are in serious jeopardy, and he just may be “maid” for love.
Read an excerpt: 
Book 1 in the Fatal Series

Washington, D.C., Metro Police Detective Sergeant Sam Holland 

needs a big win to salvage her career—and her confidence—after a disastrous investigation. The perfect opportunity arises when Senator John O’Connor is found brutally murdered in his bed, and Sam is assigned to the case. Matters get complicated when Sam has to team up with Nick Cappuano, O’Connor’s friend and chief of staff…and the man Sam had a memorable one-night stand with years earlier. Their sexual chemistry still sizzles, and Sam has to fight to stay focused on the case. Sleeping with a material witness is another mistake she can’t afford——especially when the bodies keep piling up.

Read an excerpt: 


Get Fatal Affair Book 1, The Fatal Series FREE
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Fatal Mistake, Book 6, The Fatal Series
Available June 17 – Pre-order Now!
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AUTHOR SPOTLIGHT (Part 3): Chapter One Mikalo’s Fate by Syndra K. Shaw

Chapter One, Mikalo’s Fate

I’m in love.
Even here in the dark, his body close to mine, the heaviness of his arm a comfort as it wrapped around my chest and held me tight, the back of my neck warm from his quiet breath, I couldn’t help but smile.
Ronan Grace Delis.
In a week’s time, I’d be Ronan Grace Delis.
I’d be his wife.  My Mikalo finally officially mine.
Yes, I’m in love.
In his sleep, he sighed, pressing against me as he dreamed.
It had been weeks since he had kneeled before me in the kitchen.  Weeks since he had slipped the ring on my finger and, his eyes wet with tears, asked me to be his.  To love him and spend the rest of my days with him.  Weeks since, my heart full and happy, I had been unable to speak.  Unable to utter that simple syllable.  Unable to find that “yes” in my throat, my voice.
And so I had nodded.  And that nod had become my answer.
With that my Mikalo, my Greek god in grey wool, had become mine.
In a few days we’d fly to Greece, the advanced age of his beloved Nona preventing her from coming to New York.  It just made sense, the few friends I had easily able to travel.  And, let’s face it, the sprawling mess of Mikalo’s family was much easier to corral in Greece than in the States.
As for my family …
I sighed, exhaling the thought of them away.
He and I had talked about this yesterday.  And the day before that.
“And so she is not one you’d want to come?” he had asked, repeating himself, the absence of my mother obsessing him.
“No,” I had insisted.
“Because,” I had said, snapping like a petulant child.
And he had knitted his brow, struggling to understand something he knew so little about.
But how could I explain the complicated relationship I had with that woman people knew as my Mother?  How could I explain how she had left my father, destroying him in the process, trading a man who loved her and a child who idolized her for a wealthy Texan whose only interest in her was that she was still young and still pretty and eager?
And how to explain how, after that, she had forgotten us, choosing to recreate herself as someone new.  Someone without a daughter.  Without a family, a past.  Without responsibility.  How my last sight of her was her pulling out of the driveway, driving down the street, and turning left.
How could I explain any of that without feeling the familiar rage and crippling sense of abandonment?
I couldn’t.
And Mikalo wouldn’t understand.  Or maybe he would.  I don’t know. 
All I did know was I wanted to leave her behind.  Leave her in the past, fully aware that, with my marrying Mikalo, she would be more than happy to reclaim me as her own, my achievements ignored, but my marriage to a man of generous means embraced, celebrated, and, no doubt, bragged about to anyone and everyone who’d listen.
It was best to just move on without her.  I had no need for her and, as I’d seen over the last fifteen years, she had no need for me.
“And your father?” he had asked.
With this, the tears had fallen.
“He died,” I had finally said.
And Mikalo, my Mikalo, had gathered me in his arms, tucking my head under his chin as he squeezed, holding me close.
This I did share, telling him how my dad’s heart was broken.  How he had lost it all.  A promising career, his pride, his sense of self, all of it extinguished by my mother’s, his wife’s, cruelty, the pain soon drowned in drink, his body eventually surrendering.
What I didn’t share, what I couldn’t revisit, was how this was how I spent my teenage years.  That was a memory I needed to leave behind, I thought as I stared at the shadows on the ceiling, scooting back into the warmth that was Mikalo.  When other girls were dancing and flirting and … well, whatever in the hell teenage girls did, I was eating cereal for dinner and then wandering from bar to bar to find my dad, walking him home, my arm around his waist, clutching him close so he wouldn’t stumble into traffic.
I had lost one parent.  I wasn’t losing another.
No, my mother was not welcome at my wedding.
“You are not dreaming,” Mikalo now said, his voice almost a whisper, the words caressing the back of my neck.
“I’m awake.”
He shifted, pulling me into him, and then sighed.
“I am still in sleep,” he mumbled.
“It’s early.  Sleep.”
“Mmmm …”
His arm slowly moved from my chest, the palm briefly grazing my breasts, the hand sliding down my stomach, the fingers slipping lower to rest on my naked warmth.
He kissed the back of my neck as his long fingers pushed their way past my legs, opening me to him, his fingertips gently, oh so gently, rubbing me into wetness.

AUTHOR SPOTLIGHT (Part 2): Interview with Syndra K. Shaw


1. Can you tell us something we don’t know about Syndra?

         I’m slightly allergic to lemons (or any citrus), but still have it in my tea. Go figure. 🙂 

2. When did you first realize that you wanted to become a writer? 

         I had a nanny who read to me when I was very small and I keenly remember being impressed with all  the letters on those pages. There were so many! And I found them all so pretty and fascinating and thought it would be just so wonderful to be that person putting those letters, those words, in that book.

3. So let’s talk about Mikalo’s Grace and Flame. Why do you feel you had to tell this story? Is there something in these books that is based on real life experience? 

        It might sound odd, but the story is really telling itself through me. It’s as if I sit back and just write, allowing them to take me where they want to go. But finding my courage and getting me to the keyboard took a couple years. And it was really through the constant, consistent pestering of a dear friend of mine, an American writer, that it happened at all. He really helped me find the strength to do this and still, to this day, urges me to continue even when I doubt myself. And, no, the story isn’t based on a real life experience. But how wonderful would it be if it was! 

4. What was your inspiration in creating the characters? Was it hard to create the complicated love story of Mikalo and Ronan?

        I saw them so clearly and heard them so strongly in my head that it wasn’t difficult at all to create them. I mean, the process isn’t easy. Any writer will tell you it’s a road filled with frustration and doubt. But the creation of Ronan and Mikalo is one of trust for me, i.e., trusting them to tell me who they are and what they’re doing and why. The difficulty comes in deciding what’ll go into what I’m writing now and what can wait and go into the next book. Mikalo and Ronan have such a story to tell and there’s a lot there!

5. Do you write to music? Any songs that inspired the story of the two?

        I do write to music, but it’s stuff that relies more on a driving beat and less on lyrics that could hook me in. It all becomes white noise to silence my very vocal, very loud inner critic, anyway. 🙂

6. Among all the books that you have read, which of these have significantly contributed to your writing style?

        In all honesty — and I’ve decided this is the best way to answer this question –, I love the historical biography writings of Allison Weir. The way she brings people to life and places them in an exciting, fully embraceable historical context is simply fascinating to me. I don’t know if I could ever do what she does. But the fact that she does do it and does it so well constantly inspires me in my own work.

7. Name 3 authors you would love to collaborate with.

         I love the kindness and spirit of Kelli Maine and the emotional bravery of Abbi Glines. But writing a book with my friend Jonathan Winn would be simply amazing. I don’t know how he does what he does, but I suspect working with him would give me a front row seat into finding the answer. But he writes in a different genre, so I doubt it’ll happen. 🙂 

8. Excluding your own, name 3 books you would recommend to your friends. 

         Oh my goodness, there really are so many to choose from. Seriously. I personally enjoyed Katie Ashley’s newest book “Music of the Heart” and Kelli Maine’s “Taken” was a great read. Such a great read. I also liked a debut novel by a new author, “Connected” by Kim Karr. Very good stuff.
9. If you could date any fictional character, who would it be and why?

         I’ve spent a ridiculous amount of time on this question. Actually left the house, went to a cafe with a small notebook and, espresso in hand, made a list, wrote the Whys of each choice, and then narrowed it down. And, as infuriating as it is, I’m left with my own Mikalo. There’s just so much about him that I adore and there’s so much that still frustrates me. He’s perfectly imperfect. Or imperfectly perfect. Something like that. I love how he doesn’t come as a complete package who just loves you, no questions asked. And I know that’s rare in this genre. You have to earn his love, but he’s there every step of the way loving you and encouraging you and wanting you to succeed because he loves you even more! And that accent. Oh my goodness, if you could hear that deep baritone whispering in my head, well, you’d be as distracted as I am sometimes. 😉

Let’s do our fast talk:

1. Coffee or tea? Both!

2. Lights on / lights off? Off.

3. Boxers or briefs? (For your guy) Neither, thank you. 🙂

4. Favorite male body part? Neck.

5. Do you believe in love at first sight? Oh yes.

6. 3 things you never leave home without? (apart from keys, phone and money) Wedding ring, lip moisturizer, small umbrella (it’s Paris where the weather changes on a dime)

7. Sleep in or get up early? Up early. Habit from boarding school.

8. Ever slapped a guy? Yes.

9. 3 celebrity crushes? Jean Dujardin, Gilles Lelouche, Ryan Gosling (those eyes of his make me want to do very bad things to him)

10. Sex on the first date? Yes, and I always blame the wine.

Any advice to give to aspiring writers?

          Don’t be an aspiring writer. Sit down, write, and be a writer. Embrace that title. Earn it. Good, bad, great, horrible, just write. Only way to move forward is to do it.
Any message to us, your fans?

          What can I say that completely encapsulates what I feel for my readers? There simply aren’t words. When life is tough, I think of you guys and that’s what gets me out of bed and to the keyboard. When I doubt myself, I think of you guys waiting to see what happens next with Mikalo and Ronan and that drives me to my keyboard. And when I just want to stop and give up because I forget people care and have an interest in what I do and what I write, I remember there are those who DO care and that gets me to my keyboard. I feel a strong sense of responsibility to do better than I did before and the support of my readers feed me and give me strength. Truly and sincerely, I write for you. All of you.

And lastly, if I put my magic mirror in front of you, what would you tell yourself right at this very moment?

           You are better than you think.

Thank you Syndra for doing this with us. 
Watch out for the Part Three of our Special Author Spotlight tomorrow. For the mean time, if you haven’t picked her books yet, here are the links…



AUTHOR SPOTLIGHT (Part 1): Syndra K. Shaw Excerpt from Mikalo’s Flame

Burying her wounded heart in a successful career, Ronan Grace had all but given up on romance. Then, over coffee, she glances up to discover a Greek god in grey wool. Mikalo Delis. Young, handsome, charming, hot. And rich. Very rich. Over passionate kisses and blistering sex, they battle the past. Struggling to forget, learning to forgive, eager for the future. Together. But when Mikalo considers returning to Greece, his soul yearning for the sun and sand and blue skies of home, Ronan wonders if their new love will be strong enough to endure. And how much will she give up to be with the man who awakened her heart, taught her to trust, and showed her true love?

Ronan Grace and her Greek god in grey wool Mikalo Delis. Still happy, still in love, and now living together in New York. Despite it all. Despite the lingering secrets of Mikalo’s past and his complicated life. Despite Ronan’s own doubts and worries, the strength of her love for him both shocking and frightening. Despite the jealousy and spite threatening her once successful career. And despite the unexpected emergence of a drunk, drug-addled viciously vindictive blast from Mikalo’s past. Will Ronan and Mikalo stumble under the weight of all these challenges and doubts and confusion as they move toward creating a life together? Or will they fight, giving their love what it needs to survive. Despite it all.

He was not insideme.
Pressing himselfagainst me, his hardness gripped in his fist, he teased me, refusing to enter,to plunge deep, aware that his thickness pressing against my heat, my wetness,my thump-thump-thumping desire, would drive me crazy.
He was right.
“Ohgod,” I said again as I lifted my hips, desperate for him.
Another smallsmile as he watched me.
“This isgood, no?” he asked, completely aware that it was good, very, very good,but that it wasn’t enough.
He could be acruel bastard sometimes.
“Yes,” Igasped, his hardness repeatedly rubbing, grinding against me, the fleshbecoming slick with my wetness. “Yes, it’s good.  So good.
“But –“I continued.
“Yes?”he asked.
“I wantyou.”
“But you haveme.”
“No,” Isaid, my hips rising, hungry for him. “I want you inside me.”
“But this,this is not a bad thing,” he said.
And then heslapped his hardness against my heat.
Oh fuck.
I gasped andsnapped my head back, my fingers immediately clutching my breast, the nipplespinched, my teeth nearly biting through my lip as I whimpered.
“It’s notbad,” I finally managed to say. “No, no, it’s not bad.  Don’tstop.”
The hips roseagain as he rubbed against me.
“Don’tstop,” I said again.
He stopped.
I almost cried.
His fingers dippedlow, tracing me, slipping in the warmth, the wetness, but not sliding deep, thetips just lightly, almost barely, moving over the surface, over that insanelysensitive nub of delicate flesh.  Almosta whisper of a touch.
I’m going to die,I thought.  Here in my library on the floor,a cold night outside, a fireplace glowing, the Perfect Man edging me towardorgasmic oblivion.
I’m going to die.
He’s going to killme.
His lips were onmy stomach, moving low and slow as he drifted, licking and tasting, biting andsucking.
I opened my legs,eager for him, desperate for him. Excited over what was to come. The feeling of his lips on me, his tongue worming its way deep.  His licks echoing the thump-thump-thump nowracking my legs, my stomach, my heart.
I was ready.
So ready.


AUTHOR SPOTLIGHT (Part 2): Interview with R.K. Lilley and Mr. James Cavendish


Where: Las Vegas home of one of the MANY James Cavendish lavish properties.

What: Spending some quality time with the remarkably gifted R.K. Lilley and Mr. Beautiful while having lunch.

When: On the heels of her book three, Grounded, in the Up in the Air series and Lana we are all waiting with baited breath for Bad Things! What better way to spend the afternoon then with the creator and her muse.


TBA: Thank you so much for taking the time to chat with me today! I have to say that I love it here but *leans in so only the three of them can hear* I would have performed a far better interview on a private jet on the way to a certain ranch. *blushes while looking away*

We order lunch and now it is time to jump in!

TBA: Ok well first I would like to thank you for an amazing series! *looking at R.K.* I couldn’t put the books down! I must say that James had me at first class seat 1A! Sorry James but you have to know that you are the dream…a total package! *sighs*

TBA: R.K. can you tell a little about how the series came to be and how *looking at James* we were lucky enough to have this man come into our lives?

R.K.: I wrote a story that had elements of everything that I absolutely adore about erotic romance. I would definitely say that it’s a guilty pleasure. It was sure as hell a guilty pleasure for me to write it. It’s angsty, dark, dramatic, passionate, and tells a heart-wrenching love story through some pretty spectacular, over the top, kinky sex. The setting was a fun little extra, and a sort of homage to my days as a first class flight attendant. James, unfortunately, is a figment of my imagination, but a very well-developed figment, and pieces of him do come from real life.

TBA: James, you really put yourself out there when it came to Bianca. What was it about her? You are powerful man and could have you pick of anyone. I know she is one hell of a Flight Attendant but what was it about her pre flight checks that sent you over the edge?

James: It isn’t any one thing that sent me over the edge…Is it trite to say that she’s perfect, and I knew it from the start? If you made me pick one single thing, though, I’d say it was her eyes. They’re ageless. They told me so much about her that she never had to say.

TBA: She is pretty special and so talented! That art work! I am going to have to pick up a piece before I leave this paradise! So where is the lovely Bianca today?

James: She and Stephan are having a besties day.

TBA: R.K. both James and Bianca are characters with dark pasts. They both have dealt with life events that no one should ever be subject to. At times did you find it hard to write their journey with such a heavy back story?

R.K.: I wouldn’t say it was hard for me. It’s a little therapeutic, to be honest. Getting that sort of thing out on paper is sort of a relief. Some of the events, though, did have some basis in reality, and having to get some of it okayed was awkward.

TBA: I loved that fact that the story wasn’t wrapped in a pretty bow. Real life is not pretty 100% of the time. It is the ugly that shows us who we really. James and Bianca showed up just how beautiful ugly can be!

R.K.: I like flawed characters. You’ll never see me writing about people without serious issues. I don’t relate to that. I don’t think many people do.

Lunch arrives and after a few moments of silence I have to ask the question that every single living breathing woman in the world wants to know!

TBA: James! *sitting my drink down I decide to go all in* The ranch, the horseback ride…where did you even come up with that idea! It was H.O.T! You gave new meaning to the sport of equestrian! *cheeks getting bright red*

James: Is that not normal? Perhaps I have a one-track mind, but the two things just seemed to go together for me…

TBA: Ok now that we have that out of the way James what’s next for you and Bianca? I must say that we love the way you love her!

James glances at R.K. It is not a particularly friendly look. “I guess you’ll have to ask this sadistic one over here. She has plans for us, and she’s been threatening to tell all of my secrets.”

R.K. smiles, unfazed. “I thought their story was done, but I was wrong. Currently I’m working on the first book in my series about Danika and Tristan. You’ll be seeing more of James and Bianca over the course of that series, and in ways you may not expect. And, down the road, you can expect a book told from the POV of James and Stephan. It will run parallel with the Up In The Air series, but also go beyond it, giving you a look into the after of Bianca, James, Stephan, and Javier. I can’t wait to write it!

TBA: Things get a little hot and heavy in the playroom, *laughing* ok well let me correct myself, its a lot of hot and heavy! James, would you care to share any of your secrets? *shaking head…did I just ask that*

James displays a rather sinister smile. “It takes time, a seriously filthy mind, and training to learn my secrets. Suffice it to say, don’t try these things at home, without the proper training.

TBA: Well I guess we could all take a page from your book Mr. Cavendish *winks* Can you blame a girl for asking? I mean Bianca is one lucky girl!!

Time for a change of topic…

TBA: I love the relationship between Bianca and Stephan! Friends are truly soul mates! The relationship between Bianca and Stephan proves that. Where do you find the inspiration for their friendship?

R.K: Stephan is my favorite. I don’t know if I’m supposed have favorites, but he’s it, and that’s because he does come from a lot of real life inspiration for me. He’s a combination of my own personal bestie, and the men I’ve known and adored who’ve been through some very similar struggles.

TBA: James you and Stephan are close now did you find it had to have another man in Bianca’s life? How did you deal with it?

James: I’ll admit that my first reaction was purely pragmatic. Being on Stephan’s good side meant getting closer to Bianca, and so I made sure to stay on his good side. However, Stephan is one of those people that it’s impossible not to love. And the way he’s been there for Bianca… Quite simply, I would do anything for him. He’s the best guy in the world.

TBA: I so love me some Stephan!! I must say that each and every character in your books is worthy of their own story. What do we have to look forward to after Bad Things? Who else will we have the pleasure of getting to know better?

R.K.: I will definitely be focusing on the novel from James and Stephan’s POV after I finish up the Bad Things series. And I will be releasing the second book in my urban fantasy series, hopefully sometime in September. After that, it’s up in the air:) I’d love to hear which characters you’d like to see more of!

After we finish our lunch I know our time is coming to an end. I could sit here forever! This is what happens when you fall in love with a book series! There is never enough! I thank both R.K. and James. Not wanting the day to end I make one last effort…

TBA: Thank you for taking this time with me and The Book Avenue! We truly love the books and are looking forward to many more! R.K. you rank at least 30,000 miles high in my book! So James…the day is still young how about some of that 5 star treatment? I am thinking spa day? *blushing as he flashes his million dollar smile*


R.K. Lilley is the erotic romance author of the UP IN THE AIR series.

Book One: In Flight, Book Two: Mile High, Book Three: Grounded, and Lana, a novella, are all available now on Amazon. 
R.K. is currently working on her next series, Bad Things.

R.K. Lilley lives in Colorado with her husband and their two beautiful sons. She’s had a lot of interesting jobs, from being a first class flight attendant, to being a stablehand, but swears she never knew what hard work was until she had children. She’s been addicted to both reading and writing fiction since she can remember. She loves to travel, read, hike, paint, game, watch anime, and make the most of every single day. She is the author of the erotic romance novels In Flight, Mile High, and coming February 12, 2013, the conclusion to the Up In The Air trilogy, Grounded.