Why do I write what I write? That’s always a stumper for me. It really depends upon the day and what I’m working on. Sometimes it’s because a character grabs me by the throat and won’t let go of me until I give them their story and other times it’s because I’m trying to escape the realities of being a mother of three, a college student and an aunt to a precocious two year old. Yep that’s right, I use my writing as an escape more often than not. It gives me an escape portal into another world where kids aren’t screaming, deadlines aren’t looming and I don’t have some final project due.
In the case of Choosing Rena, my latest edition to my Doms of Chicago, I guess the motivating factor to write their story was intrigue. For me, my characters come alive and Rena and Jackson are no exception. Jackson and Rena have been in two other books (Conquering Jude, Saving Micah) as Jude’s business partner and in Rena’s case as an investigator who works for Larson Securities. So after hearing from several readers about how they loved Rena (who wouldn't love a feisty tell-you-like-it-is girl from the Bronx) and the sexy laid back Cajun Playboy, Jackson, I decided I had to write their story. The chemistry I built between her and Jackson spawned the need to give them their own tale, but I was intrigued by the possibility. Could I actually write a believable story between such a mish-mash of characters, or would Rena end up killing Jackson off with his own knife and get off because the judge would consider it justifiable homicide?
I will have to admit however, their book is much like the pacing in the first book of the series and not at all like the last two books in the series. And a lot of that has to do with the characters themselves. Behind a feisty attitude Ms. Rena carries a lot of baggage, while Jackson has a laissez-faire attitude about everything. It’s a smoke screen of course, and they have to deal with their baggage even before they can think of coming together. Add a fanatic who’s threatening Jude’s and Jackson’s business and visit from Rena’s ex…and you have a humdinger of story – the kind I like to write.
So now you probably wish you hadn’t asked me why I write what I write, but it all has to do with the characters and what they want. I truly am a slave to their needs.
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Once abandoned by a man who collared her for a younger sub, Rena MacAllister wants nothing to do with another Dom. After moving to Chicago to escape her past all she wants is to start over and possibly find a man who has never even heard of BDSM. When she joins the team at Larson Securities she isn’t prepared for the temptation of her new boss, Jackson Levough – a known Dom in the Chicago scene. So after six months of fighting the need to submit to him, she quits.
Jackson Levough is a desperate man. He may be known as the Playboy Dom but after sampling Rena’s submission during a business trip, he wants more. Especially when he knows he can satisfy every submissive desire the luscious Rena has. But when he returns from a nasty illness, he’s shocked to find her resignation and no forwarding address.
With his skills and determination she doesn’t stay hidden for long. But shortly after he finds her - his entire world blows up around him. Someone is targeting Larson Securities. When the person responsible gives him a choice, either Rena or his business, he's torn. There has to be a way to keep both Rena and his business - he just has to find it.
When the elevator opened, she walked down the short hall to Olivia’s door. On this floor there were only two condos. Rena wasn’t sure who owned the other one since she hadn’t met anyone during the short time she’d guarded Olivia. Making a mental note to check out who the neighbors were, she slid the key into the lock.
The moment she crossed the threshold the smell of ammonia coming from the vandal’s urine hit her nose. Her nostrils flared as she shut the door behind her. “Damn it stinks in here. Olivia’s going to have a bitch of time getting this smell out when she comes home.”
Depositing her tote on the coffee table in the living room, she pulled out a pair of gloves. “Now according to the reports, the perp came in through the balcony doors, so I guess I’ll start there, see if I can figure out how they entered.” Grabbing her notebook, a pen and tape measure, she headed into the kitchen. She picked her way across the kitchen, taking note of the way the glass was scattered. “Not that it matters. Lord knows how many people have trounced through here, disturbing the fragments.”
Measuring the size of the glass doors, she jotted them down. No one mentioned in the report of any of the witnesses or neighbors hearing the glass break, but it was worth a shot. Before she left, she’d have to stop and make their acquaintance. Moving around to the door frame, she looked at the jamb, tracks and finally the motion sensor. There was something off here, but she just couldn’t figure it out, and the plywood the security company had put up wasn’t helping matters.
According to Jude’s statement to the police, he’d moved the sensor higher – thinking birds had set it off originally. But after studying it, she wasn’t sure if the breaking of the glass was what had disturbed the sensor. The slider was spider-webbed up from the middle of the pane in such a way it didn’t seem consistent with that theory. “I’d be surprised if there was enough force to make the sensor go off – like the police notes suggest.” She scribbled another note down on her pad.
She was just about to measure the hole in the center of the pane when she heard a familiar masculine voice behind her.
Freezing, she wanted to find Jude’s ass and kick it so far up between his shoulder blades he’d be spitting out shoe leather for the next week. “Unbelievable. Just un-fucking-believable.” Rubbing the bridge of her nose, she prepared herself to come face to face with Jackson.
His scent reached her first. The moment he appeared in the doorway, his cologne wafted over to her – then his sheer presence engulfed her with the need to submit. It was the same desire she’d been battling every time they’d been in the same room since she’d met him. She was a big girl, she could do this. Act like the professional you are, Rena. He can’t force your submission.
“Rena?” He seemed just as shocked as she did. As she took in his work clothes, rumpled hair and blackened eye, she wondered what the hell had happened but forced herself to concentrate on the issue at hand. If she gave him an inch, he’d surely take a mile and she knew it.
“Well get your skinny white ass over here. I need to bounce something off you.” She moved back to the sliding door. Resuming the measuring of the hole, she felt him join her.
“So that’s how you’re going to play it, ma peekôn?”
“Play what? I’m here to do a job. To help Jude figure out who’s targeting Olivia.”
“You’re assuming Olivia’s the target. It could be Jude or Micah. All three of them live together – love together.” The heat from his body radiated towards her as he stepped closer. There was only an inch separating their bodies.
“Damn you smell good. Good enough to eat.”
It took all her willpower to not melt at his feet when he nudged aside one of her braids with his nose to access the side of her neck. It was one of the things she’d loved about being near him. Their height was close enough he didn’t have to bend to kiss her. “Hmmmm.” The brush of his lips against the back of her ear coaxed a betraying shiver out of her.
“White boy…” What she meant to come out as a rebuke ended up sounding more like a plea as he wrapped his arms around her, trapping her against his hard body.
“I’ve missed you, Rena.” He nipped at her earlobe. “You left me while I was ill. Did you honestly think I wouldn’t know you were the one at the hospital who harassed the nursing staff or you were the one who brought the Christmas Cactus in because you knew flowers stirred up my allergies? Or your scent was the one I woke up with each morning and went to bed with each night I was in that miserable place.”
“You had plenty of care, Jackson, and more than enough friends around. You didn’t need me at your bedside once I made sure you were getting the proper care.”
She pulled away, surprised when he released her. He was quiet for so long she wondered if he’d left. Finally she gave in to temptation and turned to check if he was still in the room. Her eyes widened as she took in the stormy expression on his face.
“I’d like to know who the hell hurt you so badly, Rena MacAllister, that you’d doubt your worth to me as a friend, let alone a beautiful submissive woman.” Then he turned and strode out of the room.
Neither surprise nor shock could cover the emotions that hit her as she tried to take in what had just happened.