Tis the Season…for romantic suspense!
The lovely Jacki Delecki is back with a look at writing romantic suspense, as well as a fabulous giveaway.
As a romantic suspense author, I am always in search of new ideas and concepts that I can weave into my stories and plots. What might sound like homework to some is more like a challenging scavenger hunt to me. The idea is to collect a variety of random ideas and then figure out how to assemble them into a compelling tale of intrigue.
For A Christmas Code, Book 2 of the Regency romantic suspense series, the Code Breakers, I combined elements from the winter holiday season to craft a story that features an attempted poisoning set against the elegant backdrop of the Regency Ton. In this story, the hero Ash is poisoned by a dose of ground up holly berries meant for the Prince Regent.
A popular accent used in Christmas decorations, holly is an evergreen shrub that can grow to be a tree, and there are more than 400 different varieties of the plant. The fruit and leaves contain a mix of caffeine-like alkaloid theobromine, caffeine and glycosides (theobromine is also found in chocolate and cocoa).
People and pets avoid the prickly leaves, but children may be attracted to the bright red berries. As few as 20 can be lethal if consumed, and eating just three berries can cause nausea, vomiting and diarrhea. More severe symptoms include drowsiness, slowed breathing and heart rate, coma, and death.
In the book, Ash catches a lucky break, because, while holly berries are toxic, people rarely die from ingesting this type of poison. Nowadays modern medicine can treat individuals who consume holly berries, but that wasn’t always the case.
I recently released the audiobook version of A Christmas Code, which is narrated by the talented Pearl Hewitt, who also narrated two other books in this series: A Code of Love and A Code of the Heart. You can listen to an audio sample HERE.
THE CODE BREAKERS SERIES
Men and women from the class of privilege and rank risk their lives to defend England against the treacherous designs of Napoleon. They confront disaster, scandal, and passion as they pursue their code of honor and love.
Book One: A Code of Love
Threatened by French spies, assassins, and calculating suitors, can Lady Henrietta Harcourt trust the infamous rake, Lord Cordelier Rathbourne, with her carefully guarded family secrets?
Cord’s passionate attraction for the indomitable Henrietta hasn’t diminished in his four years abroad, but neither has Henrietta’s memory of his libertine past.
As England’s new Director of Intelligence, Cord faces more peril protecting the Harcourt family of brilliant code breakers than he did as an undercover spy in Napoleonic France. Henrietta’s brother, on a clandestine assignment in Paris, has vanished.
In pursuit of the missing brother, Henrietta and Cord become entangled in a web of international intrigue, danger, and white hot passion.
Book 2: A Christmas Code: Lady Gwyneth Beaumont has long awaited the opportunity to show Viscount James Ashworth that she is no longer the impetuous child who dogged his footsteps. Now a much sought-after debutante, she is determined to prove to the hard-headed rake that she is a grown woman and a worthy participant in both the spy game and the game of love.
Ash, recently returned from three years undercover in France in His Majesty’s service, wants nothing more than to complete his final mission and retire to his bucolic country estate. However, what seemed a simple assignment to protect the Prince Regent at a Christmas party turns into a maze of intrigue, desire, and treachery.
Adding to the perilous secret operation is one problem Ash never anticipated: The appearance of the reckless, enticing Gwyneth, who has blossomed into a gorgeous woman and self-appointed spy. When a snooping Gwyneth uncovers a shocking secret, she puts herself in mortal danger.
Can Ash protect Gwyneth and the Prince from French assailants and, at the same time, win the passionate lady’s heart?
Can Ash and Gwyneth both triumph as winners in the game of spies and love?
Book 3: Code of the Heart: Miss Amelia Bonnington has been in love with her childhood hero since she was eleven years old… or so she thought until a not-so proper impassioned and unyielding kiss from the not-so honorable and equally disreputable Lord Derrick Brinsley, gave her reason to question the feelings of the heart. Lord Brinsley, shunned from society for running off with his brother’s fiancée, hasn’t cared about or questioned his lack of acceptance until meeting the beguiling Amelia Bonnington. One passionate moment with the fiery Miss Bonnington has him more than willing to play by society’s rules to possess the breathtaking, red-haired woman. Amelia unwittingly becomes embroiled in espionage when she stumbles upon a smuggling ring in the modiste shop of her good friend. To prove her French friend’s innocence, she dangerously jumps into the fray, jeopardizing more than her life. On undercover assignment to prevent the French from stealing the Royal Navy’s deadly weapon, Derrick must fight to protect British secrets from falling into the hands of foreign agents, and the chance at love with the only woman capable of redeeming him.
Comment on this blog for a chance to win an audiobook set of A Code of Love, A Code of the Heart and A Christmas Code. The giveaway ends at midnight, Tuesday, November 8, 2015, EST.
Fans of holiday romance are in for an added treat from Jacki Delecki. A holiday edition of Marriage Under Fire, Book 4 of the Grayce Walters contemporary romantic suspense, is available. This edition features more than 9,000 words of exclusive content, including Maddy and Hunter’s romantic Christmas wedding with Grayce, Davis, Hollie, James and the entire Grayce Walters crew. The holiday edition of Marriage Under Fire is available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, iBooks, Kobo and Google Play for a limited time. Readers who have already purchased the book can enjoy the new scenes for free by accessing the updated ebook.
Jacki Delecki is a bestselling romantic suspense writer. Delecki’s Grayce Walters Series, which chronicles the adventures of a Seattle animal acupuncturist, was an editor’s selection by USA Today. Delecki’s Romantic Regency The Code Breaker Series hit number one on Amazon. Both acclaimed series are available for purchase at http://www.JackiDelecki.com. To learn more about Jacki and her books and to be the first to hear about giveaways join her newsletter found on her website. Follow her on Facebook Jacki Delecki or Twitter @jackidelecki.