Capri is an alluring young prostitute with a painful past; Brody is a ruthless mercenary for a crew of thieves from the spaceship Gypsy Lass. When he enters her brothel, the attraction between them is instant, electric, and too much for him to handle. After a robbery gone wrong, the crew takes Capri hostage, forcing her and Brody to remain in close quarters until they see fit to drop her on another planet.
But Capri’s plight and the intense feelings between her and Brody turn out to be the least of their problems. Together—whether they like it or not—they uncover a secret no one in the whole System could have expected.
“It’s been a while for you, hasn’t it?” she asked softly.
“Don’t get the company of women much in my career.”
“What career is that?”
“There ain’t one in particular,” he replied, trying to focus on what he was saying as her fingers traced the muscles of his chest and abdomen. “The crew I run with just does… sorta odd jobs.”
“Sounds exciting,” Capri murmured, raising her eyes to meet his. “So how about you tell me your name before we get started?”
“Shots,” he answered.
“Is that your real name?”
“That’s what the boys call me.”
“Well, as you can see, I’m not one of the boys.” She gestured to her modest, but all-too-appealing curves.
“Brody,” he answered after a moment.
“Brody,” she repeated softly, grasping the bottom of his shirt and sliding it up over his head.
He cooperated, though he wasn’t usually one to let the woman take the initiative. Brody quickly undid his belt and dropped that, along with his gun and holster, on the floor by his shirt. At the same time, Capri slid the elegant robe off her shoulders, leaving only a skimpy red chemise to cover her dainty little frame. She pushed Brody gently back onto the bed and began kissing his exposed skin. His muscles tensed as her lips neared the button of his pants, and she paused. Brody could feel her soft hair brushing against his abdomen, and just when he thought he couldn’t take any more suspense, her nimble fingers gained quick access to the bulge in his pants. Brody could only groan in response to the girl’s ministrations, and he clenched his hand around the soft blanket spread beneath him.
But he couldn’t stand to be on the bottom for long. He took Capri’s wrist in his hand to stop her and flipped her onto her back so he was on his hands and knees above her.
In that moment, as he looked down at her, Brody felt the mood leave him. The spark was gone from Capri’s eyes, but she kept that playful smile on her face. She didn’t want to do this. She was playing a part. Disgust and confusion muddled his mind. Brody had been with plenty of women, and Capri certainly wasn’t the first paid one, but it was the first time that just get it over with look had meant more than getting his money’s worth.
Capri hooked her leg around him, unaware of his internal conflict and unaware her vulnerability had shown through. She raised her head off the bed to kiss him, but he grabbed her shoulders and pushed her back down.
“Get off, girl,” he snapped.
Capri sat up slowly. Her cheeks were red, and her expression was stunned. The sultry seductress was nowhere to be found now–just a mortified little girl. He turned away from her and put on his shirt.
“Would you like to make an exchange?” she asked hesitantly.
Brody scowled. “Your owner said you needed rest.”
“He doesn’t own me,” she corrected, an edge of indignation in her voice. “He owns the establishment.”
“Coulda fooled me. You don’t want to be here. That’s plain to see.”
“If it’s such a turn-off, why pick me in the first place?” she snapped.
“Why’d you take the extra shift?” he shot back.
“Easy money.” She tried to sound flippant.
“Even easier if the job don’t get done,” he muttered.
He was angry, and the girl in bed with him was furious.
“I did my job. You’re the one who couldn’t keep it up!” She got up, grabbed her wallet off the dresser, and threw a cash card unceremoniously at Brody.
“Looks like you need it more than me.” Brody tossed it back to her as he got up to leave.
Capri’s eyes were on fire, and her small fists were clenched.
“Guys like you shouldn’t come here in the first place,” she spat, eyes filling with angry tears. “You can’t pay girls to feel something for you.”
Brody turned and grabbed her arm roughly, his angry brown eyes mere inches from hers.
“And girls like you shouldn’t be turnin’ tricks,” he growled. “Once money changes hands, you do whatever I want you to do and feel however the hell I want you to feel.”
He’d taken her off guard once again. Her eyes were wide.
“Get off of me,” Capri ordered quietly.
Brody let go and stalked out of the room.
Q: What would you like readers to know about the book before they read it?
A: Readers should know that this book is very different from anything I’ve written so far. I generally stick to contemporary romance: a sweet, simple (sometimes sexy) love story between two people who could easily be anyone I meet on the street. The System is a darker, futuristic tale involving space travel, gunslinging, and undesirables. And I couldn’t be more excited about it!
Q: What do you hope readers will take with them after they’ve read the book?
A: First, I hope readers will be left with the warm, fuzzy feeling that comes from reading a great romance novel and the breathless excitement that comes from reading a great action/adventure novel. Second, I hope readers are left wanting more! I would love to have the opportunity to publish a sequel. I’ve fallen so in love with these characters and their world. And, finally, I hope readers are left wanting to recycle, so that we don’t have to abandon Earth in a few years and move to a new solar system controlled by the UN.
Q: Who is your favorite character in this book?
A: Brody is probably the best character I’ve written to date. He has a dark past, an unlawful profession, and he’s intensely complicated no matter how black and white he tries to keep his mindset. There’s a passion, a storm of emotions, that simmer just beneath his stoic exterior, and when his interactions with Capri finally bring them to the surface, the result turns The System into a thrilling roller coaster ride for the reader and the writer.
Q: Is there a character who gives you fits and makes you want to go ninja?
A: Not really. Any aggravating, pig of a character I wrote into the story was promptly written out again, courtesy of my ass-kicking characters. 😉
Q: You may have noticed we like to include our favorite quote in our reviews of the books we read. What is your favorite quote from this book?
My favorite quote takes place during a particularly intense scene between Brody and Capri, where he’s still trying to come to terms with his feelings for her and warn her away. It’s one of the mercenary’s most honest, open moments, just after they’ve made love for the second time. He reminds her that he isn’t a good man and she could find someone more worthwhile. She responds that those other men could never have any part of her. When he asks if he has a part of her, she answers, simply, “You have too much of me.”
That is hands down my favorite quote from the book. So much so that I had a custom bracelet engraved with the quote especially for this blog tour, and everyone who comments on this post and leaves their e-mail address will be entered to win! Check out my blog for more details.
Q: What’s up next for you?
A: God only knows. I’d like to think the next thing would be a sequel to The System. But I did just get a great idea for a contemporary romance inspired by the Robsten scandal. And of course I’m always aspiring to get in with a well-connected agent. So I guess we’ll just have to wait and see what fate has in store!
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