Growing up in Northern Ontario (Canada), Zoë fell in love with small towns and what goes on behind their closed doors. This is what inspires my sexy romances. My most recent release ‘Invitation to Play – A Men of Steele Novella’ is a continuation of the popular Men of Steele series (Books 1 and 2 of the series were originally published by Ellora’s Cave).
If you’ve read ‘Tempting Sophie’ then you are familiar with the heroes and heroine in Invitation to Play, but how did they get there and how does a having a baby affect that relationship? What issues does it bring up? That’s what this novella explores.
The series features everyday heroes and heroines who work at, or involved in some way, with the Steele Construction company. The characters include architects, police officers, tattoo artists, yoga instructors, bankers and artists. People, Zoë says, who could be your neighbour, or could be you. And while the sexuality in her novels is ‘advanced’ it’s only one part of the story. It’s about real life situations.
Let’s Get To Know Zoë Mullins
Q: What are the top five books that have influenced your career?
A: The top five books that influenced me and my writing career may seem a little unorthodox. The Velveteen Rabbit by Margery Williams – I’m not sure it taught me anything but I did love it. Still have a copy on my book shelf.
Black Beauty by Anna Sewell – taught me to hurt your heroes
The Nancy Drew Mysteries… yes all of them – they taught me plotting, and gave me a love of reading.
The Pirate and the Pagan by Virginia Henley – hers were the first romance novels I read that went beyond the bedroom door. I liked that. I wanted to write like that.
Bound Heart series by Lora Leigh – the first erotic romance author I read. I was always told to write what you want to read, and she was writing exactly what I wanted to read and introduced me to the genre I would eventually write in.
Q: If you could go back in time before you published your first book, what advice would you give yourself about publishing?
A: I would tell myself to do it sooner. I have been writing since high school but I never tried to try to get it published. I let starting a ‘grown-up’ career distract me from my ‘dream’ of becoming a published author. And I did that for twenty years before making the decision to just go for it. Six books out… it was a good decision.
Q: What’s your favorite AND least favorite thing about being a writer/author?
A: My favorite thing is being allowed to play with so many imaginary friends. I love creating worlds and stories. Before Pinterest I spent a lot of time cutting out magazine pictures and putting together vignettes about the characters I’d created. Now I have
‘boards’ I save a lot on magazines.
My least favorite thing is writing the blurbs for the back of the books. It’s hard boiling down a book into two or three paragraphs, and to make sure they are enticing to the reader.
About Invitation to Play by Zoë Mullins
Deacon wasn’t the jealous type. Sharing his sub had been part of their relationship, especially before they were married. Then Deacon and Sherri met Kai, the ex-Air Force Captain turned tattoo artist.
Kai didn’t care if people thought he was gay, but having his father – the Colonel – shame him publicly for it was more than Kai could take. He moved across the country to start an honest life. He didn’t expect that life would include a new relationship. He isn’t sure where he fits into Deacon and Sherri’s relationship – they didn’t need a bisexual Dom with a chip on his shoulder… or did they?
Deacon pounded on the side door of the shop. He knew with the renovations Kai was working on he’d have to pound hard to be heard upstairs. He waited a few minutes then pounded again. He’d seen Kai’s bike was in the back and his truck so he was home.
Deke was just fishing out the spare key Kai had given him when a young man pushed open the door. He recognized him as one of the apprentice tattooists at another shop in town. He was carrying his jacket and still putting his short sleeve shirt to rights as he descended the steps. “He’s all yours man,” the kid said as he brushed by Deacon.
He looked up and saw Kai standing at the top of the stairs. He had on his jeans but they weren’t buttoned, and he was otherwise unclothed.
“I didn’t think you’d be around for another couple of hours. Come on up,” Kai called, down, padding back into his apartment.
“So this is why you missed my birthday?” he asked, glancing around at the empty pizza box on top of the stove, and the six pack of empty soldiers. “So you could get it on with what’s his name… Fish?”
“Pike,” Kai corrected him. “And I sent a card.”
“Yeah, thanks.” He took off his coat and threw it over the stash of tools in the corner. “So what the fuck happened?”
“I got busy last night.” He smiled. “And again this morning.”
“Yes.” Deacon rolled his eyes. “With Pike.” He grimaced. Kai knew damn well what Deacon was talking about. Sherri had put up a good front last night but she was angry. And he hadn’t seen her seethe like that since before she’ left she left her job two months ago.
“You and Sherri had a fight, didn’t you?” He shook his head. “And here I thought I was supposed to be the hot-headed one.”
“We didn’t have a fight.” Kai opened the fridge and pulled out another beer. He didn’t offer one to Deacon.
It wasn’t yet noon, but he would have welcomed one.
“She asked for something more than I know how to give,” Kai said, after taking a long swallow.
Deacon stalked to the fridge and pulled out a beer for himself. “Do I even want to know what that means, or should I just walk out and pretend we never met. Is that easier for you?”
“Trust me, there is nothing easy about falling in love with you.” He shook his head, “Both of you.”
Part of Deacon wanted to pretend he hadn’t heard that. He’d known that Kai had feelings for Sherri. Maybe had come to love her. He could tell in the tender way Kai looked at her, touched her. It was the same way Deacon did, and it was why he’d known Kai was the right man to bring to their bed.
He’d tried to tell himself that he had sought out Kai because Sherri liked the sound and feel of a whip. That wasn’t true. They’d invited Kai to join them because he had wormed his way into their lives and their hearts. Deacon had never been best friends with his third before. They were there for one purpose. Kai was there for so many other reasons.
“Okay, we both know I’m not stupid, but if you say you love us, then why weren’t you in our bed last night where you should have been instead of picking up Pike?”
“You really didn’t talk to Sherri about this?”
“I am talking to you about this.”
“She said I pull away. And she’s right. I was scared to go to your party last night because I don’t know how much longer I can pretend not to be in love with her. I know what I look like when I’m watching her across the room. It’s the same goofy expression that’s on your face that says you are head over heels for her. How do I explain that? And it’s worse, because I feel the same way when I watch you in your fucking designer jeans and five-hundred-dollar shirts.”
Deacon had the feeling he was standing on a precipice and his next actions would have a cosmic ripple effect in their lives. There would be no turning back, but he hadn’t made it where he was by playing it safe.
My favorite quote from Invitation to Play is:
“So you told Deacon about what happened last week.”
“He is my husband. I tell him everything except how much my shoes actually cost.” She winked at him and he laughed. She didn’t want him to feel on edge, and she assured him that Deacon held no ill will from the unintentional chemistry they’d shared last week.