My name is Rissa Brahm, a debut author of hot contemporary romance and lover of coffee highs, chocolate buzzes, and writing time-warps. Thanks to the 2008 economy bust, I was pushed into fulfilling my writing dream—my debut novel, Tempting Isabel and the four other single title novels in my Paradise South series, are the result.
A bit o’ background… In 2014, we moved to Puerto Vallarta, Mexico for a fresh start, where I turned to that aforementioned dream of mine. I read craft books and the romance greats and wrote…and wrote…and wrote. 22 revisions/4 editors/35 betas/3 proofs later, Tempting Isabel and her series-sisters were born.
Though I credit my husband and daughter for their unending support, it’s Puerto Vallarta, my magical muse, that sparked my love affair with this romance project! She is the setting of Tempting Isabel—the others in the series touchdown or, at least, touch on the magical locale.
And that’s the intro. to my story, and to Isabel’s.
Let’s Get To Know Rissa Brahm
Q: What are the top five books that have influenced your career?
A: Pride & Prejudice gave me the strong, smart heroine I craved to dive into the genre—I was a bit of a romance snob when I began, and Austen’s Elizbeth Bennett shaped the heroine I wanted in my stories.
Falling into You by Jasinda Wilder was recommended to me by my editor. There was a traumatic scene (at the cabin) that stole my breath. It was kind of surreal. I knew, then, what “deep POV” meant. And the rest of the book only got deeper! I nearly had a heart attack by the end, Jasinda’s story and characters hit me so hard.
Nalini Singh’s Rock Redemption, Laura Kaye’s Hearts in Darkness, and Megan Hart’s Dirty were also extremely impactful to me and my writing.
Rock Redemption showed me how to shatter stereotype, layer my characters, and show seduction through the subtlest ways.
Hearts in Darkness was an epiphany. As a reader, I was made to fall in love in darkness, with insecurity, in no time! I really do love drawing for myself the characters in a book, which is not often allowed for in romance. Laura Kaye let me, and I just connected so much more with Caden (and Makenna!)
Megan Hart’s Dirty got me all hot and bothered, and taught me how to write an emotional, sensual, connecting sex scene. And though erotica isn’t my genre, the multi-dimensional storyline showed me what good erotica could offer.
Q: What’s the funniest thing a reader has ever said/emailed to you?
A: The most hilarious—and eye-opening—comment I’ve ever gotten from a reader was noted halfway through chapter one of my Tempting Isabel manuscript. “I simply can’t go on,” this reader wrote. “The heroine is a horrid slut!” This was in response to my twenty-five year old (single!) heroine, Isabel Ruiz, heading out on the town for some fun sexy-time release. The reader just “couldn’t read another page,” though she “liked my voice and writing style.”
So, I learned/realized that the “contemporary” in contemporary romance is kind of subjective, and that I should better describe the heat level of my work to potential readers (there was no the cover or blurb yet)…because my stuff gets a four out of five dynamite sticks, but the explosive heat is indeed overshadowed by the romantic storyline 🙂
Q: If you could go back in time before you published your first book, what advice would you give yourself about publishing?
A: Advice to myself… Enjoy! Slow down, look back at all the work, look ahead at the next stories and the readers who will hopefully love them, then see the “now” that had been so longed for! Twenty-two revisions ago! Yes, I would tell myself to appreciate the landmark more.
Q: What fictional character would you punch if the face if you thought you could get away with it without going to jail?
A: Wow, are there so many perfectly-hateable antagonists! Well, for now, aside from Stephanie Rine, the antagonist-bitch in Tempting Isabel, I would love to pummel Mr. Wickham in Pride & Prejudice. What a cluster he caused, the greedy bastard.
Q: Pick a super-power and tell us what you’d do with it.
A: Oh man, this is easy! My super power of choice would be around-the-clock energy… Right now, I think us humans die after three days without sleep? Not Rissa the Super-Sleepless. Wow, would I fall into a writing-warp and not come out! The pipeline of stories ravaging my mind would come alive, double time! Now, if you could give me a second power, I’d take Never-Sore Wrists!
Q: What’s your favorite AND least favorite thing about being a writer/author?
A: My favorite thing about being a writer is falling into a character’s POV, into a scene, into the story world, and then looking up at the time on the upper right corner of my computer screen and finding that four hours have flown by. Time flies when you’re falling in love.
My least favorite thing about writing… It’s that human tendency toward insecurity mixed with perfectionism… You just don’t know when your “masterpiece” is done…until your editor tells you to back the hell away from the Mac…but I’m getting better at knowing, steadier with my gut.
About Tempting Isabel (Paradise South #1) by Rissa Brahm
Luck. Lust. Love.
Wedding planner Isabel Ruiz is cursed. Her hometown of Puerto Vallarta, Mexico agrees, considering her tragic track record. Alone and loveless, she creates fairy tale weddings for others. Her only distraction? The occasional and anonymous fling. But to avoid further tragedy, her rule, one–night–only, is never broken…
Self-made millionaire, the charmed Zackary James, is in town for his kid brother’s wedding, when a sudden spell of depression hits. Not even his two female companions hold any interest. Burned out by his fast and luxurious lifestyle? Stress? Genetics? No answers surface in his empty scotch glass.
Then he crashes into Isabel.
She humbles and captivates him, reigniting his thirst for life. To his delight—and her dismay—they share a sensual connection over one mind-bending night. And now Zack must have her—to complete him. And Isabel must escape him—to save him.
A game of chase-catch-repeat builds to lust-turned-love. For Isabel, it’s fate’s cruelest joke. But Zack just won’t quit, positive he’s the cure to her curse. Can he convince her to risk everything with him? Or will everything go south…in paradise.
His rough hand grabbed her left arm again and spun her around. “You want me. You do,” he said with an arrogant smile on his lips. His eyes narrowed, glistening green.
“You cocky bastard! If I wanted you, you’d—”
His mouth interrupted her argument—muted by a deep, unwelcome kiss.
Unreserved and lustful, as if he’d been waiting years, decades, lifetimes—like he couldn‘t wait another moment.
Held captive—her mouth, her tongue, her lips, all recollected the deluge of fire he’d ignited inside her just weeks ago. Down to her core, she remembered. And the next thing she knew, her mouth attacked back with equal force, equal passion.
She was taken. And taking back. Dangerously, vitally consumed within each other’s grasp.
Deep moments passed until he paused to look at her. She couldn’t catch her breath even if she tried, trapped by his gaze. That haunting gaze. Then his hand met her cheek, slid back behind her ear, down to the nape of her neck, then he moved his mouth to hers again, easing into sweet, slow-motion ecstasy. His lips—delicious, moist, and soft as velvet—caressed and tripped over hers.
In perfect synch, she slowed and held his top lip, sucking gently, her tongue savoring his taste, that familiar decadence. Zack’s hands moved to cradle her face, and her hands held his over top.
And with as much control as she gave him, he moved his overwhelming vastness a step closer to her, their bodies meeting, unable to get any closer. He brought his muscular arms down, wrapping around her in a smooth, deliberate, possessive stance, squeezing her to him, just shy of depleting all oxygen. Or was her continued inability to catch her breath something beyond physics, far deeper than words could explain?
His wide, slightly rough hands slid in all directions across her back, rubbing, pressing, and then grazing her skin as if memorizing its every dip and definition. His fingers glided underneath the satiny fabric of her open-back top, curling around to the sensitive bloom of her breasts just brimming at her sides. His delicate touch sent her reeling, nipples sharpened, and Isabel pushed hard into Zack’s broad chest to alleviate the painful delight of not being naked, skin-to-skin, in his entire, heavenly grasp.
She could hardly stand. Her legs were useless weights pulling her down, down into that deadly quicksand. She was melting and didn’t have the strength to stop it. But he did. His rock-hard arms came down to her hips, hoisting her up. He placed her arms tight around his neck, her feet dangling, just hovering above the white sand. He held her, floating, as if weightless, locked in their continued, incapacitating kiss.
Her body had definitely defeated her judgment. She couldn’t even hear her mind’s scolding voice over the loud thud of her heart and the throbbing in all of her most crucially sensitive points.
Zack, her puppet master, pulled her in any direction he wished. She’d become so under his control, so heavy in his hold.
And when she took a brief break for air, her peripheral caught sight of Roberto standing in the back doorway of the bar, she couldn’t have cared less. She watched her friend fume his way back inside as she melted deeper into Zack’s all-encompassing embrace.
Continued at: http://rissabrahm.com/2016/03/03/tempting-isabel-excerpt/
My favorite quote from Tempting Isabel (Paradise South #1) is:
“God, that kiss. It stole her breath, her sight, her hearing. And still, her soul screamed for more.” Isabel Ruiz, Tempting Isabel