Difference Between My Characters and Nalini Singh’s
I was asked to compare my characters to a favorite author, and I pick Nalini Singh, because if you can pick Nalini Singh, you pick her. Also, she has a new Guild Hunter book coming out the same day Broken Play releases. I’m going to talk about her Psy/Changeling series though, which is one of my favorites.
My characters are all about the emotion. They are all over the place, fighting, swearing, and emoting. It isn’t until you dig deeper into the characters that you find their strength and resilience. My characters’ story arcs are about how they come to recognize and accept their own strength, and that strength gives them the power to love. The emotion is never the problem for most of my characters. But they are too caught up in their weaknesses to trust those feelings and act on them. For example, in Broken Play, Beau Perez has loved his best friend Cass Zielinski for years, but he’s never told him and never plans to. He feels inadequate because of his drug addiction. He leans too heavily on Cass and he knows it, and he feels that because of it Cass sees him as a responsibility and not someone he could love. But when he meets Marian, she doesn’t treat him like a drug addict, or a has-been. She treats him like she expects him to stand on his own two feet and live up to his potential, and that’s what he starts doing. He becomes the man Marian sees in him, and that gives him the strength to admit his love for Cass.
In Nalini’s Psy/Changeling series her characters are the exact opposite. They are all about strength, about hiding their emotions and even repressing them completely. Stoicism is a way of life for the Psy, and in many ways for the Changelings as well. While the changelings trust one another, they trust no one else. All the characters ruthlessly tamp down their emotions and the relationships are often an awkward battle for supremacy. Even when they recognize their emotions they funnel them into protecting the one they love while resisting the lure of a relationship for the welfare of their loved one. They define themselves by their strength. Only when they recognize that their emotions do not weaken them do they ultimately accept and give love freely.
Who are your favorite characters? What defines them: their strengths or their weaknesses?
Birmingham Rebels # 1
By: Samantha Kane
Releasing September 1, 2015
Perfect for fans of Shayla Black and Lexi Blake, the deeply sensual new Birmingham Rebels series introduces an unforgettable team of chiseled football gods—and the daring, provocative games they play behind closed doors.
Birmingham Rebels offensive linemen Beau Perez and Cass Zielinski are inseparable, on and off the field. Cass, the captain with the cowboy swagger, is a loose cannon. Beau, the veteran tight end, is cool under pressure. And ever since they were caught on tape in a steamy threesome, their exploits have fueled more than a few tabloid headlines—and naughty fantasies.
Marian Treadwell knows all about the video. And now that she’s the Rebels’ new assistant offensive coach, she can’t look at Beau and Cass without picturing their hard, naked bodies—with her pressed in between. Marian would like nothing more than to indulge those impulses, but she knows better than to get too close to her players, a bunch of adrenaline-fueled alpha males who don’t always follow the rules.
Just the thought of sharing the gorgeous yet guarded Marian drives Cass wild. At first, Beau isn’t sure she’s right for them . . . and lately, all he desires is a little alone time with Cass to explore their new intimacy. But it’s only a matter of time before Cass breaks through both of their defenses. Because when seduction is the game plan, he always plays to win.
Broken Play is intended for mature audiences.
Link to Follow Tour: http://www.tastybooktours.com/2015/06/broken-play-birmingham-rebels-1-by.html
Goodreads Link: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/23834711-broken-play?ac=1
Goodreads Series Link: https://www.goodreads.com/series/147783-birmingham-rebels
Buy Links: Amazon | B & N | iTunes | Kobo
Samantha Kane lives in North Carolina with her husband and three children, two boys and one girl. With a master’s degree in American history, she spent seven years as a high school history teacher before becoming a full-time writer and mom.
Author Links: Website | Facebook | Twitter | GoodReads
Rafflecopter Giveaway (Select Loveswept Ebook Bundle)
a Rafflecopter giveaway
//widget-prime.rafflecopter.com/launch.jsOR, Link to Rafflecopter Page, http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/share-code/MjM1YmFiZTdlYjI3MzI3YWI0NTU3Mjk0OWM3MTIyOjI1MQ==/? Excerpt (Please use ONLY one) Excerpt 1 There were days when you owned the world, and days when the world chewed you up and shat you out. Cass Zielinski, center for the redheaded stepchild of the National Football League, the Birmingham Rebels, had woken up thinking it was going to be the latter. First meeting after the draft, after a dismal second season and their complete and utter failure to make the play-offs, he’d expected some trash talk thrown his way and the offensive-captain patch to get ripped off his jersey. Instead he sat staring at the prettiest coach’s assistant he’d ever met, while the Rebels’ head offensive coach, Mike Richards, gave the traditional “This Is Our Year” opening speech. The speech wasn’t quite polished yet, but there were only four of them at the meeting, so he had time before trying to bullshit the rest of the team. “Hat.” At the sound of the whispered word, Cass looked over at his best friend, Beau Perez. Beau gestured to the hat on the table. It was sitting right in front of the new assistant, and she couldn’t put her armful of papers down. “Hat,” Beau whispered again. Cass clumsily yanked the cowboy hat off the table. He grew up in Texas, where people made room for hats on the table when there was nowhere else to put them. “Sorry, ma’am,” he said politely to the new assistant, who was staring at him. Marian, her name was Marian. She blushed and smiled nervously, then looked away as she set her papers down at last. Damn, she was pretty. She had long, straight blond hair, part of it pulled back in some sort of professional-looking style, leaving the rest to hang down her back. Under the harsh lights, it shone brightly against the dark blue of her suit jacket. She was buttoned up like it was Sunday. He could still tell she was fit, long and lean and athletic. When they’d shaken hands she’d reached his chin in her low-heeled shoes. He was six four, so he guessed she was about five seven. Tall for a woman. She had a light tan to her skin, as if she spent time outdoors, not in a tanning bed. She made him think of those sexy beach-volleyball babes. Mike had told them she’d worked at a small Division III college in the northeast before coming to Birmingham. Beau pinched his arm and he jerked away, glaring at him. “What?” he mouthed. Beau wasn’t a captain, but where Cass went, Beau followed. It was part of the deal when they’d signed. Beau gestured toward Mike with his head, frowning. Beau looked damn scary when he was frowning. He was six-six, with hair so dark it looked black. He had that sort of coppery skin Mexicans had, pretty and soft-looking. Not that Beau looked soft. His face was all angles, his nose broken a time or two, his neck as thick as pretty Marian’s thigh, Cass would bet. Beau’s mouth was fierce and wide, with thin lips, but he had a sharp indent above, making his upper lip bow. Cass jerked his gaze away from Beau’s mouth. Beau was looking at him, exasperated, and rolled his eyes at Cass. He looked like an exotic Hulk, but his brown-gold eyes full of laughter ruined the comparison. Beau got those pretty eyes and skin tone and hair color from his mama. Cass had met her. His daddy was some handsome stranger who had some fun and disappeared. According to Beau’s mom, he’d been tall and rugged, like Beau. Too damn bad he’d walked away. He could have had a son in the NFL. “Cass? Anything to add?” Mike asked. Cass turned his gaze to the coach, who was standing there, arms crossed, his expression clearly showing he knew Cass hadn’t been paying a damn bit of attention. Mike was in his late forties, and with his short, graying hair he looked every inch the suburban dad who shuttled his kids to football and soccer practice and mowed the lawn every Saturday. In truth he was a workaholic who’d been divorced twice and had no kids. He paid someone else to mow the lawn of the house he barely saw. “Nope,” Cass said, covering, frowning and nodding his head as if he knew what was going on. “Not right now. I think you said it all. I may have something after we talk.” Nice way to make a good impression on the front office, Cass thought, mentally kicking himself in the butt. “I’ll just bet you will,” Mike said sarcastically. “You know we drafted a good running back in Tom Kelly,” he went on, getting down to business. “We traded for two second-round picks next season, as well. We’re still building this team.” They sure as shit were. “Tom was a mediocre player,” Cass said, trying not to grind his teeth as he talked. Beau had told him that pissed people off. “And we got Danny Smith in the trade. We didn’t need two new running backs. We had a chance to grab Taylor Reutsch when he went free agent, instead.” “Reutsch wasn’t a good fit for this team,” Mike said stiffly. “We discussed this.” “And I disagreed,” Cass reminded him. “Marian convinced me Tom’s stats indicated he had more potential than what we saw while he was at Nebraska. Their system didn’t work for him. Ours will. It’s done.” Mike’s tone indicated the topic was dead. Cass glared across the table at Marian Treadwell. He’d underestimated her, obviously. She was more than a pretty face. And she was messing with his team. “I’d be glad to go over his stats with you and explain why I encouraged the team to acquire him,” she said with a polite smile. There was nothing weak about her demeanor. He liked that. Liked that she spoke to him like an equal and clearly expected the same from him. Her offer was an olive branch. Cass recognized it. She wanted to stay. Cass had the power to make or break her here. He knew it. She knew it. The whole damn table knew it. But she wasn’t begging. “Sure,” he said, with a stiff smile and a nod. “That would be good. But Reutsch—” “Reutsch is a pig,” Mike said, cutting him off with a curl of his lip. “I told you to trust me, Cass. I know what I’m doing.” “I heard that about Reutsch, as well,” Marian said. “I don’t like to give credence to rumors, but these were too prevalent to ignore. I didn’t feel that, personalitywise, he would fit in here.” She was cautious, but still exuded confidence with each word she spoke. It turned him on. He was surprised by his interest in her because normally he didn’t poach in team territory. But damn, she was going to be hard to resist. Excerpt 2 Marian’s brown eyes grew big and she stared at Cass as if she’d never heard a man apologize before. Next to her, Mike turned his body abruptly in his chair to face her and she jumped. “Whoa,” Mike said, his hands up in surrender. “Sorry. Didn’t mean to startle you.” She laughed that tight laugh again. “No, I’m sorry. I get lost in my head sometimes. Don’t bother about me.” She cleared her throat. “Don’t forget we also snagged Kitt Doyle. When he went free agent I thought he’d get more offers despite his age and injury record.” She successfully changed the subject as Mike and Beau began to discuss how Doyle, a good veteran left tackle, would affect the offense. She glanced up and when she caught Cass’s gaze, she tensed. After a second or two, when her mouth grew tight and she looked like she might say something, he looked away. There was definitely more to Marian Treadwell than what met the eye. He was wearing a cowboy hat and cowboy boots, for heaven’s sake, Marian thought as she looked away from Cass Zielinski’s penetrating stare. Did he think he was a Cowboy? Wrong team. The way the Rebels played last year, nearly the wrong league. She was exasperated, but it was with herself, not him. She was letting his sun-kissed good looks get to her. All six feet four inches and 280 pounds of him. That was a lot of good-looking. He had auburn hair and a beard to match, both bleached a little redder by the sun. And the cowboy thing? Yeah, a total button pusher. But she could resist it, because damn it, that wasn’t why she was here. She didn’t want to screw football players. She wanted to coach them. She had something to offer this team. The head office saw it and so did Mike. Clearly the players were going to be a harder sell. If she could get Cass Zielinski on her side, that would go a long way to getting the others to accept her. According to everything she’d read, and from what Mike had told her, the whole team idolized Zielinski. He’d been playing, and playing well, in the NFL for over ten years. Everyone knew he’d accepted the Rebels deal because they’d promised him front office when he retired, which wasn’t too far in the future. He was thirty-one, old for an offensive lineman. And of course, the deal had included Beau Perez. She stole a glance at Perez. He was a scary-looking son of a bitch. Taller than the average player, he was more thug than Latin lover, brooding and intense. The tattoo on his neck didn’t help. She’d heard he was a real sweetheart in person, but she hadn’t seen it so far. He obviously had Zielinski wrapped around his massive pinky finger, the way he’d jumped to remove his hat when Perez frowned at him. Somehow he’d ridden Zielinski’s coattails back into the NFL after a suspension for drugs. His drug use and overdose were a red flag for any coach. He’d spent months in rehab, and Zielinski had been a constant visitor. That was the beginning of the rumors. She hated to admit she’d read every tabloid rumor about them. Most of her information came from the Enquirer and People magazine. They’d been caught on tape having sex with the same woman. At the same time. The sex tape had gone viral. You couldn’t Google them without it turning up, despite all their efforts to get it taken down. There was no sound, and there were some malfunctions with the recorder, but you didn’t need to hear it to know they were giving her a hard, rough fuck. Jesus, Marian had watched that video about a hundred times and fantasized about them both. She wished she’d known at the time that she’d be working with them. She would have passed it by. She could hardly look at them without picturing them naked and straining, as they slammed into the willing woman in perfect synch. They had clearly done it many times before in order to have that sort of synchronization. With Perez’s dark hair and exotic looks, and Zielinski’s reddish hair and paler skin, they had complemented one another perfectly. She began to sweat and squirm in her seat as she tried to force her attention back to what Mike was saying. Before long her gaze slid over to Perez again. He was a loose cannon, in her opinion. For the last two years he’d walked the straight and narrow, it was true. He played hard, stayed out of the limelight, and he was clean. Regular drug tests made sure of it. But his hold on Zielinski worried her. Cass clearly led the team, but Beau just as clearly led Cass. They needed the center to make this team work. He was the center in more ways than the position he played. The team revolved around him. He made it work, made this group of losers and misfits rise above their pasts and their reputations and play some pretty decent ball. Could they be better? Yeah, they could. And Marian was going to help make that happen. She’d hitched her wagon to the Rebels’ star, and she wasn’t going down without a fight. She had something to prove. To herself and to her father. No one here but Mike and head coach Shannon Ludwig knew her dad was Rufus Sedgeway, one of the most successful coaches in Division I college-football history. And that was how Marian wanted it. She didn’t want to talk about her father to anyone; she didn’t even want to remember he existed on most days. He’d silenced her. He’d chosen some sleazy football players and his precious winning record over her. She’d had to go crawling back to him to ask him to help her get this job, but that was it. She knew he’d gotten her a job with the Rebels because he wanted her to fail again. He wanted to control her again. But she’d show him and everyone else. They hadn’t broken her, not by a long shot. Excerpt 3 “Hey, sugar, come here often?” Jo Jo Jones said to her as he came around from the showers wearing nothing but a towel, his dark-cocoa skin starkly contrasting with the white terry cloth. Jo Jo was a great linebacker, but he had a death wish. He couldn’t stop smoking weed, and he liked to tease Marian. One of those was going to get him thrown out of the NFL, and the other was going to get him dead. “Really?” Marian said with exaggerated disappointment. “You had the whole day to think of a come-on line, and that’s the best you could come up with?” The guys all laughed and Jo Jo got snapped with a few towels. He laughed, too, as if he’d really been joking, which was good. Cass crossed beating him up off his to-do list. “Okay, gentlemen—and I use the term loosely,” she said, teasing them. “Today is press day. You get to be smart and funny and irresistible for the press corps. Make yourselves pretty before you join us back on the sidelines.” There were groans from all over the room. “Oh, man,” Tyler Oakes, team quarterback, said. “You have to, too, right?” Marian frowned. “Hello? I’m already pretty.” Cass laughed out loud with the rest of the team. “You sure are,” he said, loud enough for her to hear him. Her gaze darted over to him, as if she’d been avoiding looking at him but couldn’t help herself now. He was sitting there in his shorts and nothing else, sweating. Beau was leaning on the locker in front of him, similarly undressed. Cass looked at him, hoping to lead Marian’s eyes that way, too. Beau was sure enough pretty when his copper skin was all sweaty, his tats gleaming black and slick. Marian cleared her throat and Cass turned back to her. “Uh,” she said, blinking nervously as she backed up, holding the door with her hand. “Thanks. Hurry up. Down on the field. Press. Bye.” She turned and hurried off, letting the door swing closed. “That girl got it bad,” Jo Jo said with a whistle. “You gonna put her out of her misery, or let me pick up the pieces of her broken heart?” “Do you have a death wish?” Cass asked quietly, rearranging his to-do list again. He took a sip of his water as he stared at Jo Jo over the top of the bottle. Jo Jo backed up, his hands in the air. “No, sir,” he said, shaking his head. “Not me. I didn’t say anything.” Beau laughed. “Chicken.” Jo Jo grinned. “You got that right, my man. Smart chicken.” He laughed as he sat down and started to get dressed. “See, I’m gonna be the first one down there with Miss Marian, while you pigs still got to wash the dirt off.” He laughed again as he danced out of the way of Cass’s reaching hand. “None of that,” he chided him. “Miss Marian would be very put out if I appeared all bloody for the press.” “We’ll just make sure you don’t appear at all,” Beau said, which made Cass feel better. Beau may not have been actively pursuing Marian, but he was definitely interested in her, thank God. Cass didn’t want to be with a woman without Beau. He hadn’t been for . . . hell, three years. There was something between Marian and Beau. He just had to push it past the edge of whatever it was and into sex. No, more than sex. He wanted more than sex with Marian and Beau. It was time for more. Before he could digest that mind-boggling thought, Beau slapped his shoulder. “Come on, man,” he said. “We’ve got to shower and get down there before they miss us.” “Coming,” Cass said. He put aside his confusing thoughts and focused on the upcoming interviews. He really hated the press. Excerpt 4 “Get. In. Here.” Marian spoke in that one-word-sentence staccato that had become so popular on television and that she’d sworn she’d never imitate. Now she knew it wasn’t a choice. She was simply so mad she couldn’t get more than one word out at a time. Beau didn’t argue. He simply slid sideways in through her office door, past where she stood holding it. She started to close it, but a hand grabbed it from the hallway and pushed it open again. Cass. Of course. “Can’t I even yell at him without your presence?” she asked coldly. “Nope. Team captain. Got to be here.” Cass turned and closed the door behind him, then leaned against it, his arms crossed, that damn cowboy hat in one hand. “Fine,” Marian said. “Since you piss me off, too, you can share the punishment.” “I don’t take punishment,” Cass said, his usual charming smile gone as he gave her a heated stare that made sweat pop out along her spine. “I give it.” It took Marian a moment to get past the images that flashed through her head at that outrageous claim. “On the field, not in my office,” she said a little unsteadily. “Anywhere I choose,” Cass told her calmly. “Maybe I should go,” Beau said from behind her. Marian jumped and spun around to face him. She hadn’t been paying attention. She couldn’t believe she’d let him flank her like that. “Settle,” Cass said quietly but firmly. “There’s no threat here.” “You just made threats,” she countered, backing up until her back hit the wall a few feet off to Cass’s left. “No,” he said, the charm back in his voice, a sexy little drawl making it sound like Naw. “Those were promises.” She actually felt a bead of sweat slip down her cleavage, and she shivered. “Stop it,” Beau said. “You’re scaring her.” She glanced at him and he looked a little sad, his eyes big and golden brown, and soft with some emotion she couldn’t name. Instinctively she knew he wasn’t the threat here, which threw her into confusion. Wasn’t he the one in charge? “I’m not scared,” she said. It was a knee-jerk reaction, something she’d said so often in the past few years—to others and to herself—that it was second nature. Cass sort of rolled himself along the wall toward her until he was leaning over her, not quite pressed against her, his hands on either side of her head, one still holding his hat. “Good,” he said, his voice rough and heavy with wanting. “I don’t want you scared.” She was breathing too fast. “Move your arms,” she said, and she winced at the panic in her voice. “Cass,” Beau said. She saw his hand on Cass’s shoulder and her heart nearly beat out of her chest. She had to put her hand up to her chest and press against it to make sure it didn’t. “You know I’d never hurt you,” Cass said softly. He turned and tossed his hat onto the couch, against the opposite wall. Then he dropped both arms to his sides. He didn’t move back, though. He stayed close enough that she could feel his heat and smell his cologne and a hint of his sweat and deodorant and laundry detergent and shampoo, all the things that combined to be Cass’s scent. She hadn’t realized she knew his smell so well. It was an odd thought and made her frown at him. He frowned back. “Don’t you?” he asked. It took a moment to remember what he’d said. “Yes.” She did know it. But that didn’t make her heart slow down, because she wasn’t afraid of him. She was afraid of herself, and what she’d let him do if she let go. “Yell at me.” Beau’s soft words were lost in Cass’s gaze for a second and then they sank in. “I should,” she said, standing straighter and tugging on the hem of her shirt nervously. “What in the hell do you think you were doing out there?” She pushed on Cass’s chest, but he wouldn’t budge, so she stood on tiptoe and glared at Beau over his shoulder. “Speaking my mind,” Beau said. He walked over and dropped down on the couch, easily within her sight, making sure not to crush Cass’s hat. “It’s been a long time since I’ve been able to do that.” “So you decide to do it on my watch?” Marian said in a strangled voice. “Gee, thanks.” “On your watch?” Beau asked, obviously getting angry. “Now you’re my babysitter, too? Jesus, how many do I need?” “What’s that supposed to mean?” Cass said, turning to glare at Beau, hands on his hips. “Don’t try to distract me with a lovers’ quarrel,” Marian warned them. “I’m still pissed about Beau’s big mouth.” Cass slowly swung his head back around and pinned her to the wall with his stare. He had the bluest eyes, and they could go cold and hard as fast as they could turn hot and heavy-lidded. “Lovers’ quarrel?” he asked quietly. Too quietly. Marian tried to slide sideways along the wall, out of his reach. “That’s right,” she said, full of false bravado. She thought for a second that this must be what the canary felt like before the cat pounced. Suddenly Beau laughed loudly, a harsh bark that sounded more incredulous than amused. It broke Cass’s stare and Marian quickly moved over to lean against her desk, facing them on more solid ground. “What’s so funny?” “We”—he gestured between him and Cass—“are not lovers. We’re friends and we fuck women together. That’s it.” He didn’t sound happy about it. Or was he unhappy that people thought they were? “Beau.” This time it was Cass trying to yank on the leash with a warning in his voice. “Forget it,” Beau said flatly. “I’ve come out of my shell today. I’m not crawling back in.” HTML Copy/Paste (Please add an excerpt if preferred)
Carolina with her husband and three children, two boys and one girl. With a
master’s degree in American history, she spent seven years as a high school
history teacher before becoming a full-time writer and mom.