Hi everyone! Today I’m sharing a bit about the first two releases in my new romantic suspense series, The Rabourn Theater Series. I’ve loved romance all my life but I fell in love with music and theater the first time that I visited Broadway to see the Phantom of the Opera. Knowing little about the story prior to seeing the play, I had a strong feeling that I’d like it and I asked my college boyfriend if he could get us tickets. What an amazing night! I fell head-over-heels in love with the romantic story of Christine Daae and her Angel of Music, the man who inspires Christine’s voice from the shadows while harboring a love so strong he’d kill for it—and does! For months, I was singing songs from the play aloud, secretly dreaming of having a career as an opera singer if only to experience the intense drama and passion that the characters in the story do. Of course, nothing like that was in the cards but the play stuck with me, inspiring me, years later, to write a series about five couples, all of whom share a strong connection to and passion for a theater. Throw in five sexy alpha-heroes, including two villains-to-reform and we’re set for an adventure my 20-year-old self could never have even dreamed about!
Villains-to-reform? What’s that all about? In short, I LOVE reforming villains! I find it extremely gratifying to watch a character everyone thought was a lost cause learn from his mistakes and get his happily ever after. I greatly enjoy working with these characters (male, generally) who are innately complex and who often start out as bad-boys which gives them a tendency towards dialogue you can’t help but blush when you read. In several of my stories, villains start out as such, only to become the hero a few books down the road…it all depends on the character, and the story.
A little about me. I was born and raised in New Jersey, where I live to this day. There are a lot of people living in the area where I reside and I love being part of a very active community – coming back from a vacation, NJ always feels like home. I’m a big antique collector and on weekends, when I’m not writing I love hitting up the local (and sometimes not so local!) antique stores in search of pretty, Victorian treasures. I’ve worked in a variety of jobs, where I’ve met a number of interesting people, several of whom have found their way into my stories. I am obsessed with 80’s music but I try to stick with classical while I’m reading and writing. I find it less distracting, and also, greatly inspiring!
Happy Reading and Beautiful Fantasies!
A PASSIONATE PLAY:
On the heels of a major performance, theater actress Alicia Coleman is attacked in an alleyway. She is struck over the head with a pistol and the blow causes her to lose her memory. Injured and afraid, Alicia struggles to remember the details of her life. The only person who appears to know who she is, is the man she fears may also be her attacker.
In the midst of several failed attempts to escape, Alicia comes to know the man whose home she awoke in and realizes that the two of them share a complicated past. Though Nick refuses to tell her much beyond her first name, a series of dreams, in which she and he are sharing a lot more than the second story of a secluded mansion, cause Alicia to suspect the most outrageous of possibilities—that the man holding her prisoner may actually be her lover. Surrounding threats, including that of a midnight intruder, cause Alicia to realize that proving her theory true (or not) may be her only chance of keeping her attacker from coming after her a second time.
AN AMOROUS DANCE:
When Hannah Rabourn, daughter of Rabourn Theater’s late owner, is attacked, a surge of flashes prompts her to consider that her father may have been murdered. Hannah’s antagonistic stage director insists her subconscious is merely seeking closure. But as she and Evan become close once again, Hannah’s suspicions about the past deepen, and she wonders whether the man she’s falling in love with for the second time knows more than he’s letting on.
Evan Masters’s dreams were shattered when theater-owner Baron Rabourn destroyed his budding acting career. Having forged an alliance with Rabourn’s former partner, Evan assumed a mission to transform Rabourn Theater into what it always should have been. Fellow conspirators believe Rabourn’s daughter is the key to power, and Evan is the means by which to achieve their ends.
But Evan’s feelings for Hannah are stronger than he believed. And when he realizes Hannah’s life is in danger, he must decide between his passion and his heart.
EXCERPT FROM A PASSIONATE PLAY:
“I mentioned to you that we’re in Mohegan Lake,” Nick said some time later, “in Westchester County, New York. Does the name of the town, the county, or the state sound at all familiar to you?”
“Not really.” Alicia racked her brain. “Should they?”
Nick shrugged. “Only if you think they should. So, you really don’t remember anything about your life, your friends, or your career before waking up in this house?”
“My career?” Alicia dropped her empty glass onto the table. Having felt a sensation comparable to an electric shock when he’d said the word career, she asked, “What is it that I do, exactly? Am I a lawyer? Do I perform surgeries alongside of a team of brain surgeons?”
“Something like that,” Nick answered with a secretive smile.
Furious that he refused to tell her whatever he knew about her life, Alicia said, “You must be holding out on me because you’re familiar with my work and the knowledge of my success makes you feel completely emasculated.”
“I never said—”
“Understandable. Considering that you appear to spend the majority of your time hiding out in the woods, collecting the latest additions from Williams Sonoma and Pottery Barn.”
Failing to offer anything in the way of a response, Nick grunted.
“I may not remember what I do for a living but there’s no doubt in my mind that I’m capable of doing a lot of interesting things.”
“Are you now?” Her companion gave her a thoughtful glance. Coming to his feet, he extended his hand and said, “How about sharing a dance with me?”
Alicia’s face became as hot as the candle flames. Looking from Nick’s open palm to the empty room around them, she swallowed and said, “There’s no music.”
“Well, I think we can do something about that.” Nick wandered across the floor to the area behind the curio cabinet. There was a stereo there that Alicia hadn’t noticed before. He pressed a button, causing the room to fill with soft, romantic music.
Nick extended his hand once more as he came toward her. His smile was cool but also insistent and it contained a hint of danger. Dark brown eyes looked into hers, willing her to trust, to comply with her very mysterious and yet compelling desires.
Allowing herself to operate on pure instinct, Alicia slipped her hand into Nick’s. His warmth surrounded her and she felt a hint of anticipation as he urged her gently forward. Nick led her into the middle of the floor. Placing one large hand against her waist, he brought her beside his powerful, broad frame.
They began to move and Alicia swayed in unison with her partner as though they had danced together a thousand times before. In her mind, she was in the arms of a stranger, but her body reacted as though he was anything but, as though he were someone whom she knew intimately. Nick’s eyes, his scent, the very feel of him seemed familiar to her, and as his hand slid from her hip to the small of her back she realized that she ought to be telling him he was getting too close. Except she didn’t want him to back away—it felt good, being close to him like this.
As her partner drew her closer still, Alicia felt chills, yet at the same time she began to let go of the tension she was holding. She was encased in a blanket of heat, and as that blanket spun her around and brought her back against its softness she was taken into a realm of comfort and dreams. Dancing with her captor felt right to her and in a strange way, safe. Nick had gone out of his way to make her happy tonight and she got the feeling that wasn’t something he did every day. Letting her eyes fall closed, she inched beside him and when he didn’t resist she rested her head against the cushion of his shoulder.
Nick’s arms enveloped her, and Alicia became aware that he didn’t only smell of pinewood but of something darker, something she couldn’t quite define. She sensed a degree of rebelliousness in this man and for some strange reason the idea of that intrigued her. Strength seemed to emanate from every part of him and she wondered what it would be like to taste that strength. Filled with the strongest desire to do just that, she settled her hand against the back of his neck and tilted his head so that she could just about feel what she wanted to so desperately.
“Kiss me,” she insisted, lifting her chin.
Nick stilled but didn’t comply. She opened her eyes to find his lips were looming above hers. “Alicia, I….”
The music stopped playing as if on cue. Nick held her, not quite letting go but not doing what she’d asked him to, either. After a long moment, he released her. He cleared his throat and shifted his eyes, making sure that she was steady on her feet before backing away. He paced the length of the room.
“I’m glad you’re feeling better.” Stopping in front of the table, Nick said, “I’ll get this cleaned up. You ought to get back to bed. You’ve had a hell of a day, and even though you slept a good bit of it you still need your rest. I’ll be up to check on you in a few hours. Good night, Alicia.”
Turning to hide a face that was surely as red as it felt, Alicia walked to the door. She offered a cool smile along with a wave before slipping soundlessly from the room.
Alone in the foyer, Alicia placed one hand over her trembling mouth. She released it a moment later, body braced against the wall as she said to herself quietly, “Good night, Nickolas.”
Romantic Suspense Author Jessica Lauryn has been writing since before she could hold a pen! A true romantic at heart, she is most intrigued by dark heroes, who have many demons to conquer…but little trouble enticing female companions into their beds! She feels that the best romances are those where the hero is seducing the heroine from the first point of contact, and she believes that EVERYONE deserves their happily ever after!
Jessica is a proud member of Romance Writers of America and her local chapter, New Jersey Romance Writers. When she’s not writing, she enjoys shopping for the prettiest of antiques and taking long walks in nature where she can daydream about anything romantic. Though she resides in New Jersey, her heart belongs to the White Mountain National Forest in New Hampshire.
Here are a few links to find Jessica and her writings on the web: