Interviewing Amber Lea Easton about her new
romantic suspense novel, One True Thing.
(very sexy excerpt to follow--adult content!)
Q: What motivated this suspense plot about the pursuit of power?
A: I have a love/hate relationship with politics. Not only am I an activist on the local level, but I find the political spectacle fascinating. How low will someone go to win office? What will it take for someone to betray a confidante? Is the ideal of the 'greater good' still relevant in today's cynical world and, if so, what exactly does that mean? Are there still genuine good guys in office—I believe there are—and what is their struggle to remain that way?
Q: That's a lot of questions. Do you deal with them all in One True Thing?
A. In a subtle way, yes. One True Thing is essentially about Vanessa Warren's struggle to have her own identity despite a very public upbringing and a larger than life lineage. When she is suddenly thrust into the role of a pawn to be used to manipulate her famous family, she is forced to embrace the power that comes with her last name whether she wants to or not. As the story develops, the concept of the greater good comes into play—and it's one she openly mocks in the beginning of the book—and she eventually realizes exactly what that means. That's all I can say without giving spoilers.
Q: But this is a love story?
A: Yes, it is definitely a love story about a man who had closed himself off to feeling much of anything about anyone. He's devoted himself to building an empire. Tragedy made him skittish about opening his heart, which is how he winds up with the most notorious woman in the world as a date to a party to deter his matchmaking parents. Their little lie has more truth to it than they initially believe and, as the story unfolds, becomes the only true thing they can trust. He sees Vanessa as a woman without an intimidating lineage and she sees him for the kind person he once was before tragedy made him a cynic.
Q: You're known for creating a vibrant cast of characters in all of your stories, but in this one—although there are obviously secondary players—the focus is keenly on the main characters, why did you construct it a bit differently?
A: In this story, Vanessa's world is shrinking as she's being hunted. Everything she has taken for granted—even friendships—is being stripped away. Layer by layer, she starts doubting the people around her, begins questioning the world she's lived in her whole life, and realizes how isolated she has become. The only person she can trust is a stranger she met named Dominic because he has no history with her, no motivation to sell her out. Hence the architecture of this book starts out broad and works into a sharp peak with Vanessa and Dominic at its center.
Q: What is the one true thing?
A: Family. Love. Strip away the power, the money, the fame, the illusion, and there is only one true thing that matters—love.
Let's take a look at the back cover copy...
Power...it's a heady drug.
Vanessa Warren is America's favorite rebel. Daughter and granddaughter of US Presidents and sister to a future one, her family connections and notoriety are seen as leverage for manipulating the White House—if she's captured.
One little lie leads to a whole lot of trouble.
Reclusive international resort developer, Dominic Varga, needs a date to ward off his matchmaking parents. When he persuades the notorious Vanessa Warren to play his girlfriend for the night, he has no idea he's stepped into the crosshairs of kidnappers who will do anything—destroy everything—to get to her.
One true thing...
Trapped in a rapidly escalating international terror plot, Dominic and Vanessa's lie becomes the only real thing in the midst of betrayals, conspiracies, and murder. As their world falls apart, they suddenly only have each other to rely on against ruthless people who will stop at nothing to achieve their goal. Who can they trust? Who is behind the plot—her own family, a political rival of her family's, or a terrorist organization? How far will the kidnappers go—what will they be willing to sacrifice—to control the power of the White House? Is there anywhere in the world where they can find safety?
Adult Content Excerpt....
They fell into a comfortable silence filled with sounds of the ocean caressing the shore beneath them.
"My life must seem shallow to you," she said after a minute.
"My life must seem disgustingly tragic."
She reached across the space separating them and dropped her hand on top of his where it rested against the arm of the chair. He turned his palm up and laced his fingers through hers. She jerked reflexively when the knock came at the hotel room door.
"I ordered more champagne and some dessert."
"Dessert?" She slid him a slow smile that melted his heart.
He leaned over and kissed her lightly before jumping to his feet and walking through the hotel room. He hesitated a moment—what if they'd been found? Hand on the doorknob, he peeked through the tiny peephole and saw a petite woman bearing a tray.
Tired of this constant feeling of edginess, he opened the door, allowed her to pass, and looked both ways down the hall—just to make sure those men with the guns weren't lurking there.
"On the bed is fine," he said by way of instructing the woman where to put the tray.
The room was charming but old and the king-sized bed took up most of the space. The only table sat on the balcony near the two lounge chairs where Vanessa remained out of view.
He tipped the woman after she'd gathered the dinner tray and as she passed by him into the hall. He watched her walk away, not yet satisfied that the world wasn't going to cave in at any minute. After he closed the door, he rested his forehead against it and released a long shaky breath.
Vanessa slid her hands around his waist from behind and started undoing the buttons of his shirt. He closed his eyes as her fingers caressed his lower abdomen. Shivers of desire rippled across his skin. When her hand dipped beneath the waistband of his jeans, he turned and faced her.
Grinning, she undid the snap before pulling down the zipper. Everything about her excited him—not just the physical but the way her eyes always seemed to be changing color and daring him to push himself out of his comfort zone and the way she spoke of her life without any trace of pretentiousness or ingratitude.
He let her undress him while he marveled at the way her hands and lips felt against his skin. It had been a long time since he'd been loved, since he'd allowed anyone inside the walls of his heart. She'd been right when she'd said he hadn't wanted to let anyone in because he hadn't wanted to feel...and now here he was feeling everything at once and more than he'd ever imagined possible and couldn't quite believe she understood him as well as she did.
He held his hands to his sides, not touching her yet as she tugged his jeans down his legs and ran her hands up and down his thighs as if he were clay and she was the sculptress about to make him into what she wanted.
And he'd gladly submit to her will.
When her tongue flicked over his inner thigh, he moaned his deep appreciation for being the target of her affection. She dragged her hands up his sides and over his chest before stepping away and pulling her dress over her head.
Without looking away, she stripped naked before flicking off the light.
"Let's go outside," she whispered.
He didn't need to be asked twice. He wanted to fuck her under the moonlight with the sound of the ocean serenading them. He scooped her up and smashed his mouth against hers in a kiss that was both desperate and worshipping. He wanted nothing more than to spend the night indulging in her body and having her indulge in his.
His hardness already ached to be inside her but he fought for restraint. Pressing her back against the balcony, he smiled at her gasp. Her arms went out for balance while her heels sank into his buttocks. Using his hand, he tipped back her head and bit and kissed and licked and nipped his way from her neck to her collarbone.
Her head dangled backward in a precarious balance and he didn't care if they were seen or not at this point. All he wanted was her hot, ready, wet, and clinging to him.
One hand under her hip and the other still arching her backward over the railing, he savored her breasts, heard her gasp his name. He loved the way the moonlight illuminated her skin, the way her nipple felt under his tongue, the way her heat beckoned him inside her.
The woman was a fucking inferno and he gladly succumbed to the flames.
Grabbing her hips with both hands, he backed away only enough to flip her around. He kicked her legs apart and squeezed her ass before sliding his hands over the arch of her back.
He thrust himself inside her and luxuriated in the welcoming warmth of her body receiving him. One hand wrapped in the length of her hair while he kissed her shoulder.
She thrust her butt back against him, ground hard against his hips with a need that rivaled his own.
He would never get enough of her, he knew that. The more he tasted of her, the more he hungered.
"Nic," she moaned, her hips moving against his even faster until he thought he would surely die from the restraint it took not to hold out.
He wanted this night to last forever. He wanted to savor her in case...
He squeezed his eyes closed and blocked out the worry. Each thrust pushed him closer to the edge. He needed the release, he needed her.
She twisted her head around and looked at him through a veil of hair as she moaned his name and reached for his hand. Fingers linked with his, she shuddered in release, back arched, the side of her breast visible as she twisted to see him.
He slammed himself deep, before bending to claim her mouth with his. Hair trapped between their lips, he moaned against her and knew something inside him had broken wide open never to be closed again.