Title: Devil's Pawn
Author: Elizabeth Finn
Publisher: Liquid Silver Books
Release Date: September 17, 2012
Buy Link: Amazon (Kindle)
Buy Link: Amazon (Kindle)
When Ashton is left orphaned after her parents are murdered, her life becomes a hell she could never have imagined. Left to fend for herself, and responsible for a debt she doesn’t owe, she is swept into a life as a gentleman’s escort at a private men’s gaming hall. Her new manager makes it abundantly clear he doesn’t appreciate her inexperience, innocence, and shyness. On the contrary, he despises everything about her.
Derek can be “difficult,” she’s been told. And however dark and handsome he may be, he terrifies her in a way that chills her to the bone, but leaves her begging to understand him. As they are pulled along together, more secrets and threats than either one could ever conceive are revealed, and a common enemy emerges. This enemy will stop at nothing to bring Derek to his knees while using Ashton as the greatest pawn in his torturous game.
Will Derek be able to let down his shield of cold, harsh emotion before it’s too late? Will he be able to sacrifice himself to save Ashton, or will they both be destroyed by the secrets of their pasts?
Once in the fitting room, Derek takes the chair again while I start to remove my clothes. I intentionally wore ugly, stretched-out, white cotton underwear that is entirely too big on me in the event he should be here. My mouth isn’t the only thing that can get me into trouble—my sarcasm knows no bounds when I’m unhappy.
As he sees the appalling excuse for an undergarment, his eyes move up to mine, narrowing darkly at my obvious defiance. I look coolly back at him before looking away dismissively. My anger and resentment of him from the humiliation he subjected me to the previous morning, not to mention his treatment of me over the past two weeks, have charged me into a bold, fiery bitch that no longer cares what retribution I might face. While my tongue usually gets me in trouble, today I decided to let my underwear do the talking.
Jacob enters with an armful of dresses for me to try on, and he cringes as he takes in my defiant granny panties, hated the world over by men, including, apparently, gay men.
He turns to Derek, and with a scrunched-up face, he worries out loud. “The dresses aren’t going to lay right over those…” He tosses a nod in my general direction.
Derek wastes no time at all reassuring Jacob and striking back at me. “No worries. Ashton was just taking them off. She won’t be wearing underwear anymore.”
I glare defiantly back at him as I drop the loose fabric to the floor. He returns the glare for a moment before letting his gaze travel down my body to my sex, and as it lands there, smoldering with heat, I turn abruptly from him, intentionally showing him my backside instead. I look to the mirror in front of me, and I catch his eyes flit away from me in annoyance. He worries his lip with his thumb and index finger as he contemplates, and the slightest of smirks crosses over his mouth. Jacob is standing by looking from one to the other of us, obviously wondering just exactly what he’s gotten himself in the middle of.
Derek finally looks back to Jacob. “Get on with it.” I try on one after the other of the dresses. Some are perfect; Jacob pins in additional alterations in others. Derek sits by bored, only glancing up from his cell phone occasionally. One such occasion is when Jacob remarks that I’m “just not curvy enough for this one.”
Derek looks up to Jacob, but he shifts his eyes to mine before commenting, “Yes, well, if you can figure out some way of making her look female, you let me know.”
Jacob again lets his eyes pass between us, seeming to wonder all the while what he’s missing. As I hold Derek’s eyes with my own, my anger falters, and the pain that is behind my fury pushes through. I try to wrangle my tears into submission, but it’s no use. In defeat, first one, and then another spills from my eyes and slides down my cheeks. Jacob regards my state and excuses himself from the room.
I stand on the hemming block in the center of the room, refusing to look at Derek. But he’s looking at me, and as my hurt continues to work through my entire body, I let my tongue do what it does best. “Why do you hate me so much?”
He says nothing, but stands and moves to me. Reaching around behind me, he pulls the zipper of the dress down, and then, returning his hands to my shoulders, he pulls the straps down, exposing first my small breasts, and then the rest of my naked body as it falls to the floor.
He leans in to my ear and speaks. “You don’t know anything about me.” He then takes me by the hand and pulls me to stand in front of the mirror, and leaning to my ear once more as I watch him in the mirror, he speaks gently. “Lean forward and put your palms on the mirror.”
Heroines: The Weak Versus the Strong
by Elizabeth Finn
I love this particular topic! When it comes to the romance genre, you will see every manner of heroine in the spectrum and then some. That’s the joy of writing today, and writing in a digital age where the sub-genres and the sub-sub-genres (not even sure that’s a word!) are endless has increased this tenfold. I think that the strong female heroine is very popular today; more so than it was perhaps in the past. But she’s not the only heroine
I don’t write kick-ass heroines. While I may someday, it isn’t the heroine that I love to write or that I empathize with. Does that make my heroine weak? NO!! Weak is something of a misnomer in my opinion. I would suspect that few romance authors go out with the express intention of writing a completely weak heroine. Weak implies that she is incapable in some way, and I believe the true distinction comes from the emotion of the character.
For instance, you can have a heroine who is victimized, tormented, abused and degraded, but more often than not, her strength comes out in her emotional portrayal; whether it is a sarcastic inner voice or an occasional passive aggressive response. At the same time, you can have your super-hero-rock-star-kick-ass heroine with an emotional vulnerability in her character.
If your kick-ass heroine had kick-ass emotions with no vulnerability, your audience would struggle to bond with her. She doesn’t belong in romance – try… an adventure genre of some sort. At the same time, a physically vulnerable heroine who was also too emotionally vulnerable wouldn’t belong in romance either – maybe… some dark dramatic genre and likely with no happily ever after.
So what’s my point? I personally believe the best recipe for a romance writer is to mix your strength with weakness. If she is physically strong, show her emotional vulnerability; if she is physically vulnerable, show her emotional strength. The physical manifestation has to counterbalance the emotional portrayal. And that’s the point. If you find the right balance, your character will be readable, loveable, and she’ll just make sense!
So what’s my personal formula? I’ll admit, I love to portray emotional strength in my heroine, and keep her in a physically vulnerable place – I want her hero to rescue her! I’m very old-fashioned in that way. I don’t need her to be physically strong and kick-ass, but she’s got to have a strong inner-strength.
To read more of her heroines, check out her two recent releases, The Devil’s Pawn and Brother’s Keeper.
About the Author:
Elizabeth Finn is an Iowa native, where she lives with her husband and son. By day, Elizabeth is a Human Resources Specialist, but by night, she checks her professionalism at the door and immerses herself in the world of writing erotic romance. Look for more to come from Elizabeth Finn.