by Lana Grayson
Publication date: March 19th 2015
Genres: New Adult, Romance, Suspense
The only thing more sacred than the Anathema MC is the vengeance of a wronged man…
Exiled from the Anathema MC, Brew Darnell escaped the bullet only to face the unforgiving solitude of the road. With no future before him, Brew battles his past and vows to protect the one he loves the only way he can—by hunting the man who destroyed his family, devastated the Anathema MC, and betrayed every promise he ever made.
Trapped in an abusive relationship with a sadistic biker, Martini Wright learned to manipulate, controlling her boyfriend’s temper with a wink and a smile until she’s traded as collateral to a rival MC. Her captor, Brew, has never trafficked a woman before, and Martini intends to exploit his guilty secrets to escape. Caught in the middle of a gang war, Brew and Martini fight a dangerous attraction—a second chance to heal from the mistakes of their past if they can confess the terrible truth.
Brew failed his family before, but Martini can still be saved. With redemption delivered at the edge of a blade, Brew must choose who to rescue—the one he already lost…or the love he never deserved.
He didn’t kiss me. Our desperation wasn’t the soft brush of lip against trembling lip.
He mauled me. Brew seized my mouth with such brutal and unforgiveable possession I moaned against his power and prayed the teeth he bared were only a threat and not the promise of a vicious bite. Like a fool, I offered my neck anyway. The dangerous thrill shivered me from my head to my toes and sliced through every delicate place in between.
My back struck the wall again. I had leaned too far into the kiss, presuming too much and attempting to return his touch. His grip tightened, but he didn’t hurt. He needed only one arm to keep me still. The second pinned me for his own thrill.
His lips tore over mine. He tasted my every gasping shudder. I had no air to call his name. He didn’t care. His body pressed into me. His wasn’t a lover’s touch but a force of sheer muscle and size that served only to remind me of my precarious situation.
I tempted a man teetering on a blade’s edge of violence and regret.
One slip of his arm and he’d break my neck.
One murmur of pain from me, and I’d be the bullet that finally fired into his brain.
Temple hunted him, Kingdom stalked us both, but it was our fevered, frantic kiss that threatened our lives.
Every repressed ounce of our control crumbled away as his tongue ravished mine.
His growl excited me. His touch thrilled me. His punishing, crippling grip hauled me from the wall and threw me onto the bed.
He didn’t hesitate, and he didn’t give me the opportunity to escape. His lips crushed me once more, and his aggressive weight pinned me under someone bigger, stronger, and in absolute control. I didn’t know whether to hope for mercy or grip the blankets and just hang on.
He was everything I ever wanted, and that made him the most dangerous man in the world.
(no author photo)
Lana Grayson was born to write romance. Her favorite genres range from the dark and twisty to the lighthearted and sentimental—as long as the characters are memorable, the story is fun, and the romance is steamy. Lana lives in Pittsburgh with her husband, and, when she isn’t bundled in her writing chair, she’s most likely cheering on the Steelers or searching for the ‘Burgh’s best Italian restaurants.
Yinz. Pop. Nebby. Buggy. Gum Band. Jagoff. Red up.
So, my hometown of Pittsburgh is a little…special. We’re not big like New York or well-known like LA, but a lot of people recognize us. They can’t help it—our regional dialect is impossible to hide.
Not only do we have our own vocabulary and quirky pronunciations (Go up to Gine Iggle and get some jumbo and chipped chop ham n’at before dat Stiller game dahn-town starts), we actually have our own grammar rules. We speak in ways I didn’t realize were incorrect until I published my first book!
Pittsburghese is so common with my friends, family, and coworkers, I’ve become grammar-blind. I can pick out the “yinzer” words that easily identify us, but there’s one major grammar rule we break all the time and no one from the area one realizes it!
The floor needs scrubbed. The baby likes cuddles. The cat wants fed.
To a Pittsburgher, these sentences are perfectly fine. To the rest of the world—and my very, very patient beta readers—they’re so horribly wrong one they thought I did it on purpose to make my characters seem less intelligent. The Pittsburgh region collectively drops the “to be” from our past participles, and they have absolutely no idea they’re doing it!
So, what do I do to fix it? Well, I scour for those typos, that’s number one. Finding beta readers outside of Western Pennsylvania was a good plan too. But…for authenticity’s sake, I set Exiled in the middle of Pittsburgh and I’m crossing my fingers to hope people think I just researched really, really well!
Still, for a region voted the worst accent in America, Pittsburghers really embrace their language quirks, and, if nothing else, it does lend a bit of flavor to the text.
I’d love to hear from readers on what they think of dialect in books. Anything from Huck Finn to Flannery O’Conner’s shorts to Trainspotting. Do you like seeing the region in books? Is it fun? Distracting? Let me know!
Biker…Romance? How can a motorcycle club story be a romance?
I get that question all the time.
I won’t lie. Exiled is a pretty grim book, and my first novel, Warlord, was no walk in the park either. The dark and gritty life of a motorcycle MC isn’t normally the setting for romance. Instead of rolling Scottish highlands or the sleek penthouses of New York City, MC Romance gives us oil-stained garages, cheap motels, and lots of time spent on the road.
The lifestyle is a hard one full of blood, muscle, and betrayal, and I think that’s why I love it so much. The stories focus on an aspect of life outside our normal society but beyond what we like to imagine with billionaire and royalty romances. The MC isn’t just a character trait for the hero—it’s a way of life, a setting, and a living, breathing representation of his strength and toughness.
Bikers are the definition of alpha. They’re powerful enough to live outside the normal conventions of the law and morals, but they still uphold a rigorous code of honor that binds them to their brothers and cause. In terms of romance and escapism, you can’t go wrong with the sexy, brooding hero facing the open road and all the bloodshed and mayhem that comes from tracking his enemies and serving the brotherhood he loves. Throw in a heroine with a secret or some past nightmares, and that dedication to the MC can mirror in his protection and love of her. It’s a perfect combination.
But I do get a couple weird looks when I describe when I write, even from my own family. Bikers and Motorcycle Clubs have a well-known reputation for being dangerous and frightening. But that element of risk is the perfect setting for a beautiful romance. Amid the violence and revenge, aggression and pride, the passion between the heroine and the toughened, grizzled warrior is brought to life. The danger intrigues us, the suspense entertains us, and the romance…well, these men aren’t afraid to use their strength and skills to take their women.
MC Romance is just a fun genre to experience—all the danger without messing your hair up with a helmet. It’s one of my favorite to write, especially as it blends action, suspense, and all the passion of dark romance with a unique setting. If you haven’t tried one, know they aren’t for the faint of heart, but for pure pulse-pounding excitement and super sexy romance, you won’t find a better read out there.
Sex in Romance
Oh, it’s a lovely topic, isn’t it?
I write romance for a living now, and I still giggle when the S-E-X word is mentioned. However, sex is one of the most important elements of a romance novel—and not just because it happens to be the place where the pages are dog-eared in our favorite paperbacks.
Passion and romance not only build a delicious tension within romance books, but the actual act is one of the purest and best ways to develop a character’s emotional arc. So much about a character’s motivations, feelings, fears, thoughts, and desires are revealed within this moment. The sex isn’t just an opportunity for a bit of fun in the book, it builds the relationships between the main characters and helps to explore the emotional blocks, problems, and secrets which prevent the hero and heroine from finding happiness.
In Exiled, both main characters face their own demons in the bedroom. My hero—a rough biker with a heavy burden—denies his dominant sexuality as he fears becoming a man like his abusive father. My heroine—a feisty flirt with a penchant for bad boys—refuses to submit to her desires as she attempts to learn from her mistakes and leave an abusive relationship. Both characters suffer through their internal conflicts and, through their sexual encounters, they begin to heal their hearts enough to trust the other with their pasts.
The characters’ passions reveal so much about their personalities and desires, and, just as they strip bare for each other, the sexual encounter should also strip their emotions for the readers—letting the characters grow and evolve as well as share more of the darkness or hesitance that prevents them from fully giving their hearts to their partner. Sex is the greatest vehicle to expose the hero and heroine and have them face those truths they aren’t ready to admit, and the experiences for the characters becomes a meaningful expression when they can learn and grow from the embrace.
And, of course, a good bedroom scene is also fun for the obvious reasons. ;)
Alpha Males—Acceptable Character Flaws
Have you ever heard the term “Mary Sue?” It’s a term for a generic heroine—one who is pretty and smart and funny and everyone likes her and she had no discernable flaws. She’s a vehicle for the story and little else, and the character hardly has room to grow within the story as she’s perfect already.
Romance novels tend to come down pretty hard on heroines, but it’s the heroes I’d like to examine today.
Most readers want to connect with the characters from the first page, if not immediately like the hero from that first introduction. This tends to get a little tricky, especially if the hero is a darker soul, someone who needs to grow and soften as a character before the end of the story. A good hero is redeemable, but he’s not so far gone readers can’t relate to his thoughts and actions. It’s a fine line to walk.
As a result, a lot of heroes tend to have the same flaw—arrogance. And that makes sense. An alpha hero relies on his confidence to woo his women, outshine his competition, and fuel his anger when he’s challenged. He thinks himself better/greater/more than the heroine, and is often broken by her stubbornness, beauty, or attitude.
However, I like a story where the hero makes mistakes and seeks redemption for past sins. I want to see a man examine his behavior and choices and come to terms with the events that affected others in a profanely negative way. I love to see a strong man broken by his own conscience and then rebuilt through friendships, family, and lovers as well as his own pride and sense of morality.
I wrote Exiled to explore just what a terrible revelation from the past would do to my hero’s pride, confidence, and soul, and the result was a whirlwind of emotions and discoveries about the character. I love having the freedom to explore and let my hero make same mistakes of his past, only to redeem himself and learn from the experiences.
I want to see more flaws from heroes—tempers, liars, foolishness, greed, etc. Romance is an emotional experience, and I’m always looking for stories where both characters are pushed and forced to grow.
If you guys have any recommendations, comment below. I’d love to find some new, exciting romances to read!
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