This week I welcome Total-E-Bound author Renee Michaels to On the Bench. Renee is a multi-published author and has written contemporary, paranormal, fantasy, and steampunk. She has a short story in the gold medal Ippy winning anthology Carnal Machines, published by Cleis Press. She is widowed with a grown daughter and son. A voracious reader, Renee admits to being obsessed with books, she is an avid cook and die hard ‘Trekkie‘ much to her children’s embarrassment. Today Renee will be showcasing her latest release Ménage A Must and giving us a little look into her world by answering the usual interview questions. Tell us about your book Renee.
I can’t write in a single genre. Ideas pop into my head, the characters take root and my stories spring from those ideas. This novella is my foray into Regency romance, with a sexy twist of course. Ménage A Must is set in an English country estate at the end of the nineteenth century. Molly my main character is an unconventional maid with ambitions to make her fortune. She serves an American heiress, Annabelle, who’s travelled to the Britain to nab a noble man for her social climbing step-mamma.
Now neither girl is what they should be, demure they are not. Annabelle is curious about matters no unmarried girl should, which keeps Molly on tenterhooks. Our Molly is no shrinking violet either, she manages to collect a pair of lusty lovers to keep company with during their visit. But she must be careful, Annabelle’s stepmother’s schemes, may put an end to Molly’s dreams. Annabelle may find herself leg-shackled—don’t you love the verbiage of that era- to a man she couldn’t learn to love.
Now this story does not have a happy ever after at the end. But I’m happy to say it’s the first in the Molly’s Mayhem, series. I thing Molly should have a few adventures before she settles down don’t you think? Here is the first of Molly’s escapades.
Molly O’Dowd is a maid with ambition. She doesn’t intend to spend the rest of her life in service. But she feels bound by loyalty and gratitude to see Annabelle, her young mistress, settled before she leaves to make her fortune.
At the estate of her employer’s potential suitor, she meets Graeme and Logan, a lusty pair of rouges who entice Molly to indulge in a tryst or two or three.
To Molly’s delight and relief her Annabelle takes matters in her own hands and secures a proposal. Molly is now free to go, but Molly hesitates after all she now has to reasons to linger a while.
Molly didn’t realise that the vehicle had stopped until the door swung open and a soft cough pulled her from her reflections. Her eyes flew open to stare into the leaf-green eyes of the man standing by the carriage.
His expression heated as he fixed his attention on her breasts with a blatant carnality. Molly’s cheeks grew warm. Heavens, she hadn’t blushed since she’d let Billy Doyle have his way with her against Miss Whitney’s kitchen garden wall at sixteen.
She had the inexplicable urge to cross her arms over her chest but she was made of sterner stuff. With a boldness mimicking his, she took her sweet time with her own perusal, and ran her gaze over the lock of ink-black hair curled over his broad forehead, the clean-shaven jaw with the impudent cleft in his chin, the width of his shoulders, his long lean torso. Molly let her attention linger on his groin as he’d done to her bosom.
She quirked her brow, and lifted her gaze to meet his laughing one.
“Touché.” The flash of his lopsided grin was full of unabashed flirtatiousness. “Who might you be, lovey? And will you come out to play?” he asked in a deep baritone. The intimate tone awakened the first tug of arousal between her legs.
Warning bells clamoured in Molly’s head. The sensual curve of his mouth, the unspoken question in his eyes piqued her interest, not to mention the way he waited for her response with an intensity that both flattered and provoked at the same time.
He’d have her drawers down to her ankles before she could say Jack Flash if given the opportunity. Molly bit her lip. One misstep and Mrs Calder would hang her out to dry.
“I’m Miss Calder’s personal maid, and I choose my playmates with care.” Her pert reply earned an appreciative chuckle.
“As you should. Prudence is the byword in our positions, now, isn’t it?”
“Do you make it a habit to proposition every female servant who visits his lordship’s estate?” From Molly’s observations, she surmised he wasn’t a house servant. His darkly tanned skin told her he worked outdoors. Molly could price clothing and leather goods at a glance. His shirt was made from a fine linen, his vest a good tweed, and his boots, though scuffed and smeared with God knew what, were handmade. Though old, they were worth more than what anyone in service earned in a year.
“Ahhh, but you’ve stolen my heart.”
Her mouth dropped open at his audacious statement. Molly fought to suppress the laugh threatening to burst from her.
“And how often does your heart get stolen?”
He flashed her a lopsided grin. “Only on the rare occasion that I encounter a lass with black curls, pansy-blue eyes, and a pink mouth like yours.” He held out a callused hand. “Logan Devlin, at your service. I’m the head groom here.” His beautiful mouth spread in a suggestive smile. “I have a way with the fillies.”
Molly laughed. He was a complete scamp. “I’m sure you do. As to deepening our association, we’ll see…” She let the words hang and Logan’s cocky smirk widened. “I need to get on with my chores.” She took his proffered hand and hopped down when he moved back.
“Logan, where the hell are you?” A man rounded the corner. The irritation on his face eased into a smile. “Is this scoundrel bothering you, miss?” He snatched off his cap to reveal a mop of chestnut curls. He fixed a mock glower on his face and narrowed his hazel eyes into a parody of a threat.
Charmed but not fooled, she lifted her brows to show her misgivings about her would-be rescuer’s intentions. He was bigger than Devlin, barrel-chested, with massive muscles straining the material of his rough trousers tucked into his work-worn boots. His footwear had been made by the same hand as Logan’s if she wasn’t mistaken.
“Forget it, Graeme, I saw her first,” Logan growled darkly. His breath wafted over her ear, and Molly shivered from the unintended caress.
The possessiveness in his voice had Molly trying to tug her hand from his grip. “Saw me first?”
“He is too bold by far, miss, and a fickle sort.” Graeme offered his arm in a gallant gesture, which belied the glint of sexual curiosity in his eyes.
“Yes, he told me.” Molly’s dry rejoinder earned her a solemn nod.
“Well, then, you won’t want to have anything to do with the likes of him. I didn’t catch your name.”
“I never said.” She stepped back from the two men as they shifted to pen her in. Molly pressed her back against the lacquered body of the outmoded carriage. They eyed her like a pair of hawks about to swoop down on their prey. She licked her lips and fidgeted under their intense scrutiny. Yet she didn’t feel threatened by them. They smiled, no, smirked with a seductive expectancy.
What was the first book you had published?
The Sword and the Sorceress. Erotic Fantasy, a little adventure, a dash of magic, and some hot heroes. If I do say so myself.
What was your initial reaction when offered that first contract?
A big OMG, I can’t believe they accepted it! Was the acquiring editor drunk? – I was a stay at home mom, who’s biggest claim to fame were my family dinners. This was a creative outlet that was all mine, which didn’t involve, kids, hubby, or household chores.
Of the books you have written is there one that holds a special place in your heart and why?
I think Ménage a Must. My heroine is a bold piece as they would say in the era she inhabits. She goes after what she wants. I am a bit shy myself. That’s ironic isn’t’ it, a writer who pens spicy stories who is bashful.
Are you a disciplined writer or do you have to wait for the muse to arrive? Do you have a ritual that gets you in the mood?
I have to discipline myself, I have a set of rules I adhere to. I turn off the T.V., no browsing the net, or Utube. If I said I was waiting on my ‘muse’, it would be a good procrastination tool, I am working to give up my title as queen of I will get to it later. I would never get anything done otherwise.
What was the last book you read?
Karen Rose’s, Did You Miss Me. I love her books. My to-be-read pile is embarrassing by the way. D* – I know how you feel Renee, there is never enough time…
What are you working on now?
Three things. A shifter story in a quartet of stories, the third of my Molly’s Mayhem series, and the third instalment of my Were Chronicles. I know it sounds crazy, but when I run dry on one story, for some reason I can write another. Kind of like taking a vacation from one world and stepping into another.
What genre would you like to try and write that is different from your own?
Romantic suspense. A little murder, a sick baddie, good red herrings, I started one, I have the title, the premise, the psychosis of the character who’s actions will set things into motion. But I am suffering from the old,’ is it good enough’ question.
When you receive edits are you Teary and Disillusioned or Feisty and Focussed?
The latter, I hate editing so I mow through. Get it done is my motto.
What is one thing in your books you’d like to try?
Oh, boy, blush. Who will be reading this? Better not say. D*- Chicken 😉
Now for some hard hitters with an Aussie flavour!
A sport /sportsperson that you watch? (C’mon there must be one) OR An embarrassing sporting memory.
All girl’s school, field hockey, boys visiting from our brother school. Split the seams in bloomers, yes we had to wear them under our cute pleated skirts. Need I say more? Face red from the memory.
Favourite Aussie Author/Actor /Musician?
Hugh Jackman is there any other Aussie actor with his hotness factor? I think not. *D – Many have agreed with you there. Have you seen the new Wolverine movie? Yum!
Your view on Vegemite?
Blah. – D*- Disappointing 😉
Formal dinner party or backyard barbeque?
Backyard Barbecue. I won’t have to all the cooking.
Adventure holiday or relaxing by the pool?
Is there booze at the pool? If yes, the pool. D* – Of course there is booze!
Favourite Aussie holiday place or one you’ve always wanted to visit?
I want to see the Great Barrier Reef as a snorkeler. It’s wondrous on the television, it has to better in reality.
Thank you Donna for having me. You made this painless and fun. Renee Michaels.
You’re very welcome Renee I’m glad you had fun with my questions, come visit again soon.
To find out more about Renee’s books you can visit her website: http://www.reneemichaels.net/
Total-E-Bound Author Page: http://www.total-e-bound.com/authordetail.asp?A_ID=295