MP-Do you find that your personality came out in your main character Lilah?
JL-Absolutely, I do. It’s never easy being trapped in a circumstance you didn’t plan for, especially when you’re surrounded by forces (or people) who would stop and nothing to tear you down. But for a type-A person like myself, and like my heroine, it is always better to keep a stiff upper lip. In Dangerous Ally, Lilah Benson, a well-respected journalist, is told by her editor at the New York Times that she must go undercover, both working for and living in the home of Raphael Ramone (a known-criminal) and also his son Lucas (also a known criminal.) Though I’ve never been forced to do anything so extreme as my heroine is, I have no doubt that I would have reacted in much the same way that she does. That is, accepting the challenge head-on and, and, once in the throw of things, refusing to show my enemy fear.
MP-What is the hottest physical and the hottest personality trait to you in your character Lucas?
JL-Hmm…tough to narrow that one down ;) Strange as it may sound, one of the things I found most physically attractive about Lucas was his hair. I am definitely a sucker for guys with dark hair and it seemed that Lucas’s perfect strands were a strong compliment for his dark and mysterious persona. (If you’re not sure what I mean, check him out on the cover ;) )
Personality wise, I loved that Lucas is a practiced seducer. And as Lilah Benson is working overtime to expose his extracurricular, criminal activities, he has the perfect opportunity to put these skills to use. From the moment they meet, when Lucas kisses Lilah’s hands, I am totally hooked on the character. I just love a hero who knows how to put the moves on a heroine so that both she (and I!) can’t resist. Lucas is the epitome of that type of hero!
MP-Is Dangerous Ally a stand-alone book or do you see it becoming a series?
JL-As a matter of fact, Dangerous Ally was not the first story I wrote in what is now the Pinnacles of Power Series. I simply fell so hard for Lucas Ramone, that this story (actually book 4 of 5) wound up coming first!
In Dangerous Proposal (which released in June 2012, and comes prior to Dangerous Ally) we meet Lena Benson, Lilah’s older sister, and we see what sort of trouble comes her way when she runs from her then psychotic fiancé Lucas, and meets Alec Westwood, the man she believes her fiancé hired to track her down, a man who’s eyes and touch rob her literally, of sense.
MP-Were there any parts of your book that were harder than the rest to write?
JL-In the last third of Dangerous Ally, Lilah uncovers a long-lost secret, and in turn is kidnapped and held captive in Italy by Raphael Ramone. This portion of the story is very emotional, both for Lilah, who does not know if she will ever get home, and for Lucas, who is very much in love with her and does not know if he will ever see her again. It was very emotional for me as well, the writer, to depict what these two characters, who have essentially lost all hope, are feeling. I pushed myself to step out of my comfort zone a great deal on this section of the story, in order to enhance the overall conflict as well as to make the bond between Lilah and Lucas that much stronger.
In turn, there is a scene earlier in the story, in which Raphael is trying to persuade Lilah to help him to steal Lucas’s flashdrive, and he uses some rather unconscionable tactics to make his point. This too, was a chapter in which I pushed myself very out of my comfort zone. But I was glad I did it because, once again, things are that much stronger between hero and heroine when Lucas learns what occurred and comes to Lilah’s rescue.
MP-What was the best thing about writing your own book?
JL-The best thing for me, about writing my own book, is having a place to put all of my ideas. I write outlines for stories pretty far in advance (I have notebooks full of them!) and I love the feeling I get when I put something together that can stand as a story on its own. Sometimes, I’ll think, wow, where did that come from? Other times, I’m filling in the blanks on an idea that’s only come to me in pieces. But regardless of the order the pieces arrive in, I, the writer, get to assemble them. There is no greater feeling than putting the last piece of the writing-puzzle into place!
For five lonely years, diamond smuggling kingpin Lucas Ramone has hidden himself from the world. With a father who has baited him all his life, made a game of trying to trip him up at every turn, Lucas will do whatever is necessary to protect what is rightfully his. What he isn’t prepared for is Lilah Benson…
Upon accepting a job in the home of her sister’s maniacal ex-fiancé, reporter Lilah Benson believes she has finally found the perfect way to make her mark on the world. Exposing the criminal endeavors of Lucas Ramone won’t soon be forgotten. But as she comes to know the man who was supposed to be her adversary, Lilah is tempted by a passion far stronger than the desire to see her name in print…
Power and control are tools of survival, critical in a world of thievery and deception. Lilah, an innocent in a land of criminals, may be the one person capable of bringing Lucas to his knees. But Lucas will stop at nothing to keep his empire secure.
He will have it all: His Fortune, His Legacy, and Lilah Benson in his bed…
At two years old, Jessica became a devoted fan of both listening to and reciting the books her parents would read to her at night. When she was a little older (about four), she sought a greater challenge in her life, and began making up stories of her own, acting them out with her dolls. “When the dolls got “boyfriends,” she says, “I knew I was getting too old for dolls!”
As a romance novelist and a reader alike, Jessica 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 already seducing the heroine from that first point of contact. “Isn’t it the hero’s job to seduce?” she says with a grin.
Jessica loves to see the sparks fly when a stubborn, domineering hero crosses paths with a bold, feisty heroine, and uses the combination frequently in her stories.
When she’s is not writing, Jessica enjoys listening to as much 80’s music as possible, watching the same re-runs of Smallville over and over, shopping for exceptionally unique cameos, and taking long walks in nature where she can daydream about anything romantic. Though she resides in Central New Jersey, her heart belongs to the White Mountain National Forest in New Hampshire.
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