Today we’re spicing things up with The Bottom Line, Love and Friendship, Book One, an erotic contemporary romance by Shelley Munro. So sit back, relax, think sexy and check out the fabulous interview below!
Date of Publication: April 2010
Number of pages: 272 pages
Word Count: 85,000
Cover Artist: Scott Carpenter
Spicing up her sex life sounds exciting…until the fantasy hits the fan.
Love and Friendship, Book 1
When Maggie Drummond buys an erotic romance novel by mistake, she gets more than an unexpected eyeful. She gets an introduction to a world that arouses her to a fever pitch. Spanking.
Her boyfriend isn’t interested in pushing his vanilla-flavored sexual boundaries. Then there’s Connor Grey, who haunts her fantasies like a magical genie. As a source of masculine advice for her and her female friends, he’s off limits. The only safe place to explore her fetish is her anonymous blog.
The recent changes in Maggie don’t escape Connor’s notice. Now that her boyfriend has dropped her, he can finally—carefully—make his move. Given his family history, laying a hand on any woman, even in fun, is a line he’s reluctant to cross. But for Maggie? Anything the lady wants.
As Maggie gives in to the temptation to let Connor add some sin to her life, she finds herself juggling lies, half-truths, friendship and sensual delights. Her job is in jeopardy—and she’s falling in love. Exploring her fantasy is one thing, but she’s beginning to question if indulging her own pleasure is worth the cost to everyone around her. Especially Connor…
Product Warnings: Contains explicit sex, spanking, and the good, the bad and the ugly about friendship.
SHELLEY: Thanks very much for having me to visit today. I’m excited to share the first book of my Love and Friendship series with you.
SKY: Always a pleasure to have you over, Shelley! This series sounds fantastic! Tell us, how long have you been writing? How long have you been published?
SHELLEY: I’ve always wanted to write romance. After reading my first romance, I was hooked. I mean, who doesn’t like a happy ending? Before age twenty I made a few starts that came to an abrupt halt. At that time I didn’t have a computer and the Internet hadn’t taken off. Sigh. I know. I’m older than I look *grin*
My husband and I did a lot of traveling during our twenties and spent six years away from New Zealand. Too busy soaking up new experiences, my desire to write took a back seat. It was only when I returned to New Zealand that I started to think about writing again. In 1998 the stars aligned and I became an aspiring writer. E-publishing—my comfortable niche—was just taking off and I targeted Harlequin for a few years before admitting defeat and searching for a publisher that fit me better. In 2004 I sold my first book, and I’ve been writing ever since. So—let me do the addition—I’ve been writing for almost 16 years and I’ve been a published writer for around ten years.
SKY: Tell us about your favorite writing environment. Is it indoors, outdoors, a special room, etc.
SHELLEY: I have an office, but I tend to get more done if I leave the house and write in a café. I can’t get up and wander around or do anything else because someone will steal my chair or worse my laptop. I have several favorite cafes (coffices) around Auckland and it’s easy to rack up the words while the people watching and things I overhear can be very inspiring.
SKY: What made you choose the main setting for your book?
SHELLEY: The Bottom Line is set in Auckland, New Zealand. I chose this setting because it’s familiar to me, and I think Auckland is a great city. It’s an exotic setting for American readers without being too different, and I love to showcase my country of birth.
SKY: How did you come up with the title?
SHELLEY: Maggie, the heroine in THE BOTTOM LINE has an interest in spanking. My working title was Spank Me, but I decided THE BOTTOM LINE works on two levels. It gets the bottom and spanking part into the equation and since this book deals with the good and bad of friendship—the nitty-gritty—I think my title works well in this respect too.
SKY: Tell us a little bit about the conflict in your story.
SHELLEY: Maggie is interested in spanking, but she’s recently split from her boyfriend. Connor has had a thing for his friend, Maggie for a long time and decides to suggest a friends-with-benefits arrangement with her. He hopes to woo her into a real relationship, but he’s worried when he learns of her desire for spanking since his father used to abuse his mother, and he can’t imagine hitting anyone for pleasure.
Meantime, Maggie and her other girlfriends have a pact about Connor. They value his friendship and don’t want to lose him from their group. They’ve agreed on a hands-off policy and now Maggie and Connor are secretly messing around. Hot sex and white lies abound until it all blows up in their faces, and Maggie thinks she might lose everything including Connor and her friends.
SKY: What sort of personality does your hero have?
Connor Grey, my hero is a bit of a ladies’ man. At the start of the story he’s never without a girlfriend and he changes girlfriends on a regular basis. He has the knack of remaining friends with his past girlfriends though. At work, he hangs out with Maggie, Julia, Susan and Christina. They call themselves the Tight Five, which is a rugby term. Connor is very much a people person, although he works with computers. He loves to play rugby and is outgoing.
SKY: Are you currently working on another story? If so, we’d love some details.
SHELLEY: I’ve just finished writing Susan’s story. Susan is one of Maggie’s best friends and she enters a reality show called Farmer Seeks a Wife in order to find a husband. Julia, another of Maggie’s friends, has her story out on 10 September at Samhain Publishing. It’s called Past Regrets.
I’m currently working on a spin-off series and then I’ll start writing Christina’s story. Christina is the last of Maggie’s friends. She likes men in twos. I have the start of her story knocking around inside my head but need to think about the plot a little more before I start writing.
What genre/genres do you prefer to write? Are there other genres you’d like to write in the future?
I’m an equal opportunity writer and have never met a genre I didn’t like writing. This year I’ve been focusing on writing contemporary and historical romances, although I’m starting to feel an insistent itch to write another feline shapeshifter book. One day I’d like to experiment with steampunk. That always strikes me as a fun genre to write.
An excerpt in which Maggie, our heroine, tells her friends about her interest in spanking.
“Secret. Secret. Secret.” Christina banged her palms on the edge of the table. Julia and Susan joined in the beat, their eyes gleaming with challenge in the dim light of the booth.
Maggie picked up her margarita and gulped to moisten her dry mouth. “Okay. Okay.”
Placing her glass on a coaster, she glanced around the bar. No doubt about it. People were starting to stare. Time to spill her secret before things turned ugly. After another deep breath, she dropped her gaze to her clasped hands. “I’ve started a website called BigBadAss.com.” She spoke so quickly the words ran together. Once finished, she scanned each of her friends in turn, anxious now for their reactions.
“Big bad ass?” Christina’s watchful eyes held curiosity while her lips curved in an approving smile. She pushed her frameless glasses up her nose with perfectly manicured copper fingernails. “Isn’t that pretty racy for you?”
“What’s the big deal?” Julia scoffed and tossed her head before Maggie could answer. Her blonde hair stirred and settled in sexy curls around her almost bare shoulders. Shoestring straps held her low-cut black top in place. “It’s just a website.”
“Who’s a bad ass?” Susan smirked. “Don’t say Greg has gone and found some balls?”
“Bother, I have a smear.” Christina rifled through her handbag for a tissue to clean her glasses. “Anyway, I want to hear more about this website.”
Questions. Maggie had expected them, but the comments and queries didn’t put her at ease. Her stomach vibrated like one of her younger brother’s toys—over-wound and about to fly apart. She wiped sweaty palms on her sensible navy skirt, swallowed and said, “It’s more of a blog.”
“A blog about what?” Julia asked, rolling her eyes. “Desperados? Bandits? What’s a bad ass?”
Maggie closed her eyes briefly to summon courage. This next part was worse. Her teeth clacked when she closed her mouth. The longer her hesitation, the worse the mental strain would become. Big bad ass, she wasn’t. More like a marshmallow, burnt on the outside with a gooey interior.
“I explore…um…my adventures in spanking,” Maggie said, forcing a smile. “Does anyone want another drink?”
“Spanking,” Susan cried out as the band ended their song and the haunting notes of a sax faded. Everyone in the vicinity heard her shocked shriek. Heads turned, customers surveying them with distinct interest. Two men at a nearby table leered. Their dark suits suggested they worked at the lawyer’s office next door, but their toothy smirks told Maggie their minds crawled in the gutter, armed with floggers and paddles.
“Shush,” she muttered, aware of the two plum-sized patches heating her cheeks. “It’s a secret. I don’t want everyone to know.”
Christina picked up her drink, golden bracelets jingling with musical grace. “Since when were you interested in spanking, Maggie?”
“Yeah,” Julia demanded. “How long has this been going on?”
Susan smirked, her gaze darting from Christina to Julia and back to Maggie. “Does Greg spank you?”
“Um…” Oh, heck. She’d known they’d have lots of questions. Greg was her boyfriend. Solid, dependable and boring. How was she going to tell him? True, she was still a spanking novice, but Maggie was determined not to chicken out. She would explore spanking. It wouldn’t be like the fad diets she tried and failed.
Her spanking interest—or sickness, depending on how a girl looked at it—began with a book and some in-depth soul-searching along with a bottle of wine. She’d hauled her drunken self off to bed and, after reading more of the erotic romance, she’d had the best orgasm ever. Yeah, if she could scale those heights by herself, a real extravaganza lay ahead with a male lover. Right there, she decided to explore her wild side and the naughty spike of pleasure that jolted her right to the core every time she considered a swat on the ass. The fiery heat…
She could see the curiosity filling Susan’s blue eyes, the nosy interest mirrored in Christina and Julia’s faces. “You asked for one secret. I’ve given you one and you have to promise not to tell anyone.” Maggie had no idea where this new bravery had come from. It reminded her of her teenage years, and she liked its return. The inner Maggie cheered, enjoying the nonplussed expressions on her friends’ faces.
About the Author
Shelley Munro is tall and curvaceous with blue eyes and a smile that turns masculine heads everywhere she goes. She’s a university tutor and an explorer/treasure hunter during her vacations. Skilled with weapons and combat, she is currently in talks with a producer about a television series based on her world adventures.
Shelley is also a writer blessed with a VERY vivid imagination and lives with her very own hero in New Zealand. She writes mainly erotic romance in the contemporary, paranormal and historical genres for publishers Carina Press, Ellora’s Cave and Samhain Publishing.