Regina Kyle knew she was destined to be an author when she won a writing contest at age ten with a touching tale about a squirrel and a nut pie. By day, she writes dry legal briefs, representing the state in criminal appeals. At night, she writes steamy romance with heart and humor.
A lover of all things theatrical, Regina lives on the Connecticut coast with her husband, teenaged daughter and two melodramatic cats. When she’s not writing, she’s most likely singing, reading, cooking or watching bad reality television. She’s a member of Romance Writers of America and treasurer of her local RWA chapter.
When Is Strong Too Strong For A Heroine?
Thank you so much, Danielle, for having me back at Ramblings From This Chick! It’s hard to believe it’s been six months since I was last here talking about my debut novel, Triple Threat. Now I’m back to talk about the second book in the Art of Seduction series, Triple Time.
Devin Padilla, the heroine in Triple Time, is the best friend of Holly Nelson, the heroine in Triple Threat. But these two ladies couldn’t be more different. Where Holly is all sweetness and light, Devin is all smart mouth and sass. She’s a product of a broken home, a drug-addicted mother, the foster system and, ultimately, the streets.
And she is, to date, by far the most fun character I’ve ever written.
Don’t get me wrong. I love all my heroes and heroines. Really, I do. There’s a little bit of me in all of them, especially the heroines. Holly got the theater geek part of me. Ivy, the heroine in book three in the Art of Seduction series, Triple Dare, gets my weight struggles and body image issues (lucky her). And Devin?
She gets my attitude and potty mouth. Oh, yeah. And my toughness. At least on the outside.
Fun fact: Devin wasn’t initially the heroine of Triple Time. I first started to write what eventually became Triple Time before I wrote Triple Threat, and initially Kara, hero Gabe Nelson’s ex, was, in fact, his heroine. I entered the book in several RWA chapter contests, and the feedback was eerily consistent: love your voice, love your hero, hate your heroine and the premise is ridiculous (it started with Kara handcuffed to Gabe’s bed as a gag gift from his buddies on Valentine’s Day).
So I temporarily shelved that manuscript and started writing Gabe’s sister Holly’s story. Part of that story was her smart-mouthed, street-savvy best friend, bartender/tattoo artist Devin Padilla. As Devin emerged as a character, I couldn’t help but think one thing: Boy, would she be the worst possible person to pair with uptight, straight-laced prosecutor Gabe.
So I did.
The resulting pairing really burns up the pages. I’d never written an opposites attract story before, and I had a lot of fun doing it.
But I couldn’t help but wonder one thing: would the predominantly female readers of romance connect with edgy Devin? I’ve read articles that suggest romance readers are harder on their heroines than they are on their heroes. A hero can be a complete alphahole for two thirds of the book, yet be redeemed at the very end and readers will forgive him. But one slip-up, and suddenly the heroine is persona non grata.
So far the response has been mostly positive. I think that’s because of another mantra I’ve oft been told as a romance writer: A character can do or be anything you want him or her to be, as long as it’s properly motivated. Meaning a character can be a bit of a jerk initially, or a bit standoffish or rough around the edges – like Devin – if there’s a good reason for it, one readers will understand and accept and cheer for him or her to overcome.
With Devin, it’s her troubled childhood that’s made her who she is, tough and hard-shelled and unwilling to let others get close to her. She’s been abandoned one too many times, and her inner circle is a small, tight knit one that she’s loathe to expand. It takes a hero like Gabe to see past her insecurities and break through her boundaries.
I hope you’ll come to love Devin as much as I do, and root for her to find her happily ever after.
Who’s your favorite badass romance heroine, be it book, film or TV?
How to unravel your straight-laced lover . . .
Gabe Nelson would be a great district attorney, but his public image is too boring to get voters’ attention. Tattoo artist Devin Padilla can help him show off his fun, sexy side, but she needs something in return—Gabe’s legal expertise to track down her missing brother. She’s not his type, but they can’t keep their hands off each other, whether it’s good for his image or not.
At first, Devin thinks she got the easy end of the bargain. Gabe’s the sexiest stuffed shirt in Manhattan, and his kisses practically set her on fire. But every deal has its fine print. As their relationship goes from business to pleasure, Devin realizes this one won’t cost her soul…it’ll just steal her heart.
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He checked the clock behind the bar. Where was Devin? He’d never understood why women took so long in the bathroom. What the hell did they do in there, anyway?
“Seriously, Gabe. I’m worried about you.” Kara pulled out the stool next to his and sat, putting a hand on his thigh. Her shiny red nails were a stark contrast to the faded denim of his jeans. “The clothes. That girl you’re with. I wanted to talk to you earlier, but I was afraid she’d come at me with a switchblade.”
Christ, had she always been so judgmental? Yet another flaw he’d overlooked.
“I’m a big boy.” He picked up her hand and removed it from his leg, relieved that he felt nothing when she touched him. “I can take care of myself.”
“I’m sure you can, but…”
“Hey, babe.” Devin came up behind him and snaked an arm around his waist. Her hand came to rest on his hip, sending a bolt of white‑hot desire to his groin. “Sorry I got held up. The line was ridiculous. Miss me?”
She reached up on tiptoe and gave him a down‑and dirty, take‑no‑prisoners kiss, with just enough tongue to make it borderline obscene in a public place. He barely had time to reciprocate before she broke it off, sliding down his body and giving him a look that said Sit back and hold on tight. This is gonna be a wild ride. “That’s okay. You don’t have to answer. Your hard‑on speaks for itself.”
Kara gasped, and Gabe almost laughed out loud at the shocked look on her face.
“Are you okay?” Devin took a half step toward the other woman. “I know CPR. And the Heimlich maneuver.” “I’m fine.” Kara held up a hand to stop her. “Thanks.”
“Good.” Devin turned to Gabe and laid a palm on his chest. One finger traced the lettering on his T‑shirt. “What do you say we skip the last stop on the tour and go back to my place? I’ve never been a big fan of E. E. Cummings anyway.”
“I don’t know,” he teased, finally getting the idea and playing along with her. “That Black Label burger sounded awfully good.”
“I promise I’ll make it up to you.” She pressed a kiss to the hollow between his neck and shoulder, making his pulse jump.
“Well, in that case…” He picked Devin’s purse up off the bar and handed it to her. “It’s been nice catching up with you, Kara.”
The polite lie tripped off his tongue. He gave Kara a dismissive nod and put his arm around Devin, shepherding her toward the door. Devin returned the favor by slipping her hand into his pocket and squeezing his ass. His cock twitched and his mind burned with a question only Devin could answer.
Was she serious about going back to her place? Or was it all an act for Kara’s sake?
Check out what's up for grabs.
- 1 copy of Triple Threat (print or eBook)
- Who’s your favorite badass romance heroine, be it book, film or TV?
- Choice of print or eBook copy.
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Special thanks to Regina Kyle for sponsoring this giveaway.a Rafflecopter giveaway