I’m hard at work in Grace Marshall mode, writing the final book of the Executive Decision trilogy, The Exhibition. As well as writing sex and romance, I’m once again writing a delcious baddie. Well, actually, I’m revisiting one that I just couldn’t stay away from, and that’s got me thinking about why I love to write baddies.
I’m not sure when it happened, but my sneaking suspicion is that it was probably my first encounter with that ever-so-wicked, ever-so-enticing demon — Deacon, from my Lakeland Heatwave Trilogy when I first realised just how much fun it is to write baddies. Deacon was my first serious baddie, and I loved every creepy, twisted, nasty minute I spent with him clear to the very end of Elemental Fire. He was not only wicked and twisted, but at times he was sympathetic and at times he was outrageously sexy. I think I enjoyed being inside his evil head almost as much as I enjoyed the sexy, exciting romps of the Elemental Coven.
Book two of Grace Marshall’s Executive Decisions Trilogy was a different matter, however, as I wrote the stalker, Edge, for Identity Crisis. Though I was drawn into his dark, poisonous world, and it made me feel sort of claustrophobic and queasy, the words practically exploded onto the page, with me both wanting to run away and wanting to stay and see what happened next, wanting to uncover what his twisted mind had planned.
I’ve always told people that for me writing the sex scenes in erotica is like the best safe sex. It’s a wonderful way to participate in all of the fantasies I’ve ever had and some I never would have imagined I could have. But what happens when I write the baddies? Why do I love being in their presence so much? And even more to the point, what does it say about me that I find them so easy to write (heh, heh, heh)? Am I all of those people, the heroes, the victims, the incidentals and the baddies all rolled into one neurotic, twitchy woman? Do I have all of those traits somewhere hidden inside me — the fantasies about being the evil tyrant as well as the fantasies about threesomes on the Lakeland Fells? I doubt there is any way to peek into the strange depths of my own psychology that’s quite as revealing as writing a baddie. I shiver at the thought.
I know, on a psychological level, all writers have all of those parts within us and, on some level we live on the page in all of our characters, whether they’re hot and gorgeous and deliciously flawed in sexy ways or whether they’re evil and twisted and scary as hell. The darker parts of me frighten me at times, but they’re kept in check and held in balance by all of the other parts of me, all of the other parts that participate in the tenuous semi-democracy of my inner workings so that the Deacon in me and the potential Edge in me and the petty Tally Barnes in me are all channeled onto the written page. Am I scaring you all yet? I promise you, I’m harmless –ish.
And now that we’ve talked baddies, I thought I’d give you a rough and off-the-cuff sneak peek of the baddie from Grace Marshall’s next novel, The Exhibition. As I said, I’m revisiting a baddie I just couldn’t resist returning to — Terrance Jamison — from the first of the Executive Decisions novels, An Executive Decision. His story is, by no means finished. In this scene, a talented young artists wakes up in a hotel room with Terrance Jamison, who has promised he can mentor her to a great career. She begins to suspect that her choice wasn’t the wisest. Enjoy.
Successful NYC gallery owner, Stacie Emerson, is ex-fiancée to one Thorne brother and ex-wife to the other. Though the three have made peace, Ellison Thorne’s friend, wildlife photographer, Harris Walker, still doesn’t like her. When Stacie convinces Harris to exhibit his work for the opening of her new gallery she never intended to include him in her other more hazardous plans. But when those plans draw the attention of dangerous business tycoon, Terrance Jamison, Harris comes to her aid. In the shadow of a threat only Stacie understands, can she dare let Harris into her life and make room for love?
Excerpt from The Exhibition:
Terrance Jamison sat reading the New York Times at the table in front of the window of the penthouse suite. He was already showered and dressed for business, even though it was a Sunday. For a second Ingrid stood in the doorway watching him, letting the wave of butterflies wash over her as she thought about the fact that this man, this very powerful, very wealthy man singled her work out from all the rest, this man believed her worthy of his attention. He sipped his coffee and sat the cup carefully back onto its saucer. She hadn’t thought him even aware of her presence until he spoke. ‘There’s a robe in the closet,’ he said without looking up from the paper. ‘Go put it on.’
She obeyed, stripping off the shirt in full view of him before she walked slowly back into the bedroom for the robe. When he didn’t look up, she felt more than a little bit confused. The man had been the best host ever last night. He had taken her to dine at Per Se putting out way more on one meal than she paid for her apartment for six months. Then he had brought her back to his penthouse suite in the Plaza Hotel. She’d never even been to Minneapolis until her senior trip, let alone New York before, so she was sure she reacted a bit like a kid at Christmas, and he seemed to relish her delight. But this morning, he seemed miles away. Surely it couldn’t be anything she had done. She hadn’t done anything that he hadn’t suggested or recommended. Perhaps he was just distracted. Surely an important businessman like Terrance Jamison had plenty of things other than art and artists on his mind.
She slipped into the robe and joined him at the table. He still didn’t look up. ‘Help yourself to coffee. I’ve ordered breakfast to be delivered –’ he glanced down at his watch ‘—in about twenty minutes.’
She poured herself coffee then moved to admire the view out over Central Park. ‘It’s so beautiful,’ she said, her voice breathless with the view and with nerves.
Still he said nothing. So she took matters into her own hands and leaned over his shoulder. ‘What are you reading?’
‘The write-up about last night’s little soirée,’ came the reply that sounded neither irritated nor warm. ‘It seems Ms Emerson has done it again. Even without our little contribution, Americans for the Arts has done very well from her efforts.’
She studied the picture of Stacie Emerson shaking her hand and offering her the plaque for Outstanding New Artist. She looked a bit shell shocked, but Stacie Emerson looked polished, at ease, and gorgeous. Her chest tightened with a strange mix of envy and hero worship. She owed the woman big time. If Ms Emerson hadn’t given her the chance to display her work in New World Gallery for the charity auction, she would have still just been Ted Watson’s little girl who dabbles in the arts in the old barn behind the cowshed, and Terrance Jamison would have taken no notice of her – would have never had cause to. And yet she couldn’t help it. She would have liked it if the gallery owner had been a little less perfect, a little less comfortable in her own skin. There were several other posed shots with Ms Emerson and other people who were clearly people Ingrid would know if she ran in the same circles that Ms Emerson did, even people she might have had the opportunity to meet if she had joined the woman and the other artists for dinner. The little niggle in the pit of her stomach made her wonder if she might have made a mistake by not going along last night, but surely not. Hadn’t Mr Jamison said he could help her career-wise, at least as much as Ms Emerson could? And she had whole-heartedly believed him. Then. But right now she wasn’t feeling so sure.
‘How long have you known her,’ she asked, recalling with a twinge of jealousy she’d felt at the way he looked at her, the way he touched her when he’d asked her to join the for dinner.’
‘Stacie and I go way back,’ he said, still not showing any emotion at all. ‘Way back. She’s a very talented girl, our Ms Emerson.’ This time the corners of his mouth turned up into a smile. ‘I doubt there’s anything she couldn’t do if she set her mind to it.’
Ingrid certainly wouldn’t have called her a girl. Encouraged by the sudden shift in his humor, she settled onto the arm of his chair and wrapped an arm around his neck. ‘Were you lovers?’
He shrugged her off so quickly that she nearly lost her balance and she stood quickly to keep from falling. Then he pushed back from the table and tossed the paper into the trash can next to the sofa.
‘I’m sorry,’ she whispered, feeling a shiver run up her spine as he began to pace like a caged lion in front of the window. ‘That was none of my business. I’m sorry.’
He turned on her so suddenly that she nearly tripped over the leg of the chair he’d just vacated trying to step away. But there was no need. There was a broad smile on his face, and he took her into his arms and smoothed her mussed hair away from her face. ‘Stacie and I did some business together,’ he said, one hand moving down to undo the knot at the sash of her robe. ‘And certainly for me, that business did involve some … pleasure.’ He pushed the robe off her shoulders and, in spite of herself, she felt suddenly shy, but he only chuckled softly and gave her body the once over with the same appraising eyes with which she’d seen him admiring the art at the gallery. ‘You have nothing to be jealous of my dear Ms Watson. While Ms Emerson likes to be surrounded by lovely things, I prefer to possess lovely things.’
He pushed her back until her bottom pressed against the table, then he lifted her onto it, rattling the coffee cups and spilling coffee onto the white linen table cloth. With one hand he opened her legs and stroked her until she trembled with something more edgy than just arousal. With the other hand he opened his fly, eased out his erection and pushed into her with no preamble, no foreplay. And she felt as though he had forced a battering ram up inside her. For a second, she couldn’t breathe, for a second her eyes watered, for a second she felt fear tangle and knot with the beginnings of arousal. And she might have actually cried out, even struggled to escape him, but he was so strong. Just before she could get truly frightened, his efforts calmed and he held himself still inside her while he caught his breath, while he studied her face, her breasts, her thighs, the place where their bodies joined. And the pain gave way to an achy, prickly, almost panicky sort of pleasure. He stroked her breasts, examining them in that same way he had the art at the gallery, thumbing her nipples until they were raw and hyper sensitive, all the while his gaze took in her body as though he were judging it, as though it fascinated him in an abstract sort of way.
‘The funny thing about lovely things, Ingrid, is that lovely things often like to be possessed.’ Then he began to thrust, both hands moving to grip her hips and pull her tighter against him. ‘What do you think, Ingrid? Do you think that might be the case?’
His thrusting grew harder and she wrapped her legs around his waist to steady herself. A coffee cup rattled off the edge of the table and shattered on the wood floor. He cupped her chin in a tight grip between his thumb and forefinger and kissed her with a kiss that threatened to smother her even as it aroused her and frightened her. When he pulled free, he still held her so that she couldn’t look away from him. The tension in his body told her he was getting close. ‘Not that it matters.’ His words were now breathless and forced from his throat. ‘I don’t have to have permission to possess what I want, Ingrid. I simply buy it.’ And then he came with a hard thrust that forced the breath from her lungs and felt as though it would split her in two.
Before he could bring her, though she was already pretty sure that was not his priority, before he could even fully recover himself, there was a soft knock on the door. He pulled out and wiped himself on one of the linen napkins. ‘That’ll be breakfast.’ He tossed her the napkin. ‘Clean yourself up.’ Then, without so much as glancing back down at her, he went to the door, leaving her feeling nearly as shattered as the cup on the floor.
She hurried to wipe herself and retrieve the robe from the floor. She had just cinched the robe tight around her when he returned looking as though nothing at all had just happened.
‘Breakfast is in the dining area when you’re ready.’ He gave a quick glance at his watch. ‘I have a plane to catch, but you have the room for the rest of the day. There are clothes in the closet that should fit you. I’ve arranged for your gown to be dry-cleaned. It’ll be returned to your hotel room by the time you get back there.’
He picked up a small case from where it sat near the sofa and headed for the door, leaving her stunned and confused. Then as he reached for the door, he turned, came back to her and pulled her into a bone crunching embrace and a deep, hard kiss. He slipped a hand down and thrust two fingers quickly up inside her and thumbed her clit and she came with a startled sob. When he pulled away, he wiped his fingers on the edge of her robe, then he studied her for second. ‘My secretary will be in touch with plans for furthering your career, and I’m sure the two of us will be entertaining each other again soon.’ Then he left without another word.