Sandra Sookoo pens tales that will make you laugh, cry and fall in love. Whether you're looking for a sweet tale or a spicy tryst, she has all the ingredients to conjure up just the right romantic story you've been waiting for. Let's give Sandra a warm welcome. Feel free to ask her questions or leave a comment. She'd love to hear from you.
Sandra, it's so wonderful to have you here today. Please tell the readers about your upcoming release Courtesans and Thieves that will be released on October 31st.
The time period is in the 1880s and set in Noblesville, Indiana. I love setting stories, whether historical or modern times, in and around the area I live. With this story, I thought it would be fun to have a jewel thief in the midst of polite society, and I wanted a pumpkin patch featured in the story as well. This tale accomplishes both, plus the cover is gorgeous!
Here’s the blurb: Where pumpkins and midnight meet that’s where love can be found.
Justin Redding’s life as a junior accountant is as far from exciting as he can get. As a result, he supplements his income and thirst for adventure by stealing jewelry from the area’s wealthy upper crust. He’s admired Audrey from afar and convincing her father that he’s good enough is uppermost in his mind. Disguising himself as a masked avenger is the only way to win her heart.
What happens next is a heady jaunt through a crowded 1880s ballroom, a shadowy pumpkin patch and perfumed sheets. But unraveling lies and secret identities might trap the pair in a sticky web, dissolving the moonlit love affair before love’s bloom can take root.
Tell us about your heroine, Audrey Harper. What is she like? What are her strengths? Weaknesses? What is her first impression of Justin Redding, the hero of the story?
Audrey has spent her life more or less taking care of her family. She’s a nurturer at heart, but she longs to have one lasting, unforgettable moment just for herself, that no one would infringe upon. Her weakness is the same as her strength—her family. At times she feels they stifle her. Her first impression of Justin is that he’s handsome, charming and full of a life she’s never experienced. Her father wasn’t so vehemently opposed to a match between them, she’d take full advantage.
Tell us about Justin. What are his weaknesses? Strengths? What is his first impression of Audrey Harper? Would you want to date him?
Justin has one goal—get to a point in his life where Audrey will notice him. The problem is he works as an accountant for her father, and in his eyes, Justin will never be good enough. So, to accumulate enough wealth to satisfy Mr. Harper, Justin has become a jewel thief. He’s good at it and likes the thrill and challenge. He also has a heart for veterans from the Civil War, and uses a portion of the cash to support them. His weakness is loving thievery. It might jeopardize his chances with Audrey, whom he’s loved from afar all his adult life. Would I date him? In a heartbeat. He’s mysterious and sexy, a real charmer.
Do you have a favorite reference book or website?
That largely depends on what genre I’m writing in, but if the story is set in Indiana for historicals and I can’t find what I need, I’ll email the Indiana Historical Society. Those people rock!
What are your current projects and works in progress?
Right now, I’m finishing up a re-worked fairy tale then will spend the next few months writing a full-length sci-fi romance. Can’t wait to dig in!
Tell the readers where they can find you:
Believing is Seeing blog: http://sandrasookoo.wordpress.com/
Is there anything else you’d like to tell the readers?
I often run contests on my blog and post the links on Twitter and my Author Page on Facebook. It’s worth your while to check in. Also, I always love to hear from readers. If you have something you’d like to see in romance, let me know and I’ll see what I can do about making that happen!
Excerpt from Chapter One:
1880 Noblesville, Indiana
“I am not a child!” Audrey Harper resisted the urge to stomp her foot as, once again, her father ushered her from his office and closed the door behind him, leaving her in a smaller, outer reception area, staring at his door. A soft snicker filled the air and a heated blush crept into her cheeks. Justin Redding, her father’s junior partner in the bookkeeping business, was undoubtedly watching every moment of her humiliation.
Well, he could choke on his own tongue for all she cared. She wouldn’t give him the time of day let alone the satisfaction that she heard him. There was one thing she wanted in the world and it did not involve him.
In spite of her resolve, she cast a glance over her shoulder and gave him the tiniest eyebrow arch, daring him to say more. A conservative, brown-tweed suit fit his lean frame to perfection with the collar of his linen shirt so starched she was surprised he could move his neck at all. When he caught sight of her gaze, he stood, and the strong morning sunshine winked off the links of a silver watch fob on his waist coat. An expensive trinket on an accountant’s salary. She tore her focus from the accessory to his face.
“Did you need something further, Miss Harper?” His voice, deep and smooth as her father’s imported brandy, flowed over her and was just as warming. A mocking grin lifted the corners of his lips and one of his eyebrows quirked in query. “I believe your father has asked you to go along home.”
She narrowed her eyes. “I’m aware of what he asked, thank you, Mr. Redding. The last time I checked, I wasn’t deaf, nor am I dumb. I can decipher commands, especially if they come from my parent.”
Justin chuckled and the rich notes tickled places deep inside she’d rather not give life to--at least not here. Maybe in the privacy of her room. He’d ignored her awkward teenaged advances when she’d been a stupid girl of eighteen and him a young man of twenty-three. Granted, he probably didn’t remember her as that shy, slightly overweight, freckled girl. She kept close to the house much of those years, especially following after her brother’s death. Now, Justin didn’t deserve a response to his casual flirting--yet he never missed an opportunity and she always looked forward to his attempts.
“Well-spoken as always. No wonder your father is about to tear his hair out keeping you in line.” Slowly, as if he prowled the outer office like a panther, he came around the polished, cherry wood desk.
“I don’t need any man to keep me in line, thank you.” Swallowing hard, she turned around, her hands behind her back and resting on the cool metal of the doorknob.
“Be that as it may, isn’t your father planning to match you with an unwilling victim, I mean beau, at the Halloween party this evening?”
“How can you know that?” Even though it was true, she held his limpid brown gaze and dared him to contradict her.
“Your father becomes chatty during lunch.” Justin’s grin flashed even white teeth. “He also invited me to the bash should I wish to attend.” Another few strides brought him close enough that she felt the heat rolling from his body.
“Will you come?” Her voice sounded breathless to her ears and she wondered how she came across to him. Did she appear a desperate twenty-seven-year old woman, on the edge of a trapped life yet wanting so much more?
“I haven’t decided, but I am considering it.” He edged another foot forward until his knee bumped hers, so close the tiny gold flecks in his eyes danced in amusement at her. “I don’t have a costume.”
“Ah, that is a problem.” Her heart thumped against her ribs, trying to escape, beating out a warning, yet even as it did, gooseflesh rose on her arms. Her chest clenched and tiny pulses of pleasure curled in her belly to be in such proximity to him. The doorknob slipped under her suddenly sweaty palms.
“Indeed.” A tiny trace of a Southern drawl clung to his words, but he didn’t possess the consummate charm of a gentleman. He was a rogue to the core.
Another step brought him so intimately close a mere inch of space separated their bodies. Audrey couldn’t breathe. It felt as if the confining corset would snap her in half. She greedily swept her gaze along the strong cut of his jaw, the rugged face that spoke of hard work and secrets, the dark, sloping brows. His raven black was kept short and held rigidly in place by slick pomade. As a rule, she didn’t care for beauty products on men. Why couldn’t they embrace their masculinity and be confident in it? A thought niggled its way into her brain that he’d be much more handsome if that hair were allowed to meander over his head in gentle waves, free so she could run her fingers through it.
Stop dreaming, Audrey. He works for your father and is no good besides.
“Do you want to know what I think, Miss Harper?” His warm exhalation caressed her lips like heated silk, recalling her attention to the conversation.
“I’m not sure.” The common sense part of her mind urged her to slap his face for his intrusion, but the part of her that begged for adventure compelled her to hold her ground.
His grin was slow and sensual, and very much that of a jungle cat on the hunt. “You don’t need a man to keep you in line. You need a man to be your equal, one who will give you as much as you’ll take and demand you give just as much.” His eyes darkened to the hue of black coffee. “You need a man who will satisfy your every desire, even those locked away in your heart of hearts--the ones you never tell a living soul.”
“What makes you think I have hidden desires?” It was all she could do not to throw her arms around his neck.
Buy Link will go live on October 31. http://www.liquidsilverbooks.com/books/courtesansandthieves.htm