Author: Lauren Smith
Series: Surrender Series Book 1
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Journalist Sophie Ryder has been following Emery Lockwood’s story since she was a little girl. There has always been something in his haunted eyes that she couldn’t resist and now, when she’s certain he holds the key to solving a string of kidnappings, she’ll do anything to speak to him. Even if it means venturing deep into the seductive world of the Gilded Cuff, a luxurious BDSM club on Long Island’s Gold Coast and Emery’s personal playground.
From the moment Sophie enters his shadowy, sensual domain, Emery Lockwood knows this tantalizing new little sub was meant to belong to him. However, Sophie wants more from Emery than just pleasure . . . she wants his past. And that is something he isn’t willing to give—no matter who is asking. But every moment he spends with Sophie, Emery feels his control slipping and he knows it’s only a matter of time before he surrenders to her heart, body, and soul.
“What’s your name, little sub?” “Sophie Ryder.” When his brows lowered she hastily added, “Sir.” Emery patted his thigh with one palm. “Let us begin the contest. You will come and sit on my lap and I will command you.” Sophie’s stomach pitched so deep it felt like it hit her toes. Emery leaned back, his arms rested on the back of the couch. He looked every bit a prince, a leader of a pride of lions, merely waiting for his conquest, his prey. His relaxed position only made her feel more helpless. She knew he could move fast, catch her in his arms and have her bent for punishment again in seconds if she dared to resist him. Her nipples pearled beneath the unforgiving leather of the corset, rubbing until they ached. She clenched her hands to stop them from shaking. Here we go, you can do this. Sophie approached him and sat across his lap. She wriggled, trying to find a comfortable position, unable to ignore the feel of his muscular thighs beneath her. He cocked one eyebrow imperiously, as though her restlessness had somehow offended him. “Do not squirm.” He issued his first command. She stilled instantly. Her only movement was her breasts rising and falling with her breaths. “Look at my eyes, only my eyes.” His tone softened, but the rough edge still scraped over her, making her hungry for the promise she found in his gaze. The voices around them faded and she slipped deeper and deeper into his dark spell. He would be a rough lover; carnal, quiet. He wouldn’t whisper sweet words, wouldn’t utter harsh arousing statements. He’d simply take her, take her again and again, the grinding, the pounding. The soft silence punctuated by uneven breaths, the stroke of rough hands over her sensitive skin. Everything a sensible, modern woman shouldn’t want from a man in bed. He’d be all animal in all the right ways. She’d never been with someone like him before, might never be again, and the thought was an intoxicating one. To be at the mercy of such power, such electrifying sexual control and surrender it all to him… Her mouth was suddenly dry, her pulse tapping Morse code for help as she tried to maintain a semblance of calm. Would she be able to give in to him? To let him guide her through the dark lust that so often took hold of her when she had no way of releasing it? Yes… She could let go with him, and the uncertainty of what would happen when she did was half of the excitement that lit a fire in her veins. His hands settled on her hips, fingers slowly stroking back and forth, teasing her skin beneath the leather mini-skirt. What would it be like to have his hands on her bare flesh? Fingers exploring between her legs. “Tell me what you’d like, Sophie.” Emery leaned his head down, his brow touching hers, eyes still locked on her face. She gulped, her mouth dryer than the Gobi Desert. “What would it take to make you lose control? Do you want a hard fuck? A desperate pounding? Or would you like to have your hands bound, lying face down on a large bed, softness against your belly and my hardness above you, in you?” His erotic whispers were so soft, so low that no one nearby could hear what he was saying to her. The images he painted were wild, vivid, yet blurry—like a strange combination between Van Gogh and Monet. Sweet and sensual, then dark, exotic and barely comprehendible. Emery was an artist in his own way, an erotic painter of words and pictures. “I’d take you slow, so slow you’d lose all sense of time. You’d focus only on me, on my cock gliding between your thighs, possessing you.” His words were slow and deliberate, as though he’d given them years of thought, but the slight breathless quality to the whisper made her realize she was not the only one affected. The first quiver between her thighs was inevitable. She shifted, restless on his legs, despite his command not to move. His breath fanned her lips. “Oh, god,” she murmured. He smiled, unblinking, and licked his lips. She wanted that tongue in her mouth, tangling with her own. She craved his hands on her bare flesh. “Please…” she moaned. He moved his hands down from her hips, to her outer thighs, barely exerting any real pressure. That made it worse. The hint of his touch, the promise of the pressure she craved. Sophie wanted him digging his fingers into her skin, holding her legs apart as he slammed deep into her. “Take a deep breath,” he issued another command. She obeyed. Her heartbeat seemed to expand outward from her chest until the pulse pounded through her entire body so hard she swore he could feel it beat through her skin wherever he touched her. The throb between her thighs nearly stung now—her need so great, his effect so potent. “When I take you, no matter the position, you will like it. I’ll bend you over a couch.” He stroked one finger on her outer thigh, made circular patterns. “I’ll push you up against a wall.” With little panting breaths she wriggled, trying to rock her hips against his lap, but he held her still. She nearly screamed in frustration at being denied what her body frantically needed. The finger moved higher, past her hip, up to her ribcage. “Spread and bound open on my bed.” His fingertip quested up past the laces of her corset. “You’ll twist and writhe, unable to get free. At my mercy, Sophie, my mercy. You will beg and when I’m ready, I will grant your every desire, just as I take mine.” She couldn’t breathe. The orgasm was so close. She could feel it, like a shadow inside her body, breathing, panting, waiting to be set free. She was ready; she wanted to climax in his arms, wanted to forge that connection which would tie her to him. Terrifying, shocking, intimate, but damn if she didn’t want it more than anything in the world at that moment. Wanted it more than her story, more than the interview, more than easing her pain from the past. She needed pleasure. His pleasure. The feathering touch of his fingers, Emery’s erotic murmurs now incoherent with breathless anticipation against her neck as they both strained toward the great cliff, eagerly craving the fall back to earth. Why wouldn’t he touch her where she needed it? The slightest pressure on her inner thighs, the rhythmic stroke of his hand against her clit, anything would do it if he could only… “Time!” Royce’s triumphant call shattered the glass bubble that had cocooned them for the last two minutes. Murmurs of shock from the surrounding crowd broke through. “Damn.” Emery’s eyes darkened. Anger, but not at her, flared at the lines of his mouth. He bent to press his lips against her ear. “You were close, weren’t you, darling? So close I almost had you.” His body was trembling beneath hers, the little movements wracking his arms and chest. The press of his arousal beneath her bottom far too evident. He’d been there, right alongside her, dying to come. Together. And it hadn’t happened for either of them; two minutes hadn’t been enough time. Sophie’s legs shook as cold reality slashed through her. The climax her body had been prepared to give Emery faded away. In its wake little tremors reverberated along her limbs, made worse by the tension in her entire body that hadn’t found release. She tried to breathe, to let her shoulders drop and her muscles relax. It was going to take a while to come down from this. Almost had her? No. He definitely had her, practically wrapped up with a bow on top, totally and completely his. No question.
Interview with Lauren Smith
Love Between The sheets
In 5 words, please describe your ‘Romance Writing Style’
Sensual, edgy, passionate, emotional, lyrical
Do your leading men come from any place in particular? Dreams? Movie stars? Your partner? Past partners?
Dreams, definitely dreams and the occasional movie star. I always seem to start off a new book from a dream I’ve had, usually of a very powerful scene.
What do you do in your down time?
I love to watch movies, eat out with friends, take my dog on a walk.
When you walk into a book store, where do you head first?
Bargain books, then the romance section, then the science section, then the fiction section.
Why did you decide to write romance novels?
I had never read a real romance novel before 2009 and yet when I was writing my “epic sci-fi/fantasy” stories in college, they always had strong love stories as part of the tales. When I went to law school I met a few other writers and they immediately told me I should be writing official romance, so I read some books realized I LOVED romance novels and the rest is history!
Who, if anyone, has influenced your writing?
Several key authors: Christina Dodd, Johann Lindsey, Lisa Kleypas, Kate Morton, Victoria Holt and Mary Stewart.
What research did you have to perform to back up your story? Any research which really opened your eyes or gave you new respect for a topic or profession?
When writing The Gilded Cuff and the rest of the Surrender series I delved into the history of Long Island’s Gold Coast and the beautiful Great Gatsby era mansions that have for the most part been destroyed since the 1920s. There are so many stories and wild tales and beauty connected to these homes, even the ones still standing. I particularly researched the Old Westbury Gardens as the setting for my hero Emery Lockwood’s home. Much of the architecture and interior of the house has inspirational pulls from the Old Westbury. I wanted to capture that Gatsby roaring 20s opulence and extravagance in a modern day setting for my group of bad boy heroes in the series.
What is your method for writing a book? A certain amount of hours every day? A certain routine? Are you character/story builder or an outliner or some other method?
I try to write at least an hour a day, or edit 2-3 hours a day on a book. I am usually writing one book and editing another. Since I work full time as an attorney, I don’t have much of a routine, except to somehow make it happen, usually between 5-10pm each night I try to get 3 hours of productive writing work done. I’m very much a character/story builder with usually only a vague outline in my head. The characters often don’t have that much trouble convincing me where the story is going to go.
How do you get past writers block or distractions like Facebook?
Usually when I’m writing, I’m not near a computer. I write everything by long hand in a five subject Five start notebook. I like the feel of the crisp pages and the special brand of Caliber pens I use. It’s easy to write when not around my computer. Writer’s block usually only comes when I’ve been writing on a story for a long period of time and my mind wants to jump on something new. I usually go questing for new mood music that will inspire great scenes to get me to finish the book.
Favorite book from childhood.
Redwall by Brian Jacques
What’s on your desk? Can you see your desk? Describe what you see when you look around.
I’ll describe my desk at home (my work desk is currently covered in legal files and therefore not that interesting). My writing desk at home is covered with research materials on: London’s Underworld, Guides to Paleontology and Archeology, Edwardian England, a fossilized dinosaur claw, an Egyptian replica dagger, and a tiny miniature portrait brooch hand-painted in Russia of a woman with a gossamer thin veil around her head.
What's the weirdest thing you've Googled?
The effects of gunshot wounds. Purely for research I swear!
What is your favorite line from any of your books?
“A love like that…A love like ours cannot die.” From my modern gothic paranormal romance called The Shadows of Stormclyffe Hall.
Do you believe in love at first sight?
What do you do when you are not writing?
I love to watch movies, and catch up on tv shows. I love storylines in tv shows. I also love taking my super energetic black schnauzer Fritz for walks or runs when the weather is nice.
What has been the toughest criticism given to you as an author? What has been the best compliment?
The toughest criticism is that for the first full length book I’ve ever published I was told by more than one New York editor that it wasn’t original. Readers happily have disagreed and the series has taken off! The best compliment I’ve received is that people have dreamed about the heroes of my books, particularly Godric from my book Wicked Designs. I’ve had at least 10 complete strangers email me and tell me they dreamed about him at night while reading my book.
Is there any particular author or book that influenced you in any way either growing up or as an adult?
I was a lucky kid in that I grew up in the middle of the Harry Potter craze. I was just one year ahead of Potter as he aged and books came out. Therefore I was spellbound by J.K. Rowlings ability to weave stories and characters on a massive scale. I read and re-read these books over and over because I feel there’s a timeless perfection to them and I hope someday to capture a bit of magic like that myself for readers.
Is there a certain type of scene that's harder for you to write than others? Love? Action? Racy?
Hurting my characters. I love writing when they are happy, but you have to torture them at some point, break their hearts, crush their dreams before they can reach their happy endings and that’s always tough because each character has a part of my soul in them and it’s hard to do something to them because they feel real to me.
How important are names to you in your books? Do you choose the names based on liking the way it sounds or the meaning?
Names are important, but I often skim books or name lists to see what I like the sound of. I try to avoid names that are too common, I want names that aren’t bizarre, but still are unique enough to last in a reader’s mind.
What was the hardest part of writing your book?
The hardest part of writing The Gilded Cuff was the scene where the heroine almost dies. She has a near death experience and she sees a childhood friend she lost when she was 7 years old. I had a childhood friend who was tragically murdered when we were both just out of college and I had known her since I was very young. I wanted to try to capture that emotion, that sense of deep loss for past innocence as a tribute to my friend. I dedicated The Gilded Cuff to her in honor of her life.
What did you want to be when you grow up?
Either an archeologist or a paleontologist. But then I was told I’d be poor and that didn’t sound so good, so I chose to be a lawyer instead, which has been fun because my father and great-grandfather were also lawyers.
Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?
I learned how hard it is to write contemporaries sometimes. I started out writing historical and the voice for those books are naturally much stronger for me, and transitioning to contemporary is tricky.
What made you decide to sit down and actually start something?
Boredom and the need to be productive. I’m a natural story-teller and have a type A personality. I really enjoy writing, so I thought, why not sit down and make myself truly useful and write a book!
Which actor/actress would you like to see playing the lead character from your most recent book?
The hero Emery Lockwood would be played by Stephen Amell, he currently stars as Oliver Queen on CW’s “The Arrow” tv show.
Do you work to an outline or plot or do you prefer just see where an idea takes you?
I like to see where the plot takes me, but I usually know how a book will end and some major events or scenes in the middle.
For your own reading, do you prefer ebooks or traditional paper/hard back books?
I have a kindle which I love, and paperbacks too, but since I spend a lot of time traveling for work, I actually prefer audiobooks!
What book/s are you reading at present?
The Pirate Bride by Sandra Hill. It’s very fun.
If you could have been the original author of any book, what would it have been and why?
Harry Potter. Because that is one heck of a literary legacy to leave behind as an author.
What advice would you give to your younger self?
Even if you think something will be a mistake later on, go for it anyways. Much of my success in life can be attributed to decisions I made thinking they weren’t the best.
How do you think you’ve evolved creatively?
I’ve really gotten much more comfortable with the romance genre in the last few years and can approach writing almost scientifically when trying to write the best books I can.
About the Author