When I’m working on a book or a series, it’s important for me to be able to step into the world. I like to walk around to get a feel for it all so I can make the story as real as possible for readers. I like to hear the dialogue in my head as if the characters were sitting next to me. I don’t know if it’s particularly sane, but I’ve written several books this way and it works for me.
Today, I am sliding into the Unbreakable Bonds world to interview Lucas Vallois, millionaire investor and member of the Big 4. Think of this as a short story that crashes against the fourth wall…
An Afternoon with Lucas Vallois
Lucas had agreed to meet me, but it had to be in his office. It was a power play, plain and simple, but the man doesn’t understand that I’d been dealing with creatures for too many years. I let it go, smiling at his assistant Candace as she shows me into his massive office promptly at 2 p.m.
“Jocelynn, it’s good to see you again,” Lucas said, standing behind his imposing desk make of dark woods. It was like a throne and a barrier all in one. “I thought you were bringing Rinda with you.”
“Not this time.” I dropped my purse in one of the chairs before his desk and tossed my leather jacket across the back before flashing him my most wicked grin. “She’s busy playing with Snow. You’re stuck with me.”
“Should I be worried about Snow?”
“Snow’s a big boy. He can take care of himself.” Lucas continues to glare at me, which only bring a smirk to my lips. “I’m sure Rinda will be gentle with him.”
Lucas’s glare dissolves into a slow, lazy smile. Seeing that smile in person at last…I get it and I feel like I owe Andrei an apology. Damn that smile. “Will you be gentle with me?”
His words snap the spell and I laugh. Walking around the desk so that I am now standing in front of Lucas, I pat him lightly on the arm. “Hell no.”
I continue to stroll over to the large wall of windows looking toward the Great American Ballpark and the Ohio River. It really is a spectacular view. The hills of Kentucky are still painted with fall colors and the skies are a rare bright blue rather than the overcast gray that is common through the fall and winter.
“Why do it?” I asked, not turning back to look at him. I can hear the swish of fabric as he follows me over to the windows. Out of the corner of my eye, I see him beside me, one hand in his slacks’ pocket while the other is braced over his head against the window. The man really does look like a damn model.
“You’ll have to be more specific.”
“Why risk so much over a piece of land? You risked your life, your friends, Andrei… over a little swath of land. There are plenty of places around the Tristate that you could make a similar investment and the residents would have welcomed you.”
Lines cut deep furrows across Lucas’s brow and around his mouth at my question, but when he finally speaks, his voice is calm and even. “I didn’t get where I am by allowing people to bully me. I protect what it mine.”
“Yeah, but there were other ways to handle it. Legal ways.”
This time it’s Lucas’s turn to smirk. “I thought you were used to looking for other ways to solve problems.”
I wag my finger at him. “You don’t need to worry about the people who came before you and their way of solving problems.”
“Doesn’t matter. It’s handled.”
“Things could have gone a lot worse. Andrei—”
“I know.” Lucas interrupts me and for the first time his voice is sharp enough to cut. He draws in a deep breath and holds it for a moment, closing his eyes when he slowly releases it. “I know. Things could have gone very badly. I’ve learned…”
“That’s all I needed to hear,” I whisper.
When Lucas opens his eyes, I see a glimpse of the fear that still haunts him when it comes to Andrei… and possibly even his other friends. His family. He’s got a reason to worry. Lucas made a decision and he made it out of fear, anger, and pain. That decision is going to have consequences that he’s not yet imagined. But now is not the time to discuss that.
I turn away from the window and walk over to the massive meeting table in the middle of his office, running my nails over the gleaming surface.
“What’s that smile for?” Lucas demands, sounding a little more composed.
A small chuckle escapes me. I hadn’t even realized I was smiling. “I was just thinking of what Andrei said about this table and you.” When I look up, there’s no missing the flush to his cheeks, wringing a loud cackle out of me. “Oh, the naughty things he’s got planned for you. I can’t wait!”
“This interview is done,” he declares, trying so hard to look grumpy but I can see the hints of a smile teasing the corners of his mouth. He forgets that he can’t hide a dam thing from me.
“Yeah, we’re done.” I walk over and scoop up my belongings. “I got what I needed.”
Lucas is there when I turn around, all hints of humor gone from his face. “Am I going to lose him?” Maybe I’ve underestimated him. Maybe he can sense there’s a price that still needs to be paid.
I swallow back a sigh. Pushing up on my tiptoes, I brush a kiss across this jaw. “That’s all up to you.”
Before he can ask me another question, I turn and walked toward his door. “Tell the boys I said hey. And remind Andrei that I’m coming for him next week.”
If you want to learn more about Lucas’s world, you can read the first book, SHIVER, right now. You can order the ebook now on from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Apple’s iBookstore, Kobo, and All Romance ebooks. We will be releasing a print edition very soon.