Series: First & Last #2
Genre: Erotic Romance
Author: Laurelin Paige
Publisher: St. Martin’s Griffin
Publication Date: June 14, 2016
A GAME OF CAT AND MOUSE FILLED WITH DARK DESIRES AND DANGEROUS SECRETS…
Emily Wayborn has made a decision.
She might not fully trust handsome and deadly Reeve Sallis, but he is the one person that gives her what she needs. With Reeve she can finally be herself. Submitting to him is the only thing keeping her grounded as the rest of her life falls apart. But the hotelier is a master at keeping secrets and as she continues her quest for answers someone is making sure she doesn’t find them.
Time is running out and she is questioning everything she thought she knew about friendship and love. She must now make an impossible choice that will determine if she will survive with her heart…or at all.
DGR: What was your inspiration for the First and Last series?
LP:For a long time, I’d wanted to write a story about a love triangle where one of the characters wasn’t present. Much like the book, Rebecca, by Daphne du Maurier or Jane Eyre. At one point, I’d thought it would be a sweeter take on the story. Something where the memory of a dead friend permeated a current relationship so thoroughly that it placed a burden on the characters.
I also wanted to write something in the vein of Gone Girl and Girl on a Train – a psychological thriller, but with romantic elements. I’m very fascinated by characters motivations and a psychologically suspenseful plotline just intrigued me to no end.
I thought, at first, that these were two different stories, and I hadn’t quite figured out what either of them would look like exactly until I read a description of a book that was about to be published (I don’t remember what it was) about a woman who had to go to extreme lengths to look for her sister who’d gone missing. The pieces started to click together, and soon I had the idea of a woman setting off in search of a friend/sister in a dangerous place that required her to face her own psychological demons as well as some very real threats. Next thing I knew, the plot to First Touch had been born.
DGR: Who was your favorite character to write in the First and Last series and why?
LP: My favorite character in First and Last is probably Reeve. He continually surprised me with his intensity and depth of emotion. He made me feel things I didn’t think he’d make me feel.
But I also really enjoyed writing Joe. He got to ask all the questions that I wanted answered and he was sincerely committed to his cause.
DGR: Did you have a favorite scene to write in Last Kiss? What about a favorite scene to read?
LP:I really liked writing the first scene in the whole book, where Reeve and Emily meet. It was such fun to explore the superficial aspects of these characters, to have them flirt and tease while hinting at deeper agendas for both of them. At that point in the book, I knew everything and the readers knew nothing. I got to drop whatever clues I felt like dropping and that was just fun.
I don’t particularly enjoy reading most of what I’ve written. I’m too anxious about it. Too critical. That being said, I really don’t mind reading the porch scene in Last Kiss. It’s sweet and sexy and gives me all kinds of feels.
DGR: Reeve Sallis. *pervy shudder*
Holy cr*ap but the man has a presence. If you had to describe Reeve in 5 words, what would they be?
LP: Dark, Dangerous, Conniving, Dominant, and, according to my publicist Jenn Watson, Sexual Napalm. 🙂
DGR: What would you say is a trait that Reeve has that some may not realize?
LP: His heart is huge. When he loves, he loves deeply. He’s not afraid of who he is, of what his proclivities are, but his greatest fear is that his interests will drive away the people that he loves the most.
DGR: Emily is a bit of an enigma in her own right. This is a non-traditional heroine if ever there was one. What would you say is a trait of hers that some may not realize at first?
LP: I think people overlook how strong Emily is. She’s very courageous and determined despite her submissive nature. Not many people would go to the lengths she goes to for someone she cares about. I think even Emily would be surprised if someone told her she was strong.
DGR: One of my favorite things about the First & Last duet is that the eroticism always skates right on the edge of depravity. It’s like there’s no clear lines in the relationship between Reeve and Emily. The chemistry practically crackles off the pages. What was it like writing these scenes? Was it something out of your comfort zone or something you’ve always wanted to write?
LP: Great question. First & Last really challenged me in so many ways. I could mentally grapple with writing scenes that didn’t turn me on, scenes that made me uncomfortable to think about. But, emotionally, it was much harder to cope. I got really depressed as I neared the end of the series, and I know it was because the book was so much darker than I usually write.
That said, though I was outside of my comfort zone, it was also something I very much wanted to write. I’m fascinated by psychological motivations behind the people who are into kinky and degrading sex. I’m glad I got the chance to explore it.
DGR: If you had to describe this story in less than 2 sentences, what would you say?
LP: A game of cat and mouse filled with dark desires and dangerous secrets, First Touch and Last Kiss is a very different kind of love story. It will have you questioning everything you ever thought you knew about sexy psychological thrillers.
DGR: What made you decide to go with a duet instead of a standalone or trilogy? What would you say was the hardest part about writing this duet?
LP: I wanted that awesome cliffhanger, of course! I wouldn’t have been able to torture my readers with the wait between books. But also, and more importantly, the story I wanted to tell was constructed very much to be before a particular event and after. It’s a very clear dividing line, and it felt like the best way to tell it was in two acts.
DGR: What are you currently working on? Any chance there may be a potential story for secondary characters in LAST KISS in the near future?
LP: Currently, I’m writing Chandler, a standalone novel in my Fixed Universe series that will be coming out in September. On top of that, I’m co-writing Screwmates with Kayti McGee which will be coming out later this fall.
DGR: Anything you’d like to leave the readers with?
LP: I’m so thrilled with the love readers have shown for Emily and Reeve. It was a very difficult story for me to write because of its dark nature, but the enthusiasm for the series has really made the effort worth it.
Laurelin Paige is the NY Times and USA Today Bestselling Author of the Fixed Trilogy. She’s a sucker for a good romance and gets giddy anytime there’s kissing, much to the embarrassment of her three daughters.