Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Simon’s Wicked Web by Ava McKnight

“Where do your story ideas come from?”

I get asked this all the time. While I derive inspiration from just about everything under the sun—and I say that with a bit of frustration because sometimes I can’t turn off the flow of ideas and, well, there just isn’t enough time in the day to write all these stories!—the most creatively inspiring device for me is music. Song titles, lyrics, instrumental tunes, musicians (yum!)… all of these things spark story ideas for me, as well as help to “lead” me through a story.

I got the idea for Simon’s Wicked Web from Madonna’s Erotic CD. Not that there’s anything on the CD that correlates with the story; rather, it was the overall evocative, wicked vibe of the CD that got me thinking about a story for Simon, my erotically intriguing hero. Simon is a true bad boy. (Better yet, he’s a billionaire bad boy.) For this book, I wanted to create sexually uninhibited characters with adventurous, devil-may-care spirits, a penchant for decadence and the desire to be truly wicked. Who better to inspire all of this than Madonna?

I used to think I would never play favorites with my heroes and heroines, but I have to admit that Simon and Kate hold a very special place in my heart. And I think Simon’s best friend, Stephan, deserves an erotic romance of his own… (I’ll get to work on this as soon as I find a CD that suits him.) I hope you become ensnarled in the wicked web Simon weaves, and fall in love with him the way I did.

Thanks for stopping by! Visit me at www.calistafox.com for chances to win a copy of Simon’s Wicked Web and other goodies, beginning March 1. Cheers!

Excerpt from Simon’s Wicked Web

From the moment they meet, he weaves an inescapable web of intrigue and seduction...

Kate Preston selects billionaire bad boy Simon Jones as the subject of her final
book in a bestselling series of biographies on overindulgent, decadent tycoons. Famous
for his wild sexual escapades, Simon--true to form--pursues her from the onset. But
studious Kate knows the wildly charismatic Simon is out of her league.

Having been raised by two notorious Hollywood legends, Kate has always sought normalcy
in her life. As Simon challenges her to take a walk on the wild side with him, Kate is pulled
deeper and deeper into his wicked web. Before the biography is finished, Kate will discover
a decadent side of herself she never knew existed... But at what cost to her heart?

“Well, there he is,” Samantha announced in her usual clipped, to-the-point tone as she and Kate entered the red neon-lit lounge.

The Whiskey Sky was a three-way collision of Feng Shui, art deco and Zen-inspired décor. The rooftop lounge boasted stellar panoramic views of Lake Michigan, Navy Pier and the Chicago skyline. Hip and trendy and quite apropos for this particular meeting, Kate had to admit.

Her eyes scanned the room and landed instantly on the handsome devil she sought. Despite the throng of people in the lounge, he was impossible to miss. Dressed all in black, pants, shirt and boots, Simon Jones was an edgy, brooding type who commanded attention. He had a deep bronze tan, dark, unruly hair and silvery-blue, hypnotic eyes, which held a hint of mischief and a spark of wickedness that both intrigued and excited Kate.

“It appears he’s engaged in a business-related conversation,” Samantha continued in jest. “Plotting some new restaurant coup, I’m sure.”

Kate laughed. “Yeah, I’ll bet. And the voluptuous blonde on his lap, with her best assets on display, is probably his accountant.”

“Mm, yes,” Samantha mused. “She looks like a bean counter, doesn’t she?”

Kate narrowed her eyes at the scantily clad, potential Playboy Playmate currently draped over Simon Jones. She did a double take.

“Bean counter, my ass.” Kate grinned. “That’s Britney Taylor. Better known as Miss February. And one of Heff’s favorite bunnies, I might add.”

“Ooh, how scandalous. Already the legend is living up to his reputation.”

“It would seem so,” Kate commented in an excited tone.

Instinct told her Simon Jones would be a fascinating subject for her last book. Rumor had it, he was pompous and arrogant, yet wildly charismatic when he wanted to be. Kate had also heard Simon Jones was so sexually alluring, women were prone to dropping to their knees and giving him head with nothing more than a wink and a nod for encouragement.

Lucky for Kate, she had more restraint than those other women. Her experience with writing the biographies of eccentric egomaniacs had taught her to avoid the many landmines associated with millionaire playboys. Or billionaire ones, as the case was with Simon Jones.

Although she was infinitely curious about what drove these types of men and sparked their insatiable ambition and overindulgent tendencies (what made them so hell-bent on possessing everything?), she knew better than to get tangled in their wicked webs.

Kate Preston didn’t roll over and spread her legs for just anyone.

Thirty-four-year-old Simon Jones was the epitome of overindulgence, which was one of the reasons why Kate had chosen him for her final biography. He was also a permanent tabloid fixture and devilishly handsome, which would help to boost the book’s ratings, no doubt.

Much to her surprise, though, Simon did have a few redeeming qualities, which Kate had unearthed during the preliminary research she’d conducted on him. Two selfless acts, in particular, intrigued her. Simon, she’d learned from his dying governess, had risked his life to save his best friend, Stefan Van Halderon, from drowning when they were children. Simon had not known how to swim at the age of seven, yet he hadn’t hesitated a second to dive into freezing cold water to rescue Stefan, who had fallen through a thin patch of ice on a semi-frozen lake.

Later, in his mid-twenties, Simon took a troubled, underprivileged young man under his wing and turned him into his protégé, providing the juvenile delinquent every opportunity to turn his life around. Julian Morrison was now on his way to becoming one of the hottest chefs in Manhattan.

Through her research efforts, Kate had discovered Simon wasn’t fond of flaunting his valiant traits; he seemed to prefer perpetuating the wild and wicked image he’d earned from a very early age. However, Kate considered his heroic acts significant enough to confirm there was much more to Simon Jones than met the eye.

Kate had convinced herself she’d selected Simon for all the right reasons, rather than the ones that intrigued her the most: Simon’s dark, edgy looks and the raw intensity he exuded.

She had professional standards to maintain, after all.

Samantha nudged her now, drawing Kate’s attention. Samantha handed over one of the cocktails she’d ordered. Kate took a sip of her drink then grimaced inwardly. Bombay Sapphire martini.

“I hate martinis,” Kate groaned.

“This is Simon’s drink of choice. We’re playing the ‘When in Rome’ game, Kate. You should be used to this by now.”

Kate sighed. She loathed the business aspect of her projects. She just wanted to get to the good stuff and write the book.

Kate and Samantha’s purpose this evening was to finalize the deal Samantha had started with Simon. He seemed inclined to let Kate write his biography. Ego was a powerful motivator, after all. Kate knew men like Simon Jones weren’t likely to pass up a golden opportunity to have their lives immortalized in a best-selling book. She and Samantha just needed to seal the deal with Simon, and he had stipulated he wouldn’t do that without first meeting Kate in person.

Hence, tonight’s visit to the Whiskey Sky.

“So, how long do you think this meeting with Mr. Wicked will last?”

Posted for Ava by Tina :)


Blogger Jennifer Y. said...

Sounds great!

2:03 PM  
Blogger Sherrill Quinn said...

Ava, this sounds terrific!

2:47 PM  
Blogger Rae Morgan said...

What a cool concept for a book? I especially like the fact that your heroine wants to know what makes him tick -- why do rich men want to possess everything? What was it in their youth that made them so needy?


3:36 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow. I soooo have to read this!

4:19 PM  
Blogger A J Matthews said...

This looks really cool! Intriguing characters, and an enticing situation.

5:34 PM  
Anonymous annalisa said...

Love your storyline. Great excerpt - Makes you want to read more right now! :)

5:48 PM  
Blogger Amy S. said...

Great excerpt!

6:13 PM  
Blogger Ava McKnight said...

Thanks for the positive comments, everyone! I really like this story and hope you will too!

7:11 PM  
Blogger Maura said...

Just finished Simon's Wicked Web - now to get my thoughts together for a review :)

10:39 PM  
Blogger Mahaira said...

Ava, I love these 'behind the scene' looks and trivia about books.

Thanks so much for sharing,

11:41 PM  

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