Today I am happy to introduce you to Cari Quinn, who is on the virtual road with her second novel in her Love Required series: No Flowers Required published by Entangled Publishing's Brazen line. I sat down with Cari among virtual muffins and hot chocolate to chat about the series, writing and especially Alexa and Dillon, the characters of No Flowers Required. Please give Cari a warm welcome and leave a comment to be entered to win an ebook copy of No Flowers Required!
Cari: Hi Stella, thank you so much for having me here today! :-) I’m a full-time author who writes erotic contemporary and sexy contemporary romance. I love fall, pumpkin spice lattes, Halloween, and men’s college basketball. Oh, and reading. Can’t forget reading!
Stella: Your latest novel No Flowers Required was published by Entangled Publishing in their new sexy Brazen line, congratulations! Can you tell readers what they can expect of No Flowers Required?
Cari: Sure! If you go by trope, it’s a story of mistaken identity. Alexa thinks Dillon is just her building’s handyman, when the truth is much more complicated. But I’d like to think there are layers to the story. It’s not just about Dillon figuring out he needs to come clean, despite the ramifications. It’s also about two people who are coming into their own and finding their perfect complement in another. And oh yeah, there’s steamy rooftop sex in the rain. Can’t forget that part! ;)
Stella: No Flowers Required is the 2nd story in the Love Required series, can the novels be read as standalones or are the stories in some way interwoven/connected?
Cari: Absolutely. Nellie and Jake in book one are Alexa in NO FLOWERS REQUIRED’s best friend and brother respectively, but you can definitely read one without reading the other. Though if you want to catch up with Nellie and Jacke, NO FLOWERS REQUIRED contains a couple fun scenes with them.
Stella: Do you still remember what inspired the story, was there a specific moment/event/film/song that sparked the idea or how did it all start?
Cari: Oh yes, I remember exactly. It was my awesomesauce Entangled editor, Heather Howland, who first suggested I write a story for Alexa. When I wrote NO DRESS REQUIRED, I figured it’d be just a fun, short New Years novella. Then it did better than I’d ever expected and I realized Jake and Nellie had a whole segment of friends and family that deserved to have their stories told as well. Jake’s sister Alexa was the natural first choice, and after I came up with the idea of the Value Hardware chain of stores, Dillon and his older brother Cory were born. Cory’s book is up next, and he’s an entertaining nut to crack. I envy the task his lucky heroine has in front of her!
Stella: Could you introduce Alexa Conroy and Dillon James, the heroine and hero of No Flowers Required?
Cari: Sure! Fun questions!
|Kate Beckinsale as Alexa|
Nickname: Type A
Dillon James: One of the owners of the Value Hardware chain of stores and occasional handyman who is extremely skilled in the manual arts
Nickname: Beefcake Boy (yes, this is the name Alexa comes up with for him!)
And here’s the snippet where Alexa first sees Dillon, and then a bit from Dillon’s POV during their first scene together.
Alexa seeing Dillon:
Abruptly, Alexa stopped in front of an open apartment door and widened her eyes. Who was that?
A man wearing tight jeans and a black T-shirt stretched tight over a taut back meant for fingernail marks knelt in the middle of an apartment with a floor plan just like hers, methodically ripping up strips of the laminate. He faced away from her, which gave her the perfect opportunity to study the bunch and flex of muscles in his sinewy forearms. He wore some sort of copper cuff around one wrist, and a tattoo flashed from under the sleeve on his other arm. She couldn’t make out what the tat was, but one thing she could discern with no trouble at all.
Beefcake boy had a hell of an ass.
Dillon’s first scene with Alexa:
He’d just fix her sink and get gone, no matter what naughty messages her now-bare, lilac-tipped toes wiggled his way as she bounced one long shapely leg over the other from her perch on the toilet. A thin chain encircled her narrow ankle, dangling charms. Purple, of course. That was her signature color. Just as that aromatic lotion she’d talked about was apparently her signature scent.
And holy shit, was it hot.
|Andrew Stetson as Dillon|
Cari: I’d have to say Andrew Stetson for Dillon and Kate Beckinsale for Alexa. Andrew’s got a sort of rough and tumble look about him that’s perfect for Dillon and Kate’s beautiful and strong, the best of both worlds!
Stella: And now let’s have Couple’s Therapy: Alexa, Dillon, if you had to introduce each other, what 3 words would you use to describe the other?
Alexa: Sexy, loyal, unconventional.
Dillon: As smart as she is gorgeous, a fighter, and tenacious.
Alexa: Psst, honey, that’s more than three words!
Dillon: Close enough. Rules are meant to be broken. Hard. And fast. And deep. (Alexa blushes and he winks at her) What were we talking about again?
Stella: What is the quality that you like the most in the other and the one that drives you up the wall?
Alexa: He won’t give up on the people he loves.
Dillon: She won’t give up on anything, period.
Alexa: Is that supposed to be a compliment?
Dillon: Of course. (snicker) The one that drives me up the wall? Hmm, can’t think of a one. She’s absolutely perfect.
Alexa: (raising hand) I can think of one! Actually more than one. How long do we have? (smiles sweetly at Dillon’s glare) Okay, okay. I don’t like that he insists on giving me multiple orgasms when I’m late for work. There. That’s a flaw, right?
Dillon: (reaching for her) Yes, it is. Let’s work on that flaw right now.
Stella: What was your first fight about?
Alexa: (frowning) Want to tell her?
Dillon: Yeah, uh, that would be when I bought a part for her sink at Value Hardware, even knowing she hated the place. I think I’ve made up for my boneheadedness since.
Alexa: Mostly. I think your flaw needs more work.
Stella: Was there a specific moment you realized “wow, I just love that person!”?
Dillon: I’ll take this one. On the roof that first night. I totally fell for her when she shoved me back against the door and laid one on me. She was fearless and I wanted her more than anything.
Alexa: (smiling) It took me a little longer, but by the time that snake showed up in the jar in my apartment, I was so under his spell.
|Dalton - the initial hero|
Cari: Actually I can tell you two behind the scenes secrets. First, Dillon went through a lot of changes in this book! His original name was Dalton and he started off with long blond hair, which I’ll admit is not my own personal preference for a man. I’ve written a lot of heroes by now and they’ve run the gamut from bald to long-haired, but Dillon insisted he had curls like a cherub. Yes, a cherub. Hey, the muse is a fickle beast and wants what it wants. That’s where editorial direction comes in to mold the story to be the best it can be. And funnily enough, I borrowed Dillon’s name from a series I’m co-writing with my fab CP, Taryn Elliott—and the former Dillon in our series is now named Dalton. So the swap is complete. ;)
Stella: What shall we expect from you, what is next on your schedule? Will there be more stories in the Love Required series, and if so how many are you planning on?
Cari: I have a bunch of things up next on my schedule, but right now I’m writing NO ROMANCE REQUIRED, Dillon’s brother Cory’s story. It’s hot, hot, hot enough to steam up a winter’s night! Right now, I’m planning an additional two books beyond Cory’s story in the Love Required series, but that will depend on if readers clamor for more. :-)
Stella: Can you share with us some little secret trivia, something that not many people know about you?
Cari: Sure! Hmm, not sure how many people *don’t* know of my fiendish love of coffee—particularly pumpkin spice lattes—but one thing I don’t share as often is that I don’t like soda. I never liked the taste of carbonation and have drank maybe the equivalent of a couple of 2-Liters of soda in my entire life.
Thank you for having me here for such a fun interview! :-)
Giveaway time! Now it’s YOUR turn! For one night, your partner of choice will fulfill your wildest fantasy (and yes, something like this just *may* happen in NO ROMANCE REQUIRED.) It doesn’t have to be sexy…maybe you just fantasize about a night away from the kids at a Broadway show with a fancy dinner! What is your fantasy and why?
No Flowers Required by Cari Quinn
He'll give her everything she desires...except his identity.
Flower shop owner Alexa Conroy had it all before the recession hit and her customers fled to cheaper shopping grounds. Desperate to make ends meet, she sells her dream home and moves into the rundown apartments above her shop. When she spots six feet of sexy distraction—complete with muscles, piercings, and tattoos—ripping up flooring, Alexa knows the karmic windfall she's due just landed on her doorstep.
And the attraction's definitely not one-sided.
Entangled Publishing has generously offered an ebook copy of No Flowers Required by Cari Quinn to a lucky commenter!
To be entered leave a comment answering Cari's question: For one night, your partner of choice will fulfill your wildest fantasy, what is your fantasy and why?