Leigh Ellwood is an award-winning author of erotic romance. Since first publishing with Phaze Books in 2004, Leigh has published several novels and shorts with Phaze, Samhain Publishing, and Loose-ID. She also writes mysteries as L.K. Ellwood and welcomes readers to her site and blog for more information on her work. You can also learn more about Leigh through Twitter and Facebook.
As the faithful manservant to the governor of the rural province of Cozelle, Boone never expected to rise beyond his station, much less find love. When it claims him, however, his happiness become marred by tragedy. As the middle daughter of the retiring governor, Iona values only two things: family and country. To control the latter, she believes she must keep the former stable. To this end, she offers the widowed Boone a proposal. Yet, when a mutual attraction sparks between the two, both are taken by surprise. Is Boone ready for a second chance at love? Does Iona even want her first?
On your website, I read about your excitement of electronic book publishing. Talk to us about WHY you're excited and how electronic book publishing has allowed you to take part in your literary dreams.
What attracts me to electronic publishing is the ability to have a hand in every aspect of it. While I would love one day to receive a contract with an NY publisher, I like that I can be closer to an eBook publisher by virtue of their size - staff is usually smaller and authors and editors/publishers tend to work together more often.
As for my publishing goals, eBook distribution through sites like All Romance and Kindle gives me an opportunity to reach readers looking for something different. It's no secret that erotic romance in particular blossomed with eBook production, and the genre's readers are nothing short of supportive of new authors. I find it's a great environment, and I've learned so much.
What draws you to write erotic romance?
I would say what draws me to this genre is what draws me to writing mystery, or non-erotic romance - the potential for telling a good story. With erotic romance, I have the chance to live a few fantasies I likely wouldn't try in real life (nothing I would admit to having done, anyway!) I tend to inject quite a bit of humor in my stories as well, and I like to test that in some erotic stories I write just to see if it works. The genre is very flexible, and it's fun to realize new ideas.
In your opinion, what makes a great erotic romance?
The key, I believe, is the romance. The main couple really should connect heart to heart while they are entwined physically. The sex can be spicy and acrobatic and explicit, but if all the action is under the sheets and nothing is left to create the conflict and emotion that supports a romance, it won't click.
You've written a lot of novels and shorts. Which are your three favorite stories--and why?
Very difficult to pick, but if I had to choose three they would be 1) Dare Me (the second in the Dareville series) because it features my favorite characters in the series and I feel it's a strong story. I hadn't intended to make a series, but a supporting character in the first book nagged at me to write this.
2) Dead Barchetta, written under my real name. This book is my first mystery in six years, and was completed as part of an auction bid at a convention. It took years to write, and I am so proud of it.
3) GPS, a M/M short I wrote for the All Romance 28 Days of Heart. All proceeds from sales have gone to the American Heart Association, and I'm happy to have helped a great cause through my writing.
Most readers are avid readers--especially in the genre they write in--who are some of your favorite erotic romance authors and what do they bring to the literary table that you love so much?
I'm sure like many newer authors, I discovered erotic romance through Ellora's Cave. I enjoyed reading authors like Cheyenne McCray, who creates very passionate couples, and Jaid Black, who knows how to push the envelope. I also enjoy Bridget Midway's knack for setting up a scene and realistically creating situations.
Boone did not feel the hands patting his back and shoulders, reaching up to muss his hair. Jovial “attaboys” and assorted congratulations faded into distant echoes. He never turned back to see his many well wishers waving from the kiosk as, arm-in-arm, he walked with Nattie back to his—their—home. Like chirping birds their voices fluttered into the sky with joyful buzzing as the crowd, led by Giles, ambled into the pub for a congratulatory toast, noting already how Boone was walking much taller, his head held higher.
So what that the happy couple had opted to give the celebration a miss to gain an early start to the honeymoon? Somebody surely would drink extra for them.
Boone lost track of the number of steps home. The cottage no longer looked small, or dark, or lonely. Boone did not feel his hands upon Nattie’s shoulders as her own encircled his waist and pressed his body to hers. Her head reached his Adam’s apple, tall enough for Boone to rest his chin in her hair without having to tilt his neck. She smelled of the honey beeswax soap he made for the family, and Boone risked slipping his hands underneath her arms to return the embrace, garnering no protest.
This is not happening. This cannot be happening…what cruel force has come to taunt me?
“Very much so, Miss Natalie.”
“Nattie,” she giggled. “I think you can call me Nattie now.”
“Nat-tie.” The syllables sounded foreign, and he pronounced them with care. This was a word he intended to use for the rest of his life, forever associated with the happiness he felt at that moment. He would never soil it with the wrong inflection.
“Boone,” she whispered, and he shivered.
She tilted her face upward and arched her feet upward to meet his parted lips. The kiss was soft, and robbed him immediately of his breath and his will to maintain composure. He tightened his grip across her back for support, wrinkling the fine material of the robe. He didn’t notice her hands retract and press softly against his chest, then reach back to tear at the button on her robe that Siddron had fastened.
As they swiveled around toward his bed—their bed—he remained in contact, gliding his tongue across her lower lip, tracing the corners of her mouth, responding in kind to her caresses. Quietly time stilled and the room melted around them. Boone acknowledged only her hands fumbling with his shirt, pushing the material away to reveal his bare, heaving chest.
She took his hands and pressed them to her hips, sliding them upward. “Help me, Boone,” she pleaded and, with her hands guiding his, he removed the shift. She stood naked before him now, inviting him to take in her delicate bust, taut abdomen, and the hidden trove nestled between her thighs.
Boone opened his mouth, yet no words escaped, only a low groan of want to accompany the ache in his groin, which Nattie dared to gently massage. He hardened instantly with her touch, biting back a smile as her eyes widened with the discovery of his size.
“Oh,” she gasped, and loosened the rope belt binding his trousers. “I’m ready for you now, Boone.”