By: Aleah Barley
Risking it All
Glory bet everything on love, and Luke held all the cards.
Every novel has a couple of themes that recur throughout the text, whether it’s loss, renewal, or young love. Some of my favorite romances involve risk. I like high stakes. What are the characters going to lose if they keep doing what they’re doing? And if they choose a new path? Luckily, risk is also an important theme in great suspense novels. The character might be saving the world, but in the process he could lose everything, his job, his life, or his one chance at true love.
Risk is central to my new novel Leaving Las Vegas, a rip-roaring red hot romantic suspense novel that combines the best characteristics of romance—a swoonworthy hero who always gets what he wants, and the spunky heroine who challenges him in ways he couldn’t even imagine—and suspense—car chases, devious showgirls, and lots of shootouts—into a tidy package wrapped up with an explosive bow.
It’s a high stakes adventure that starts when billionaire casino magnate Luke accuses Glory of cheating at an underground poker game and continues through multiple kidnapping attempts, a wild road trip from Las Vegas back to Glory’s hometown in West Virginia, and some red hot sex. In the end, it all boils down to one central question: what are you willing to risk for love?
What about you? What kind of themes do you like to see in romance novels? In suspense novels? Do you like high stakes adventures?
A private poker game with her dreams at stake. And West Virginia wild child, Glory Allen loses it all. To make matters worse, she’s trapped in a car with the sexy man who won—the infuriating man who accused her of cheating. And now she’s on the run—with him—from the mafia who’s apparently put a hit out on the stuck-up casino magnate with the toe-curling good looks who isn’t exactly her type. So why can’t she cool the explosive chemistry between them?
She’s out of control…and she’s enough to drive Luke Tanner crazy. Yet when it comes down to it, she’s the only one to put her neck on the line…for him—a complete stranger she professes to hate. Now he’s in debt…to her. And it’s a debt he’s willing to work off anyway she wants…on the hood of his sports car, in a waterfall—wherever she’ll have him, he’s willing to pay the price.
But the stakes are raised when they return to West Virginia—helping Luke escape has put Glory and her hometown in the sites of someone who wants him dead. This time Glory decides she’s not going to end up empty-handed—it’s time for the winner to take all and she won’t stop til she wins his heart.
Bang. Another gunshot sounded, followed by the sound of a soaring symphony and a bubbling aria as opera suddenly poured out of the car’s speakers. She must have turned on the radio while scrabbling about. Great. Just great.
Her body tensed. One foot went down on the clutch; she slammed the car into gear, shifting smoothly from second to third. The man listened to opera? They shouldn’t be inhabiting the same zip code, let alone the same car. The Vanquish leaped forward, peeling into the alleyway as the sound of seventy-six trombones overrode the radio.
Crap. Either a high school band had chosen that moment to march down the next street over or Glory’s cell phone was going off. The ringtone meant her no-good, dirty, rotten cousin Benji was calling.
Everyone in town liked Benji. They liked his charming manners, his bright good looks, and the firework show he put on at Black Lake every Fourth of July.
Glory knew better. Benji just liked to blow stuff up.
And he was staying at her house. Well, to be technical, her trailer. Vintage 1970s with all original harvest-gold appliances. A nice place, but not built to withstand casual explosions. She could only hope her roof would be intact by the time she got back home.
She flicked a quick glance in the rearview mirror. Was that a black SUV she saw? “What’s the quickest way we can get to the main road?” she asked. “Heading east.”
“No such thing as east. Just Utah or Arizona.”
“Arizona,” she said a little too loud. Like she wasn’t quite sure. “We’re going to Arizona.”
“Wait—‘we’? There’s no ‘we’ here. I barely know you,” Luke said.
“Yeah, well, I’ve never depended on the kindness of strangers, either. But here we are.” She downshifted, slowing the car as she came to the end of the alleyway. Right or left?
“I gave you a car and you saved my life,” he said. “So I suppose we’re no longer strangers.”
“I don’t even know your last name. Seems pretty strange to me.”
“In that case, let me introduce myself. Properly. I’m Luke Morrison,” he said, his voice low, gravelly.
Left. Seemed a good enough gamble. She slowed, turned left onto a side street, and caught his soft smile out of the corner of her eye as she made the turn. Luke Morrison. It was a good name, strong and capable like the man. He’d given her something, trusting her with his name. She could give him the same courtesy in return.
She hit the gas and the car rocketed forward, throwing them both back against the seats, then said, “I’m Gloria Allen. People call me Glory. My father was a preacher. My mama ate MoonPies while she was pregnant. My sisters are crazy as hell. And while we’re driving around yapping, my cousin’s probably blowing my house to kingdom come.”
***end of excerpt***
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Aleah Barley is a writer of funny (she hopes) contemporary romance novels. After recently moving to Detroit, she would like everyone to know that the rumors are true: it is a post-apocalyptic wasteland full of abandoned buildings, zombies, and hipster coffee shops that don’t open before nine in the morning. It’s also a great place to live. Really. Promise. She spends her days working hard to make the world a better place and her nights writing about kick-ass women who live life to the fullest and the men who love them.
She’ll do anything for a box of chocolates. Or ice cream. Seriously. Try her.