A man of action...
After helping to break up a Russian human trafficking ring as part of the CIA’s elite Black Opal team, Alexei Nikanova’s newest assignment is to rescue one of the stolen women and return her to her father. When he arrives in Dubai, he discovers his target is Sasha Zablosky—a woman he knows all too well, and who has haunted him ever since their one unforgettable night together. But he finds Sasha reluctant to leave her Sheik, the only true friend she’s ever known. Only Alexei can’t give her a choice.
A woman of deception...
With their yearning roused by intrigue, Alexei and Sasha can no longer resist and spend night after night in forbidden pleasure. Soon Alexei finds himself falling for her even as he battles a shadowy menace to protect her. But Sasha is no innocent. She has a past darker than she could ever admit or that Alexei could ever forgive. And it is about to explode into her life once more. Now, as the lies they tell themselves—and each other—pull them deeper into a perilous desire, what began as simple passion becomes a love certain to destroy them and end the lives of countless innocents.
Hello everyone! Thanks so much for hosting me today!
I’d like to introduce you to Sasha Zablosky today, the heroine from my newest erotic romantic suspense, Lie To Me. It came out two days ago, on the 3rd, and is the continuation of the Black Opals novels, which began with Stripped in January.
Hi, Sasha! Thanks for making some time for this interview. Would you tell me a little about your life before Alexei?
Sasha: A lot of my life before Alexei has been sealed as confidential information at this point. I was born in Moscow, daughter to the Nobel Prize winning scientist, Yakiv Zablosky. I worked for the FSB – what you would know as formerly the KGB – and performed development and research. I was not a, as you say, spy.
(It should be noted that her accent is thick and she struggles a bit with English, using more formal wording than we might in conversation.)
And you stripped in Moscow as well. What led you to that with such a stable job?
Sasha: Ah… Events in my life made it necessary to leave my employment. It was safer to work as a dancer.
Safer? But that’s where you met Alexei, right? And he forced you to go to Dubai. Some would argue that dancing was far more dangerous.
Sasha: Yes, some would. However, Alexei caused me no harm. He improved my circumstances, in truth. He did not want to send me away, but he was forced to do so himself.
So tell me—when you saw him again, what was it like?
Sasha: (A faint blush touches her cheeks.) It was amazing. I have no words… I had never dreamed such might be possible, though I had thought of him often. We did not see eye-to-eye that night. But for a moment I knew true happiness.
Let’s talk about him for a minute, if you don’t mind. What drew you to him first?
Sasha: His eyes are most incredible. He was quiet and reserved, but beneath the surface I sensed so much more. It was almost—how would you say—magnetic? I could not resist him no matter how I tried.
And when he came to Dubai to bring you back home… You had to overcome a lot and face several more challenges, not just interpersonally either. What held you together through all that?
Sasha: Alexei is a passionate man. His temper can be fierce. We were often in disagreement. But he has a gentleness around him. Working through his shell helped me to think of things other than what occurred around us. The danger we both faced, my concern for his safety, kept us together.
Okay time for the nitty gritty – is he as amazing in bed as Lie To Me would have us believe?
Sasha: (She laughs without reservation.) He is better. I want for nothing. Let me tell you—when a man’s kiss can make you forget your life is in jeopardy, there is no greater pleasure in this world.
Mm. That’s what I thought. I’m jealous! I mean you have it all – the physical package, drop-dead gorgeous eyes, and tenderness. Not to mention you know you’re safe with him around. A girl couldn’t ask for more.
But I’m afraid our time is up. I’ll let you get back to your day, and I need to get this to press. Thanks again. Maybe next time Alexei will join us.
Sasha: Alexei keeps busy with the Black Opals. But I am certain, if you ask, he would make time for you.
Thanks, Sasha! I’ll try to get in touch with him later. Take care!
Warning flashed behind Alexei’s eyes, hard, cold, and dangerous.
She held his gaze, meeting him challenge for unspoken challenge. “If you’d done better research, you’d know Kadir bin Imran’s been playing both sides of your little game.”
Both men visibly tensed, their posture stiffening. Damn it. She hadn’t meant to let on that she understood what had happened with the human trafficking ring so intimately. Doing so risked revealing the years she’d spent employed by the Federal Security Service of the Russian Federation. As a senior defensive weapons engineer, her job with the FSB hadn’t related to undercover operations—not technically, at least—but she’d been through enough training to understand the intricacies that were required to expose Amir’s human trafficking ring.
Her familiarity with the Bratva and how deep the organization ran filled in the remaining holes. All things she couldn’t risk revealing unless she wanted to spend
the rest of her life in jail. If she even made it that far before her father and the Bratva found her.
“What do you know about Kadir?” Alexei asked with frightening calm.
Sasha winced as she tried to straighten her legs, only to have her swollen ankle protest the movement. She bent over to gingerly massage the rapidly purpling skin. “He’s been trying to buy me from Saeed for the last year and a half.”
She waited long enough for the meaning to sink in before she looked up at Alexei. He exchanged a wary glance with Grigoriy, then turned a narrowed frown on her. “That’s impossible. Six months ago he—”
“Was offering a million and a half.” Releasing her tender ankle, she leaned back against the leather seats.
When those damnable light green eyes slid back to Grigoriy’s and understanding registered in Alexei’s expression, Sasha knew she’d driven her point home. But the night had been too long, too full of jubilant highs and heartbreaking lows to let the remark stand alone. In need of some way to deliver the cutting blows Alexei had meted out to her, she couldn’t resist one more barb. “Guess we’ll see what he’s willing to pay once I’m in his personal jet, won’t we?”
Like Sasha, I find myself drawn to eyes in men. Second to that, it’s the normal tone of his voice.
What about you—what snags your attention most?
About the Author
National Bestselling author Tori St. Claire grew up writing. Hobby quickly turned into passion, and when she discovered the world of romance as a teen, poems and short stories gave way to full length novels with sexy heroes and heroines waiting to be swept off their feet. She wrote her first romance novel at seventeen.
While that manuscript gathered dust-bunnies beneath the bed, she went on to establish herself as a contemporary, historical, and paranormal author under the pen name, Claire Ashgrove. Her writing, however, skirted a fine line between hot and steamy, and motivated by authors she admired, she pushed her boundaries and made the leap into erotica, using the darker side of human nature and on-the-edge suspense to drive grittier, sexier, stories.
Her erotic romantic suspense novels are searingly sensual experiences that unite passion with true emotion, and the all-consuming tie that binds -- love.
Tori will be giving away a $25.00 Amazon Gift Card to one random commenter during the month of July. Two additional commenters will receive a basket of swag. Follow the tour – the more times you comment the better your chances of winning! Complete tour dates can be found here.