I love paranormal romances. Yes, I do read the ones with vampires and werewolves. They are guilty pleasures. But I don’t write them. At least, I haven’t yet. I haven’t thought of an original take on the species. I have written a gargoyle novel (Love Set in Stone) that’s gotten a kind word or two, but I only tackled that because I didn’t think there were many grotesque heroes in fiction. I’ve come to learn there are more than I thought. Still, it was fun to write, and it’s currently in a boxed set (Paranormal Attractions) which is doing really well on Amazon.
But the supernatural element I’m currently smitten with is alchemy.
There’s something about magic and mysticism that I love, but when you combine it with science—with the realm of truth and history and possibility—then I’m hooked.
And combine that with elements of my Italian-American heritage? Can’t be beat.
Mind Control, book two of the Medici Protectorate series, is my latest release. It’s got all the elements I mentioned above (alchemical-induced supernatural powers and rich Italian history made manifest in modern day close-knit families) as well as everything a reader could want in a novel:
- a super-hot hero with a secretive, troubled past
- a beautiful heroine with damage of her own
- a nefarious organization plotting not just the deaths of the heroes but global domination
- a centuries-old clandestine protectorate with impressive resources
- several glamorous locales in two different continents
- pulse-hammering action
- heart-racing romance
This is my sixth novel (plus one novella and I don’t know how many short stories). I like everything I wrote for one reason or another, but this one is currently my favorite. Vinnie and Jo’s story just speaks to me on so many levels. They’re so broken when they come together. So raw. I love how they manage to heal each other without even realizing that’s what they’re doing. The following is a partial scene depicting the earlier stage of their relationship.
She turned to face him. “Do you want to talk about it?”
He smiled at her through the darkness. “Actually, I came out here for you to do some talking.”
“There’s a shock.”
“Come on, Jo.”
“What could I possibly have to say?”
“Don’t even go there. I’m offering an open ear, a dry shoulder.”
“I don’t need either.”
“Okay, then. You don’t want to share your feelings, you can share some information. Tell me about the vision.”
“Now’s not really the time for business.”
“God, you’re infuriating. You won’t talk about Brotherhood business, you won’t talk about how you’re feeling. All I’ve gotten out of you tonight is an astronomy lesson.”
“That doesn’t have to be all you get.”
He raised a brow. “Excuse me?”
“No business tonight.” She turned her body toward him, readjusting her legs under her on the swing. “You want to know what I’m feeling? I’m feeling numb, empty, wrung out. Entirely spent. What I really need is… is… God, are you going to make me say it?”
“Say what?” He couldn’t have been more confused if Nico had been explaining programming code. Been there, done that, felt equally lost as he did at the moment. “Tell me what you need, and it’s yours.”
“How about I show you, instead?”
His head hurt. For the life of him, he couldn’t imagine what she was going to show him. They’d already looked at the stars, they weren’t in the house, and the entire property was just shadows and silhouettes in the middle of a dense West Virginian forest. If she wasn’t going to say what she wanted, he’d have to let her guide him. “Okay. Show me.”
She got off the swing, and he started to rise, too, but she pushed him back down. Then she stood in front of him, placed her hands on his shoulders, and straddled his lap.
She started to lower her lips to his, but he put his finger against her mouth. “Jo. Stop. This isn’t what you want.”
She pulled back from his hand. “Don’t tell me what I want. You aren’t in my head. You don’t know.”
“I do know. I know the last time we kissed, you put on the brakes. I know you’re hurting over Coz and Chuck. I know you’re scared about Dante, and probably your vision. And I know you’ll hate yourself—and me—if we do this.”
“You’re wrong. This is what I need.”
“I’m not going to take advantage of you like this.”
“I’m not drunk, or sick, or out of sorts. I know what I’m doing. And what I want to be doing. I’m the one who will be taking advantage of someone tonight. And if it’s not going to be you, I’ll just go inside and find somebody else.”
It was his turn to pull back. A slap would’ve hurt less. “So, I’m that easily replaced.”
“I don’t know how else to say this, Vinnie. Just for tonight—no strings. I need you. I need to be held, to be loved. I choose you, but if you say no…” Her voice trailed off, leaving him to fill in the rest of the sentence.
He didn’t like the implication. At all.
“Jo, I’ve thought about this. A lot. You know I have. But I didn’t think our first time would be like this. Lots of ways, but not like this.”
“Not first time—just our time. Our time is now, Vinnie. Don’t turn me down.”
The vulnerability on her face was as obvious as the tears in her eyes.
“I’m not discussing this now. Are you in or out?”
“If you can tell me—and mean it—that you won’t go looking for someone else if I say no.”
“Kind of a no-win for me here, Vin.”
“You’re wrong. Answer the right way, and it’s a win-win.”
She sighed and closed her eyes. “I was lying, okay? I wouldn’t have gone after anyone else.” She opened her eyes. “But I wasn’t lying about needing this. I need you tonight.”
“Are you sure? I can just hold you. All night long if you want, and we never have to do anything else.”
“I know what I want, Vinnie. I was honest with you. Now it’s your turn. What’s it going to be?”
As wrong as it felt, it still felt right. Honor be damned. He took her face in his hands and tipped her head toward him.
He planned on taking things slow. She seemed so fragile, nearly breakable. He figured gentle would be the best way to go. Not that he minded. When it finally happened—and he had been ninety-nine percent sure from the beginning it was going to happen—he had planned on savoring every moment of it.
So, that’s a look at Vinnie and Jo. Their relationship from the very beginning is complicated. They’re always on a different page—one advances, one steps back. When they collide, it’s amazing, until one of them panics and retreats. Like I said, a lot of baggage with those two. They have plenty to work out. And I loved every second of it.
I hope you enjoyed this brief look at a moment of their lives. I appreciate you taking a moment to read about them. And Courtney, I’m grateful for the chance to visit with you and your friends today. I had fun talking about Vinnie and Jo and the Medici Protectorate with all of you.
Staci Troilo has always loved fiction, ever since her parents read her fairy tales when she was little. Today, her interests are much more eclectic. She loves getting lost in sci-fi battles, fantasy realms, horror worlds, suspenseful intrigues, and romantic entanglements.
As goes her reading, so goes her writing. She can’t pick a single genre to focus on, so she doesn’t even try. She’s proud to say she’s a multi-genre, bestselling author.
When she’s not reading or writing, she’s spending time with family and friends, possibly cooking for them, or maybe enjoying an afternoon in the pool. To learn more about her, visit http://stacitroilo.com or connect with her on social media.