Monday, June 27, 2011

Out on a limb...

Annie West here. Have you ever felt out on a limb? Stressed by forces you feel you have little control over and forced to consider options you'd prefer to avoid?

If so you'll have some sympathy for Antonia and Rafe in my Presents release this month. They say that writers, particularly romance writers, like to put their characters in terrible situations and then watch how they deal with them. In this case it's true. I confess. Neither Rafe nor Antonia were happy at the beginning of this book. Both faced stressful situations , the sort that bring out the best or worst in people Both found ways to get through them and redeem themselves. Because of that I love the US title RAFE'S REDEMPTION because it really gets to the crux of the story (in the UK this story was called THE BILLIONAIRE'S BOUGHT MISTRESS) .

Rafe is a man behaving badly. OK, I know sometimes we expect alpha heroes to do that, but he has his reasons - a mix of revenge on the man who destroyed his mother and the desire to stop him from ever harming anyone again. He's single minded in his pursuit, so single minded that he doesn't stop to consider the impact of his actions on anyone else. Frankly he's not seeing the big picture and that's what he has to learn before he can be redeemed.

That's where Antonia comes in. She's got problems of her own. Problems she can't walk away from, not if she's to salvage her recently dead father's reputation. As she loved her parents dearly and can't bear to see them wrongly maligned in public, there's no question that she'll turn her back. Then there's the small matter of a debt to be paid.

Rafe makes her an offer that every instinct, every feeling rejects. Yet logic, and the need to do the right thing for those she loves, means she has to consider the unthinkable - living with Rafe while he flaunts her as his lover in order to fulfil his plans for revenge.

I wondered when I began writing this whether Antonia was in such a position of weakness with all her choices taken away from her, that she'd turn into a wimp that no one could like. I needn't have worried. She leapt onto the page and found wonderful, inventive ways to stand up for herself in the face of what initially seemed overwhelming odds. She did it so well that she showed Rafe the error of his ways - absolutely necessary for his redemption.

Here's what a few readers have said:

"...a fabulously sensual Modern Romance that will keep you turning the pages late into the night with its captivating blend of drama, passion, intrigue and romance." (Cataromance review)
"How do you do it - make a man a woman should hate into someone you want?"
"OMG I finished reading Rafe and Antonia on Monday night and I LOVED it. Really, truly I loved it - this story is my idea of what the perfect Presents story should be."

It seems I love a story where hero and heroine have to face the unthinkable - or at least a situation they'd prefer to avoid. Can you remember a story where the hero/heroine had to face the worst scenario imaginable ? If not, could you suggest one? I'll give a copy of one of my backlist books to someone who leaves a comment.

If you're interested in Rafe's Redemption you can find details on my website or even better, order it from eHarlequin (it's only available there - in either paperback or ebook form).


  1. Annie, I loved Rafe and Antonia's story and I think the title, Rafe's Redemption, is fantastic - and so very pertinent to the story!

    You really start this story with poor Antonia on the back foot - she might be down but she's certainly not out, is she!

    I know your US readers will love this story as much as I did!


  2. I like a lot of angst and obstacles for the hero and heroine too. When they finally do get together their feelings are deeper for each other. They mean more to each other when they have to fight the world to be together. Whether it is family or enemies keeping them apart I am always so happy for them when they get their HEA.

    user1123 AT comcast DOT net

  3. Hi Sharon,

    How great to hear you enjoyed Antonia and Rafe's story so much. I agree - I think this new title for the US release is perfect for the story.

    I must say, I thoroughly enjoyed writing Antonia - standing up for herself despite all the odds.

  4. Hi Stacie, I know what you mean. I enjoy books where there's a sense the hero and heroine really had to work hard to overcome the problems between them. Then I've got confidence they've got the staying power to make their HEA last!

  5. Ooh, great blog, Annie. I LOVE this story. The stakes are so high and I love to see a man redeemed the way Rafe is in this story. It's absolutely delicious. Congratulations on the American release of this story - it's one of my faves of yours. You're right about Antonia standing up for herself - she really is a heroine you cheer for.

  6. Ooh, Annie, you know how much I love this book! Rafe indeed behaves badly, and Antonia is between a rock and a hard place, but rotten and weak they are not! I love how equally matched they were.

    A worse scenario possible? You certainly ask the hard questions! What about: a mother, to save her child, gives it away? or: to save her family from ruin a woman has to marry a man she loathes?

    This could become a fun game! :-) Shall think on it some more.

  7. I just read "Night of Fire" by Barbara Samuel & it has me crying by the time I was 1/2way. The hero & heroine were desperately in love but they were in an impossible situation (or so they thought) & they had to discontinue their relationship to save each others honour. Most worthy read.

  8. Hi Anna, how good of you to pop by. Actually, I do remember you enjoying this story. Isn't it satisfying when a hero redeems himself? Sigh. That's one of the joys of reading romance.

  9. Hi Michelle, I'm smiling at your comment about Rafe and Antonia not being weak or rotten. Thank goodness!

    Great suggestions for a difficult situation. Fancy giving up your child to save it. That would be so heart breaking. As for marrying a man you!

  10. Hi Linda,

    You've got me intrigued by 'Night of Fire' which I haven't read. I'm assuming the situation got resolved by the end. It sounds like it kept you on tenterhooks! Thanks for mentioning it.

  11. Hi Annie,
    Loved reading your 'Passion, Purity and the Prince'. In that book too, the h/h have to face a difficult situation and then only can Alaric find his redemption. Your writing's riveting.

  12. Hi, Annie! One true story that comes to mind is '127 Hours', which is about the hiker who got his arm caught under a boulder and had to saw his arm off. Shudder!

  13. Hi Ruchita,
    It's good to see you here. I'm so glad you enjoyed Alaric and Tamsin's story. I had to think for a minute, as I've got used to calling it by its US title - 'Protected by the Prince'. You're absolutely right - Alaric does come from a dark place in that story and has to redeem himself.

  14. Hi Vanessa,

    Oh, I'm shuddering, just thinking of '127 Hours'. I haven't seen the film but I remember an interview with the climber. Now that's one confronting decision I don't think I'll feature in a story!

  15. I can't think of a book or movie, although I read in the news about the guy who had to cut his arm off awhile ago. Amazing stuff.

    No. What I'm thinking is "real life". On any given day recently, my husband and I have been facing lots of obstacles in life. Thankfully, it only draws us closer to each other (and we celebrate our 30th wedding anniversary in less than 2 weeks). In the past two months, my husband fell asleep at the wheel after working some midnight shifts and then visiting his mother; he is fine, but the tree didn't survive; the car was a write-off; our insurance company dumped us after 30 years but offered a policy with their underwriter, jumping from $600/yr to $4,400 now (and checked with other insurance companies, who can't beat this price); can't afford second car until this charge "goes away" in 6 years, so I am the one out a car because I work from home; MIL has a room in a local nursing home because of Alzheimer's but still knows us; recently had shortness of breath so went to local hospital, and was transferred to another hospital for tests, and then transferred to another hospital an hour away for balloon in her artery; after 6 days in bed hospitalized at 84 and having used a walker for several years now, the hospital released her the following morning, when she couldn't even get out of bed on her own; "the family" took turns sleeping on her recliner so they could help her 24/7 for the first several days at home; now she doesn't remember any ambulances or hospital visits but thinks she fell while shopping; I have had severe dental pain the last few days and finally had it confirmed that I am getting a root canal next week (but no pain meds or anti-inflammatories help in meantime); am lucky to get 3 hours of sleep in a row and another 2-3 hours sleep later in the day now; and oh how the list could go on and on, but I'll spare you. This time.

    So yeah. Just think of real life and you'll have lots to tell.

  16. Hi Annie,

    I liked your post a lot very interesting points! I think life is definitely full of stressed out situations just like the ones founds in books, but in real life we of course cant just "write" them away, we need to find a way out, a way to deal with it, and I think praying for help from above is always a good idea, but also trying to overcome a situation on your own is never a good idea.

    If anything else,from all my reading I have learned a valuable life lesson and that is that it is important to draw strength from your friends and family that can help you deal with a stressed out situation.

    And remember to take time amougst all the stress to just try to relax and chill out even if just for a nice long hot bath to gather your thoughts or do what I do , I simply pick up a book and get lost in the story !

    Take Care

  17. I'm so late logging on to announce a winner - huge apologies. The winner is LINDA. CONGRATULATIONS! I just need your postal address - so send it to me at and tell me which backlist book you'd like to receive.

  18. Oh, my goodness, Laney, that's dreadful!
    I felt so sad reading about your recent woes. If you contact me at I'll see about sending you a backlist book as well! I hope the news improves from now on.

  19. Hi Desere,

    Thanks so much for popping by and sharing. I really enjoyed your comments. I couldn't agree more about drawing strength from your friends. It's so important! Losing myself in a story is what I'm hoping to do myself very soon.