1. AR: Tell me about this series, how did it come about?
LSJ: Well, I had this idea about a girl who didn’t have time for men. She had a skewed view of love due to her own parent’s horrible marriage. As well she has a skewed view of herself. We see her insecurities, her hopes, her heart, and her need to want to believe in love.
The first book starts to tell Winter’s story when she’s in college. She meets the perfect man when she wasn’t looking, and finds Austin to be what she never believed in— her soul mate. The rest of the books take you on a journey of Winter’s life, loss, love, all told through her point of view. There are some surprising twists along the way which takes this contemporary romantic series into more of a paranormal light.
When I sat down to write Winter’s story, it just flowed, and kept on flowing. So it ended up being one very LARGE book. When I decided to submit my work to Evernight, I needed to break up the work, and it ended up a 4-book continuing series called The Heart Of Winter. Enchanted, book 1. Requiem, book 2. Revelation, book 3, and the completion of the series which is set for release March 21st is, Eternal.
2. AR: Who is your heroine and what are some of the conflicts she faces?
LSJ: My heroine is Winter Shae Perri. A small town girl from a rural farming community in Colorado, who takes a huge step by leaving home and going to college in the Big Apple. She has to face her fears and insecurities, and allow the perfect man (Austin) to love her. As the series moves on she faces the ultimate loss the night before her wedding to Austin. Her fairy tale has been shattered in a car crash which takes Austin from her. Years later the recluse romance writer, Winter Wells (her pen name) finds the reemergence of a love that she thought was long gone. But when her long lost love makes a startling appearance in the form of a Hollywood mega star named Cayden Cain, she can’t deny the pull nor the fact he’s a carbon copy of Austin. From here, she faces more conflicts than you can shake a stick at.
3. AR: Who is the hero and what conflicts does he face?
LSJ: Austin Wells Carlyle is the hero. His major conflict; trying to get the girl he instantly fell in love with to fall in love with him. The problem, just when he gets what he wants, and he and Winter are on their way to get married, his life is taken. Can love conquer death? We find Austin again through the appearance of Cayden Cain. Strangely, Cayden’s been searching for a woman named Winter, who’s been haunting his dreams since he was a child. When he finds Winter, he has every intention of holding on to her, even if that means he must lie and sneak around to keep her safe from his life which is like living in a fish bowl. You see, he’s a Hollywood star, who took up where Austin’s career/life left off. In fact, his whole life has been strange. And the only thing Cayden has ever wanted—The woman called, Winter.
4. AR: Where did you get the idea for this series? Who or what was your inspiration?
LSJ: Truly, I’m not real sure how the idea came, other than I wanted to tell the story of a girl who fell in love despite her disbelief in love. From there the characters took the lead, and the story told itself. My main inspiration was the idea of true love, soul mates, and can two people love each other so much that nothing can keep them apart. Not even death.
5. AR: As a reader, what kind of books do you like to read?
LSJ: I love to read romance of many types whether it is considered erotic, contemporary, paranormal, etc… I love paranormal, sci-fi, historical, classics. I suppose I love to read, and I’m not stuck in one genre. Eclectic might be the word when it comes to what I like to read.
Note: Eternal is the final in a 4-book continuing series, The Heart Of Winter. Best if read in order.
Romance writer Winter Wells has found her new life with Hollywood Hottie, Cayden Cain, a blessing and a curse. He is the blessing. His career is the curse. Involved in an unprecedented web of strange events, and wound in a string of lies about to break with devastating consequences, Winter must battle ghosts from her past that threaten to harm Cayden. Faced with a choice she always knew would be inevitable, can the fairy tale of their relationship beat out the odds of their reality and really come true?
Wednesday evening had arrived, and I was standing on the balcony of my bedroom when it started to rain. I lifted my chin to the heavens, toward the dark night sky, and the cold drops hit my face, cheeks, lips, and hair. It didn’t take long before I was soaking wet. The ivory long sleeve shirt I wore was plastered to me, and my jeans were beginning to soak through, but I didn’t care. All I could think about was Cayden. How could I ever live without him?
In the distance of my mind, I heard Cayden’s voice calling out to me.
“What are you doing?” he asked. “Winter. It’s too cold. You are going to get sick.” Cayden’s arms encased me. He pulled me from the rain, into the warmth of the bedroom. He let loose of me and almost sprinted into the bathroom. I saw him pull one of the large fluffy white towels from the cabinet. He turned with a sense of urgency, and immediately came back to me. “What are you thinking?” Once he reached me, he unbuttoned my shirt, peeled it from my wet skin, and threw the soaked garment to the floor. Cayden whipped the towel out. It made a snapping sound before he wrapped the dry warm towel around me. “Winter, baby?”
Cayden stared at me. The expression upon his face, one of pain. He rubbed my arms with his hands as if the friction would warm the coldness I felt in my heart. It hit me. I wasn’t speaking.
“Sorry,” I said.
“Love, what were you doing standing in the cold rain?” He glanced down at my feet. “And you don’t have on any shoes.”
“I don’t know. I was just thinking. I guess I stopped paying attention.”
“Take those wet jeans off, too,” he instructed before he headed back into the bathroom for another towel.
I shed the jeans and left them in a wet lump in the middle of the floor.
“I love you,” I said when he came back.
He threw a new towel over my hair and started to rub it dry. “I love you, too. Tell me what is wrong?”
I placed my face to his chest, burying away my pain and taking in the scent of him. “Nothing is wrong.”
“Winter, tell me,” he pressed.
“Nothing, it’s nothing. I go a little crazy when you’re gone, but you are home now. We are together. That’s all that matters.”
“I have missed you,” he said. Cayden’s arms circled my waist and he picked me up from the floor. My feet dangled. “Do you know how much I hate to be away from you?”
“I know how much I hate being away from you.”
The towels fell to the carpet when I draped my arms around his strong neck and my legs around his perfectly tight waist, hooking my ankles behind his back. Cayden laughed his low musical laugh and brushed his nose into my hair. “I love how your hair smells. It’s like flowers and fruit, peaches.”
“I have missed you so much, Cayden.” I kissed him. It was a long time before I released him from my kiss.
Cayden’s eyes, silver-gray, flashed. “I think maybe you did miss me. But never bet it is as much as I have missed you,” he assured with his brilliant bright white smile.
I shivered. Whether from his eyes, words or touch I do not know, but probably from the combination of all of them.
“Cayden, make love to me.”
“You’re still cold,” he said. “Come on.” He carried me into the bathroom.
“I don’t care how cold I am. Please, make love to me.”
Cayden put me down. My bare feet felt the cool tiles beneath them. Cayden walked over to the stereo. He pulled back the glass wall panel and turned it on. He bent down, took off his black Adidas, and stripped off his socks. He placed them inside his shoes. With an underhanded toss, he threw the shoes out the bathroom door. They made a dull thud on the carpet in the other room when they landed.
There I stood. In the middle of the bathroom in my bra and panties, my hair tangled and wet, goose bumps covering my skin, mascara running down my cheeks, and probably looking pathetic, but I could not keep my eyes from Cayden. He turned on the steam and hot water in the shower. Placed his hands under the stream of water that was shooting down from overhead. He turned around, smiled tenderly, and closed the glass doors. The water hit the glass of the shower and mixed into the sound of the rain that pelted the roof. Everything melted into the music that played, becoming a symphony of rain.
“Please,” I said.
Cayden looked at me intently. He raked his penetrating gaze over my body. “I have every intention of making love to you, but I need to get you warm first.” His fingertips traced down my cheek, over the surface of my lips, down my throat then over my right shoulder. The warm water that was still on his hands trickled over the surface of my skin in every place he touched me. I trembled with his touch. Softly, he rubbed the mascara smudges from my cheeks.
“Cayden…,” I whispered.
“You are so utterly beautiful.” His lips skimmed over my shoulder, and his fingers made their way to the front of my bra. “I can't believe how beautiful you are.” With dexterous skill, he unhooked the golden clasp, sending my bra sliding down the surface of my skin until it hit the tiled floor at my feet.
“Cayden, I need you,” I murmured against his chest.
“Baby,” he whispered against my neck. “You have me. You know I’m yours.”
Throwing myself into him, I wrapped my arms around his neck; my mouth frantically searched for his lips. We kissed with an aching in my soul. I wanted every part of Cayden to touch me. Needed to feel the exquisite sensation of his warm skin upon mine. Desperation surged through me. My hands slid down his shirt. Gripped it. Ripped the buttons free and exposed his flesh. The buttons bounced and tapped across the tiled floor. One pinged off the glass of the shower door. My anxious fingers explored the length of his stomach until I came to his jeans. I unbuttoned them, allowing my right hand to drift lower. Cayden was fevered and firm inside my hand.
Cayden picked me up again, his lips eager against mine, his mouth moving with my mouth as his breath, warm in my mouth, found its place. Cayden’s tongue tangled deeply with mine. He never let loose of my body, shedding his jeans by stepping on the bottom edge of his right pant leg, yanking his legs free.
“Cayden,” I moaned. I stroked his manhood. “I need you so much.”
“God,” he groaned.
Cayden fondled my waist, outlining the top of my panties with his fingers. He brushed so lightly over the canvas of my skin that it sent shivers over my entire body. His hand rested for a moment on my hip before tucking fingers into the top of my waistband. Cayden grabbed the material firmly.
“Do it,” I said, placing my mouth to his.