From the Author:
When I was 20 years old, a college student having just signed up for my first creative writing class and excited at the prospect of recently having entered a new relationship, I noticed something among my boyfriend’s belongings, a music box containing a figurine with a black hat and cape which he’d set on a small, marble-topped stand. It seemed an unusual item to be coming across in the apartment of a twenty-two year old man but there was something about it that was calling to me. The box was urging me to learn about the play its icon represented, The Phantom of the Opera.
A busy student on a limited budget, it wasn’t until the following year that I got an opportunity to see The Phantom of the Opera on Broadway. The experience changed my life! Watching the play, I fell instantly in love with the lonely and mysterious Phantom and I was swept away by the music—I was singing it for weeks following and the lyrics were permanently embedded into my mind. They play was a new fascination for me, one which brought my romantic side to a height it had never climbed to before.
Fast forward to the present. I’ve been writing romance for the last five years and after completing my debut series The Pinnacles of Power—which is a romantic suspense series in which five heroes and heroines find passion amidst the dangers of a criminal diamond enterprise—my mind returned to theater, something which, thanks to the enchantment of the Phantom of the Opera, has never been far from my thoughts. I’ve always strived to make my heroes complicated souls, who oftentimes, must overcome mistakes that they’ve made that come back to haunt them in the present. But unlike the mythical phantom, I always want my heroes to reform, to see the light just when all seems lost and after overcoming countless obstacles they’ll win the heart of the heroine they love. In romance, we’re guaranteed a happily ever after. I find comfort in this genre because I’m reading (and writing!) for that very such happily ever after!
Though I’ve never worked in, or spent any great amount of time at a theater, I find the setting to be artistic and inspiring and in developing The Rabourn Theater Series I’m easily identifying with my characters, many of whom are struggling artists and all of whom have great passion for what they do, be it on the stage, off of it or in a different place entirely. I’ve spent the better part of the last decade working in the corporate world and as writing romance serves as an escape for me, I have found the Rabourn Theater Series and its picturesque setting to be a great personal escape. Not only do this artsy theater and the nightclub connected to it pave the way for danger, romance, and passion, but they exist in the quaint town of Briar Cliff Manor, NY, which is just outside of the legendary town of Sleepy Hollow. I’ve greatly enjoyed researching these towns, which, being quiet and quaint as they are, serve as the perfect setting in which to create suspense and surprises.
Inspired by my great love for Phantom, I strove to create a series in which a man, who loves theater and singing, falls in love with, and becomes obsessed with, a woman with the most enchanting of voices. And though I achieved this purpose, that is where my striking similarities to Phantom end. In the contemporary world that is Rabourn Theater, five passionate heroes and heroines battles for control of the world they love and in turn find passion and love that they were never expecting to find. Had I never taken the initiative and gone to see the Phantom of the Opera when I did I would have missed out on a world of inspiration that made its way into my heart and soul and shaped who I am as a person, and as a romantic. In turn, I hope to bring the same sort of romance and soul into the unique contemporary setting of Rabourn Theater, proving that love as strong as that between Christine Daae and her Phantom never does die!
About A Passionate Play:
On the heels of a major performance theater actress Alicia Coleman is attacked in an alleyway. She is struck over the head with a pistol and the blow causes her to lose her memory. Injured and afraid, Alicia struggles to remember the details of her life. The only person who appears to know who she is, is her presumed abductor, a man she fears may also be her attacker.
In the midst of several failed attempts to escape, Alicia comes to know the man whose home she awoke in and realizes that the two of them share a complicated past. Though Nick refuses to tell her much beyond her first name, a series of dreams, in which she and he are sharing a lot more than the second story of a secluded mansion, cause Alicia to suspect the most outrageous of possibilities—that the man holding her prisoner may actually be her lover. Surrounding threats, including that of a midnight intruder, cause Alicia to realize that proving her theory true may be her only chance of keeping her attacker from coming after her a second time.
“I mentioned to you that we’re in Mohegan Lake,” Nick said some time later, “in Westchester County, New York. Does the name of the town, the county, or the state sound at all familiar to you?”
“Not really.” Alicia racked her brain. “Should they?”
He shrugged. “Only if you think they should. So you really don’t remember anything about your life, your friends or your career before waking up in this house?”
“My career?” Alicia dropped her empty glass onto the table. Having felt a sensation comparable to an electric shock when he’d said the word career, she asked, “What is it that I do, exactly? Am I a lawyer? Do I perform surgeries alongside of a team of brain-surgeons?”
“Something like that,” Nick answered with a secretive smile.
Furious that he refused to tell her whatever he knew about her life, Alicia said, “You must be holding out on me because you’re familiar with my work and the knowledge of my success makes you feel completely emasculated.”
“I never said—”
“Understandable. Considering that you appear to spend the majority of your time hiding out in the woods, collecting the latest editions from Williams Sonoma and Pottery Barn.”
Failing to offer anything in the way of a response, Nick grunted.
“I may not remember what I do for a living but there’s no doubt in my mind that I’m capable of doing a lot of interesting things.”
“Are you now?” Her companion gave her a thoughtful glance. Coming to his feet, he extended his hand and said, “How about sharing a dance with me?”
Alicia’s face became as hot as the candle flames. Looking from Nick’s open palm to the empty room around them, she swallowed and said, “There’s no music.”
“Well, I think we can do something about that.” Nick wandered across the floor to the area behind the curio cabinet. There was a stereo there that Alicia hadn’t noticed before. He pressed a button, causing the room to fill with soft, romantic music.
Nick extended his hand once more as he came toward her. His smile was cool but also insistent and it contained a hint of danger. Dark brown eyes looked into hers, willing her to trust, to comply with her very mysterious and yet compelling desires.
Allowing herself to operate on pure instinct, Alicia slipped her hand into Nick’s. His warmth surrounded her and she felt a hint of anticipation as he urged her gently forward. Nick led her into the middle of the floor. Placing one large hand over her waist, he drew her against his powerful, broad frame.
They began to move and Alicia swayed in unison with her partner as though they had danced together a thousand times before. In her mind she was in the arms of a stranger, but her body reacted as though he was anything but, as though he were someone whom she knew intimately. Nick’s eyes, his scent, the very feel of him seemed familiar to her and as his hand slid from her hip to the small of her back she realized that she ought to be telling him he was getting too close. Except she didn’t want him to back away—it felt good, being close to him like this.
As her partner drew her closer still Alicia felt chills, yet at the same time she began to let go of the tension she was holding. She was encased in a blanket of heat and as that blanket spun her around and brought her back against its softness she was taken into a realm of comfort and dreams. Dancing with her captor felt right to her and in a strange way, safe. Nick had gone out of his way to make her happy tonight and she got the feeling that wasn’t something he did every day. Letting her eyes fall closed, she inched beside him and when he didn’t resist she rested her head against the cushion of his shoulder.
Nick’s arms enveloped her and Alicia became aware that he didn’t only smell of soap and pinewood but of something darker, something she couldn’t quite define. She sensed a degree of rebelliousness in this man and for some strange reason the idea of that intrigued her. Strength seemed to emanate from every part of him and she wondered what it would be like to taste that strength. Filled with the strongest desire to do just that, she settled her hand against the back of his neck and tilted his head so she could just about feel what she wanted to so desperately.
“Kiss me,” she insisted, lifting her chin.
Nick stilled but didn’t comply. She opened her eyes to find his lips were looming above hers.
The music had stopped playing as if on cue. Nick held her, not quite letting go but not doing what she’d asked him to, either. After a long moment, he released her. He cleared his throat and shifted his eyes, making sure that she was steady on her feet before backing away. He paced the length of the room.
“I’m glad you’re feeling better.” Stopping in front of the table Nick said, “I’ll get this cleaned up. You ought to get back to bed. You’ve had a hell of a day and even though you slept a good bit of it you still need your rest. I’ll be up to check on you in a few hours. Good night, Alicia.”
Turning to hide a face that was surely as red as it felt, Alicia walked to the door. She offered a cool smile along with a wave before slipping soundlessly from the room.
Alone in the foyer, Alicia placed one hand over her trembling mouth. She released it a moment later, body braced against the wall as she said to herself quietly, “Good night, Nickolas.”
About the Author:
Romantic Suspense Author Jessica Lauryn has been writing since before she could hold a pen! A true romantic at heart, she is most intrigued by dark heroes, who have many demons to conquer…but little trouble enticing female companions into their beds! She feels that the best romances are those where the hero is seducing the heroine from the first point of contact, and she believes that EVERYONE deserves their happily ever after!
In Jessica’s debut series, The Pinnacles of Power, five troubled bad boys: Ryan, Alec, Colin, Lucas and Jack must let go of the mistakes of their pasts as they battle the dangers surrounding an underground organization called Project Gemstone. Each man crosses paths with a bold heroine who has the ability to capture his heart and change the course of his life forever. Dangerous Secret, kicks off the series in the small, mountainous town of North Conway.
Jessica is a proud member of both Romance Writers of America and her local chapter, New Jersey Romance Writers. When she’s not writing, she enjoys shopping for the prettiest of antiques and taking long walks in nature where she can daydream about anything romantic. Though she resides in New Jersey, her heart belongs to the White Mountain National Forest in New Hampshire.