Welcome, Shae! Tell us more about your book—take us beyond the official “book blurb”.
Fearless is the story of Ben Winslow and Devin (Devi) Dalton. Ben and Devin met in my debut novel, Pretty Smart Girls—Lace Up, and played strong supporting roles to the lead characters. After a brief flashback scene to their initial meeting, their story begins in New York, where they are beginning new jobs. Ben and Devi hold a deep connection that’s evident from the way they interact—despite Devi labeling their relationship as ‘just friends’. They’re the kind of couple that you look at and think ‘those two are perfect for each other’, but their circumstances and backgrounds require them to work a little harder to find the happiness they both want.
Sounds great! I love it when favorite supporting characters get their own books 🙂
Give us more info about your main characters—who are they?
By the time I had finished writing Lace-Up, I knew I wanted to write a story for Ben and Devi. I even read back through Lace-Up to make sure that Ben and Devi weren’t upstaging Ryan and Jett with their larger-than-life personalities. When my Lace-Up reviews came in and I had so many readers encouraging me to tell their story—I knew I had to do it. Ben and Devi are very physical people, who aren’t afraid to take risks. By my definition, Ben is the best kind of alpha male. He has a dominate personality when Devi needs him to—when it really matters, but he’s sensitive enough to respect her independence too. Devi’s rough family life has shaped her personality. She’s learned how to be a survivor, mentally and physically. She’s ultra cautious when it comes to relationships but she’s real, loveable and loyal.
Wow—they sound great! Can’t wait to “meet” them!
What scene in your book was the most fun to write, and why?
I love the scene in FEARLESS where Devi gets in the Cage. It appears early on in the book and presents itself unexpectedly. Devi does something that turns the tables on Ben. She has good reason to do it, but it throws Ben into a tailspin. I love his reaction to her when he realizes what she’s doing. I love the dialogue between them while Devi is on one side of the cage and he’s holding her fingers through the fencing—not wanting to let go, and I love the fact that Devi has enough nerve to do what she does in that scene. When I began writing FEARLESS that was the first scene that came to me.
Gah! Just enough to want to make us need to read it now. I see what you did there!
How long have you been writing, and what (or who) inspired you to start?
Reading inspired me to start writing. I devoured romance novels growing up. Although I did write a couple chapters for fun just after college, I didn’t really start writing until around three years ago. I started writing because I got sick of my job–really sick of my job. I’m still sick of that job and I don’t even do it anymore! After I ‘quit’, I started writing full time—I didn’t really have the expectation that I could turn writing into a full time gig, but I quickly realized that I LOVE everything about the writing process. I was extremely lucky to have had enough success early on to focus on writing full time.
Wow—that’s fantastic! Congrats 🙂
What do you like best about being a writer?
Writing. I like creating plots, characters, dialogue, scenes—I like editing and playing with my sentences and word choices, etc. and I like to talk about writing.
Playing with words—so fun!
What is the most challenging part of being a writer?
Sales anxiety. I am the kind of writer that would write even if I never sold a book. But, when you sign a contract with a publisher, work with an editor, publicity team, and a host of others–people are counting on you and your sales. There are so many promotional avenues authors can run with—trying to make the right choices and compete in a huge marketplace can be daunting—especially if you think about it too long and too hard.
Yikes! I can totally see that…
What are you working on right now? What can readers look for from you in the next year?
Right now I am working on a contemporary romance set in Greece, which I intend to self-publish later this year. I am also just starting my third Pretty Smart Girls book for Entangled, which is based on Ben’s sister Priscilla Winslow who makes cameo appearances in FEARLESS. She’s another one of those characters that jumps off the pages in my mind and is deserving of her own story.
What authors and/or books have inspired you?
There’s so many! I love books with historical settings—especially medieval. I love Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander series, George RR Martin’s, Game of Thrones series and Phillipa Gregory’s books. In historical romance, I love Johanna Lindsey, Judith McNaught, Kathleen Woodiwiss, Monica McCarty, Cecilia Grant.
Wow! Great list!
What are you currently reading?
I just finished reading Out of Line by Jennifer McLaughlin and I have recommended this book to all of my reader buddies. Of course, I read it in one night. Loved it!
Read it! It was quite good 🙂
Please share a favorite scene from your book with our readers.
When I come out of my bedroom Ryan is pressed against our front door, peeking through the sliver of a crack into the hallway. “What are you doing?” She jumps and turns.
“Making sure they’re not still out there.” She opens the door another inch, and I lean over her shoulder. “We should totally prank them when we get back,” she whispers. “We haven’t done anything remotely sneaky in way too long.”
“Oh, you’re so right. I’m totally in,” I say. The thought sends a bubble of nervous laughter into my stomach. “What are you thinking?”
“Let’s talk about it at dinner.”
We duck into Dos Diablos, a Mexican café on our block and brainstorm over margaritas and a plate of three cheese nachos. After dinner we head to the drugstore to shop for supplies.
“What are we looking for?” I ask Ryan. I take the shopping basket she hands me and follow her down the first aisle.
“Something I saw the other day,” she says, glancing left and right. “Here!” she says, stopping in front of two oversized Super Soaker water guns.
We pile the counter with duct tape, bungee cords, bandanas and our guns. The clerk is a twenty-something guy with shoulder length black hair that looks like it hasn’t been washed since July. He aims the gray register gun at the duct tape and flips us a sarcastic look. The laser hits the bar code and beeps. “You ladies having a Fifty Shades party or something?”
“Oh, have you seen it?” Ryan asks, busting him out.
“No,” he says, in a defensive tone.
“You must have read the books then.” I wink at him and he smirks and shakes his head. We head home carrying our arsenal in plastic bags. The guys have left their door cracked and we sneak past with the stealth of a SWAT team. Inside the safety of our apartment we load up our guns and review the plan. A giddy, weightless feeling invades my stomach as we inch our door open and peer out.
“Clear,” Ryan says. We step lightly with our guns pressed against our legs, trying not to laugh. I spring across the span of their open door and take position. We’re flanking the sides, pressing our heads to the wall. I nod at Ryan, she inches the door open and we peek into the room. Ben’s laying on the couch with his ankles crossed, tossing a football in the air. Jett is sitting with his elbows on his knees grumbling about a play on the big screen.
“Go Green!” she whispers. “Go White!” I respond. “Jett! Jett!” She yells, slapping her hand twice against the wall. “Can you guys help us?”
“Ben, will you come too? Come quick! Come quick!” We hear them standing and shuffling to the door. We turn and walk back to our open apartment door, holding our guns in front of us.
Ryan starts the count down. “Five. Four. Three. Two.”
“What’s going on?” Jett asks.
“One!” Ryan screams. We turn, flip our guns to our shoulders and unload the Super Soakers. Two solid streams of icy water shoot through the air and pelt their chests. Ryan moves her stream up to Jett’s face, and I move mine down to Ben’s crotch. They stumble back a pace, hiss out a series of curses, and start to scramble toward us. Jett slides on the wet floor, and Ben knocks into his back. We dive into our apartment and slam the door. My fingers fumble to flip the dead bolt as Ryan slides down the door laughing hysterically.
“Oh, my God, I totally got Jett right in the face!” she gasps.
I drop to my knees and join her trying to draw a breath between wails of laughter. “I got Ben in the crotch. It looked like he peed his pants.” Fits of laughter wash over us as we compare notes on the expressions on their faces. I retrieve a roll of paper towels, and we wind them onto our hands and crawl around to mop up the residue, still laughing. “These are awesome!” I say. “This was all we really needed. Why did we buy all that other stuff?”
“All that other stuff’s for defense, when they start to retaliate,” she says.
“Let the games begin,” I say, and we laugh.
“What do you think they’re doing now?” she asks.
“I don’t know. It’s awfully quiet out there.”
“Well, there’s no way we’re opening the door.”
“Nope. Good thing we just ate, we’re stuck in here until tomorrow morning.” I pick up our guns and set them in the sink. We flop on the couches and Ryan clicks on the TV as I pull the ponytail holder out of my hair.
“I feel better,” she says.
“Yeah, me too,” I say, lying back on the couch. “Is Game of Thrones on tonight?” In the pause of our conversation, our front door clicks.
Jett smacks their door with a wet palm. “You can’t stay in there forever!” he growls, but they’re laughing so hard on the other side, I doubt they hear him.
I flick water off my hands and smirk. “We’ve got to get ourselves some of those.”
Jett’s head snaps up. “Hey, I just remembered something. We have a key,” he says with a menacing smile.
“Oh, that’s beautiful,” I say, running my hands over my hair, feeling drips on my shoulders. Jett steps back into our apartment and returns with a self-satisfied smile. The key slides in and clicks. We walk into the foyer of the girls’ apartment like we own it.
“Hi, honey, I’m home,” Jett says staring at Ryan with a wide grin.
The girls flinch and reach instinctively for each other’s arms. They sit up from their slouched positions on the couch and rise slowly to a stand. Their focus shifts down to the dark wet star patterns on our T-shirts. Shock changes to amusement, and they look like they’re trying not to laugh.
“Well, look what the cat dragged in,” Ryan says, but there’s an edge of anxiety behind her smile, and Devi lets out a quick laugh.
Jett takes a step forward. “You must have forgotten, I have a key to your apartment, Rose.” He tosses it casually into the air, catching it with a predatory smile pinned on her. “You think you’re funny?” he asks, moving toward her with slow stalking steps. A muffled laugh escapes from both of them.
“Yes, in fact, I do think we’re funny,” Ryan says. Jett lunges. She shrieks and bolts for her bedroom. His long legs overtake her in the hallway.
“Game over, Ryan,” he says, catching her around the waist and carrying her into her bedroom, leaving me exactly where I want to be, alone with Devi.
“Well, now,” I say, stepping forward with my hands on my hips.
She smiles and slides sideways a foot. “It was Ryan’s idea.”
I shake my head and continue a slow stalking advance. “You’ve been a bad, bad girl,” I say, watching her eyes search the arm’s length perimeter. “You know what happens to bad girls?”
She snatches a candlestick from the coffee table and holds it out in front of her like a saber. “They get tattoos and have all the fun,” she questions in a playful tone.
I tilt my head and raise half a smile. “What else?”
“They ride Harleys and date guys named Butch.”
“Last guess.” She straightens and drops her hands on her hips.
“They beat the ass of guys who think they’re going to spank them.”
“Wrong!” I shout and dive for her. She’s fast, twirling just in time to scramble to the other side of the kitchen island. She reaches behind her into the sink and grabs one of the Super Soakers. She aims, and another blast of icy water connects against my chest. I suck in a breath and ignore the pelting steam, press fingers on the marble island and vault, sending mail and newspapers airborne. She ducks and moves left, but I’ve got the reach on her, and I catch her waist and scoop her onto my shoulder. “Ha! Gotcha!”
She kicks and squirms, and I swat her backside. “Ouch!” she yells. Her fingers fumble over a passing door jam and hook. I reach up, pull them off, and carry her the rest of the way to the bedroom, closing the door with my bare foot. I let her down, and she scrambles across the small room landing in a boxer’s stance with her hands up and feet parted. I lean against the door and cross my arms.
“You don’t really think you can out fight me, do you, Dev?”
She raises a brow and mimics my tone. “You don’t really think you’re going to spank me, do you, Ben?”
Shae Ross was born and raised in Ferndale, Michigan. After graduating high school, Ms. Ross attended Michigan State University and continued her education at Detroit College of Law. Prior to 2014, she spent the majority of her career practicing corporate law, running a successful business and engaged in entrepreneurial ventures.
Ms. Ross’ debut novel, PRETTY SMART GIRLS – LACE UP released in January of 2015. The second book in the series, PRETTY SMART GIRLS – FEARLESS will release in August of 2015. She currently writes in the new adult and contemporary romance genres and lives with her husband and three children in Holt, Michigan.
Book Title: Fearless
Author: Shae Ross
Release Date: 8/17
Genre: New Adult
Devi Dalton won’t let anyone hold her back. With the help of her friends, she’s taken control of her future and traded her messed-up family life for a new job in Manhattan. Her only obstacle? Ben Winslow, the sexy friend she’s desperately trying to resist. If she’s going to succeed, she can’t afford to be distracted, no matter how hot the chemistry burns between them.
Cage fighter Ben spent six months trying to convince Devi to take a chance on a relationship. Now that they’ve reunited in New York, he’s not letting her push him away again. They’re more than friends—always have been—and he’ll do whatever it takes to prove it to her. First, he has a few demons of his own to slay…one of which could ruin his chances with her for forever.
But every fighter has a weakness. Ben’s is Devi. And this time, she’ll need more than just her favorite “Fearless Red” lipstick to protect her heart if she lets him in…