By Sara Jane Stone
Dresses like this lead to fantasy sex.
I stared at the blinking cursor on my computer screen. I’d written precisely one line of the manuscript that would become To Tempt a SEAL. The first line, which is always important, but still I had seven words. And I knew this dress had to be the perfect outfit for a Las Vegas Masquerade party.
Perfect because those words were staring back at me—and because my heroine Lucia Lewis deserved one night to claim the life she wants. I hadn’t written the words yet, but I knew my heroine’s backstory. Lucia carried the physical and emotional scars from her years in foster care with her to Vegas. But armed with a mask to cover the scars on her face, and a dress that requires Spanx to contain her curves, she was ready to check the fantasies off her list one by one.
Which brought me back to the dress. And the mask. Not to mention the shoes. My heroine could not walk into a Las Vegas restaurant barefoot.
I glanced down at my writing shoes (a.k.a. my slippers) and started googling dresses, shoes, and yes, masks. As a stay-at-home mom/author, I spend my days wearing yoga pants, or on days when I want to impress my kids’ preschool teachers, jeans. Selecting the perfect clothes for a fancy party in Vegas demanded research.
First, I found the perfect red dress. I knew it was perfect because it lead to this scene:
She stepped into Glitterati, accepted a glass from a waiter, and headed for the back, where the series of abstract paintings hung on the walls. She’d never met the artist, but she’d been a fan of his work since she started painting.
Vibrant color streaked across the canvas in a layered chaos. The paintings spoke to the type of life she dreamed about living. The kind of person she wished she could be—bold and daring.
“Don’t tell me you came for the artwork,” a deep, masculine voice said from behind her. She closed her eyes briefly, sucking in a sharp breath at the sound that seemingly had a direct line to the parts of her body craving male attention.
Wow, that was fast. Good job, dress.
The shiny four-inch black heels were tied to her ankles with satin ribbons. He’d never had a thing for women’s footwear, but he sure as hell liked the idea of binding Lucia’s legs to his bedpost.
My hero clearly loved the shoes. Time to move on to the mask. I studied pictures, looking for the perfect one. Then I started writing and writing until the mask came up again . . .
She took a long drink from her champagne. She felt his green eyes tracking her every movement.
“First rule . . . the mask stays on.”
Um, no, I thought as I stared at the blinking cursor, I did not need Google to help me with what came next. My imagination, and my characters, could take it from here.
What would you wear to a Sin City Masquerade?
For the first time in her life, social worker Lucia Lewis is ready to live. And the masquerade ball in Las Vegas is just the place to find a ridiculously hot guy to complete her wicked to-do list. The only rule? Her elegant Venetian mask—which conceals the scars that have always held her back from the life she deserves—stays on.
Navy SEAL Cade Daniels heads to Vegas on a mission to keep his best friend’s little sister out of trouble. Except the woman he’s sent to find is all heat and flame…and perfectly capable of handling herself. And him. But the moment Lucia’s mask slips, the need to heal her, body and soul, is complete and absolute temptation.
But revealing himself could cost him the one thing he isn’t willing to risk…his heart.