The Surrender Gate
(A Desire Exchange Novel)
by Christopher Rice
New York Times bestselling author Christopher Rice’s first foray into erotic romance, THE FLAME, earned accolades from some of the genre’s most beloved authors. “Sensual, passionate and intelligent,” wrote Lexi Blake, “it’s everything an erotic romance should be.” J. Kenner called it “absolutely delicious”, Cherise Sinclair hailed it as “beautifully lyrical” and Loreli James announced, “I look forward to reading more!” Now, Christopher returns you to the world first introduced in THE FLAME with an all new novel of The Desire Exchange…
Emily Blaine’s life is about to change. Arthur Benoit, the kindly multi-millionaire who has acted as her surrogate father for years, has just told her he’s leaving her his entire estate, and he only has a few months to live. Soon Emily will go from being a restaurant manager with a useless English degree to the one of the richest and most powerful women in New Orleans. There’s just one price. Arthur has written a letter to his estranged son Ryan he hopes will mend the rift between them, and he wants Emily to deliver the letter before it’s too late. But finding Ryan won’t be easy. He’s been missing for years. He was recently linked to a mysterious organization called The Desire Exchange. But is The Desire Exchange just an urban legend? Or are the rumors true? Is it truly a secret club where the wealthy can live out their most private sexual fantasies?
It’s a task Emily can’t undertake alone. But there’s only one man qualified to help her, her gorgeous and confident best friend, Jonathan Claiborne. She’s suspected Jonathan of working as a high-priced escort for months now, and she’s willing to bet that while giving pleasure to some of the most powerful men in New Orleans Jonathan has uncovered some possible leads to The Desire Exchange – and to Ryan Benoit. But Emily’s attempt to uncover Jonathan’s secret life lands the two of them in hot water. Literally. In order to escape the clutches of one of Jonathan’s most powerful and dangerous clients, they’re forced to act on long buried desires – for each other.
When Emily’s mission turns into an undercover operation, Jonathan insists on going with her. He also insists they continue to explore their impossible, reckless passion for each other. Enter Marcus Dylan, the hard-charging ex-Navy SEAL Arthur has hired to keep Emily safe. But Marcus has been hired for another reason. He, too, has a burning passion for Emily, a passion that might keep Emily from being distracted and confused by a best friend who claims he might be able to go straight just for her. But Marcus is as rough and controlling, as Jonathan is sensual and reckless. As Emily searches for a place where the rich turns their fantasies into reality, she will be forced to decide which one of her own long-ignored fantasies should become her reality. But as Emily, Jonathan and Marcus draw closer to The Desire Exchange itself, they find their destination isn’t just shrouded in mystery, but in magic as well.
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An Exclusive Interview With Christopher Rice:
~ with Jillian Stein of Read Love Blog
From the very beginning of The Surrender Gate, there is a delicious amount of heat and attraction between characters. That attraction moves and grows as the story progresses and as new characters are introduced. It was done beautifully. How was it writing those feelings and portray those changing emotions?
Thank you! I loved it, to be frank. For years now I’ve been writing very dark, gritty thrillers. Erotic romance offers me a chance to break out into the lighter side of life, a side where characters are rewarded for making themselves vulnerable to the people they love and desire. In a way, I feel like there’s more of my personal truth in this novel than many of my others, even though the romance focuses mostly on a straight couple. In my own life, I don’t solve murders or chase criminals. But I do fall for people, sometimes too fast and too hard.
Where your first book in this series is primarily a ménage, this book has a few different relationship types. How is it exploring, and writing, those relationships?
It was an interesting process. This book was originally conceived as a ménage, but the characters pulled me in a different direction once I started writing it. I wanted there to be a little suspense around who was going to end up with who, but only in a classic love triangle kind of way. As soon as Marcus entered the book, I just fell in love with idea of Emily and Marcus growing together. It was challenging, however. Being an openly gay writer with a lot of gay fans, I had some reservations about writing an erotic romance that focused mostly on a straight couple. But love is love, as they say, and the themes of of any good romance are universal. (And some of my favorite MM romances are by women, so it’s only fair that I get my chance to swing in the other direction, right? I like to quote Richard Krevolin, a screenwriting teacher, who once said, “Don’t let anyone tell you that you can only write what you know. You can write anything you feel.”)
The Surrender Gate is your second book in the erotic world…was it easier to write now that you’ve gotten one under your belt?
That’s a good question. THE FLAME was challenging to write because, despite being a novella, it was about an attraction that develops between three people who’ve known each other for most of their lives. So there was a lot of ground to cover in not very many pages. I very much wanted THE SURRENDER GATE to have a compelling mystery at its center, but I didn’t want the mystery to be so big or complicated that it crowded out the characters and the love. So it took some time to plot. Also, I like for all of the supernatural universes I depict to be both coherent and clear, and that usually requires a lot of outlining, note-taking. But I just loved these characters. Ultimately, that’s key to enjoying the process of writing any book. Do you love your characters?
Who would be your dream cast for Emily, Marcus, and Jonathan?
Jonathan is easy. I’d pick Ryan Guzman, who is currently starring in THE BOY NEXT DOOR with Jennifer Lopez. Emily would be Karen Gillan, who I developed a big crush on when she played Amy Pond on DOCTOR WHO. And for Marcus, Stephen Amell, for sure. I have a Pinterest board for THE SURRENDER GATE where I’m always posting “casting call” photos and other fun visuals related to the book. I’m open to suggestions!
People have said the romance genre fans are far more enthusiastic about he authors and books they love over any other genre. You write in a few different genres…have you found this to be true? Can you give us a fabulous fan moment?
I’ve felt very respected by fans of my books in all different genres. But there’s an incredible sense of community and support in the romance world, and I find the authors to be far more supportive and collegial with each other than in other genres.
What is something we may not know about you?
I’m such a social media freak, I feel like I let it all hang out. All you really have to do is scroll back through my Facebook feed and you’ll probably learn anything you’ll want to know.
Give us one food you love and one food you simply can’t stand.
I have a deep, abiding and compulsive love of doughnuts. I absolutely loathe cilantro. I’ve got that strange gene that makes cliantro taste like someone spilled dishwater on my food.
What is your favorite palindrome?
Amore, Roma! (I love Italy.)
How many more books in The Desire Exchange Series do you see in the future?
Gosh, an infinite number. When I was really in the thick of writing this one, I’d break to watch old episodes of FALCON CREST. I loved all those classic, nighttime soaps when I was a kid, DALLAS, DYNASTY. (I was even one of the few devoted fans of that ill-fated DYNASTY spin off, THE COLBYS.) I’m all about that new show EMPIRE on Fox because I feel like it’s creating that same feel, of a sexy, wealthy, complicated, conflict-ridden family that seduces you again and again over time. I feel like the Desire Exchange offers that potential. But don’t worry, no matter how many conflicts arise, true love will always be protected!
Will we be seeing more of you in the 1,001 Dark Nights Series in the future?
Absolutely. November will see another Desire Exchange Novella, very similar in feel and structure to THE FLAME.
After publishing four New York Times bestselling thrillers by the age of 30 and being declared one of People Magazine’s Sexiest Men Alive, award-winning writer Christopher Rice became the first author to make his erotic romance debut part of the 1,001 DARK NIGHTS series. THE FLAME: A Desire Exchange Novella kicked off a steamy new series set in New Orleans, featuring magical candles and a sexy new breed of supernatural beings, The Radiants, who are devoted to helping heroes and heroines realize their heart’s desire. THE FLAME earned accolades from some of the biggest names in erotic romance and was quickly followed up by THE SURRENDER GATE: A Desire Exchange Novel, available from Evil Eye Concepts as a Blue Box Special. Aside from authoring eight works of dark suspense, Christopher is also the co-host and executive producer of THE DINNER PARTY SHOW WITH CHRISTOPHER RICE & ERIC SHAW QUINN, all the episodes of which can be downloaded at TheDinnerPartyShow.com and from iTunes. Make sure you’re subscribed to The Dinner Party Show’s You Tube channel to receive their newest content in 2016.
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