I feel like I have two guests today. This husband/wife team puts out some great books. Please enjoy Muse Monday with Adrianna Kraft.
A desperate espresso café owner, a determined coffee franchise rep, a quiet midwestern town, anonymous threats out of the blue—where does the true danger lie?
On first picking up our latest release, people might think Mr. Kraft and I have fallen blindly into the “blonde Russian bombshell” trope. But our heroine, Nadja Petrov, was born out of a fortuitous series of events in our life.
Before settling in the Southwest, we lived for a while in an upper Midwest small town. Though only boasting a population of about 30,000, it had a vibrant arts and culture community, and we frequented a favorite sole proprietor espresso café that often hosted live music and readings – yes, including readings we sometimes gave.
At about the same time, I was privileged to spend two weeks in Ukraine for work. The project took me into some of Ukraine’s more remote areas, always accompanied by a translator and a local project director. Weekdays were filled with attending to business, but weekends were open to explore Kyiv and experience cultural highlights.
Nadja’s history and character emerged out of that experience. We set the book in 2005, when Nadja is 29. This enabled us to place her childhood while Ukraine was still part of the USSR, as well as to give her a personal experience of the end of Communist rule in 1991, when she was 15.
Kyiv sports a stunning historic opera house, where I was fortunate to attend both an opera (with English subtitles) and a stunning ballet. We blessed Nadja with early ballet training. Tall, statuesque, she was selected young and being groomed for the Russian Ballet – a future that was ultimately denied to her, though we won’t spoil our story by sharing all the reasons. It turns out her love of dance and her commitment to physical conditioning never faltered, and these qualities play a key role as her story unfolds on our side of the Atlantic.
Perhaps most of all, I was struck by the resilience and determination of the Ukrainian people to maintain their orthodox faith during all those decades of communist rule. Religious practices were banned across Ukraine, yet many of the local staff I worked with had been smuggled as infants by their families to orthodox priests, to be baptized in secret. All those decades of suppression could not snuff out the flame.
We play both sides of this phenomenon in our story. Nadja herself is not a believer; too much has happened in her life for her to trust. But her Aunt Ivett, who immigrated to America earlier than Nadja, is still faithful, frequently lighting a candle for herself or her niece.
Kevin curled his fingers around the car door latch and turned back to Nadja. “Hmm, kissing me on the cheeks—does that make this a date?”
She broke into a large smile. “I’m not positive. Don’t misread a European custom.” She hesitated, then leaned across the space separating them to brush her lips lightly across his. She settled back in her seat and quietly watched his eyes sparkling.
“That’s an American custom,” he said, “for ending a date.”
“Don’t be so narrow-minded,” she teased. “I believe that custom is fairly common worldwide for ending a first date. Good night,” she added quickly. “I’ll see you on Friday.”
“You bet you will,” Kevin said, opening the door.
She watched him until he entered the motel. She hadn’t planned on their evening turning into a date. But it had. How? When? Why?
It had seemed like such a natural thing to kiss him. It had only been a kiss, and not much of one at that.
So why did her lips still tingle?
It’s nothing personal…
It all seems simple enough—Ukrainian immigrant Nadja Petrov is determined to hold on to her thriving new coffee shop, Nadja’s Literary Cappuccino, and Java Beans District Rep Kevin Langley is equally determined to move into her North Iowa town with a franchise and run her out of business.
He scopes her out, she keeps a watchful eye on him, and the sparring begins. But there are other players involved, and the web of intrigue soon threatens Nadja, her shop, and her aunt as well as Kevin, his potential franchise, and his son. Within this cauldron simmers a sexual attraction between Nadja and Kevin that catapults them to overcome their fears of intimacy and commitment. Their lovemaking is tender and raw. Their love is nearly lost in tragedy—can it survive doubts, fire, and even a death?
Barnes & Noble https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/1140503297
When it’s Time to Heat Things
Award winning author Adriana Kraft is a married couple writing Sizzling Romantic Suspense and Erotic Romance for Two, Three, or More. Whether readers open our romantic suspense or our erotic romance, they can expect characters they care about, hot sex scenes, and a compelling story. Our suspense stories deliver one man, one woman, danger and intrigue. Our erotic romance is edgier and nearly always includes ménage or polyamory, sometimes with two women and a man, sometimes with two (or more) couples. We write our Erotic Romance stories to entertain, of course, but most of all we write them because we believe in happy endings for all who fall in love, whatever their gender, sexual orientation, or numerical combination.
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