I’m still here! I’ve been busy but I’ve missed you. I decided I’d be generous with the excerpts since it’s been a while and I’m so stoked to tell you all about Roan. He was the happiest accident and totally caught me by surprise and took my breath away when I heard his story.
It started with the concept for Snatched. I was in the mood to write something angsty and pair two people who had no business falling in love. Jake, from Throttled, was tapping on my shoulder and I asked myself who would be the last person a medical examiner would want to hook up with. A mob boss! Right? We got rid of one nasty bad guy in Throttled and it made sense that another would step forward to fill the vacuum. But, what if our bad guy didn’t even want to be there in the first place and who’s the last person the leader of an Irish crime family would want to get involved with? A cop! BOOM. And then we were off. I needed to get our guys in a little trouble and I thought it would be fun if there was a rotten little brother to stir the pot… BANG! Roan. As soon as I wrote Roan’s first appearance I had to keep a tight hold on him because he did his damndest to steal the book from Dilan and Jake:
“There you are. How’s it going?” Connor asked when Dilan found him in the kitchen.
“Fine,” Dilan said as he went to the fridge and chuckled to hide a pained grunt as he reached for a beer. “At least it was, until Roan fucked up my day. Have you seen him?” He asked as he leaned against the counter and twisted off the top and Connor gave him a pointed look.
“He got in about ten minutes ago. I told him to wait for you in your office. He responsible for this?” Connor asked as he waved a set of tongs at Dilan and he shrugged.
“Nothing I can’t handle,” he replied.
“What’s this about you needing help bringing a body here?” Connor said as he went back to prodding the roast he was browning. He was part house mother, part advisor and part bodyguard. Before last night, Dilan trusted him with his life and his family but Connor was one of the three men pushing him out of O’Malley’s bar after the fight. Everything was upside down and under water and Dilan was drowning. He didn’t know who to reach for, so he held onto the medical examiner.
“Just a prick who gave me too much trouble but I need to see if he saw something before I decide what I’m doing with him,” he said vaguely then saluted Connor with his beer as he headed out. He waved at the men in the dining room and the living room then headed upstairs, to his office. Roan was sitting on Dilan’s desk and his feet were kicking idly as he and Mick watched the unconscious coroner. Dilan slid an indifferent glance at the couch. The coroner was sprawled on his stomach and looked almost angelic. If an angel could have a really nice beard and a tight ass. “Mick, do me a favor and make sure the boys are ready for that run later. I need to have a word with Roan,” he said and Mick winced at Roan as he left. Dilan gave Mick a disgruntled, irritated look before he jerked his head at the door, telling him to get out. Mick was also behind Dilan when they were leaving the bar.
“I heard you were looking for me. What did I do this time?” Roan asked as Mick shut the door behind him. Dilan gave it a moment before he hurried across the room and grabbed Roan by the front of his shirt then threw him into the small storage room behind his desk. Roan’s back hit the shelves as Dilan pulled the door shut. “What about that guy?” Roan hissed as he pointed at the door.
“Where the fuck is he going to go? There’s almost three dozen men downstairs and they’re all carrying,” Dilan hissed back then grabbed Roan’s shirt again and pulled him close. “I just took care of Bannon. Are you out of your fucking mind?” He demanded and Roan’s head pulled back.
“Bannon? What are you talking about?” He asked and Dilan’s eyes tightened as he searched his face. He was legitimately confused.
“Where have you been? I’ve been trying to find you since you stood me up for dinner, yesterday,” Dilan said and Roan’s mouth stretched on a silent, horrified gasp.
“I knew I was forgetting something! I’m sorry, D!” He said then gestured for Dilan to move on. “What do you mean you took care of Bannon?” He asked and Dilan shook his head. His little brother liked to pretend he was dumb and charming and gloss over things that might get him in trouble. He usually got away with it, as long as he wasn’t trying it with Dilan.
“Save it for mom, Roan. I got a text saying you were meeting Bannon. It said you were walking into a trap so I got my ass down there,” he explained and Roan’s head cocked forward.
“It sounds like you walked into a trap,” he said and Dilan gave him an extremely loaded look.
“I didn’t have a choice. You turned off your phone and I had no way of knowing if you were even alive,” he growled and Roan bit down on his lips as he nodded slowly and made a thoughtful sound.
“I see how that was really stupid of me and I’m really sorry,” he said then gave Dilan an apologetically sheepish smile.
“Well, then…” Dilan said flatly then scrubbed his hand over his lips as he glared at him. “The problem was… Bannon walked into the trap too and someone put a bullet in the back of his head,” he stated and Roan’s eyes widened and he mouthed a silent “Wow!”. Dilan nodded in agreement. “I don’t know how many people were told about your meeting with Bannon but I found your message on his phone and your number’s the last one on his call log,” he continued then cocked his thumb at the couch on the other side of the door. “Which is why I’m now in possession of one of the city’s medical examiners. I had to get rid of fucking Bannon before everyone found out it was you,” he added and Roan shook his head.
“But it wasn’t me! Why the fuck would I call Bannon or message him? Everything’s just about ready to go. And I was…definitely somewhere else,” he insisted suggestively and Dilan squeezed his eyes shut.
“Where were you?” He repeated firmly and Roan looked defiant as he shook his head.
“I think I’d rather go down for murdering Bannon. Half the city will think I’m a hero,” he said and Dilan swore as he pushed Roan against the shelves and several folders fell and slid off, spilling old faxes and invoices.
“This isn’t a joke!” Dilan whispered as his eyes pleaded with Roan. “I need you to take this seriously,” he said then released him and stepped back. He quickly pulled up the back of his hoodie and the layers of t-shirts he was suffocating beneath as he turned and Roan stifled a curse as he grabbed Dilan.
“Who did this?” He asked and Dilan jumped and hissed as Roan poked gingerly at the angry wound throbbing in the middle left side of his back. Dilan heard him groan as he looked away.
“I don’t know. We were at O’Malley’s last night and I got into it with Gleeson. They pulled me off of him and they were rushing me out of the bar when someone stabbed me in the back. It was Connor, Mick or Johnson. I tripped and he couldn’t get a hold of me and get the blade in deep enough. It was dark and the fight followed us out and we were all fighting again. I didn’t have time to think about it until we were in the car and realized nobody else knew, so I kept my mouth shut,” he stated and Roan threw his hands up.
“You should have stopped and figured it out! We’ve got a fucking traitor in the house!” He said as he pointed and Dilan’s hand clamped over his mouth as he shushed hard.
“We’ve known there were traitors but we’ve got a bigger problem if it’s one of those three,” he screamed under his breath. “I’ve worked my ass off to keep them on our side because we can’t make it without them,” he reminded Roan and he was finally taking it seriously.
“I was with Abbie Burke. Her dad was out of town and her mom was drunk so we spent the night in the pool house,” he said and Dilan pushed the heels of his palms into his eyes before his hands dragged down his face. The mayor’s daughter.
“Whyyyyyy?” He groaned and Roan held up his hands.
“She thinks the whole Romeo and Juliet thing is hot and it’s a lot more fun when you know you shouldn’t be doing it. You know?” He said and raised his brows at Dilan.
“No. I don’t fuck with naive girls or follow my dick everywhere it tells me,” he said and Roan snorted.
“First of all, she’s twenty-four, engaged to an investment banker and thinks my name is Rooney. She likes me because I’m gorgeous, hung and I’d disappoint her parents. I like her because she always has good drugs and loves anal. We’re not exclusive,” he explained and Dilan hated his life as he rubbed at the stabbing pain behind his forehead. It was almost as bad as his back.
“Could I interest you in a book about a man named Jesus?” He muttered softly then reached for Roan’s cheek and cupped it tenderly. “Do me a favor and stop adding names to the list of people who want to kill you. I’ve already got my hands full with trying to find out who wants to frame us for Bannon and who’s literally stabbing me in the back. We’re nearly there,” he said then gave his cheek a hard slap. Roan hissed as he jerked his head away.
“I got it, D. But you need to see a doctor, that looks pretty serious,” he warned and Dilan smiled tightly.
“That’s why I hung on to him,” he said as he gestured at the door and Roan’s face twisted.
“He’s a doctor of dead people,” he complained and Dilan shrugged.
“He can see me now or he can see me later,” he said.
“Don’t say shit like that,” Roan scolded before he pushed out a hard breath. “What are we going to do?” He asked and Dilan pulled out his phone.
“Go get supplies. If anyone asks, I’m questioning someone but we don’t want it getting out because we’ll have the police in our business. Word’s going to get around soon that a cop was taken but I’m hoping I can get this fixed before people start asking us about Bannon,” he said and Roan was nodding along but a frown tugged at his lips.
“You’re not getting a flat tire fixed. You were stabbed and it looks pretty deep. That’s going to take a lot more than stitches and a while to heal,” he predicted and Dilan shook his head.
“I don’t have a while. I just want to get everything stitched up so I can keep moving but I’m pretty sure it’s infected. Find someplace I can hide for two days and help me trick everyone into thinking I’m still on my feet and running things,” he explained and Roan’s eyes became focused as he planned.
“I know of a vacant house out in West Elmwood. I’ll get it set up in a few hours and I’ll keep your phone so I can take calls. I can run interference and bounce people off each other,” he said and Dilan pulled him close and kissed his forehead hard.
“I need you to be my eyes and ears here too. Whoever did this is freaking out. Be careful and don’t talk to anyone,” he whispered and Roan nodded. He was a younger, prettier, smoother version of Dilan and a total shit. But he was Dilan’s heart and he’d kill the Pope to save his brother. He was the only person Dilan could trust at the moment, and after a lifetime of being an obnoxious little brother and a prankster, Roan could mimic his voice flawlessly. “Hurry up and let me know when you’re ready. I need to convince this doctor to help me,” he said and Roan cleared his throat.
“It might be better if I talked to him,” he suggested gently and Dilan’s head tilted.
“Maybe but I’d like to negotiate with him myself, so I know I can trust him before I allow him to sedate me and put a scalpel in my back,” he stated and Roan pointed.
“That’s a good plan. You apologize to the cop and see how much he costs while I get everything ready. Give me about three hours,” he said.
“Perfect,” Dilan sighed as his head hung and he pinched the bridge of his nose. He had complete confidence in Roan’s ability to pull off something illicit at a secret location and cover their tracks. But Dilan had a feeling there was no amount of money in the world that would convince that medical examiner to help him if he didn’t think it was the right thing to do.
It didn’t take long for me to realize Snatched was about Dilan and Roan’s bond, their struggle to free themselves and help each other find true love. A true BROmance, if you will. I’d be a complete and utter fraud if I tried to pretend The Godfather isn’t where I learned half of what I know and the whole reason I’m fascinated with the mafia. The first two movies are masterpieces and I’ve cherished them. When I started writing my mafia family I wanted a moment that felt like the family meal scene at the end of the second movie. Here’s why I love it and why it sticks: It’s real. It’s a candid but rosy moment that feels like the exact sort of moment we cling to when we miss who we were and the people we’ve lost. We see a real family beneath the politics and tension and those four minutes and fifteen or so seconds are full of the laughing, scolding and love that gives us a glimpse at the history behind those characters and a little foreshadowing. It’s one of the lighter, happier moments but also one of the saddest. We know Sal will let us down and we’ll lose Sonny and Connie ends up with a piece of shit. We know how much Michael will fail to turn the family around and break free. We know how much Fredo will break his brother’s heart but we love this moment because we get a peek at them all in better times.
I wanted my own family meal scene when I wrote my mafia romance and I wanted it to be both a wink to my favorite Godfather scene and an opportunity to reboot those classic themes in my own unique way. Here’s what we ended up with:
Everyone rolled their eyes whenever Roan mentioned his work on “the spreadsheet” but it gave Dilan no amount of joy to watch the accounts explode. They could get on a plane as the embattled and struggling O’Shea brothers and land as millionaires with new identities in about a dozen different countries but Dilan’s pride had nothing to do with the money. The whole family and just about the entire world wrote Roan off as nothing more than an adorably empty but dashing conman. They thought he was cocky and shallow and bound to get his dick caught in a trap but he’d outsmarted them all and robbed them blind. And not just the entire Charles Hill Gang. He’d created a Ponzi scheme and roped in some of the wealthiest Irish crime families with a meticulously crafted investment banker/money launderer. Many of them shook Cillian McGregor’s hand at parties and didn’t realize it was Roan in disguise as they asked him to dump their money into offshore accounts. Roan fooled them all and laughed charmingly in their faces as he did it. They wouldn’t catch on for months and they’d never know it was him.
“It’s going to be brilliant,” Dilan said and Roan’s smile was incandescent.
“I won’t forget to mention your name when I’m thanking the Academy,” he replied and Johnson sighed as he passed Roan in the hall and gave his shoulder a shove.
“Sure you will. Connor said to get downstairs. Dinner’s ready and everyone’s here,” he said and Roan pulled a face as he shoved him back.
“I’ll still let you be in my entourage but you’re doing all the dumb shit,” Roan threatened Johnson as they headed down the hall and Dilan laughed as he pushed his chair back. He didn’t stop laughing as he followed them downstairs and the insults and horseplay escalated.
“Yeah, I’ll make you fresh squeezed orange juice but I’m gonna give it an extra squeeze or two,” Johnson said as he grabbed his balls and Roan guffawed as he dropped into his seat at the far end of the table, across from Dilan’s.
“Get it to work, first. You limp asshole!” He cackled as he hugged his stomach and hands slapped the table and chairs scraped loudly as everyone lost it.
“Go fuck off!” Johnson yelled as he sat and Roan nodded as he checked his watch.
“I’ve got a date, if you shitbags can get on with it,” he drawled and Connor rolled his eyes at Dilan as they sat.
“Letting the widow ride your dick after the prayer vigil is not a date,” he muttered and Dilan groaned as he scrubbed his hand over his eyes and it echoed around the room.
“That’s so messy, kid,” Mick said and Roan hummed in agreement.
“It is but what kind of man would I be if I abandoned her in her hour of need and what the fuck was Eddie thinking, marrying a girl like that? God bless him,” he said as he raised his beer and a very frank and uncomfortable discussion of the widow’s best features followed.
“Speaking of Eddie,” Dilan said loudly as the lamb stew was passed around. “We all leave for the church together and the rest of you need to behave, Roan’s making enough trouble for all of us,” he grumbled and Roan jumped as someone kicked him under the table. It would have been Mick or Joe.
“So jealous…” Roan said then clicked his teeth as he stirred and Dilan cleared his throat.
“We all show up for Mass and behave then I need the rest of you to hustle back and get ready for this weekend. We’ve got two shipments coming in and I don’t want any surprises this time so we hired extra security for the docks,” he lied. They weren’t taking extra measures because they didn’t care if there was a bust. His men moved quick and wouldn’t expect to see a few extra sets of eyes and guns hidden around the pickup sites.
“I suppose you’ll be busy spending time with Mrs. O’Shea,” Connor said and Johnson bit into the side of his cheek to keep from laughing.
“Connor won’t be needing any salt for his stew,” he said as he slid the shaker down the table and Dilan winked and shook his head at Connor. He was the only one who still worried about what Caitlyn did. Dilan promised he didn’t care and they’d come to an understanding years ago but Connor refused to accept that on his behalf. He insisted Dilan deserved to marry for love and be happy.
“I’ll spend time with her on the way to Mass and we’ll probably have dinner while she’s here,” he said then scooped a large bite of stew into his mouth. He grunted in approval as he chewed and pointed at the bowl with his spoon. Conner’s stew was always perfect and nobody could admit it was better than their mother’s. “You can always taste the love,” Dilan said and Roan groaned in agreement as he chewed then swallowed.
“Very true, unlike your marriage,” he said as he pointed at Dilan with his spoon then held up his hand so Connor could slap it.
“You know, my sister would give you enough kids to have your own football team and she’d never sleep around,” Connor said and Roan gasped.
“Dear Lord, no one wants to marry your sister,” he said as he shivered. “Let alone fuck her,” he added quietly then ducked as Connor winged his roll at him.
“She’s tried really hard to fix herself up, you stuck-up cunt!” He yelled and Dilan grabbed the arm of his chair as he wheezed and cried. He was going to Hell because everyone knew Connor’s sister, Erin, had been in love with Dilan since she was a little girl. He’d done his best to make everyone be kind about it and did what he could to be gentle with her, but not for any amount of grace or glory. Connor was so ugly, he was strangely handsome but his twin sister was just brutally ugly. And she was aggressively sweet and stupid, bless her.
“She’ll make some man a very lucky husband but I’m never making that mistake twice, if I’m ever brave enough to break my mother’s heart,” Dilan said and Connor shrugged.
“I don’t know, I think Eileen would get over it. She might be cool about it, if you asked her. She can’t stand Caitlyn,” he said and Dilan waited until their eyes touched to shake his head slightly. He didn’t mind a little teasing and some mild nagging but he wasn’t discussing the intimate details of his marriage with eight of his closest friends and advisors. It didn’t hurt to plant the seeds and let people know divorce was on his mind but Dilan wasn’t going to disrespect Caitlyn.
“Thank you, Dr. Phil,” he said then reached for the pepper. “Why didn’t anyone mention the Escalade that got totaled last week? What are you, teenagers?” Dilan asked as he looked around the table and the room exploded in accusations and denials. He exchanged a knowing glance with Roan and they were both content to let the chaos swell around them and enjoy a blessedly typical family dinner.
As I’ve said, it was hard to keep a leash on Roan and he was so ready to jump out of my head and get his hands on Sherman, I couldn’t wait to write Flipped. He was so ready to go and so loud, it took me a while to figure Sherman out because I couldn’t take my eyes off Roan. But once I figured out how Roan could help Sherman find his new beginning, Flipped became a whole new book and we moved away from a heartwarming bromance to a steamy romance about finding yourself and starting over. Don’t worry, Roan has a lot of fun as Flynn and gives Dilan and Sherman plenty of grief before we get to happily ever after:
“Flynn’s my last dead-end so I figured I’d just hang out for a while to make sure he’s not in any danger and see if anyone contacts him about McGregor,” Sherman stated and Dilan raised a brow as he caught on to Roan’s game.
“Ah. Flynn’s not the subject of your investigation,” he said and Sherman snorted then shook his head.
“I can’t find too many laws he’s broken that I need to worry about yet but I’m keeping my eye on him,” he said and Roan smiled as he hooked his arm around Sherman’s neck. He looked as irritated and uncomfortable as always but his hand splayed against Roan’s back before it drifted lower and cupped his ass.
“I might have to up my game and commit bigger crimes so I can keep him,” Roan said and Jake shook his head.
“Don’t,” he begged then offered Sherman a sunny grin. He was settling into the routine and Roan gave him an encouraging wink. “I need a beer and a shower but it was great to meet you,” Jake said as he pointed at Sherman and backed away.
“I’ll see you around. I’d love to pick your brain about this investigation after you’ve had time to catch your breath,” Sherman said and Dilan chuckled but there was a hint of panic.
“That sounds like fun. How long are you planning to stay in Sanctuary Mills?” He asked and Sherman shrugged.
“I haven’t decided. I’m kind of killing time until I retire now. Once I close the case on McGregor, I’m just out-processing and using up my leave,” he said and Dilan’s eyes tightened.
“You’re retiring? You don’t look old enough to retire,” he attempted and Sherman’s brows pulled together. Roan gave Dilan a very hard and threatening look.
“He doesn’t look like he’s forty-nine but that’s what karma and good manners gets you,” Roan countered severely and Dilan held up his hands.
“I just said he looked young to be retiring but forty-nine’s not that young,” he replied and Sherman looked confused as he tried to follow along.
“I don’t think I’m offended but I’m going to go and run our dinner inside. I don’t want the car to smell like Chinese food,” he said then gave Dilan a nod. “It was great to meet you. Everyone in town’s obsessed with you and Jake right now and Flynn’s told me a lot,” he said and Dilan raised a shoulder but he grinned and a red rash crept up his neck as he blushed.
“We’re newlyweds and it’s a small place. Everyone’s been great, though,” he said then gave Sherman’s hand a slap. “It was great to meet you too. I’ll see you around,” he added and Sherman offered him a salute before he turned and ran to get the food from the car. “Seriously?” Dilan hissed as soon as Sherman was out of earshot. Roan watched Sherman duck into the passenger side and enjoyed how tight his ass looked and the way his jeans hugged his thick thighs.
“Yeah… I think so,” he murmured as his head tilted appreciatively.
“He’s a cop!” Dilan scolded under his breath as Sherman carried a box of takeout containers up the driveway. Roan’s eyes swept upwards as he turned on his heel.
“So. Is. Jake,” he said as he pointed at Dilan and he threw up his hands.
“And look at how complicated that was! We had to train him and make sure we weren’t going to get him arrested or killed. Do you really want to go through all of that again? Everything was just getting so easy and quiet,” he said and Roan’s lips twisted before he nodded.
“I’ve got a really good feeling about Sherman. And let’s be honest, do you think a civilian is going to have a chance at coping with this?” He asked as he gestured at himself. “I think a firm grasp of the law and hand-to-hand combat training is going to come in handy,” he mused and Dilan’s shoulders sagged as he scrubbed his brow.
“I guess it wouldn’t be fair if you were to trap a decent woman or a normal guy.” He grabbed Roan’s shoulder and he squeezed it as if he wanted to shake him until his teeth fell out.
“What the hell would I do with decent or normal?” Roan asked petulantly then pushed Dilan off him.
“He’s been around long enough to know all about the Charles Hill Gang, he’ll make us if he’s a half decent agent,” Dilan warned.
“We just limit how much time he spends with us until I’m sure I’ve got it under control,” Roan said and Dilan squinted.
“By it, you mean the investigator who’s hoping you’ll help him put you in prison and would also be more than happy to put us in prison, if he had the chance,” he clarified and Roan blinked back at him.
“Whatever. I’ve got this. I’m going to go enjoy my Kung Pao chicken while I decide if I’m in the mood to ride Sherman like a Hippity Hop or top him tonight,” he said and Dilan pulled in his lips and blinked back at Roan in shock/horror. Shorror? Roan wondered then shrugged and flicked Dilan’s nose. “Don’t come knocking unless you want to feel really uncomfortable,” he warned before he jumped back, out of Dilan’s reach as he tried to slap him in the stomach. “Later!” He said then turned and ran across the street and up the lawn.
“Try to stay out of trouble,” Dilan called after him.
“Not if I can help it,” Roan said as he pulled open the door and Sherman was arranging their food on one of the sectional’s ottomans and Aretha was playing. “Perfect!” Roan gasped then prowled toward Sherman.
Roan’s so rotten and beautiful and full of optimistic generosity. I can’t wait for you to read Flipped and fall madly in love with him. He’ll be available on Amazon and Kindle Unlimited on April 30th but you can meet Roan, Dilan and Jake in Snatched and get caught up while you wait!
Snatched on Amazon and Kindle Unlimited:
PRE-ORDER Flipped on Amazon and Kindle Unlimited: