High Octane Heroes is an anthology edited by Delilah Devlin that is chock full of wonderfully exciting stories about all kinds of heroes.
I have the very delightful honor of having an interview with 'her royal hotness', the fascinating Sabrina York (and yes, she is adorned with a tiara, lol) as well as an excerpt from her very fun story, Five Alarm Fire.
ELF: What was the fact that surprised you most while you were researching/writing this story?
SY: Five Alarm Fire is a sexy, humorous short about a couple who are “forced” into a date by an overly-enthusiastic matchmaker. What they don’t know is that they both, rather desperately, want to go on that date.
This story stems from a conversation I had with a friend who was a paramedic assigned to a retirement village. Many of his friends teased him because to a fireman, obviously, the best job around is putting out fires. And here he was, stuck tending to old people with gout and rheumatoid arthritis. But my friend trained to be a paramedic—which takes lots of extra work, by the way—he wanted to use his skills on a regular basis.
What he didn’t expect was that most of his calls would be false alarms. Many of the residents in the village were just lonely. So they would invent “emergencies” just to have someone to talk to for a while. All the paramedics accepted these calls as par for the course. They never knew when one of these false alarms would be a real emergency so they always came prepared.
One of the residents—a regular—would call him every day. But mostly, she just wanted to fondle him.
Did I mention he was a hottie?
ELF: What feeling do you want readers to take away from this story?
SY: This story is a little different from my usual erotic romance, because humor plays a much greater part in the beginning. I hope readers enjoy reading it, laugh, and ultimately, fall in love with Luke. He really is a doll. And he loves you for who you are. Sigh.
ELF: What is your favorite summer beverage?
SY: Right now I am drinking water only, so…water I guess? If I was being naughty, it would be lemonade. With gin.
ELF: What were you most surprised by on your road to becoming a published writer?
SY: I never intended or expected to become an erotic author!
I’ve been writing for years, seeking publication and never quite making it. I wrote romances mostly. Oh, Regency and Medieval and Contemporary and Paranormal and Fantasy…everything. Then one day I thought, maybe I should try writing a steamy story. Adam’s Obsession was so much fun, I sat down and wrote Tristan’s Temptation, never expecting either would sell.
Then a friend encouraged me to enter the Celtic Hearts Novellas Need Love Too contest and I did. All of the stories I entered finaled and went to Kelli Collins, an editor at Ellora’s Cave. EC bought them all (and a dozen more since then). Before you knew it, I was an honest to goodness erotic author.
Yeah. It was a surprise. But life does that sometimes.
ELF: What frustrated you most when you tried to give depth to your hero/heroine (I understand that sometimes characters 'take control' of the way events are taking place in a story)?
SY: This is a story about a BBW, a big beautiful woman, who meets and falls for a steamy fireman/paramedic. She is convinced he is way too hot to want a woman like her. I fully intended to talk more about her size and her body image, but, honestly, Trish wasn’t interested in that! Once she knew Luke wanted her, for who and what she was, all those deeply imbedded self-doubts vanished. Long descriptions of her teenage years, her heartbreak, her insecurities are not necessary. Here is how I handled it:
She tipped her head and observed him solemnly through thick lashes. “You don’t have to do this you know.”
Luke stilled. “Do what?”
“Take me out to dinner. You were railroaded into the invitation after all.”
She nodded. Her throat worked. “Of course you were. But I understand. Mrs. Lipniki can be rather adamant.”
“No one bullies me into doing something I don’t want to do.” He softened his words with a wink.
She blew out a weedy, trembling laugh and gestured to her body. “I’m hardly a runway model. I know men prefer slender women.”
Luke gaped at her. “Not all men, sweetheart. Some men don’t like making love to a stick figure.” Her eyes widened in surprise and then warmed, so he shifted to face her with his arm over the back of the seat and continued. “I have a confession to make.”
“I love curves on a woman. When I saw you, all I could think about was how much I wanted to…well, hold you.” The intensity between them notched upward. He cleared his throat. “You’re exactly the kind of woman I prefer.”
ELF: What is your favorite meal to order when you go out to eat?
SY: Sigh. I am on a diet. I don’t even want to think about food.
ELF: What was your favorite music to listen to while writing this story?
SY: I only listen to classical music when I write and I like to pick a piece that matches the mood of the story. For my recent novella, Dragonfly Kisses, I listened only to the cello, because my heroine is a classic cellist. It was wonderful inspiration! In the car (where I think about my books the most) I listen to rock and roll. I would love to write a book full of my favorite lyrics…but I’m too busy for that right now.
ELF: Where do you like to take out of town visitors?
SY: I love to visit the Pike Place Market. It is an amazing bustle of activity with mouth-watering foods and quirky Seattle crafts. Everything from hand-made alpaca sweaters to little statues made from the ash of Mount St. Helens. The market is perched on a hill overlooking Elliot Bay, so the view of the Sound is gorgeous. If it’s a nice day, we might take a ferry over to Langley. Not because of the adorable shops, but because I love riding on the ferry!
ELF: Thanks so much for visiting, Sabrina. I loved this story (and yes, I have known several people like Mrs. L--including my MIL--who are not above 'manipulating' their symptoms to get what they want, lol.) Sabrina also has a deliciously spicy novella out now, Smoking Holt (Tryst Island Series 3) (which I will post a review on a little later)
What is it about heroes like Superman, Iron Man or Thor that revs our engines like no other? Is it the suit? The manly physique? Or is it the courage they display, wading in where others fear to go, to save the damsel, the city, the Earth?
Are there real-life heroes who inspire the same lustful fascination? Kickass iconic heroes who enter danger zones in the name of duty, honor, country—or maybe love—who conjure images of hard, chiseled bodies, deadly glares and camouflaged features?
High Octane Heroes will satisfy the reader who craves the romantic idea of that “super alpha” man. Imagine the Navy SEAL sent on a suicide mission; the damaged Army Ranger home from war; the para rescue team member jumping into frigid waters; a SWAT team member entering a human trafficker’s den… military members and based in far-flung places around the world or the smoke-jumper living next door. Then imagine the romantic possibilities of being held against that massively muscled chest by a man whose mission is to protect and serve…
EXCERPT from FIVE ALARM FIRE
The call came in just as Luke Patterson and his partner Izzy were sitting down to a big bowl of Five Alarm Chili. Mrs. Lipniki was having another heart attack.
“Whaddya think, Luke?” Izzy quipped, as he leapt into the passenger side of the paramedic unit. “Is it real deal this time or just another false alarm?”
Luke responded with a one-shouldered shrug. They both knew it was a rhetorical question. Mrs. Lipniki was, after all, a regular. They suspected she called as often as she did because she was lonely, but lately things had changed. Lately she’d been calling in emergencies to try and set them up with her granddaughters.
And her nieces.
And her cousin’s uncle’s nephew’s sister.
As they roared down the main street of town, heading for the little duplex they knew so well, Luke swallowed his cynicism. One of these days Mrs. Lipniki might really have a heart attack; it was his job to make sure she got the best possible care, no matter what.
“Hokay,” Izzy muttered as they pulled into the driveway. “Lock and load.”
They jetted from the truck, grabbed the portable defibrillator and their EMT bag and double-timed it to the door. It was standing open. Without preamble, they moved into place.
While Izzy unpacked the defibrillator, Luke knelt beside Mrs. Lipniki and started taking her vitals. As he placed the cold cup of his stethoscope against her chest, she flinched and bit back a tiny smile.
Luke and Izzy exchanged a look. False alarm. Again.
Still and all, they always followed protocol. Always.
Luke turned to the young woman kneeling quietly beside his patient. And almost swallowed his tongue. Holy shit, she was gorgeous. Her face had classic lines, an adorable snub nose and a dented chin, the kind that drove him crazy. And her body? Curves that fucking didn’t quit. A far cry from last week’s emaciated offering. Hunger snarled through him. He fixed his features into a dispassionate expression. “Can you tell us what happened?”
She glanced up at him and, through the shadows, their gazes met. Luke blinked, a little stunned. She had the most beautiful eyes he’d ever seen. A deep violet sea fringed in thick black lashes. He could drown in that ocean.
“She grabbed her chest and fell to the floor.” Luke barely registered the words. Her musical voice sent shards of lust dancing along his nerve endings—all the way to his cock.
He forced himself to focus. “D-did she hit her head when she fell?”
Luke had to look away; she was far too distracting.
He wasn’t here to meet chicks—not even magnificent violet-eyed vixens. Regardless of Mrs. Lipniki’s evil plans.
He nodded, real businesslike, and strapped the blood pressure cuff to his patient’s limp arm. As he began to pump air into the cuff, Mrs. Lipniki moaned. She usually regained consciousness about then because she hated having her blood pressure taken.
“Oh!” she warbled in an operatic tenor. “Luke! Is that you?” Since she was a little hard of hearing, she had a tendency to yell—even when she warbled.
“Yes, Mrs. Lipniki. I’m right here. How are you feeling?”
“I feel faint!” She affected the classic ‘tragedy pose,’ with the backs of her fingers to her brow.
“Oh dear,” the sweet female to Luke’s side murmured. Low and resonant, her words had an uncomfortable effect in his trousers. “Will she be all right?”
“Trish?” The old lady thrashed her hand about madly, eyes still screwed shut. “Is that you?”
Wisely, Trish captured that flailing appendage and held it close. “I’m right here.”
“Oh Trish, Trish.” Mrs. Lipniki rolled toward Luke, cracked open one eye and bellowed in a conspiratorial tone, “Trish is my neighbor.” And then, just below a dull roar, “She’s SINGLE. She’s a GOOD girl.”
The good girl’s mouth fell open. A delicate blush lit her cheeks. She looked mortified.
Relentless, Mrs. Lipniki turned her gimlet gaze on poor Trish. “Luke is a FIREMAN. He’s a very nice BOY. His hands are very LARGE.” She lifted one up, just to show poor Trish, waggling it around like a flopping trout.
Luke could hear Izzy snickering behind him, but he didn’t care.
Because Trish was smiling.
It was a small smile, kind of shy, but she was luminous. Dimples exploded in her cheeks.
“Oh, you two would be perfect together!” Mrs. Lipniki wheezed, as though on her last breath. She clutched at her chest. “You should go on a DATE!”
Trish gasped. “Mrs. Lipniki! That’s...” Her gaze met Luke’s. “Silly.”
“Is it?” He asked in an undertone, slowly winding his stethoscope and tucking it into his bag.
“Well—” She sputtered. “We haven’t even met.”
Luke stuck out his (very large) hand. “How do you do? I’m Luke Patterson. I’m a fireman.” He grinned. “I’m a very nice boy.” He didn’t bother to mention the part about his impressive size because, hell, she could tell that for herself.
His palm skated across hers and suddenly he didn’t want to let go. Touching her was like coming home after a long, hard shift. Relaxing. Comfortable.
But not too comfortable. A sizzle ran up his arm.
“I’m Trish.” She stared at him as though the feel of his skin, this indefinable connection, had her just as befuddled and bewildered.
“Ask her to go OUT!” Mrs. Lipniki prodded; she had both eyes open now and was watching avidly. “She’s free on SATURDAY.”
“Oh dear.” A charming pink tide washed up Trish’s cheeks. She tried to tug away, but he still had hold of her. He wouldn’t let her escape. No way. No how.
Luke cleared his throat. “So,” he said, “would you like to go to dinner? Say, Saturday?”
She gulped, drawing his attention to the long slender column of her throat.
“Oh go on, honey,” their matchmaker crooned. “He’s not an axe murderer.”
Trish sputtered a laugh. When she noticed the intent look on his face, she sobered. “I would love to.”
“Great,” Luke said, but he doubted Trish heard him, because Mrs. Lipniki said it at exactly the same time, and a whole lot louder.
“GREAT!” she crowed. “He’ll pick you up at six!”
Luke blinked. “I guess I’ll…pick you up at six.”
Trish laughed again, which sent shivers down his spine; he really liked the sound of it.
“So… You gonna be okay, Mrs. Lipniki?” Izzy asked.
“Oh, yes, young man. I think I’ll be just fine.” She winked in his direction.
As they made their way back to the truck Izzy chuckled. “Another false alarm.”
Luke didn’t respond. He had hope. Maybe it would be the real thing after all. He wouldn’t find out until Saturday.
AUTHOR Bio and Links:
About Sabrina York
Her Royal Hotness, Sabrina York, writes naked erotic fiction for fans who like it hot, hard and balls-to-the-wall, and erotic romance and fantasy for readers who prefer a slow burn to passion. An award winning author of hot, humorous stories for smart and sexy readers, her titles range from sweet & sexy erotic romance to BDSM to erotic horror.
Connect with her on
Check out Sabrina’s books and read an excerpt on Amazon, Smashwords, at Ellora’s Cave or wherever e-books are sold.
Visit her webpage to check out her books, excerpts and contests. Don’t forget to enter to win the royal tiara!
Books by Sabrina York
Adam's Obsession (Erotic Contemporary, Ellora's Cave)
Dark Duke (Erotic Regency, Ellora’s Cave) —Coming soon
Brigand (Erotic Regency, Ellora’s Cave) —Coming soon
Dark Fancy (Erotic Regency, Ellora’s Cave)
Dragonfly Kisses (Tryst Island Series) (Erotic Contemporary)
Extreme Couponing (Erotic Contemporary, Ellora’s Cave)
Fierce (One Night Stand, Decadence Press)—coming soon
Five Alarm Fire (Erotic Contemporary for the High Octane Heroes Anthology, Cleis Press)—Coming September 3
Folly (Erotic Regency, Ellora’s Cave)
Lust Eternal (Erotic Fantasy, Ellora’s Cave)
Pushing Her Buttons (Erotic Contemporary, Ellora’s Cave)
Making Over Maris (Erotic Contemporary, Ellora’s Cave) —Coming soon
Man Hungry (Erotic Contemporary, Ellora’s Cave)
Rebound: A Tryst Island Erotic Romance (Erotic Contemporary, Available on Amazon)
Rebound is now available on Smashwords
Rising Green (Erotic Horror, Ellora’s Cave)
Saving Charlotte (Erotic Contemporary for the Smokin' Hot Firemen Anthology, Cleis Press)
Smoking Holt: A Tryst Island Erotic Romance (Erotic Contemporary)
Training Tess (Erotic Contemporary, Ellora’s Cave)
Trickery (Erotic Contemporary with Magical Elements, Ellora’s Cave Hex Line)
Tristan’s Temptation (Erotic Contemporary, Ellora’s Cave)
GIVEAWAY: Please leave a comment about your favorite type of hero with a valid e-mail address and make sure that you visit the other blog stops for additional entries.
September 2: MsRomanticReads
September 2: Books to Light Your Fire
September 3: Reviews by Crystal
September 4: The Reading Addict
September 5: Musings and Ramblings
September 6: Reading In Twilight
September 9: Queen of the Night Reviews
September 9: Literal Hotties Naughty Book Reviews - Promo
September 9: All I Want and More
September 10: Author Accomplice
September 10: Selena Illyria
September 11: Sharing Links and Wisdom
September 11: Wicked Readings by Tawania
September 12: The Divas of Desire
September 13: Words of Wisdom from The Scarf Princess
One randomly drawn commenter will win the grand prize package (US only):
- * $50 Amazon gift cert, signed copies of Cowboy Lust and Smokin’ Hot Firemen from Delilah
- * Tiara from Sabrina York
- * A print copy of Under His Skin and a So Inked mug from Sidney Bristol
Individual blog day prizes for randomly drawn commenters will include:
- Adele Dubois: a download of REV ME UP
- Brindle Chase: an eBook copy of his book Dark is the Night awarded every day of the tour
- Delilah: a hand-painted art pendant, backlist downloads
- Elle James: a prize package of books and swag on her blog day
- Jenny Lyn: $10 gift card to Amazon or B&N and a copy of her new book
- Megan Mitcham: a “hot high-octane guy” calendar
- Sabrina York: an eBook of choice from her backlist on the day she blogs
- Sidney Bristol: an eBook of choice from her backlist on the day she blogs
Iqbal: a digital copy of The Merger.
And last, but not least...my review:
High Octane Heroes is an anthology edited by Delilah Devlin and features a collection of 15 stories featuring sexy lead characters and a foreword written by the talented Maya Banks. Heroes from all walks of life are featured, including prison guards (“Pitch Black” by Delilah Devlin), paramedics (“Five Alarm Fire” by Sabrina York, “Natural Appetites” by Adele Dubois and “Painted” by Leah Ridgewood), an embassy bodyguard (“Besieged” by Elle James) a physical fitness trainer and the client he helps recover from severe injuries (“Pumping Iron” by Christine D’Abo) and many more sensual males. The common theme of heroes who go above and beyond the limits that most are intimidated by and the insight into their lives makes this a very entertaining read.
This anthology of contemporary romance stories with an erotic twist provides vignettes that remind us why we love guys in uniform. The delightful combination of various writing styles that focus on different aspects of what makes an alpha male so romantic and heroic provide vivid examples of the various factors which mold these complex men who are driven to serve and protect. There are poignant tales of those who serve or have served in the military (“As You Were” by Alice Janell, “The Star” by Tahira Iqbal, “Diving Deep” by Jenny Lyn, “Once Upon a Time in Mukdahan” and “SEAL Destiny” by Sharon Hamilton) that make one’s heart clench with sorrow as well as fright plus others which make the reader experience a remarkable breadth of adventures in a very short time. This was a deliciously spicy combination of reads which reminded me of why I am such a fan of some of these authors while introducing me to new talented folks that I will be on the lookout for. A great companion book to the anthology, “Smokin' Hot Firemen: Erotic Romance Stories for Women" (blog post) and an enjoyable quick read. I hope that the apparently indefatigable Ms. Devlin continues to gather even more of these exciting and sensual stories.
(submitted to Night Owl Reviews)