From Elisabeth Naughton:
Thanks so much to the Romance Reviews for the chance to be with you today!
The second book in my Eternal Guardians series, ENTWINED, released recently, and I’m thrilled readers are loving the series so much. Those close to me know this book was a real labor of love – and not just because of the plot and characters. This was the hardest book I’ve ever written because I almost died in the process of writing it.
Sounds dramatic, doesn’t it? But it’s the truth. I was about 100 pgs into ENTWINED when I took a break from writing and went in for a minor medical procedure. During the procedure, I wound up contracting a Strep-A infection in my blood stream – also known as the flesh eating bacteria – and what was supposed to be a one-day surgery turned into a week in ICU (which I don’t remember, thank goodness), another week in intermediate care, and six plus months of recovery at home.
I don’t remember anything from my week in ICU. Apparently I wasn’t a good patient – escapee is a better word. Later, I learned the nurses call it “ICU Psychosis”, and they told me it happens to a lot of people. To this day I still have no idea what that means or what I did when I was there (and I’m not entirely sure I want to know!). However, my family has filled me in on bits and pieces, and one of the funniest things is that at one point I apparently told the nurses in my room that my husband wasn’t my husband at all and I rattled off some random name my hubby had never heard. His response when the nurses looked at him? “She’s a writer. She’s probably thinking about some character from her books.” My husband swears he can’t remember who I said I was married to, but I have a feeling it was probably Zander from ENTWINED. I was deeply immersed in the book when I got sick, and when I’m in a book, those characters are all I really think (and dream) about.
Joking aside, it took me months before the creative side of my brain was able to function again and I was able to complete the book. There were times when I thought I wouldn’t be able to finish it because there was nothing happening in my head. In the end, though, I was able to muddle through, and today I know ENTWINED is the best book I’ve written to date. Would it be if I hadn’t gotten sick and hadn’t forced myself to write through a difficult physical recovery? I don’t know. I do know I don’t ever want to go through something like that again, but I learned one valuable lesson from the whole thing: Anything is possible, and as long as there’s a breath left in me, I’ll be writing.
Here’s an Exclusive Excerpt from ENTWINED for your reading pleasure:
Callia hauled Zander to his feet. He swayed, but she caught him and managed to brace her feet on the rocks to keep them both from going down. Didn’t need her help? Bullshit.
“Hold on to me,” she said. She wrapped her arms up under his and around his back, supporting his weight. And holy cow, he weighed a lot.
He perched his palms on her shoulders. “I got it.” But he didn’t. Not even close.
She shifted under his left arm, slid her hand around his waist and grabbed his on her opposite shoulder to steady him. The blanket she’d tucked around him earlier slid to the ground and in the dim light she saw a flash of very male, very naked skin.
She would. She was a professional. She’d seen plenty of naked bodies over the course of her career. And none— not even the really gorgeous ones— had ever turned her on.
None were Zander.
She shook off the thought, gripped his hand tighter at her shoulder. “Just a few feet to the pool. It’ll be hot.”
He didn’t say much as they moved slowly toward the water, and she was grateful for that. Even though the temperature in this section of the cave was like a sauna and perspiration slicked her skin, she was very much aware that she was wearing nothing more than underwear right now. But what were her options? She was obviously going to have to get in the water with him to hold him up, and she hadn’t brought a change of clothes. Wet undergarments were a small price to pay for making sure her patient survived and she didn’t freeze to death in the process.
They made it to the edge of the first pool. As she eased him down to sit on the rock ledge, she wished she’d thought to bring the lantern. It was darker on this side of the room.
Shadows played across his skin as he dipped one toe into the water and pulled it back quickly. “Skata.”
“I told you it was hot.”
She’d tested it earlier, just to make sure, and knew it was right around a hundred and four degrees, which wasn’t that bad except when you were already freezing. While he was preoccupied with trying to ease his feet into the steaming liquid, she slid into the pool and sucked in a breath as the hot water surrounded her legs and torso.
The bite was a shock to the system, but after a few seconds, her muscles began to relax. The water hit just below her breasts, the bottom of this part of the pool one continuous long flat rock that was smooth beneath her bare feet.
She walked to where Zander was sitting on the edge of the pool, his feet now submersed in the water, his hands in his lap as he acclimated himself to the temperature.
Gods, he was really beautiful. For a moment, the look of him there, totally naked with the light from the lamp across the room highlighting the angles and planes of his very chiseled body, stole her breath. She’d seen him naked before, many times, but she wasn’t sure she’d ever stopped to appreciate his body aesthetically. Now she did. His shoulders were broad, his chest muscular and defined, the play of muscle over bone so smooth it was as if he’d been carved from marble. His abs were taut and ripped, his arms as thick as her legs. And that thin line of hair that ran from his chest to his navel, then lower, was like a blinking arrow, urging her to keep looking.
She drew in a breath and told herself to wise up. He was her patient, she was his healer. Their past was so over and done with it wasn’t even funny.
Summary from Author's website:
Forces of daemons are gathering and have broken through the barriers of the Underworld. Now more than ever the Eternal Guardians are needed to protect both their own realm and the humans’. Zander can’t afford to think about what might have been with the bewitching physician he once regarded as his soul mate. But with eternity stretching before him, he also can’t fathom spending his life without the one woman who makes him feel most alive. Perhaps he’s found his weakness, after all...
Available now in Book Depository (print).