Today, we're joined by the awesome Maya Banks. Grab your favorite drink, settle in and have a good time. Maya's sharing an exclusive sneak peak at her March Samhain Publishing release: Amber Eyes.

~ As it says in our header, we’re authors that are easily entertained. So, what is your favorite entertainment? Why? Does it bleed into or impact your writing?

I love to hunt. Love to travel. Play poker. LOVE to fish. Not much better than a day at the beach surf fishing. I don't think it's bled into my writing yet, but we'll see.

~ If you were a movie, what genre would you be?

A really good action adventure movie with lots of car chases and explosions. God save me from chick flicks.

~ You write a wide range of stories. Is it difficult to switch between genres and heat levels?

No, it's fun, gives me a break. Some genres are easier (for me) than others. Historicals are more difficult and time consuming. Connected books are a little more time consuming because inevitably I'm always looking back to make sure I didn't flake on a detail.

~ Do you have a favorite type of story to write?

I used to think I did, but the thing is I just love to write. I love that I don't have to write the same thing all the time. I really, really love action adventure. I love the Falcon series I write for Samhain, and I'm deleriously happy I'm getting to write my Kelly (KGI) series for Berkley.

~ Your latest release, THE TYCOON’S PREGNANT MISTRESS is your first Silhouette Desire. Can you tell us a bit about how Marley and Chrysander came to life?

For me the story was born when I envisioned the heroine getting kidnapped and the hero hearing of her release three months later and the guilt he feels when he realizes the full extent of the circumstances surrounding her abduction. I built the rest of the story around the little kernel and that kernel has expanded to two books about Chrysander's brothers, Theron and Piers. I love that all the stories are different. The brothers are very different people and their heroines are also very different. I had so much fun writing about the Anetakis brothers. I just turned in Piers story in January and was a little bummed to be finished with that family.

~ And now, the moment you really came for...The Exclusive Sneak Peek into AMBER EYES (unedited).

The cougar waited patiently until the cabin went dark and all sounds within were silenced. Hunger gnawed at her belly, and pain was her constant companion. She needed food. She needed to shift.

Her eyes glowed in the dark as she stared, alert and listening for movement. It was time.

There on the floor of the porch, the golden brown fur rippled and blurred. Pink skin replaced animal hide. Long, honey colored hair, feminine tresses, flowed down her neck as the eyes of the cat became human.

Fingers curled and dug into the hard floor, and a human gasp of pain hovered in the room as her injured hand protested the change.

Never before had she attempted to shift when she was so close to humans. But she needed food, and she needed the rejuvenation her human form would bring. It had been too long since the cat had made a kill. Game had been scarce.

Now that she was human again, the raw meat of her prey was no longer enticing. Her mouth watered, and her stomach growled at the thought of cooked food. She couldn’t remember the last time she’d enjoyed such a luxury.

She picked herself up and stood, wavering on unsteady legs. Chills chased up and down her naked skin, causing an uncontrolled shiver to quake her spine.

“I am Kaya,” she whispered as she stared down at her human form. It was a reminder, one she gave herself on the few occasions she embraced her humanity. Over the years, her memories had become fuzzy, and it was hard to separate what was real with what was fantasy.

She had been forgotten by the humans, but she wouldn’t let herself forget her past or her heritage.

On silent feet, she crept toward the cabin door, testing the lock. To her relief, it opened easily and she slid inside the much warmer interior. After so long of seeking what warmth she could in dens and small caves, the heated interior of the cabin was as close to heaven as she would ever come.

For a moment she simply stood there, soaking in the warmth, allowing her insides a slow melt. Then, remembering that she was no longer the cat, she hurried forward. It wouldn’t do for the two men to discover her.

Jericho and Hunter.

She didn’t know why she’d been drawn to them or what possessed her to seek them out each time they returned to their cabin. Maybe it was her own loneliness and desire to be around other humans even when she herself was not in human form.

A large shirt lay carelessly over a chair as if thrown there without thought. Her hand reached out and caressed the soft material. She inhaled, scenting the male who’d worn it last. The one called Jericho.

She loved his smell. Him and the one called Hunter. It was what had first drawn the cougar to the isolated cabin high in the Rocky Mountains.

She knew from their conversations that they were as mistrustful of other humans as she was. Had they been cast aside like her? Forgotten?

They liked her and looked forward to her visits. The idea that her company brought them pleasure gave her an inexplicable thrill.

The material of the shirt felt good against her fingertips, and without thought, she picked it up and wrapped it around her body. It enveloped her, brushing across her skin like the warm spring sun after a harsh winter.

She quickly buttoned it, even though it would be ruined when she shifted back. It was a temporary pleasure she wouldn’t deny herself. She enjoyed so few that she clung tenaciously to this one.

Irritated that such a simple treat could sidetrack her from her goal, she hurried into the kitchen, the smell of fresh food guiding her. Her mouth watered as she found a pot of a wonderful-smelling concoction on the stove and next to it a half-eaten round of cornbread.

She stared impatiently at the meat mixture in the pot and sniffed, trying to ascertain the contents. It didn’t matter. She was so hungry, she could eat anything.
Grabbing the large spoon, she dipped it into the pot and brought it to her mouth. She slurped hungrily at the food even as her injured hand reached for the cornbread to the side. When she lowered the spoon to get more, she stuffed a piece of the cornbread in her mouth, chewing rapidly.

She worked at it indelicately, shoveling food into her mouth in an attempt to soothe the desperate hunger beating at her.

“What the hell?”

She froze and then jerked around, her heart pounding viciously. Jericho stood in the doorway to the kitchen, his eyes dark and his expression hard. The light was on behind him in the living room. She hadn’t even registered it or him coming into the kitchen so absorbed was she in eating.

She dropped the spoon with a clatter and immediately sidestepped to try and get around him.

“Whoa now,” he said in a soothing voice. He held out his hands in a placating manner even as he circled toward her. “I’m not going to hurt you, lady. I just want some questions answered. Like what the hell you’re doing in my kitchen wearing nothing but my shirt?”

“Jericho?” Hunter’s sleepy voice, laced with grumpiness, reached her ears. “Who the hell are you talking to?”

Kaya used that moment of inattention, when Hunter rounded the corner of the kitchen and laid shocked, angry eyes on her, to her advantage. When Jericho turned to Hunter, she launched herself across the kitchen and past Jericho.

She heard his curse and then the pounding of feet as he took off after her, but she was out already. She burst onto the porch and flew to the door, her last barrier to freedom.

Fumbling only for a split second with the hook, she flung it open and leaped into the snow. The cold was a shock to her bare skin, but she didn’t stop. Finding the harder, packed snow, she flew across the ice and headed for higher ground. The safety of her den.

She couldn’t be certain whether they followed, so she didn’t shift. Her footprints would lay heavy in the snow, and she couldn’t very well leave a trail that showed human prints turning to animal. And there was the shredded shirt she’d leave behind.

She backtracked several times, trying to mess up the vivid prints she knew she was leaving. And then, as the moon lifted higher in the sky, light snow began to fall, and she gave thanks to the great maker for the protection offered.

She stumbled back onto the familiar trail, numb with cold and fear. The adrenaline that had coursed so readily through her veins, lending strength and endurance, had rapidly diminished, leaving her weak and shaky.

The cougar stirred within her, restless and edgy, wanting freedom it was unused to being denied. It sensed the human was weak and in need of protection.

Kaya leashed the cat, using all her strength to ward off the shift. Not now. Not when she was open and vulnerable. Just a few more feet. She could make it. She was too weak to shift anyway.

The wind picked up as the snow began falling harder. Bitter and unrelenting, it pierced her skin and the meager protection Jericho’s shirt offered.

She stumbled across the smooth rock outcropping and hovered precariously close to the edge. Below was vast nothingness, shrouded in darkness. A river, shrunk down to nothing, carved its way through the valley she stood above. In the spring, it would roar with the rains and melting snow.

Weakly, she walked, and when she fell, she crawled toward the entrance to the small cave etched into the rock. It faced south, protected from the fierce north winds. On hands and knees she forced herself those final few feet until she was out of the wind and snow and into the warmth offered by the cave.

She crawled to the innermost portion and huddled against the wall, exhausted and weak. She needed to shift. Needed the warmth of the cougar’s fur and much stronger body mass. But she couldn’t keep her eyes open long enough to allow the cat its freedom.

Comments (18)

On February 5, 2009 at 11:27 AM , Yvonne said...

Congrats on the new blog...Excellent first interview, yummy excerpt and WOW, Maya Banks! Love Love Love her books. Thanks for the invite, Nikki!

On February 5, 2009 at 12:33 PM , sonya said...

Great interview and excerpt. Good Luck with this Blog.

On February 5, 2009 at 12:51 PM , lillie_80 said...

I can't wait for this book!!

On February 5, 2009 at 1:11 PM , Bonnie said...

oh - I love Maya's stuff - I just read Be With Me and Colter's Woman last month - I can't wait to read this one, oh and the Tycoon's Pregnant Mistress too...oh so many books to read...

On February 5, 2009 at 1:16 PM , Munk said...

Great interview. Cant wait to read Amber Eyes. It sounds great.

On February 5, 2009 at 1:29 PM , Laurie said...

Great interview, Nikki! Maya, I absolutely loved THE TYCOON'S PREGNANT MISTRESS - it definitely doesn't read like a first Desire - and for anyone who might hesitate because Desires are occasionally "fluff" - don't, because this is an excellent read that's chock rich with deep emotion.

On February 5, 2009 at 1:31 PM , Laurie said...

Ooops, forgot to mention that I loved the excerpt too!

On February 5, 2009 at 1:48 PM , Jax Cassidy said...

Oooh, great answers from Maya! Love the excerpt!

On February 5, 2009 at 2:03 PM , Ann Bluff said...

Great first interview, Nikki!! I love Maya's books and I am looking forward to reading Amber Eyes. I loved Brazen and I am looking forward to diving into The Tycoon's Pregnant Mistress!

On February 5, 2009 at 3:15 PM , Naughty Nikki D said...

I just finished THE TYCOON'S PREGNANT MISTRESS. Such a great story with the perfect amount of tears. It was a great reminder why I used to like Desires, though definitely not like a first Desire release.


On February 5, 2009 at 3:34 PM , Lisa F. said...

Great excerpt for Amber Eyes - you've, ummm, aroused my curiousity!

On February 5, 2009 at 3:42 PM , Maya said...

Thanks for stopping by, Yvonne, Sonya and Lillie!

Bonnie, thank you :) I'm so glad you've enjoyed my books.

Laurie, you made my entire day! I love, love, love writing for Desires. I've had more fun than a human being should be allowed with this trilogy. I'm so stoked that you liked it so much!

On February 5, 2009 at 6:20 PM , LKap said...

Sounds like a great book - I'll be adding to my TBR pile especially after all the great things I've heard about it.
Great site and interview.
Laurie K

On February 5, 2009 at 6:50 PM , vtibbs said...

I love all your books. I haven't read a bad one yet. I can't wait for Theron and Peirs. And more shifters!


On February 5, 2009 at 7:11 PM , Greta said...

I want more of this story Maya - I want to know what happens next.

Love your books Maya -

Nikki, Jax & Abi awesome blog. I will be visiting often.

On February 5, 2009 at 7:24 PM , Anonymous said...

Great post. I love your work Maya.


On February 5, 2009 at 7:37 PM , Karin* said...

OMG!!! Maya?! Is it really you?? OMG!


(((((Karin Tabke)))) your west coast BFF! ;)

On February 6, 2009 at 12:53 PM , Abigail McKenley said...

Thanks so much for stopping by Maya. This was a great interview!