Tuesday, August 23, 2011

LAST CHANCE Discussion

Wow, hard to believe this is the last LCR book of our countdown to the release of SWEET JUSTICE. Only 13 days away now!

Welcome to the LAST CHANCE discussion. Grab a snack and your favorite beverage, sit back and let’s chat about McKenna, Lucas and Damon. Please be aware spoilers that will be revealed!

We first met McKenna Sloan in NO CHANCE. A seemingly tough young woman with a multitude of secrets. She instantly intrigued me. Why would she go to the lengths she did to protect and save a life—even a stranger. Why was she called Ghost? What had brought her to what she had become? Who was she hiding from? Though she was only in a couple of scenes in NO CHANCE, I was so fascinated by her behavior, I had a hard time not finding out her secrets before it was time. She made a brief appearance in SECOND CHANCE and only made me want to know more. Needless to say, when it was time to write LAST CHANCE, I was ready.

LAST CHANCE was a different story for me in many ways. For the first time, I had a British hero. One who had worked for an organization just as intriguing and mysterious as LCR. Also, neither the heroine nor the hero, at the beginning of the book, was employed by LCR. As you’ll remember, McKenna just jumped in to help on a rescue and then slowly began to take the odd LCR job, but she wasn’t an official operative until later.

The chemistry between Lucas and McKenna made their love story one of the easiest and most fun to write. The passion was off the charts, as was the tenderness. The gentle humor between the two often made me smile as I wrote their words. In other books, I’ve had to sit down and explain to my characters that they were destined for each other and they should fall in love before I had to make them do it. Not so with McKenna and Lucas. They fell in love easily and seamlessly—though their story is not an easy one.

Damon Hughes: Oh what a vile and evil man was he. The things he did to McKenna and her family earned him a place in the hottest fires of hell. When McKenna revealed what he had done to her, I cried as I wrote that event. I could only imagine her guilt over inviting the devil into her home. The sheer desperation she went through as he kept her hostage—so desperate at one point that she tried to take her own life. And then, the incredible loneliness and grief she felt in believing she was responsible for her entire family’s death.

Most people understood Lucas’s need to help her, however, I know some had issues with the way he went about it. I totally understood Lucas’s motivation and being ruthless in getting McKenna’s background information went with his personality and training. He knew McKenna was not going to willingly share her past—she was protecting Lucas.

Something not many people know is that I never intended McKenna’s sister to be alive. I wrote the first draft and Jamie Kendrick was a young woman who happened to have an eerie resemblance to McKenna and an unfortunate one since it almost got her killed. My editor believed people would assume Jamie was McKenna’s sister and encouraged me to change the story. I’m very glad she did. Not only was I able to give McKenna back a member of her family, but I got the chance to write Jamie and Dylan’s story in SWEET REVENGE, which has become one of my very favorite LCR books.

LAST CHANCE is special for other reasons, too. As you know, this book won the Romantic Times 2010 Reviewers Choice award for Best Romantic Suspense and was a Red Hot Read in the December issue of Cosmopolitan magazine. I was so thrilled that Lucas and McKenna’s story received these honors. Their love story was a joy to write and I still adore these characters. In fact, you’ll see quite a bit of them in SWEET REVENGE and a little in SWEET REWARD.

So what about you? What questions do you have for McKenna or Lucas? Heck, I’ll even reanimate Damon Hughes for a brief time if you want to ask him some questions. Do you have a favorite scene or quote? Any observations or comments you want to make? Have any questions for the secondary characters who will soon have their own story—Jamie, Dylan or Jared?

A random commenter will receive a $25 Barnes and Noble gift card, a signed copy of LAST CHANCE and a signed copy of the RT magazine featuring the SWEET trilogy.

Later in the day, I’ll post a trivia contest. Winner will receive a signed copy of the 2010 LCR trilogy and a signed copy of the RT magazine.

Okay, let’s chat!


Crystal said...

Good Morning Christy!
I was wondering what part of the book was the most difficult to get to come together just the way you wanted it to. I was also wondering if there is any chance of a spin off series on the IDC organization that Lucas was apart of.

krisgils33 said...

I love all your characters dearly, but I remember when McKenna first appeared how intrigued I was by her. So glad she got to tell her story and that she and Lucas got their HEA. I love when you share behind-the-scenes tidbits, too! that is way cool!

Angela said...

LAST CHANCE was an excellent book to ready. I was very drawn to McKenna's sense of determination as she worked for LCR. Her heartbreaking recollection about her family and her survival had me in tears. The ending of LAST Chance gave a sense of joy since McKenna truly needed a life full of happiness with Lucas.

I understood Lucas' need to help McKenna but how he proceeded seemed wrong. He is a problem solver and in own mind, he thought he was justified in digging for McKenna's background.

Overall, I loved the book and can't wait for the next book in September. :)

Christy Reece said...

Hey Crystal! I think the ending might have been the most difficult for me to write. Since I had to rework it and make Jamie a completely different person, that took lots of cutting and adding.

Also, the very last part, where McKenna comes to the ball and Lucas sees her. In my first draft, I actually ended the book there, with them going into each other's arms. Then, after rereading it, I knew readers were going to want to see a more drawn-out reunion and so did I, so I added more to the scene. I think some people think I went overboard (made it too fairytale like) but that's okay. I loved the way it ended.

Yes, I do hope some day to write an IDC series. I think that would be such fun and I could include some LCR people, too. That probably won't happen for a while, but it's definitely in my plans down the road. (:

Christy Reece said...

Hi Kris! Thank you! When Noah first started talking about her in NO CHANCE, I knew I was going to have to know more. Then when I met her and saw the things she was willing to do, I was determined that she would have her own story and I knew it would be interesting!

LOL I'm so glad you like me to share behind-the-scenes tidbits. It's fun for me to return to 'that place' and remember how the story and characters came together.

Christy Reece said...

Hi Angela! I'm so glad you enjoyed LAST CHANCE. McKenna's past broke my heart, too.

I knew some readers would have issues with how Lucas went about getting McKenna's background information, but one of the things I so enjoy about writing is that all of my characters are flawed. They screw up, make mistakes and sometimes use poor judgement. Lucas knew McKenna might not forgive him but (in his mind) if it saved her life, it was worth the risk.

So glad you're looking forward to SWEET JUSTICE!

ShellyE said...

As with all the other LCR books, I loved Last Chance. I felt so sorry for McKenna for everything she had gone through, as well as what she would do to rescue someone. She is a real gutsy lady!! I am always amazed when someone feels justified in digging up stuff the other person doesn't want them to know, but they would be PO'd if that person did it to them!!! It's a hoot when the shoe is on the other foot!! Can't wait for the upcoming Sweet books - can't decide if I will read them as they come out, or save them and read all 3 back to back to back!!

Hope said...

I, like everyone else, LOVED this book. McKenna was a spit fire and did what she felt she had to do to help keep people safe. I loved her devotion. I am not one to cry during a book, usually, but this one caught a few tears on me. Not only when her past was brought to light but when she realized her sister wasn't dead after all.

I think Damon Hughes gave Rosemount a run for his money in the vile department, I really hated that man.

I liked their easy banter....like when they were eating and he asked if she was finished she nodded and he said are you sure, you only ate 3 helpings then she said something about him being jealous she ate all the potatoes (book isn't in front of me, so I didn't quote anything lol)

From the book, I would say I am most intrigued about Aiden, he was the one I wanted to know more about and can't wait.

My question is....are these the last 3 LCR books?

oklanannie said...

LAST CHANCE: I liked it - I loved it - and I think I can finally admit that it's my personal favorite LCR book to date -- we'll see after the SWEET series comes out if that ranking still stands.

From the moment he met her (and that was some darn great comical dialogue even amidst the chaos)and looked into her eyes, the magic began between "The Ghost" and Lucas Kane. I was hooked from those first few pages.

Lucas offered something solid and strong to McKenna without any strings attached. He was simply there for her, unselfish and devoted, strong and kind. And he had an accent as well! Now who couldn't fall for all that PLUS a rich, handsome devil too.

And you just knew McKenna felt the magic when she whispered against Lucas’s lips: “I couldn’t have lived without ever knowing your taste.”

As for the villain, well Damon certainly fulfilled his part. He earned a five-star rating on the evil meter. The way he marked McKenna disgusted me. Of course, just about everytime he opened his mouth, I wanted to bash his head in! Was there a particular "something" that guided his character to you?

FYI - I'm so glad you didn't end the book at the Millington Awards ball. I love that McKenna and Lucas got a perfect HEA. We might not have missed "the dance" but we would have missed Lucas saying to McKenna, "I want to give you the world." And her reply, "I don't want the world, I just want you." And yes, Lucas granted that request.

Ahhhhhhh - so many sweet & personal touches amidst the chaos and evilness of LAST CHANCE made this one extra SWEET for me.

krisgils33 said...

oh, Anne, I love your post. *sigh*

Jackie P said...

I absolutely loved the begining! Ghost! :)

Kara C said...

LAST CHANCE...such a great book. People didn't like Lucas's method for finding out about McKenna? It totally made sense to me. I can't even understand someone wanting to send a negative email your way. BUT WAIT!

You almost didn't let Jamie live. NOW I understand. LOL!

Alison said...

I love McKenna! She really pulled on my heartstrings. I was very intrigued by her after seeing how far she would go to keep people safe and I really felt for her when I learned all she had gone through.

Damon Hughes is pure evil! He needed to be taken down!

I'm glad you added more to the ending. I love endings where you really get to see them reunited and on their way to HEA!

I fell for Lucas as soon as he said “I couldn’t have lived without ever knowing your taste.”

I can't wait to follow up with McKenna and Luke in the SWEET books :)

Christy Reece said...

Hi Shelly! I agree, McKenna is one gutsy lady. I think when you read SWEET REVENGE, you'll see that determination and gutsiness in Jamie, too.

I agree that people often have a skewed sense of right and wrong when it comes to digging up stuff about someone else's past but if it was the other way around, they'd be very upset. I would imagine Lucas would have been angry if McKenna had done something similar to him. However, I also believe he would have understood and forgiven her, too.

That's always an issue on back to back releases, isn't it? For me, I have to read them as soon as they come out--patience is not one of my virtues. (:

Elke said...

I love all the LCR books but Last Chance is my fav.After the glimpses we got from the earlier books about McKenna I wanted to read her story - she seemed such a mystery. And when Gabe asked about McKenna after Lucas` rescue and Noah told him "she is alive" I really wanted to know what happened .

What gave you the idea about McKennas background Christy - it is really a horrible thing to believe yourself responsible for the death of your entire family.

One of my favourite scenes in Last Chance is the night McKenna and Lucas spend together in that hotel in Paris, to see McKenna start to relaxe in Lucas´ company. But when he investigated her past I really feared that this might damage the trust between the two of them when KcKenna learned about that.
That really was my only issue with the story - McKenna feels betrayed and the very next morning she wants Lucas to make love to her.

Oh and Damon he was evil - a real sociopath.
How do you develop the villains Christy? Do you some psychological research? And the idea to drug McKenna so that she can´t say anything . What gave you that idea ?

I am really glad that the waiting for the new trilogy is nearly over , I am counting the days.

Jane said...

Damon was definitely one of the creepiest villains. I'm guessing we'll find out in Jared's upcoming book what happened/went wrong with his marriage to Lara. I also want to add that I adored Conrad.

Christy Reece said...

Oops! Got distracted with the earthquake and then some follow-up copyedit questions on SWEET REWARD. Will post trivia contest this evening and give everyone all day tomorrow to answer.

Christy Reece said...

Hey Hope! Glad I'm not the only one who cried. (:

Yeah, Damon was evil personified, as bad, if not worse than Rosemount. However, I do believe that the villain in SWEET JUSTICE gives both of these guys strong competition for the 'most evil' title. You can let me know who you think is the 'evilest'.

I loved their light banter too. From the moment they met, Lucas and McKenna just seemed to have an affinity for each other.

Oh, if you liked Aidan, you'll enjoy the glimpses of him in SWEET JUSTICE and SWEET REVENGE. Honor calls him 'surfer dude'. (:

On your last question, I'm going to defer answering until later. Will let everyone know soon! (:

Christy Reece said...

LOL Anne. I always knew you were SWEET on Lucas!

Lucas cracked me up at the beginning of the book. I kept telling him he was in a serious situation and he kept coming up with these droll comments. I finally let him have his way. (:

Ah yes, I loved that line too.

Was there a particular something that guided me toward making Damon the evil creep that he was? Wish I could say yes, but no. I had no idea he did half the stuff he did until McKenna told Lucas. And I didn't know about the scars, cigarette burns and tattoo until Lucas saw them. We were furious together.

I'm so glad you liked the ending too. After what McKenna went through, I do believe she deserved the fairytale all the way.

Christy Reece said...

Thank you, Jackie. I loved the beginning too. Seeing Lucas meet Ghost was such fun!

Christy Reece said...

Thanks, Kara! And I'm glad you understood Lucas's motivation. LOL I never intended Jamie to die, I just didn't intend for her to be McKenna's sister. I anticipated that I would write her story some day, but it would have been a different story if she'd been someone else.

Christy Reece said...

Hi Allison! McKenna definitely went to great lengths to ensure the safety of others. I know some people might have a problem with that moral issue, but it does beg the question--how far should a person go to save a life? Very difficult question and no easy answers.

LOL Yes, taking down Damon Hughes was a definite must for the story. I think so far, I'm about 3 out of 6 in killing off the villain. This man so deserved to be one of them.

Glad you liked the HEA ending too. (:

Mary G said...

I'm late - crazy day!!

I don't like to pick a fave especially to the author's face but this book was just wow.

You had me from the first page teaser -

“I couldn’t have lived without ever knowing your taste.”

Like I haven't told you that a few times LOL. Meltdown right there.

What fascinates me is that although McKenna was a loner, that line did not feel out of place. That speaks to the chemistry that these two had and to your talent.

Thank you for writing such amazing books.

Christy Reece said...

Thank you, Elke. I think LAST CHANCE is the favorite of several LCR readers.

Where did the idea of McKenna's past come from? Just from my mind. When she was introduced in NO CHANCE, I knew she felt immense guilt for something and that the people she loved the most had suffered. I just didn't know what happened. And near the beginning of LAST CHANCE, when McKenna was hurriedly packing, thinking Lucas was going to find her, she took 3 photographs from her hiding place. I somehow knew they were pictures of her family. I assumed they were dead and I knew she felt responsible. From there, the story developed.

LOL So you think McKenna was too forgiving of Lucas. I can see that. I couldn't have written it any other way because that's how I saw the story unfold in my mind, but I can understand how you could feel that way.

On Damon: I can't really say that I developed him or any of my villains. I get a little glimpse of each one at the beginning of the story and then they reveal their evil thoughts or my hero or heroine tells me what he or she has done. (Wish it was more organized or scientific, but it's purely organic. I write what they tell me to write)

Regarding the paralyzing drug. A drug does exist that can paralyze your entire body but you're aware of everything. I fictionalized the drug to where it would work on a localized area. When Jamie is being held hostage, I knew if she spoke, she might reveal who she was. I couldn't let her do that because Damon would have either killed her outright or used her to get to McKenna. And it fit in well with Damon's evil, controlling ways.

I'm so glad that the wait is almost over for the SWEET books too! (:

Christy Reece said...

Hi Jane! We'll have to have a discussion soon to see who wins the 'most vile LCR villain' award. Damon would definitely be in the running. (:

Yes, in SWEET REWARD you'll learn what happened between Lara and Jared.

Oh, I adored Conrad too. And yay! You'll see a tiny glimpse of him in SWEET REVENGE!

Christy Reece said...

Hey Mary! Yay, you made it! LOL I remember you emailing me right after you read the teaser in the front of the book and telling me how much you loved that line. You made my day!

Aw, now you made my day again. Thanks for saying that. I do think these two had a lovely chemistry. It was a joy to write their love story. (:

Kara C said...

Oh, good! I misread your post. So glad to know I can continue being your friend. ;-)

BTW, got a couple more friends hooked on the LCR crew. They loved LAST CHANCE so much, they were both a bit angry there wasn't another LCR book to read right then. Mad at ME! I'm so glad that is about to change. :-)

Taryn @MySecretRomance said...

I am sooooo bummed I missed this! :( I hope I'm not too late. I was out all day with my little nuggets and to top it off we felt the earthquake all the way up where I live in New York. We were in Queens today on the 3rd floor visiting our cousins and felt the entire building move. It was beyond scary. I can't imagine how the people of Virginia felt where it actually hit. I hope no one was injured.

Last Chance is my second favorite book of the series. The first spot goes to Rescue Me (Jordan and Eden's story). LOVE THAT STORY!

Christy, where do you get the ideas for your books? Do they just come to you as you write? Did you dream part of the story and go from there? Or do you have an idea for a plot and go from there? Sorry, but I am so curious! I really liked how McKenna was known as Ghost. How did you come up with Ghost? It kept me wanting to know more about her. I liked Lucas from the first time I met him. Why was Lucas British? Your books are amazing!

Now correct me if I'm wrong, but did you recently say that you are planning another series?

Christy Reece said...

Taryn, never too late to chat! And so glad you're okay. That earthquake was so very scary.

So glad you love RESCUE ME and LAST CHANCE. No matter what order. (:

Most of the ideas for my stories begin with a character. I'll hear a conversation in my head or maybe just see a scene and then, hopefully, the story flows from there.

I believe it was Gabe in NO CHANCE who came up with McKenna's nickname. I think she liked that name (felt it fit her personality and lifestyle) and kind of adopted it as her own.

LOL I don't know why Lucas was British. In NO CHANCE, Noah tells Gabe that the British billionaire Lucas Kane had been kidnapped. And suddenly, he was British. It wasn't something I planned, but when I finally met him, it worked very well. (:

Yes, I am working on something. Can't share anything yet but hopefully I can soon. Stay tuned!