Brynley: I’ve had a lifelong love affair with word. I earned my degree in English and Creative Writing and wrote magazine feature stories for years before turning to writing fiction. I write the kind of book I like to read: steamy contemporary romances featuring smart, sassy heroines with a sense of humor and strong, dominant alpha males who love their women a little feisty.I love rainy days, books, worn-in jeans, hot coffee, traveling to new places, the way words can weave into poetry, and happily ever afters. I live in Texas with my family and an assortment of pets.When I’m not writing, I love to read, spend time with my family, and travel.
I love to interact with my readers! You can sign up for my newsletter on my website at www.brynleybush.com, or find me online here:
Jen: Please tell us about your newest release and where the idea came from.
Brynley: My newest release is Shameless, the third and final book of the Black Brothers Trilogy, although each book can be read alone. Each book in the trilogy focuses on a different brother, and Shameless is little brother Drake’s story.
Sheltered good girl Victoria Raine has always wanted to be a little bad. Tired of living life safely on the sidelines, she summons the courage to forge a new path for herself and applies to the FBI, looking for adventure and something to fulfill her vague longing for something…more. She gets more than she bargained for with her first undercover assignment—posing as the girlfriend of country music’s bad boy, Drake Maddox, a lone wolf with a reputation for having singularly erotic tastes. Hoping to catch a serial killer that’s targeting women close to Drake, Tori’s job is to convince the public, and the killer, that she and the wickedly handsome superstar are an item.
Although their relationship is a sham, there’s nothing fake about the hidden desires the sexy as sin cowboy awakens in Tori. As the killer draws closer, Tori finds herself falling for the one man she can’t have.
The idea for Shameless came about pretty organically as I was writing the series. I knew I wanted Drake to be a country music star from the beginning, and when Mila was attacked back stage at his concert in Matchless, I decided to expand that story line in his book. I also wanted to explore the sensual dynamic of a power exchange, so when the press isn’t buying that straight-laced FBI agent Tori is the superstar’s girlfriend and she asks him to teach her how to be the kind of girl he dates, he demands a total power exchange. The results, as I expected, are explosive!
Here’s a short excerpt:
“Dance with me!” he says suddenly, pushing his chair back.
“Wait. I haven’t gotten to ask you any questions.”
“Come dance with me and then I’ll tell you whatever you want to know.”
“I can’t dance,” I protest as Drake pulls me toward the dance floor. “I was somewhere else when they were handing out rhythm. And also basic coordination,” I add with a touch of self-consciousness.
He simply smiles and pulls me toward him, and suddenly I can’t think of anything but the heady awareness of him next to me, touching me. His right hand rests at the small of my back and I feel that jolt of electricity again at his touch as the hairs on my arms stand up in undeniable awareness. He grasps my right hand with his left, and my left hand rests on his upper arm. I can feel the hard muscles of his bicep ripple beneath my fingers.
“I’ll lead. You just have to follow,” he says softly.
At first I’m nervous, afraid I won’t know what to do, but Drake makes it easy. He pulls me close to him and bends his head toward mine, murmuring the counts in my ear. Before I know it, we’re gracefully moving around the dance floor. Although we’re surrounded by people, it’s surprisingly intimate. We’re an island of two in a sea of dancers, and I can feel the heat radiate off his skin, the hardness of his body next to mine. He feels different than Kyle, leaner, but more solid and powerful, like tempered steel. As his arms encircle me, leading me around the dance floor, I feel utterly feminine, protected and safe.
I’m concentrating so hard on the steps that I barely realize when the song is over. A slow song begins and I start to move out of Drake’s arms, but he holds me firmly next to him.
“One more dance,” he commands softly. It’s not a request.
I look up at him and am instantly captivated by those gorgeous blue eyes of his. “We should be getting to know each other,” I protest weakly.
“We are,” he murmurs, pulling me back to his chest and into the flow of dancers. I inhale the scent of him, masculine and heady, as I give in to the rhythm of the music, the easy flow of the dance, and the feel of Drake’s arms around me. My head rests against his chest and I can hear the beat of his heart, strong and steady, as we move around the dance floor. Despite my assertions that I would be immune to the sensual charm of Drake Maddox and the certain knowledge that he’s the poster child for smart women making bad choices, I have to admit it’s intoxicating being in his arms. I’m almost sorry when the song ends and he releases me as the band begins to play an upbeat song that has the crowd on the dance floor cheering and lining up.
I look at Drake questioningly.
“Line dance,” he explains, grabbing my hand and pulling me next to him as his feet start moving in a complicated series of dance steps that somehow everyone on the dance floor but me knows. Although I give it my best effort, which isn’t much given my two left feet, I give up after a few minutes, collapsing in a chair near the dance floor as Drake continues dancing.
The man’s body, and the way he moves it, is poetry in motion, and I’m not the only woman watching appreciatively as he dances. As the song ends, a guy in the band yells, “You gonna come sing with us, Drake?”
“Not tonight,” Drake calls back with a grin. “Can’t you see I’m trying to impress a girl?”
He’s by my side in an instant and I can feel the envious stares of a group of young women who’d been working their way toward him during the line dance. He pulls me up, his hands moving to rest lightly on my hips as he pushes me in front of him and guides me back to our table, walking single file to get through the crowd. I act nonchalant and try to pretend that the brush of his fingers against the tiny bared strip of flesh where my tank top has ridden up doesn’t ignite my skin.
Jen: Describe your writing in 3 words.
Brynley: Sexy, smart, fast-paced
Jen: How do you remember ideas that come to you at odd times?
Brynley: My very best ideas come to me in the shower (I’m very clean when I hit a plot glitch!), so I usually keep my laptop handy and type furiously with dripping wet hair before I forget my latest shower epiphany. I also have numerous notebooks that I’ll use to scribble ideas down as they come to me. My cell phone is almost always with me, so I e-mail myself ideas all the time.
Jen: What kind of research did you do for this book?
Brynley: I do a lot of research for all of my books because I believe in making them as authentic as possible. Because there is a continuous plot line in all three books regarding a cancer treatment drug that originates in the Amazon, I did a lot of research on the actual plant that’s in the book (and which, incidentally, may actually treat cancer). I also extensively research the places in my books, although since I used to live in Austin, the main setting of Shameless, there was a bit less with this book.
Drake, the hero of Shameless, is a country music star, so I spent a lot of time researching concert venues and what happens behind the scenes on a concert tour, which was fun. The heroine, Tori, is an FBI agent, so I also did a lot of research on the FBI—everything from what kind of weapon agents are issued to what training academy is like.
With every book, there always seems to be some crazy search that makes me remember why it’s always a good idea to clear your search history. With Shameless, it was “how to drug someone.”
Jen: What’s the most challenging aspect of writing? Easiest? Most rewarding?
Brynley: The most challenging aspect of writing for me is finding the time, particularly when the story is coming hard and fast and I want to lock myself in a room and get it all out before it goes away but I have to cook dinner and take someone to basketball practice. As my family can attest, I can get so absorbed in the story in my head that I forget the real world. Editing is the easiest part of the writing process for me, and having people read my stories, fall in love with the characters, and be captivated and touched and drawn into the worlds I create is the most rewarding.
Jen: Do you have a favorite character or one you most identify with?
Brynley: When it comes to the Black brothers, the alpha male heroes that star in each book of my trilogy, picking a favorite is like picking my favorite child—I can’t do it! Like my kids, I love them all equally but differently, because they are all unique. Beckett (Fearless) is serious and authoritative, with a sexy take-charge attitude. Navy SEAL Griffin (Matchless) is a bad ass and very protective, but he is more open with his emotions and kind of mischievous. Country music star Drake (Shameless) is a bad boy through and through—dark and dangerous but with a sweet and funny side. I love them all!
There’s a little bit of me in each of my heroines. The people who know me best think I’m most like Mila, the independent, smart, sassy lawyer in Matchless, but there’s a big part of me that identifies with single mom Emma (Fearless), who’s responsible and a little afraid of losing control, but secretly longs to let go.
Jen: What’s next for you?
Brynley: I am working on the first book of a new series that will be a little edgier and will be out late summer about two people who have been hurt in the past who are thrown together under very unusual circumstances.