Author: Bellora Quinn and Sadie Rose Bermingham
Cover Artist: Emmy Ellis
Length: 103,000 Words
Preorder: 23rd May
Early Download (from Pride Publishing): 6th June
General Release: 4th July
Heat Level: 4 out of 5
Genre(s): Contemporary, Erotic Romance, Fantasy - Urban & Magical Beings, Mystery & Thriller, Paranormal, Paranormal - Psychic Talents
Mari Gale’s life has been a whirlwind since meeting Jake Chivis. A new job prospect and his mother’s health preoccupy him, so when Jake invites him on a date he’s ready to cut loose. Their night out turns into a nightmare when a fire breaks out in the basement of the bar and they barely escape.
Soon Jake learns that the horrific accident is being investigated as a possible homicide, and it’s not the only case. Detective Inspector Cordiline of the London Met hints at spontaneous human combustion, but as far as Jake knows, SHC doesn’t exist.
When Mari looks into a group called Birthright, he finds a connection to the victims of the fires and Jake risks himself to go undercover at the shadowy organization. The race is on to determine the truth before Jake becomes the next target.
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Sadie Rose Bermingham answers some questions about Burning Boundaries.
What inspired you to write this story?
After writing a basic whodunnit in Breathing Betrayal - that was as much about setting up the characters of Jake and Mari and what they can do, as solving the mystery - for book 2, we wanted a story that would tie in specifically with Jake’s Element, Fire. Bellora and I sat down one morning and tossed a few ideas back and forth about stuff we’d like to burn, and before long we came up with a scenario of people bursting into flames, for no logical reason. Once we had that basis, it was a short step to working out a common denominator for the apparently random victims. Then we had to work on how to bring this into line with our story universe, and the guys’ Elemental gifts.
Is there a character you feel especially connected to? Why?
Unusually, in Burning Boundaries - because I normally feel more comfortable writing about men than women - it’s Annabel, Mari’s mother. I don’t have children and never had the desire to be a mother, so my relationship with her is interesting. She’s a very grounded and sensible person, and a lot of my own experiences with my mother feed back into her exchanges with Mari. It’s possible that I also feel a kind of maternal responsibility for Mari, as his creator, and Anni could be an outlet for my practically non-existent sense of motherliness. I like her though. She’s smart and unemotional – even though she’s dealing quietly with a terrible disease that might well kill her - and she doesn’t take nonsense from anyone.
What was the hardest part of writing this?
We had a lot of issues over one scene in the book, where Mari and Jake interview a witness from the first immolation. Colm Fleming is a Dom, with his own private dungeon, and he has a very thinly disguised interest in getting Mari naked there, not helped by Mari’s innate curiosity about what Colm does for a living, and maybe trying it out for himself as a client. The scene where Jake and Mari go to his place to question Colm about the fire was a very fine balancing act. Jake loses his temper there for the first time in the series and that was kind of difficult to write for us, because Jake has put a lot of stress on his efforts to stay calm and not get provoked by things. We wanted to stay true to the characters, but that scene introduces a lot of new probabilities, and we had to be careful not to blur the boundaries of Jake and Mari’s fledgling relationship too much.
Choose a favorite line or short passage. What do you like about it?
The following extract happens in the scene immediately after they interview Colm and I like the way it explores the tensions between Jake and Mari. I think Bellora and I both loved this little exchange, from Jake’s POV, from the first time we wrote it.
“It makes me angry that guys like that…that they think they can take advantage of you so easily. And sometimes, you don’t seem like you know how to stop them.” The words were out of his mouth before he could censor them and he wanted to take them back. He tensed, half expecting Mari to slap him and walk away.
“No one is going to take advantage of me, Jake,” Mari soothed him, instead. “Only you, if you want to.”
“I’d never do that. Not unless you wanted it, too.” Jake knew he sounded defensive, but he could not stop himself. He needed Mari to understand that he would never be in danger from him.
“I know. Forgive me.” Mari’s expression was suddenly gentler. “You’re my hero.”
Jake held one of his hands but turned the other so he could caress Mari’s cheek, sliding his fingers back along his jaw and into his hair and looking into his eyes earnestly.
“Don’t fuck with my head, Ilmarinen. No games, okay? I’m not going to demand fidelity because I’ve seen it fuck up too many relationships when it’s what one person wants and not the other. If you want to mess around with someone else, fine, but don’t be coy about it. Just tell me. Because trying to guess what you really want is going to lead to me punching someone else in the face, and while that seems to be turning you on, it’s really not a good idea to test my control. And yeah, that sounds like some cheesy line from a comic book, but you don’t understand how hard I have fought to be who I am, instead of what I could have been.”
Tell us a little about any upcoming projects.
We’re editing Elemental Evidence 3 – Surfacing Secrets, based on the element of water, with Jake and Mari hunting a pair of snuff-movie killers who source their leading men/victims online. Almost done with that now. And then we’ll be tying up the details of Book 4.
Bellora is working on a fourth book in the AURA series with Angel Martinez, as yet untitled.
And we’re getting our teeth into a new series, set in an alt-universe America, where magical gifts are the norm. Neil is the son of a Sorcerer, on the run from magical thugs who killed his mother and presumably want to kill him. Malachi is the ex-pat, British alchemist into whose arms he runs. Together they manage to get into and out of more trouble than either thought possible.
Elemental Evidence Series Info:
Former Detective Jake Chivis is a Fire Elemental who uses psychometry to see the past. Doctor Ilmarinen Gale is an Air Elemental, a human/cybernetic interface, able to infiltrate even the toughest information systems. Together they find out just how potent a combination Fire and Air can be when it comes to solving crimes.
Amid murder, conspiracy and a world that views them with suspicion, and sometimes contempt, Jake and Mari circumvent the conventional. While the police aren't always appreciative of their methods they can't deny the results.
When they aren't busy consulting for the police, figuring one another out is their next big mystery. One that proves as frustrating as it is passionate. Between hunting killers and avoiding competing government agencies that want the two of them working on their side, they just might have enough time for love.
Was that flirting? Was he flirting with the guy? Jake tried to rein those thoughts in but he couldn’t help it. Mari had a habit of flirting, but it had never bugged Jake before. Jesus, they’d managed to go to one bar for an hour and already he was devolving into Neanderthal territory. He realized something else. It had never really bothered him when he and Alex had gone out and his ex had spent all night coming on to strangers. Then again, he’d known Alex was doing it to get a rise out of him. That was not Mari’s way, at all.
“You want another drink?” Jake asked, by way of keeping himself from hauling Mari out of there and grilling him about whether he wanted to sleep with Mr. Whips and Tattoos. They had to step to one side as a sweating, agitated-looking guy pushed by them on the stairs in an obvious hurry to get down to the basement for some chastisement. Though he looked chastised enough already, in Jake’s opinion.
“If you do,” Mari said, then exhaled a huff that might have been regret and might have been relief. “Unless, of course, you just want to put me over your shoulder and carry me out, Mr. Caveman. I wasn’t giving him the come-on. So you can stop looking daggers. And don’t deny it.” He pointed a slender finger at Jake as he opened his mouth. “I could see you thinking it. Yes, he’s very cute, but he’s not really my type. I do like his toy box though.”
Jake snapped his mouth closed then pushed a hand through his hair and let out a sigh of his own. He had always pitied guys that acted like possessive jerks and here he was being as transparent as glass, all but snarling at anyone who got too close to Mari. “I’m sorry. I was aiming not to be obvious. I’ll try and refrain from clubbing you over the head and dragging you out by the hair.” He managed a sheepish grin.
“In that case, it would be my pleasure to have another drink with you, Chivis.” Mari chuckled, slipping a hand around the nape of his neck and towing him in for a brief, firm kiss.
They made their way back up into the bar and as they were weaving their way through the crowd, Jake heard someone shout, then screaming coming from the direction of the basement.
The red and gold lighting seemed to be flickering and Mari yelled, “Can you smell something burning?”
Jake noticed the smell just as Mari was saying it, and turned his head. A curl of pale smoke was winding up from the basement stairway, not thick but noticeable.
“Shit!” He grabbed Mari’s arm. “Get out of here. Hurry.”
Jake gave him a push toward the front exit then shoved through the crowd, trying to get to the stairs.
Originally hailing from Detroit Michigan, Bellora now resides on the sunny Gulf Coast of Florida where a herd of Dachshunds keeps her entertained. She got her start in writing at the dawn of the internet when she discovered PbEMs (Play by email) and found a passion for collaborative writing and steamy hot erotica. Soap Opera like blogs soon followed and eventually full novels. The majority of her stories are in the M/M genre with urban fantasy or paranormal settings.
Sadie Rose Bermingham:
A storyteller since before she started school, Sadie also enjoys reading, photography, live music and long walks on the beach. Sadie has worked as a bookseller, a pedigree editor for the racing industry and a local and family history researcher. Originally from the north of England, she has been working her way across the UK ever since. She currently resides on the south east coast with her long term partner, where she hopes to buy a mobile home and establish a whippet farm.