Chattanooga, TN – “Good cocoa is like good lovemaking. It’s best when it’s hot, sweet, and a little spicy.” Kelle Z. Riley (Undercover Cat series) channels humor and emotion in one luxurious dessert. Read My Lips (Sept. 7, 2021) is a lush romance gripped with desire from the very first page.
Claire Lennox has sworn off rich, powerful men ever since her former boyfriend used her to climb the corporate ladder leaving her emotionally jaded and her career in ruins. Contractually obligated to stay within the company, she accepts a position as the director of the McClaine Literacy Foundation and remains dedicated to her work, never removing her professional guise.
Self-made billionaire, Clayton Arthur McClaine, has it all. Since selling his famous “fantasy fudge” recipe, he’s created a chocolate empire from humble beginnings. But one issue stands in Clayton’s way; his struggle with dyslexia. Desperate to resolve this before his rivals find out, he disguises himself as a factory worker to visit his own literacy foundation. What Clayton didn’t expect was his immediate attraction to Claire and her inability to see beyond his deception.
As Clayton continues to visit Claire, their involvement juggles between steamy sessions and unresolved feelings. But with every encounter, Clayton’s mask slips a little and it’s only a matter of time before Claire finally sees his true self.
Read My Lips
Kelle Z. Riley | Sept. 7, 2021 | Romance
Ebook | Paperback | 978-1-7367811-0-4 | $11.00
Kelle Z. Riley: Writer, speaker, global traveler, Ph.D. chemist, and safety/martial arts expert, Kelle Z. Riley has been featured in public forums that range from local newspapers to national television.
Her other publications include a romantic suspense (Dangerous Affairs); the Undercover Cat Series books: The Cupcake Caper, Shaken, Not Purred, The Tiger’s Tale, and Studying Scarlett the Grey, which feature a cupcake baking scientist-turned-sleuth; and the Riches and Royals Series: Read My Lips, Royally Scandalized, Reluctantly Royal, and Counterfeit Commoner in which modern working women discover loving a prince is harder than it looks. A former Golden Heart Finalist, Kelle resides in Chattanooga, TN. She is a member of the Chattanooga Writer’s Guild, Sisters in Crime, Romance Writers’ of America and various local chapters. When not writing, she can be found pursuing passions such as being a self defense instructor, a Master Gardener, and a full time chemist specializing in water treatment and safety with numerous professional publications and U.S. patents. Kelle can be reached at www.kellezriley.net
In an interview, Kelle Z Riley can discuss:
- The secret to finding time to do what you love in a busy world
- Why we need escapist fiction (how channeling a fictional hero/heroine can make everybody’s life better)
- The transformative magic of storytelling (learning compassion and community through fiction)
- Creative power: bringing into existence something that didn’t exist before
- Writing processes and how to get started
- How “kick butt” characters teach us about safety and self defense
- The fun and challenge of researching new careers for each character in a novel
- The impact of good research on reader “suspension of disbelief” and why it matters
- Why we love heroes in disguise
An Interview with Kelle Z Riley
What was the inspiration for this novel and for your characters?
My first romance manuscript was entitled A Sweet Affair after the San Francisco Bay Area bakery where my husband worked at the time. Later, I envisioned an alphabet series of “Affairs” with “L” representing A Literary Affair, in which a teacher and a dyslexic billionaire find themselves falling for each other. At the same time, a friend described the “kinesthetic” techniques she used to help her children conquer spelling. A “light bulb moment” inspired me to incorporate kinesthetic teaching methods into the book, leading to some of my favorite playful, sexy scenes.
What are some of the themes of the book and why were they important to you?
I love a “Cinderella” theme in all its variants but I felt it could use a modern twist. Thus my Riches and Royals feature smart, career-focused women who happen to fall for billionaires and princes, only to discover it isn’t as easy as it looks in the movies. They struggle with issues of family, self identity, and transitioning from one set of circumstances to another, ultimately deciding love is worth the sacrifices it demands of them. To be fair, the men in my books also struggle with similar issues!
You’re a writer, but also a full-time chemist! What’s it been like juggling the two worlds?
It’s a lot of work! But there is nothing I would rather do. I used to think my unique combination of analytical and creative skill sets meant I could never fully succeed in either career. When one boss asked why I didn’t write science fiction, and I replied that I didn’t want him to think my research reports were made up! Much later, another mentor helped me see both how rare, and powerful, the combination was, and also how successful I had been in both areas .
You’ve previously published a cozy mystery series, so how’s the process been different writing a romance novel?
I actually started writing romance novels first, but the mysteries were the first to be published. The world building skills and character crafting skills are the same for both genres, and much of the story line follows from character conflicts and growth. Mysteries give me a cathartic rush as I use people who annoy me in real life as inspiration for both victim and killer. But read them closely and you’ll see I pack as much romance inside as the readers will allow. At heart, the joy of falling in love–over and over again with each new set of characters–is too much fun to resist.
Let’s talk about chocolate! What was your favorite part of the research, and what inspired you to focus on that industry?
Tasting, of course! I always envisioned my dyslexic hero in a food-related career that required hands-on skills, and quickly realized that chocolate was not only a beloved junk food, but also an aphrodisiac that embodied temptation and desire. Over the course of my research I trained my palette in all things cocoa (is it Dutch processed or not? Milk or dark chocolate? What flavor enhancers are present?). The highlight was the “Food of the Gods” tour in Maui where I tasted the cacao fruit and made a version of Aztec hot chocolate. Oddly enough, my chemistry labs are located a block from a major U.S. chocolate manufacturer and in the afternoon the air smells heavenly.
A former award-winning journalist with national exposure, Marissa now oversees the day-to-day operation of the Books Forward author branding and book marketing firm, along with our indie publishing support sister company Books Fluent.
Born and bred in Louisiana, currently living in New Orleans, she has lived and developed a strong base for our company and authors in Chicago and Nashville. Her journalism work has appeared in USA Today, National Geographic and other major publications. She is now interviewed by media on best practices for book marketing.