giving away copies of Dangerous Attractions for Kindle. Originally published by Kensington (under my short-lived Colleen Easton pseudonym) Dangerous Attractions is set in the gorgeous Key West of the 1850's, a city made rich on the salvage of the many shipwrecks along the reefs of Florida. When I first proposed the story to my editor, my preliminary research had cast the early wreckers as near-pirates, "moon cussers" who cursed the bright nights of a full moon and even lured ships onto the rocks in order to steal their cargos after the passengers and crew had drowned. When I visited Key West and dug into archival diaries, journals, and newspapers from the day, I found instead that the wreckers were absolutely serious about saving 1. lives and 2. property. They were legally rewarded for the latter in salvage courts, which allotted them a percentages of the proceeds from auctioned goods and insurance settlements. Though they were never paid for preserving human life, the wreckers--a religious and superstitious lot--saved hundreds, often risking their own lives to rescue passengers and crew in bad weather before beginning the dangerous work of off-loading the cargo. This research completely scrapped the plot I'd proposed, because there was no way I was dishonoring that kind of courage with what amounted to a pack of Disneyfied pirate lies, even though I had only a few months left until my deadline and a great big book to write! Fortunately, the real Key West came through, enriching my book's plot with details from the life of James Audubon (who lived there briefly), the Seminole Wars, the rough-hewn wreckers' frequent fights at the Green Parrot bar (which is still open; I visited two weeks ago and am wearing one of their t-shirts now!) and the even more intriguing tale of a woman artist used by another naturalist to do much of his work--with no credit for her mere feminine assistance. Here's what Booklist had to say about the resulting novel:
After surviving a shipwreck, Genna Whitworth, a Boston heiress fleeing from scandal, is stunned to learn she's been saved by a childhood friend she thought was long dead, a victim of the Seminole raid in which her father died. Eli Blaylock is also surprised to see Genna, the friend he blames for betraying his trust that fateful night. Amid secrets and guilt, Genna and Eli must decide if loyalty is stronger than love, and if sins from the past can be forgiven. The one word that describes this book best is "different." From the unique, culturally diverse setting of the mid-nineteenth-century Florida Keys to the integrated use of past and present, Easton has created a story a breed apart from the typical romance novel. However, it is indeed a romance, one that should interest readers looking for historicals beyond European ballrooms, as well as readers who never thought they'd like to read romance in the first place. Nina Davis Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reservedI hope you'll join me in the tropics this weekend with the free Kindle edition of what one reviewer called "a tropical paradise turned deadly." Happy reading!