Monday, April 21, 2014

Romance in the Jungle- Guest Author Marie Higgins!

Today I have the lovely Marie Higgins on The League of Rogues to talk about her upcoming release and the Amazon Jungle!

Romance in the Jungle

Katrina Landon’s life is about to change.  The wealthy father she has never known wants to meet her, but she has to travel from the slums of Boston through the Amazon rainforest to his plantation. As if that’s not bad enough, her guide is the handsome, self-assured, too confident for his own good, Mr. Knightly, who immediately stirs her temper.

Felix Knightly isn’t looking forward to escorting a spoiled rich girl through the jungle no matter how much her father pays. Yet when he meets her, he finds Katrina’s distracting innocence and charming demeanor unsettling. She makes it nearly impossible to concentrate on his job—a problem he’s never had around women. He’d rather fight off the fire ants, howler monkeys, and crocodiles than risk losing his heart to her, since he’s never met an honest wealthy woman.

As they delve deeper into the shadows of the rainforest, they discover they weren’t just wrong about each other, they were wrong about the dangers of the jungle. Someone wants them dead and they have to find out who and why before it’s too late.

My newest release, “Amazon Sunset” takes place in the Amazon Rainforest—during the late 1800’s.  I know what you’re thinking.  You’re wondering how a romance could possibly happen in the middle of a jungle, right?  Well, let me assure you, I had wondered the same thing when I first had an idea to write this story.  I wanted to write about something different, something unique.  I have never read a romance that has taken place in a jungle.  All I knew was that there were no paved roads, lots of plants and trees, many variations of animals / insects and other creatures, and let’s not forget…lots of rain!  So really…how could my characters fall in love at all?

Not only am I a romance writer, I enjoy writing suspense.  Not only does there have to be some kind of mystery between the characters, but in the plot itself.  I thrive on keeping my readers turning the pages to find out what really happens throughout my adventure of twists and turns.  While putting together the plot to “Amazon Sunset” in my head, I realized that the dangers of the jungle were the very key to bringing my hero and heroine together.

A line in my blurb states: He’d rather fight off the fire ants, howler monkeys, and crocodiles than risk losing his heart to her, since he’s never met an honest wealthy woman.  Which is exactly how the hero feels, but because of everything they share together, it brings them closer together.  (I’ll tell you a secret...there are more dangers than just ants, monkeys, and crocodiles.)

Researching what I needed for this story was very entertaining, and I realized one thing.  I am not the kind of girl who would enjoy traipsing through the jungle.  Not today…and certainly not in 1890.  I’m the type that doesn’t like to get dirty.  It’s a good thing my heroine’s not like this, or she would have never met the hero—the man of her dreams.

Here is a snippet of my new release –

“Mr. Knightly?” she whispered only for his ears. “What is wrong?”
He turned toward her and grasped her wrist. His hold wasn’t tight, but his actions still worried her.
“What you see in those trees are howler monkeys,” he spoke in a low tone.
His voice was calm, yet his expression didn’t match the tone. “Howler monkeys?” she asked. “That’s an odd name for them.”
Extremely hairy and mostly brown in color, they were odd looking primates, but it was their heads that had her really studying the creatures, because their faces appeared almost…orange. At first she wondered if they had all been slapped with orange paint, but then she realized that was what they were supposed to look like. Their tails were longer than their bodies, and were the very things keeping them attached to the tree branches, while their hands and feet clutched different branches—almost forming a spider web. Dozens of them filled one tree alone, yet all the trees held about the same amount of monkeys.
“I’ve never seen anything quite like it before,” she continued. “I suppose they are cute in an odd sort of way—”
“Listen closely,” he cut her off with a slow but steady voice. “Do not make any sudden movements. You might think they are cute, but they are easily irritated. Making them upset is not wise, because they have been known to attack.”
A surprised gasp stuck in her throat. They would attack? They looked harmless. But as she watched his crew cautiously prepare for the battle they thought could possibly happen, she realized she’d better follow Felix’s warning this time. “Attack?” her voice squeaked out.
“Mostly they will urinate or fling their um…waste…on us. However, there have been a few times I’ve witnessed them springing out of the trees and physically beating a person to death.”
“Oh, dear.”
He loosened his grip on her arm. “Stay by me and I’ll protect you. We don’t want to do anything to agitate these wild primates.”
“All right,” she whispered as fear slowly seeped into her body.
One of Felix’s crew members slowly approached him and passed him a machete. He gripped the handle and stepped closer to Katrina. All talking—and even whispering—on the small vessel stopped as the barge crept underneath the trees. Panic knotted in her throat as she switched her attention from one monkey to the next, trying to study their eyes. They all appeared to be watching her and the rest of the crew with great intent, and she prayed they could pass beneath the trees without any disturbance. Even the thought of them flinging their…unmentionables…on her or urinating made her want to gag.
Her heart hammered, and she tried not to get too frightened. Felix promised he’d protect her, so she must trust him.
He took careful steps, shifting even closer to her. “Katrina,” he whispered, “you’re breathing too loudly. Try to calm down.”
Silently she groaned. How in heaven’s name could she calm down when everyone around her was on guard for a battle to the death?
From one of the trees, a monkey rose higher than the others as if the animal was ready to pounce. She held her breath. Oh, please don’t! The grip Felix had on her wrist tightened. He, too, must be preparing for something to happen.
Without being able to stop it, a small peep escaped her throat as fear consumed her.
“Shh…” he said softly.
The barge inched its way underneath the watchful monkeys. They only needed to pass two more trees before they were out of harm’s way.
Her body shook, and for the life of her, she couldn’t control it. Felix released her wrist and gently slipped his arm around her waist, pulling her against his frame. The warmth from his body brought a strange sense of comfort to her.
“We’re almost there…” he said.

Watch the book trailer –

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Marie Higgins is a best-selling, multi-published author of sweet romance; from refined bad-boy heroes who make your heart melt to the feisty heroines who somehow manage to love them regardless of their faults. Visit her website / blog to discover more about her –
Find her on Facebook –
And Twitter - @MarieHigginsXOX