You know how sometimes, the best results come about by accident? That’s how Return to Emerald City happened.
I was working on a short story aimed at a Christmas anthology. It featured a heroine called Dorothy, a pair of bright red stilettos, and a longing to go home. Real life got in the way of my writing, and I put my story aside to work on other commitments.
Around the same time, my writing / critique partner—Allyson Lindt—was finishing up a novella loosely named The Tin Man, about a futuristic hero with cybernetic implants. Camden has a lot of implants, and fears he’s lost his heart along the way.
I’m not sure who had the lightbulb moment first, but we both saw the potential for combining the stories. They both had a Wizard of Oz connection. From there we hashed out some details, agreed to each write another (for the Scarecrow and the Lion) and Return to Emerald City was born.
Sounds lovely and simple? The idea was, but like most stunning ideas, it had to be turned into reality. The first issue was creating the world, and this meant futurising Dorothy. I’d written her story as a contemp, but in order to mesh in with Camden’s, I had to shift it forty years into the future.
We wanted the stories to all link together, for the characters to develop across the story arc, and this happened surprisingly easily. Like all good characters, they grew and changed, and shared their stories with us.
We were beautifully organised, sharing documents in Google Drive and trying to keep track of the myriad of tiny details that needed to be consistent across four stories. I’ve lost track of the number of emails going back and forth between us, querying things like:
- is it Mag-Line, Magline, or MagLine?
- What’s the name of Camden’s girlfriend? I’ve forgotten it…
Did I mention that Allyson and I are not only in different time zones, we’re on different dates! She’s in the USA, while I live down under in New Zealand. It made collaborating interesting, to say the least * grin *
And after months of detail-checking, editing (huge thanks to “A” for content edits, and Sotia Lazu for line edits), and hours of poring over Shutterstock for the perfect cover model (isn’t Dorothy beautiful?), it’s finally released.
We had a blast working together on this, and know what? We’re already planning another collaboration for next year. Watch this space…
Excerpt from His Rewind Girl
His smile had gone from playful to dangerous, and a spike of desire drove through her. She fumbled for something witty to say, but every word raced from her thoughts.
“I might be thinking something.” His voice had dropped an octave, and she felt it roll through her as much as she heard it. Her heartbeat increased, and every inch of her pulsed with a hyper-aware sensitivity.
A heavy pause hung between them, and then he dipped his head. His mouth found hers, feather-light kiss touching her lips. She gasped, and leaned closer to deepen the kiss.
He pulled back, and disappointment flooded her. But his hand still caressed her waist. His quiet voice wove through the night. “You should know I’m not in the market for any kind of relationship. Not emotionally, anyway.”
When he shifted his weight, a distant streetlight bounced off something hanging around his neck. She squinted, and sick disbelief crawled into her gut. A gold ring with a tiny diamond hung from the chain. It had to have fallen out during their ride. She swallowed, mouth suddenly dry. “You’re married.”
He glanced down at his chest, corners of his mouth tugging down. He shoved the chain back under his shirt. “No. Not even close.” His jaw tightened, and he dropped his arm. “Never mind. I need to get home.”
Single, emotionally attached to someone else, and oh so alluring. Perfect. She grabbed his synth hand before she could talk herself out of it. She knew CyGes did an amazing job with their implants, but it still occasionally caught her off guard that a fake hand felt as real as any real one, from texture to temperature. It was in the little details—speed, precision, stamina—that the differences shone through.
“Do you have to, really?” She cringed at the plea in her voice, and pushed as much of it away as she could. “I’m sorry if I dragged up bad memories.”
He didn’t pull away, but he also didn’t move closer. “Don’t worry about it.”
“I’m not looking for anything emotional either.” Did people usually talk about one night stands like this? How awkward. Why couldn’t they just do it then go their separate ways? She traced her thumb over the back of his knuckles. “We can go back to my hotel. Or just hang here and talk a little longer.”
Wow, talk about desperate sounding. She fumbled internally for the confidence that had driven her to start this entire conversation.
He shook his head. “I’m sorry. This was a bad idea.”
Pride kept her going as much as want. She pulled his hand up and laid tiny kisses along each fingertip. The faint scent of silicone greeted her again, and she tried to be subtle about inhaling. “I didn’t mean to ruin the mood. We can get it back.”
“Probably not wise.” Despite his words, the determination was gone from his voice. His shoulders relaxed, and his expression softened.
She pressed her body as close to his as she could be without making contact. She flicked her tongue out over one of his fingers, and a low growl rumbled from his chest. That was a delicious sound. She sucked the finger into her mouth. A hint of plastic mingled with the taste of skin. Damn, she loved that taste. She closed her eyes, savoring the moment.
Her eyes snapped open, when he jerked his hand away. She was stunned to find him glaring at her, eyes practically a glacier. She frowned. “Did I do something wrong?”
He put more than a foot between them. “You knew.”
She raised her eyebrows. What was she missing? “Knew…?”
He sighed and shook his head, jamming his hands into his pockets. “You knew I’m part synth.”
She shrugged. “So?”
“Fuck.” He spoke between clenched teeth. “I’m not a fucking human vibrator. And I’m not interested in being your fetish.”
The blunt words, as honest as they were, sliced her and dug deep in the resulting wounds. “Excuse me?”
He spun away, already mounting his bike. “Go find someone else’s bike to ride. I’ve got an appointment in the morning.”
She glared at his rapidly vanishing back, as he peeled off and tore down the road. Hurt and embarrassment warred for her attention. She kicked both aside and smothered them with anger.
Dorothy’s Red Shoes
There’s no place like home… Dorothy is already feeling homesick for Emerald City, and wonders if taking a job halfway around the world was a mistake. When her love life crumbles–again–will she run for home?
His Replay Girl
If he only had the nerve… Ten years ago, Quinn made the best choice of his life, and the biggest mistake. It’s true, his band, Lionheart, is one of the biggest in the world, but how much does it mean if he can’t tell the woman he loves how he feels?
His Reboot Girl
If he only had a brain… Scott woke up with his head spinning and not much else going on up there. Now he’s a suspect in a terrorist plot, and on the run. One woman insists she's the key to his past and his freedom. Too bad he doesn't remember her.
His Rewind Girl
If he only had a heart.... Cam is as much machine as man. There are days he loathes the CyGes implants that saved his life but couldn't do the same for his family. They replaced his limbs, but now he needs someone to mend his heart.
Buy Return to Emerald City
Find Sofia Grey Online:
Twitter: @SofiaGreyAuthor https://twitter.com/SofiaGreyAuthor
Amazon author profile page: https://www.amazon.com/author/sofiagrey
Find Allyson Lindt Online
Amazon author page: https://www.amazon.com/author/allysonlindt
Catch Sofia & Allyson blogging at www.GeminiGirls.com
About Sofia Grey:
Romance author Sofia Grey spends her days managing projects in the corporate world and her nights hanging out with wolf shifters and alpha males. She devours pretty much anything in the fiction line, but she prefers her romances to be hot, and her heroes to have hidden depths. When writing, she enjoys peeling back the layers to expose her characters’ flaws and always makes them work hard for their happy endings.
About Allyson Lindt:
Allyson Lindt is a full-time geek and a fuller-time contemporary romance author. She prefers that her geeky heroes come with the alpha expansion pack and adores a heroine who can hold her own in a boardroom. She loves a sexy happily-ever-after and helping deserving cubicle dwellers find their futures together.