Lora Leigh dedicated her latest novel, "Nauti Temptress," to her son, Bret, but this extension of her "Nauti Boys" series is written with Leigh's fans in mind.
Speaking from her Pennsylvania home last month, Leigh said she conjured up more characters in the series in direct response to readers who couldn't get enough of the MacKay cousins.
The erotic romance series that could make fans of "Fifty Shades of Grey" blush revolves around three cousins. The latest book tells the stories of one of the cousins' four half-sisters. It's set in rural Kentucky, and the continuing plot involves homegrown, militia-style terrorists who are plotting to overthrow the federal government.
"The readers were sending so many emails when I ended the series. They were wanting more. That's how it evolved," Leigh said.
Eager fans also helped to launch Leigh's career more than a decade ago.
Leigh was working as a book reviewer for a website when she was asked to review a book published by Ellora's Cave. Leigh said she knew the publisher of erotic romances was where she needed to submit her stories, which contain scorching sex scenes and graphic sexual language.
She had already submitted "Marley's Choice" to Ellora's Cave and was working on the sequel, "Sarah's Choice," when she asked a fan to read a sex scene. She laughs now, saying she meant to send the email with the scene attached to just the one fan, but instead sent it as a group email.
"It was a very erotic scene," she said. "It went over very well."
She said readers wanted to know where she had submitted the first story, and within days Ellora's Cave had accepted the "Men of August" series.
The raw sex scenes and topics of Leigh's contemporary books place them in the erotic romance genre, which isn't for everyone. Leigh said her mother "devours" the books, but Leigh's daughter won't read them. And as for her son, he jokes that people often say, "Omigod, your mother wrote that."
The "Men of August" series was about brothers who shared a woman, and her "Bound Hearts" series is about menage relationships. The "Nauti Boys" series and the "Elite Ops" series are about monogamous relationships, though they have hard-core sex. The "Elite Ops" series centers on a covert paramilitary group that goes on dangerous missions.
Leigh said she began the "Bound Hearts" series in an effort to understand a lifestyle that she found somewhat objectionable.
"I had a friend that I loved who was part of that lifestyle; at one point, upon reflection, I found myself judging her for it," said Leigh, who describes herself as "deeply religious."
Leigh said that writing was all she ever wanted to do, even though she wasn't a good English student in high school. She still remembers wanting to take creative writing in high school, but not being allowed to because the prerequisite was an A in English.
"I'm just a good ol' girl from the mountains," she said.
Leigh said she writes about three books a year and she tries to follow her instincts on the stories, rather than get wedded to plotting.
"I can give you a good idea a year in advance, but when I sit down to write that book, that's not the story you're going to get," she said.
Instead, her characters take control and tell the story. She had planned to write about four more male MacKays, cousins who got involved with female Homeland Security agents. Instead, she ended up creating the "Nauti Girls" series, about the four half-sisters of James "Dawg" MacKay, a character featured in Nauti Nights.
In explaining the change, Leigh said simply, "Dawg just wasn't cooperating."
In addition to her contemporary romances, Leigh also writes fantasy books. Her "Breeds" series, about a world filled with humans and genetically altered breeds, is still going strong.
But she said she knows that juggling several books at a time can sometimes hurt the quality of her work.
Her "Sins" series has been widely criticized by readers for problems with continuity and typos. Leigh rattled off a litany of glitches that dogged the series - everything from busted deadlines to copyediting fixes not getting made.
"There were a thousand different problems with each of those books. ... I tried to follow the synopsis instead of writing by the seat of my pants," she said.
Original Print Headline: 'Religious' mom enjoys writing 'Nauti'
'Nauti Temptress' a fun weekend escape
Fans of Lora Leigh's "Nauti Boys" series can settle in for another visit with the MacKay Clan. Leigh takes readers back to Pulaski County, Ky., where homegrown militia-style terrorists are still plotting against the federal government.
The series seemed to end once the cousins - Rowdy, Dawg and Natches - and their friends were all happily married. The story continues, though this time it is about the Nauti Girls, or Dawg's four half-sisters.
Leigh does a good job of providing the back story without bogging down the books, so readers unfamiliar with the series shouldn't get lost in the plot.
The sisters are brought to Kentucky by the erstwhile Homeland Security honcho Timothy Cranston. The family is left adrift when the government seizes the assets of Dawg's late father, who was a major player in the militia. "Nauti Temptress" is the story of Eve, the eldest sister.
It's a fast story, and though it includes Leigh's trademark sex scenes, they are secondary to a plot that revolves around family loyalty. Eve finds her loyalties divided when Dawg asks one thing of her: Stay away from Brogan Campbell. Campbell is an undercover Homeland Security agent, but his persona is that of a traitor who trades in military secrets.
The only problem is that Brogan has been living as a permanent boarder at the bed-and-breakfast that Eve's mother operates. There's an undeniable chemistry between Brogan and Eve, and just as they inch toward acting on it, Dawg makes Eve promise that Brogan will be off-limits.
Of course, this being a romance they ultimately find a way to be together, and this being Pulaski County, Ky., there's some terrorist action thrown in, too.
"Nauti Temptress" is a fun weekend escape.