Thanks so much for letting me stop by Manic Readers to talk about my new release, INTO THE DEVIL’S UNDERGROUND.

The book was originally published as Into the Dark in 2012 by MuseItUp Publishing, and I received the rights back this spring. I’ve grown a lot as a writer, and I knew there were thing about the plot and characters that needed to be fixed. So I contacted my amazing editor, Annetta Ribken, and told her to tear the book apart. The end result is about 20,000 new words, a much tighter plot, and stronger characters.

One of the biggest changes is the romance between main characters Nathan and Emilie. While it existed in the original book, it needed more. And I don’t mean more sexy time, but more development. Instead of sort of randomly falling for each other, Nathan and Emilie have an intense connection right from the start, because Nathan trades himself for a hostage. He knows Emilie is the target for the one of the masked robbers, and because Nathan is kept separated from her, I had to rely on nonverbal communication between the two of them. That was a challenge, but it made for a much stronger relationship.

Here is one of my favorite new scenes between Nathan and Emilie, as Nathan is trying to judge her captor’s state of mind and let Emilie know he’s there to save her:

“What about you?” Midway to the phone, Nathan stopped, pointing to the partner. “Don’t you want to know what he’s planning? This concerns you too.”

He heard Emilie’s breath hitch and was close enough to see nerves flush her pale face. She stared at Nathan, but he kept his attention on the other man.

“He knows he screwed me.” Joe nudged the barrel of the gun in Nathan’s side. “He lost his right to an opinion.”

“You agree with that?” Nathan wished he could see the man’s eyes well enough to read them.

A muffled sigh came through the facemask. “He’s right. It’s best I stay here.”

“Right there?” Nathan asked. “Seems to me it would be easier to watch the hostages if you were in between them. Or at least had them all where you could see them. Emilie’s blocking your view of the others.”

She shivered. The man seemed to swell in his black clothes, chest expanding, arms tightening the way a man’s do before they take a swing. “Don’t you have a phone call to make?”

Joe dug the gun deeper into Nathan’s side. “He does. Get on with it.”

Nathan should. But the ferocity of the partner’s body language and the desperation on Emilie’s sweating face pushed Nathan to the edge, where risks can pay off or cause massive tragedy.
“You know, SWAT thinks she’s in on this with you.”

“What?” Emilie’s voice cracked from nonuse. “I’m not. I don’t know this man.”

“I believe you,” Nathan said. “But I’m just telling him, his choosing to focus on you instead of all the hostages makes the cops think you’ve helped plan this whole thing.”

“What your people think is irrelevant. They’re too small-minded(hyphenate) to look beyond the obvious.” The partner cocked his head, rounding his shoulders.

“Maybe they are,” Nathan said. His gaze flickered to Emilie and then back to the masked man. “But I’m not.”

“Who gives a shit if they think she’s involved?” Joe said. “Maybe that’ll work to our advantage.”

“Don’t count on it.”

“Why?” Joe demanded.

“Because she’s not in danger. So all his attention on her works against you.” Nathan prayed this didn’t backfire on him. “They see you as less of a threat. And since you’re kind of the odd man out, SWAT thinks you’re not the person they need to talk to. Looks like these two are sitting back letting you do the dirty work, and they’ve probably got a separate plan.”

“I don’t have a plan,” Emilie burst out.

“Shut up.” Joe pulled his arm back and stepped toward her, but the partner shot to his feet like an electrical jolt had struck him.

Tall and strong, leaner and better dressed than Joe, he raised his own gun. “No more violence. Let’s get the call made and get out of here.”

Nathan caught a ripple of an accent but couldn’t place it. Emilie stood, her legs wobbling. She pitched forward, and Nathan caught her by the arm. She seized his forearm, her fingernails digging into his skin, her grip so tight he felt her pulse pounding in her wrist. He finally saw her eyes–they were a deep green, a pretty contrast to her fair, freckled skin and auburn hair.
They shined with panic. He squeezed her arm, hoping she could stay calm.

The partner yanked her out of Nathan’s grasp so hard Emilie teetered on her heels and then slammed into the teller counter. Mollie cried out and moved toward her, but Emilie waved her off.

Into the Devil’s Underground is available now!
tacy green

Born in Indiana and raised in Iowa, Stacy Green earned degrees in journalism and sociology from Drake University. After a successful advertising career, Stacy became a proud stay-at-home mom to her miracle child. Now a full-time author, Stacy juggles her time between her demanding characters and supportive family. She loves reading, cooking, and the occasional gardening excursion. Stacy lives in Marion, Iowa with her husband Rob, their daughter Grace, and the family’s three obnoxious but lovable canine children.

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