Seduction Under Fire by Melissa Cutler

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Cowboys and Soldiers

Melissa Cutler here, and lately I've been thinking about what makes a man a Real Man. I know, as opposed to what…an Old Navy mannequin? The thing is, when you live and breathe romance novels, you spend a lot of time pondering rippling abs, cocky confidence, and that low-down rumbling laugh that turns me melty. You know what else a real man needs, at least a hero in my books? Tools.

And by tools, I mean guns.

You can count on my heroes to be packing heat, whether they carry a shotgun under the driver's seat of their truck or a pistol in a shoulder holster. To be clear, I'm not trying to get political. Guns in the real world are scary and deadly and not at all necessary for a man to prove his manliness, but in my fantasy world of romance novels, I like firepower. Lots and lots of firepower.

What you need to know about me…

When I was twenty, what first impressed me about by the man who'd become my husband was that at the sporting goods store we both worked at he was the one with the keys to the gun case. That's right, ladies—forget team sports or footwear! I wanted the man who managed the hunting, fishing, and outdoor department. One night after the store closed, he unlocked the case and let me handle the guns. (pun intended <grin>) It was the first time I'd touched anything more powerful than an ancient hunting rifle. Needless to say, all that brushed chrome and hard, smooth steel got my blood pumping. Then he let me hold a Desert Eagle .44 magnum semi-automatic…and I was a gonner.

I don't think I'm alone in this fascination about men with guns, judging by the box office success of action films like the Bourne Trilogy or James Bond movies. There's something inherently sexy about a man with a gun in his hand or strapped to his body. But it's more than the look that gets me going. Gun-handling skills indicate a deeper sex appeal of a man who holds his own in the world with the kind of self-sufficiency money can't buy. A man with a commanding physical presence who defends himself, his family, and his beliefs with his hands, his skills, and a heaping dose of confidence.

You know what kind of men that sounds like? Cowboys and Soldiers

And that has a lot to do with why I love writing both. Whether I'm writing a rugged cowboy or intense black ops agent, I want to spend my page time with men who can take care of themselves and their women no matter what life throws their way. Seduction Under Fire is my debut Harlequin Romantic Suspense and you might be able to tell by the title that just about everyone's packing heat from the first chapter on, including Aaron and Camille, who find a mother lode of weapons in the gun smugglers' compound where they're being held captive.

A sneak peek of Seduction Under Fire:

A row of wooden crates sat along one wall, stacked two high.

Camille walked to the crates and tried to lift one. “Help me with this.”

“What are you doing?” Aaron asked.

“These guys are weapons smugglers, right? So what do you think’s in these boxes, donations to Goodwill?”

“You guard the door. I’ll look inside.” He tucked the gun into his waistband.

Camille tried to ignore the zing of desire that hit her at that maneuver. What a stupid thing to think about when their lives were in danger. On second thought, it was a stupid thing to think about at any time. She had no business ever thinking about Aaron’s pants or what he put in them.

He lifted a box to the ground and dumped packing peanuts on the floor. “This was the best idea you’ve ever had, Blondie.” With her rifle aimed at the closed door, she walked backward until she stood over the box. Aaron was right. This was the best idea she’d ever had. She didn’t even care that he’d called her that terrible name again because in the box, nestled in a black nylon bag, were ten Smith & Wesson M&P 9mm pistols.

With silencers. And boxes of ammunition.

Aaron moved the .38 from the front of his waistband to the back. He screwed a silencer on to a 9mm and loaded the magazine. Repeating the process with a second pistol, he handed it to Camille. She tucked it into her jeans.

“Don’t you want to trade up for the silent model?” Aaron asked with honest surprise.

Camille wasn’t about to admit her gun-handling defect. “Like you said, size matters.”

Both books are in stores now:
Book Depository (free shipping, woot!):

Giveaway! One lucky reader who comments on my blog will be randomly selected to win a copy of Seduction Under Fire. Good luck! My thanks to Rom Con for hosting me today. I love hearing from readers and am really easy to find at, on Facebook ( ), and Twitter (@m_cutler). And you can always email me at or sign up for my newsletter ( ) to find out about my latest books and upcoming events. 

Melissa Cutler is a flip-flop wearing Southern California native living with her husband, two rambunctious kids, and two suspicious cats in beautiful San Diego. Three things you should probably know about her are: she believes Judith from Julie Garwood's The Secret is the most perfect heroine in all of literature (sorry, Elizabeth Bennett), she's traveled to more countries in the world than states in the U.S., and she's certain that there are actually only two types of food in existence—those that taste better with hot sauce and those that taste better with whipped cream.