Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Meet the Characters – An Interview with Layla from “Forbidden Kisses” by Sha Renée

What do you do when the person you love is off limits? Military regulations prohibit personal relationships between senior officers and their juniors. Violation of this rule is a serious offense. Unfortunately, for Layla Matthews and Ethan Parker, they don’t discover each other’s military status until after they’ve already fallen for each other. With the threat of disciplinary action and their careers at risk, the lovers find themselves with an impossible decision.

Today we’re talking to Petty Officer Layla Matthews, US Navy, from the book “Forbidden Kisses” by Sha Renée. This is the first book in the series, “Anchored Hearts.”

Name three of your favorite things.
Spending time with Ethan
Being in the Navy

What do you like most about being in the Navy?
It truly is an adventure, just like the slogan says. I travel, meet new people, learn new skills. And working in the aviation field is like icing on the cake. When I watch a plane takeoff, I feel a sense of pride knowing that my work helped put that plane in the air. I love that sense of belonging to something huge, important and incredibly awesome.

What is your relationship status?
I’m involved with a wonderful man named Ethan Parker. *whispers* I trust I can talk freely here. You see, Ethan’s a Navy Lieutenant, which means the military prohibits us from having a personal relationship. Neither of us wants to be dishonest, but the decision whether or not to stop seeing each other... well it’s one of the most difficult choices I’ve ever been faced with.

What are you most afraid of?
Losing Ethan. I mean, I’m not afraid he’ll leave me for someone else, because seriously, I rock his world... What? I do. *smiles* He says my honey is the sweetest he’s ever had. *Smile is replaced with a look of concern* But aside from the obvious threat of being forced to give him up, there’s the fact that... he’s a pilot. At the end of each day, I wait for a text from him so I know his training operations went okay. But I know there will come a time when his flights are not just for training. He’ll go up against an enemy to protect all of us. I’m aware of the risk. It’s what we do. Hell, it’s what we signed up for. But I honestly don’t know what I’d do if he didn’t come back to me.

What is your favorite food?
Lasagna... and Ethan’s is the best. He’s an amazing cook, which I appreciate, because I can’t cook to save my life. Just give me a microwave and some frozen dinners, though and I’m good.

What is your favorite song?
I Can’t Help Falling in Love – The version by UB40. When Ethan sings it to me, it melts my heart, gives me goosebumps and brings tears to my eyes. 

Describe your idea of an ideal weekend.
If Ethan and I didn’t have to keep our relationship a secret, I spend weekends at his house. On Friday evenings, we’d order dinner and snuggle on the couch watching a movie. We’d talk about our work week and make plans for the rest of the weekend. On Saturdays, we’d probably work out together, pick up groceries and run other errands. Saturday nights would be for going out – maybe to a Jazz club, the bowling alley or a comedy club followed by dinner out. On Sundays, we’d sleep late until we felt inclined to do some outdoor activity - auto racing, a farmers’ market or museum, followed by a home-cooked dinner. Ethan would cook, of course. Now that would be a perfect weekend.

You talk a lot about Ethan. How did you two meet?
It started with a cup of coffee. I had a lot on my mind - my mom was in the hospital and I was studying for exams. I made the innocent mistake of picking up the wrong cup at the coffee hut. Ethan found me, we switched cups, flirted and got stuck in the bathroom together. He swears I picked up his cup intentionally, just to meet him, though.

What was your first impression of him?
There was an instant attraction. It was difficult to focus on studying my notes because he sat at the table right next to mine. I couldn’t shake the feeling that he was watching me and whenever I glanced at his table our eyes met and he flashed that beautiful smile of his.

If someone from your past showed up, who would you most want it to be, and why?
Kennedy. No, I take that back. *Eyebrows furrow* Yeah. Kennedy. Not the former president. Someone very dear to me. I often wonder how my life would have turned out if I hadn’t made the choice that I did. The thing is, Kennedy does show up in an upcoming story – without warning. Just knocks on the door. I nearly fall over. Good thing Ethan is there with me.

Do you have any bad habits?
According to Ethan, I make a mess in his kitchen when I attempt to cook. I can’t clean as I go, like he’s always telling me to. If I stopped to clean everything and return every item right after using it, that would double the prep time of whatever I’m trying to create. He hates when I leave the fridge open. But if I take the cheese out, I might as well leave the door open, sprinkle the cheese into the pot and then return it to the fridge. Then I close the door. You’d think if someone wants you to clean as you go, they wouldn’t get annoyed when you leave the door to the fridge open. Sheesh.

What is the most evil thing anyone could do?
There is nothing like family, especially the bond between a parent and child. More specifically, a mother and child, because they have a physical connection long before the father does. Harming any child is heinous. But harming your own child... in my opinion, that’s the worst. The opposite of that, of course would be someone abusing an elderly parent, or turning your back on them. I just don’t see how a person could live with his or herself after treating a parent badly.

For whom or what would you die?
That’s easy. My country, of course. My mother. Ethan. I’ll stop there, since I don’t want to give away too much of my story.

Name something you’re good at and something you’re bad at.
I’ll let Ethan answer that. *Turns to Ethan, who’s taken a seat next to Layla*
Wow. Way to put me on the spot, Layla. Okay, I’ll use the sandwich technique. They say when you have something negative to say about someone, you should sandwich it between two positives. First and foremost, Layla is extremely good at anything sexual. *Grins* She’s confident in her sexuality. She’s not bashful about telling me what she wants and exactly how she wants it. And when she gives... she gives completely, holding nothing back. Every experience with her is mind-blowing. *Looks at Layla, who’s blushing*

Layla is... not so good at... well, I’m just going to say it. She knows it. I know it. She can’t cook. I do all the cooking when we’re together and that’s okay because I enjoy it and she hates it. We only see each other on weekends, so when I ask about her week and she tells me what she’s eaten, I cringe.

Lastly, she’s an amazing dancer. Sensual. Seductive. When we go out dancing, I get to feel her - which is great. But at my place, I sit back and watch while she dances. Men are visual... and watching her is definitely a treat.

Okay, Layla, if you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?
I wish I were better able to communicate and express my feelings. I frequently find it difficult to get the right words out at the right time. It sometimes leads to misunderstanding and hurt. But, I’m working on it.

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