I sat down with Maria Cox to talk inspiration, office romance and her new release, Captive!
Libby Tobar believes her boyfriend, Max, may be cheating on her. The last thing Libby ever imagined was that Max would turn out to be a philanderer, like her soon-to-be ex-husband.
Max Ramos is doing well for himself; he has everything he wants in life—including the woman he wants to marry, Libby. Following a moment of poor judgment, however, Max finds he’s desperate to make amends with his fiancée. The future of their relationship now hangs in the balance.
Where did your inspiration for the book come from?
I knew two individuals who had an office romance (while the two were divorcing their respective partners); they end up marrying.
Did you outline the story, or dive right in?
The original novelette was written and published in 2013. At the time when Captive was first written, I dove right in, I had no outline. For the second release, however, I spent three months just outlining the re-write; I definitely delved much deeper into my characters lives the second time around.
How did your characters come to life?
My characters came to life when I realized that writing about a once-thought taboo topic was important. I wanted people who’d found love in an office setting a voice/platform.
What was your favorite part of working on this story? What was the most challenging?
My favorite part of writing Captive was bringing ‘to light’ office romances, which –by the way –aren’t always elicit.
I believe as recently as ten or fifteen years ago there was a stigma associated with office romances. These days with so much of the workforce spending 50-60 hours in an office setting it is understandable that men/women would find someone at the office rather than outside of work.
The most challenging aspect of writing Captive was not knowing Libby and Max as well as I should have (for the first release). I didn’t know my main characters as flesh and blood characters, so in the end, the first release of Captive was a stilted short story about co-workers having sex.
Max gathered her close and quickly wrapped one strong arm around her.
She yelped. “What are you doing?”
“I’m taking what’s mine.” His right hand encircled her waist.
His strong powerful arms around her felt glorious. He held her as if she were the most precious artifact. This is how it should always be with them.
“You’re such a male chauvinist.” She teased.
“I think you like it,” Max said with a sly smile.
Max’s hands skimmed down her lower back. His eyelids lowered to slits over his large dark pupils. In a brazen move, she slipped her hand and cupped him. A hissing sound emitted from him. This proved to her that Max was just as affected by her as she was by him.
With his body, he guided her until she was up against his desk. “Your scent,” he whispered, “I know that aroma well.”
With a slight tilt of his head, Max brushed his lips against hers once… twice.
Her eyes fluttered closed as he kissed her mouth. She perched her hips on the desk and several books and folders crashed onto the floor. Neither one flinched.
He urged, “Lift your leg.”
“I thought you’d never ask,” she said.
Maria Cox is the 2nd Place winner of the 2017 MANA Blog Short Story Series Contest. Maria is also a PRO member of Romance Writers of America and the Treasurer of RWA/NYC. Maria served two terms as President of the Phoenix Writers Club.
Maria has been writing stories since she was a young girl. She picked up her first romance novel when she was just eleven years old and has loved the genre ever since. Maria writes sensual romance, stories that showcase strong, sassy, and sexy characters. When not writing fiction, Maria works as a technical writer. She lives in Queens, New York.
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