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Read an excerpt from Christina Lauren's 'Beautiful Bombshell' -- EXCLUSIVE

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Christina Lauren—the best-selling author of Beautiful Bastard and Beautiful Stranger—is at it again, this time with Beautiful Bombshell (out Sept. 3). But why wait until next month when you can get a jump-start on the novella now? Read on for a first look at Bombshell which follows Max, Henry, Will, and Bennett as they steal away to Las Vegas for a weekend of strippers and shenanigans. READ FULL STORY

Hot Memorial Day reading: Christina Lauren talks 'Beautiful Bastard' follow-up, 'Beautiful Stranger' -- EXCLUSIVE

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The first holiday of summer is upon us and we’ve got just the steamy romance to spice up your Memorial Day weekend: Beautiful Stranger by Christina Lauren. The follow-up to the best-selling Beautiful Bastard is already available on Kindle, but hits shelves in paperback May 28. We took the time to speak to the two lovely ladies behind the popular erotica novels, Christina Hobbs and Lauren Billings (together, they make the pen name Christina Lauren), about their latest release, their thoughts on the fan fic phenom, and their foray into YA.

ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: You’re speaking to us from Paris while promoting Beautiful Bastard. What’s the reception been like over there?
CHRISTINA HOBBS: Well, it was really funny because both our husbands went sightseeing today while we were working and they went into this little random drugstore in Paris and saw fifty copies of Beautiful Bastard. It’s crazy! Even at home, every time I walk into a Target or something and see the book, it doesn’t feel real.

Beautiful Bastard originated as Twilight fan fiction much like Fifty Shades of Grey, but your new book Beautiful Stranger is 100% original. How did the experience differ from writing Bastard?
LAUREN BILLINGS: I think for Beautiful Bastard, we really liked the revision process. In fact for BB, that was all I had to really do. I came in, just for the editing part — tore it up, re-wrote the ending, that kind of thing. It was really different because it was just revisions. We didn’t really have expectations for what was going to happen with it. With Stranger, the pressure was on because we sold it in this deal to Gallery Books and we wanted to really deliver and make sure it was something that would show that we had grown as writers. So, while the drafting and revision stage were both a little more stressful, it was also more fun. We felt from the beginning this might actually be a good follow-up.

What’s the idea behind Beautiful Stranger? It’s not a direct sequel to Bastard.
BILLINGS: We had a few different ideas that had been bouncing around, and when we got the deal with Gallery, we weren’t really sure which to go with. So we proposed a few and the one that ended up being Stranger was one that Christina had come up with, which was based off the idea of, what happens if you meet someone at a bar? At first, I was like, where are we going to take that? We started talking about it and it just grew from there. Interestingly, the other one that we had loved the most became Beautiful Player, the third book in the series.

So tell me, have you ever had a kinky dalliance with your boss? Or taken home a tall, handsome stranger from a bar?
BILLINGS: [Laughs] I have. In grad school. [[Pauses] Before I met my husband, I definitely had some flirty hook-up nights. But nothing quite like that.
HOBBS: I haven’t because I am married to my high school sweetheart.

How does Max, the protagonist of Beautiful Stranger, compare to Bastard‘s Bennett?
BILLINGS: We say Max is the sugar. Max is just this big, charming sugar. He doesn’t have any pretenses; he doesn’t need to be defensive about his feelings. In that sense he’s very different from Bennett, who is caught off guard by how he feels for Chloe, so it comes out in defensiveness and anger, that sort of heat that a lot of people really love. Max is the opposite of that — he feels what he feels. He doesn’t have the need to explain it away.

What I love about this series is that it’s not really serious. Despite the comparisons, it’s really nothing like Fifty Shades.
BILLINGS: I’m so glad you say that. We don’t take ourselves too seriously. We write these books quickly and we have a really good time. We just sort of let them come, ha ha. Pun intended.
HOBBS: We just really want readers to laugh and blush and swoon. If it gives them a few hours of escape, then we feel like we’ve done exactly what we’ve wanted.

Since Bastard started as fan fic, it’s obviously somewhat polarizing. Can you talk about the reaction you’ve gotten from readers?
BILLINGS: I think it’s a sticky issue. A lot of fan fiction out there, it either has a root in the sort of vampire world of Twilight or it has the same emotional beat as Twilight: the stalker-y male, the demure, shy female. And I think that is sort of where it gets a little sticky. The thing about fic is that there’s a whole world of fic out there that has writers that explored their own ability to write things, but it really had no root in the Twilight world. Those are the ones that are in more of a gray area. It didn’t have that much of a connection to the original work. What happened was when Fifty Shades of Grey published, there was a lot of backlash because that was the first really big one. It wasn’t the first one to publish, but it was the first really big one. And it was the first one to hit it huge, obviously. So people had a lot of feelings about that. With our deal, we had some of that same reaction because people felt that we were exploiting them in some sense. The point is that people who really don’t like the book tend to be the ones that also have strong feelings about the origin and don’t really see it for being separate from the original. People who come into it not really knowing the background, I think they think it’s fun. With Stranger, which is completely original, I think most people, at least as far as I can see, just really love it. It’s a fun, swoon story and they’re having a good time reading it.

Finally, talk to me about your upcoming YA novel.
HOBBS: For both of us, the thing that we love so much about YA is that it’s such a time of self-discovery, when you’re learning who you’re going to be. You have all these amazing things, like first kisses and first loves and first heartbreaks. At our heart, we’re romance writers, so our YA is always going to reflect that. This one, though it’s pretty steamy for YA [laughs.]

The paperback edition of Beautiful Stranger hits shelves May 28. The Kindle edition is currently available.

Read more:
Read an exclusive excerpt from ‘Beautiful Stranger,’ the follow-up to the steamy ‘Twilight’ fanfic ‘Beautiful Bastard’
Check out the cover for the ‘Twilight’ fanfic turned novel ‘Beautiful Bastard’ — EXCLUSIVE
The ‘Fifty Shades’ bump: More ‘Twilight’ fanfiction is being turned into novels

Read an exclusive excerpt from 'Beautiful Stranger,' the follow-up to the steamy 'Twilight' fanfic 'Beautiful Bastard'

BEAUTIFUL-STRANGER

“I have a strong urge to devour you.”

That’s one of the tamer lines from the prologue to Christina Lauren’s Beautiful Stranger, a companion novel to the deliciously steamy Beautiful Bastard. For those of you who can stand the heat (and trust me, it gets hot!), we’ve got an exclusive first look at the follow-up below.

Beautiful Stranger centers on Sara Dillon, a finance whiz who ditches her philandering boyfriend and moves to New York for a new start. There, she meets Max Stella, the ravishing British playboy with big hands and a fetish for naughty photographs, and what was supposed to be a one-night stand develops into a full-fledged fling (translation: they have a lot of sex). Oh, and just in case you were wondering about Miss Mills and Mr. Ryan, they put in an appearance too (but not in that way!). So if you like your hook-ups early and plentiful (as opposed to 40% of the way in, like another popular erotic fanfic), check out the prologue to Beautiful Stranger: READ FULL STORY

Check out the cover for the 'Twilight' fanfic turned novel 'Beautiful Bastard' -- EXCLUSIVE

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Ladies (and gents — no shame!), get ready to meet your next kinky businessman obsession: Mr. Bennett Ryan. Beautiful Bastard (or, as I like to call it, the Twilight fanfiction formerly known as The Office) won’t be released until February, but we’ve got an exclusive first look at the tantalizing cover to whet your appetites.

As we reported earlier this month, Beautiful Bastard is the latest Twilight imitator to score a book deal. The fanfiction, which centers on “whip-smart” intern Chloe Mills and her love/hate relationship with her exacting boss Bennett Ryan, first appeared online in 2009, but was quickly taken down by author Christina Hobbs after the attention proved to be overwhelming. In 2010, she began pursuing projects with her fellow fanfic writer Lauren Billings and the two revised The Office together under the pen name Christina Lauren, eventually landing a deal for two books — Beautiful Bastard and its sequel Beautiful Stranger. Think Fifty Shades of Grey, but classier (or so I’m told). So without further ado, check out the cover of the first book below:

Who can resist a man in a skinny tie? How haute couture.

Beautiful Bastard hits shelves Feb. 12. Fans of The Office, how does it compare to Fifty Shades? Better? Worse? Hotter? Kinkier? What do you think of the cover? Let me know in the comments!

Read more:
The ‘Fifty Shades’ bump: More ‘Twilight’ fanficion is being turned into novels
Just what your baby needs: a ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’-themed onesie
‘Fifty Shades’ Watch: Erotic book trilogy sells for seven figures

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