Thea de Salle, author of the NOLA Nights Series, has made all three of her romances very different from one another—and in her newest book, she explores the tough choices two characters have to make when their hot and heavy romance butts head with their Catholic faith.  In this blog post, Thea discusses how she gave each book in the series its own special theme, and how all three of the books come together in THE LADY OF ROYALE STREET—now available today!

With each of the NOLA NIGHTS books, I tried to tackle something a little different, speaking to subjects relevant to real people living real lives. Yes, they were fun, wild romances that defied probability in many ways (tiger, anyone?), but there was a hint of something else in there, too. With KING, you saw a reformed party boy, sexually omnivorous, who’d become jaded after a divorce from the woman he thought would be the love of his life. You saw a round girl—a fat girl, says the fat author, because fat isn’t a dirty word—with OCD realizing that she was, in fact, a sexual creature and deserved whirlwind affairs and a little bit of worship, both naughty and otherwise.

With QUEEN you saw anxious people falling for one another, one well-versed in navigating mental health trials like PTSD and anxiety, the other new to it.  You saw a woman whose entire life was fronting for the public breaking down her barriers and letting a nice guy in.  You saw a guy who’d been burned before willing to strap in for a wild ride with a wild woman, all the while dealing with the toxic aftermath of his former abusive relationship.  Because sometimes, men get hit by their partners, too, and that’s not okay. Those guys deserve stories.   

And now, with THE LADY OF ROYALE STREET, you see the intersection of faith and romance. So many people consider worship a pivotal part of their lives.  There are lots of romances that look at the taboo aspect of that, meaning romances with the off-limits ordained hotty, but I didn’t know of all that many that had people grappling with the “rules” of their faith and how they handle the intersection of devotion and a hot and heavy affair. Alex DuMont is a great character to explore this with because he’s good looking, he’s smart, he’s wound tighter than a watch spring.  The other half of the Thea De Salle writing team was brought up very Catholic, and we wove that into Alex’s story to show real people grappling with big concepts within their religion and growing as a result.

Because it’s a good question to ask, really: what do you do when you’ve met the one person you can’t keep your hands off of and the church tells you that you should?

We were well aware this book could have turned into an attack on faith, and we really, really wanted to avoid that. That’s why it was important to us that Theresa was Catholic, too, viewing the tenets as something a person navigates just as they would anything else that has room for personal interpretation (like politics.) Theresa’s kickass, no-holds- barred approach helps Alex figure out his beliefs, what he can take away from his religion, and how he can choose to live his life before God and have a gorgeous woman to canoodle with every night.

It was fun to explore this in the text, just as much as it was fun to twine the stars of KING and QUEEN into the cast for updates/check-ins. I couldn’t round out the trilogy without showing how Sol and Rain are doing (getting married!) and how Darren has managed to calm Maddy’s restless soul. They’re shacking up together and liking it!  Each of these books is pretty different from the other, and I recognize that. Book one’s got that BDSM kink slant, book two has some of that but is more of a “healing” romance with some naughtiness, and book three is totally a personal growth arc, just with lots of kissing and hot and heavy fun.

Hopefully all three give readers something to snuggle up with, love, and think about.