Kay Thomas

olp_2496d_final_headshot_medOkay, everyone, pull up a seat and hold on tight. Kay Thomas is back in the Lair, and you know what that means, action, adventure, bullets flying and very sexy heroes! Kay’s here to talk about her second book in her Elite Ops series from Avon Impulse, PERSONAL TARGET, which will be released on the 29th of this month in e-book form. And in honor of Kay’s visit, Sven has Prosecco chilling behind the bar for everyone!

Welcome Kay!

Thanks, Suz. And thank you, Sven. You know how I love bubbles!

So, tell us a little bit about PERSONAL TARGET.

Kay: A former SEAL and Black Ops specialist who left the CIA, Nick Donovan gave up a life on the edge to work in the private sector. But that didn’t stop his enemies from coming after him, or his family. In a case of mistaken identity, a drug cartel kidnaps his sister-in-law’s best friend…a woman from Nick’s past.

One minute Jennifer Grayson is housesitting and the next she is abducted to a foreign brothel. Jennifer is planning her escape when her first “customer” arrives. Nick, the man who broke her heart years ago, has come to her rescue. Now as they race for their lives, passion reignites as old secrets resurface. Can Nick keep the woman he loves safe against an enemy with a personal vendetta?

At its core, the book is about a case of mistaken identity and a very personal vendetta. PERSONAL TARGET takes the reader from Dallas to Mexico, across the African Savanna, to the shores of the Mediterranean in a race against time for Nick to save the woman he loves but lost ten years ago.

Suz: We’ve met the oh, so, sexy hero Nick Donovan in HARD TARGET and he was in a bit of a pickle then, wasn’t he? (Can you tell I like Nick…a lot?)

Kay: I’m pretty partial to Nick myself. As I said, Nick and Jennifer “have a history together,” but their summer affair was over long ago. In this scene—one of my favorites in the book—Jennifer has been kidnapped, and Nick has come to take her away from the people holding her captive.Eonly_9780062290878_Cover

The woman at the vanity turned, and Nick’s breath caught in his throat. He had known it would be Jenny, and despite what he’d thought about downstairs when he’d seen her on the tablet screen, he hadn’t prepared himself for seeing her like this. Seated at the table with candles all around, she was wearing a sheer robe over a gray thong and a bustier kind of thing, or that’s what he thought the full-length bra was called.
He spotted the small unicorn tat peeping out from the edge of whatever the lingerie piece was and his brain quit processing details as all the blood in his head rushed south. He’d been primed to come in and tell Jenny exactly how they were getting out of the house and away from these people and now . . . this. His mouth went dry at the sight of her. She looked like every fantasy he’d ever had about her rolled into one.
He continued to stare as recognition flared in her eyes.
“Oh my God,” she said. “It’s . . .”
She clapped her mouth closed, and her eyes widened. That struck him as odd. The relief on her face was obvious, but instead of looking at him, she took an audible breath and studied the walls of the room. When she finally did glance at him again, her eyes had changed.
“So you’re who they’ve sent me for my first time?” Her voice sounded bored, not the tone he remembered. “What do you want me to do?”
What a question. He raised an eyebrow, but she shook her head. In warning?
Nothing here was as he’d anticipated. He continued staring at her, hoping the lust would quit fogging his brain long enough for him to figure out what was going on.
“I’ve been told to show you a good time.” Her voice was cold, downright chilly. Without another word she stood and crossed the floor, slipping into his arms with her breasts pressing into his chest. “It’s you.” She murmured the words in the barest of whispers.
Nick’s mind froze, but his body didn’t. On autopilot his hands automatically went to her waist as she kissed his neck, working her way up to his ear. This was not at all what he’d planned.
“I can’t believe you’re here.” She breathed the words into his ear.
Me either, he thought, but kept the news to himself as he pulled her closer. His senses flooded with all that smooth skin pressing against him. His body tightened, and his right hand moved to cup her ass. Her cheek’s bare skin was silky soft, like he remembered. God, he’d missed her. She melted into him as his body switched into overdrive.
“What do you want?” She spoke louder. The artic tone was back. He was confused and knew he was just too stupid with wanting her to figure out what the hell was going on. There was no way the woman could mistake the effect she was having.
She moved her lips closer to his ear and nipped his earlobe before she spoke in a hushed tone. “Cameras are everywhere. I’m not sure about microphones.”
And just like that, cold reality slapped him in the face. He should have been expecting it, but he’d been so focused on getting her out and making sure she was all right. She might be glad to see him because he was there to save her, but throwing her body at him was an act.
He had to get them both out of here without tipping his hand to the cameras and those watching what he was doing. He was crazy not to have considered it once he saw those tablets downstairs, but it had never occurred to him that he would have to play this encounter through as if he was really a client.
He slipped her arms from around his neck and moved to the table to pour himself some wine, willing his hands not to shake. “I want you,” he said, clearly and loudly enough for any microphone in the room to pick up.
She smiled, but her expression wasn’t warm. “Do you now?” Her frigid tone was so at odds with the woman he’d known years ago.
He knew what he had to do. Monique and company were expecting them to have wild sex. If they’d been truly alone, it wouldn’t have been a hardship. And regardless of the circumstances, that’s exactly what he was going to have to pretend to do. He had to make love to Jenny knowing others were watching, at least until that distraction of Bryan’s came through.
There wouldn’t be any sneaking out of the room or the house before then. Guards were most likely gathered around security monitors at this very moment, drinking beer and taking bets as to how long Nick would last before he came. They were expecting to see some action.
“What do you think I want?” His voice was pitched low but loud enough for the mics as he took a sip of the wine. “Didn’t they tell you what to expect?” 
Copyright © 2014 by Kay Thomas. All rights reserved under International and Pan-American Copyright Conventions. 

Suz: I love former lovers reunited stories. Did you find this easier to write or did their past cause you as much problem as it did them?

Kay: That’s a great question. This was the first “lovers reunited” story I’ve ever written, and I had a blast. It was fun creating Nick and Jennifer’s backstory and weaving that into their present day adventure. Because I’m a pantser when I write, I wasn’t really sure what their history would be until I was working my way through the first draft of the book. It made the discovery part of the writing process particularly interesting.

9780062290847-2_medSuz: Most heroes have a core value, the one thing that matters above all to them. What would you say is Nick’s core value?

Kay: Taking care of family (the people he loves) is the most important thing to Nick Donovan. But for years he’s been turning off his feelings, so he can do his job with the CIA. Seeing Jennifer from his past, tears down the wall he’s built around himself and his heart. Jennifer turns everything back on. Those feelings and emotions all reignite with a vengeance. And yes, fireworks ensue.

Suz: As you know, I had a huge emergency last week. I ran out of M&M’s. Writing came to a standstill until I resupplied. What is the one thing you must have to write? Your favorite music to write to? What do you do to take a break and re-energize to write more?

Kay: I need a quiet place to write. I can write in a Starbucks in a pinch, but I put headphones on with instrumental music or lyrics in another language besides English. Otherwise, I’ll get caught up in what I’m hearing instead of what I’m writing.

Hanging out with my family re-engerizes me—eating dinner together, watching TV, or just sitting around and talking. This summer my teenage son has been taking a summer school course and in the evenings we’ve been watching “The Walking Dead” together. But only after we eat! We’ve had such fun doing this. My husband likes to watch us (and laugh at us) watching the series. We put on quite the show ourselves with our cringing, gasping, and shouts of “No! I can’t look!” We’ve only got one season left to go till we’re caught up with the current schedule. Any suggestions for what we should watch together next?

Suz: Okay. I cannot get into zombies of any kind. I think it’s a nurse thing with the whole decaying flesh thingy of zombies. (shiver). What’s next in the Elite Ops series? Any other news?

Kay: I’m working on Book 3 and I’m having a great time with it. I don’t have a title yet. It’s Bryan Fisher’s (Hollywood’s) story. I’m just getting started but I’m very excited about how things are shaping up for him. ELITE OPS 3 will be out late next spring.

As to news, I’m headed to San Antonio next week for the RWA National Conference, their big Literacy Signing, and the Greater Detroit RWA Booksellers Best Awards Reception. HARD TARGET: Elite Ops – Book 1 is a nominee for Best Romantic Suspense of 2014. I’m very excited.

If you haven’t started the series, each book stands alone. HARD TARGET is on sale for the next two weeks for $0.99 across all ebook platforms. It’s a great chance to grab it at a red hot price and meet the men of Elite Ops. And please join me on July 29th for an online PERSONAL TARGET Pool Party to celebrate the release of Book 2 in the series. We’ll have lots of prizes and special guests, (including Suz herself!)

Question for the readers:

I find I’m reading more and more on my ereader these days, but sometimes there is nothing like the feel (and smell!) of holding a real book in my hands. When you read a print book, do you break/crack the spine or keep it pristine?

Kay is giving away 3 prizes today: 

3 winners….each has choice of either an ecopy of PERSONAL TARGET when it releases on July 29 or an ecopy of HARD TARGET right now.

Check out my Rafflecopter, a Rafflecopter giveaway

too for this awesome Pride and Prejudice Infinity Scarf!

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  • Amy Conley says:

    I try to keep the spine pristine.

    • Hey Amy!! Congrats on nabbing the GR this morning! Make him earn his keep, will ya?

      I do try to keep t he spines neat, doesn’t always work, but I do try!

  • Helen says:

    Hi Kay and Suz

    I do love the sound of this series huge congrats I really need to add these stories to my must have list 🙂

    I read mostly e books these days but would never get rid of my precious books and I love having books on my keeper shlf and I am very careful with them I keep the spine pristine LOL

    Have Fun

    • Hey Helen!

      Isn’t it amazing how quickly we grow to like the ease of the e-reader? Like you I’m not going to get rid of the books on my keeper shelf and many of those authors I still buy print books from, because I just love holding them while I read.

  • Sandy Blair says:

    Great interview, ladies! I love series books and the lovers reunited angle always adds to the spice. 🙂

  • Heathercm2001 says:

    Oh my gosh! Just the mention of breaking a spine is going to give me nightmares. Haha! I like to keep mine pristine, so I’ll be trying to read the book with it only about half open because I don’t want to damage it. I’m such a weirdo like that! This story sounds amazing! The scene above has definitely made me interested. I like that they have a history too! That extra back story can really make a book much more exciting!

    Thanks for sharing a wonderful excerpt! The interview was great too! Good luck at RWA!!! 🙂

  • Brenda Rumsey says:

    I like to keep the spine of my books as neat as possible, but I don’t let it get in the way of my enjoyment and ease of reading the book so they often get bent…but that’s okay. They still have a place on my shelves.

    Loved this tease. Congrats on what seems like a fantastic book. Now I’ve got to get book 1 before this one comes out….LOL.

  • Shannon says:

    Congratulations on the award. San Antonio and RWA sound like great fun. I was in San Antonio as a grad student for a conference. For working as a volunteer, I got invited to a house party at a wonderful mansion including dinner with authentic Mexican food. The pool was lit with underwater lights and floating candles.

    As for spines, I delight in breaking them because finally I can own books rather than borrow from the library. And I can dog-ear pages. I am grateful to be employed!

    • Oooo Shannon, that sounds like a wonderful party! And yes, RWA is always fun…educational, but fun! We get to hang out with our writing buddies and learn about the business and craft of writing…and drink wine or margaritas or martinis or ….yeah, fun!

  • Kay Thomas says:

    Good Morning, Amy! Thanks for stopping by!

    Hello Helen! Wonderful to see you again! I’m like you and read mostly e these days but I do still have loads of special print books on my keeper shelves. So glad to hear PERSONAL TARGET sounds interesting to you!

    Hi there, Sandy! It’s great to see you here. Thanks for stopping in to say hello! I agree, lovers reunited do add a special “spice” to a story.

  • Kay Thomas says:

    Hi Heathercm2001! Thanks so much or stopping by. Sorry for the scare about those “breaking spines.” It is fascinating to hear everyone’s take on this particular habit. : ) So glad you enjoyed the excerpt. I had such a good time writing Jennifer and Nick’s “storied” past.

    Good morning, Brenda! So glad you like the sound of PERSONAL TARGET (and HARD TARGET, too!) I used to crack the spines of books right and left but now that I don’t read as many print books, I try not to batter them nearly as much. Interesting how that has changed. : )

  • Kay Thomas says:

    Hi Shannon,
    Thanks for the congratulations! It was an amazing group of authors to be included in. San Antonio is my favorite city in Texas & I’m really looking forward to the conference! I love what you said about what breaking the spines and dog-earing the pages means to you. Congratulations on your job!!!

  • Maureen says:

    Congratulations to Kay on her new book! It looks like a real page turner, perfect for a summer read. I read more ebooks myself but I try not to break the spine on any paperbacks I have since I lend them to others and then donate them to the library when I am done with them.

    • Kay Thomas says:

      Hi Maureen! Thanks for stopping by. I think PERSONAL TARGET makes a great “summer read!” That’s wonderful that you donate your books to the library when you are done with them. Our library has wonderful “sales” of donated books. $.25 for paperbacks. $1.00 for hardbacks. You can go a little crazy in there for less than $4.00. : )

    • Maureen,

      You sound like my mom. She reads books her and then lends them to friends, her sister or neighbor, who in turn takes them to the senior center for other people to enjoy.


  • Debbie Oxier says:

    Can’t wait! Hope I entered the links for Goodreads okay!

    • Kay Thomas says:

      Hey Debbie!! Thanks for stopping by. It’s god to see you here. I’m sure you entered the giveaway just fine. But I understand what you mean. I had trouble entering my comments here this morning. They showed up all over. : )

    • Hey Debbie!!

      I sometime wonder where my stuff goes when I hit enter. Mostly they go where they’re supposed to, other times, I think they’re floating above the earth in the ether world looking for a spot to land. (Hmmm, maybe Han Solo has a collection of them?)

  • Minna says:

    Congrats on the award!
    I try to keep the spine pristine.

    • Kay Thomas says:

      Hi Minna! Thanks for stopping by and for the congratulations, too. I’m thrilled to be nominated with some of my favorite romantic suspense authors.

  • Hi Kay! Hi Suz! Kay, congratulations on the Booksellers Best nom, they have the BEST bling so I hope you win if only to get the badge! Kay, love the sound of the new book and wow, what an excerpt!

    I’m still a print reader. I’m not precious about my books but I try not to wreck them either. It was funny – I was staying with a good friend a week or so ago and the book on her bookcase look like human hand have never touched them. I have no idea how she manages that!

    • Kay Thomas says:

      Hi Anna! Thanks so much for the congrats. I’m very excited about next week and thrilled you enjoyed the excerpt. I have a friend who also keeps her books looking like they just came off a bookstore shelf. Alas, most of mine look like they’ve been in the bottom of a teenager’s backpack for a month.

  • bn100 says:

    keep it looking new

  • Kay Thomas says:

    I’ve had such a great time here today. Suz, thanks for inviting me, arranging everything and making it so easy. (Thanks for the champagne, too!)

    Y’all, thanks for your interest and encouragement about PERSONAL TARGET. I appreciate you letting me be here today to tell you about it.

    I always love being in the Lair-
    My very best to you and Happy Reading-

    Kay Thomas

  • Cathy P says:

    Kay, this series sounds really good. Looking forward to reading them.

    I like to keep my book spines pristine.