Posts tagged with: Romantic suspense

What A Long Strange Trip It’s Been

I clearly remember an evening in June 2006 when I pitched two manuscripts to two different agents at Lori Foster’s Readers and Authors Get Together. I wore my “power suit.” You know, the outfit that makes you feel professional and put together. For me, that was a black column dress (which I doubt I can still fit into) with a longish black jacket. It must have worked as both editors later bought my manuscripts.

Mrs_Brimley_CoverYou’ve heard about the first manuscript to sell. The Education of Mrs. Brimley went on to win the Golden Heart the following month. But I’m not sure you’re familiar with the second manuscript, In a Heartbeat, which was purchased by Samhain. It was the second story I’d ever written (the first is still under the bed) and was probably written about 2002 or 2003.

As you can see by the cover on the right, it was published at a time when authors had separate names for separate genres. This, I was told, was to help bookstores know where to shelve books, and to protect readers who might be expecting one kind of story (Historicals) from being disappointed to find a different story (Romantic Suspense). With the rise in self-published and the demise of book stores, I don’t think this is the rule anymore. It’s assumed readers are intelligent enough to recognize the difference in genres. 🙂 Richard, by the way, is my husband’s name. Publishing as Donna RichardsIn a Heartbeat-Samhain was my way to thank him for his support during the many, long, non-publishing years.

I received the rights back to In A Heartbeat a couple of years ago. My plan was to slap a new cover on it, write a new blurb, and self-publish the story. After all, it had been already edited by Samhain so how difficult could it be? Well, more difficult than you might think.

You can see the new cover to the left. Erin Dameron-Hill, who also did my cover for Bound by Moonlight, is the designer. I wrote a much improved blurb for the book as I’ve a better sense now of how these things are done. Here’s the blurb:

InaHeartbeatTransplanted hearts can hold memories. They can give voice to the dead. And they can hold the key to identifying a serial killer.

Assigned to do an audit for an old client may finally give Certified Public Accountant Angela Blake what she really wants: independence from a family that’s been overprotective for far too long. Her recent heart transplant has given her a new lease on life and she’s ready to live. The demanding new CEO of Hayden Industries may be distractingly sexy, but Angela’s audit reveals troubling hints of deception. What is he hiding?

Hank Renard never wanted to be CEO of Hayden Industries, but his parents’ impending financial ruin gave him no choice. If he doesn’t reverse the flow of red ink, he’ll lose the lucrative incentives offered. The clumsy, adorable auditor with the face of an angel only adds to his problems.

A series of troubling accidents point to a dangerous truth: someone wants Angela Blake dead. With her job, her heart and her life in peril, will Angela survive to discover a long-awaited love, or will her new life end before it’s barely begun?

So I should have been ready to release the book, right?  Wrong.

iphoneI decided to update the book to make it more relevant to contemporary times. Back in 2002, landline telephones were more prevalent than cell telephonephones. I thought that would be the only fix, but I was mistaken. As I read the story, I stumbled across a reference to music on CDs. You remember those lovely silver discs that we don’t use anymore? Had to replace that with music provided by a cell phone. I also referred to a dial-up computer line. I’m certain that’s we had in 2002, and while some people may still have dial-ups, that particular reference would automatically date the story. I had to change to password protected wifi to get to the internet.

The story involves a CPA engaged in an audit. This is a subject I know something about, or at least I did back in the 80s when I perform audits.  I read through my entire manuscript, changing, improving, adding CD_DVD_small_brightemotion where I could, when I realized that auditing a company has probably changed from when I did the deed. Computer spreadsheets saved on a flash drive or on the internet in a shared document would replace the old green work papers that I was familiar with. So familiar that I’d glossed over all the references to them in my first pass-through without blinking an eye. I thought I was done with revisions to update when it hit me.  I had to go back and change all those references.

There’s a scene at the Ohio State Football Stadium which was remodeled shortly after I wrote the story. I left the the old stadium. I’m guessing not many would recognize the difference.

The whole experience made me think about how life has changed since I originally wrote that story, and what a long strange trip it’s been.  I made a reference to a clothing incident where an employer was displeased with a skirt being too short. (This, by the way, is based on my own experience. Not exactly as presented in the story, but mini-skirtclose 🙂 ). I wondered if that still happens, but then heard just last week an employer complaining about “skinny jeans” worn in the office as too seductive. So that prejudice still exists even though clothing standards have relaxed. Fortunately, I didn’t reference any songs as obviously music has changed. But what else? Can you think of anything?

I must say, while I did go through an update and polish the manuscript. The basic story surprised me. This is really quite good. I hope you give it a try when it comes out in July. I’m looking for some folks to read the book with the condition that they write a review for Amazon and Goodreads. If you’re interested, let me know.

 

 

 

 

 

 

It’s A Fine Day for Capitol Danger!

Hello everyone! First of all, thank you for being here! The Romance Bandits blog got hacked and we’ve had no way to let you know and no way to answer comments or post blogs.(Jeanne actually wrote this post but couldn’t get in to put it up, so Nancy did that for her.)You may get lighter responses today because of that, but nevertheless, please know that we’re here and reading!

CapitolDangerfinalrevisedAs you may have seen from the newsletter, Banditas Nancy Northcott, Suz Ferrell and our fabulous frequent guess, J.D. Tyler got together for a very cool anthology!

The world is changing and new things are happening – the idea of a woman president is on our doorstep, right? So we thought that we’d cook up some danger for that historic figure before she even is a twinkle in the eye of the voters. Grins.

 

Ground floo floor plan Capitol Danger

We started with “What if…” my two favorite words. What if a woman was elected president and a whooooole group of people didn’t like it? We all have met those Neanderthals who think women should stay “in their place,” right? So, what if those people were organized?

They would be the Red Mantle. A home grown terrorist organization who doesn’t want women in power. Oh, boy….(so to speak!)

So what if they wanted to cause the most havoc, the most disruption possible? What would be more havoc-inducing than to take over an inaugural ball?

Voila! Capitol Danger!

I wrote the prologue, introducing both the plot and the plotters, the Red Mantle. Suz wrote the opening of the ball and the first signs of trouble. Then it switched back to me for the next phase, then to Nancy, then to J.D. who also wrote the wrap-up. So here’s the blurb:

Capitol Danger

A romantic suspense anthology like no other! Four stories, one event and four dangerous missions on the same night.

It’s Inauguration Night. Glamorous balls throughout the nation’s capital celebrate a landmark event. The town and nation are in the mood to celebrate. But not everyone is so pleased.

A home-grown sect known as the Red Mantle plan to make it an event to remember for their reasons. As their assault succeeds it will be up to those attending the ball to step up and face the fanatics, or die trying.

UNMASKED: An Edgars Family Novella by Suzanne Ferrell

Abigail Whitson and Luke Edgars are working an undercover operation during the inaugural ball in an attempt to discover who has stolen land to air missiles before they can be sold to a broker—their target for the night. When the playboy arms dealer arrives at the ball, his bodyguard turns out to be someone from Luke’s past.

That isn’t the only surprise of the night. When the ball is invaded by terrorists, Abby and Luke find themselves trying to extract the arms dealer from the fray to protect their mission, while they also risk their lives to protect innocents from the carnage.

DEATH UNDER GLASS: a Deadly Charms Novella by Jeanne Adams

Edward Millner and his girlfriend Retta Geminous, are celebrating a glittering inaugural. When Red Mantle terrorists take the ballroom, both bullets and glass start flying. Edward and Retta help the agents still standing retake the ballroom, but casualties are high. Can Edward face his demons and use his former Special Forces medical skills to save the night? Can Retta and Edward overcome their troubled hearts in the face of certain death?

DANGER’S EDGE: An Arachnid Files Novella by Nancy Northcott

When terrorists disrupt the inaugural ball, new Arachnid Agency operative Kelsey Mitchell tables her planned undercover operation and works to bring help into the hotel. Her only ally is Greg Reed, an FBI agent on medical leave after being shot during a robbery. Kelsey dreads making a novice mistake, and Greg is afraid he’s lost his edge.

Attraction flares between them though Kelsey knows the Feds disapprove of people who work for her freewheeling agency. Together, she and Greg must fight their demons and the terrorists to gather intel for the FBI and create a safe landing zone for a rescue force. Can they succeed against overwhelming odds, or will the battle cost one or both their lives—or their hearts?

LETHAL TARGET: An Armed & Deadly Novella by J.D. Tyler

FBI Special Agent Dalton McCoy is playing a deadly game, working undercover for Methan, leader of the extremist terrorist group, the Red Mantle. He’ll stop at nothing to keep Methan and his men from achieving their goal of bringing down key members of the government. When Dalton’s plans come to an unexpected head at the glittering inaugural ball, he doesn’t count on tenacious reporter Jolie Montfort placing herself in Methan’s line of fire as well. Now the agent must take out the terrorist leader and get them both to safety before it’s too late…

It was a blast! (And fun too, because we blew a lot of things up!)

Nemesis_finalWriting together like this was an amazing new adventure as well. Each of us used characters from our own works, although this is the first readers and fans will have seen of Nancy’s spies. You are SO going to love all the characters from the Arachnid Files, folks. Such fabulously sneaky people!

Meanwhile, she’s about to bring out the next mage book.

kidnapped-revamped-finalSuz’s Edgars are all family, by now, for most of us who read Romantic Suspense. I’m sure many of you Bandita Buddies will have read those Edgars men and their trials and tribulations.

DeadRunfinalMy characters are from forthcoming books. If you read Dead Run (or its original incarnation, Dark and Dangerous), one of the secondary characters of this story, Burke Chapman, is the hero of the forthcoming Dead Reckoning. That is part of the Faithful Defenders series. (Dead Wrong, the third book, will be out in late fall) And Edward, Retta and many of the other characters will reappear in my “yes, it’s finally coming out” Deadly Charms series, again, later this fall.

9780451466921_p0_v3_s118x184J.D.’s characters are from her fabulous new Armed and Deadly series. The first book of that series, One Last Kiss, will be out soon. If you’ve not read J.D.’s Alpha Pack series, you’re missing something hot, dark and gripping, so check that out if you haven’t already. Her latest Alpha Pack novel, Chase the Darkness is just now out!

So that’s the dangerous news from the Bandit Lair! So good to see all of you! Sven and the boys have been enjoying their much-needed and various vacations, but they’re back to serve your every whim! Champagne, morning, afternoon and evening cocktails and hors d’oeuvres. Have some icicle and snowflake cookies, some capitol shaped cookies (watch out for the ones shaped like the Washington Monument…). There’s food and drink a-plenty, so let’s have some LAUNCH IN THE LAIR fun!!

Have you ever been to an inaugural or swearing in for a politician?

What about a big Gala? Don’t you just love black-tie-events?

If you COULD go, either for the first time, or again, would you want to?

Tell us what you’d wear and what hero or Hollywood star you’d take as your hunky date for the night!

It’s AUGUST! Coming Attractions….

Hey everyone!  How’s your summer going?? How can it possibly be AUGUST already???

I hope you’ll join me and Banditas Suz and Nancy as we have a LAUNCH in the LAIR on August 8!  We’ll be joined by the always awesome J.D. Tyler because the four of us collaborated on a really cool anthology.

In the meantime, the book is up on all the platforms, so if you’re interested, take a look!  We’ll see you on the 8th!

CapitolDangerfinalrevised

Cover Reveal

Hey everyone! Thought I’d pop in and share some news with y’all. But first, I have to ask you a question.

Do you know what happens when authors get together? Quite often the conversation turns to books and stories. Sometimes that leads to the “what if?” game. You’ve heard us address that in the Lair a few times over the years. What if…hero meets heroine, but she’s the one woman in the world he can’t have? What if…vampires met wolf shifters and they had to join forces to defeat evil succubi? What if…bad boy turned millionaire returns to his hometown and the girl he’s left behind only to find out he left three sons too?

Yep, that’s how some of those stories come out, usually accompanied by some wine. 🙂

Well, a while back Jeanne Adams and I got together and were talking about doing a Romantic Suspense anthology. We both like to write fast-paced, action romances. Somehow the conversation took a left turn and we got on the subject of the movie Viewpoint. If you haven’t seen it, there’s an icident in another country, and you get to see the same incident before, during and after from various characters’ viewpoints.

Of course this led to a spark of an idea. What if…all the stories in the RS anthology took place at the same time at the same event…with the same bad guys involved? Jeanne suggested an inaugural ball? The juices started turning. Then we approached two other authors we thought would get excited about this project. Next thing we knew, Bandita Nancy Northcott and National Best Selling author J.D. Tyler were on board.

While I’m not going to give  y’all intimate details…the book is in the editing phase and will be available late June, so look for a release party in the Lair…I can tell you one thing. The whole book, while written in four parts by four authors, is meant to be read from beginning to ending as one long book. 🙂

Yeah, I’m a tease like that.

So, for another tease, want to see the cover?

Capitol Danger final revised

Visiting with Suz

Hey, y’all! Pull up a comfy chair. It’s been a while since we just visited. That’s what my grandma CindyJane used to call talking with friends and family. She’d say, “Sit down and let’s visit a while.” When I was little that meant for me to crawl up onto the couch beside her, snuggle in and tell her everything going on in my life. As a teen and young adult, it meant sitting at the table with her, my aunts and mom and talk about life, family, neighbors…everything and anything!

My parents came from a small town in the Blue Ridge range of the Appalachians in Eastern Tennessee. I loved going there for vacations and visiting with all my extended family. Grandma CindyJane, Grandpa Sherm, my aunts, uncles, cousins. I loved the charm of the small town, saying hello to people who knew my family intimately.  When I started writing the Westen series, a series of romances in a small Ohio town, I drew on the experiences of my Tennessee visits in building my fictional community.

Close to the Fire finalIn CLOSE TO THE FIRE, I return to Westen for another visit with those friends. Lorna Doone is still running the Peaches ‘N Cream Cafe. Doc Clint and Emma still run the local health clinic with the help of taciturn nurse, Harriett. Gage and Bobby are busy planning their wedding and keeping the town safe with all the deputies of the sheriff’s department. But it’s been a long, dry summer and things are heating up in Westen, especially for Fire Chief Deke Reynolds.

They once were lovers:
After ten years of keeping his distance to the one woman he’s always loved, Fire Chief Deke Reynolds is finally ready to set aside his grief and confess his guilt to Elizabeth “Libby” Wilson about his part in her brother’s death. Libby’s own guilty secret has kept her from sharing her life with the man who stole her heart as a teen and awakened her body as a young woman.

Danger has forced them together again:
A fire and their odd connection to a new teenager at the local half-way house have this couple finally sharing their secrets with each other. With an arsonist on the loose, threatening the town of Westen and its citizens, have Libby and Deke waited too long to find their love again?

That’s the cover and cover blurb for the book, (out this month and available at Amazon, B&N, iTunes and KOBO). It’s a reunion story. I love those, thinking how two people so in love could be driven apart and eventually get their second chance at happiness. Time and tragedy have kept these two apart, but as Lorna Doone would say, “Even in Westen there’s an expiration date on stubbornness.”

CLOSE TO THE FIRE is also a story about a young man finding a place to belong. Also, a much beloved character finds someone with whom to share his heart. And finally a community comes together once again to meet trouble head-on.

So, I hope you’ll pick up a copy of CLOSE TO THE FIRE and have a sit-down with the friends waiting to visit with you in Westen.

Crazy for Sandra Owens

Sandra 1

I’m delighted today to welcome new Montlake author Sandra Owens to the lair. Sandra’s new release is CRAZY FOR HER, the first in the K2 Special Services series:

When his best friend and fellow Navy SEAL, Evan Prescott, died in his arms on the battlefield, Logan Kincaid gave his word to watch over Evan’s widow. But for two years he kept his distance…torn between honoring his solemn vow and succumbing to his secret love for his fallen comrade’s wife. But when Dani Prescott desperately reaches out to Logan for the help only he can give, he rushes to her side—determined to fight for her safety as fiercely as he fights against his own buried desire.

Someone claiming to be her husband is stalking Dani and her infant daughter, making them virtually prisoners in their remote country home. Logan’s elite military training and high-risk security expertise have outmatched more dangerous enemies. But the real challenge will be the burning temptation that threatens to overcome Logan whenever Dani is near…especially when she reveals her own hidden passion.

Sandra 2You can find out more about Sandra on her website: http://www.sandra-owens.com/

You can also connect with Sandra on social media (I sure do!):

Facebook: www.facebook.com/SandraOwensAuthor

Twitter: @SandyOwens1

Sandra, welcome to the Bandita lair! Can you please tell us about your latest release CRAZY FOR HER?

I’m thrilled to be a guest on Romance Bandits! I’m excited about CRAZY FOR HER, a 2013 Golden Heart finalist. The official release date is September 1st. I say “official” as Montlake Romance, my new publisher, chose CRAZY FOR HER as one of four books for the August Kindle First, meaning the ebook version was released early, and it’s on sale until September 1st. The print and audio will be available 1st September.

CRAZY FOR HER is a contemporary romantic suspense, the first in a five book series of the men of K2 special services, all ex-SEALs. In CRAZY FOR HER, my hero, Logan, is secretly in love with the heroine, who was married to his best friend. He has another secret, one that shocks my heroine, Dani, when she learns of it.

Sandra 4What were the inspirations behind this book?

The seed for the story was planted when I watched a documentary about a SEAL team during their time in Afghanistan. I thought, these guys are tough, and honorable, and dedicated to their calling. They are true heroes. Then I started wondering what life for them was like then they left the military. It would have to be a hard adjustment as they are men used to living on the edge. Logan Kincaid took shape in my mind, a man with dark secrets who was a true hero for his country, but doesn’t believe he deserved happiness. A lot of “what ifs” followed, and it went from there.

CRAZY FOR HER is the first in the K2 Special Services series. Can you give us a peek at what’s coming next?

Next is SOMEONE LIKE HER, scheduled for an early 2015 release date. My hero, Jake, another ex-SEAL and known to his friends as Romeo, falls for the sister of his boss, Logan Kincaid. The last thing the boss wants is for his sister, Maria, to fall for a man the team nicknamed Romeo. Jake tries to stay away from her, he really does. I have to laugh here because we all know how well that’s going to work for him, right?

sandra 5What else is coming up for you?

The last three books of the series are next. The third one is back from my critique partners, and after this last revision, it will go to my agent. Saint, my hero in book three, doesn’t cuss or drink, and is very discriminating in his few affairs. He was interesting, yet strangely, the hardest to write. I’ve always written alpha males, and Saint was my first gamma, a type of hero between a beta and an alpha. I found it funny thatI had to work at not allowing him to have a potty mouth like his teammates.

I’m about five chapters into book four. The heroine in that one is a stunt plane pilot, so I’m having great fun with that. (And yes, I have flown upside down in a stunt plane, so know how thrilling it is.) Book five has a rough outline, and my hero will be a dog lover, the heroine will have cats. I do expect the fur to fly for those two!

After I finish this series, I have the next one in mind. I sent a series synopsis for it to my agent who emailed me back and said, “YOU HAVE TO WRITE THIS!!!” So, I guess I will.

Your first two books (THE LETTER and THE TRAINING OF A MARQUESS) were historicals. What differences did you find in writing the two genres? Are there more historicals on the way?

Oh, goodness, the contemporaries are so much easier to write! I’m not spending hours researching clothing, or checking to see if certain words were in use, or hundreds of other things one needs to research when writing historicals. Having said that, my favorite genre to read is historical, which is why I started out writing them. But I also love the freedom of writing contemporaries. Will I write more historicals? Probably. Hopefully. I recently finished a historical novella that will be a part of an anthology my Embracing Romance co-authors are planning. It was so much fun to write.

Sandra 3Can you tell us a bit about what you get up to when you’re not writing?

Writing is a full-time job for me, and the majority of my days are spent doing just that. I’m also a voracious reader of historical (especially Regencies) and contemporary romances, so if I’m not writing, I’m usually reading. My husband and I have an RV, and we like to take long trips and explore this beautiful country of ours. The great thing about that is, I can easily write on the road. My laptop goes everywhere with me. My favorite place to write is an RV park not far from home where we go for long weekends. I get myself set up by the creek, and I never want to leave!         

Sounds idyllic! Thanks for the great interview, Sandra. We wish you all the best with your new series. Do you have a question for the Bandits and Bandita buddies to get the conversation rolling?

I love to read almost anything – romances (especially historical and contemporary), horror…it would actually be a shorter list to tell you what genres I don’t like to read. My question is one I know authors are always interested in hearing the answer. As a reader, what genres do you prefer? Are you devoted to just one, or do you cross genre lines?

BanditBootySandra has very generously offered one commenter today a signed copy of CRAZY FOR HER (international) so get commenting, people! Good luck!

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!

Addison Fox

Addison_Fox2_Color_High_Res-3001

Welcome to the Lair on this our American birthday. For a wonderful treat I’ve invited my dear friend, contemporary and romantic suspense author, Addison Fox to stop by and tell us all about the fourth book in her House of Steele series: THE MANHATTAN ENCOUNTER. Take it away Addison!

My thanks to Suz and the Romance Bandits for inviting me back to the Lair! And for those of you here in the US, wishing you a very happy Independence Day! (Am I the only one picturing very tight, very cute red, white and blue trunks on the Cabana Boys?!?!?)

For the last year I’ve been hard at work on a fun, sexy romantic suspense quartet for the Harlequin Romantic Suspense line called the House of Steele. And in thinking about today’s blog post I realized the subject of independence was a fortuitous fit as that description matches my hero, Liam Steele, to a “T.”

The four Steele siblings run a high-end security firm. The fourth book – THE MANHATTAN ENCOUNTER – features the most illusive Steele sibling, Liam. I had an absolute blast writing this book and I think what I enjoyed most was how the book evolved between what was in my mind and what ended up coming out on the page.

I expected to write a book about a suave, sexy, James Bond-esque character romancing his total opposite: our shy, reserved, scientist heroine, Dr. Isabella Magnini. What ended up coming out instead was a suave, sexy, James Bond-esque character who had to deal with two nosy sisters, a nosy sister-in-law and a woman who was more than his match in every way. THE MANHATTAN ENCOUNTER ended being a family book and it was great fun to see how Liam not only fell in love with Isabella, but how he had to find a way to get closer with his family and re-engage as part of their family unit as well.The Manhattan Encounter_Cover

I suppose in a lot of ways, that’s life. The things we often expect to happen don’t, but what takes their place is exactly what’s meant to happen. Life has a very funny way of unfolding in its own time and in its own way.

I pulled a quick passage to share…since it’s the 4th of July I thought I’d shoot off a few sparks! <g> As quick set up to this scene, Isabella’s learned some disturbing news about the individuals who are after her and her research (the reason why Liam’s protecting her). She’s done the proverbial “I can take care of myself” dance and he’s forced her to own up to it.

Something dark and raw churned under her fury, erupting from her in a wash of flame.

“You know nothing about my life. About the humiliation of what I’ve lived with. About the betrayal of not one parent, but two.”

She dashed away the hot tears that fell freely down her face, clogging her throat in a tight fist, determined to get out the rest of it. “And you sure as hell don’t know what it’s like to live like a freak. Someone whose intelligence and drive and innate sense of freaking order scares the hell out of everyone around her.”

18468034“Isabella—” he reached out but she flung off his hand, stepping back from the sheer weight of the pain that threatened to drag her to her knees.

“You can’t know what it’s like. You have a family who loves you even though you keep them at arm’s length for some puzzling reason known only to you. You have a reputation that’s sterling. You even have an endless parade of women content to share their time and attention. I have nothing.” He reached for her once more, but she flung him off. “Nothing!”

And then he had his hands on her and he was dragging her close and she was trying to breathe through the tears and the need and the most desperate desire to connect with someone.

No, she amended as his mouth crashed on hers with the force of a hurricane. She had the desperate desire to connect with him.

With Liam.

Hot, wild need sparked under her skin everywhere he touched. His hands were on her shoulders, on her lower back, roaming over her stomach before reaching up to cup her breasts.

She should have been shocked or felt some sort of embarrassment that she’d been wearing the same clothes for nearly twenty-four hours or that her stomach wasn’t flat enough or that her slacks hadn’t been ironed but none of it seemed to matter to the man who had her in his arms and demanded she give him everything she had and then some.

And oh boy, did she own up to the task.17738200

Her hands matched his for fervor, the hard lines of his shoulders a sensuous feast for her fingertips. She explored his body, even as their mouths never broke contact and as he walked her backwards toward the wall. She willingly let him lead, ready to follow him anywhere.

His tongue thrust into her mouth, a carnal feast that mimicked a joining of their bodies and she sucked hard before biting his lip.

Isabella felt his fingers lock with hers and then he had her hands up on either side of her head, holding her steady as he plundered her and still, she gave it all back to him, every move countered with one of her own.

The temptress she never knew lived inside of her skin came to life under his tutelage and, if the low moans echoing from the back of his throat were any indication, was having a grand time teaching Liam Steele a thing or two about desire.

17278016

I had so much fun bringing this couple together and I so appreciate you spending some time with me today! And as an extra special treat, two commenters will win today! One will win a copy of THE MANHATTAN ENCOUNTER and one will win all 4 books in the House of Steele quartet – THE PARIS ASSIGNMENT, THE LONDON DECEPTION, THE ROME AFFAIR and THE MANHATTAN ENCOUNTER.

My thanks – as always – to the Banditas for hosting me and for the very warm welcome to the blog!

XO,

Addison (http://www.addisonfox.com/)

(Don’t forget, if you want to download the ebook copy of any of these books, click on the picture.)

Catching Up With Dee Davis

My guest today is multi-award-winning author Dee Davis.  Since her debut in 2000, Dee has won The Booksellers’ Best, Golden Leaf, Texas Gold, and Prism awards and has been nominated for the Holt Medallion, the National Readers Choice Award, and two Romantic Times Reviewers Choice Awards.  Dee writes contemporary, historical, time travel, paranormal, and romantic suspense romance (I think I got them all), and we’re going to catch up with her today.

Welcome, Dee!  What’s your latest project? 

deeI’m currently working on two projects.  The first, Cottage in the Mist, is a sequel to my very first novel Everything in its Time.  Also a time travel set in fifteenth century Scotland, Cottage is a story about a woman who loses everything and then finds it all again—this time in the long ago past. And of course Iain, Katherine, Jeff and Elaine, the main characters from EIT, will be there to help her on her journey. 

DeeDavis_LineofFire800I’m also working on a new romantic suspense novel, Line of Fire, that will tie into the rerelease of my Liar’s Game books; Chain Reaction, Eye of the Storm and an updated Still of the Night

 

Would you like to share an excerpt? 

From Cottage in the Mist:

 Scotland – 1468

CottageInTheMist_300x475There was danger.  Bram could feel it all around him. Fire raced up the wooden steps that lead up to the door leading into the tower.   And he could see more flames thrusting out of the windows, black smoke spiraling into the night sky.  Throwing his plaid over his face, he ran up the steps, but was stopped by one of the tower’s guards.

The man raised his claymore, his eyes narrowed as the deadly blade began its descent.  Bram pivoted, and then swung his own weapon, confused as to where he was and why he was fighting.  The man fell, only to be replaced by another.  Bram called to him, some part of him recognizing a face that still seemed a stranger, but this man, too, seemed intent only on stopping him.

His mind argued that nothing made sense, even as his heart screamed that he must get inside.  If he did not then that which was most precious to him would be lost.  He knew this as surely as he drew breath.

With a twist and a parry he drew the man off, and then made quick work of him, dashing through the opening of the tower, down the hallway and into the great hall.  A place meant for comfort it offered only danger now.  It too was full of flame, and lined with enemies. 

Again the thought brought him up short.  But there was no time to try and understand.  Fear pushed him forward.  He surged into the fray, moving toward the stairway at the far end of the room.  It gave access to the chambers above and it was there he knew he would find her.

His brain recoiled.  Find who?  But his heart urged him forward, and he fought his way to the bottom of the steps, then ran up them, taking them two at a time, knowing the other swordsmen were fast on his heels. 

At the top he froze for a moment, the thick smoke disorienting him.  The fire was much worse here.  Pushing forward, he breathed through the heavy wool of his plaid, keeping sword at the ready.  The first chamber was empty.  As was the solar and the chamber beyond it.  But then from down the narrow hallway he heard a cry.

Heart thundering in his ears, he ran through the flames and smoke.  A timber fell, glancing off of his shoulder, and he hardly felt it, the need to find her overriding everything else.

He called for her, his voice swallowed by the raging fire.  Another timber fell, and a wall collapsed.  He jumped across a gaping hole in the floor, landing hard, but still moving.   The doorway ahead was edged in flames, the smoke and fire roiling like some kind of evil spirit. 

Ignoring the danger, he sprinted forward, through the opening, again calling her name.

And then, through the shimmering heat, he saw her, tied to the bedframe, her long hair unbound, her green eyes wide with fear. 

“Go back,” she screamed.

But he pushed onward, stumbling as still more of the burning tower fell.  “I’ll no’ leave you.”   His words were whipped away by the inferno surrounding them.  But he knew that she had heard him.

There were only a few feet between them now.  There was bruising on her face, and a trickle of blood at the corner of her beautiful mouth, and he swore there would be hell to pay.

But first, he had to free her.

He reached out a hand, but as he did so, the ceiling above him crashed to the ground.  One moment he was looking into her eyes—and the next, she was gone.

With the release of Dire Distraction, it feels as though the A-Tac series is over.  Have we seen the last of them, or are there further adventures in store? 

I think the team is ready for a well-deserved vacation.  That said, never say never, and I do expect at least one of them to turn up in a new romantic suspense series that will debuting late next year.  It’s hard to keep a good team down!  And they have friends… 

Escape_500x791You’ve also been doing novellas in your Last Chance, Inc. series.  What led you to start those, and will there be more?

 I was asked to participate in Lunch Hour Love Stories.  And couldn’t think of a better character to write about than Tracy from Last Chance.  As to more stories, nothing on the burner at the moment.  But Andrew (Nigel’s brother) seems to find himself in constant trouble, so it wouldn’t surprise me if he needed rescuing and Last Chance would be the first people he’d call.

You started out writing time travel romance, and I see that those are available again.  Could you tell us a bit about them?

Everything in its Time was my first novel, debuting back in 2000.  And it’s been really heart-warming to see how well it (and the other two time travels) have been received upon rerelease.  The three novels are only loosely related (in the dark recesses of my mind) but feature characters from the same families.  Both EIT and Wild Highland Rose take place in medieval Scotland about a year apart. 

promise_reissueAnd The Promise takes place in the 1880’s during the silver rush in Colorado.  Michael, the hero is related to both Iain and Marjory from the other two books.  The Promise is especially dear to my heart because although Silverthread is a fictional town, it’s based on Creede where I spent my summers growing up. 

All three time travels are tales of impossible love reaching beyond the boundaries of time.  And of course, being me, there’s a good dose of suspense as well. 

What’s the next thing we should look for from you, and when?

DeeDavis_HellFire_800Cottage in the Mist will be out this winter.  And just after that, Line of Fire

And in the meantime, I’ve just rereleased two novellas (along with two of Julie Kenner’s) in our Devil May Care Series.  Hell Fire and Hell’s Fury.

 Readers can connect with Dee via social media on these sites:

website:  www.deedavis.com; Twitter @deedavis

Facebook:  www.facebook.com/deedavisbooks

Dire_Distraction_lo_resDee is giving one commenter today a trade paperback of Dire Distraction (US only).  

So tell us what your favorite contemporary or historical setting is and why.

OR

Tell us what you like best about romantic suspense or paranormal romance.

Next Page »