Author Archives: Lena Diaz

KaT’s Carey Baldwin is a USA Today Bestselling author!!!!


The Kiss and Thrill ladies would like to congratulate our own KaT, CAREY BALDWIN, for hitting the USA Today Bestseller list with her thriller, STOLEN! This is Carey’s first time on the list. We are so proud of her! Congratulations, Carey!!!!!

 

 

 

Who0 Hooo!!!

Yay!!!!

Congrats!

Amazing!!!

 

SQUEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!!!!!!!!

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Is she missing…or a murderer?

When Laura Chaucer, daughter of a U.S. senator, vanishes from her college campus, celebrated FBI profilers Special Agent Atticus Spenser and forensic psychiatrist Dr. Caitlin Cassidy are called in. Thirteen years ago, Laura and her nanny disappeared from her family’s Denver home. Laura was found alive, but her nanny wasn’t so lucky… and the killer was never caught. Laura could identify him—if only she didn’t have a deep, dark hole in her memory.

Now she’s missing again. Did the troubled young woman run away or has the kidnapper returned? As women who look eerily similar to Laura’s nanny begin turning up dead, the Chaucer family psychiatrist renders a disturbing opinion: Laura is unstable, a danger to herself and others. Who knows what terrible secrets lurk in the shadowy recesses of her mind? Cassidy and Spenser must solve one of the most infamous cold cases ever to uncover the answer: Is Laura a killer, or is a monster still out there, waiting to claim another victim?

Rita Finalist, Sarah Andre, releases CAPTURING THE QUEEN

Your wait is over! Sarah Andre’s newest release is here. Introducing…

CAPTURING THE QUEEN!

Amazon

Restoration artist Sean Quinn is perfectly content spending his downtime devouring classical literature, while keeping his OCD and fourth-degree black belt under wraps. But when his FBI agent brother coerces him into investigating stolen artifacts, Sean becomes the target of a ruthless smuggling ring that funds terrorists.

Gretch Allen, a beautiful man-magnet, hides a world of hurt under her icy exterior. When Sean rescues her from a stalker, she discovers her co-worker has an alpha-hot fire burning beneath his geeky exterior. As barriers between them begin crumbling, however, she accidentally places herself in much more extremist danger.

Unable to stop the unraveling events from turning deadly, Sean must conjure his inner hero to save his city and capture the heart of the queen.

CONGRATULATIONS, Sarah, from your KaT family! Happy book birthday!

You can learn more about Sarah and her award-winning books here: Sarah Andre

Congratulations to KaT’s own 2017 RITA and GOLDEN HEART Finalists!

The Kiss and Thrill ladies would like to congratulate two of our own, on their tremendous achievements.

Congratulations to SARAH ANDRE for being the first KaT ever to become a finalist in the Romance Writers of America’s prestigious RITA® awards!

Congratulations to DIANA BELCHASE, a former winner of the RWA Golden Heart® awards, who has just become a Golden Heart finalist for the…wait for it…FOURTH time!  We’re so happy for both of you and will be cheering you on at the award ceremonies!!!

Sarah Andre

Wow! We all knew that Sarah Andre was talented. We knew she was a wonderful friend. We knew she had a generous spirit. But we did not know she would be the first among us to garner one of the highest honors in the romance writing community: a coveted RITA final, which is like the academy awards for published romance novels. Congratulations, Sarah! We love you and we are so proud!

What folks are saying about her Rita finalist book, Tall Dark and Damaged:

“…Although the build-up pretty much had me rocking back and forth in the fetal position, the ending was fantasmically awesome! It really plays out like a movie, with every scene described in such vivid detail that you could really picture everything playing out with absolute clarity. Another unique feather of this ending is that although it ends happily, it in no way ends perfectly.” Romance4theBeach

“Solid romantic suspense with strong characters and surprising plot twists.” Kirkus Review

“Get comfortable and be prepared to stay up all night, once you start reading TALL, DARK & DAMAGED.” Susan Breeden

“Brilliant! Five star read, five star plot, five star writing! The plot of Tall, Dark and Damaged is amazing. So many twists and turns and a spectacular ending. I would never believe anyone who told me they saw this ending coming–and yet it makes perfect sense AND it makes you happy! How does that even happen with such a thick, juicy plot??” Leigh

Here is the list of finalists in the romantic suspense category for the 2017 RITA. Sarah is one of only EIGHT finalists!

Romantic Suspense
All the Dead Girls by Rita Herron; Montlake Publishing; Alison Dasho, editor
Atone by Beth Yarnall; Penguin Random House, Loveswept; Sue Grimshaw, editor
Field of Graves by J. T. Ellison; Harlequin, MIRA Books; Nicole Brebner, editor
Killer Countdown by Amelia Autin; Harlequin, Romantic Suspense; Carly Silver, editor
Mr. and Mr. Smith by HelenKay Dimon; Penguin Random House, Loveswept; Shauna Summers, editor
One Minute to Midnight by Nico Rosso; Carina Press; Rhonda Stapleton, editor
Repressed by Elisabeth Naughton; Montlake Publishing; Charlotte Herscher and Christopher Werner, editors

Tall, Dark and Damaged by Sarah Andre; Self-published; Anya Kagan, Touchstone Editing, editor

Diana Belchase

Her manuscript, VENGEANCE, is a finalist in the Romantic Suspense category.

The Golden Heart is to unpublished authors what the Academy Awards are to actors and actresses. It’s an incredible honor that thousands of authors aspire to. But only a handful ever become finalists, and even fewer actually win. Diana has done both! She has won the Golden Heart before, and we’ll be rooting her on this year to win it again! But win or not, just being a finalist puts her at the top of the pack, the cream of the crop, a writer who stands out from others as being extremely talented with a very bright future ahead of her.

CONGRATULATIONS DIANA!

Diana is a truly kind, intelligent, wonderful person whom we all love. We KaTs are so happy for her! Below is a list of just some of her writing accomplishments, in addition to this year’s Golden Heart final!

Golden Heart Finalist 2015 (Escape from the Harem)
Daphne Du Maurier Nominee 2015 (By the Skin of Her Teeth)
Daphne Du Maurier Nominee 2015 (His Brother’s Child)
Daphne Du Maurier Nominee 2015 (At Midnight)
Golden Heart Winner 2011 (Spy in the Mirror)
Golden Heart Finalist 2012 (Spy in the Harem)
Silver Quill Winner 2011 (Spy in the Mirror)
Wisconsin Fab Five Winner 2011 (Spy in the Mirror)
Jack Reid Award 2010 (The Spy Next Door)
NEORWA Cleveland Rocks 2nd Place 2009 (The Spy Next Door)

Here is the list of finalists in the romantic suspense category for the 2017 Golden Heart. Diana is one of only SIX finalists!

Romantic Suspense
“The Fire Beckons” by Lynnette Labelle
“The Guide” by Sarah Morgenthaler
“Seductive Strokes” by Patty Hoffman
“Semper Fi” by Meta Carroll
“Shot Down” by Tracy Brody

“Vengeance” by Diana Belchase

 

CONGRATULATIONS SARAH AND DIANA!

 

New Release – Tennessee SWAT Continues with SECRET STALKER!

A SWAT officer loves a suspected murderess. What could possibly go wrong?

secret-stalker Lena Diaz

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Ten years ago, Bexley Kane and Max Remington were high-school sweethearts hoping to get married and start their future together. But a stalker, and his death, ended their hopes and dreams and sent Bex fleeing town under suspicion of murder.

Now she’s back, and the past has caught up to her. But will SWAT officer Max Remington learn to trust and love her again? Or will Bex’s secrets destroy them both?

In 2014, award winning book TENNESSEE TAKEDOWN introduced readers to the sexy SWAT team of Destiny, Tennessee. This year readers get to experience more stories about the wonderful men and women in the TENNESSEE SWAT series, beginning with MOUNTAIN WITNESS. The newest release is out now, SECRET STALKER. And there will be more stories after that.

Below is an excerpt from SECRET STALKER. Enjoy!

CHAPTER ONE

The whispers started thirty seconds after Bexley Kane walked down aisle three in the Piggly Wiggly on Magnolia Street. Not that there was a Piggly Wiggly on any other street in the tiny town of Destiny, Tennessee. With a population the size of a large high school in other parts of the state, this town could only support one grocery store. And one movie theater. And one Waffle House. But, oddly enough, there were four Starbucks. Too bad not one of them was anywhere close to Magnolia Street. Bex sure could use a venti caramel macchiato right now.

Head high, shoulders back, she began filling her cart as quickly as possible while pretending not to notice the other shoppers talking behind their hands as she passed. But, come on, did they really believe that she didn’t know they were gossiping about her? She could well imagine what they were saying.

Is that who I think it is? What’s it been, ten years? Why is she back in town?

You didn’t hear? Her mama done passed away. I heard she died of a broken heart, on account of her daughter didn’t visit even once after she got run out of town.

You think Chief Thornton will arrest her this time?

Is there a statute of limitations on murder?

“Miss Kane, nice to see you today.” Mr. Dawson gave Bex a genuine, welcoming smile from behind the deli counter. “I was hoping I’d see your lovely face at least one more time before you left Destiny. You here for lunch? We’ve got a brand-new batch of pickled pigs’ feet.” He proudly thumped a large jar on top of the display case that looked like a science experiment gone horribly wrong.

Bex very nearly lost her breakfast. She averted her gaze from the nauseating sight and smiled at one of the few people in Destiny who hadn’t treated her like a pariah in the week that she’d been back.

“Hello, Mr. Dawson. I called in an order for some lunch meats and grilled chicken. Could you see whether it’s ready, please?”

“Gladys must have taken that order. I’ll check the cooler. Won’t take but a minute.” He opened the massive walk-in refrigerator behind him and headed inside.

Bex checked her grocery list. The only thing left to get was mustard, one of several things she’d forgotten the first time she’d been in the store. After today’s shopping trip, she should have enough to tide her over for several more days, until she finished taking care of all of the details of her mother’s estate. Then she could hop into her car and leave Destiny in the dust. Again. And this time, she’d never come back.

If she remembered correctly, Mr. Dawson kept the condiments across the aisle from the meat case. Since little else had changed in this town, she doubted that had, either. She turned around—and locked gazes with the one person she’d hoped to avoid.

Max Remington.

His golden-brown eyes stared at her in shock for all of three seconds. Then they filled with anger. His jaw clamped tight and, without a word, he circled around her and headed to the sandwich counter at the other end of the deli.

Gladys miraculously appeared as if from thin air, eager to take Max’s order. Bex couldn’t help noticing that he was all smiles and yes, ma’ams, no, ma’ams when speaking to the older woman. But he couldn’t even spare a hello for his former lover.

His curt dismissal shouldn’t hurt. After all, she was the one who’d left him. But he’d been her first love. And she’d built him up in her mind over the years as her handsome hero, dreaming of what life could have been, should have been, if she’d said yes that night.

And if Bobby Caldwell hadn’t died.

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Mountain Witness - Lena Diaz

TennesseeTakedown

 

FINAL EXIT – The Explosive Conclusion to the EXIT Trilogy

It’s here! The last book in the EXIT Inc. trilogy, FINAL EXIT!

FinalExit-HighRez

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FINAL EXIT is the story of washed-up FBI agent, Kade Quinn, trying to redeem himself and rehabilitate his career after a personal tragedy sent him on a downward spiral into addiction. Rounding up all of the Enforcers who used to work for EXIT, so they can be re-trained and sent back out into society without the controls and oversight of their former agency, seems like “the right thing” to do. And Kade is proud to be a part of this mission. Until he meets Enforcer Bailey Stark. Her resistance to being taken, and her repeated assertions that the government is killing Enforcers instead of retraining them, is met with denial and then shock as Kade begins to suspect she might be right.

While Kade and Bailey work together to bring down the evil forces behind EXIT Inc. once and for all, they fall in love along the way. Of course! This is, after all, a romance. It’s full of action, like all of my stories. But I’m particularly pleased with the romantic arc of these two very damaged people. And if you’re a fan of the enemies to lovers trope, I really think you’re going to enjoy this one.

As with all of the EXIT books, there’s a host of sexy alpha-male secondary characters from earlier books, including the Buchanans from my Deadly Games series. The below flowchart is something I put together to show the connections between the characters in the DG series. (Yes, I’m a nerd, who loves flowcharts and spreadsheets.) You might have to click on the chart to enlarge it and see it better.

Lena Diaz Buchanan-family-tree

Did I mention that I love flowcharts? Here’s another one, showing an overview of the EXIT series. (Click on the chart to enlarge it and see it better.)

 

Lena Diaz exit-series-family-tree

So how are these series linked? The picture below is a BIG hint. Devlin (Devil) Buchanan is one of the brother’s from the Deadly Games series. Unbeknownst to his family, he’s also an Enforcer for EXIT Inc. In TAKE THE KEY AND LOCK HER UP, Devlin’s two world’s collide and he fights to protect both the woman he’s starting to love and his family from the employer he’s trusted his entire adult life. The aftermath of that struggle is the creation of the Equalizers, a group of former EXIT Enforcers and others who join together to fight against what EXIT has become. That struggle continues throughout the EXIT series, beginning with EXIT Strategy and ending in an explosive climax in FINAL EXIT.

Lena Diaz series-for-katLena Diaz Website Books Page with Buy Links

It was so much fun bringing in the Buchanan’s and even Logan Richards (a friend of the Buchanan’s from HE KILLS ME, HE KILLS ME NOT) as secondary, but extremely important, characters throughout the EXIT series.

Although the four-book Deadly Games series and the three book spin-off EXIT series are incredibly fun to read in order, each story contains a unique and fulfilling love story and can be enjoyed as a stand-alone book. You’ll understand what’s going on even without reading the earlier stories.

I hope you’ll give FINAL EXIT a try. And let me know what you think! Shoot me an email through my website. And please join my newsletter list if you’d like to receive notifications of future releases or giveaways. Sometimes I do giveaways ONLY to my subscribers, like last week when I gave away ten books to randomly drawn names from my newsletter list.

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Birth of a Series! The Sexy SWAT team of Destiny, Tennessee!

Mountain Witness - Lena Diaz

In 2014, TENNESSEE TAKEDOWN introduced readers to the fictional town of Destiny, Tennessee and the sexy, funny SWAT team of five alpha men and one kick-butt woman. Readers loved it. TT won the prestigious Daphne du Maurier Award of Excellence. And to this day, it’s still my best-selling Harlequin Intrigue.

But why am I talking about a book that released three years ago?

Because, in response to reader emails asking for more of the sexy heroes of the Destiny, Tennessee SWAT team, I’ve created a new Tennessee SWAT series. And the first book, taking up where TT left off, is MOUNTAIN WITNESS!

MOUNTAIN WITNESS – Print releases January 17. eBook releases February 1st!

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A woman in hiding and a man on a mission in the Smoky Mountains

Detective and part-time SWAT officer, Chris Downing, doesn’t know much about his neighbor. In the rural town of Destiny, Tennessee, Julie Webb lives a life of seclusion, rarely even offering a smile or wave. Only when Chris hears her frantic screams one night does he gain a glimpse into the life of a woman in hiding, and in saving her life, he is forced to kill her attacker. But Julie’s troubles are only beginning to unravel. When Chris learns the identity of Julie’s attacker, questions of trust are raised and suspicions run high. Together they will uncover the motives of a killer…and the undeniable attraction between them.

TennesseeTakedown

MOUNTAIN WITNESS begins one year after TT ended. All of the SWAT characters from TT make appearances in MW. And readers get a very special glimpse into the lives of the hero and heroine from TT and what has happened to them since that book ended.

I had a blast writing this book, and have three more to go to finish out the series–including SECRET STALKER, which comes out next month!

secret-stalker Lena DiazSo far the feedback from readers about MOUNTAIN WITNESS has been wonderful. I’m looking forward to hearing from readers of TENNESSEE TAKEDOWN as well, and how they’re receiving the continuation of that world in these new books. I hope everyone loves the fabulous alpha-heroes, and heroines, of Destiny, Tennessee!

To celebrate the release of MOUNTAIN WITNESS, I’m giving away a print copy of both MOUNTAIN WITNESS and SECRET STALKER to a random commenter on this post. So, tell me readers, what makes a SWAT hero sexy? What makes any hero sexy?

The randomly drawn winner of the two print books will be announced in the comments of THIS post on Tuesday, January 24th, so be sure to check back to see if you won.

Learn about these and other books by Lena Diaz by visiting her website.

Merry Christmas and Happy 2017!

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Merry Christmas

and Happy Holidays

from all of us at

Kiss And Thrill

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Eat, drink and be merry —

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and

read lots of suspense.

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With Love,

from the

Kiss and Thrill women:

Carey, Diana, Gwen, Krista, Lena, Manda, Rachel, Sarah, and Sharon.

img_4714And may 2017 be a wonderful, healthy, happy year for you and yours!

Author Lena Diaz Breaches FBI Security!

It wasn’t easy, but I persevered and got inside an FBI field office. What I saw was…

fbiseal

AMAZING! It was so cool to be there! And it was like breaching Fort Knox to get inside. Seriously.

I was part of a tour group from my local Sisters in Crime chapter, a non-profit organization of lovers of mysteries and thrillers (both readers and authors.)

Weeks before the planned visit to the Jacksonville, Florida field office, I had to fill out forms giving the FBI permission to perform a full background check on me. Since they approved my visit, I’m guessing they totally missed my questionable internet searches such as “how to kill someone and make it look like an accident.”fbi

At the appointed time for the visit, I was told to leave my cell phone and anything that contained GPS tracking technology in my car. So, after divesting myself of all of my clandestine spying equipment, I went into the maximum security prison office visitor’s booth.

All the walls inside were glass from about waist-level up. A security guard was behind a thick Exit Strategy High Rez Finalwall of glass to my left and was apparently too scared to come out, because he stayed behind that wall the entire time. He spoke to me by talking into a phone on his side. His voice came through a speaker in the ceiling on my side. First order of business, “The Speech”–the warning about leaving my guns and weapons of mass destruction at home.

Then he instructed me to open a heavy, thick metal door in the bottom part of the wall and to place my purse, my notepad, and my Driver’s License inside the little cubby area behind the door. Once I did that and my door was closed, he opened a door on his side and took my belongings out.

NoExit Cover-Final-HighRezI was then instructed to pass through a metal detector while the guard sent my belongings through an airport-type of scanner. He also instructed me to pass through to the next glass-walled room, after buzzing the lock to open the door for me.

Next was “The Search”. He checked every nook and cranny inside my rather large purse. He felt it up so much that I’m fairly certain there will be dozens of baby purses in my home nine months from now.

Once satisfied that I wasn’t hiding any evil clowns, he placed the purse, my notebook, and a temporary ID into another metal cubby inside the wall. He kept my Driver’s License hostage until the tour was over. Once the door was closed on his side of the cubby, he again directed me through the phone/intercom to open the door on my side to get my belongings.

Armed with my temporary ID (okay, it was just a name-tag sticker, but it did say Federal FinalExit-HighRez
Bureau of Investigation on it), I was then permitted to exit the next door–after the guard buzzed the lock.

After all of that, I had finally achieved access to…the courtyard outside the actual FBI building. (sigh) Did I mention the entire facility is surrounded by super-high black metal fencing that could probably stop a tank?

From there, I had to go through another series of security measures. Here’s the short version.

  • FOUR FBI agents escorted our tour group of nine people the whole time.
  • EVERYTHING is secured and requires codes typed into keypads.
  • Before going through a door, the door behind you has to be closed and locked.
  • If one person needs to go to the bathroom, we all go to the bathroom. The tour group stays together no matter what.

What did I see while inside the building? Here are some highlights.

  • Guns. LOTS of guns. Some of them on the hips of FBI agents. Others in an armory.
  • I got to hold a Tommy gun. It was HEAVY.
  • I got to hold some bullet-resistant vests. The one the FBI SWAT team wears is super heavy. I could barely hold it up.
  • There is a Samurai sword in the armory. Don’t ask me why.
  • There are bomb blast doors inside.
  • They have commercial washers and dryers inside for the ERT (Evidence Response Team) and others to use. Why? Because when you go to crime scenes in really grungy areas you don’t want to bring the roaches home with you (shiver).
  • There was a presentation from a special agent who was on one of the ERT teams sent to Orlando to investigate the night club shooting.
  • The gun guy showed us all of those guns. Did I mention they were heavy? Oh – and he was CUTE.
  • Best part of the tour? The gym. There were two very special agents working out when we went inside. VERY special.
  • We met the Special Agent in Charge. How cool is that? He’s the top guy. In case you didn’t know.
  • There was a presentation by a female FBI Special Agent who talked about her specialty, white-collar crime.
  • Then we got to ask questions. Crazy questions. And they answered us without even blinking. Which is kind of scary if you think about it.
  • Oh, and I forgot to mention. The FBI had a photographer following us around the entire time, taking tons of pictures. To what end, I have no idea. But we did get one picture to take home with us (thus the picture posted on this blog.)
  • At the end of the tour, we got to go to a very important last stop–the FBI gift shop. I am now the proud owner of a set of handcuffs and lanyard that say FBI on them. I do have to say, their gift shop was a bit disappointing. Very small without a lot to choose from. I highly recommend the gift shop at the LAPD Police Academy instead. But that’s another blog post.
  • My hijacked Driver’s License was returned to me at the visitor’s booth at the end of the tour in exchange for my temporary FBI badge/sticker. Bummer. I wanted to keep the sticker and would have gladly forfeited my license in exchange.

giftshopOh, and did I also mention that when anyone leaves the FBI fortress compound employee parking lot, they have to punch in a special code to get the gate to open? I guess if you forget the code you have to live in the field office forever.

If I had to describe the visit in one word, I’d say INTENSE.

Lena Diaz

Now I’m off to correct the myths and errors in my current novel that includes some references to the FBI.

Lena Diaz is an award-winning author of romantic suspense for both Harlequin and Avon. Her books have been translated into French, German, Norwegian, Turkish, and Japanese and are sold in many countries around the world. With fifteen books published so far, she has three more scheduled to come out in 2017, and two (so far) scheduled to release in 2018. Lena lives in northeast Florida with her husband of 30 years, her son, her daughter, and her daughter’s cat–Weasley (yes, he’s named after a Harry Potter character.)

Learn more about Lena Diaz by visiting her website.

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