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Audio Book News, a Giveaway, and a Sale!

Hi KaTs! Rachel here to share some news. First, from today’s Publisher’s Marketplace:Screen Shot 2016-04-21 at 7.46.08 AM

That’s right, 4 more Evidence books are coming out in Audio in September! I’m very excited about the audio release of BODY OF EVIDENCE, WITHHOLDING EVIDENCE, INCRIMINATING EVIDENCE, and COVERT EVIDENCE and utterly thrilled to be working with Audible.

Audio book lineup

The first book in the series, CONCRETE EVIDENCE, is already available in audiobook format. You can listen to a sample and find buy links here. While you are visiting my website, you can sign up for my mailing list, and I’ll let you know when the other books are available for purchase in audio.

ColdEvidence-FrontCover-Final-72dpiStarting Friday, April 22nd, I’m hosting a Rafflecopter giveaway to celebrate COLD EVIDENCE’s first 50 reviews on Amazon. As of now there are 52 reviews and a 4.8 star rating! I think that’s worth celebrating with some fun swag. Entry information and photos of the prizes (a Hobuck Resort hoodie and COLD EVIDENCE shopping bag) can be found on my Facebook fan page. But don’t worry, if you aren’t on Facebook you can still enter!

Enter the giveaway here.

This is what USA Today had to say about COLD EVIDENCE:

Cold Evidence is exciting, intelligent, angst-y and sexy, with a depth of conflict and plot I found mesmerizing. Grant achieves an ideal balance between romance and suspense while keeping the adrenaline surging, and just when you think the danger is done … she sets you straight with yet another twist.”

COLD EVIDENCEKindle | iBooks | Kobo | Nook

Finally, INCRIMINATING EVIDENCE is on sale for $0.99/£0.99 through May 1st!

INCRIMINATING EVIDENCE is an enemies-to-lovers story, and many readers tell me Alec is their favorite hero. Here’s a glimpse at why:

Smexy Books gave INCRIMINATING EVIDENCE a B+ and said:

This book really has a fun and engaging premise. I love black-ops/special-ops/military action and throw it into the woods of Alaska with a great heroine and some really bad guys – and I’m all set.

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 I really liked both of them – they are tough and they don’t let the other get away with anything. They have really good chemistry.

I also feel like the detail with the military training and weapons and the Alaskan landscape in general are really presented well. A lot of detail that makes everything very realistic – something you don’t always get in romantic suspense books.

INCRIMINATING EVIDENCE: Kindle | iBooks | KoboNook

How do you top a North Korean Firing Squad?

IE-frontCover-Final-r2-72dpiThere is an ailment that afflicts some authors, popularly known as “Second Book Syndrome” in which an author struggles to write the next book after publication of their first novel (sometimes it strikes after a novel is viewed as a critical and/or financial success). I didn’t face this syndrome in the typical manner—it hit me as I began writing my 4th novel. At the time, none of my books were published, so there was no measure of success to trigger it, just my own neuroses.

For me, the syndrome surfaced because I’d just completed Body of Evidence and whenever I sat down to write, the vicious little voice in my head would say, “How do you top a book that starts with a North Korean firing squad?” And I couldn’t let go of the idea that I had to top it. In my head, the 3rd Evidence Series novel had to be more dynamic than the last.

But still, in spite of these doubts, I wrote. I finished the first draft, and I liked it. There were parts I even loved. But I knew it needed work, so I set it aside and started another book, which I planned to make the 4th book in the series. But still, that fear lingered even as I finished the first draft of the next book.

Then I had an idea for a novella that would tie the first 2 Evidence books to the 2 unpublished manuscripts, creating a stronger link across the series. That novella (which ended up being a short novel) is the 3rd book in the Evidence Series, Withholding Evidence.

Writing Withholding is what finally cured me of Second Book Syndrome, because I approached the work differently. Instead of trying to top a firing squad, I aimed for a funny and sexy opening to set the tone for that particular book. While some books require firing squads, others require a cocky half-naked SEAL confronting a curious historian, or a heroine on a quest for justice finding an injured former Army Ranger deep in the Alaskan wilderness.

With this clarity, I finally returned to that book I’d drafted while struggling with the Syndrome. I went to Alaska to research the setting, and started from scratch with the story, so the doubts that hampered me wouldn’t find their way into the new draft. In an instant, the vision of Isabel hiking through woods and finding Alec came to me, and I knew I had my opening. Does it top the firing squad? I have no idea, but that no longer matters to me. What matters is I was eager to find out what happens next, which is all we can ask from any first scene.

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Incriminating Evidence released today, and after reading about my struggle with the Syndrome, you can probably imagine my joy when one of the first reviews opened with: “I absolutely loved this book. It is the fourth book in this series, and in my opinion, it is the best.”

You can read on for an excerpt of Incriminating, or visit an online vendor to download a longer sample.

Amazon | iBooks | KoboBarnes & Noble

This evening (Tues, March 24th) from 7 – 10 p.m. EDT, my critique partner, Darcy Burke, and I are having a party to celebrate the release of Incriminating Evidence and Darcy’s fabulous book, Yours to Hold, on Facebook. Stop by to chat with our great lineup of guest authors and enter giveaways to win lots of fun prizes (including several items that play a role in Incriminating Evidence)!

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 Incriminating Evidence Excerpt:

There was only one solution. Well, two. Either give him her blanket, or share it with him. The smart thing would be to share it. They’d both be warm. They’d both get the rest they needed to face the hike to her truck tomorrow.

But sharing a blanket, getting up close and personal with Alec Ravissant, definitely didn’t feel like the right thing. The right thing would be to give him the blanket and get the hell out of the cabin, head back to her truck alone. When she arrived home, she could call Raptor and tell them where they could find their boss.

“If you’re trying to decide if you should give me your blanket,” Alec said softly, “forget it. I won’t take it from you. I can handle a little chill.”

Crap. He was awake, meaning the right thing wasn’t an option. If she tried to leave, he’d follow, and he was in no condition to traipse six miles through the woods. “No, I was debating sharing it with you.”

His mouth curved in a slow smile. “You wanna get close to my body, Jenna?”

Isabel rolled her eyes at his tone even as she stiffened at the fake name. He was going to be so pissed when he found out who she really was. “No, but I don’t want you to die after I worked so hard to save your ungrateful life.” She grabbed the Mylar tent. “It’s not a regular emergency blanket, it’s the tent kind—a long tube. We’ll have to shimmy into it.” Read the rest of this entry

Crimes of Passion/Inside the Actors Studio Interview Winner!

First I want to thank the CRIMES OF PASSION authors for participating in the Inside the Actors Studio quiz! If you didn’t catch the interview, you can read the post here.

Check out CRIMES OF PASSION at: Amazon | iBooks | Kobo

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The winner of CONCRETE EVIDENCE in audio CD is:

QUANTUM

Quantum, to claim your prize, contact us with your mailing address within ten days!

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Crimes of Passion – 6 Romantic Suspense Books for $0.99!

Summer is officially here and like many of our readers, I’m looking to fill up my ereader with sexy, intense, and mysterious stories for vacation reading, which is why I’m extra thrilled to tell our Kiss and Thrill audience about a new 6-book bundle available for a limited time for only $0.99!

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CRIMES OF PASSION, full of heart-pounding, sexy suspense, includes books by four New York Times bestselling authors! I am so honored to have Body of Evidence included with these fantastic titles!

~ Crimes of the Heart Collection ~
CRIMES OF PASSION
Six Romantic Suspense Books

Toni Anderson – Her Sanctuary
Terri Reid – Loose Ends
M A Comley – Past Temptation
Rachel Grant – Body of Evidence
Jennifer Blake – Love and Smoke
Denise Grover Swank – Twenty-Eight and a Half Wishes

To learn more about the CRIMES OF PASSION authors, I donned my James Lipton beard and put them in the Inside the Actors Studio hot seat.

What is your favorite word?
Toni: Ethereal
Terri: Pizzazz
M A: Perpendicular
Rachel: Kismet
Jennifer: Serendipity
Denise: Yes

What is your least favorite word?
Toni: Vomit
Terri: Should
M A: Scenario
Rachel: Fart
Jennifer: Skanky
Denise: No

What turns you on?
Toni: Tom Hardy’s smile
Terri: A good mystery
M A: Kindness
Rachel: Wit (six-pack abs don’t hurt either)
Jennifer: Tenderness
Denise: A confident man

What turns you off?
Toni: The list is endless.
Terri: Bad writing
M A: Conceit
Rachel: Fart jokes
Jennifer: Vulgarity
Denise: Negativity

What sound or noise do you love?
Toni: Bird song
Terri: An owl hooting nearby on a dark night
M A: A trickling stream
Rachel: My children’s laughter
Jennifer: Ocean surf
Denise: My children’s laughter

What sound or noise do you hate?
Toni: Bird song at 5 AM
Terri: Arguing
M A: Animals in pain
Rachel: Leaf blowers
Jennifer: NASCAR racing
Denise: Loud squeaks

What is your favorite curse word?
Toni: Fuck
Terri: Crap – just ask Mary O’Reilly
M A: Shit
Rachel: Fuck
Jennifer: Hell
Denise: Frickety-frack (I have little kids. Enough said.)

What profession other than your own would you like to attempt?
Toni: FBI agent 🙂
Terri: Billionaire – that’s a profession, right?
M A: Vet
Rachel: Covert operative
Jennifer: Artist
Denise: I love being an author. I wouldn’t want to be anything else.

What profession would you not like to do?
Toni: Garbage man – looks like the hardest job in the world in this city.
Terri: Proctologist – ’nuff said.
M A: Slaughterman
Rachel: Any job that involves putrid odors on a daily basis.
Jennifer: Nursing
Denise: Sanitation worker

If heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the pearly gates?
Toni: “They’re all waiting for you.” 🙂
Terri: “Welcome home.”
M A: “Welcome, I’ve had my eye on you for a while. Thanks for going the extra mile to support all the needy animals on Earth.”
Rachel: “I’ve decided to make an exception in your case.”
Jennifer: “Come on in, honey, glad to see you could make it!”
Denise: “You made the world a better place.”

I love both the similarities and differences in our answers! What do you think? Do you have a favorite word? To celebrate the release of CRIMES OF PASSION I’m giving away a copy of CONCRETE EVIDENCE in audiobook (CD format) to one randomly selected commenter.

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BODY OF EVIDENCE (Evidence Series)Rachel Grant

In North Korea retrieving the remains of GIs, archaeologist Mara Garrett is arrested and sentenced to death for spying. Curt Dominick, an ambitious, infuriatingly sexy US attorney mounts a rescue misson that morphs into an explosive chase across the Pacific. Desire clashes with loyalty when the conspiracy they uncover threatens not only their lives but national security.

HER SANCTUARYToni Anderson

Running for her life, ex-FBI agent Elizabeth Ward escapes to the solitude of Montana with a new identity. Nat Sullivan, struggling to keep his ranch from bankruptcy, doesn’t need a beautiful stranger complicating his life. But Elizabeth isn’t what she seems. And when a murderer and rapist track her down, they all discover the power of revenge — and redemption.

TWENTY-EIGHT AND A HALF WISHES (Rose Gardner Mystery – Book 1)Denise Grover Swank

Rose Gardner’s had visions before, but never of herself dead. When her overbearing momma winds up murdered instead, she’s the prime suspect. Rose makes a bucketlist of 28 wishes, targeting neighbor Joe, with secrets of his own, for #15: Do more with a man. Then her house is broken into, someone else she knows is murdered, and suddenly, dying a virgin in jail isn’t her biggest worry.

LOOSE ENDS (A Mary O’Reilly Paranormal Mystery – Book 1)Terri Reid

Combining her cop experience with a talent to communicate with ghosts, PI Mary O’Reilly’s big challenge is convincing the handsome police chief she’s not nuts. But when the ghost of a woman drowned in a Senator’s swimming pool 24 years ago points to a connection with the cold cases of five missing girls, Mary becomes a target of a serial killer out to tie up all his loose ends.

Love & Smoke_200x300LOVE AND SMOKE (Contemporary Collection)Jennifer Blake

Riva Staulet triumphed over past betrayal to reinvent herself as a woman of wealth and power. Noel has always been a Southern gentleman of rock-solid principle, stalward in his sense of justice. When a ruthless politician from her past resurfaces, Riva must risk utter ruin to prove him a murderer. And as death and disaster loom, Noel must choose to stand with her or against her.

PAST TEMPTATION (Temptation Series)M A Comley

Until now, Nicole’s main focus in life has been running her successful business while raising her daughter, Sammy Jo, single-handedly. Now, Nicole’s ex-boyfriend, Josh, has turned up determined to rekindle the relationship he ran out on. But before they get the chance to pick up where they left off, Nicole’s personal life is put in mortal danger.

Check out CRIMES OF PASSION at: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | iBooks | Kobo

And don’t forget to comment for a chance to win CONCRETE EVIDENCE in audio CD!

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A Secret Worth Dying For ~ Withholding Evidence by Rachel Grant

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WITHHOLDING EVIDENCE, the third book in my series of romantic thrillers that explores the intersection of archaeology, politics, and war, released late last week. I had a blast writing this short novel. I loved finding Trina’s voice and Keith’s… well, I pretty much love everything about Keith.

Like all books in this series, this story can stand alone, but the characters from the previous books are present in WE, and I really enjoyed writing the friendship between Trina, Mara, and Erica, as they all work together at Naval History and Heritage Command. Years ago my husband worked for NHHC’s underwater archaeology branch making writing about the organization especially fun.

Today I’m excited to share with our Kiss and Thrill readers the first scene of Withholding Evidence.

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Trina Sorensen stiffened her spine and rang the town house doorbell. She couldn’t hear a chime, so after a moment of hesitation, she followed up with a knock. Seconds ticked by without any sound of movement on the other side. She rang the bell again, and then repeated the knock for good measure. The front door was on the ground floor, next to the garage. Glancing upward, she checked out the windows of the two upper floors. No lights on, but at nine in the morning on a hot August day in Falls Church, that didn’t tell her anything. If the man she hoped to meet was home, he’d have to descend at least one flight of stairs, possibly two.

She was about to ring the bell again when the door whipped open, startling her. She stepped back, then remembered she needed to project poise and straightened to meet her target’s gaze.

Keith Hatcher was even more handsome in person than in his official navy photo, but she couldn’t let that fluster her. It just meant he’d been blessed with good genes, a rather superficial measure of a person, really.

She took a deep breath and held out her hand. “Mr. Hatcher, Trina Sorensen, historian with Naval History and Heritage Command. I’d like to ask you a few questions about Somalia.” She cringed as she said the last part. Too perky. Too eager. That was not how to approach a former navy SEAL when asking about a mission.

Sporting tousled dark hair that suggested he may have just gotten out of bed, and wearing low-rise jeans and nothing else, the man leaned an impressive bare bicep against the doorframe and raised a quizzical thick eyebrow. “Trina? Cute name.” He smiled. “It fits.” He reached out and touched the top of her head. “But I think you should go back to the day care center you escaped from and leave me alone.” He stepped back, and the door slammed shut.

She jolted back a step. He did not just pat her on the head and slam the door in her face.

Except that was exactly what Senior Chief Petty Officer Keith Hatcher had done.

She was aware she looked young, but dammit, she was thirty-one freaking years old—the same age as Hatcher. She squared her shoulders and rang the bell again. Seconds ticked by. Then minutes. She pounded with the side of her fist.

Finally the door opened. “Yes?” He leaned against the doorjamb again, this time stretching out an arm to touch the hinged side of the opening. His body language conveyed amusement mixed with annoyance.

“Senior Chief, I’m Dr. Trina Sorensen”—she never referred to herself with the pretentious title of doctor, but figured his crack about day care warranted it—“and I’m researching your SEAL team’s work in Somalia five years ago for Naval History and Heritage Command and the Pentagon. You must answer my questions.”

“Dollface, it’s Sunday morning. The only thing I must do today is jack off.”

She crossed her arms. “Fine. I can wait. It’ll be what, one, maybe two minutes?”

The man tilted his head back and laughed. She saw her opportunity and ducked under his arm, entering, as she’d suspected, an enclosed staircase. The door to the left could only go to the garage. She went straight for the stairs, heading up to his home. Her heart beat rapidly at her own audacity, but she was never going to get the information she needed to do her job from the SEAL without taking risks.

“What the hell?” he sputtered, then added, “Who do you think you are, barging into my home?”

“I told you. I’m Dr. Trina Sorensen from NHHC,” she answered as she reached the landing that ended in the most spotless mudroom she’d ever seen. She crossed the room and stepped into his kitchen. She leaned against a counter as he paused in his own kitchen doorway. His mouth twitched, but his jaw was firm, making her think he couldn’t decide if he was annoyed or amused.

“I’ll wait here while you masturbate. We can start the interview when you’re done.”

Amusement won, and a corner of his mouth kicked up. He took a step toward her. “It’ll go faster if you help me.”

Her heart thumped in a slow, heavy beat. Barging into his home might’ve been a mistake. She frowned. Of course it was a mistake. “I’m good to go. Already took care of business this morning in the shower. You go ahead without me.”

He barked a sharp laugh, then shook his head. “What do you want, Dr. Sorensen?”

“As I said already, I’m here to ask you questions about Somalia.” She pulled her digital recorder from her satchel. “Do you mind if I record our conversation?”

His brown eyes narrowed. “Hell, yes, I mind. More importantly, we aren’t having a conversation. You are leaving. Now. Before I call the police.”

“Please don’t be difficult. I’m just doing my job.”

“SEAL ops are classified.” All hint of amusement left his voice, leaving only hard edges.

She sighed in frustration. Hadn’t he bothered to read any of her e-mails? “I sent you what you need to verify my security clearance in my e-mail. And my orders came directly from the Pentagon.”

“I don’t give a crap if the pope sent you on orders from the president. I’m not telling you shit about a place I’ve never been.”

He expected her to accept that and walk away? She’d never have gotten anywhere as a military historian if she allowed the men in her field to brush her off. “Oh, you’ve been to Somalia all right. You were there on a reconnaissance mission, gathering data about a rising al Qaeda leader who was taking advantage of a power vacuum created by ongoing interclan violence.”

He crossed his arms and spoke softly. “I have no clue what you’re talking about.”

The man had a solid poker face; no hint that she’d surprised him with the paltry facts she knew. So he was handsome and big and had the most gorgeous sculpted pecs and abs she’d ever seen, and he was sharp to boot. “I’m researching various SEAL actions in Somalia over the last two decades, starting with Operation Gothic Serpent and ending with yours.”

“The work I did when I was in the navy is classified. Not only do I not have to tell you about an op I was never on in a country I’ve never visited, but I could also get in serious trouble if I did tell you a damn thing about the places I have been.”

She handed him her card. “But you do have to answer me. The Pentagon wants this report. Your input is necessary.” This project was her big break. Future naval operations could depend on her findings, and the biggest of the brass were eager for this account. She was already having visions of moving out of the cubicle next to cantankerous Walt. She could have walls. And a door.

“But, you see there, dollface, that’s the problem. I’m not in the navy anymore. I don’t take orders from the Pentagon. I don’t have to follow commands from anyone, least of all a five-foot-nothing librarian who invaded my kitchen without my permission.”

She straightened her spine and threw back her shoulders, determined to reach her full height. “I’m five foot three. And I’m an historian.” Her glasses slipped, and she nudged them back to the bridge of her nose.

He chuckled, and she flushed. She’d have been better off if she hadn’t corrected him on the librarian label as she adjusted her glasses.

“Whatever, doll. Listen, you have one minute to get out of my house, or I’m going to assume you’ve decided to watch me jerk off after all.”

She couldn’t look away from the brown eyes that held hers in a tense gaze. Just her luck that he was so frigging gorgeous. Attractive men made her self-conscious. Especially ripped, half-naked ones. “I’m not playing games, Senior Chief. I’m just here to do my job.”

He smiled slowly and reached for his fly.

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Withholding Evidence is a short novel – approximately 50,000 words/150 pages.
Amazon | iTunes | Kobo | Barnes & Noble

Today I’m giving away a signed print copy of WITHHOLDING EVIDENCE. To enter the drawing, tell me: are you are willing to read books in a series out of order, or do you always start with book one?

Go Ahead, Judge a Book By Its Cover: Rachel Grant’s Body of Evidence

That’s one awesome cover, right? And it captures the essence of the book so well. Smart. Sexy. Desperate. Political.

Body of Evidence is a fantastic read that will challenge you, inspire you, terrify you, and lift you up in the end. I always learn so much when I read a Rachel Grant book, but I’m entertained in the process and don’t notice. This is an unputdownable, intense romantic thrill ride that cements Rachel Grant’s place in the vanguard of new romantic thriller authors.

I won’t keep you in suspense any longer. Here’s the low down on

BODY OF EVIDENCE

“Top-notch page turner! The perfect mix of suspense and romance.”~ Jill Barnett, New York Times Bestselling Author

And she thought facing a firing squad was bad…

When archaeologist Mara Garrett traveled to North Korea to retrieve the remains of GIs lost in combat, she never imagined she’d be arrested, convicted of spying, and sentenced to death. Her only hope is Curt Dominick, the powerful, ambitious, and infuriatingly sexy US attorney prosecuting her uncle, a former vice president of the United States.Diamond Head

What starts off as a rescue mission quickly morphs into a race across the Pacific. Someone is after Mara, and they’ll risk everything to stop her from reaching Washington DC. With betrayal around every corner, Curt and Mara have little reason to trust each other and every reason to deny the sparks between them that blaze hotter than the Hawaiian sun. Still, desire clashes with loyalty when they discover a conspiracy that threatens not only their lives but the national security of the United States.

Turnabout is Fair Play.

Now let’s ask Rachel some of the same questions she likes to ask her victims, er, I mean the authors she interviews.

Carey: What published author (any genre) turns you into a total fangirl?  Is there a particular book or is this based on their entire body of work?

Rachel: I think I could meet most if not all of the authors I discovered as an adult and keep my cool, but there are three authors I discovered in my teens, who, if I were to meet them in person, would turn me into a blithering, dumbstruck fool:

Dean Koontz – I read WHISPERS at age 12 or 13 (1983, I think) and was blown away. From that moment forward, I was done reading kids books.

Elizabeth Peters – it’s her fault I became an archaeologist. The first book I read by her was THE CAMELOT CAPER. Pure pleasure.

Mary Higgins Clark – I discovered her at the same time I discovered Dean Koontz, and started with THE CRADLE WILL FALL. Dean Koontz made me a reader, Elizabeth Peters made me want to be an archaeologist, Mary Higgins Clark made me want to be a writer.

Carey: Have you ever written fan fiction, and if so, what work was it based on?  If you haven’t, what would you be tempted to write fan fiction about?

Rachel: I’ve never written fan fiction, but I think my writing developed from the desire to take the kinds of books I enjoy—romance, mysteries, and thrillers—and write the kind of book I want to read—a suspense heavy romance, or a romance heavy thriller.

I’ve read my share of thrillers that I thought would have been better with the emotional impact of a romance, and plenty of romance that I would have loved if there were more focus on the suspense.

Carey: I’m with you on that front! Facebook or Twitter?

Rachel: Twitter.

Carey: Once again, I’m with  you! I love the instant interaction of Twitter. What is the strangest weapon you’ve used to kill off a character, either on or off-scene?

Rachel: I haven’t gotten creative in this area, although, in Concrete Evidence, my heroine does defend herself with a sharp Marshalltown trowel. Does that count?

(And yes, archaeologists do speak about trowels by brand name—as long as the brand is Marshalltown [Goldblatt isn’t worth mentioning in my opinion]. Also, I’ve been to the Marshalltown trowel company’s headquarters in Marshalltown, Iowa. Yeah, archaeologists, we’re that cool.)

After reading this to my husband he pointed out that in CONCRETE EVIDENCE a character is killed with a refrigerator.

Carey: LOL. Tell us about Body of Evidence.

Rachel: BODY OF EVIDENCE was a gift. From the moment the concept hit me—an archaeologist working for JPAC in North Korea sentenced to death by firing squad, her only hope for rescue, a US Attorney on the verge of prosecuting the biggest case of his career—I knew I HAD to write it. But the year following the initial inspiration was a difficult one on a personal level, and my writing was derailed for about ten months. Finally, when I got back to the story, writing was a way to process grief and move forward. I wrote the last half of the book (50k words) in 15 days, and found my voice again as a writer.

Writing this book was exactly what I needed. I got to escape into Mara and Curt’s problems. I got to write my favorite kind of hero and heroine—smart people who get caught up in an extraordinary situation—and give them the happy ending I wish we all could have.

I loved writing Mara’s understandable but conflicted hero worship of Curt, and Curt’s legendary control slowly crumbling. I wish every couple, every conflict, came to me this clearly.

Carey: Thanks so much Rachel. I loved this book and I know our readers will too!

Body of Evidence opens in North Korea and then races across the Pacific. What settings, exotic or otherwise are your favorites for romantic suspense? One lucky commenter will win a digital copy of BODY OF EVIDENCE!

Connect with Rachel!

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 Books by Rachel Grant

Celebrating the Romantic Suspense Golden Heart® Finalists / Print ARC winner

While several of my Kiss and Thrill sisters are off having a blast in Atlanta at the national conference of Romance Writers of America®, I wanted to take this opportunity to highlight this year’s finalists in the romantic suspense category of the Golden Heart.

From RWA’s website:

The purpose of the Golden Heart contest is to promote excellence in the romance genre by recognizing outstanding romance manuscripts.

Approximately 1,200 romance manuscripts are entered in the Golden Heart each year by writers who have not accepted a publishing offer for a work of original fictional narrative prose of 20,000 words or more (by the contest entry deadline).

The contest is near and dear to all our hearts here at Kiss and Thrill, and this year we are especially excited to have two of our own among the finalists, Krista with BROKEN PLACES, and Sharon with two manuscripts, JULIET’S ROGUE and ROGUE’S REDEMPTION! To celebrate all the finalists’ achievement, we are sharing with our readers the finaling manuscripts’ first lines.

Broken Places by Krista Hall Krista HallLola Sanchez pulled the last hundred dollar bill from her waistband and stuffed it into a slit along the rim of the spare tire.
Crazy for Her by Sandra Owens Sandra Owens“Ambush!” Hissed with urgency, the word crackled in the SEAL Team’s headsets. Lt. Commander Logan Kincaid faded into the shadows along with two of his men.
Juliet’s Rogue by Sharon Wray sharon wrayJuliet’s house had disappeared.
The Predator by Chris Taylor Chris TaylorThe tomb-like darkness of the room was broken only by the light from his brightly back-lit computer screen.
Rampant Perfection by Laurie Cooper Laurie CooperIn a proficient machination of gears and balance, the robotic waitress slid breakfast onto the table then rolled away from the booth.
Rogue’s Redemption by Sharon Wray sharon wraySara Munro adjusted the hood of her field jacket and frowned at the hand-written sign nailed to the ancient oak. Trespassers will be shot. Then prosecuted. No kidding.
The Shadow Hour by Jacqui Nelson Jacqui NelsonBeing an experienced scientist was not enough to earn the patronage of the Royal Institution, pay the butcher or accomplish the one thing that mattered most to Pippa Marley–determining the difference between a loved one’s accident and murder.
Spies, Lies, and Debutantes by Miranda Liasson Miranda LiassonFor a man presumed dead, he was feeling quite chilly.

Huge congrats to all the finalists! All of us at Kiss and Thrill hope you have a wonderful time at the awards ceremony on Saturday night!

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And now for Tuesday’s winner of the print ARC of BODY OF EVIDENCE: TrishJ

To collect your prize, within ten days please use the contact page and be sure to provide your U.S. mailing address.

Coming Soon ~ Body of Evidence!

BODY OF EVIDENCE is the second book in my series of romantic thrillers that explores the intersection of archaeology, politics, and war, and today I’m excited to share with our Kiss and Thrill readers an excerpt.

JPAC coin

Chapter One

Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK)
October

“Rise, Mara Garrett.”

Mara understood only a handful of Korean words, but she’d learned that phrase early in this farce of a trial and was on her feet before the interpreter finished speaking. Tremors radiated from her belly. This is just a formality. I’m one step closer to getting home. Her token lawyer had warned her she would probably be sentenced to ten years’ hard labor; then the real negotiation for her release would begin. With her conviction and harsh sentence, North Korea would be in a stronger bargaining position.

Of course, North Korea, the most secretive and unpredictable regime on earth, wasn’t known for negotiating. They would make demands, and the US would either meet them or not.

She’d traveled the world for her job with the Joint POW-MIA Accounting Command, conducting excavations to retrieve the remains of American servicemen who’d died in wars fought by the United States in the last century. Her work for JPAC was hazardous. She’d faced down poisonous insects, dug up unexploded ordnance, and suffered third-world diseases. But never, not even in her wildest imagination, did she think her work could lead to being arrested in North Korea.

But that was what happened when she ended up alone on the edge of the Demilitarized Zone.

She looked to her lawyer for some sort of reassurance and caught the glint of a camera lens. Cameras hadn’t been permitted in the courtroom during the trial; the presence of one now filled Mara with a foreboding chill. It seemed the North Koreans expected a dramatic, newsworthy reaction.

She stood straight with her head high so the camera wouldn’t see her clenched hands behind the table. She refused to give them the spectacle they wanted.

The judge spoke. She forgot to breathe while waiting for the translator. Finally, the man said, “Mara Garrett, you have been convicted of spying. The penalty is death by firing squad. The sentence will be carried out in twenty-four hours.”

The room tilted. A shriek built in her throat, while her bones turned to jelly. Sheer will kept her face blank while she battled dizziness. She’d been alone when she was arrested but had spent the last two months worrying her coworkers had been detained as well. For their sake, she needed to take the blame. If they were being tried in another courtroom, her admission of guilt could prevent them from receiving the same sentence. She pressed her nails into her skin and fixed her gaze on the lens. “This is my fault. My JPAC team is blameless.”

The judge spoke again, yelling now, and the translator matched his tone. “You are guilty and have been sentenced!”

“It was a mistake,” she said, desperation building in her voice. “I was separated from my team by accident.” But that wasn’t true, and she feared they saw through the lie.

Panic threatened as a guard grabbed her arm and tugged her toward the door. He wasn’t taking her to the firing squad. He couldn’t be. Hadn’t they given her twenty-four hours?

They’d almost reached the exit when the door swung open and slammed against the wall. The guard jerked to a stop. Framed in the opening was a portly, highly decorated military man.

A rapid-fire exchange between the judge and the newcomer ensued. Mara twisted in the guard’s grip and watched in horror as the judge angrily ejected the cameraman from the room.

Panic morphed into bone-melting fear. What the hell was happening?

The military official waved a magazine in the air. In a haze, she recognized the Asian edition of TIME magazine from the bold font and familiar red border.

At last the man looked away from the judge and addressed her, causing the translator to jump to his feet and race to her side to voice his words. “Our leader, in his infinite wisdom, has decided to grant you amnesty on one condition.”

Hope flared but was soon tempered with the fear that this interruption was a stress-induced fantasy, like the ones Mara had suffered years ago after her father’s death. Each time the fantasy faded, hope went with it, and she was slapped with grief as fresh and intense as the day he’d died.

Hope would break her, making it her captors’ ally. She knew that better than anyone.

“Our beloved Dear Leader once got your President Clinton to come groveling.”

No. Not again. This wasn’t a pathetic fantasy. It was an all too real nightmare. Cold sweat dripped from her brow. The idea of a rescue mission headed by a former president terrified her. She wasn’t a reporter dipping her toes in the Tumen River. She was the niece of a former vice president of the United States, and as such could be seen as a valuable bargaining chip.

The North Koreans knew exactly who she was. Because of her family connections, it was especially important she downplay her significance. A presidential envoy would open the door to other outrageous demands, and she was horrified by the thought that the unpredictable dictator could gain the upper hand with the US because of her.

Her situation wasn’t helped by the fact that her uncle was facing trial on ridiculous corruption charges. She could only assume her arrest had added to the ongoing media frenzy in the United States, further convincing her captors of her importance. She’d repeatedly begged her interrogators to tap a low-level politician as envoy, but each time her pleas were met with disdain.

“Our leader wants to meet the man on the cover.” The translator pointed to the magazine. “If he comes to P’yŏngyang before your execution, we will allow him to take you home.”

The man stood too far away; she couldn’t see the face on the cover. She had no idea who had been selected. But even more important, was twenty-four hours enough time for an envoy to fly to North Korea?

The official waved the magazine as if it offered hope, but there was no such thing as hope. She was going to die.

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Want to know what happens next? I hope so, because I’m excited to announce this book will be published soon! Very soon. I can’t give an exact date, but if you sign up for my new release mailing list at www.Rachel-Grant.net you’ll receive an email the day the book is available and you’ll be entered in my drawing to win a pack of Department of Defense Legacy Resource Management Program playing cards. 

When archaeologist Mara Garrett traveled to North Korea with JPAC, the organization that retrieves the remains of GIs lost in combat, she never imagined she’d be betrayed, convicted of spying, and sentenced to death by firing squad. Her only hope is Curt Dominick, the powerful and ambitious U.S. attorney prosecuting her beloved uncle, a former Vice President of the United States.

With betrayal around every corner, Curt and Mara have little reason to trust each other, but the sparks between them blaze hotter than the Hawaiian sun, and fighting their growing passion tests both their will power and their loyalties.

What starts off as a rescue mission quickly morphs into a race across the Pacific. It’s not just Mara’s safety on the line anymore. They’ve stumbled into a conspiracy that threatens not only their lives, but national security of the United States.

I have a very special prize today to celebrate the coming release of BODY OF EVIDENCE. I’m giving one commenter a print Advance Reader’s Copy. This is your chance to read BoE in print before it’s available online. Check back on Thursday to see if you are the winner. Winner must provide a U.S. mailing address.

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