Tennessee Takedown introduced readers to the fictional town of Destiny, Tennessee and the sexy, funny detectives and part-time SWAT team of five alpha men and one kick-butt woman. Readers loved it. Tennessee Takedown won the prestigious Daphne du Maurier Award of Excellence. And to this day, it’s still my best-selling Harlequin Intrigue.
Fabulous reader response to Tennessee Takedown resulted in the creation of an entire series in 2017 and 2018. The fifth and final installment, SWAT Standoff, releases on June 19. It’s been a fun, wild ride and saying goodbye to this series is bittersweet. I’ll miss the heroes and heroines of Destiny, Tennessee. But as I learned after Tennessee Takedown‘s release, you never know where a book – or a series – might lead. One day perhaps another new series may intersect with this one and I’ll revisit the SWAT team of Destiny, Tennessee. You never know!
A SWAT team vanishes.
Can two partners put aside their differences to save them?
Playing hero backfires on sexy SWAT team member Blake Sullivan. He infuriates his partner, Donna Waters, as much as he attracts her. But before they can resolve their differences, they discover that the rest of their team has been kidnapped by an unknown assailant. Now as they race to rescue the small Tennessee town’s real heroes, they share a growing mutual trust…and a hot, life-changing connection.
Learn about these and other books by Lena Diaz by visiting her website.
Romantic Suspense author, Lena Diaz has swept nearly every major published book award this year. This comes as no surprise. The author of more than 18 books, Lena has always been a favorite among judges of great literature, and most of her books have been nominated or been winners.
But this year her nominations are exceptional. Look at this incredible list:
Deep Cover Detective is a finalist in the 2017 Daphne du Maurier Award for Excellence in Mystery and Suspense.
No Exit is a finalist for the 2017 Holt Medallion award.
Hostage Negotiation is a finalist in the Romantic Suspense Category of the 2017 Carolyn Readers Choice Award.
Arresting Developments is a finalist in the Series Action Adventure Category of the 2017 Carolyn Readers Choice award.
Deep Cover Detective is a finalist in the Series Action Adventure Category of the 2017 Carolyn Readers Choice award.
A total of four books up for five national book awards! In the book biz this is something that gives all of us the vapors, as Southern girls like to say. 😉
A former Navy Brat, Lena’s books have authenticity, action, and heat. They have been translated in to German, Turkish, Japanese, and Norwegian and have been sold in many countries including the USA, Japan, Canada, the United Kingdom, India, France, Australia, Holland, Sweden, the Netherlands, Belgium, Iceland, Mexico, Turkey, and Italy.
More than the awards listed here, and the dozens of awards Lena has won over the years (for a partial list click HERE), is the role she plays in the writing community. She is always there with a supportive word, a can do spirit, and she’ll go out of her way to help everyone, even newcomers. There are few like her and I’m so very proud to know her.
Congratulations to Lena Diaz from everyone here at Kiss and Thrill!
A SWAT officer loves a suspected murderess. What could possibly go wrong?
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!
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.
“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.
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 s, s 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.
It’s here! The last book in the EXIT Inc. trilogy, FINAL EXIT!
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.
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.)
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.
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.
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!
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.
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!
So 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.
It wasn’t easy, but I persevered and got inside an FBI field office. What I saw was…
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.”
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 wall 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.
I 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.
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.
Oh, 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.