Blog Archives

Motorcycle Heroes and Bad Boy Assassins

Whether You Like Heroes on Motorcycles or the Bad Boy Assassin Type, Kiss and Thrill has You Covered Today.

First up, hero Bryan Fisher from EASY TARGET, the brand new installment by author KAY THOMAS in her Elite ops series with Avon.

FIVE THINGS YOU MAY NOT KNOW ABOUT BRYAN FISHER (aka Hollywood)

EasyTarget HiRes1. Growing up, I lived in California with my mom until I was nine years old. When she died in a car accident, I went to live with my grandmother in Springwater, Mississippi. The reason I love Dentyne gum so much is because my mom chewed Dentyne and always shared it with me.

2. I don’t have any tattoos, and I’ve never ridden a horse. But I love to ride motorcycles and I know how to surf. Yes, my nickname is Hollywood. And no, I don’t like to talk about how I got that particular “handle.”

3. I watch The Walking Dead and DVR it so I don’t miss episodes when I’m working on AEGIS jobs.

4. I love sushi, Wylie Coyote, and Pearl Jam. I hate broccoli. My favorite dessert is Key lime pie with graham cracker crust.

5. A romantic evening for me would include driving out of town away from the city lights to stargaze. Since I grew up in the country for the most part and now live in Dallas, that’s the one thing I miss the most—seeing a star-filled night sky. I enjoy sleeping under the stars, but fair warning, I don’t own a pair of pajamas…

(Lena fans herself after that pajamas remark.)

Here’s the back cover copy for EASY TARGET.

AEGIS: an elite team of ex-military men who will do anything for their country…and their women.

Fighting to clear her brother of murder, freelance reporter Sassy Smith is suddenly kidnapped and thrown into a truck with other women who are about to be sold…or worse. When she sees an opportunity for escape Sassy takes it, but she may have just jumped from the frying pan into the fire.

Former Marine Bryan Fisher (aka Hollywood) is no stranger to dangerous situations, or to his best friend’s little sister. When he rescues Sassy, Bryan is determined to keep her safe…if he can keep his hands off of her. Because Sassy is all grown up and not at all like the girl he used to know. But he’s got bigger problems. And with enemies coming at them from every corner, Bryan and Sassy will need to work together if they’re going to survive.

Next up is Mason Hunt, a bad boy assassin from EXIT STRATEGY, the first book in my (Lena Diaz) new EXIT Inc. series with Avon.

FIVE THINGS YOU MAY NOT KNOW ABOUT MASON HUNT

Exit Strategy High Rez Final1. I’m a North Carolina native with two sisters–Suzie and Darlene–and a brother, Zack, who’s a firefighter. Unlike many romance novel heroes, my parents are still alive. Go figure.

2. I do have tattoos, but only Sabrina (my heroine) gets to see them. Not a motorcycle fan, but I can ride one if I have to. And horses? Yeah. I can ride those too. We ex-military, bad ass assassin types are trained to do pretty much everything in a pinch. Nickname? When Sabrina first met me, she labeled me Tall-Dark-and-Deadly, but that was before she got to know me. Now I have another nickname that she gave me instead. But like that Bryan guy in EASY TARGET, I’m not discussing it.

3. I don’t have time for TV shows. Too busy saving innocent people and killing bad guys.

4. I love peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. Hey, protein, what can I say? Music? Country rock. Dessert? (grins and looks at Sabrina.) “Pass the whip cream, Rina.”

5. A romantic evening would include sitting on my back porch with the woman I love–Sabrina of course–watching the corn stalks waving in the field behind my house. Then a walk in the moonlight to the barn for some target practice with my Glock 22. After that? Cornfield sex. (Read the book and you’ll know exactly what I mean.)

Here’s the back cover copy for EXIT Strategy.

Lena Diaz launches her thrilling new series featuring the undercover vigilantes of EXIT Inc. with a skilled operative putting his life—and his heart—on the line for a woman in trouble

When Sabrina Hightower awakens to the sound of an intruder, she figures he’s there to rob her, murder her— or worse. She doesn’t expect to be carried off by a muscle-bound stud with male-model good looks . . . or that he came to rescue her.

Mason Hunt became an enforcer with EXIT Inc. to eliminate the bad guys—terrorists, militia groups, all those who would do America harm. But his latest target is innocent. If EXIT could lie about sultry, strong-willed Sabrina, what darker truths might they be concealing?

Going rogue in the rugged North Carolina mountains, Mason risks everything to keep Sabrina close, especially now that EXIT’s lethal assassins are chasing them down. The heat is on . . . but it’s nothing compared to the slow burn of seduction.

If you’d like to get to know Bryan better, pick up a copy of EASY TARGET.

Amazon      Barnes&Noble        kobo        iBooks          Kay Thomas’s website

Mason’s waiting for his chance to get to know you in EXIT Strategy.

Amazon      Barnes&Noble       kobo         iBooks          Lena Diaz’s website

GIVEAWAY! To celebrate the release of EASY TARGET and EXIT STRATEGY, Kay and Lena are each giving away one ebook copy of their books (winner must be able to receive the book on their Kindle or Nook from either Amazon(dot)com or B&N(dot)com.) Leave a comment for a chance to win and then check back next Tuesday to see the randomly chosen winners at the bottom of Tuesday’s post.

Join us next Tuesday when I take the Kiss and Thrill reins again and interview the amazing ANGI MORGAN!

What makes the EXIT Inc. Series Unique?

On June 30, EXIT STRATEGY, the first book in my new romantic suspense EXIT Inc. series, will be released by Avon (an imprint of HarperCollins.) Readers have asked me just what is this EXIT Inc. anyway? Obviously, I hope you’ll read the books to find out. But for our KaT readers, I’m giving an exclusive sneak peek into the world of EXIT and explaining what sets this series apart from other series in RomanceLandia.

Exit Strategy High Rez Final

What is EXIT Inc.?

EXIT is an acronym for “EXtreme International Tours”. EXIT Incorporated is a privately owned company that offers guided outdoor tours all over the world. Or at least, that’s what EXIT wants you to believe. In reality, the tour side of the company is a front for the government sanctioned clandestine organization of highly trained operatives, called Enforcers, who will do whatever it takes–legal or not–to protect the United States and its citizens from terrorists and other criminals. Enforcers are often placed in the role of assassins and preemptively eliminate the bad guys before they can hurt or kill more people.

What makes this series different from other series?

There are a lot of brotherhood, assassin, or secret protector types of series out there, like Laura Kaye’s Hard Ink series or Julie Ann Walker’s Black Knights Inc. series–which are both fantastic! But two main things set EXIT apart from the others.

One – The moral dilemma of assassins preemptively killing bad guys before they can strike again is explored in depth, pitting the heroes and heroines of these stories against each other and giving poignant glimpses into the hearts and minds of each character and why they make the choices they make.

Two – Where other series cast the brotherhood organizations as the force of good, EXIT Inc. turns that completely around. The Enforcers come to realize that the company they’ve devoted their lives to may have been using them all along, and that EXIT Inc. may actually be a force of evil. Seeing how the heroes and heroines come to this realization and what they do about it is what makes this series so fun and exciting.

Is this series related to your Deadly Games series? Yes and no. The Deadly Games series has law-enforcement heroes and heroines primarily focused on hunting down serial killers. It’s very family-centric, with the heroes of each book being either a Buchanan brother or a close friend (such as Logan Richards in the first book) and is set in Florida and Georgia.

The EXIT Inc. series has bad-boy heroes, definitely not law enforcement, whose prey are hard core terrorists and deadly criminals far more dangerous than serial killers. While the Enforcers in these stories form a brotherhood, they aren’t a true family. And the books are set in the two places where EXIT Inc. maintains headquarters–North Carolina and Colorado.

The connection between the two series is that the last Deadly Games book–TAKE THE KEY AND LOCK HER UP–features Devlin Buchanan, who is an assassin for EXIT Incorporated. The book can be considered as a prequel for the EXIT series as it introduces the company and some of the primary players. The EXIT series is actually a natural spin-off that happened organically while I was writing Devlin’s story. And for fun, I feature many of the Buchanans in cameo roles in this new series. But you can read and enjoy the EXIT books without having ever read the Deadly Games books.

How many books will be in this new series? Currently there are three books planned: EXIT Strategy, No EXIT, and Final EXIT.

How often will these books be released? Unless the schedule changes, they will come out about every six months, beginning with the first book on June 30, 2015.

How can I buy the EXIT books? This series is in print and ebook. You should be able to buy these books in Walmart, Barnes and Noble, and many other “brick and mortar” physical book stores beginning June 30, 2015. You can also order print or ebook formats online pretty much anywhere–like Amazon, B&N, iBooks, and Kobo. AND YOU CAN PRE-ORDER RIGHT NOW!

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I hope that answers some of your questions about this new series. Please let me know if you have more questions! EXIT STRATEGY is available for pre-order now. The description and buy links appear below.


EXIT STRATEGY

Lena Diaz launches her thrilling new series featuring the undercover vigilantes of EXIT Inc. with a skilled operative putting his life—and his heart—on the line for a woman in trouble

When Sabrina Hightower awakens to the sound of an intruder, she figures he’s there to rob her, murder her— or worse. She doesn’t expect to be carried off by a muscle-bound stud with male-model good looks . . . or that he came to rescue her.

Mason Hunt became an enforcer with EXIT Inc. to eliminate the bad guys—terrorists, militia groups, all those who would do America harm. But his latest target is innocent. If EXIT could lie about sultry, strong-willed Sabrina, what darker truths might they be concealing?

Going rogue in the rugged North Carolina mountains, Mason risks everything to keep Sabrina close, especially now that EXIT’s lethal assassins are chasing them down. The heat is on . . . but it’s nothing compared to the slow burn of seduction.


 

What other authors are saying about EXIT STRATEGY…

“Sexy romance and edge-of-your-seat suspense…EXIT STRATEGY is a book not to be missed!” –NYT and USA Today Bestselling author Cynthia Eden

“Taut, compelling… kept me hooked to the last page.” -NYT Bestselling author Mary Burton

“EXIT STRATEGY is a tension-packed read, an addicting mix of suspense and romance.” – Kendra Elliot

“EXIT STRATEGY starts out with a bang and never lets up. Perfect pacing, smart and sexy, this is exactly what you want in a romantic suspense.” – Award winning author HelenKay Dimon

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | iBooks

Lena Diaz
Lena Diaz
 is a country girl at heart who has planted her Kentucky roots deep into the sandy soil of north Florida where she lives with her hubby and a shetland sheepdog. FSU-grad-son and college-daughter visit when they can. Lena is an action movie and crime-TV junkie. She also loves gardening, and hiking in the beautiful Smoky Mountains in Tennessee whenever she can get away. EXIT STRATEGY is Lena’s 10th published novel.

Website | Facebook | Twitter

And the winner of a $10 Amazon gift card from last week’s post, courtesy of Heather Ashby and Chris Bergeron, is Nancy Stillings! Congratulations!!!!

Romantic. Isn’t it?

The minute Halloween ended, the stores had their Christmas decorations up. Yikes! So now I’m thinking Christmas gifts. And romance. Because, uh, romance writer.

Which got me thinking me of my first Christmas with my husband (a.k.a. The Engineer), back in our dating days. He bought me aftermarket cruise control for my car.

Seriously.

picture of cruise control

Right up there with vacuum cleaners you say?

Well, maybe. Would I have swooned for some jewelry? Oh yeah. But romance is about more than cards and flowers and gems. You can have all that and still end up with a dud instead of a stud. Flowers and jewels are easy outs. Pick one and I’ll probably like it.

Venice jewelry store display

No, the real challenge in my mind—and the real definition of romantic—is knowing your partner well enough to get a gift he or she will truly enjoy. It shows you’ve been listening and have given a lot of thought to what would please.

In that respect, in spite of what his roommate thought, The Engineer’s gift was wildly romantic. We had been driving two hours each way to another city every few weeks for family visits. Without cruise control, I was constantly battling my lead foot and my (then) sporty five-speed to stay within a reasonable speed limit. How much nicer life would have been if I had a newer car with cruise so I could relax. I definitely didn’t need any more speeding tickets!

Well, the newer car was out. We were poor college students, after all. But the cruise control… Who knew you could put something like that on after market? The Engineer, of course! And he installed it too. See? Smart, handsome, and handy with a tool. How could a girl go wrong? 😀

And every once in a while, he gets totally impractical and buys me something pretty that I don’t need. Like jewelry. Which makes it all the more special, because he also understands that sometimes I just want something that sparkles.

What’s the most romantic (or unromantic) gift you’ve ever received?

THE BODYGUARD Winners!

TheBodyguard Amazon | Barnes & Noble
Thank you for helping me celebrate the release of my newest book, THE BODYGUARD.
And now, the TWO winners of print copies of THE BODYGUARD are…rolynnanderson and Kim H. Please check out our “Contact Us” page to claim your prize!

Join us again on Tuesday for an exciting new post by Diana Belchase!

And if you want to see my other books, please check out http://www.LenaDiaz.com! Below are some covers for your viewing pleasure.

Cover Tennessee Takedown - Lena Diaz


HeKillsMeHeKillsMeNot High Res Cover

Cover Undercover Twin - Lena DiazExplosiveAttractionsml
Cover-The Marshal's Witness - Lena DiazCover-AshesAshesTheyAllFallDead-highrez

SimonSaysDie High Res Cover

Lena Diaz presents: THE BODYGUARD

TheBodyguard Amazon | Barnes & Noble
My newest book, THE BODYGUARD (rated 4 1/2 Stars in RT Magazine), is one of the most difficult books I’ve written so far. This book touches on a very sensitive subject, spousal abuse. I say “touches”, because other than the very first scene, there isn’t any abuse “on page”. That was a deliberate choice on my part because I didn’t want the story to be about the abuse. The story is about the aftermath and how a woman transforms from victim to victor and learns to rely on herself. She learns that she doesn’t need a man to feel whole and she can take care of herself. But once she has become the person she was always meant to be, she is then able to let love into her life and plan a future with the one man who treated her with respect all along – the bodyguard who saved her life.

I’d like to thank my fellow author, Rachel Grant, for giving me some critical information about this delicate subject. Rachel used to work a hotline for victims of abuse. The information she gave me was crucial and really helped me to understand how the heroine in the story would feel and react in various situations. Rachel also provided information on The National Domestic Violence Hotline, which I put in the dedication of the book. That dedication appears below:

This book is dedicated to abused women everywhere. It’s not your fault. It’s NEVER your fault that someone else chooses to hurt you. You deserve a life without fear. Please, don’t wait until it’s too late. For information or help, visit The National Domestic Violence Hotline at www.thehotline.org. (The website has a quick escape option in case your abuser monitors your Internet activity). Or call 1-800-799-SAFE(7233) or TTY 1-800-787-3224.

This book isn’t a treatise on domestic abuse. That’s just one element in this poignant love-story with action-packed scenes of the hero and heroine running from an unknown killer. But if someone in an abusive relationship picks up this book, I hope they read the dedication, and draw strength from the story…maybe enough strength to make that all important phone call that could possibly save their life.

Below is the back cover copy for THE BODYGUARD. (Print edition available 4/15; Ebook edition available 5/1.)

SHE HAD NO ONE TO FIGHT FOR HER—UNTIL ONE POWERFUL BODYGUARD REFUSED TO LEAVE HER SIDE

Her perfect marriage was a sham and Caroline Ashton had the physical and emotional wounds to prove it. With nothing left to lose, Caroline is ready to walk away—and hires Luke Dawson as her personal bodyguard. But before he can do more than secure her a safe house, Caroline stumbles upon the body of the man she’d fought day and night to escape. Now, as Caroline is confronted with fears beyond anything she ever imagined, Luke is the only man she can trust. Putting her life in someone else’s hands isn’t easy, but Caroline knows survival never is. Besides, Luke’s proven himself to be a worthy protector—one who’ll stop at nothing to see she never suffers again….

Lena Diaz

And here’s the excerpt from Chapter One:


The monster sat across the breakfast table from Caroline, looking deceptively handsome in a dove-gray, thousand-dollar suit that emphasized his broad shoulders and the bulging muscles in his upper arms. The tanned hand that flicked the page on his electronic tablet was elegant, strong, with perfectly groomed nails.

They should have been talons.

Talons would have warned people who didn’t know Richard Ashton III that those hands were lethal, especially when they were clasped into fists.

He skimmed through the latest stock-market figures, then looked pointedly at the untouched food on Caroline’s plate.

In spite of the worry that had kept her awake most of the night, the worry that had nausea churning in her stomach this morning, she picked up her fork and took a bite of egg the cook had prepared exactly to Richard’s specifications. She dabbed her napkin on the corners of her mouth as he’d taught her, before training her face into the carefully blank expression she’d learned was the safest.

His brows lowered. “You’re getting too thin, Caroline. That displeases me.”

She stilled, her fingers curling against her thigh.

“I…I…I’m sorry, Richard.”

Calm down. He hates it when you stutter.

She fought back the fear that so often jumbled her words. “I’ll eat everything on my plate. I promise.” She took another bite of egg.

Tiny lines of disapproval tightened around his eyes.

Her stomach clenched. What had she done? She raced through a mental checklist. Her hair was neat and curled to drape over one shoulder in the style he preferred. She’d painstakingly applied the makeup he’d selected for her, natural looking but polished. She held her napkin in her left hand in her lap, her fork in her right, no elbows on the table. What had she missed?

“Don’t look so alarmed,” he chided her. He cocked his head, his eyes narrowing. “Or have you done something that requires further instruction?”

“No, no, no, I’ve been good. I don’t…n-need another l-lesson.”

Stop it, calm down.

“Don’t stutter, Caroline. It’s unbecoming of an Ashton to stutter. Tell me, why aren’t you eating enough?”

Her hands went clammy with sweat and shook so badly she almost dropped her fork. Desperation had her scooping another forkful of eggs into her mouth. As she chewed, she smiled across the table at him, trying to placate him.

He shook his head. “You’re being rude. I asked you a question, and now your mouth is full. You’re making me wait for an answer.”

Stupid, stupid, stupid. She should have answered him first and then taken a bite. She swallowed hard, forcing the lump of eggs down her tight throat without taking the time to chew.

“I’m so sorry,” she rushed to assure him. “I didn’t mean to be rude. I w-wanted you to be proud that I was obeying, that I was eating.” She wiped her moist hands on her pants.

“I’m still waiting for an answer.”

She blinked. What was the question? What was it? She couldn’t remember. He’d said something about her being too thin, and then he’d said—

“I asked why you aren’t eating enough.” His voice was clipped, harsh.

“I’m s-sorry. I guess I’m just…tired. Not hungry.”

One of his elegant brows arched. “And why, exactly, are you tired?”

She grasped for an excuse, anything but the truth—that she’d lain awake most of the night, going over her plans, trying to build her courage.

“I…I don’t know. Perhaps I worked too hard in the garden yesterday. I am a bit sore.”

The slight reddening of his face had the blood draining from hers, leaving her cold and full of dread. He would take her comment about being sore as an accusation against him, a complaint. Because, as he frequently reminded her, it was always her fault when he was forced to teach her a lesson, her fault he had to punish her.

“You’ve worked in the garden plenty of times without being sore.” His voice lashed out at her like a whip. “I’m more inclined to believe you’re complaining that you forced me to teach you a lesson yesterday.”

She dropped her gaze, her pulse slamming in her ears. A whimper bubbled up inside her, but she couldn’t let it escape. Crying was undignified. Ashtons did not cry.

“Look at me when I’m speaking to you,” he demanded.

“Please,” she whispered, trying to appeal to the man he used to be, the man that must surely still be there, somewhere, hidden deep inside, the man she’d loved once, so very long ago. “Please, Richard. It was a…poor choice of words. I’m sorry.”

He plopped his napkin on the table and stood. “Yes, it certainly was, a very poor choice.” He stalked to her chair.

She shrank back, and hated herself for it.


 

GIVEAWAY! To celebrate the release of THE BODYGUARD, I’m giving away TWO print copies. Leave a comment for a chance to win and then check back on Thursday. Note: If Non-USA address, book will be mailed directly from The Book Depository (unsigned).

Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Why Earl’s Fall in Love Winner!

Thank you so much, Manda Collins for such a great piece on the importance of setting in a book.  After reading both the book and Tuesday’s post, I felt as if I’d had a mini-vacation, away from the stresses of my life.  Bath sounds so lovely — I cannot wait to see it in person someday.

We had an amazing turn out for Manda’s release of Why Earl’s Fall in Love.  The winner of a copy of this latest installment in the Wicked Widow’s series is:  Diane Sallans!  Please contact us within ten days to claim your prize.

In the meantime, the rest of you — perhaps not lucky enough to win — are still lucky enough to be able to go out and read this great book.  For an excerpt, click HERE or on the photo below.

Why-Earls-Fall-In-Love-by-Manda-Collins300x490-e1384454350437

Pretty, practical Georgie is nothing like the women Con usually woos–especially since she seems blind to his charms. But his elderly aunt is so fond of her that Con is determined at least to be sociable…with the occasional flirtation thrown in just for fun. But things take a serious turn when a dangerous figure from Georgie’s unhappy past appears and threatens to bring her harm. Con will do whatever it takes to keep Georgie safe. And if he can show her that all men are not menaces, he might be able to keep her in his arms and never let go…

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Author Erica Monroe joins us on Tuesday to tell us about her Rookery Rogues series. Read on for a sneak peak at what people are saying about her debut book:  A DANGEROUS INVITATION.

Dangerous Invitation Cover

“Dark and atmospheric. . . Erica Monroe delivers a different kind of Regency Romance. Weaving suspense and romance, A Dangerous Invitation takes you on a ride through London’s rookeries and into a unique new series.” – Deb Marlowe, Award Winning Author

“Fabulously researched with a fantastic love story and page-turning adventure. This promises to be a great series!” -Darcy Burke, Bestselling Author

Manda Talks Location, Location, Location!

Our very own Manda Collins has her newest Wicked Widows novel out today!  Yippee!  The characters in Why Earls Fall in Love are so delicious, I’ve been counting the days until its release.   Manda and I sat down to discuss what makes her novels so special.  (Oh, and how to win a Manda Collins novel today! See below.)

:::Uncorking a bottle of champagne and passing out glasses for Manda and all our readers:::

Diana:  Your settings in this series are really wonderful.  I feel as if I’m swept away on a vacation every time I read one of your books.  How important do you think the places you write about are to your plots?

Manda:  It would be difficult to imagine one of Colin Dexter’s wonderful Inspector Morse mysteries set in anyplace other than Oxford England. The same could be said if one were tempted to move the action of one of Agatha Christie’s Miss Marple mysteries to say, Texas. As with real estate, location in books matters! Especially when it comes to suspense. It can affect where the action takes place, what resources the characters will have at their disposal to solve the mystery, and even what sorts of danger could lurk for our hero and heroine.

Diana: ::: passing a tray of delicate, Regency-style cucumber sandwiches to Manda and our guests::: So, what made you pick the location for Why Earls Fall in Love? 

Bath Abbey at twilight. (Photo by DAVID ILIFF. License: CC-BY-SA 3.0)

Bath Abbey at twilight. (Photo by DAVID ILIFF. License: CC-BY-SA 3.0)

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Roman Baths, Bath, England. Photo by Elissa Rolle (own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0] via Wikimedia Commons

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Farleigh-Hungerford Castle, Somerset, England. “Photo by Ian Knox [CC-BY-SA-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons”

Manda:  When I chose to set my latest Wicked Widows novel, Why Earls Fall in Love, in Bath, I did so for several reasons. First of all, as companion to an elderly lady, Georgina would’ve be very likely to find herself in the spa town. Bath was, after all, one of the most popular places in England for invalids and the elderly to gather so that they could partake of the medicinal waters, which had been used to such purpose for hundreds of years.

Diana:  ::: wrinkling nose::: I heard the waters contained odd minerals and were absolutely awful tasting and smelly.  Wasn’t Bath mostly a chic place for people to see and be seen? 

Manda:  Once a thriving social whirl, by the time Georgie and Lady Russell arrive in Bath it has lost some of the polish that once made it such a popular spot. With the Prince Regent’s removal, along with his entourage, to the seaside town of Brighton, the Bath that Georgie arrives in has become a place where the elderly and those unable to afford a London season can repair to mingle with polite society for less. (Recall that in Jane Austen’s Persuasion, it is to Bath that the spendthrift Sir Walter Elliot is convinced to go when he can no longer afford to remain in his country estate.)

Diana:  Oh yes!  I forgot about that.  So it’s a place for economical socialization? Hmmm so why did you put your Earl there? Such lovely photos by the way.  Makes me want to go this very minute.  

Manda:  Another reason I chose Bath was that unlike London, it would be easier for people of differing classes to mix without too much difficulty. Because Bath society at this time wasn’t nearly as strict as it was earlier in the century, it was possible for the shabby genteel and the middle classes to mix with the wealthy at the Pump Room or in the Assembly Rooms without much fuss. And because I wished for Georgie to be able to see her old friends from her Army days, I needed that to be the case.

Diana:  ::: Passing out chocolate covered cherries to get rid of the imaginary taste of Bath waters:::  A perfect way for them to meet!  Clever and sneaky of you.  But, I hope there is more for them to do than sit around and drink smelly water?

 Manda: ::: laughing::: Unlike other towns of its size during the era, Bath offered many of the same kinds of entertainments that might be found in larger cities, like London, such as the theatre, gentlemen’s clubs, lending libraries, and even tourist destinations like Bath Abbey and Farleigh Castle. When it came to choosing a destination for Georgie and Con’s romance, then, I simply had to choose Bath! I can’t tell you more about how these special locations within the city of Bath play into the story without revealing some very major spoilers, but know that now the book is finished and nearly published, I cannot imagine WHY EARLS FALL IN LOVE taking place in any other place.

Diana:  Well, you’ve convinced me!  I cannot wait to dive into this book!

Manda:  So, let’s talk locations. What are some of your favorite mysteries, romances, or romantic suspense stories, in which the setting really made a difference? Do you think the book would have been the same if the setting were suddenly swapped out with another locale? What is it about that city or town that makes it the perfect place for the book to take place? Inquiring minds want to know! Leave a comment and you’ll be entered to win a copy of Why Earl’s Fall in Love.

Diana:  And don’t forget to get Manda Collins latest Wicked Widow Novel, Why Earl’s Fall in Love, out today! Why-Earls-Fall-In-Love-by-Manda-Collins300x490-e1384454350437

Gail Ranstrom’s Sweet Treason

When I first started writing, I was fortunate to meet and become friends with several writers who became my mentors and helped set me on the “write” path. One of the most influential was Gail Ranstrom.

Gail, aside from being one of the nicest people I know, is an incredible writer of emotional, unique, suspenseful historical romances. I am honored to welcome her today on Kiss and Thrill.

GailRanstrom

Gail’s newest release, due out September 23rd, is called SWEET TREASON and is a historical romantic suspense novel. Here’s the awesome cover and back cover copy.
SweetTreasonGailRanstrom

Passion and deadly secrets…

On the run from British troops, American Revolutionary War spy Ryan Straughn forces Emily Nevins to hide him on her English farm. But Emily already keeps secrets that could mean her demise if discovered. Nevertheless as the long night wears on, attraction sizzles and they give in to unexpected passion, sure they’ll never see each other again…

Deception and desire…

A chance encounter in London society stirs heated memories of their sensual night together. They begin a heady dance of suspicion and desire. Though sympathetic to the struggling Colonists, Emily cannot trust a traitorous spy who may expose her dangerous intrigues. And Ryan risks his very life by trusting a woman privy to his true loyalties. But they are unable to deny their need for one another, even as Emily’s secrets are about to be exposed, and the noose around Ryan’s neck grows tighter. Betrayal and love…

And now someone has discovered both their secrets. The price of silence? Betrayal. Of their causes, their love, their futures. In the end, lives will be lost and sacrifices made. Their choice is impossible. Which will they surrender—their lives…or their hearts?

(shiver) Doesn’t that sound awesome? At the end of this post is an excerpt to whet your appetite for this delightful story even more, but for now, let’s get to know Gail a little bit better. And if you happen to notice a couple of gorgeous outdoor pictures sprinkled in the interview, they are from Gail’s home in beautiful Montana. 

Neighbors Drop By - GailRanstrom

Lena:  Your website describes you as an author of “Regency Noir”. Can you tell us a little bit about what you mean by that?

Gail:  I’d love to!  Traditional Regencies are shorter, sweeter and more about life, customs, manners and courtship in ‘polite’ society from roughly 1800 to 1820.  Most often the plot revolves around misunderstandings and very sweet romances—the bedroom door is closed very tight.  Regency Noir, or dark Regencies, deal with the grittier side of the Regency period—the side that was rarely spoken of or acknowledged in ‘polite’ society.  The ‘real life’ that played out in the shadows.  My stories deal with mystery, suspense and romance about people who walk the fine line between these two worlds.  Occasionally polite, rarely sweet, and always dangerous.

Lena:  (I can personally attest to the gritty, suspenseful nature of Gail’s books since I have read ALL of them. They are truly awesome.) Your newest release – SWEET TREASON, is a bit different from what you’ve written in the past. What inspired you to write a historical with an American Revolutionary hero?

Gail: It is different. But after writing in the Regency era with characters who are British to the core, I yearned for a bigger conflict.  What could be more different than an American spy and a privileged English farmer’s daughter?  The conflict could not be more fundamental than one’s core beliefs.  Examining and adjusting those beliefs can be both dangerous and painful.

Lena:  (I can’t wait to read this book!) Your website lists a series called the Wednesday League, and another one about the Hunter Brothers. Can you tell us a little about these series and whether they are connected?

Gail:  Yes, all the novels are somewhat connected.  They all stand alone, but they take place in the same world with characters who may (or may not) reappear.  The first four books are the Wednesday League novels, about a group of women who, pretending to be a book club, secretly aid other women who have been somehow ‘wronged’ by society achieve some sort of justice.  The Hunter Brother novels deal with the brothers of one of the women from the Wednesday League.  They are involved in service to either the Home Office or the Foreign Office, and their stories tend to deal with the London underworld.

Lena:  (The Wednesday League is such fun and includes bow street runners and clandestine meetings in the backs of milliner’s shops. LOVE these books.) What’s the next project readers can expect from you?

Gail:  Back to the Regency.  I’ve had reader requests for Lord Marcus Wycliffe’s story, and I’m well under way with that.  I think, no matter what I may branch out to do, I’ll always come back to the Regency.  I feel at home there.

Lena:  Have you ever been to England? Tell us about it.

Gail:  Yes!  England is wonderful, and best of all, we speak the same language (sort of) and the natives are friendly.  My ancestral roots are there.  My brother lives in Oxfordshire.  I intend to go back as many times as I can.  There’s always something new to see or do.  Every time I’ve gone, I’ve made little side trips – once to Ireland (St. Patrick’s Day in Dublin—what a party!  I marched with the Sullivans in the parade) and another time took the fast train to Edinburgh for the MiltaryTattoo (there’s just something about bagpipes and a man in a skirt).  Next time I’m going to take the Chunnel to Paris.  Fun, eh?  And there are so many sites that it makes my head spin.  Bath, Stonehenge, Winchester, Penzance, Mousehole, St. Ives, Avesbury, Brighton, I could go on and on.  But I think my favorite excursion was to a little village called Great Tew, where I stayed at the Falkland Arms (http://www.falklandarms.co.uk/index.htm#), a thatched roof public house in operation since the time of Henry VIII.  Good friends, good food, good beer.  Can it get any better?  I actually wrote the Falkland Arms into one of my novellas, A Christmas Secret in the anthology, A Christmas Visit.

Lena:   Are you a Downton Abbey fan? If so, who are your favorite characters? And what have you found to be the most shocking or surprising thing in the series so far?

Gail:  I loved it.  I watched Season 1 faithfully, then the first few episodes of Season 2, then was traveling for the rest and sort of fell off the grid.  I have promised myself I’m going to get all the seasons and re-watch Season 1 and continue through 3 this winter when the Montana snow is flying outside my window, and before Season 4 premiers on January 5th.  Until then… I think Mary is my favorite with Mr. Bates and Cora running close seconds.  Matthew, though, was rising in my esteem when I left off.  As for shocking…that whole debacle with the Italian count…need I say more?

Lena:  (I won’t spoil Gail’s enjoyment of Downton Abbey by telling her there is something far more shocking in a later season that happens to Matthew – ARGH!)  Is there any other genre you write or would like to write in the future?

Gail:  I’m playing with an idea for a contemporary series featuring women with superhuman skills—not supernatural or paranormal, but heightened natural powers.  Those of you who watch Stan Lee’s Superhumans know what I mean.  For those of you who don’t,  http://www.history.com/shows/stan-lees-superhumans/about .

Lena:  What would surprise readers the most about you?

Gail:  I have a permit to carry a concealed weapon and I’m a damn good shot!  (Bear spray only works when you’re up-wind!  Did I mention I live in Montana?)

Lena: (Remind me to always be nice to Miss Ranstrom and her concealed weapon!) Quick question/answer drill follows…

Lena: Cats or Dogs? Gail: Dogs

Lena: Beaches or Mountains?  Gail: Beaches

Lena: Favorite food?  Gail: Chocolate

Lena: Favorite TV show? Gail: Argh!  NCIS?  Castle?  I can’t decide.

Lena: Chicken or Steak?  Gail: Chicken

Lena: Favorite book ever?  Gail: THE SOURCE, by James Michener

Wasn’t that fun? I hope you enjoyed getting to know Gail Ranstrom a little better. Buy links and an excerpt for SWEET TREASON follow, along with all of Gail’s contact information. But first, she has a question for readers. One lucky commenter will receive either a Nook or Kindle copy of SWEET TREASON (see Contact tab for details).

Is the romance, the mystery or the suspense most important to you when reading Romantic Suspense?

SWEET TREASON Excerpt:

The stranger lowered his head further to leave a path of soft insistent kisses from her earlobe to the well of her shoulder blade. The sensation was like nothing she’d felt before—intimate, urging, almost desperate. Heaven help her, Emily wanted more. He slipped his hand down her back, molding her against him. The hot, hard bulge pressing against her belly ignited an answering heat in hers. Naughty. Wicked. Exciting…

He asked a question, his voice a deep vibration that reached to her toes. Her very flesh tingled, sending shivers of delight through her. Her breasts ached and became exquisitely tender. She gasped as he drew her even closer, his large hands moving along her spine.

“Yes…,” she sighed, affirming her suspicion that this man’s arms would be heaven.

“Sweet…” His voice was hoarse with desire as he lifted his head to speak as he brushed across her lips. “Are you the most courageous woman I know…or the most reckless?”

   Reckless. Unconscionably reckless…

He nudged her robe open with his chin and lowered his mouth to the slope of one aching breast. She caught her breath and choked back another gasp when he captured one tingling crown with his lips and tugged gently. She tangled her fingers through his dark hair to hold him close. The sensation was so foreign, yet so completely delicious, that she wanted it to go on forever. She sighed. “Tell me your…name, sir, that I…may know who my dreams…”

“You mock me?” he growled.

She gave a soft, husky laugh at his pretended outrage.

The deep vibration of his voice against her skin sent shock waves along her spine.

“By all that is holy…I must be mad! Were it any night but tonight, I’d sweep this desk clear and take you here and now.”

Emily fervently wished it were any other night. She’d have yielded him anything—everything—when he nibbled a greedy path back up her neck and cherished the tender flesh at the hollow of her throat before lifting his head.

He brushed tendrils of hair back from her cheeks with this thumbs. “Now that you’ve seen my face, my only safety—and yours—lies in the fact that you do not know who I am.”

She did not bother to deny his accusation. But betrayal had been the furthest thing from her mind. She caught her breath on a gasp as he slipped his hand up her bare thigh, exposed in the gap of her robe.

She struggled free of his arms and moved away, fighting to regain her composure and recall the true nature of this man.

    Blood-red splotches on his shirt sleeve reminded her that this man had murdered someone this very night. She would be fortunate if she escaped with her life. She pushed him away to gather her robe more closely around her. This had to end before she forgot herself again. She was breathless when she spoke. “Your ten minutes are up, sir. If you are a man of your word, you will leave.”

SWEET TREASON Buy Links:

Amazon: http://tinyurl.com/komknqh

Barnes and Noble:    http://tinyurl.com/kbfoh8p

Amazon UK:    http://tinyurl.com/n6l6zrj

I-tunes:     http://tinyurl.com/kwonhdn

Kobo:    http://tinyurl.com/mkf25pv

Gail Ranstrom’s Contact Links:

Website:   http://gailranstrom.com/

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/GailRanstrom

Twitter:  http://twitter.com/GailRanstrom  Handle: @gailranstrom

Goodreads:  http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/130348.Gail_Ranstrom

Pinterest:  http://pinterest.com/gailranstrom/

Rafflecopter code –  http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/1cb554152/

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