Tag Archives: Romantic Suspense

I Want A Hot, Devoted, Skilled Soldier Lover and It’s All Susan Stoker’s Fault

28 Apr

by Elizabeth SaFleur

A new Susan Stoker book release generally sends her fans into hyper-ventilating excitement. So, everyone have your paper bags ready. Her fifth Delta Force Heroes book, Rescuing Kassie (Delta Force Heroes), arrives May 15 and is now on pre-order. Let the one-clicking commence.

Romantic suspense is a popular genre in Romancelandia, and Susan’s books have kept fan swooning over SEALs, Delta Force operatives, soldiers, cops and cowboys for the last few years. A prolific writer (i.e. almost the definition of prolific), Susan has several series available in e-book, paperback and audio, not to mention titles landing on the New York Times, USA Today, and Wall Street Journal Bestseller lists–more than once.

Susan stopped by LadySmut today to share her thoughts on the enduring love of men in uniform and what’s next for her hot heroes and strong heroines, and gave us a peek into her latest, Rescuing Kassie, with a new excerpt (bottom of this post).


Interview with Susan Stoker 

ELIZABETH SAFLEUR: The romantic suspense genre seems to be growing, especially where military are involved. Do you think this is indicative of our world today, meaning it tracks with our fast, action-packed times?

SUSAN STOKER: I’m honestly not sure why it’s growing…I mean, I know why I write it and why I like to read it…men in uniform. 🙂 I simply think they make great Heroes because they’re ALREADY heroes. Who better to “save” someone, than a man in the military? But honestly, romantic suspense hits that “damsel in distress” trope that I think a lot of women enjoy. Just because we’re strong women in our everyday lives doesn’t mean we don’t think about being able to put our problems in someone else’s hands.

ELIZABETH SAFLEUR: Amen. I mean, SEALS! SEALS! SEALS! Oh, sorry, I got a little excited there. In your Seals of Protection series, a lot of saving goes on. What is it about the SEAL hero? Why do women swoon? Is it really because they can get you out of any jam? All that alpha energy? Or the fact they are so selfless in their service? Or something else?

SUSAN STOKER: I think it’s the fantasy of the man in uniform saving someone. Mr. Stoker was in the Army for twenty-one years and we were married for seven of those, and I’ve certainly seen a lot of men (and women) who wouldn’t be able to find their way out of a paper bag nonetheless try to rescue someone else. LOL

I’m a huge fan of the damsel-in-distress trope, and who better to rescue you than a hot man in uniform? SEALs are appealing because they’re a little mysterious, andthey have to be super in shape because of what they do and to even become a SEAL in the first place. So to have them swoop down and carry off the heroine is just such a heart-swooning image.

ELIZABETH SAFLEUR: Moving on to Delta force in your Delta Force Heroes series….I hear the Delta Force are the most secretive of the special ops world. I’m dying to know how you do your research! But, in the meantime, how do you differentiate your different special ops guys? SEALS from Delta? And is it important to do so?

SUSAN STOKER: I’d tell you, but then I’d have to kill you.

HA! Just kidding. You’re right, there’s not a lot of information about them, and that makes them even more mysterious and fun to imagine them swooping in to save the heroine.

My books aren’t really “military heavy.” And by that I mean a lot of time the drama that happens isn’t related to the military at all. The heroes just happen to be Delta Force (or a SEAL). But to answer your question, I differentiate them because of where they live and how they talk (using Army lingo). I believe that I don’t need to be super specific with guns, missions, uniforms, ranks, etc. It’s not necessary for the story. I let my reader use her/his imagination to fill in the blanks.

ELIZABETH SAFLEUR: In your Ace Security series, you have a band of brothers who launch an agency to help people free themselves from abuse. How did this series come about?

SUSAN STOKER: When I wrote Justice for Boone, the Hero was abused by his ex-girlfriend. There aren’t a lot of books out there where the male is the one being abused. But it happens. Just as I like to write about “real” issues out in the world, men being abused is one such issue. It’s just not talked about as much as women being abused.

As far as ideas, I watch a lot of crime shows. I’m totally addicted. Disappeared, Forensic Files, CSI, Criminal Minds, etc. are all great places to get a nugget, and then my imagination makes up the rest.

ELIZABETH SAFLEUR: In your Badge of Honor series, you turned to cowboys and law enforcement. What called you to write those kind of heroes? How are they different from your SEALs, Ace and Delta Force guys?

SUSAN STOKER:  Man in uniform…need I say more? 🙂 Seriously, again, it’s the saving the heroine thing. Who better to rush into a burning building and carry the heroine out than a fireman? Who better to save the heroine from a gun wielding lunatic, than a police officer? And honestly, they AREN’T a lot different. I always tell people, I could put my team of SEALs or Deltas in the BOH series and it wouldn’t be a lot different.

ELIZABETH SAFLEUR: You do the strong, selfless women with tragic backstories and the alpha males who find them really well. The women also seem quite supportive of one another. Do you take anything from your real world experiences and import them into your stories? And, what is it about this theme that attracts you as a writer?

SUSAN STOKER: I think close relationships with other women is something a lot of people are missing in their lives and it’s wonderful to read about close friendship circles like this. I know I would love to have a closer circle myself. I’ve moved a lot in my life and it seems as if those close friends have always been out of reach for me. So it’s a bit of “wishful thinking” on my part. 

ELIZABETH SAFLEUR: Your characters also deal with some dark stuff like abusive pasts, murder, trauma. Would you consider your books on the darker side or most realistic because that stuff happens in real life all the time?

SUSAN STOKER: I am very “mean” to my heroines. And I’m honest about that. A lot of it is fiction, but I also do that to show exactly how strong my heroines are. I mean, they take a beating (sometimes literally) and keep on going. I don’t really consider them “dark” because I don’t go into a ton of details with some of the situations, but again, women are living these kinds of life all over the world. So even though I write fiction, for many readers, it’s not.

ELIZABETH SAFLEUR: Alabama, Mozart, Summer, Rayne. You have a lot of interesting character names! How do you go about naming your characters?

SUSAN STOKER: I definitely use websites for baby names, but I also stalk social media, too. The name Jessyka is actually one of my readers. As is Adeline. Sometimes I see a name and just love it so much I want to use it in my books. Other times the names just come to me. But if you are a friend of mine on social media, don’t be surprised if I steal your first or last name sometime. It’s the best place to “research.” Ha!

ELIZABETH SAFLEUR: What is next for you, writing-wise? What can we expect in the future?

SUSAN STOKER: I’ve got a busy year planned, with a book coming out every month from May to December. Some are novellas, but most are full-length novels. You can expect more of the same in 2018. I like what I write, and I don’t have any plans to veer off in a different direction.

ELIZABETH SAFLEUR: What is your secret sauce for writing so many books so quickly? Asking for a friend….Seriously, you are so prolific. What is your writing process, and how long does it take you to go from idea to completion?

SUSAN STOKER: I can type really fast. 🙂  Okay, that’s not totally it, but I’m type A. Once I start a book, I get obsessed until I finish it. That means writing up to 7 to 10K words a day until it’s done. When I’m really into the story and it’s flowing well, I can manage to finish a full length book in two weeks. Then once I’m done, I don’t write anything for a couple of weeks…to let my brain re-fresh. Then I start again. I’m a pantser. I start out a book knowing how the characters meet and what the drama at 85% is going to be. Then I just start writing. My imagination takes over.

I also write “ahead.” Deadlines would never work for me. I have friends who can write a book right up to a deadline, but that’s not me. I’ve finished all the books coming out in 2017 (first drafts) and I’ll be starting on 2018 books soon.

ELIZABETH SAFLEUR: What is one questions readers ask you all the time? And what do you wish they ask?

SUSAN STOKER: What my favorite book/character is. I honestly don’t have one. I love all the stories and characters. I wouldn’t have been able to write the books if I didn’t.

I’m pretty open with my readers. They ask me stuff all the time and I can’t think of anything I didn’t want to answer. In fact, I probably give them TOO much info about upcoming books and plots sometimes. Ha.

But, how about, ”do you like what you do?”

Absolutely. I used to be a University Registar and not a day goes by when I miss it. There might be days where I struggle with writing, or marketing, or dealing with people, but when push comes to shove…I feel incredibly lucky to be able to make a living using my imagination and writing stories. I just want to say THANK YOU to every single person who has ever bought one of my books. It means the world.

ELIZABETH SAFLEUR: Thanks for being here, Susan!


The LadySmut Fast Lane

We ask, Susan Stoker tells….

  • Beach or Mountains? Mountains
  • Coffee, Tea or a favorite alcoholic drink? (you can name it) Midori Sour
  • Seal, Delta, Cowboy or Cop? (menage is a completely valid answer) Um…ALL of the above!
  • Driving the motorcycle or riding on the back? Riding on the back
  • Favorite season? Spring
  • Dream vacation? Maui, Hawaii

Susan’s Love Links:  Web site  Facebook  Twitter   


Excerpt from Rescuing Kassie

After she nodded at each of the men, Truck said, “You ladies want some punch? I’m going to get a round.”

Kassie looked over to where the large man had indicated and flinched. She’d been looking for the grog bowl, and wasn’t sure how she’d missed it. On a long table against the opposite wall were two large punch bowls.

“I don’t want any grog,” Kassie blurted.


“Grog? Did she say grog?”


The murmured questions came from Hollywood’s friends, but Kassie only had eyes for Hollywood. “I don’t know what I did wrong, but please don’t make me drink it.” She knew she was panicking, but couldn’t help it. The grog bowl was one thing she’d researched that was true about Richard’s farce of a military function.

“Kass—” Hollywood began, but she cut him off.

“I promise I’ll be good. I won’t embarrass you. Just don’t make me drink it. I’ll gag. I know I will. I just—”

“Kassie,” Hollywood said sternly, putting his hands on either side of her neck and forcing her to look up at him. “There isn’t a grog bowl here. It’s punch. Just punch.”

Her brows furrowed, Kassie looked up at him in confusion. She gripped his wrists as if her life depended on it. She saw nothing but concerned eyes looking down at her. Didn’t hear his friends whispering to each other. “Punch?”

“Yeah, Kass. Plain ol’ watered-down Hi-C, most likely. Fruit punch. Not grog.”

She swallowed hard. “Are you sure? There’s always grog. I Googled it.”

Hollywood turned his head, but didn’t take his eyes from hers. “Blade. Can you tell Kassie the grog bowl tradition?”

“Sure. They’re commonplace at dining-ins. It’s a tradition dating back to the Knights of the Round Table. Because of the weight of armor back in the day, it was hard to move and get a drink. So it was used as a punishment for someone who was out of order or unruly. The same thing applies today. There’s usually an alcoholic and non-alcoholic version and people who are found to be in violation of any kind of rule have to drink from the grog bowl.”

“And what’s a dining-in?” Hollywood asked, still holding Kassie’s eyes.

“It’s a formal military ceremony for members of a unit to foster camaraderie,” Blade said immediately.

“And are spouses, girlfriends, or significant others invited?”

“No,” Blade said succinctly.

Hollywood’s eyes narrowed, and he asked Kassie in a low voice, “When did you partake of a grog bowl, sweetheart?”

“I…uh…” Suddenly Kassie was more than aware of all the men and women around her, staring. She swallowed hard, embarrassed, but the terror hadn’t left her.

“Did your ex take you to an event with a grog bowl? You saw people drinking from it?” Hollywood pushed.

“He had an event at his place one night that included it,” Kassie told him, then bit her lip. “I told you about that. His friends dressed up in their fancy uniforms and came over. I usually messed up the most and had to drink from it all night. They thought it was funny to make me.”

Hollywood’s eyes closed momentarily and Kassie swore she heard one of his friends say “motherfucker” under their breath, but before she could say anything, Hollywood’s eyes opened and he said earnestly, “I’m sorry you had to do that, Kassie. As Blade said, the grog bowl is reserved for special soldiers-only functions. I can’t deny it’s gross, we’ve all had our share, but it’s supposed to be all in good fun. And I swear to you, all that’s in the punch bowl tonight is punch. Nothing gross. Okay?”

Kassie nodded. Embarrassed now. She’d made a fool out of herself. She should’ve known Richard hadn’t been following proper military protocol. The grog bowl was a real thing, but only for closed ceremonies…not for friends or family members.

“I don’t think I like this ex of yours,” Hollywood said, straightening, and reaching down for her hand once more.

“That makes two of us,” Kassie said with a nervous chuckle.

“Now that we have that out of the way…anyone want a cup of watered-down, barely drinkable fruit punch?” Truck asked dryly.

“Oh, with that description, how can we say no?” Emily asked with a laugh.

“Four cups, coming right up,” Truck said, lifting his chin at Kassie in what she thought was supposed to be a reassuring gesture, but in fact was just confusing.


Pre-Order Rescuing Kassie (Delta Force Heroes)


Coming to the RT Booklovers Convention in Atlanta this May? Join the Ladysmut.com bloggers for a very special reader event – Never Have You Ever, Ever, Ever — and win crowns, toys, books and more. (Ooo, and we’ll have brownies….) Goodybags (with fun stuff!) to first 100 people in line! Wednesday, May 3 at 1:30 p.m. Add this event to your RT Personal Agenda here.


Elizabeth SaFleur writes contemporary erotic romance and she’s not afraid to get graphic about it  — “it” being the sex, the BDSM or Washington, DC society, which she regularly features in her series, the Elite Doms of Washington. Join her Sexy, Saucy, Sometimes Naughty exclusive reader’s group or follow her on Twitter and Facebook.

Have a Taste of Wild: Simply Sinful Giveaway

25 Nov

by Kiersten Hallie Krum

Black Friday may be winding down, but it’s about to get wild here at Lady Smut as our Simply Sinful Giveaway continues with a taste of Wild on the Rocks.


And I do mean a taste as last weekend, at my request, a master mixologist concocted an original Wild on the Rocks cocktail and lemme tell you, it was lush. What’s in it? Oh how I wish I could tell you…and be able to recreate it myself. But il maestro refused to divulge his secrets–though he did reveal several of the ingredients were no longer available in the United States.


The makings of Wild on the Rocks, the cocktail.

Instead, to satisfy your new sprouted craving for wild–and whet your appetite for more—take a sip of some of the sexy you’ll find in my novel, Wild on the Rocks. In this very sexy excerpt, divorced couple Quin and Jasper are having a bit of emotions-free, ex-sex–or at least, that was the plan…


Bottoms up!

Be sure to remember to comment on any (or all) of the excerpts today in order to be eligible to win our dangerously sinful Black Friday “Basket of Sin” giveaway basket. Check back in tomorrow (that’s Saturday, in case you have shopping blackout and lose track of the days) when we announce the winner!




Wine comes in at the mouth

And love comes in at the eye;

That’s all we shall know for truth

Before we grow old and die.

I lift the glass to my mouth,

I look at you, and I sigh.

—W.B. Yeats

A Kindle exclusive. Click image to buy!

Now available exclusively from Kindle. Click image to buy!

I missed you too.

Not since he’d received his trident had four words meant so much to Jasper.

“Quinn,” he said but she kissed him before he’d finished her name. He expected the push and pull of her usual aggression, couldn’t wait to suit up for that hot battle again, but she surprised him, licking her bottom lip so her tongue slipped sweetly against his, teasing him with a taste of her. He groaned and felt her lips tip up before he took over, kissing her deep and wet and long as he lifted her off her feet and backed her up. He put a knee in the bed to lower her back down to the mattress, back again beneath him, all the while kissing her like he’d never get enough.

He’d been wrong earlier. This first time, they were going to take it slow after all.

His mouth trailed down over her chin to nip playfully at her throat. He chuckled low when her breath stuttered over an exhale. “You always were sensitive here,” he remembered.

She swallowed hard. “Not only there.”

He shifted down to the valley formed by the opened buttons of her top. “Here too,” he agreed, brushing his mouth over the mounds of her breasts that plumped up out of her bra. Swiftly, he unfastened the remaining buttons until he could spread the panels of her tuxedo shirt wide.


He slipped his hands to the middle of her back to arch her up like an offering so he could tug her bra aside with his teeth. Her neck stretched back on the pillows and she moaned deep and long when his mouth engulfed her nipple.

It was better than any memory. She was better than any dream, even the ones he’d had of her, and boy, had he dreamed of Quinn. Hot, filthy, body-draining dreams that’d woke him in the middle of the night with so rigid an erection, even jacking off couldn’t ease the pain.

As always, Quinn was game for it. Greedy hands roamed up and down from his skull to his back to his waist, every inch she could reach while he paid homage to her breasts. “Here, baby,” she coaxed, pulling down the left side of her bra. His eyes flickered up to meet hers, hot and hungry with demand. He released her nipple and rolled it between his fingers, leaning over to suck the other one deep. “Jasper,” she moaned, her legs shifting and tangling with his, restless with need.

He ducked his head to drag his mouth down her belly and over that strip of skin she’d left bare for any man to see. “This has been driving me crazy all night,” he admitted hoarsely. “Knowing every guy who saw you wanted his mouth right here. But only so he could get it here,” and he slipped a finger past the band on her trousers and between her legs.


“Right here, baby.” He unbuckled her belt and had her jeans and panties down and off in the next second. Jasper paused for a moment to take in the vision sprawled out before him. Her tits were propped up on display for him, her legs spread wide so he could see her wet with want for him.

“Christ, you’re gonna go already, aren’t you?”

Frantic, she shook her head against the pillow, but pushed her groin into his palm. “No,” she lied. “I don’t want it to end so soon.”

“If it does, we’ll start it up again.” And with that, he crawled between her legs and put his mouth on her.

If her kiss was narcotic, then the taste of her was the nectar of gods. Nothing compared. Not the first beer after a successful mission. Not his first bite of real food after days of living off MREs.

She shrieked on contact and again when he sucked on her clit. She ground her pelvis into his mouth and her fingers into his skull, clutching him to her as though afraid he might stop. But he had no intention of stopping and licked and sucked and ate at her until the first orgasm ripped her apart.

He knifed up as she came down, tearing at the release to his shoulder holster and setting it and his weapon on the night stand seconds before a rousing Quinn yanked his shirt out of his pants and up without bothering to unbutton it. He raised his arms to help her and then reached for his wallet while she went after his buckle, pulled down his fly, and freed him.

“Quinn,” he groaned when her hand wrapped him up. Her thumb cruised over the weeping tip, and Jasper’s head dropped back. “I want your mouth,” he growled, but when he felt her breath on his flesh, he snapped up and pushed her back into the bed. “But I want you more.”

“Oh my God, yes,” she moaned, notching her legs into the groove of his hips. “Now, Jasp. I need you now.”

She’d just come and already needed it again. She was a marvel, and tonight, right now, she was his.

His again.

“You’re gonna get me, baby. Put this on me first.” He pressed the condom wrapper in her hand before his fingers skated up her arm. “I’d forgotten how soft your skin is.”

She didn’t reply. It took another moment for him to realize she wasn’t gloving him up.


She glanced up through her eyelashes with uncharacteristic hesitation that sent a bolt of apprehension coursing through him.

“I’m on the pill,” she quietly reminded him. “And there’s been no one since you.”

He felt her words like a blow to the gut, and God, God, the sweetness of her gift nearly unmanned him.

So he gave it back as he shoved his pants off, shifted up, notch himself in place against her, and slid inside, bare as the day he was born. “No one since you, sweetheart,” he promised, and she finally wrapped him up in her arms and her legs and took him deep in her body until there was no space left between them.

“Kiss me,” she demanded. He ducked his head to comply while pulling out so he could thrust right back into her.

Christ, she was so snug around him, he almost lost it on the second go. She pulsed against him, and he took the cue and thrust out and in again, quickly building to a rhythm that had her clawing his back and making familiar noises of frustrated need in her throat.

“Wildcat,” he praised. Jasper lifted his chest to watch it come over her so he’d have that memory to relive when she was no longer around for him to fuck. She took that as invitation to bite his nipple, which quickly sent him right to the edge. “Hurry up, wildcat,” he urged, thumbing her clit, but she was already there, the spasms of her orgasm clenching down on his dick until he shouted her name and lost his rhythm, plunging and thrusting until he shot deep inside her.

Spent, he kept moving, easing them both back from bliss as he searched and found her mouth with his. “My wildcat,” he murmured against her lips, shoving in her one last time to stay put. “My wild lady.”


* * *

“What is that God-awful noise?”

As strangely as it had begun, the piercing beep slicing through the sleepy fog in Quinn’s head stopped. An arm clutched her waist and then released. Cold rushed in at her back as the warm body that’d been curved around hers all night rolled out of the bed. She murmured sleepily when the sheet was pulled up and around her. A body dropped to the floor, and Quinn heard the once familiar sounds of Jasper’s morning routine pepper the air.

She cracked her eyes enough to make out the alarm clock across the room. “It should be illegal to be awake at such an ungodly hour of the morning.”

“Unless you stay up for it, right?”

She didn’t have to look to know he was grinning.

“That’s something else entirely,” she groused, snuggling back into the fluffy pillow.

“It always is.”

He went back to manly grunting his way through what she rightly guessed was a regimen of sit ups.

Back when they’d been married, they’d done this almost on a daily basis, or at least on those mornings Jasper was home. He needed far less sleep than she, especially if she was working into the wee hours, and too many years in the armed services had made the concept of “sleeping in” an anathema. He’d wake, she’d complain without meaning it, and he’d do his first group of calisthenics there in the bedroom while she kept sleepy watch.

Quinn had loved those mornings. Loved having that private pocket of time with Jasper before his world intruded and dragged him away from her. She adored watching his strong, mouthwatering body work through the exercises that kept him that way. She thrilled at the knowledge that he’d use that strength and ability to defend and shelter their nation and to shower her with protection and pleasure every chance he got. And she loved that he let her see this, this immense physical and mental strength, but more in those rare moments when he let her catch a glimpse of the rare vulnerability he kept carefully locked away. The fear that he’d fail his men. The worry that he wouldn’t bring them all home; the rage and sorrow when he didn’t.

When they were in bed, one of her favorite things to do was run her hands over all that muscle and sinew and hold him close and treasure him and the knowledge that he was hers in a way he’d be to no other. She’d been so proud of him and humbled to call him hers.

It had been a wrenching pain the first morning after she left him to realize she’d never do that again, that she no longer had that right.

The chorus of grunts and low-voiced swearing went on for another ten minutes through which Quinn lightly dozed until he shifted into pushups. She roused with interest. If she remembered right—and she was pretty sure she did—Jasper lifting and flexing his way through pushups was a sight worth seeing. She rolled onto her belly into the warm pocket left in his wake and, after a Herculean effort to lift her eyelids, peered over the edge of the bed.

Totally worth it.

Dim sunbeams seeped in through the blinds, cutting the floor into bands of light and dark. Jasper’s long body stretched down through one beam, head at the nightstand, feet a good four inches past the end of the bed.

Damn if the man didn’t glow.

His shoulder blades met in the center of his back on each down stroke, throwing his spine in sharp relief. Quinn shifted on one hip and propped her head on a forearm to get a better vantage point to trace the defined groove from the base of his neck all the way down to where it disappeared beneath the waistband of his black boxer briefs. The sheet slipped to the small of her back as she spent a few moments in intense study of his firm, clenched ass.

His back was a thing of sculpted beauty matched only by his literally bulging biceps and delts as he lifted up into a precise, even plane from toe to knuckle then back down to hover half an inch above the bedroom floor before lifting up again into a push up stand. Quinn’s heartbeat accelerated as she watched, riveted by the wonder of form and discipline, tracking each flex and ripple as if mapping the secrets of the universe.

And that was before he switched to one hand.

Quinn bit her lip, but not before a low moan managed to escape.

“What was that?” he asked without looking up.

Mesmerized, she counted thirty repetitions before he switched hands. “Sorry?” she croaked.

“You said something.”

“Hardly. I’m not even in my body yet.”

“Give me fifteen minutes, and I will be.”

She narrowed her eyes, but declined to retort given he probably wasn’t wrong, especially if he kept up with that, and focused on the show he was bent on performing.

He held firm in a push-up stand, then bounced back a few inches on palms and toes before lowering prone to the floor. Crossing his arms under his face so his fingertips nearly brushed each elbow, Jasper extended upwards, legs in an X formation, hands crisscrossed beneath him, one above the other, wide shoulders rounded so his triceps bulged out all along the outside of his arms. Without pausing for rest, he powered on through another set.

Quinn caught her breath and slid a hand down her belly.

“That one’s new,” she noted, a little breathless.

He grunted through three more. “Forearm to triceps extension.”

The tip of her index finger strummed along her slippery folds. “Do tell.”

There must’ve been something in her voice because this time, when he held the push up stand, his chin lifted and those green-gold eyes zeroed in on her.

Quinn licked her lips and watched heat chase the question from his face. “You like that.”

He wasn’t asking, but she held his gaze through lowered lids and let him see her answer.

She liked it. She like it a lot.

Balancing on one hand, he reached out to tug the sheet from her body. “Show me,” he rumbled, voice hoarse.

Without losing his eyes, she rolled to her back and spread her legs wide, setting her thumb to work so she could slide two fingers inside. Automatically, her hips lifted toward the pleasure. A low groan rolled up from the floor. Her free hand cupped her breast. She plucked the nipple under his avaricious gaze.

“Wider,” he ordered, chin jutting toward her legs.

“Baby,” she whispered while she complied. “Get up here.”

“You got your show,” He levered up from the floor and stretched out across the bottom of the bed, head in hand right between her spread feet. “This one’s mine.”

Fair enough. Quinn settled in to giving a show that would drive him wild. She moved her hips against her hand, working herself on her fingers as she watched Jasper watching her. Twin spots of color ran high up on his cheeks. His beautiful mouth pulled into a thin rigid line. Sweat glistened on his chest from the workout and she lick her lips again thinking how next time she was going to taste him from stem to stern and everywhere in between.

Quinn glanced down and saw the tip of his erection popping out from the top of his boxer briefs. Jasper caught her direction and pulled himself free in the next second, stroking his length almost leisurely without looking away from her busy hands.

Quinn’s efforts sped up.

“That’s it, baby,” he coaxed. “Show me how much you want it. Let me see how wet you get for me.”

“Jasper,” she moaned, fingers flying between her legs, her nipple pinched so tight, pain mixed with the intense pleasure. She wanted to close her eyes and let the orgasm roll through her, but she couldn’t look away from Jasper. He’d shifted his hand to stroke her calf while his cut forearm kept steady rhythm. “I love arm porn.”

He barked out a laugh, then leaned over to kiss her thigh. “Go over hard,” he urged. She felt his breath on her fingers and tripped over a new high. “Give that to me, sweetheart.”

She scratched her nail over her nipple and that tipped her past the edge. Her neck stretched back and she lost her view, but Jasper jacking himself for her was already burned across her mind’s eye. “Oh yes,” she moaned as it crashed over her, her head full of Jasper’s hands and Jasper’s face and Jasper’s body.

She was still in the throes when he bumped her thighs wider, knocked her hand aside, and shoved deep within her.

“Holy fuck,” he swore.

Jasper!” she screamed. She grabbed him by the neck and wrapped one leg around his thighs, one high on his back. “Don’t stop, Jasp,” she begged. “Don’t ever stop.”

He turned his head and sucked her wet fingers into his mouth, curving his tongue to lick her taste from them, and, Lord love a duck, it was so hot, she nearly passed out from the spasm that spurred through her. Jasper lowered his forehead to hers as he rocked in and out. She stared up into his eyes while the sound of their flesh slapping together filled her ears. Dark stubble covered his cheeks so he looked like some pirate intent on pillaging her until she felt him for a week. He’d shave it before going to work, but she wished he wouldn’t. Scruffy Jasper was the man who was all hers, only hers, and she hated knowing soon, she’d have to give him up.

“Come on, wildcat. Come all over me.” He palmed her breast and ducked his head to slip the nipple between his teeth, biting down until she shrieked. She felt the orgasm building again and knew this one was going to be harder that the last two, wild and out of control the way Jasper made her feel every second she was under him.

His hand replaced his mouth at her breast. She reached up to bite his bottom lip as that wild inside her cinched tighter and tighter and tighter until it burst. Her neck arched back; he took hold of her throat and pounded away.

“Fuck, how you squeeze me when you come,” he grunted. “Spectacular.” His hand slid up to her jaw, yanking her face down so they kissed deep and wet and long as he fucked her even harder until finally he came with a hoarse shout.

Panting, they lay in place, Jasper’s face in her neck, Quinn’s mouth at his ear, spent, joined, and savoring that connection in the delicious haze that followed amazing sex. Quinn shivered when his tongue teased her earlobe. Slowly, languidly, her hands mapped his back, tracing the muscles he’d worked that morning first on the floor and then on her.

“You’ve always been my best adventure,” she whispered.

He went rigid and she froze as her words penetrated.

Oh crap, did she really say that out loud?

Jasper raised his head. Going by his look of intense triumph, yup, she definitely said that out loud.

She opened her mouth to backtrack, but was saved the effort by a loud knock on her apartment door.

“Queen!” Twist’s dull voice sounded through the apartment and the opened door of the bedroom. “I’m not standing out here while you bang Quinn again!”

Quinn and Jasper stared at one another with shared shock, and then Jasper’s head dropped to her shoulder.

“I am going to kill him.”

Quinn laughed. “No you’re not. He’s your best friend.”

“Not for much longer. You wouldn’t believe the shit he pulled yesterday. It was a frickin’ sewing circle on coms with my sex life the main gossip topic.”

She rubbed his head in mock sympathy. “Poor baby,” she teased. “I had no idea you alpha boys chattered so when left to yourselves.”

“We don’t, but Twist is a rare breed. Got a psych degree and left a practice behind to join the Navy. Makes him more emo than ten other guys put together.”

He nuzzled her neck. The skin there rippled under the caress. “Man’s got a calling,” he added quietly. “Feels more than most. What you see of him is how he protects that.”

“So it’s all an act?”

“No, he really is that much of an annoying idiot.” She laughed again at his wry frustration. “But I’d trust no one more at my back,” he finished on a serious tone. “Or with my secrets.”

Quinn felt a shard of disappointment that he didn’t feel the same way about her, but shoved it aside. She was enjoying this light, affectionate aftermath with Jasper. He’d be leaving in a few minutes. She didn’t want old wounds opening up before he did.

So she wrapped him up and gave him a light squeeze with her arms and her legs and her still throbbing sex. “He loves you,” she noted while Jasper groaned.

“I know it.” He brushed his thumb over her mouth. “But can we not talk about Twist when I’m hard inside you and have to go in 5 minutes?”

She nipped at his digit when it made a second pass. “Deal.”

His eyes and face softened, and Quinn lost her breath. “Been waiting a long time to see that look on your face again,” he said in a low, warm voice that made her vibrate in all the right places.

“What look?”

Eyes open, he captured her mouth with his and slowly, sweetly slid out of her. “Satisfaction,” he growled and kissed her again. “Gotta go, babe,” and now there was regret in his voice too.

“I know.” She ran her hand over his stubble. “Wish you didn’t have to shave for the job,” she admitted. “I like this look.” She kissed the edge of his scruffy chin. “Pirate Jasper.”

He chuckled low and deep, making her nipples rise up against his hard chest. “You like it, I’ll keep it while I’m here.”

The gesture surprised her. Jasper never went against regulations. “Really?”

“Sure. There are no regs on McBain’s detail, and I don’t have the Navy to adhere to for a couple of weeks.” He bent to rub his rough cheek against her puckered nipple. “Already I can see the benefits.”

“Mmm. You’re giving me ideas.”

His tongue sneaked out to lick sensitive flesh. “Good. I’m already a big fan of your plunder.”

He was doing it to her again, revving up her hunger. He thought she’d been satisfied when the truth was, she could never get enough of him, not if she had him for a hundred years.

“What are we doing here Jasper?” The words escaped before she’d registered them in her brain, or else she would’ve stopped that shit right away.

He looked up at her without moving away from her breast. “We’re enjoying each other, Quinn. And some seriously explosive sex. Why does it have to be anything more complicated than that?”

“Because we’re us. Because it’s always complicated when it’s us.”

“Maybe that’s our problem. Maybe we need a little easy for a change.” He brushed a wisp of hair back from her face. “I’ve missed you. I’ve missed fucking you. I’ve missed talking and laughing with you. You’re a seriously good time and an amazing lay. Why can’t that be enough?”

As painful as his choice of words was, he made it sound so achievable, but Quinn wondered how long they could actually stick within those parameters. How long she could live with having only Jasper’s body and social company and nothing of his soul.

“What happened with the Navy, Jasp?”

“Who are you afraid of, Quinn?” he shot back. She rolled her lips together to keep her mouth shut. “Yeah, that’s what I thought.” His eyes filled with a hint of mean. “You can have my cock. I’m happy to give you more orgasms than you can handle, take as many as you can give me. And we’ll eat and drink and have fun together for as long as we’re both here. But you’re gonna have to share your own secrets before you get a shot at mine again, baby. You gave up the right to know my heart when you gave up on our marriage.”

It hurt and hurt deep, but he was right and it made her voice small when she agreed. “Okay, Jasp.”

He studied her. Quinn figured her easy capitulation came as a surprise. But she was saved again by Twist’s shout. “Let’s go, Queen! Or I’m gonna tell all the boys why we were late to the briefing this morning.”

“Shit. He’ll do it too,” Jasper muttered and Quinn found her good humor restored.

“Maintaining that badass rep must be a rough gig.”

“You’re not kidding.”

He kissed her hard and quick, then knifed up and off the bed to grab his clothes from the floor. He dressed quickly, barely bothering to button his shirt before strapping the shoulder holster over it and shoving his feet back into his boots. Quinn tangled herself back into the sheet and shifted up on her hip to watch him.

“I’ll shower back at the resort after the briefing.”

“They set you up in one of those posh villas by the sea?”

He snorted. “We’ve got rooms in the employee section, but once we’re done with this job, we’ll move into the resort proper. Discounted rate, or we’d be shacking up next door to you.”

“Hibiscus Court’s not that bad.”

“Babe, I jimmied the lock in two minutes.”

“Bragging is unattractive even in a bad ass, super SEAL.”

He grinned and leaned over the bed so they were nose to nose. “SEALs don’t brag. We don’t have to. But if I was bragging, it’d be about how I got you off twice in less than twenty minutes.” He kissed her hard if quick. “But I’m too much of an officer and a gentleman.”

“I’ll remind you I got to the first one on my own.”

He kissed her again, slipping his tongue in her mouth this time. “Sure you did, sweetheart. Now, you need me to set an alarm so you can go back to sleep or you gonna get up?”

“The wedding’s not till one, and Willow got Clancy to hire a temp to help him cover the breakfast and brunch runs.”

“So you’re gonna sleep.”

“No, I need to pick up some supplies in town. Then I thought I’d hit the beach until I have to start set up.”

“I get a window, I’ll come find you, yeah?”

She thought of Jasper in swim trunks, his delicious body wet with ocean water. “That’d be good.”

He read her face and his eyes softened. “Yeah,” he repeated. Then with a final kiss and a resigned glare in Twist’s direction when he shouted again, Jasper headed for the door and left without looking back.

Quinn rolled to her side again and stared at the window blinds. She heard the front door shut behind Jasper and the muffled exchange between the two men. She kinda missed not hearing their banter. Probably more than worth the price of the ticket.

What kind of price was she about to pay to have this time with Jasper? Sure, there was something to be said for having an affair with a man who knew exactly how to get her off. There’d been good reasons for her year-long dry spell and only some of it had to do with her broken heart. When you had the best, settling for a runner up was so far from enticing as to not be worth the bother. Jasper was the best lover she’d ever had—he’d ruined her for other men—and it hadn’t even taken an entire day before they wound up in bed together again. Why shouldn’t she capitalize on the fact that fate or divine providence had dropped them both in paradise at the same time?

You gave up the right to know my heart.

Oh God, how she wanted his heart again. His heart and his secrets and the right to claim him as hers with as much ferocity as he’d once claimed her. She wanted to reach deep and pull out the wild he’d only ever shown to her and keep it close, keep it safe. But Jasper had named his price and it was a cost she was unwilling to pay. Because this time, when Quinn left him, she knew it wouldn’t be by her choice.

She might not be alive to make it.

Writer, singer, editor, traveler, tequila drinker, and cat herder, Kiersten Hallie Krum avoids pen names since keeping her multiple personalities strait is hard enough work. She writes smart, sharp, and sexy romantic suspense. Her debut romantic suspense novel, Wild on the Rocksis now available. Visit her website at www.kierstenkrum.com and find her regularly over sharing on various social media via @kierstenkrum.


Basket ‘o Sin!

Next up in the Lady Smut Simply Sinful Reader Event is Elizabeth Shore at 9 P.M.


Dark Romance. Irish Mob. A Look at The O’Malleys by Katee Robert

13 Jun

by Kiersten Hallie Krum

I won’t lie, I hear “Irish Boston Mob series” and I’m in, no questions asked, despite my love/hate relationship with Boston. So soon as I heard Katee Robert’s new series, “The O’Malleys,” was about three Boston Irish mob families, I requested that sucker so fast, NetGalley spun on its axis for about an hour.

The O’Malleys, the Sheridans, and the Hallorans of The Marriage Contract and The Wedding Pact are the unholy trifecta of the Irish mob in Boston. An alliance between two of these families is about to be formed when one of the younger generation kills another. Suddenly, allegiances must shift before more blood is spilled…and the war that has been brimming between these three factions for so long boils over.

The Marriage Contract

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Look, a blurb!

Teague O’Malley hates pretty much everything associated with his family’s name. And when his father orders him to marry Callista Sheridan to create a “business” alliance, Teague’s ready to tell his dad exactly where he can stuff his millions. But then Teague actually meets his new fiancée, sees the bruises on her neck and the fight still left in her big blue eyes, and vows he will do everything in his power to protect her.

Everyone knows the O’Malleys have a dangerous reputation. But Callie wasn’t aware just what that meant until she saw Teague, the embodiment of lethal grace and coiled power. His slightest touch sizzles through her. But the closer they get, the more trouble they’re in. Because Callie’s keeping a dark secret-and what Teague doesn’t know could get him killed.

Look, another blurb!

The Wedding Pact

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Carrigan O’Malley has always known her arranged marriage would be more about power and prestige than passion. But after one taste of the hard-bodied, whiskey-voiced James Halloran, she’s ruined for anyone else. Too bad James and his family are enemy number 1.

Hallorans vs. O’Malleys-that’s how it’s always been. James should be thinking more about how to expand his family’s empire instead of how silky Carrigan’s skin is against his and how he can next get her into his bed. Those are dangerous thoughts. But not nearly as dangerous as he’ll be if he can’t get what he wants: Carrigan by his side for the rest of their lives.

When I first read The Marriage Contract, I immediately tweeted Katee Roberts and demanded to know when The Wedding Pact would be available and then raged that I had to wait nine months to get it. Yes, this series is that good. I re-read them both for this review only to be reminded of the intriguing and edgy concept they embody. And just look at those covers. Boy. Howdy.

The O’Malleys, the Sheridans, and the Hallorans are not good people by the standard terms. These are people trying to make good decisions in bad situations–seriously bad situations. These are people constrained by the rigid natures of their families’ demands and expectations and torn by a familial loyalty that often has little to do with love and too much to do with duty. These are people who sometimes are forced to do unthinkable things, things that make them wonder about the states of their own souls, and yet who love fiercely, be it their parents, siblings, or lovers, and, often, blindly. These are people for whom doing what makes them happy and doing what is in their family’s best interests may be diametrically opposed–and fraught with danger. The stakes are high in The O’Malleys series, as high as can be imagined.

These are not safe people–not to themselves, not to others, and not in the general sense of “being safe”. Their lives are in jeopardy so that every decision they make could be ones that bear serious life and death consequences either for them or those they love–or for those with whom they are falling in love. And Things Happen. But they want to do better, they long to deserve better, and they find that better in the ones who come to love them.

They are loyal. They are fierce. They are determined. They feel conflicted about many things and navigate a treacherous world most people don’t even know exists. They feel deep and they risk much. They are striving, each of them, to carve a life they can live with out of the ones they’ve been born into and they are falling in love along the way–with the most inconvenient and inappropriate of people.

An Indecent Proposal

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The Marriage Contract and The Wedding Pact are available to buy now, while the third and final title in the series, An Indecent Proposal, will be available on August 30th (and is currently up for preorder). It brings the Russian mob in to treacherously tangle with the Irish families–and has what I think is the best cover of them all. The scruff. That nose. The furrowed brow. The opened collar under the vest.The wide leather bracelet. The tattoo peeking out from under the rolled-up sleeve. The striped pants. The arm porn. Irish bad boy trouble in a suit. Liiiiiiick.

What, did you think I’d leave you without a blurb? Perish the thought!

Greed. Ambition. Violence. Those are the “values” Olivia Rashidi learned from her Russian mob family-and the values she must leave behind for the sake of her daughter. When she meets Cillian O’Malley, she recognizes the red flag of his family name . . . yet she still can’t stop herself from seeing the smoldering, tortured man. To save her family, Olivia sets out to discover Cillian’s own secrets, but the real revelation is how fast-and how hard-she’s falling for him.

Plagued by a violent past, Cillian is more vulnerable than anyone realizes. Anyone except Olivia, whose beauty, compassion, and pride have him at “hello,” even if she’s more inclined to say good-bye to an O’Malley. While his proposal of sex with no strings seems simple, what he feels for her isn’t, especially after he learns that she belongs to a rival crime family. Cillian knows that there is no escape from the life, but Olivia may be worth trying–and dying–for . . .

The O’Malleys series are as if The Godfather was populated by the Fitzpatricks (that’s a Veronica Mars reference for all of you playing along at home) with a dollop of The Town and a soupçon of Mystic River–and a whole lotta sexy romance. They’re dark, sexy stories about dodgy folks who embark on daring and sensuous journeys that pack an emotional wallop. Clear your calendar to dive down the rabbit hole and don’t be surprised if you come out more than a little green.

Follow Lady Smut. We’ll make all your Irish eyes shine bright.

Edited to add: An Indecent Proposal actually will not be the final book in the series. There’s two more scheduled to come after that for more O’Malley siblings. PHEW!

Writer, singer editor, traveler, tequila drinker, and cat herder, Kiersten Hallie Krum avoids pen names since keeping her multiple personalities straight is hard enough work. She writes smart, sharp, and sexy romantic suspense. Her debut romantic suspense novel Wild on the Rocks is now available. Visit her website at www.kierstenkrum.com and find her regularly over sharing on various social media via @kierstenkrum.



Getting My Vroom Vroom On With Tara Janzen

10 Jan

by Kiersten Hallie Krum

Welcome to the first installment of my new monthly feature on romantic suspense. On the second Monday of the month, I will be profiling one of my favorite romantic suspense writers/series–both personal classics and those I’ve only recently cottoned on to–along with interviews and whatever else floats my boat. Because I’m not just a writer of romantic suspense novels, I like to read them too!


Clearly, I too lack the shelf space…NOW!

First on the docket is Tara Janzen’s Steele Street series. Once a group of superior car thieves with their own chop shop, the men of Steele Street now work as members of the secretive Special Defense Force, clandestine operations out of the Department of Defense while maintaining an undercover personae as (legitimate) high-end, specialty gear heads. Their back stories are murky, their hotness level is high, their enemies, both political and actual, are deadly, and their angst, like their cars, is fully loaded. They are a mix of ex-cons, soldiers, spies, geeks, and one is even a bonafide, all-American hero. They live and work out of a tricked-out building in trendy downtown Denver (LoDo) filled with souped-up muscle cars and high-tech, somewhat illegal, equipment.

Total RS catnip.

Back in the day, I majorly fell down the rabbit hole with this series as I am wont to do. The first book, Crazy Hot, was released in 2005, somewhat before ebooks became the de rigueur in publishing that they are today, which meant I actually placed orders at book stores to load up my missing back list (I don’t know why I didn’t use Amazon) and harassed Barnes and Noble clerks as to why they weren’t carrying the available books in the series as a whole (lack of shelf space, duh).

The Steele Street series has all the hallmarks of a great romantic suspense series. Rooted in Denver, the action is spread over an international stage with much of the darkest parts of the plot unraveling in Columbia and other parts of South America. Nasty stuff happens too, kidnappings and brutal killings and enforced drug addiction and nuclear bombs up for sale to name a few. High-octane action, vulnerable, emotional romance…and, holy smokes, but are these books hawt. I dig their retro covers and how each title has its own distinctive color too. Distinctive packaging for the win!

Crazy Cool

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But for me, as always, it’s all about the character and the emotional drama, and the Steele Street series is crammed end-to-end with both. The camaraderie and trust between these heroes is the kind that only comes with time and life or death situations. These guys have been at each others backs from time before they could shave and that bond runs deep and stays strong through a helluva lot of crazy. There is deep darkness in their history together, some of which is back story, some of which plays out through the books, but in the end, the men of Steele Street will do anything for each other–and their women.

Make no mistake, the ladies of Steele Street are no pushovers either. From a drag racing, graffiti-artist, tech-head to a former librarian Russian party girl to the girl next door to an edgy visual artist to a mousey assistant turned bad ass assassin to the socialite daughter of a powerhouse senator, the ladies bring their bad boys to heel one way or another.

The plots may occasionally strain the bonds of credulity but are any wonky chain of events is stabilized the deep characterization and breathtaking pace that keeps the pages turning. Not every title is a hit out of the park, but each one is worth the read. They’re fun and often funny and the hard-won HEAs feel hard-earned. Writing this post alone has wet my craving to reread them all, straight from the beginning.

Of the lot, my favorite is Crazy Cool. Reunited lovers with heaps and heaps of angst between them is one of my favorite romance tropes and Crazy Cool does not disappoint in that area. Look! A blurb!

She’s sizzling hot…He’s icy cool.

He called her Bad Luck Dekker, a gorgeous socialite who trailed trouble in her wake. Christian Hawkins should know. Thirteen years ago he saved Kat Dekker’s life—only to spend two years in jail for a crime he didn’t commit. Now it’s déjà vu all over again when he rescues Kat from an explosion that rips through a Denver art auction. This time Christian—now an operative with an elite U.S. task force—plans to keep her close until he figures out why somebody wants to kill her. That is, if he can keep his cool around this sizzling-hot lady.…

The daughter of a senator, Kat hasn’t forgotten the hot summer nights of passion in Christian’s arms before everything went wrong. Now, as the bullets start flying, the sexy, self-appointed bodyguard is back in her life in a major way. Especially when Christian kidnaps her and they go roaring into the night in his brute-powered muscle car. But staying out of danger is tough for two people who are this hot for each other, a little bit crazy, and a whole lot in love….

Cristo and Kat’s story breaks my heart…and cracks me up. Their tender romance as young lovers was brutally ripped apart by outside forces and the fall out shaped both their futures and not in good ways. Now Cristo has to protect Kat as someone dredges up all their old baggage from the murder for which he was wrongly convicted thirteen years ago—and later pardoned after serving two years in a maximum security penitentiary–while actively trying to frame Cristo for a whole new set of killings. Cristo is a certified bad ass mofo and so hot, the asphalt practically melts when he walks down the street. His street name is “Superman”–the man of steel–but even steel melts if it gets hot enough. Despite her monetary advantages, Kat has been bullied by her mother her entire life to the point of being shut away in a mental asylum in the wake of Cristo’s long ago arrest when Kat refused to admit the street thief had violated the princess and Done Her Wrong. She’s spent the in-between years wrenching a life for herself from her mother’s grip–a life that is now threatened as their combined murky, murderous past is once-again center stage.

So if you’re in the market for some sexy romantic suspense that’ll rev all your engines, buckle up with the Steele Street gang for crazy, loose, action-packed, smokin’ ride.

And follow Lady Smut. We’ll be sure to rev you right up.

Get all the Steele Street books now by clicking on the images below.

Crazy Hot Book 1

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Crazy Cool

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Crazy Wild Book 3

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Crazy Love Book 5

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Crazy Sweet Book 6

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Meet Carolyn Crane, Annika Martin Wandering in Dark Forests: Our Right to Imagine and Fantasize

23 Oct

By Elizabeth SaFleur

CAROLYN CRANE and ANNIKA MARTIN have thrilled the world over with best-selling and award-winning books. CAROLYN writes romantic suspense, urban fantasy, and other tales of love and adventure. ANNIKA writes love stories about criminals–some of them are dirty and fun while others are dark and intense. I had the good fortune to run into her at the RT Booklovers Convention last spring. Yes, her. I can confirm that she is, indeed, one person—sweet, smart and oh, so imaginative.

For one, if you’re like me, you’ll read her Kinky Bank Robber series and be thoroughly disappointed during bank visits when a band of sexy, incredibly skilled, modern-day pirates do not kidnap you and they do not whisk you away so they can worship your glorious self in private. (Do you hear that Bank of America? Get on it, K? You need a new marketing campaign anyway.)

In the meantime, CAROLYN/ANNIKA stopped by LadySmut today to give us an inside look at what’s on her writing docket, why she writes under two names, and what’s behind her exploration into darker erotica.

ELIZABETH SaFLEUR: Welcome CAROLINE/ANNIKA. Thank you for being here. First up: Our readers are dying to know, how did you decide to write under two names? Do you find it hard to keep track of each?

CAROLYN CRANE/ANNIKA MARTIN: Hey, first of all, thank you so much for having me here! Your blog rocks. [[Thank you. We kinda like it.]] Okay, ahem. LOL. Are you thinking about a second pen name, my friend? Because, beware!! Oh, it’s hard to work one author name, let alone two.

ELIZABETH SaFLEUR: Don’t I know it.

CAROLYN CRANE/ANNIKA MARTIN: I’m not entirely sure I’d recommend it. I took the Annika name because I worried about the reactions of my freelance clients and impressionable nieces and nephews, and even Carolyn Crane readers.

So, while I was first writing The Hostage Bargain, I would say to myself, You can be as dirty as you want–nobody will know! Truly, that made me feel more free and allowed me to take risks I wouldn’t have taken. I had such crazy fun writing it.

Now, however, I’m out and open with both names more or less. I think about collapsing them, but it’s too late.


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ELIZABETH SaFLEUR: Of all the writing genres available to writers, how did you settle on yours: erotic romance, romantic suspense, and urban fantasy?

CAROLYN CRANE/ANNIKA MARTIN: As far as genres, I tend to go wherever my personal interest is and what I feel the most energy around. That’s how I pick what characters to write next in a series, too—whoever kind of pops for me. It’s not strategic at all.

ELIZABETH SaFLEUR: The Taken Hostage by Kinky Bank Robbers series is super hot, fun, unique, and did I mention, hot? How did you come up with this story? I’m picturing you standing in line at the bank, thinking, hmmm, I wish someone hot, dangerous and adventurous would burst in right now.

CAROLYN CRANE/ANNIKA MARTIN: Thank you so much!! That is so funny because I do think about the gang when I go to the bank now.

But, no, I didn’t dream it up at the bank. The inspiration is more out of being obsessed with tales of people exiting their lives and living as new people with new names and radically different lies. So that led to my big what if…what if you got taken hostage by really hot, dirty-minded bank robbers, and then you didn’t ever want to go back? If you said, hey, I’m keeping this new life of ménages and bank robberies. I had to work hard making my heroine not an asshole to do it, though. For there to be compelling reasons for her to stay gone.

ELIZABETH SaFLEUR: In other words, you’ve written themes that some writers fear to tread: dubious consent, non-consent, and captivity. Some say this genre is growing more popular. What had you explore these areas?

CAROLYN CRANE/ANNIKA MARTIN: I don’t know if the audience is growing—it’s so hard to determine these things. I just write what I want to, and I am writing more “dark,” including a six-part, dark mafia saga. Also, Skye Warren and I have begun the new Prisoner book (though it got “back-burnered” due to other projects).

I enjoy writing and reading dark stuff because it challenges me and it makes me feel conflicted and wildly alive. I love how dark romance takes us into forbidden and taboo areas, lets us explore, experience and even enjoy things that are not okay in real life. It’s the grown up version of wandering into the dark forest and then coming out. That, to me, is the beauty of fiction—to take you places you can’t, won’t, or shouldn’t go in real life.

I know some people have a problem with it, but to me, women have a right to the full imaginative expression of their fantasy life, and dark fantasies can be a deep, ancient, and very genuine part of that.

I love how it challenges my feminism, too. There would have been a time where I would’ve said, Hey, this fiction is wrong for women. But these days, I’m all about women having a right to every iteration of their imaginative life, and never having to apologize for that. Women have a right to the stories they want and they have a right to step out the door into a culture where they are safe and respected. Women get to have both.

ELIZABETH SaFLEUR: Amen, sister. Along those lines, do you have a favorite writing “moment?”

CAROLYN CRANE/ANNIKA MARTIN: Oh, that would be when I dreamed up Simon from the Disillusionists series. He was this great teacher for me as character. I set out to make him an enemy for my heroine. I wanted somebody scary and unpredictable and threatening and just horrible.

But then Simon, total badass that he was, ended up being one of my favorite characters of all time—and a reader fave, too. When I released the need for the reader to love this guy, it allowed him to be his own wild self. The whole Simon thing was such a great lesson for me in how to think about characters. He eventually got his own novella, Devil’s Luck.


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ELIZABETH SaFLEUR: What is next for you, writing wise?

CAROLYN CRANE/ANNIKA MARTIN: I’m working on four projects. One is this torrid dark mafia tale, a six-part saga that will release in quick succession early 2016. I’m also collaborating on an M/M spy mini-series with my critique partner, Joanna Chambers, and I’m seriously in love with this project—it is super over the top. The Kinky Bank Robbers #4 should be done soon-ish, and Skye Warren and I should be winding up the new Prisoner at some point.

ELIZABETH SaFLEUR: Yay for us! You’re a prolific writer. How do you write so fast? (And can we buy whatever special “fast” formula you have?)

CAROLYN CRANE/ANNIKA MARTIN: It’s funny that you would call me fast because I feel like the most glacially slow writer. I manage to get out an average of two books a year (this year it’s one!). It was not uncommon for me, after my slow first draft, to trash 50-75 percent of that book for a full do-over and many meticulous rewrites. Behind the Mask took eight months!!


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I would read every book on fast writing there is, too, and feel like a loser.

This fall, a few tools have helped my speed shoot way up (for me). 2016 is going to be a massive year of releases. Since you asked and writers like to geek out about this, I will tell all!

Tools that have wildly helped me include doing a serious outline. I got the technique from James Patterson’s Master Class. It utterly revolutionized how I outline. I thought I outlined before but whoa!! He spends a ton of time basically telling the story in an encapsulated form over and over—an interesting little “nugget” paragraph for each chapter. Now I’m spending two weeks on an outline alone and it’s allowing me to make those blunders (where I trash half the book in disgust) in the outline phase. This has been a game changer for me.

In her excellent book 2k to 10k, Rachel Aaron talks about needing to really generate excitement about the scene or chapter you’re going to write, so I’ve been trying to build serious hooks for myself into every chapter at the outline phase. If I’m not fabulously excited about every chapter, the outline is lacking.

Also, I started forcing myself to lay down 1,000 words before I check email or social media. I can now write 3,000 words a day—sometimes 4,000. Previously, 2,000 was an amazing day. More importantly, I’m not going down wrong roads and tossing weeks and months of work. I feel like I can write a book in two to three months now. That is huge for me.

ELIZABETH SaFLEUR: And it will be huge for your fans. Everyone, be sure to, stay in touch with CAROLYN/ANNIKA via her social channels below to get notices of her hot new releases.

Show CAROLYN/ANNIKA some follow/like love:
CAROLYN’s Facebook page
ANNIKA’s Facebook page

CAROLYN’s Twitter feed

ANNIKA’s Twitter feed



Speaking of staying in touch, don’t forget to follow us at Lady Smut, where you’re allowed to indulge in all the fantasies you can cook up.

Oh, and speaking of wonderful indulgences, don’t forget to pre-order our own Isabelle Drake’s latest, OFF THE RAILS. It’s never too late for that ultimate do-over.

Magically Sexy: Strange & Norrell

7 Jul

I hear that Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell has made it over to the other side of the pond now, so I want to say a few things about how much I love this show. I’m reading the novel now and it’s one of those rare cases where the pleasure of the programme increases the pleasure of the reading. It hits all the marks for me because it’s magical and historical with a stellar cast — and costuming. I’ve already found several tumblrs that go crazy over the clothes.

Bertie Carvel plays Jonathan Stange and is just about as dashing a magician as you could wish, though perhaps the most attractive thing about him is how he dotes on his singular wife, Arabella (played by Charlotte Riley whom made a great Catherine Earnshaw opposite Tom Hardy’s Heathcliffe). I said on Twitter that I’d love to see an offshoot series, Arabella Strange Learns the Language of Birds. She’s such a terrific character.

It’s a delight to see the machinations of The Gentleman with the thistle down hair as he tries to move people around like chess pieces, though you rather hope that the utterly elegant Stephen Black (played with amazing power by Ariyone Bakare) and poor Lady Pole (Alice Englart) manage to survive. You don’t have to know anything about the period to love the characters, for their plights are totally engaging.

I haven’t mention Mr Norrell yet, have I? He’s played by the absolutely riveting Eddie Marsan. But he’s a bit of a fusspot to be honest. Not that I don’t totally envy his library with great drooling desire. And I completely identify with his preference for books to people and parties.

But I feel more in tune with Strange’s trust of his intuition and enjoy his cheerful buoyant optimism in the face of all kinds of adversity — and there is adversity to spare in this tale. Here’s to practical magicians in preference to theoretical ones!

Oh, but I haven’t got to the most appealing character, have I? Well, let me now turn to the curmudgeonly, gruff, unpolished, Northerner (of course 😉 ) Childermass. He’s nominally Norrell’s servant, but he’s so much more. The horrible Londoners who bewitch the magician overlook him at their peril. It is the power of the ignored to see so much more. I’d gladly spent an evening in a rundown pub with Childermass and his hand drawn tarot cards than with the finest of the ton in London. But that’s me.

Are you on Goodreads? Join the Lady Smut crew there and enter to win one of four copies of The Lady Smut Book of Dark Desires. Hurry, time’s running out! And always follow us — we have such sights to show you…

Sexier than James Bond?

5 Sep

by C. Margery Kempe

My alter egos seem to often do better than my given name — probably because they’re very genre focused and a ‘consistent platform’ is definitely advantageous. One of the first things I wrote when I jumped into the erotic romance genre was Chastity Flame. I really did want to write a female James Bond — or rather, an updated Modesty Blaise.

Just when you thought Chastity Flame couldn’t get any more gorgeous — well, she does! Look at the shiny new print editions from Tirgearr with those ginchy wrap around covers by the ever fabulous S. L. Johnson AKA The Queen of Everything. So if you’ve been holding out on the ebook revolution (why? oh why?) now you can get Chas’ first three adventures in lovely old-fashioned print.

Will there be more adventures from the sexy secret agent? Ask Lady Fleming 😉

“Step aside, 007, and make room for Chastity Flame. Ms. Flame outwits, out-spies and definitely out-sexes James Bond in this rollicking, witty and exceptionally well-written erotic spy thriller. If you’re a fan of British media, look for the in-jokes. If you’re not, there’s more than enough humor, action and hot sex to satisfy any lover of romantic suspense!” ~ Dana Fredsti

“I was very pleased to find that book two in the Chastity Flame series was to be released. I really enjoyed book one, the humour and its uniqueness . . . Lush Situation is no exception to this rule. Chastity is on another adventure, this time investigating human trafficking and prostitution, which brings her to a newly opened club in London. It has the author’s signature humour, skilful writing and intriguing plot. More please, Ms. Laity! ~ Lucy Felthouse

“Londoners (and the world) beware! How can you not be drawn into the fire by a beautiful but lethal dame by the name of Chastity Flame? K.A. Laity has been proving for quite some time now that her noir prose ranks right up there with the likes of Meg Abbott, Dorothy B. Hughes, and Sara Paretsky. A Cut-Throat Business only further solidifies her standing as a contemporary master of the genre.” ~ Vincent Zandri, bestselling author of The Innocent, Moonlight Rises, and The Remains

Buy them here for $8.99 (sale price — they’ll eventually go up to $9.99).

And follow Lady Smut here as well as on Facebook and Twitter. we’re watching you 😉

The Thriller in Erotica: Guest Author Troy Lambert

30 May

One-Night-in-Boise-by-Troy-Lambert-1800HRby C. Margery Kempe This week I’m happy to welcome another of my Tirgearr Publishing colleagues, Troy Lambert, who’s got the first book in the new City Nights series, One Night in Boise. Troy admits that this is all a bit new for him. Here’s the blurb:

Detective Derek Marshek and his wife Cheri like to play games. It’s not that they don’t have a great sex life, but Cheri came up with the idea to keep things even spicier. Suddenly, events at the Seven Bells Motel reveal she may have had other motives.

Their son Alex, now in college and seeking to escape the shadow of his father, has a new girlfriend. In their efforts to find privacy, he is drawn back into his parents’ lives, and sees a new side of Susie. Could she be the one?

On this night in Boise, will lives be ruined, hearts be broken? One thing is certain. It’s a dangerous game they all play.

Take it away, Troy! I’m not an erotica reader, editor, or author. Or am I? When first presented with these questions eight months ago, I would have answered with a resounding “no.” But there they were, staring me in the face. Two of my favorite words: challenge and opportunity. They were knocking at my door, and I had no choice but open up. I discovered some interesting things: I’d already written erotica. Not full length pieces, mind you, but graphic sex scenes in my novels and short stories. Sex plays a part in many of them, some an integral one. So could I write a more detailed, emotionally charged sex scene? Sure I could. I’ve dreamed about sex since my early teens, talked about sex with my kids, and had plenty of sex over the years. In fact, applying the “write what you know” principle, perhaps I should have started writing about sex sooner. Sex is thrilling and suspenseful. If you don’t think it is, you might not be doing it right. As a suspense/thriller author one of the things I try to do in my work is create drama right away, drag the reader into the story, and don’t let them go until it is over, leaving them breathless and spent. Sound like the last time you had sex? If not, refer to sentence one. Whether emotionally, physically, or both, sex is filled with climaxes that allow us to transcend reality, if only for a short time. Mixing it up makes something good. The thriller is a story that keeps you on the edge of your seat (or bed), whether through the threat of death, world domination by evil, a clown stalking the inhabitants of a small town, or the threat of imminent heartbreak. Blending the drama of life crisis with the drama of relationships and sex makes for not only a good story, but one we all can connect with. After all, how many times in your life was sex the cause of the drama you went through. Fiction allows us to escape, and to learn something about ourselves in a world not our own. The more we branch out, step out of our comfort zones, the more likely we are to learn. I loved writing this story. So will I write more erotica? You’ll just have to wait and see. Visit Troy’s website or find him on Facebook. Get One Night in Boise in any format here. 48317

Character Flaws

25 Apr

White Rabbitproofby C. Margery Kempe

I’m turning the blog over to my alter ego K. A. Laity today to talk about the hero of her novel White Rabbit and the appeal of the flawed character. I’ve blogged before about ‘likability’ in a character, but how many flaws is enough? How many are too many? Take it away, Kate —

There’s a dismissive term, Mary Sue, used in the SFF world to describe impossibly virtuous characters that are assumed to just be the author inserted, flaws scrubbed away in a wish-fulfilling fantasy. Not surprisingly, it’s often gendered in its use (*cough* Conan, John Carter, just about ever pulp hero).

I find flawed characters much more fun: for one thing, flaws make conflict that much easier and conflict is the motor of a story. Most of us have good intentions but we’re easily tempted by easy outs or short cuts. Characters who are too good just aren’t believable.

In my new supernatural crime novel, White Rabbit, the main character James Draygo is haunted — literally. He has a death on his conscience but he also has an ability to communicate with the dead — an ability he has done his best to avoid for a long time. He’s done all kinds of things to block it out including his abuse of a certain substance he refers to as ‘dust’ but he continues to work as a fake psychic, as if to further denigrate his real gifts.

Then two women come into his life and upend it.

The first is a trashy socialite named Peaches who gets gunned down at his tapping table, which of course puts the blame on him. The second is Helen Saunders, who bails him out of jail. He mistakes her for a lackey from his legal representative at first, but discovers she’s a journalist investigating Peaches’ husband, an unscrupulous media mogul.

There’s a spark of attraction between these two unlikely people meeting under far from ideal circumstances. Saunders rescues him from a holding cell, but his troubles are just beginning. Draygo wants to sink back into the oblivion of his life, but the woman reappears. Here’s the scene where that first spark gets awkwardly revealed:

Looking at the light filtered through the curtains I would guess it wasn’t much more than eleven. And probably the same day. It wasn’t that bad after all. I was pleased to see Jinx had the hot water heating already and started my bath running. For a moment I thought I could smell peaches but doubtless it had been only an illusion. Was there a word for an illusion of smell? Nasal illusion? No, what’s the word? I needed to recharge the nasal passages anyway and pulled open the drawer next to the bed. Ah, cornucopia.

I lay in the warm waters in bliss. Nothing as restorative as a nice hot bath. Well, a nice hot bath with chemical enhancements. And I could hear Jinx’s step in the hall, doubtless bringing me some caffeine as well: good man.

Olfactory illusions, that was the word. I could smell the coffee before it arrived and it gave me a shudder of pleasurable anticipation. ‘Jinxy, I have been looking forward to your magic beans.’

‘I’m glad to hear it.’

My eyes popped open and I splashed helplessly. ‘You can’t come in here!’ My voice screeched a little with unexpected alarm.

‘Nothing I haven’t seen before, Mr. Draygo,’ she said, balancing the mug on the tray with the soap and sponge. ‘We need to talk.’

‘I’m having a bath here, in case you haven’t noticed,’ I said, trying in vain to cover up my unmentionables.

‘I’ll look the other way,’ she said, chuckling, which did not endear her to me. Crossing over to the window, she made a show of staring out it, which was a bit difficult given the textured glass and all.

‘Who are you anyway,’ I asked reaching for the mug and taking a good gulp of it. Ah, bless your craggy heart Jinxy! The only thing better than his java was a cup of his java with a little kick of scotch. Almost made me feel human again which is to say, curious now. ‘And why did you spring me?’

‘I’m working on exposing Dockmuir and I want to know what happened before you get all cagey with legal counsel and whatnot.’ She held her elbows in her hands, close against her body despite the heat of the bathroom.

‘Journo, eh?’ I took another gulp and let it burn its way down my throat. My brain began to wake up. ‘Trying to take him down from the inside?’

She laughed, a short bark without too much humour in it. ‘Yeah, I work for the rags. You know, for a washed-up has-been, addled by too many abused substances you’re quick off the mark.’

‘Washed up? Says who?’

‘Most accounts of your brilliant career. Teaming up with Psychic Sally next?’ I could hear the smirk in her voice. She seemed less tense, too, releasing the grip on her arms and leaning against the sill instead. It gave me a chance to notice the rest of her. Clad in a sensible grey suit, the tailoring didn’t really enhance the fact that she had a nice form, but there wasn’t much that could conceal a fact like that for long. Was she really a journo? My experience with the species generally skewed more toward pear-shaped nail chewers of the grizzled variety but maybe that was the crime beat.

‘I have a booming and, might I add, legitimate business, at least when it’s not being interrupted by trashy socialites who insist upon getting snuffed at my table.’ I was moving back toward irritable although I had to say there was a lot to enjoy in the view before I left curious. A little more caffeine woke up the rest of my corpse and I realised I was going to need to hide my nether regions again. ‘What paper are you with?’

‘I have a broad portfolio. No one can afford to work for just one paper anymore. Get with the 21, Draygo.’

‘I like things fine back in thenineteenth, where women were women and men were men.’

‘And everyone died of cholera or tuberculosis,’ she said turning around to stare me down.

A contest I lost immediately. ‘Hey, turn back around. I’m still naked here.’

‘I see.’ She smirked. I shriveled a little.

‘What’s your name anyway?’ I said to cover my embarrassment. ‘I usually like to know the name of people who interrogate me in my bathtub.’

‘Helen Saunders. I’d shake hands but—’

‘Yeah, all right. Well, here’s the deal. Let me finish my ablutions while you go get Jinxy to rustle us up a full English—’

‘I don’t want a full English.’

‘Well, I do. We can talk over brekkie. I refuse to say another word until then.’ I crossed my arms over my chest.

She stared at me, but slowly cracked a smile. I was right. She had nice lips. Reluctantly she walked to the door. ‘Don’t forget to wash behind your ears.’ Laughing she closed the door behind her.

Bloody woman.

Is he too damaged to follow through on this attraction? Can he believe in himself enough to find out more about this intriguing woman? And who is Saunders after all? Is she just using him to get to a good story? You’ll have to read the novel to find out.

Win chocolate and a copy of the novel White Rabbit if you know any rabbit jokes.


It’s Definitely Hard: Q&A with Laura Kaye

27 Feb
Book 1 --Laura's writes smokin' hot dudes.

Book 1 –Laura’s writes smokin’ hot dudes.

By Madeline Iva

Hello lovelies! Today I’m over-the-moon because we have Laura Kaye with us for Q&A.  Laura is one to watch when it comes to romance.  BTW, we’re going to be on a publishing panel publishing at the Virginia Festival of the Book, Saturday, March 22nd.  It’s free–and we promise to be witty and entertaining. Come check it out and say hello afterwards. ;>

MADELINE IVA: Laura, tell us all about your new book.

LAURA KAYE: Thanks! I’d love to! Hard As It Gets is the first in my sexy romantic suspense series called Hard Ink, which is about the surviving members of a disgraced Special Forces team fighting to regain their stolen honor. Hard As It Gets pairs Nick Rixey, second in command of the SF team, with Becca Merritt, the daughter of the deceased unit commander whose dirty black op led to the deaths of half the team and the discharge of the rest.

This is Book 2 in the series.

This is Book 2 in the series.

MADELINE IVA: Yes, there’s a strong military element.  However, before we get to all matters military there are these h-a-r-d bodied guys who run a tattoo parlor.  I’m not even into tattoos and I thought they were smokin’.  How did you get into the whole tattoo thing?

LAURA KAYE: I’ve always been fascinated by tattoos, both as art and for their meaning. I have two myself—the word Imagine on my right wrist and a star with three roses inside on my right shoulder. For the Hard Ink series, I thought placing a military operation out of a tattoo shop combined two very sexy themes!

MADELINE IVA: Well, it’s pretty brilliant.  How difficult is it to do research on military types? Did you have fun? Did you watch that crummy movie the army put out that was actually acted by SEALS or something?

LAURA KAYE: I’ve worked for the U.S. Navy for the past eight years as a professor of history at the Naval Academy, so working in the environment and getting to know people in the military helped. But I also did a lot of reading of military sites, watched videos of patrols and other activities that are on YouTube, and watched documentaries and military movies (and yes, I did see the one you’re referencing!).

MADELINE IVA: It’s certainly not a rah-rah portrait of the military, yet I found it all the more interesting and layered as a result.  Meanwhile, as I was reading the book, I had my eye on a few potential heroes for your next novel in the series. Who’s the lucky guy?

LAURA KAYE: Good eye! The remaining SF team members will all get stories as follows:

HARD AS YOU CAN – 2/25/14 – Shane’s book

HARD TO HOLD ON TO – 8/22/14 – Easy’s book

HARD TO COME BY – 11/25/14 – Marz’s book

Untitled #5 – Spring 2015 – Beckett’s book

A little somethin' somethin' from Laura's paranormal series.

A little somethin’ somethin’ from Laura’s paranormal series.

MADELINE IVA: Tell us about what other romance genres you write in.  What led you to leave those and write contemporary suspense?

LAURA KAYE: I mostly write contemporary (Heroes, Hard Ink) and paranormal romance (Hearts of the Anemoi, Vampire Warrior Kings) and have two series in each, although the Hard Ink series definitely veered toward romantic suspense. My other contemporary series is also about Army Special Forces guys, although it’s straight contemporary, so the Hard Ink series isn’t too big of a departure. Going forward, I will write in all three, so it was more of a branching out rather than a leaving! *grins*

MADELINE IVA: Love paranormal–I’ll have to check those books out.  Taking my mind back to the gutter, I’d say this book was about medium-high in terms of the steaminess.  Do you write books that are even more steamy? Can you tell us about one or two of those? ;>

SouthLAURA KAYE: I tend to write steamy in every book, using extended sex scenes with explicit imagery and language. It’s just what feels most natural and emotional to me. The books in my Vampire Warrior Kings and Hearts of the Anemoi series are very hot across the board, as is my contemporary story One Night with a Hero, which may also be my funniest book! The most erotic book I’ve written is a novella called Just Gotta Say, which is a ménage a quatres between a woman and her three male roommates. Heh.

MADELINE IVA: Yow.  Wow.  Going to have to check that out too.

LAURA KAYE: Thanks for having me here today!

MADELINE IVA: Laura, you’re a sweetheart, and you’re more than welcome. 🙂

Book 1 --Laura's writes smokin' hot dudes.

Book 1 –Laura’s writes smokin’ hot dudes.

Ladies, like me you’re probably drooling for more, so keep reading below to read an excerpt from Book 1 and learn a bit about Book 2.  

“Edgy, sexy, and full of suspense! A great read from a great new author!”

~J.R. Ward on Hard As It Gets

Read an Extended Excerpt of Book 1, Hard As It Gets

Here’s more about Laura’s current release– Book 2, Hard As You Can:

Five dishonored soldiers.

Former Special Forces.

One last mission.

This is Book 2 in the series.

This is Book 2 in the series.

These are the men of Hard Ink.

Ever since hard-bodied, drop-dead-charming Shane McCallan strolled into the dance club where Crystal Dean works, he’s shown a knack for getting beneath her defenses. For her little sister’s sake, Crystal can’t get too close. Until her job and Shane’s mission intersect, and he reveals talents that go deeper than she could have guessed.

Shane would never turn his back on a friend in need, especially a former Special Forces teammate running a dangerous, off-the-books operation. Nor can he walk away from Crystal. The gorgeous waitress is hiding secrets she doesn’t want him to uncover. Too bad. He’s exactly the man she needs to protect her sister, her life, and her heart. All he has to do is convince her that when something feels this good, you hold on as hard as you can–and never let go.

Buy Hard As You Can at Amazon | B&N | iTunes | Kobo

Laura Kaye will be at Virginia Festival of the Book, Sat. March 22nd at 2pm

Laura Kaye will be at Virginia Festival of the Book, Sat. March 22nd at 2pm

About Laura Kaye:

Laura is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of over a dozen books in contemporary and paranormal romance. Growing up, Laura’s large extended family believed in the supernatural, and family lore involving angels, ghosts, and evil-eye curses cemented in Laura a life-long fascination with storytelling and all things paranormal. She lives in Maryland with her husband, two daughters, and cute-but-bad dog, and appreciates her view of the Chesapeake Bay every day.

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