Kat Martin – Q&A and Giveaway

Long and Short Reviews welcomes back Kat Martin who is celebrating the upcoming release of Beyond Danger. Leave a comment for a chance to win a copy of Into the Whirlwind (print, kindle, or nook – US only).

Tell us something about your newest release that is NOT in the blurb.

Beyond Danger is Beau Reese’s story. Beau is Lincoln Cain’s business partner and best friend. In the beginning, writing Beau as the hero was a challenge because Cain–six-foot five inches of solid male muscle, smart, tough, and a Texas multi-millionaire–was a hard act to follow. But in time I began to see Beau for the true hero he was. Beau is black-haired and blue-eyed, a marshal arts expert and former top racecar driver. He’s as smart as Cain and sexy as hell. Beau turned out to be one of my favorite heroes.

When did you first consider yourself a writer?

It didn’t take long for me to figure it out. I was probably into the first hundred pages of my first novel, Magnificent Passage, when I realized I had found my calling. There was nothing else I wanted to do and I was determined to make it happen. I was a writer in my heart and mind from that day forward.

What is the hardest part about writing for you?How many books have you written? Which is your favorite?

I’ve written over 70 novels. I’ve actually lost track. One of my favorites is The Secret, which was a Romantic Suspense about a Montana rancher. I loved the books in my Against series. There were fifteen in all, including the ones released as Into the Fury, Into the Whirlwind, and Into the Firestorm. My favorite Historical was probably Gypsy Lord, a book that really boosted my career.

How do you do research for your books?

I used to buy research books when I was writing Historical novels. Writing Romantic Suspense, I mostly use Google. I can track down police procedures and laws particular to each state. And I use Google Maps to find locations that work for scenes in my stories.

What was the scariest moment of your life?

Probably the closest I ever came to death was on a camping trip up in the Wyoming mountains. Snow on the ground, freezing cold. We had a little wood-burning camp stove in our tent, which worked great until the mesh over the stove pipe got clogged up. While we were sleeping, the tent filled up with smoke. Fortunately, the other guys in camp got up at 3 a.m. to feed the horses and get ready for the day. When they came to wake us up, our eyes were swollen shut and we were having trouble breathing. We would probably have died by morning. God was looking out for us.

Tell us about the absolute BEST fan letter you have received.

I got a letter on a book called Creole Fires, one of my bestselling historical romances. The letter came from Jack Pardee–at the time, coach of the Houston Oilers! Clearly real men read romance novels!!

Say your publisher has offered to fly you anywhere in the world to do research on an upcoming book, where would you most likely want to go?

That’s easy! Paris! The most romantic city in the world. I actually did set a portion of a book called Devil’s Prize in France and did research there for the novel. Would love to set one of my contemps there…. maybe someday…

Do you have a favorite quote or saying?

“Nothing in the world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent.” President Calvin Coolidge

What is something you’d like to accomplish in your writing career next year?

2019 is going to be an exciting year for me. I’ll be releasing my first hardcover Romantic Suspense novel. Until Midnight is the first book in my new Maximum Security series, which is set in the private security firm where Cassidy Jones works as a detective in Beyond Danger. I fell in love with Chase Garrett, the owner, and the sexy bodyguards and private detectives who work at The Max. I’m thrilled to be able to write their stories and I hope readers join me for the ride.

Beyond Danger is Beau’s story. Mega-rich, black-haired, and blue-eyed, Beau is gorgeous to look at, and flashy. He was an amateur race car driver, sort of a Texas Paul Newman, before he left the racing circuit. Beau loves fast cars and fast women.

He is also wanted for murder.

That’s where private investigator, Cassidy Jones, comes in. She’s smart and she’s no pushover, exactly the woman for Beau. Best of all, she’s determined to prove his innocence.

About the Author: New York Times bestselling author Kat Martin is a graduate of the University of California at Santa Barbara where she majored in Anthropology and also studied History. Currently residing in Missoula, Montana with her Western-author husband, L. J. Martin, Kat has written sixty-five Historical and Contemporary Romantic Suspense novels. More than sixteen million copies of her books are in print and she has been published in twenty foreign countries. Kat is currently at work on her next Romantic Suspense.

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Buy the book at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, IndieBound, Kobo, Google Play, or iBooks.

Beyond Danger by Kat Martin – Spotlight and Giveaway

Long and Short Reviews welcomes back Kat Martin who is celebrating the upcoming release of Beyond Danger. Leave a comment for a chance to win a copy of Into the Whirlwind (print, kindle, or nook – US only).

Beyond Danger is Beau’s story. Mega-rich, black-haired, and blue-eyed, Beau is gorgeous to look at, and flashy. He was an amateur race car driver, sort of a Texas Paul Newman, before he left the racing circuit. Beau loves fast cars and fast women.

He is also wanted for murder.

That’s where private investigator, Cassidy Jones, comes in. She’s smart and she’s no pushover, exactly the woman for Beau. Best of all, she’s determined to prove his innocence.

Enjoy an Excerpt:

Beau could hardly believe it. His father was sixty years old! The girl sitting across from him in a booth at the Pleasant Hill Café looked like a teenager. A very pregnant teenager.

“Everything’s going to be okay, Missy,” Beau Reese said. “You don’t have to worry about anything from now on. I’ll make sure everything is taken care of from here on out.”

“He bought me presents,” the girl said, dabbing a Kleenex against the tears in her eyes. “He told me how pretty I was, how much he liked being with me. I thought he loved me.”

Fat chance of that, Beau thought. His dad had never loved anyone but himself.

Shoving a hand through his wavy black hair, Beau took a steadying breath. He had always wanted a baby brother or sister. Now at the age of thirty five, he was finally going to have one.

Beau felt a surge of protectiveness toward the young woman carrying his father’s child.

He looked over to where she sat hunched over next to her mother on the opposite side of the pink vinyl booth. “Everybody makes mistakes, Missy. You picked the wrong guy, that’s all. Doesn’t mean you won’t have a great kid.”

For the first time since his arrival, Missy managed a tentative smile. “Thank you for saying that.”

Beau returned the smile. “I’m going to have a baby sister. I promise she won’t have to worry about a thing from the day she’s born into this world.” Hell, he was worth more than half a billion dollars. He would see the child had everything she ever wanted.

When Missy’s lips trembled, her mother scooted out of the booth. “I think she’s had enough for today. This is all very hard on her and I don’t want her getting overly tired.” Josie reached for her daughter’s hand. “Let’s go home, honey. You’ll feel better after a nap.”

Beau got up, too, leaned over and brushed a kiss on Missy’s cheek. “You both have my number. If you need anything, call me. Okay?”

Missy swallowed. “Okay.”

“I should have called you sooner.” Josie’s eyes teared up. “I didn’t know how I was going to manage the bills all by myself. Thank you, Beau.”

“Everything’s going to be okay.” He watched the women head for the door, the bell ringing as Josie shoved it open and she and Missy walked out of the café.

Leaving money on the table for his coffee, he followed the women out the door, his temper climbing toward the boiling point. His father should be the one handling Missy’s pregnancy. He’d had months to step up and do the right thing. Beau figured he never would.

As he crossed the sidewalk and opened the door of his dark blue Ferrari, his temper cranked up another notch. By the time the car was roaring along the road to his father’s house, his fury was bubbling just below the surface.

Unconsciously his foot pressed harder on the gas, urging the car down the two-lane road at well over eighty miles an hour. With too many tickets in Howler County already, he forced himself to slow down.

Making the turn into Country Club Estates, he jammed on the brakes and the car slid to a stop in front of the house. The white, two-story home he’d been raised in oozed Southern charm, the row of columns out front mimicking an old-style plantation.

Climbing out of the Ferrari, one of his favorite vehicles, he pounded up the front steps and crossed the porch. The housekeeper had Mondays and Tuesdays off so he used his key to let himself into the entry.

On this chilly, end-of-January day, the ceiling fans hadn’t been turned on, leaving the interior strangely silent. The ticking of the ornate grandfather clock in the living room seemed louder than it usually did.

“Dad! It’s Beau! Where are you?” When he didn’t get an answer, he strode down the hall toward the study. He had phoned his father on his way here from Dallas. Though he’d done his best to keep the anger out of his voice, he wasn’t sure he had succeeded. Maybe his father had left to avoid him.

“Dad!” Still no answer. Beau continued down the hall, his footsteps echoing in the quiet. As he reached the study, he noticed the door standing slightly ajar. Steeling himself for the confrontation ahead, he clamped down on his temper and shoved open the door.

His father wasn’t sitting at the big rosewood desk or in his favorite overstuffed chair next to the fireplace. Beau started to turn away when an odd gurgling sound sent the hairs up on the back of his neck.

“Dad!” At the opposite end of the desk, Beau spotted a prone figure lying on the floor in a spreading pool of blood. “Dad!” The handle of a letter opener protruded from the middle of his chest.

Beau raced to his father’s side. “Dad!” Blood oozed from the wound in his chest and streamed onto the hardwood floor. He had to stop the bleeding and he had to do it now!

He hesitated, praying he wouldn’t make it worse, then with no other option, grabbed the handle of the letter opener, jerked it out, gripped the front of his dad’s white shirt and ripped it open.

“Oh, my God! What are you–”

Beau glanced up to see the woman, Cassidy Jones, standing in the doorway. “Call 9-1-1! Hurry, he’s been stabbed! Hurry!”

The shapely brunette, his father’s newly hired personal assistant, didn’t pause, just pulled out her cell and dialed the emergency number.

Beau’s hand shook as he checked for a pulse, found none. The wound was catastrophic, a stab wound straight to the heart. No way could his father survive it.

Cassidy ran over and knelt on the floor beside him. “Here, use this to seal the hole.” She seemed amazingly in control as she handed him a credit card then ran to the wet bar and grabbed a towel, rushed back and handed it over.

Beau pressed the towel over the credit card on top of the hole, all the while knowing his father was already dead or within moments of dying. Whoever had stabbed him knew exactly where to bury the blade.

Cassidy reached down to check for herself, pressing her fingers in exactly the right spot on the side of his father’s neck. She had to know it was hopeless, just as he did, must have known Stewart Reese was dead.

“I’m sorry,” she said.

Sorrow slid through him, making his chest clamp down. Or maybe it was sadness for the kind of man his father was, the kind who had wound up the victim of a killer.

He felt Cassidy’s eyes on him, assessing him with speculation–or was it suspicion?

Beau looked down at his father, his eyes closed, his face slack in death. Stuart Reese was dead and Beau wanted answers. He vowed whatever it took, for as long as it took, he wouldn’t stop until he found the man who had murdered his dad.

About the Author: New York Times bestselling author Kat Martin is a graduate of the University of California at Santa Barbara where she majored in Anthropology and also studied History. Currently residing in Missoula, Montana with her Western-author husband, L. J. Martin, Kat has written sixty-five Historical and Contemporary Romantic Suspense novels. More than sixteen million copies of her books are in print and she has been published in twenty foreign countries. Kat is currently at work on her next Romantic Suspense.

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Buy the book at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, IndieBound, Kobo, Google Play, or iBooks.

Beyond Reason by Kat Martin – Q&A and Giveaway

Long and Short Reviews welcomes Kat Martin who is celebrating the release of her newest book Beyond Reason. Kat is giving away a Kindle Fire – check the link at the end of the post.

Name three things on your desk right now.

Computer monitor, coffee cup heater, cute cards from friends with cats on the front

Plotter or pantster?

I’d like to be a plotter, try to do that as much as possible, but my plots have gotten so complex, I find myself writing much of the story as I go along.

Hamburger or sushi?

Hamburger!!

What authors have influenced your work?

Kathleen Woodiwiss, Dean Koontz, Wilbur Smith, Nora Roberts

Heels or flats?

Heels, definitely!

She’s determined to be successful–no matter who tries to stop her

Someone is willing to kill for control of Drake Trucking, a well-respected firm now run by a woman named Carly Drake. Big money is involved. And very big danger.

Multi-millionaire Lincoln Cain is determined to keep the promise he made her grandfather, the man who helped him change his life after he got out of prison. Cain has vowed to protect Carly, no matter what it takes.

Unfortunately, the only way to keep her safe is to keep her close–and fight like crazy.

Enjoy an Excerpt

The helicopter flight back was quick and uneventful. By the time they reached the ranch house and she made her way into the kitchen, her heart hurt and despair had her mouth so dry she could barely speak.

As if he had some kind of special Carly radar, Linc followed her and just stood watching.

“What happened today?” he asked, the unnatural calmness in his tone putting her on alert. “Something happened that changed things between us. What was it?”

He was amazingly perceptive. She thought about lying, but it wasn’t worth the effort.

“Sophia happened. She reminded me of the way things really are.”

“Sophia Aiello?” He frowned. “What does Sophia have to do with anything?”

“She came to see you. You didn’t have time for her, but I’m sure she’ll forgive you.”

“I’ve never slept with Sophia.”

“You have a date with her next week. Were you going to tell me the truth or make something up?”

A knot of anger surfaced in his jaw. “It’s just a PR stunt to raise money. I have no interest in a woman like that.”

She didn’t believe him. She wished she’d never met him.

“I want to go home. I’ll sleep in one of the other bedrooms tonight, but tomorrow I’m going home.”

His jaw went harder. “You’re not leaving. I’m not letting you put yourself in that kind of danger.”

“You can’t tell me what to do.”

“You don’t think so? I’ll tell you this–I’m not letting some spoiled, self-absorbed female I don’t give a damn about ruin what’s happening between us.”

Her head came up. “Nothing’s happening. It’s just sex.”

“Is it?” He stalked toward her, caught her shoulders. He was mad, furious. She didn’t understand why he was so angry.

“I don’t know where this is going. But if Sophia upset you that badly, I mean more to you than just sex. We’re going to see where this leads. We’re not going to let other people decide the outcome.”

He fisted a hand in her hair to hold her in place and his mouth crushed down over hers. She pressed her hands against his powerful chest and told herself to stop him, that he was just saying the words every woman wanted to hear.

But what if she was wrong? What if Linc was the one man who was exactly what he seemed? She wanted to believe it so badly.

Carly struggled against him, but the heat was too much, the yearning too strong. She kissed him back with all the need she felt for him, all the hunger. She whimpered when Linc broke away.

“Another thing you should know. I’m not above using sex to get what I want. Since I know how much you like sex with me, I’m going to remind you exactly why you decided to stay with me in the first place.”

When Linc kissed her again, Carly closed her eyes and let the storm of passion roll over her.

About the Author: Bestselling author Kat Martin is a graduate of the University of California at Santa Barbara where she majored in Anthropology and also studied History. Currently residing with her Western-author husband, L. J. Martin, in Missoula, Montana, Kat has written sixty eight Historical and Contemporary Romantic Suspense novels. More than sixteen million copies of her books are in print and she has been published in twenty foreign countries. Her last novel, INTO THE FIRESTORM, took the #7 spot on the New York Times Bestseller list. This will be the 15th novel in a row to be included on that prestigious list. Kat is currently at work on her next Romantic Suspense.

Website | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads
Buy the book at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, or IndieBound.

Buy the book at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, or IndieBound.

To CELEBRATE the release of BEYOND REASON, enter my new contest for a chance to win a KINDLE FIRE 7″ Display, Wi-Fi, 8 GB and a Kindle copy of AGAINST THE WILD, AGAINST THE SKY and AGAINST THE TIDE. Contest runs from May 1, 2017 through June 30, 2017.

Enter to win a Kindle Fire!

Beyond Reason by Kat Martin – Spotlight

Long and Short Reviews welcomes Kat Martin who is celebrating the release of her newest book Beyond Reason. To celebrate the release of BEYOND REASON, enter Kat’s new contest for a chance to win a KINDLE FIRE 7″ Display, Wi-Fi, 8 GB and a Kindle copy of AGAINST THE WILD, AGAINST THE SKY and AGAINST THE TIDE. Contest runs from May 1, 2017 through June 30, 2017. Also, enter her May contest for a chance to be one of FIVE winners who will win an audio edition of one of her AGAINST series books, plus a copy of INTO THE FIRESTORM.

She’s determined to be successful–no matter who tries to stop her

Someone is willing to kill for control of Drake Trucking, a well-respected firm now run by a woman named Carly Drake. Big money is involved. And very big danger.

Multi-millionaire Lincoln Cain is determined to keep the promise he made her grandfather, the man who helped him change his life after he got out of prison. Cain has vowed to protect Carly, no matter what it takes.

Unfortunately, the only way to keep her safe is to keep her close–and fight like crazy.

Enjoy an Excerpt

Carly pulled the pickup into her garage, saw the single headlight of Linc’s impressive black Harley coming down the street behind her. He’d insisted on following her home. She waved as she got out of the truck, hoping he would take the hint and leave, but instead he pulled his motorcycle into the driveway behind the truck and turned off the engine.

As she took the pistol out from under the seat, Linc walked up beside her.

He eased the gun out of her hand. “Stay here till I make sure it’s safe.”

She didn’t argue. Now that she was home, the whole terrifying chain of events came rushing back with stark clarity. She followed Cain into the kitchen, thought of the Glock, and wished she’d had it in her hand when those men had attacked her.
She sank down in a kitchen chair to wait while Cain walked through the rest of the house. Tears welled. Dammit, she didn’t want to cry. Joe had taught her to be tough. He’d known he wouldn’t always be there for her.

But deep down inside, she was still the frightened ten-year old who had walked into the bathroom and found her mother on the floor, dead of a drug overdose.

She closed her eyes, bit back a sob. She didn’t realize she was crying till she felt Cain drawing her out of the chair and into his arms.

For several seconds she let him hold her, let the tears come, just wrapped her arms around his thick neck and hung on. Then she realized what she was doing and felt like a fool, eased back and turned away.

“I’m sorry, I’m not…not a cryer. Not usually. I’m sorry.” She wiped her eyes, mortified that he had seen this side of her.

“Hey. It’s been a helluva day.” His mouth edged into a smile. “Maybe I’m the one who needed a hug, okay?”

She managed a smile in return. She wouldn’t have thought he could be sweet. “Thanks for checking the house.”

“No problem. You sure you’ll be okay?”

Her smile returned, more real this time. “You’re bigger than I am, but I’ve got the gun.” Now resting on the kitchen table.

He chuckled. “All right, if you’re sure, I’ll see you in the morning.”

He’d see her in the morning? Dammit, she’d forgotten he was coming to the office tomorrow for the call to his private investigator. “Good night.”

Cain left the house through the garage, swung a long leg over the seat of his Harley and fired up the engine. The biceps in his huge arms bulged as he grabbed the handlebars. Carly pushed the button on the garage door as he started backing away, turned the bike and roared off down the block.

Exhaustion swamped her. Dragging herself into the bedroom, she stripped off her clothes, pulled on an XXL navy blue Drake Trucking T-shirt she liked to sleep in and crawled beneath the covers. The pistol rested on the nightstand. She should have been able to sleep.

But she couldn’t.

Linc got up Sunday morning at the crack of dawn, loaded his fishing gear onto the back of an ATV and took off to one of the two lakes on Blackland Ranch. He’d called Townsend way too late last night and told him what had happened at the roadhouse. He’d instructed the investigator to set up security on Carly Drake twenty-four/seven and find out everything he could about a guy who called himself El Jefe.

Linc had slept a little after that, not much. He’d awoken early and decided he needed to clear his head. Tossing a line in the water, kicking back and waiting to get a bite, worked almost as well as morning sex.

Well, almost. Hell, he hadn’t been with a women in nearly a month, too damned long as far as he was concerned. He needed to make a phone call, talk to Renee or maybe Melissa, see if one of his friends with benefits was up for a good time when he got back to Dallas.

Something stirred deep and hot inside him. Unfortunately, it wasn’t an image of Renee or Melissa. It was Carly Drake who fired his blood.

As he leaned back against the trunk of a tree, the end of his line jerked. He waited for another tug, set the hook, and started reeling. Dammit to hell, whenever he thought of Carly, he felt like the fish on the end of that line. How had the little blonde managed to sink her hooks into him? How had she managed to snag his interest so quickly?

In fairness, she wasn’t even trying. He knew women, knew she was attracted to him. He also knew she wasn’t interested in climbing into bed for a couple of nights of fun.

About the Author: Bestselling author Kat Martin is a graduate of the University of California at Santa Barbara where she majored in Anthropology and also studied History. Currently residing with her Western-author husband, L. J. Martin, in Missoula, Montana, Kat has written sixty eight Historical and Contemporary Romantic Suspense novels. More than sixteen million copies of her books are in print and she has been published in twenty foreign countries. Her last novel, INTO THE FIRESTORM, took the #7 spot on the New York Times Bestseller list. This will be the 15th novel in a row to be included on that prestigious list. Kat is currently at work on her next Romantic Suspense.

Website | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads

Buy the book at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, or IndieBound.

Into the Firestorm by Kat Martin – Exclusive Excerpt and Giveaway

Long and Short Reviews is excited to welcome back Kat Martin who is sharing an exclusive excerpt from her latest book Inside the Firestorm. Check out the giveaways on Kat’s website.

At Brodie Operations Security Service, Inc., following your instincts is company policy . . .

M. Cassidy—Luke Brodie had heard the name before, some novice bounty hunter working Seattle, catching tricky skips with more success than a newcomer should expect. But the dark curls, sparkly top, and impressive cleavage were not what Brodie had pictured.

Emma Cassidy is tough and smart and sexy as hell. She’s also popping up a step ahead of him every time he’s close to the capture he wants most . . . and there’s no room for learning on the trail of this monster.

Emma has idolized Luke Brodie, the bounty hunter who can bring anyone in. The big man in the soft shoes, with a face like a fallen angel and a reputation for breaking hearts. Watching him in action is intoxicating. But her fight with Rudy Vance is fiercely personal. If he gets too close, Brodie will find out just how ferocious she can be . . .

Enjoy an Exclusive Excerpt:

Luke crouched down in the deep grass twenty yards from the back door of the Polo Club. Seattle summers were cool, the high today only seventy, dropping into the fifties at night. A half moon shone overhead as he stretched out on his stomach and propped himself on his elbows to watch the back door. The mercury light lit the back porch and a portion of the lot. Luke figured on staying until the place closed down before he gave up and went home.

Waiting was a big part of the job, and he was good at it. He’d been a special ops soldier. If the mission required it, sometimes you waited for hours without moving a muscle. Luke hoped Emma didn’t fall asleep. He needed eyes on the front door as well as the back.

At the sound of an engine running, he turned to see a black Cadillac Escalade drive up behind the back door. The vehicle parked in one of the employee spaces and two men got out.

Adjusting his binoculars, Luke peered through the lens to confirm one of them was Felix Riggs. It was well after midnight. He figured Riggs would drink for a while, maybe con the buxom blonde out of a piece of ass. Though he had his doubts about that.

Thinking of the blonde made him think of Emma and how close she had come to disaster. She was pretty, with her thick dark curls and big doe eyes. Lately, he hadn’t had the slightest interest in the female sex, not until he’d watched petite Emma Cassidy take on that big behemoth, Ivan Dorell. He hadn’t felt a shot of lust like that in weeks, hell, longer than that.

It took balls to go into a rough joint like the Polo Club, big brass ones to go toe-to-toe with Ivan and his thugs. She’d stood up to Badger and his biker buddies, too.

It was a crazy thing to do. She had to be forty degrees off center to do something that dangerous. Hopefully, she’d figure out that hunting riff-raff like Digby and Riggs wasn’t worth the piddling fee paid for the capture of most bail skips. And the work was hard to come by. It was the big fish that paid big money, guys like Rudy Vance.

Riggs could be the key to finding Vance. Luke fixed his binoculars on the back door of the Polo Club.

Emma’s neck felt stiff and her eyes burned as she watched the entrance to the bar. If felt like hours since Luke had left. She hoped he hadn’t gone inside without her.

She tried to stretch in the passenger seat. After brawling with half the low-lifes in Seattle, she figured by morning she’d have bruises all over her body.

She rubbed the back of her neck, rubbed her eyes and sat up a little straighter in the seat. She didn’t want to fall asleep; she had a job to do. She wanted to talk to Riggs even more than Luke did.

Emma jerked upright at the sound of the door swinging open. Luke slid in behind the wheel.

“Riggs and his buddy just pulled out,” Luke said. The powerful engine fired up and he jammed the Bronco into gear. “I’m dropping you in the lot beside your car. Get in and lock the doors, then drive the hell home.”

As the Bronco lurched toward the parking lot, Emma snapped her seatbelt. “I’m not going home. I’m going with you.”

“The hell you are.”

“The hell I’m not.”

His mouth curved an instant before his frown fell back into place. He pulled up in the front lot behind her car, reached across and unsnapped her belt, then shoved open the car door. Emma forced herself to ignore the tingle as his arm brushed her breast.

“Get out.”

“He’s in that big SUV, right?” Emma watch the red glow of taillights getting dimmer as the vehicle that had just pulled out of the lot drove off down the street. “If you don’t hurry, you’re going to lose him.”

Luke’s jaw clenched. “Goddammit!” He slammed her door, straightened behind the wheel, and jammed his foot down on the gas. The Bronco fishtailed and leaped forward. Thank God she’d snapped her belt back on or she would probably be halfway through the windshield.

“I swear, lady, you are a real pain in my ass.”

About the Author: New York Times bestselling author Kat Martin is a graduate of the University of California at Santa Barbara where she majored in Anthropology and also studied History. She is married to L.J. Martin, author of western, non-fiction, and suspense novels.

Kat has written more than sixty-five novels. Sixteen million copies of her books are in print and she has been published in twenty foreign countries, including Japan, France, Germany, Argentina, Greece, China, Russia, and Spain.
Born in Bakersfield, California, Kat currently resides in Missoula, Montana, on a small ranch in the beautiful Sapphire mountains.

Her last 12 books have hit the prestigious New York Times bestseller list. INTO THE FURY and INTO THE WHIRLWIND her most recent releases, both took top ten spots.

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Buy the book at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Indiebound, Books a Million, Kobo, or Google Play.

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Into the Firestorm by Kat Martin – Q&A and Giveaway

Long and Short Reviews is excited to welcome back Kat Martin who has stopped by to talk with us today. Her latest book Into the Firestorm will be released at the end of the month (if you pre-order it now, you can buy it for only $5.99!) Leave a comment for a chance to win a copy of Into the Fury (Kindle, NOOK, paperback – US ONLY for the paperback) .

What is your favorite non-writing pastime?

I love to travel. I love great restaurants and expensive hotels! Unfortunately, don’t get to do it all that much.

When did you decide to take that step that made you a published author?

The moment I started writing, I realized that was what I wanted to do with my life. The moment I finished the book is the moment I started down the road to becoming a published author, way before that, actually.

What has been your greatest challenge as a writer? Have you been able to overcome it?

I think writing without using much description has been a big problem for me throughout my career. Way back when, people thought it was because you were a lousy writer. I do it because I am a storyteller first and foremost. Once I switched from Historical to Contemporary, it became less of a problem.

What message do you hope readers take away from the book?

I just want them to enjoy. I want them to love the characters and their adventure and hope it’s a book that will stick with them.

What three words would best describe Emma? Luke?

Emma is determined, loyal, and sexy. Luke is smart and protective and gorgeous.

What is your favorite scene in INTO THE FIRESTORM?

I like the opening scene between Luke and Emma and the ending scene, which left me crying when I read it in print.

How do you unwind after a long writing session?

I enjoy a glass of white wine at the end of the evening. It’s a great way to come down from the intensity of writing.

Who or what has most influenced your writing?

Reading other novels has been a huge influence, beginning way back with authors like Sidney Sheldon, John Grisham, Dean Koontz, and of course romance writers like Kathleen Woodiwiss. I attended writing classes voraciously when I was first learning, so that was a great influence on how the work ended up.

Is there a genre you wish you could write, but haven’t made the plunge? Which one and what appeals to you about it?

I’ve written books in every genre I’m interested in. I’ve even done a semi-sci-fi called Season of Strangers. I like writing Romantic Suspense best. That’s where I’m sticking.

What appeals to you most about your chosen genre?

I like the combination of action and romance. To me, they are a perfect mix. It’s exactly what I like to read and therefore like to write.

At Brodie Operations Security Service, Inc., following your instincts is company policy . . .

M. Cassidy—Luke Brodie had heard the name before, some novice bounty hunter working Seattle, catching tricky skips with more success than a newcomer should expect. But the dark curls, sparkly top, and impressive cleavage were not what Brodie had pictured.

Emma Cassidy is tough and smart and sexy as hell. She’s also popping up a step ahead of him every time he’s close to the capture he wants most . . . and there’s no room for learning on the trail of this monster.

Emma has idolized Luke Brodie, the bounty hunter who can bring anyone in. The big man in the soft shoes, with a face like a fallen angel and a reputation for breaking hearts. Watching him in action is intoxicating. But her fight with Rudy Vance is fiercely personal. If he gets too close, Brodie will find out just how ferocious she can be . . .

About the Author: New York Times bestselling author Kat Martin is a graduate of the University of California at Santa Barbara where she majored in Anthropology and also studied History. She is married to L.J. Martin, author of western, non-fiction, and suspense novels.

Kat has written more than sixty-five novels. Sixteen million copies of her books are in print and she has been published in twenty foreign countries, including Japan, France, Germany, Argentina, Greece, China, Russia, and Spain.
Born in Bakersfield, California, Kat currently resides in Missoula, Montana, on a small ranch in the beautiful Sapphire mountains.

Her last 12 books have hit the prestigious New York Times bestseller list. INTO THE FURY and INTO THE WHIRLWIND her most recent releases, both took top ten spots.

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads
Buy the book at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Indiebound, Books a Million, Kobo, or Google Play.

L

Research Can Really Be a Bitch by Kat Martin – Guest Blog and Giveaway

Long and Short Reviews welcomes Kat Martin whose latest book, Into the Whirlwind, was just released. Leave a comment or ask Kat a question for a chance to win a copy of Into the Fuly, the first book in the series (paperrback, Nook, or Kindle – US only).

Research Can Really Be A Bitch
(But it’s worth it)

As an author, sometimes what you think is going to be a great idea for a novel turns into a great big UGH! That’s what happens when the research takes over your life and you have a whole lot more work to do than you had planned. Not that it isn’t usually interesting.

INTO THE WHIRLWIND, the second book in my BOSS, INC. Trilogy, is Megan O’Brien and Dirk Reynolds’s story. When Meg’s three-year-old son is kidnapped, the former lingerie model goes to the only man she trusts, private investigator, Dirk Reynolds, her former bodyguard, the man who was still owns her heart. Desperate, unsure after treating Dirk badly that will help, Meg is willing to risk everything to save little Charlie.

But Dirk understands how much Meg’s little boy means to her. Teaming up with Luke Brodie, a BOSS, Inc. bounty hunter, Dirk and Meg follow clues that led them into the murky world of gambling, high powered international crime, and terrible danger.

The story sounded great in my head. What I didn’t count on was the research it would entail to tell the international crime part of the novel. As I started digging around for possible scenarios, reading information on crime in South America, I stumbled across a friend who had recently traveled in the area I was thinking of using for a portion of the book.

Over a bottle of wine one night, I was able to convince him to tell me a little about his travels through the area, which is famous for being home to Nazi’s who fled World War II.

As you can imagine, my sensors went on high alert. How could I weave something like that into my story? How hard would doing the research turn out to be?

Plenty hard, I discovered, but as in other of my stories, the research is often invaluable in making the plot credible and interesting.

I researched time frames, various landscapes, lifestyles, and a whole lot of everything else. Along with a hero and heroine I completely fell in love with, a love story that made me tear up on occasion, INTO THE WHIRLWIND became one of my favorite novels.

I hope you’ll look for INTO THE WHIRLWIND and that you enjoy it. If you haven’t read INTO THE FURY, Ethan and Valentine’s story, I hope you’ll look for that, too.

Till next time, all best and happy reading, Kat

6_1 kat Into-the-Whirlwind-cover-(3A bodyguard, a bounty hunter, a private investigator, no one can handle the heat like the men of BOSS, Inc.

Megan O’Brien is at her wit’s end. Her three-year-old son has been kidnapped. No police, says the ransom demand. Fearing for her son’s life, Meg has no choice but to turn to her former bodyguard, Dirk Reynolds.

Dirk’s never forgiven Meg for the way she left him after their brief affair. But with bounty hunter Luke Brodie on his side, Dirk knows he’s got to help Meg rescue her son.

The few clues they’ve gathered send them spiraling into a murky world of big banking and international crime. Meg may be way out of her depths, but she’s seeing a side of Dirk she never suspected—one no woman could possibly resist.

About the Author:6_1 Kat-Martin-(500x350New York Times bestselling author Kat Martin is a graduate of the University of California at Santa Barbara where she majored in Anthropology and also studied History. She is married to L.J. Martin, author of western, non-fiction, and suspense novels.
Kat has written more than sixty-five novels. Sixteen million copies of her books are in print and she has been published in twenty foreign countries, including Japan, France, Germany, Argentina, Greece, China, Russia, and Spain.
Born in Bakersfield, California, Kat currently resides in Missoula, Montana, on a small ranch in the beautiful Sapphire mountains.

Her last 10 books have hit the prestigious New York Times bestseller list. AGAINST THE WILD, AGAINST THE SKY, AGAINST THE TIDE and INTO THE FURY her latest release, took top ten spots.

Website | Facebook | https://twitter.com/@katmartinauthor | Goodreads

Buy the book at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Books a Million, IndieBound, Kobo, GooglePlay, or iBooks.

Into the Whirlwind by Kat Martin – Q&A and Giveaway

Long and Short Reviews is excited to welcome Kat Martin back as she promotes her newest book INTO THE WHIRLWIND which will be released on May 31. Win a Kindle Fire as part of this celebration.

What is your favorite scene in INTO THE WHIRLWIND?

I’d have to say my favorite scene is when Dirk tells Meg that he lied about the broken heart tattoo he had inked over his heart. It wasn’t done because of another woman. He put it there because Meg broke his heart when she sent him away. I love that scene.

Is anything in your book based on real life experiences or purely all imagination?

Well, I’ve been to Seattle a number of times, so I know the area the book was set in, which influenced the setting I chose. I think my novels all have some of my real the life experiences in the pages.

Do you have to be alone or have quiet to write?

I love QUIET. My husband is also a writer and he likes noise. He runs the TV on his desk the whole time he is writing. I would go crazy!

What has been your greatest pleasure in writing this book?

I fell in love with Dirk, then came to love both him and Meg as a couple. I got to live a wild adventure that took them all the way to South America. If was a great ride, one I hated to end.

How do you unwind after a long writing session?

I enjoy a glass of white wine at the end of the evening. It’s a great way to come down from the intensity of writing.

Who or what has most influenced your writing?

Reading other novels has been a huge influence, beginning way back with authors like Sidney Sheldon, then John Grisham, Dean Koontz, and of course romance writers like Kathleen Woodiwiss. I attended writing classes voraciously when I was first learning, so that was a great influence on how the work ended up.

Is there a genre you wish you could write, but haven’t made the plunge? Which one and what appeals to you about it?

I’ve pretty much written what I’ve wanted. I did a UFO story once called Season of Strangers that was pretty unique. I might like to try a Sci Fi romance, something that would allow my imagination to run wild. But it’s probably not going to happen.

What appeals to you most about your chosen genre?

I like the challenge of developing a suspense plot, then solving the mystery I created. It’s really tough to do. And of course, I like writing the romance. I like the excitement of finding two people who, ultimately, are perfect for each other and helping them discover that for themselves.

Do you have a favorite author? Who and why?

My favorite authors change from year to year. I love the old authors I mentioned. I just bought the new Dean Koonz novel. There are some great romance authors out there. Nora Roberts, of course. Heather Graham. Cindy Gerard can’t write fast enough to suit me. Laura Griffin is great.

What has been your greatest pleasure or personal success as an author?

Hitting the NY Times was a thrill, seeing my name in the actual printed newspaper. The first time was amazing. It’s still exciting, even after I’ve been on more than a dozen times. And I love hearing from readers. It makes all the hard work worthwhile.

5_11 kat martin Into-the-Whirlwind-cover-(3A bodyguard, a bounty hunter, a private investigator, no one can handle the heat like the men of BOSS, Inc.

Megan O’Brien is at her wit’s end. Her three-year-old son has been kidnapped. No police, says the ransom demand. Fearing for her son’s life, Meg has no choice but to turn to her former bodyguard, Dirk Reynolds.

Dirk’s never forgiven Meg for the way she left him after their brief affair. But with bounty hunter Luke Brodie on his side, Dirk knows he’s got to help Meg rescue her son.

The few clues they’ve gathered send them spiraling into a murky world of big banking and international crime. Meg may be way out of her depths, but she’s seeing a side of Dirk she never suspected—one no woman could possibly resist.

Enjoy an excerpt:

Megan O’Brien parked at the end of the gravel driveway and quietly got out of her compact SUV. Through the trees, she could hear the roar of a chainsaw, hear see two-by-fours going up to form the sides of the house under construction.

The garage was already finished, undoubtedly full of Dirk’s toys, including a Harley and a custom Dodge Viper. In the summer, he kept a boat docked on the lake below the house.

Though two other men were hard at work, her gaze went straight to Dirk. Hammer in hand, carpenter’s belt dangling low on his waist, he was shirtless, though the January air was chill.

Hard muscle flexed across his back and shoulders as he pounded in a nail with an ease that said how many times he had done it. Long, sinewy muscles outlined by the soft fabric of his jeans stretched and moved as he worked on his house.

Meg’s gaze went over the familiar dragon tattoo that wound over one shoulder and inched up the side of his neck. The colored ink seemed right with the sexy, short-cropped, horseshoe mustache that framed his mouth and curved down to his jaw, making him look like the hard, tough man he was.

Even her terrible fear for her son couldn’t block the memories of how it had felt to lie with him. Couldn’t lessen the yearning that burned through her body just at the sight of him.

On the fashion show tour, Dirk had been her bodyguard, and though every instinct had warned her not to get involved with him, the fierce attraction between them was impossible to resist.

Once the tour returned home, Meg had ended the affair. Dirk Reynolds was wild and fierce while she was a single mother with a son to raise. She had duties, responsibilities.

She couldn’t have Dirk Reynolds.

But she had never gotten over Dirk.

Meg steeled herself and headed along the gravel driveway toward the house he was rebuilding after the fire that had nearly killed him five months ago. One thing she knew, Dirk Reynolds was a hard man to kill.

Which was the reason she had swallowed her pride and her heartache and come to him. She needed him, trusted him as she never had another man. Her little boy’s life depended on gaining this man’s help. This man she had loved and rejected.

She stepped out of the foliage and started toward him. With Dirk’s usual keen senses, he turned, alert that someone was there, though the buzz of the saw hid the sound of her footsteps.

For several long moments, he just stared, watching as she approached. He was six-two, his body lean and sculpted. Wavy dark brown hair curled at the nape of his neck. She forced herself to keep walking, even as his jaw locked and a fierce scowl darkened his face.

Dirk grabbed a faded blue work shirt and shrugged it on, covering most of his amazing chest. He didn’t bother fastening the buttons, just strode toward her, blocking her view of the house.

He stopped right in front of her. “What are doing here, Meg?”

“I need to talk to you. It’s…it’s urgent.”

“You’re trespassing. What do you want?”

She swallowed, fought to stay strong. He didn’t want her there. She had known he wouldn’t. Known he thought of her only with contempt. She wished he would hold her the way he used to when she was afraid. “I…I want to hire you.”

The corner of his mouth edged into a ruthless half smile. “What for? Stud service?”

She wanted to cry. She wanted to beg his forgiveness. Tell him she had never forgotten him. That she never would. She knew it wouldn’t matter to Dirk. Not anymore.

It didn’t matter. Nothing mattered, but saving the life of her son.

About the Author: 5_11 kat martin PHOTO---Kat-Martin-(500x350New York Times bestselling author Kat Martin is a graduate of the University of California at Santa Barbara where she majored in Anthropology and also studied History. She is married to L.J. Martin, author of western, non-fiction, and suspense novels.

Kat has written more than sixty-five novels. Sixteen million copies of her books are in print and she has been published in twenty foreign countries, including Japan, France, Germany, Argentina, Greece, China, Russia, and Spain.
Born in Bakersfield, California, Kat currently resides in Missoula, Montana, on a small ranch in the beautiful Sapphire mountains.

Her last 10 books have hit the prestigious New York Times bestseller list. AGAINST THE WILD, AGAINST THE SKY, AGAINST THE TIDE and INTO THE FURY her latest release, took top ten spots.

Website | Facebook

What’s In a Name? by Kat Martin – Guest Blog and Giveaway

We welcome Kat Martin who is back with us to celebrate the release of her latest book Into the Fury. Leave a comment or ask Kat a question for a chance to win a copy of the book (paperback, Nook, or Kindle – US only please).

WHAT’S IN A NAME?
In the course of writing more than sixty books, I’ve learned that a character’s name is extremely important. I spend hours pouring over lists of names: American, English, Italian, French, Japanese, Russian, Chinese, etc.

Months before I start a novel, I begin to work on choosing the right names for my hero and heroine, which is a way of getting to know them.

I like names that evoke an instant picture. I’ve been writing about the Brodies for the last five books, men with strong family bonds. Ty, Dylan, Nick, Rafe, and now Ethan are names I hope will make the reader think of guys with strength, courage, and principals–and of course tons of sex appeal.

In INTO THE FURY, Ethan is a private investigator who works for his cousin, Ian, the owner of Brodie Operations Security Services, Inc. in Seattle. BOSS, Inc they call it. Ethan’s a man used to taking charge, a hard man and capable, but he isn’t happy about his current assignment–babysitting a bunch of self-absorbed lingerie models on a cross-country fashion show tour.

Ethan is a man who has lost faith in the opposite sex–until he meets one of La Belle’s top ten models–Valentine Hart.

Val is another example of the importance of a name. Valentine Hart is actually her stage name and I think it does its job. Valerie Hartman is nothing at all like the image her stage name projects–though it takes Ethan a while to figure that out. And to learn there is a lot more to a being a top model than just having a pretty face.

Ethan is 6’3 and built like a brick house. I can’t imagine a guy named Ethan Brodie being a wimp. Or a woman named Valentine Hart being anything but a sex pot.

Another member of the BOSS Inc. crew is Dirk Reynolds, another strong male name. Since Dirk was supposed to remain a secondary character, I gave him a bad-ass cropped horseshoe mustache and a cool dragon tattoo.

Then Dirk wound up being such a hunk I had to give him a book of his own! INTO THE WHIRLWIND will be out in June, one of my all-time favorites.

INTO THE FIRESTORM, the final book in the trilogy an another of my all-time favorites, is Luke Brodie’s story–a bounty hunter extraordinaire. Luke was former special ops. He’s infamous as a bail enforcement agent and unrepentant womanizer–until he meets his match with Emma Sullivan.

Choosing Emma’s name took me weeks and truth be told, it still doesn’t sit exactly right. Emma Brodie works better for me–fortunately this is a romance so we are pretty sure she’s going to end up with the right name eventually!

I hope you’ll look for Ethan and Val in INTO THE FURY, out January 26th, and that you’ll watch for the next two BOSS Inc. novels, INTO THE WHIRLWIND and INTO THE FIRESTORM.

Till then, all best and happy reading, Kat

2_19 kat martin COVER - Into the Fury 800xTake death threats against ten of La Belle’s most beautiful lingerie models as they travel the country on a widely publicized fashion show tour, mix with macho bodyguards, throw in murder, mayhem, copycat killers, and millions of dollars in diamonds, and you have INTO THE FURY, Kat Martin’s newest Brodie novel.

Ethan Brodie goes head-to-head with Valentine Hart in this novel of intrigue, fast-paced action, and steamy romance.

Enjoy an excerpt:

SINNERS, SLUTS, and WHORES–BEWARE. Your TIME is at HAND.

Standing next to the long mahogany table in the conference room, Ethan Brodie re-read the note he’d just been handed. Printed on a plain sheet of white paper, the words were typed in different fonts and sizes, all of them in big bold letters.

Fairly old-school for the twenty-first century, Ethan thought. But then, email was a helluva lot easier to trace.

The client, Matthew Carlyle, was Head of Operations for La Belle Lingerie, a retail fashion chain, kind of a knock-off of Victoria’s Secret with slightly less expensive garments. In his mid forties, five-ten, lean and fit, Carlyle had silver-threaded dark brown hair, hazel eyes, and a thin scar that ran close to his ear along his jaw.

The other man in the room was Ethan’s boss, his cousin Ian, owner of Brodie Operations Security Services, Inc.

“I imagine in the lingerie business you get notes like this all the time,” Ethan said to Carlyle.

“We get kooks, all right. Plenty of them.” Carlyle accepted the note Ethan returned. “But a letter like this was mailed to each of our ten top models, sent to them at our flagship store here in Seattle, and the company isn’t happy about it.”

“You talk to the police?”

“Not yet. We’d prefer to handle the problem discreetly, avoid any bad press. That’s why I came to BOSS, Inc. Ian and I have worked together before. I trust him to do the job.”

Ethan turned to his cousin, conservatively dressed in tan slacks and a yellow button-down shirt. While Ian was blond, Ethan was dark-haired, like most of the Brodie men. Both were tall, Ethan taller at six-foot-three. “You have the notes checked for prints?” he asked.

“I did,” Ian said. “Papers were all clean. The letters were mailed out of different post office locations in the area so that led nowhere. Since the models are about to go on tour, Matt’s decided to temporarily beef-up La Belle security, just to be on the safe side.”

“Probably a good idea.” Though Ethan wished someone else was taking the job. The thought of traveling for weeks with a group of air-headed fashion divas was the last thing he wanted. Still, he worked for a living and this was exactly the kind of job he was good at.

About the Author: 2_19 kat martin PHOTO - Kat Martin (500x350 - 150dpi)New York Times bestselling author Kat Martin is a graduate of the University of California at Santa Barbara where she majored in Anthropology and also studied History. She is married to L.J. Martin, author of western, non-fiction, and suspense novels.

Kat has written more than sixty-five novels. Sixteen million copies of her books are in print and she has been published in twenty foreign countries, including Japan, France, Germany, Argentina, Greece, China, Russia, and Spain.
Born in Bakersfield, California, Kat currently resides in Missoula, Montana, on a small ranch in the beautiful Sapphire mountains.

Her last 10 books have hit the prestigious New York Times bestseller list. AGAINST THE WILD, AGAINST THE SKY, and AGAINST THE TIDE her latest release, took top ten spots.

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads
Buy the book at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, BAM, IndieBound | Kobo, GooglePlay, or iBooks.

Q&A and Giveaway – Kat Martin

Long and Short Reviews is always happy to welcome Kat Martin. Kat’s newest book Against the Tide just released. It’s the 3rd book in the wildly popular Brodies of Alaska series. Leave a comment or ask Kat a question for a chance to win a copy of the book (US only please). Winner: Jillian J.

Do you ever wish you were someone else? Who?

I wish that about every other day! How about someone who owns a private jet? I hate to fly, so that would be great….let’s see…how about an heiress who does nothing but write when she feels like it and travels around the world?

What did you do on your last birthday?

What I usually do. Nothing. I hate birthdays, have since my grandpa died the day before my birthday when I was five. Western Writers of American often has their conference around that day in June so I’ve been there a lot on my birthday. Always fun to go out with the cowboy authors, including my hubby to celebrate.

What part of the writing process do you dread?

Getting started, I guess. Trying to figure out my characters. I usually freak out somewhere in the middle, as well. Oh, and then there’s the end. I love/hate when it’s over and I have to say good-bye.

Do you ever suffer from writer’s block? If so, what do you do about it?

Sometimes I take a break, take a few days off. I like to get out of town, then come back. I usually find some answers during the night while I’m asleep. Then I get back to work and charge forward. Researching the topic can also be a big help.

5_29 Kat Against-the-Tide(300x500)Alaska is another of my most favorite places. A day on waters of Prince William Sound can be spectacular. In AGAINST THE TIDE, Rafe Brodie is the captain of a charter fishing boat fleet in tiny Valdez. It’s a majestic, but harsh and remote. Fascinated by the new owner of the Pelican Café, Olivia Chandler, Rafe begins to wonder why such a beautiful young woman would want to hide herself away in such a place.

He’s determined to solve the mystery, but when his first mate, young Scotty Ferris, is murdered, Rafe has a far more important mystery to solve.

Scott was Liv’s friend, too, and she is equally determined to find his killer. As the clues unfold, Rafe and Liv are drawn into a web of secrets and lies and that lead both of them into danger.

AGAINST THE TIDE, set in one of my favorite places, turned out to be one of my all-time favorite books. I hope you’ll watch for it and that you enjoy. And if you haven’t read AGAINST THE SKY AND AGAINST THE WILD, I hope you’ll watch for them, too.

Warmest wishes and happy reading,
Kat

Enjoy an excerpt:

Valdez, Alaska

The piercing ring of the cell phone lying on his nightstand didn’t bode well. There was no such thing as good news at three o’clock in the morning.

With a sigh, Rafe rolled over and grabbed the phone, scrubbed a hand over his face as he pressed it against his ear. “Brodie.”

“Police Chief Rosen here. We’ve got a problem, Rafe, and it’s not a good one. I need you to meet me down at the harbor. How soon can you get here?”

Rafe swung his long legs to the side of the bed and sat up. “Ten minutes. What’s this about, Chief?”

“It’s Scotty Ferris, Rafe. I’m afraid he’s dead. I’ll fill you in when you get here. I’ll be waiting on the dock next to the Scorpion.” The police chief hung up the phone.

For several long moments, Rafe just sat there. His chest felt tight. Scotty Ferris was twenty-four years old, a handsome, hard-working kid who was engaged to be married. His June wedding to Cassie Webster, one of the local girls, was only three weeks away. Cassie was going to be crushed.

Rafe swore softly. What the hell could have happened?

But in this rugged country where the climate, wild animals, or just bad judgment could get you killed, accidents happened all the time.

Shoving himself up from the bed, Rafe grabbed a pair of worn jeans off the chair and jerked them on, pulled a sweatshirt over his head, pulled on his heavy sox, and shoved his size-thirteen feet into a pair of high-topped, rubber-soled boots. Since the temperature at night even in late May was still in the thirties and it had rained during the night, he grabbed his jacket as he headed for the steps down to the garage.

The boat harbor wasn’t far from his house. Sea Scorpion was his flagship charter fishing boat, a thirty-eight-foot Mac, his pride and joy. It was the boat he usually captained himself, one of three that made up his fleet. Scotty Ferris was part of Scorpion’s crew.

Rafe thought of the young man as he parked his dark green Ford Expedition in a spot in front of the harbor, climbed out, and closed the door. Puddles from last night’s rain sloshed against his boots as he made his way toward the dock. The occasional street light burned into the darkness but quiet surrounded him, along with the familiar salty tang of the sea.

Rafe couldn’t imagine living anywhere else.

Which brought his thoughts full-circle to Scotty. With year-round residents numbering less that forty-five hundred, everyone knew everyone who lived there. And everyone knew and liked Scotty. The kid had been born in Valdez. He thrived on the rugged lifestyle, planned to marry and raise kids here, probably never would have left.

What the hell had happened? Rafe thought again as he walked toward his boat.

And why did Chief Rosen want to meet him at the Scorpion?

A few spaces down from where’d he parked, Rafe spotted a black-and-silver Ford police SUV. In the distance, the familiar antenna above the wheelhouse of the Scorpion marked where the boat bobbed near the middle of the dock.

Rafe started down the long wooden walkway, his gaze on the group of people gathered next to where the Scorpion was moored. The area was cordoned off with yellow crime scene tape, the boat clearly off limits until the police were finished collecting evidence.

Police Chief Clifford Rosen, a stout man in his fifties, bald head ringed by thinning gray hair, stood next to a figure lying on the dock, covered by a long white cloth. Knowing Scotty Ferris lay under the cloth made Rafe’s stomach burn.

“What happened?” he asked the chief.

“Looks like he was robbed,” Rosen answered. “Wallet’s missing, jewelry’s gone. Car keys. Cell phone’s missing. Single blow to the back of the head. Blunt instrument. Baseball bat seems the most likely, something that size that was easy to handle.”

“Jesus.”

“I asked you to come down because I need someone to identify the body. With his parents both dead, I figured better you than his fiancée. Soon as you do that, I’ll break the news to the Webster girl.”

Rafe just nodded. Cassie was going to be devastated. She and Scotty were crazy in love, the kind Rafe figured had a good chance of lasting. Sometimes fate could be a real bastard.

One of the officers, a red-haired young cop Rafe recognized as Rusty Donovan, leaned down and lifted the edge of the sheet. As the cover rolled back, Rafe’s gaze fixed on Scotty. The boy’s brown eyes were open, staring sightlessly into the black night sky. His handsome face was frozen in a look of surprise.

He was wearing a jacket but it was unzipped, revealing a long-sleeved blue T-shirt that read FISHERMEN DO IT DEEPER. Rafe could almost see the grin on the kid’s face when he’d put it on.

“It’s him,” he said darkly. “Scott Ferris.”

“You know what he was doing down here?”

“No.”

But once he got his head wrapped around Scotty’s death, he intended to find out.

The breakfast crowd at the Pelican Café had begun to arrive, as people did every morning when it opened at six A.M. The café had been started in the fifties and been going strong every since. Of course it had passed through a dozen different owners, had its ups and downs, and been near financial ruin more than once.

Having purchased the restaurant six months ago, Olivia Chandler was the most recent person to step into the driver’s seat. Unlike the previous owner, who had let the place sink into disrepair, Olivia had been making changes, most of which had been heralded with great enthusiasm by the local customers.

“Well, look who’s coming,” Nell said. The buxom woman with salt-and-pepper hair helped her run the café. “If it isn’t Mr. Tall, Dark, and Handsome.”

Liv followed her gaze out the window to the man in jeans and a sweatshirt crossing the outside patio. The brick patio was empty now while it was still cold, but with summer approaching, soon would be noisy with people.

Katie walked past just then, heading for a table with a platter of bacon and eggs on the flat of her hand. “I just call him Mr. Freakin’ Hot.”

“Shame on you,” Liv teased. “You just turned twenty one. Rafe Brodie’s got to be at least a dozen years older.”

“Just means he’s a man not a boy. And I like a guy with a little experience.”

“From what I hear, he has plenty of that,” Liv said dryly as Katie sailed off to deliver the food.

Nell chuckled. “I’m fifty years old and that man can still make me swoon.”

Olivia busied herself wiping off the long Formica-topped counter as Rafe shoved through the door, ringing the bell above. Seating himself in his usual booth, he stretched his long legs out in front of him. Rafe was a regular in the café, which sat on North Harbor Road right across from the boat dock.

“Katie’s busy,” Nell said with a match-making glint in her eyes. “Why don’t you wait on him?”

Olivia shook her head. “I’m busy, too. You go ahead.”

Knowing there was no persuading her, Nell sighed. “Probably better you don’t. Everyone in town knows Rafe’s a dedicated bachelor.”

Dedicated bachelor or not, Nell and Katie were right. With the thick dark brown hair curling just over his collar, the faint shadow of beard that usually lined his hard jaw, and those hot, whiskey-brown eyes, he was one of the best-looking men Olivia had ever seen.

Which was exactly the reason she had avoided him since the day she had met him.

No use putting temptation in her path. It was simply too dangerous.

She watched as Nell chatted with him a moment, then the easy smile Nell usually gave him slipped from her face. The coffee pot wavered. Rafe grabbed the glass pot to keep her from dropping it and spilled hot coffee over his hand.

Olivia didn’t hesitate, just grabbed a towel, wet it with cold water, and hurried in Rafe’s direction. He was sitting down again, Nell fussing over him, relieved to see Olivia approaching.

“Here–wrap this around your fingers.” Liv handed him the wet towel. “It’s cold enough to ease the pain and keep the burn from getting worse.”

“I’m all right,” Rafe said. “It’s no big deal.” But he accepted the wet cloth and looped it over the back of a big suntanned hand.

The man was all of six-four, two-hundred-plus pounds, with a solid, athletic build and very wide shoulders. Liv was five-nine, but Rafe was more than half a head taller. She tried not to stare at his mouth, which seemed harder this morning, without the smile he always had for Nell.

She glanced in her friend’s direction, sucked in a breath as Nell’s pale blue eyes filled with tears.

“Oh, God, what is it?”

Nell blinked and the tears rolled down her cheeks. She wiped at the wetness with a trembling hand. “I could tell something was wrong. It was stamped all over Rafe’s face.”

Liv glanced from one of them to the other, saw the same grim expression on both of their faces. “Tell me what’s happened.”

Nell swallowed. “It’s…it’s Scotty. He was murdered last night.”

Liv glanced across the table at Rafe. His jaw looked iron-hard, his eyes so dark she could barely see a hint of gold. For the first time it occurred to her that Rafe was hurting, too. Scotty was his first mate and they were friends. Cassie had said Scott idolized Rafe, had thought of him as an older brother.

His dark eyes to her face. “Scott was a good man. One of the best. Whoever killed him is going to pay.”

A little shiver ran through her. It wasn’t a statement. It was a vow.

And Liv completely believed it.

About the Author: 5_29 Kat - Ventura Star (500x350 (150dpi)New York Times bestselling author Kat Martin is a graduate of the University of California at Santa Barbara where she majored in Anthropology and also studied History. She is married to L.J. Martin, author of western, non-fiction, and suspense novels.

Kat has written more than sixty-five novels. Sixteen million copies of her books are in print and she has been published in twenty foreign countries, including Japan, France, Germany, Argentina, Greece, China, Russia, and Spain.
Born in Bakersfield, California, Kat currently resides in Missoula, Montana, on a small ranch in the beautiful Sapphire mountains.

Her last eleven books have hit the prestigious New York Times bestseller list. Both AGAINST THE WILD and AGAINST THE SKY, her latest release, took top ten spots.

Visit Kat’s website at www.KatMartin.com or look for her on Facebook.